Evolution, survival and adaptation (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, September 02, 2017, 12:56 (322 days ago)

I am once more telescoping overlapping threads.

Dhw: (under “Balance of nature, ants…") All forms of life have always depended on some sort of balance, and the balance is constantly shifting, which is why some species have survived and others have died out in the long history of the higgledy-piggledy bush. Thank you for this beautiful illustration of Margulis’s contention that evolution depends on cooperation as well as (if not more than) competition.
DAVID: This is why I question the significance of competition for survival as a major factor.

You questioned the concept of “survival of the fittest”. This is not just a matter of competition. Once again you seem to be equating survival with population density and totally ignoring every other environmental factor that threatens life.

QUOTE: (under “Natures wonders: bacterial adaptation”) "To survive hostile environments, an organism often has to acquire new traits.”
dhw: And yet you keep trying to tell us that survivability plays no role in evolution. Bacteria remain bacteria, but maybe other organisms acquire major new traits for the same reason, and duly become new species.
DAVID: Not that survivability 'plays no role' but a much smaller role than implied by 'survival of the fittest’.

You wrote: “Survival of the fittest is an unproven conjecture.” I consider it pure commonsense that organisms which can cope with the environment survive, and organisms which cannot cope do not survive. Once multicellularity appears, I would suggest that the development of means of survival (and I would add improvement) plays a crucial role in evolution, but perhaps you think that different ways of acquiring food, of catching prey or of defence against predators, and of countering or exploiting changes in the environment only play a small role.

Dhw (under Natural wonders: bacteria can spear amoebas): [...] I do not ask you to agree with my hypothesis – I also have reservations. I only ask you to consider it as a possibility. The mystery does not in any way support your theory that there is a supernatural power which designed flippers before pre-whales entered the water.
DAVID: If major and minor adaptations ae part of the mechanism for change, we have no evidence so far, only small epigenetic DNA changes which can be passed on to descendants. What supports my theory of a supernatural power is the obvious need for visualizing the future form and the design planning that must go into it in order for the change to be accomplished. The DNA of a completely new species may show reference to the past species, but will have very major differences in order to create the new form and function. Only design fits this.

We have had this discussion many times before, but it’s worth repeating since so much else depends on it. After much ado, you agreed some time ago that environmental factors play a major role in evolution. Minor adaptations clearly take place as a RESPONSE to environmental change. There is no visualizing of the future form, and no design planning in advance. You continue to ignore my question concerning the mechanism that makes this possible - i.e. do you think your God dabbled or preprogrammed the changes in the beaks of finches, or did their cell communities accomplish these autonomously? We agree that innovation is far more complex, and that nobody can explain it. Where we do not agree is on the likeliest order of events. You have your God planning major adaptations (innovations) in advance of environmental change, whereas I have my organisms responding to environmental change. Your version requires your God’s advance knowledge of every environmental change that entails innovation, which suggests that he has preprogrammed or manipulated the environment (local and global) as well as the structures of all the creatures that survive the changes. (We’d better leave out the great non sequitur of all this being done for the sake of the human brain!) The complications are enormous, whereas the scenario of life forms RESPONDING to environmental change, either by dying or by adapting or by producing useful new organs to exploit the changes requires only one premise: that they do the designing themselves with an intelligence which your God may have given them in the first place. We know they respond on a minor scale. Perhaps they also respond on a major scale. It’s a hypothesis, but Occam would be delighted with such a simple solution to the mystery.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 02, 2017, 15:20 (322 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: This is why I question the significance of competition for survival as a major factor.

dhw: You questioned the concept of “survival of the fittest”. This is not just a matter of competition. Once again you seem to be equating survival with population density and totally ignoring every other environmental factor that threatens life.

I don't think population density is an issue. It is something you seemed to mention and I questioned. Darwinists have math models regarding reproductivity as another issue. We've discussed Raup and environment causing extinctions. Survival of the fittest is a tautology.

dhw: We have had this discussion many times before, but it’s worth repeating since so much else depends on it. After much ado, you agreed some time ago that environmental factors play a major role in evolution. Minor adaptations clearly take place as a RESPONSE to environmental change. There is no visualizing of the future form, and no design planning in advance. You continue to ignore my question concerning the mechanism that makes this possible - i.e. do you think your God dabbled or preprogrammed the changes in the beaks of finches, or did their cell communities accomplish these autonomously?

Not so. I have stated that finch beak changes are epigenetic adaptations, a mechanism given by God.

dhw: We agree that innovation is far more complex, and that nobody can explain it. Where we do not agree is on the likeliest order of events. You have your God planning major adaptations (innovations) in advance of environmental change, whereas I have my organisms responding to environmental change.

Environmental change is only one issue. There is no evidence that humans left trees because of major climate changes. Preparatory anatomic changes for bipedalism started 23 million years ago!

dhw: Your version requires your God’s advance knowledge of every environmental change that entails innovation, which suggests that he has preprogrammed or manipulated the environment (local and global) as well as the structures of all the creatures that survive the changes. (We’d better leave out the great non sequitur of all this being done for the sake of the human brain!) The complications are enormous, whereas the scenario of life forms RESPONDING to environmental change, either by dying or by adapting or by producing useful new organs to exploit the changes requires only one premise: that they do the designing themselves with an intelligence which your God may have given them in the first place. We know they respond on a minor scale. Perhaps they also respond on a major scale. It’s a hypothesis, but Occam would be delighted with such a simple solution to the mystery.

All I can say to this mishmash is that Occam did not accept simplicity beyond all recognition. Whales entering water is an environmental change for them, but not an environmental change for the Earth. As for the brain, it evolved, a process you accept. All in a scramble to deny God.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 03, 2017, 14:12 (321 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This is why I question the significance of competition for survival as a major factor.
dhw: You questioned the concept of “survival of the fittest”. This is not just a matter of competition. Once again you seem to be equating survival with population density and totally ignoring every other environmental factor that threatens life.
DAVID: I don't think population density is an issue. It is something you seemed to mention and I questioned.

It was you who brought it up on the amoeba thread (see my post 31 August at 8.21 am), when you mistakenly assumed that survivability only entailed that one issue:
DAVID: We have no proof that survivability is a major issue due to population density, as you imply. Density is only an issue since WWII when we are displacing animal habitats.
Dhw: I do not imply population density at all! Where did you get that from?
DAVID: From your statement: " more and more new organisms came on the scene".
Dhw: "New organisms" refers to variety, not to population density. It’s a fact of evolution that more and more new organisms came on the scene once multicellularity had occurred, and I am suggesting that the variety entailed more and more new ways of surviving.

DAVID: Darwinists have math models regarding reproductivity as another issue. We've discussed Raup and environment causing extinctions. Survival of the fittest is a tautology.

It’s not a tautology (= saying the same thing twice) but it is a self-evident observation. That does not mean it plays no role, or only a small role, in the development of evolution.

dhw: We have had this discussion many times before, but it’s worth repeating since so much else depends on it. After much ado, you agreed some time ago that environmental factors play a major role in evolution. Minor adaptations clearly take place as a RESPONSE to environmental change. There is no visualizing of the future form, and no design planning in advance. You continue to ignore my question concerning the mechanism that makes this possible - i.e. do you think your God dabbled or preprogrammed the changes in the beaks of finches, or did their cell communities accomplish these autonomously?
DAVID: Not so. I have stated that finch beak changes are epigenetic adaptations, a mechanism given by God.

With my theist hat on, I am happy to accept that the mechanism for autonomous epigenetic changes may have been given by your God, i.e. that he may have given finches the autonomous means of adapting their beaks without being preprogrammed or dabbled with. So maybe he also gave pre-whales the autonomous means of adapting their legs.

dhw: We agree that innovation is far more complex, and that nobody can explain it. Where we do not agree is on the likeliest order of events. You have your God planning major adaptations (innovations) in advance of environmental change, whereas I have my organisms responding to environmental change.
DAVID: Environmental change is only one issue. There is no evidence that humans left trees because of major climate changes. Preparatory anatomic changes for bipedalism started 23 million years ago!

But it IS an issue, even if it is not the ONLY issue. You say later: “Whales entering water is an environmental change for them, but not an environmental change for the Earth.” Who says that species change can only happen if the whole Earth changes? Maybe both pre-whales and pre-humans started off in local areas where it became advantageous to enter the water or to descend from the trees. Convergent evolution suggests that local changes can lead to similar solutions in other areas. And a successful new species can spread.

dhw: Your version requires your God’s advance knowledge of every environmental change that entails innovation, which suggests that he has preprogrammed or manipulated the environment (local and global) as well as the structures of all the creatures that survive the changes. (We’d better leave out the great non sequitur of all this being done for the sake of the human brain!) The complications are enormous, whereas the scenario of life forms RESPONDING to environmental change, either by dying or by adapting or by producing useful new organs to exploit the changes requires only one premise: that they do the designing themselves with an intelligence which your God may have given them in the first place. We know they respond on a minor scale. Perhaps they also respond on a major scale. It’s a hypothesis, but Occam would be delighted with such a simple solution to the mystery.

DAVID: All I can say to this mishmash is that Occam did not accept simplicity beyond all recognition. As for the brain, it evolved, a process you accept. All in a scramble to deny God.

There is no scramble to deny God, since my hypothesis allows for God. Of course I accept that the brain evolved, as did every other organ we can think of, and since I accept that the human brain is a very special instrument, I can even allow for your God doing a dabble. But divine preprogramming or dabbling of the whole history of evolution, including by implication the history of the environment, seems to me to take complexity beyond all reason, especially when there is a simple explanation which – as you have repeatedly acknowledged – fits in perfectly with the history of life.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 03, 2017, 15:56 (321 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Not so. I have stated that finch beak changes are epigenetic adaptations, a mechanism given by God.

dhw: With my theist hat on, I am happy to accept that the mechanism for autonomous epigenetic changes may have been given by your God, i.e. that he may have given finches the autonomous means of adapting their beaks without being preprogrammed or dabbled with. So maybe he also gave pre-whales the autonomous means of adapting their legs.

Beak size is a very simple epigenetic change (God given). Leg to flipper involves total form change. Only prior design planning and a designer (God) could do that.


dhw: We agree that innovation is far more complex, and that nobody can explain it. Where we do not agree is on the likeliest order of events. You have your God planning major adaptations (innovations) in advance of environmental change, whereas I have my organisms responding to environmental change.

DAVID: Environmental change is only one issue. There is no evidence that humans left trees because of major climate changes. Preparatory anatomic changes for bipedalism started 23 million years ago!

dhw: But it IS an issue, even if it is not the ONLY issue. You say later: “Whales entering water is an environmental change for them, but not an environmental change for the Earth.” Who says that species change can only happen if the whole Earth changes? Maybe both pre-whales and pre-humans started off in local areas where it became advantageous to enter the water or to descend from the trees. Convergent evolution suggests that local changes can lead to similar solutions in other areas. And a successful new species can spread.

There is no disagreement from me that environment change can have major effects: Chicxulub.


DAVID: All I can say to this mishmash is that Occam did not accept simplicity beyond all recognition. As for the brain, it evolved, a process you accept. All in a scramble to deny God.

dhw: There is no scramble to deny God, since my hypothesis allows for God. Of course I accept that the brain evolved, as did every other organ we can think of, and since I accept that the human brain is a very special instrument, I can even allow for your God doing a dabble. But divine preprogramming or dabbling of the whole history of evolution, including by implication the history of the environment, seems to me to take complexity beyond all reason, especially when there is a simple explanation which – as you have repeatedly acknowledged – fits in perfectly with the history of life.

God, for you, is 'beyond all reason', but if you can accept a brain dabble with bipedalism as part of it, you are accepting God's control over the last 8 million years of human evolution. Why can't all evolution be under the same God controls? Not beyond all reason.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 04, 2017, 15:02 (320 days ago) @ David Turell

I am once more juxtaposing different posts and threads as they all deal with aspects of evolution.

DAVID (under “footprints on Crete”): I think all God did was open the flood gates of different hominin types for further development. What other family of organisms did this? None! Apes made no changes.
dhw: I agree that the floodgates opened. But I thought your God was always in total control. Why bother with all these different hominin types if his primary purpose was homo sapiens?

Question not answered.

Dhw: I don’t know why you keep harping on about hominins being the only family that changed. If apes all descended from a common ancestor, there are loads of variations. Perhaps you mean that only homos developed into homo sapiens, whereas gibbons only developed into 16 species of gibbon, and none of them are homo sapiens.
DAVID: That is of course what I mean.

So apes did make lots of changes, and at one stage some of the changed apes must have changed into hominins who changed into homos who changed into homo sapiens, while other apes changed into other apes or stayed the same. Pre-gorillas became gorillas, and pre-orang-utans became orang-utans. What is your point? Do you think your God should have changed every other type of ape into homo sapiens? Why didn’t he, if he only wanted homo sapiens? Same question as above. Why all the apes, and why all the hominins?
xxxx

DAVID (under “glial cell guidance”): I'm convinced your nebulous hypothesis is just that in our theistic-mode discussion. How do you explain evolution without God present?

My hypothesis could hardly be more concrete: that cells are intelligent, and that cell communities are sufficiently intelligent to innovate (not proven) as well as to adapt (proven). But I have ALWAYS said that it is a hypothesis, and like yourself I will need more evidence before it turns into a belief. How do I explain evolution without God present? Easy. If he exists, he set up the whole mechanism and then let it run autonomously, as with finch beaks and humans, so too with all other organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders, and the environment.

DAVID: (under “glial cell guidance”) Your inventive mechanism proposal would need a human-brain-like ability as you describe above. That implies all the complexity of our brain, not found in current studies of the genome.

It would not imply human-brain-like ability. The human brain is also a collection of cells, and different cells have different functions, all of which are limited. Just as individual ants are limited but the group is able to design whole cities, groups of cells can design what individual cells cannot. I would not expect heart cells to write King Lear, but they can do things that Shakespeare would never have known about. My point is that there are different forms of intelligence with different abilities.

DAVID: Why do you constantly slough aside the point that development of complex changes, as seen in the gaps in evolution, require foresight of the future needs in order to start designing the plans for those changes?

Why do you constantly slough aside the possibility that complex changes may be a RESPONSE to environmental changes, instead of having your God foreseeing or causing every environmental change local and global and preparing organisms before the change takes place?

DAVID (on this thread): There is no disagreement from me that environment change can have major effects: Chicxulub.

Good. An effect comes after the cause. This applies both to local and to global changes. But according to you, every innovation ANTICIPATES environmental change: God changes legs to fins before pre-whales enter the water. So does that mean, for instance, that God created all the new Cambrian species before increasing the oxygen?
xxxxx

DAVID (on this thread): God, for you, is 'beyond all reason', but if you can accept a brain dabble with bipedalism as part of it, you are accepting God's control over the last 8 million years of human evolution. Why can't all evolution be under the same God controls? Not beyond all reason.

I have accepted the possibility of a brain dabble, mainly to please you, but if pressed, I would say that all the different hominins evolved naturally from some form of ape (bipedalism being a natural response to an environment in which it became advantageous to leave the trees). If there was a dabble, it would have been much later in the proceedings, perhaps as an afterthought, but I can just as easily view the human brain as a natural progression too. As regards control, yes, the whole history of life on Earth could be your God’s game, as he shifts the pieces around. You and I could also be his playthings, but we just don’t know it. Or maybe, just maybe, if he exists he allowed us to be free agents. And maybe, just maybe, if he exists, he allowed evolution to take its own course.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 04, 2017, 17:18 (320 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID (under “footprints on Crete”): I think all God did was open the flood gates of different hominin types for further development. What other family of organisms did this? None! Apes made no changes.
dhw: I agree that the floodgates opened. But I thought your God was always in total control. Why bother with all these different hominin types if his primary purpose was homo sapiens?

The history of evolution is it always produces bushes of organisms. Must be His method. Your human logic is not His.


dhw: Why all the apes, and why all the hominins?

Same answer. God creates bushes. Only the hominins are advanced in mentation.

xxxx

DAVID (under “glial cell guidance”): I'm convinced your nebulous hypothesis is just that in our theistic-mode discussion. How do you explain evolution without God present?

dhw: My hypothesis could hardly be more concrete: that cells are intelligent, and that cell communities are sufficiently intelligent to innovate (not proven) as well as to adapt (proven). But I have ALWAYS said that it is a hypothesis, and like yourself I will need more evidence before it turns into a belief. How do I explain evolution without God present? Easy. If he exists, he set up the whole mechanism and then let it run autonomously, as with finch beaks and humans, so too with all other organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders, and the environment.

Your same answer. Where did cellular intelligence come from if God did not do it? An inorganic universe creating intelligence on its own is beyond my belief.


DAVID: (under “glial cell guidance”) Your inventive mechanism proposal would need a human-brain-like ability as you describe above. That implies all the complexity of our brain, not found in current studies of the genome.

dhw: It would not imply human-brain-like ability. The human brain is also a collection of cells, and different cells have different functions, all of which are limited.

You are understating the complexity of the organization of the brain. The individual neurons might have specific duties, but they also have plasticity to adapt to new tasks in an multitude of new ways.

dhw:Just as individual ants are limited but the group is able to design whole cities, groups of cells can design what individual cells cannot. I would not expect heart cells to write King Lear, but they can do things that Shakespeare would never have known about. My point is that there are different forms of intelligence with different abilities.

Your nebulous point is based on what Shapiro finds in bacteria. It is a giant jump to cell committees speciating.


DAVID: Why do you constantly slough aside the point that development of complex changes, as seen in the gaps in evolution, require foresight of the future needs in order to start designing the plans for those changes?

dhw: Why do you constantly slough aside the possibility that complex changes may be a RESPONSE to environmental changes, instead of having your God foreseeing or causing every environmental change local and global and preparing organisms before the change takes place?

Of course the change must be a response, but you still ignoring the necessity for foresight and planning to solve the new problems, not possible at a cellular level. Your house was built by a plan, not thrown together. The same with new organisms, planning and design required either by your cell committees or by God.


DAVID (on this thread): There is no disagreement from me that environment change can have major effects: Chicxulub.

dhw: Good. An effect comes after the cause. This applies both to local and to global changes. But according to you, every innovation ANTICIPATES environmental change: God changes legs to fins before pre-whales enter the water. So does that mean, for instance, that God created all the new Cambrian species before increasing the oxygen?

Twisting my approach. I just presented Chicxulub as a prime example of change requiring adaptation. We don't know if Whales had flippers on land, like sea lions or seals, but perhaps that is a change God used to put whales in water. Only whales came directly from land animals. As for the Cambrian the evidence is oxygen came first to support it, the explosion second.

xxxxx


dhw: I have accepted the possibility of a brain dabble, mainly to please you, but if pressed, I would say that all the different hominins evolved naturally from some form of ape (bipedalism being a natural response to an environment in which it became advantageous to leave the trees). If there was a dabble, it would have been much later in the proceedings, perhaps as an afterthought, but I can just as easily view the human brain as a natural progression too. As regards control, yes, the whole history of life on Earth could be your God’s game, as he shifts the pieces around. You and I could also be his playthings, but we just don’t know it. Or maybe, just maybe, if he exists he allowed us to be free agents. And maybe, just maybe, if he exists, he allowed evolution to take its own course.

Written like a true agnostic.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 13:32 (319 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I thought your God was always in total control. Why bother with all these different hominin types if his primary purpose was homo sapiens?
DAVID: The history of evolution is it always produces bushes of organisms. Must be His method. Your human logic is not His.

We know the history, and I’m pleased to see you acknowledge the illogicality of your interpretation. I therefore wonder why you are not prepared to accept the possibility that God’s logic might be the same as ours, and it is your interpretation that is wrong.
xxxx
dhw: How do I explain evolution without God present? Easy. If he exists, he set up the whole mechanism and then let it run autonomously, as with finch beaks and humans, so too with all other organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders, and the environment.
DAVID: Your same answer. Where did cellular intelligence come from if God did not do it? An inorganic universe creating intelligence on its own is beyond my belief.

If your God set up the autonomous mechanism, then your God set up the autonomous mechanism. The subject here is the existence of the autonomous mechanism (as opposed to a divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme or divine dabbling), and not the existence of God.

DAVID: Your inventive mechanism proposal would need a human-brain-like ability as you describe above. That implies all the complexity of our brain, not found in current studies of the genome.
dhw: It would not imply human-brain-like ability. The human brain is also a collection of cells, and different cells have different functions, all of which are limited.
DAVID: You are understating the complexity of the organization of the brain. The individual neurons might have specific duties, but they also have plasticity to adapt to new tasks in an multitude of new ways.

Of course they do. One of their functions is to adapt to new tasks!

dhw: […] My point is that there are different forms of intelligence with different abilities.
DAVID: Your nebulous point is based on what Shapiro finds in bacteria. It is a giant jump to cell committees speciating.

Nothing nebulous, and yes it is based on what a number of scientists have found in cells (hardly a reason for rejecting it), and yes it is a giant jump – just as it is a giant jump from the complexity of life to a sourceless, eternal, infinite, conscious being that creates universes and micro-organisms but keeps itself hidden. Both are hypotheses for which there is no conclusive evidence.

dhw: Why do you constantly slough aside the possibility that complex changes may be a RESPONSE to environmental changes, instead of having your God foreseeing or causing every environmental change local and global and preparing organisms before the change takes place?
DAVID: Of course the change must be a response, but you still ignoring the necessity for foresight and planning to solve the new problems, not possible at a cellular level.

Cells solve new problems all the time. (But see the proviso below.) Adaptation to new conditions is a proven process, and I find it difficult to believe that bacteria have prior knowledge of new problems and plan the responses in advance. I find it equally difficult to believe that your God provided them with a computer programme to cover every possible new problem, or that he pops down to give them instructions.

DAVID: Your house was built by a plan, not thrown together. The same with new organisms, planning and design required either by your cell committees or by God.

We are not talking about a house. We are talking about responses to a changing environment. See above. But always with the proviso that major innovations are a mystery, and my hypothesis is an unproven extension of an existing mechanism.

DAVID (on this thread): There is no disagreement from me that environment change can have major effects: Chicxulub.
dhw: Good. An effect comes after the cause. This applies both to local and to global changes. But according to you, every innovation ANTICIPATES environmental change: God changes legs to fins before pre-whales enter the water. So does that mean, for instance, that God created all the new Cambrian species before increasing the oxygen?
DAVID: Twisting my approach. I just presented Chicxulub as a prime example of change requiring adaptation. We don't know if Whales had flippers on land, like sea lions or seals, but perhaps that is a change God used to put whales in water. Only whales came directly from land animals. As for the Cambrian the evidence is oxygen came first to support it, the explosion second.

Why is this a twist? You are acknowledging that environmental change can precede organismal change. Previously you have insisted that your God prepared whales for life in the water. I’m delighted that you are now acknowledging the possibility that the changes took place after whales entered the water, and I would suggest that this order of events is the norm. No foresight, no planning, but organisms (which consist of cell communities) responding to challenges and opportunities.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 17:51 (319 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The history of evolution is it always produces bushes of organisms. Must be His method. Your human logic is not His.

dhw: We know the history, and I’m pleased to see you acknowledge the illogicality of your interpretation.

I have said nothing illogical. God does what He wants.

xxxx

DAVID: Your same answer. Where did cellular intelligence come from if God did not do it? An inorganic universe creating intelligence on its own is beyond my belief.

dhw: If your God set up the autonomous mechanism, then your God set up the autonomous mechanism. The subject here is the existence of the autonomous mechanism (as opposed to a divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme or divine dabbling), and not the existence of God.

You've avoided the question. Without God where does intelligent foresight come from?

DAVID: You are understating the complexity of the organization of the brain. The individual neurons might have specific duties, but they also have plasticity to adapt to new tasks in an multitude of new ways.

dhw: Of course they do. One of their functions is to adapt to new tasks!

Given by consciousness/soul. They do not initiate.

DAVID: Your house was built by a plan, not thrown together. The same with new organisms, planning and design required either by your cell committees or by God.

dhw: We are not talking about a house. We are talking about responses to a changing environment. See above. But always with the proviso that major innovations are a mystery, and my hypothesis is an unproven extension of an existing mechanism.

Your answer again ignores the concept of foresight and planning to arrange for new advances or adaptations.

DAVID: Twisting my approach. I just presented Chicxulub as a prime example of change requiring adaptation. We don't know if Whales had flippers on land, like sea lions or seals, but perhaps that is a change God used to put whales in water. Only whales came directly from land animals. As for the Cambrian the evidence is oxygen came first to support it, the explosion second.

dhw: Why is this a twist? You are acknowledging that environmental change can precede organismal change. Previously you have insisted that your God prepared whales for life in the water. I’m delighted that you are now acknowledging the possibility that the changes took place after whales entered the water, and I would suggest that this order of events is the norm. No foresight, no planning, but organisms (which consist of cell communities) responding to challenges and opportunities.

Yes, they just do it. That is your answer. Unbelievable. Planning and foresight are never needed prior to arranging for complex changes. Totally illogical.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 13:38 (318 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: I thought your God was always in total control. Why bother with all these different hominin types if his primary purpose was homo sapiens?
DAVID: The history of evolution is it always produces bushes of organisms. Must be His method. Your human logic is not His.
dhw: We know the history, and I’m pleased to see you acknowledge the illogicality of your interpretation.
DAVID: I have said nothing illogical. God does what He wants.

So your always-in-control God’s method of fulfilling his primary purpose (the human brain) was to produce a bush. My human logic suggests that a primary purpose would normally be fulfilled as directly as possible, but although you can’t explain why he created all these different hominins, not to mention the whales and the rest of the bush, you happen to know that God’s logic is different from human logic, and so you are not prepared to consider the possibility that the bush itself might have been his primary purpose.
xxxx

DAVID: Your same answer. Where did cellular intelligence come from if God did not do it? An inorganic universe creating intelligence on its own is beyond my belief.
dhw: If your God set up the autonomous mechanism, then your God set up the autonomous mechanism. The subject here is the existence of the autonomous mechanism (as opposed to a divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme or divine dabbling), and not the existence of God.
DAVID: You've avoided the question. Without God where does intelligent foresight come from?

I keep disputing “foresight”, as below. Where does intelligence come from? I have always acknowledged that it may come from your God. I don’t know. That is why I am an agnostic.

DAVID: You are understating the complexity of the organization of the brain. The individual neurons might have specific duties, but they also have plasticity to adapt to new tasks in an multitude of new ways.
dhw: Of course they do. One of their functions is to adapt to new tasks!
DAVID: Given by consciousness/soul. They do not initiate.

Adapting to new tasks does not mean initiating. The soul as initiator = dualism, as opposed to materialism, but that is not the point here, since we are debating whether your God preprogrammed or dabbled every evolutionary change, or (theistic version) gave organisms the intelligence to do it themselves.

DAVID: Your house was built by a plan, not thrown together. The same with new organisms, planning and design required either by your cell committees or by God.
dhw: We are not talking about a house. We are talking about responses to a changing environment. See above. But always with the proviso that major innovations are a mystery, and my hypothesis is an unproven extension of an existing mechanism.
DAVID: Your answer again ignores the concept of foresight and planning to arrange for new advances or adaptations.

I am not ignoring it. I am disputing it. My whole hypothesis is based on intelligent organisms RESPONDING to new challenges and/or opportunities, instead of your God preprogramming them in advance or dabbling with them. The response comes AFTER the challenge/new opportunity.

DAVID: Yes, they just do it. That is your answer. Unbelievable. Planning and foresight are never needed prior to arranging for complex changes. Totally illogical.

No, not prior to. There is nothing illogical in the argument that organisms ADAPT to changing conditions. It is a proven fact. The open question is how far they can take that process. I like your example of the whale, because I see each stage as a logical progression in the whale’s adaptation to life in the water. Not your God preprogramming or dabbling eight different changes (and it’s not clear anyway when he would actually have pushed the pre-whales into the water). What is unbelievable to you is that cell communities should be able to make major changes to themselves, although you accept minor changes. But nobody knows how the major changes took place. We only have different hypotheses: 1) random mutations; 2) a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme plus divine dabbling; 3) cellular intelligence (origin unknown but possibly your God). And it takes faith to turn a hypothesis into a belief. I sometimes wonder if your hostility to (3) might be connected to your unwillingness to question your fixed belief in (2).

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 15:11 (318 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I have said nothing illogical. God does what He wants.


So your always-in-control God’s method of fulfilling his primary purpose (the human brain) was to produce a bush. My human logic suggests that a primary purpose would normally be fulfilled as directly as possible, but although you can’t explain why he created all these different hominins, not to mention the whales and the rest of the bush, you happen to know that God’s logic is different from human logic, and so you are not prepared to consider the possibility that the bush itself might have been his primary purpose.

The amazing human brain is His obvious purpose. Bushiness is the unavoidable history.

xxxx

DAVID: Your answer again ignores the concept of foresight and planning to arrange for new advances or adaptations.

dhw: I am not ignoring it. I am disputing it. My whole hypothesis is based on intelligent organisms RESPONDING to new challenges and/or opportunities, instead of your God preprogramming them in advance or dabbling with them. The response comes AFTER the challenge/new opportunity.

You have again ignored the need for foresight and planning. How do intelligent organisms accomplish major adaptive changes without those mental processes? I'm not discussing the adaptive level of finch beaks. Of course the required change might be a challenge or opportunity. The impetus is not the point!


DAVID: Yes, they just do it. That is your answer. Unbelievable. Planning and foresight are never needed prior to arranging for complex changes. Totally illogical.

dhw: No, not prior to. There is nothing illogical in the argument that organisms ADAPT to changing conditions. It is a proven fact. The open question is how far they can take that process. I like your example of the whale, because I see each stage as a logical progression in the whale’s adaptation to life in the water. Not your God preprogramming or dabbling eight different changes (and it’s not clear anyway when he would actually have pushed the pre-whales into the water). What is unbelievable to you is that cell communities should be able to make major changes to themselves, although you accept minor changes. But nobody knows how the major changes took place. We only have different hypotheses: 1) random mutations; 2) a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme plus divine dabbling; 3) cellular intelligence (origin unknown but possibly your God). And it takes faith to turn a hypothesis into a belief. I sometimes wonder if your hostility to (3) might be connected to your unwillingness to question your fixed belief in (2).

Cellular intelligence is the result of intelligent instructions in the DNA. 3) is a pipedream.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, September 07, 2017, 10:52 (317 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I have said nothing illogical. God does what He wants.
dhw: So your always-in-control God’s method of fulfilling his primary purpose (the human brain) was to produce a bush. My human logic suggests that a primary purpose would normally be fulfilled as directly as possible, but although you can’t explain why he created all these different hominins, not to mention the whales and the rest of the bush, you happen to know that God’s logic is different from human logic, and so you are not prepared to consider the possibility that the bush itself might have been his primary purpose.
DAVID: The amazing human brain is His obvious purpose. Bushiness is the unavoidable history.

God wanted to produce the human brain, and so he could not avoid producing dinosaurs, whales, monarch butterflies and the weaverbird’s nest. I understand why you think God’s logic is different from ours.
xxxx
DAVID: Your answer again ignores the concept of foresight and planning to arrange for new advances or adaptations.
dhw: I am not ignoring it. I am disputing it. My whole hypothesis is based on intelligent organisms RESPONDING to new challenges and/or opportunities, instead of your God preprogramming them in advance or dabbling with them. The response comes AFTER the challenge/new opportunity.
DAVID: You have again ignored the need for foresight and planning. How do intelligent organisms accomplish major adaptive changes without those mental processes? I'm not discussing the adaptive level of finch beaks. Of course the required change might be a challenge or opportunity. The impetus is not the point!

Taking your favourite example of the whale, here’s how:

PRE-WHALE: Dammit, there ain’t no food around here. Wonder what’s in the water. (Wades out to sea.) Wowee, look at all them thar fishes. (Gobbles his fill and returns to land.) I reckon we’d be a darn sight better off livin’ in the water than starvin’ out here. I’m goin’ back in again.

PRE-WHALE CELL COMMUNITIES (exchanging messages): Looks like we’m in for a big change here. It ain’t workin’ too good for you leggy folk. We need ter get you more like what them fishy folk have – y’know, them finny, flippy things. Means makin’ quite a few adjustments, but hey, we c’n do it. Dammit, if them thar finches c’n change the shape o’ their beaks, we c’n change the shape of our legs. So let’s do it…

(They do it. Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes, and all the other changes.)

Contrast this with the Turell scenario:

PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 07, 2017, 14:36 (317 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I am not ignoring it. I am disputing it. My whole hypothesis is based on intelligent organisms RESPONDING to new challenges and/or opportunities, instead of your God preprogramming them in advance or dabbling with them. The response comes AFTER the challenge/new opportunity.
DAVID: You have again ignored the need for foresight and planning. How do intelligent organisms accomplish major adaptive changes without those mental processes? I'm not discussing the adaptive level of finch beaks. Of course the required change might be a challenge or opportunity. The impetus is not the point!

dhw: Taking your favourite example of the whale, here’s how:

PRE-WHALE: Dammit, there ain’t no food around here. Wonder what’s in the water. (Wades out to sea.) Wowee, look at all them thar fishes. (Gobbles his fill and returns to land.) I reckon we’d be a darn sight better off livin’ in the water than starvin’ out here. I’m goin’ back in again.

PRE-WHALE CELL COMMUNITIES (exchanging messages): Looks like we’m in for a big change here. It ain’t workin’ too good for you leggy folk. We need ter get you more like what them fishy folk have – y’know, them finny, flippy things. Means makin’ quite a few adjustments, but hey, we c’n do it. Dammit, if them thar finches c’n change the shape o’ their beaks, we c’n change the shape of our legs. So let’s do it…

(They do it. Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes, and all the other changes.)

Contrast this with the Turell scenario:

PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

Very cute but shoves all the complexity of change under the rug.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 08, 2017, 14:21 (316 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: [….]
PRE-WHALE CELL COMMUNITIES (exchanging messages): Looks like we’m in for a big change here. It ain’t workin’ too good for you leggy folk. We need ter get you more like what them fishy folk have – y’know, them finny, flippy things. Means makin’ quite a few adjustments, but hey, we c’n do it. Dammit, if them thar finches c’n change the shape o’ their beaks, we c’n change the shape of our legs. So let’s do it…

(They do it. Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes, and all the other changes.)

Contrast this with the Turell scenario:

PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

DAVID: Very cute but shoves all the complexity of change under the rug.

The need for clarification of the Turell scenario has been shoved under the rug.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 08, 2017, 21:00 (316 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: [….]
PRE-WHALE CELL COMMUNITIES (exchanging messages): Looks like we’m in for a big change here. It ain’t workin’ too good for you leggy folk. We need ter get you more like what them fishy folk have – y’know, them finny, flippy things. Means makin’ quite a few adjustments, but hey, we c’n do it. Dammit, if them thar finches c’n change the shape o’ their beaks, we c’n change the shape of our legs. So let’s do it…

(They do it. Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes, and all the other changes.)

Contrast this with the Turell scenario:

PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

DAVID: Very cute but shoves all the complexity of change under the rug.

dhw: The need for clarification of the Turell scenario has been shoved under the rug.

Behind the curtain of your play, God is whispering to the whales-to-be, " I'd like you to live in water and I'll supply the changes. Want to try?"

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 09, 2017, 10:42 (315 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

DAVID: Very cute but shoves all the complexity of change under the rug.

dhw: The need for clarification of the Turell scenario has been shoved under the rug.

DAVID: Behind the curtain of your play, God is whispering to the whales-to-be, "I'd like you to live in water and I'll supply the changes. Want to try?"

Nice of him to give them the choice. However, we still don’t know why he wanted pre-whales to live in water when his primary purpose was to produce the human brain. And we still don’t know why he made the changes in so many different stages. And since you have him planning everything in advance, and not making the changes as a RESULT of their entering the water, we still don’t at which stage they actually did start living in water. Do you think at Stage 1 he said: “You got your fins. Go live in the water.” Then at Stage 2: “Come on out o’ there now, cos it’s time for me to give you a blowhole.” Or: “Dammit, I make the darnedest mistakes. I’m comin’ in to give you guys a blowhole.”

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 09, 2017, 14:45 (315 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

DAVID: Very cute but shoves all the complexity of change under the rug.

dhw: The need for clarification of the Turell scenario has been shoved under the rug.

DAVID: Behind the curtain of your play, God is whispering to the whales-to-be, "I'd like you to live in water and I'll supply the changes. Want to try?"

dhw: Nice of him to give them the choice. However, we still don’t know why he wanted pre-whales to live in water when his primary purpose was to produce the human brain. And we still don’t know why he made the changes in so many different stages. And since you have him planning everything in advance, and not making the changes as a RESULT of their entering the water, we still don’t at which stage they actually did start living in water. Do you think at Stage 1 he said: “You got your fins. Go live in the water.” Then at Stage 2: “Come on out o’ there now, cos it’s time for me to give you a blowhole.” Or: “Dammit, I make the darnedest mistakes. I’m comin’ in to give you guys a blowhole.”

This whole whale play doesn't get to the point of why bother to create such a major physiologic mess that required so many major bodily changes and physiological alterations. It happened and is miraculous.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 10, 2017, 13:55 (314 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Behind the curtain of your play, God is whispering to the whales-to-be, "I'd like you to live in water and I'll supply the changes. Want to try?"

dhw: Nice of him to give them the choice. However, we still don’t know why he wanted pre-whales to live in water when his primary purpose was to produce the human brain. And we still don’t know why he made the changes in so many different stages. And since you have him planning everything in advance, and not making the changes as a RESULT of their entering the water, we still don’t at which stage they actually did start living in water. Do you think at Stage 1 he said: “You got your fins. Go live in the water.” Then at Stage 2: “Come on out o’ there now, cos it’s time for me to give you a blowhole.” Or: “Dammit, I make the darnedest mistakes. I’m comin’ in to give you guys a blowhole.”

DAVID: This whole whale play doesn't get to the point of why bother to create such a major physiologic mess that required so many major bodily changes and physiological alterations. It happened and is miraculous.

The point of the whale play is to emphasize what a major physiologic and theological mess your theory creates. It’s a mess because you have no idea why your God should have done it that way, or what it has to do with his prime purpose of creating the human brain. The mess disappears if you accept the possibility that pre-whales may have had good reason to enter the water (e.g. more food), and adapted to life in the water in different stages, thanks to their cell communities using their (possibly God-given) intelligence, as you agree they do when changes are minor (e.g. finches’ beaks).

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 10, 2017, 15:30 (314 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: This whole whale play doesn't get to the point of why bother to create such a major physiologic mess that required so many major bodily changes and physiological alterations. It happened and is miraculous.

dhw: The point of the whale play is to emphasize what a major physiologic and theological mess your theory creates. It’s a mess because you have no idea why your God should have done it that way, or what it has to do with his prime purpose of creating the human brain. The mess disappears if you accept the possibility that pre-whales may have had good reason to enter the water (e.g. more food), and adapted to life in the water in different stages, thanks to their cell communities using their (possibly God-given) intelligence, as you agree they do when changes are minor (e.g. finches’ beaks).

Finch beaks are epigenetic. Whales are speciation. The two are not equivalent. You can't use beaks to explain whales. You have stretched cell intelligent responses beyond all recognition.

Evolution, strange prehistoric ants

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 10, 2017, 23:38 (314 days ago) @ David Turell

Powerful jaws and a metallic unicorn horn:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2146821-meet-the-vampire-ant-from-hell-with-huge-j...

"A newly discovered species of prehistoric “hell ant” had anatomy that lived up to its demonic name, including a lethal feeding apparatus reinforced with metal.

"Hell ants are an extinct lineage from the Cretaceous Period. Instead of regular mouthparts, they had upward-facing blades.

No living species have such facial anatomy. However, the hairs around hell ants’ mouths are reminiscent of hairs on modern trap-jaw ants that cause their mouths to snap shut when triggered. This has led to speculation that the hell ants’ mouthparts worked in a similar way.

"Some also had a horn-like appendage that jutted out over their tusk-like mandibles. This includes the new species, Linguamyrmex vladi, which Phillip Barden at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark and his colleagues found preserved in 98-million-year-old amber.

"It may be that when another insect brushed the trigger hairs, the blade-like mandibles flipped up and impaled the prey against the horn, punching through its outer layer. “You have this sort of stopping plate, made to accommodate the mandibles closing and capturing prey,” says Barden.


"That’s not all. CT scans revealed that L. vladi’s horn was reinforced with metal.

“'Probably the metal helps to keep the horn undamaged,” says Vincent Perrichot at the University of Rennes 1 in France. In 2016, he published a description of another horned hell ant, which he called a “unicorn ant”.

“'It makes sense to reinforce that [appendage],” agrees Barden, since the horn must have had to withstand repeated impacts from the mandibles. Some modern insects reduce wear and tear in a similar way, by reinforcing their mandibles with metals like zinc and iron.

"As well as being a metal-reinforced unicorn, L. vladi may have been a vampire. When their mandibles moved upwards, they formed a “gutter”. “That might be something that developed to funnel haemolymph – insect blood – down through the mouthparts,” says Barden.

"Next to the ant, Barden’s team found a preserved beetle grub – exactly the kind of “squishy, haemolymph-laden insect” that could support a vampiric lifestyle. Perhaps it was next on the menu.

"But the metal-reinforced horn suggests that the ants’ jaws moved with enough power to penetrate the tougher cuticles of adult insects as well.

“'Until we find a specimen with the prey item trapped, which is probably a matter of time, we’re left to speculate,” says Barden. However, the Myanmar amber deposits where he found his specimen are so rich that more detailed observations are likely to emerge."

Comment: Wow! I wouldn't want this ant at my picnic.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 11, 2017, 13:16 (313 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This whole whale play doesn't get to the point of why bother to create such a major physiologic mess that required so many major bodily changes and physiological alterations. It happened and is miraculous.

dhw: The point of the whale play is to emphasize what a major physiologic and theological mess your theory creates. It’s a mess because you have no idea why your God should have done it that way, or what it has to do with his prime purpose of creating the human brain. The mess disappears if you accept the possibility that pre-whales may have had good reason to enter the water (e.g. more food), and adapted to life in the water in different stages, thanks to their cell communities using their (possibly God-given) intelligence, as you agree they do when changes are minor (e.g. finches’ beaks).

DAVID: Finch beaks are epigenetic. Whales are speciation. The two are not equivalent. You can't use beaks to explain whales. You have stretched cell intelligent responses beyond all recognition.

Epigenetic changes are heritable changes most likely caused by environmental factors. Nobody knows how speciation takes place. It is possible that the same mechanism which causes small changes also caused the unexplained large changes. Finches needed different beaks to cope with different environments. Whale legs were modified into fins for the same reason. The difference between the two is one of scale, not of basic principle. But it remains a hypothesis, as does your divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme and/or divine dabbling, all somehow geared to the production of the human brain. The advantage of my hypothesis is that it removes the physiological, philosophical and theological mess engendered by yours.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 11, 2017, 17:59 (313 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Finch beaks are epigenetic. Whales are speciation. The two are not equivalent. You can't use beaks to explain whales. You have stretched cell intelligent responses beyond all recognition.

dhw: Epigenetic changes are heritable changes most likely caused by environmental factors. Nobody knows how speciation takes place. It is possible that the same mechanism which causes small changes also caused the unexplained large changes. Finches needed different beaks to cope with different environments. Whale legs were modified into fins for the same reason. The difference between the two is one of scale, not of basic principle. But it remains a hypothesis, as does your divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme and/or divine dabbling, all somehow geared to the production of the human brain. The advantage of my hypothesis is that it removes the physiological, philosophical and theological mess engendered by yours.

Agree it is a matter of scale. I don't view my views as illogical. My theology is God is in charge.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 12:07 (312 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Finch beaks are epigenetic. Whales are speciation. The two are not equivalent. You can't use beaks to explain whales. You have stretched cell intelligent responses beyond all recognition.

dhw: Epigenetic changes are heritable changes most likely caused by environmental factors. Nobody knows how speciation takes place. It is possible that the same mechanism which causes small changes also caused the unexplained large changes. Finches needed different beaks to cope with different environments. Whale legs were modified into fins for the same reason. The difference between the two is one of scale, not of basic principle. But it remains a hypothesis, as does your divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme and/or divine dabbling, all somehow geared to the production of the human brain. The advantage of my hypothesis is that it removes the physiological, philosophical and theological mess engendered by yours.

DAVID: Agree it is a matter of scale. I don't view my views as illogical. My theology is God is in charge.

Thank you for your agreement. As you have admitted you don’t understand why your God kept messing around with pre-whales, I presume your logic is that God is in charge, and therefore it’s logical that God messed around with pre-whales though you don’t know why. My sense of logic requires coherent reasoning, e.g. that whales wanted more food, entered the water to get it, and their bodies adapted stage by stage to life in the water. And your God may have given their cell communities the ability to make the necessary adjustments, as with finches and their beaks, but on a much larger scale.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 15:32 (312 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Agree it is a matter of scale. I don't view my views as illogical. My theology is God is in charge.

dhw: Thank you for your agreement. As you have admitted you don’t understand why your God kept messing around with pre-whales, I presume your logic is that God is in charge, and therefore it’s logical that God messed around with pre-whales though you don’t know why. My sense of logic requires coherent reasoning, e.g. that whales wanted more food, entered the water to get it, and their bodies adapted stage by stage to life in the water. And your God may have given their cell communities the ability to make the necessary adjustments, as with finches and their beaks, but on a much larger scale.

You sense of logic doesn't explain polar bears who swim about eating seafood and never change. And if God can offer cell communities the biochemical knowledge to make major phenotypic and physiologic changes, why does your logic require a two step mechanism? He can do it directly Himself, can't He?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 13:30 (311 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Agree it is a matter of scale. I don't view my views as illogical. My theology is God is in charge.

dhw: Thank you for your agreement. As you have admitted you don’t understand why your God kept messing around with pre-whales, I presume your logic is that God is in charge, and therefore it’s logical that God messed around with pre-whales though you don’t know why. My sense of logic requires coherent reasoning, e.g. that whales wanted more food, entered the water to get it, and their bodies adapted stage by stage to life in the water. And your God may have given their cell communities the ability to make the necessary adjustments, as with finches and their beaks, but on a much larger scale.

DAVID: You sense of logic doesn't explain polar bears who swim about eating seafood and never change. And if God can offer cell communities the biochemical knowledge to make major phenotypic and physiologic changes, why does your logic require a two step mechanism? He can do it directly Himself, can't He?

Polar bears don’t live in the water. They can get ample food without changing. Pre-whales presumably couldn’t. I don’t know what you’re referring to with your ‘two-step mechanism’. Cell communities would take as many steps as are needed to reach optimum efficiency. Hence all the different finch beaks and all the different stages of whale. But your God could have created the final whale directly, without any steps, so why didn’t he?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 14, 2017, 01:34 (311 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You sense of logic doesn't explain polar bears who swim about eating seafood and never change. And if God can offer cell communities the biochemical knowledge to make major phenotypic and physiologic changes, why does your logic require a two step mechanism? He can do it directly Himself, can't He?

dhw: Polar bears don’t live in the water. They can get ample food without changing. Pre-whales presumably couldn’t. I don’t know what you’re referring to with your ‘two-step mechanism’.

Two steps are: step one, God gives the organisms the info to make their own changes, and step two, the organisms make the changes.

dhw: Cell communities would take as many steps as are needed to reach optimum efficiency. Hence all the different finch beaks and all the different stages of whale. But your God could have created the final whale directly, without any steps, so why didn’t he?

God obviously prefers to evolve organisms. Why all the steps to H. sapiens I might point out to you. It is his pattern of action.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, September 14, 2017, 13:19 (310 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You sense of logic doesn't explain polar bears who swim about eating seafood and never change. And if God can offer cell communities the biochemical knowledge to make major phenotypic and physiologic changes, why does your logic require a two step mechanism? He can do it directly Himself, can't He?

dhw: Polar bears don’t live in the water. They can get ample food without changing. Pre-whales presumably couldn’t. I don’t know what you’re referring to with your ‘two-step mechanism’.

DAVID: Two steps are: step one, God gives the organisms the info to make their own changes, and step two, the organisms make the changes.

Thank you. I am never happy with your use of “info” as you sometimes turn it into instructions. My hypothesis is that he has given them the autonomous means (subsumed under “intelligence”) of gathering their own info, of processing it, and of then making the changes.

dhw: Cell communities would take as many steps as are needed to reach optimum efficiency. Hence all the different finch beaks and all the different stages of whale. But your God could have created the final whale directly, without any steps, so why didn’t he?

DAVID: God obviously prefers to evolve organisms. Why all the steps to H. sapiens I might point out to you. It is his pattern of action.

What I keep pointing out to you is the illogicality of your know-it-all God having the prime purpose of producing Homo sapiens and his brain, and yet going all round the mulberry bush to do it – not just with all the other hominins and homos but also with all the lifestyles and natural wonders you insist can only be produced by him. Why could his pattern of action not be to set the wheels of evolution in motion and see where they lead (though granting himself the odd dabble when he feels like it)? THAT hypothesis fits the history of life and accounts for every twig extant and extinct of life’s great bush.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 14, 2017, 16:08 (310 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Cell communities would take as many steps as are needed to reach optimum efficiency. Hence all the different finch beaks and all the different stages of whale. But your God could have created the final whale directly, without any steps, so why didn’t he?

DAVID: God obviously prefers to evolve organisms. Why all the steps to H. sapiens I might point out to you. It is his pattern of action.

dhw: What I keep pointing out to you is the illogicality of your know-it-all God having the prime purpose of producing Homo sapiens and his brain, and yet going all round the mulberry bush to do it – not just with all the other hominins and homos but also with all the lifestyles and natural wonders you insist can only be produced by him. Why could his pattern of action not be to set the wheels of evolution in motion and see where they lead (though granting himself the odd dabble when he feels like it)? THAT hypothesis fits the history of life and accounts for every twig extant and extinct of life’s great bush.

What doesn't fit your theory is the obvious driven portion of evolution. The bush of hominins leading to sapiens has no underlying apparent causative drive, but in the DNA of these folks are found hot spots of mutations, noted in a previous entry. Why not a God who drives evolution? After all He created a life-giving universe. If He has that power why stop and watch as you imply?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 15, 2017, 13:29 (309 days ago) @ David Turell

Once again I am telescoping threads.

Dhw (under “misfolded protein problems”): It is because we don’t know about lots of things that we formulate hypotheses. Yours seem to change from day to day. You now seem to be taking it for granted that God has limits. Not so long ago, he was all-powerful and always in control. Why not acknowledge the possibility (which is all it can be) that what we have IS God’s goal – namely, a massive free-for-all, full of nice and nasty, good and evil, joy and sadness, birth and death, extinction and survival?

DAVID: Obviously I don't see that your conclusion fits the arrival of H. sapiens, but yours does include free will and the chaos it creates. Birth and death, extinctions are requirements of evolution. Your view of God's limits may be requirements of evolving life as a method of creation. As for my apparent changeability, it is the result of your probing questions, requiring me to explore my own theories and consolidate ideas.

Not a conclusion but a hypothesis, and these are not my views of your God’s limits. They are yours, as you constantly shift your ground. My proposal is that your God is NOT limited, and that he deliberately created a free-for-all, i.e. did not WANT to control every twist and turn of evolution. This removes all the convolutions that arise from your anthropocentrism, which is the theory you want to consolidate but can’t. So I am simply asking you to consider an alternative.

DAVID: What doesn't fit your theory is the obvious driven portion of evolution. The bush of hominins leading to sapiens has no underlying apparent causative drive, but in the DNA of these folks are found hot spots of mutations, noted in a previous entry. Why not a God who drives evolution? After all He created a life-giving universe. If He has that power why stop and watch as you imply?

My theory is that evolution is driven by the twin fuels of survival and improvement. There is a perfectly natural progression from use of tools to use of more sophisticated tools to ways of making life more comfortable to ways of making life even more comfortable. This doesn’t solve the great mystery of consciousness, which I accept might stem from a God. As for stopping and watching, it is you who tell us that your God is hidden. Of course he has the power to do what he likes, so ask yourself why there is a higgledy-piggledy bush instead of a straight line to Homo sapiens, and why your God hides, and maybe the answer is that he wanted a higgledy-piggledy bush and once he had set the wheels in motion, he wanted to stop and watch. If he exists, he’s created a great show.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 15, 2017, 15:29 (309 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Not a conclusion but a hypothesis, and these are not my views of your God’s limits. They are yours, as you constantly shift your ground. My proposal is that your God is NOT limited, and that he deliberately created a free-for-all, i.e. did not WANT to control every twist and turn of evolution. This removes all the convolutions that arise from your anthropocentrism, which is the theory you want to consolidate but can’t. So I am simply asking you to consider an alternative.

I don't view myself as shifting at all in my basic premise that God is in charge. And we agree He uses an evolutionary mechanism that creates a marvelously inventive bush of life.


DAVID: What doesn't fit your theory is the obvious driven portion of evolution. The bush of hominins leading to sapiens has no underlying apparent causative drive, but in the DNA of these folks are found hot spots of mutations, noted in a previous entry. Why not a God who drives evolution? After all He created a life-giving universe. If He has that power why stop and watch as you imply?

dhw: My theory is that evolution is driven by the twin fuels of survival and improvement. There is a perfectly natural progression from use of tools to use of more sophisticated tools to ways of making life more comfortable to ways of making life even more comfortable. This doesn’t solve the great mystery of consciousness, which I accept might stem from a God. As for stopping and watching, it is you who tell us that your God is hidden. Of course he has the power to do what he likes, so ask yourself why there is a higgledy-piggledy bush instead of a straight line to Homo sapiens, and why your God hides, and maybe the answer is that he wanted a higgledy-piggledy bush and once he had set the wheels in motion, he wanted to stop and watch. If he exists, he’s created a great show.

We both know God is hidden. You can't find Him at all. As for the bush I've accepted God's approach of evolving complex organisms rather than the six day Genesis story. Note He had first to evolve a universe with exploding stars to spread around the necessary life-creating element molecules from their fiery fusion furnaces. God evolves what He wants to create. That conclusion cannot be avoided. As for your theory, what fuels evolution of life is a mechanism that knows how to change for the better, not nebulous concepts of survival and improvement. You are touting purpose, which is fine sounding, but it is obvious that speciation requires foresight and planning by a mental process, in God's brain.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 16, 2017, 13:03 (308 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Not a conclusion but a hypothesis, and these are not my views of your God’s limits. They are yours, as you constantly shift your ground. My proposal is that your God is NOT limited, and that he deliberately created a free-for-all, i.e. did not WANT to control every twist and turn of evolution. This removes all the convolutions that arise from your anthropocentrism, which is the theory you want to consolidate but can’t. So I am simply asking you to consider an alternative.

DAVID: I don't view myself as shifting at all in my basic premise that God is in charge. And we agree He uses an evolutionary mechanism that creates a marvelously inventive bush of life.

If God exists, then of course he is in charge, and of course we agree that he used evolution, and of course we agree that evolution has resulted in a great big bush. Where we don’t agree is that God personally designed every twig of the bush although his prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain. THAT is the theory you keep trying to consolidate, and in doing so find yourself shifting ground with every anomaly it throws up.

DAVID: What doesn't fit your theory is the obvious driven portion of evolution. […] Why not a God who drives evolution? After all He created a life-giving universe. If He has that power why stop and watch as you imply?

dhw: My theory is that evolution is driven by the twin fuels of survival and improvement. […] Of course he has the power to do what he likes, so ask yourself why there is a higgledy-piggledy bush instead of a straight line to Homo sapiens, and why your God hides, and maybe the answer is that he wanted a higgledy-piggledy bush and once he had set the wheels in motion, he wanted to stop and watch. If he exists, he’s created a great show.

DAVID: We both know God is hidden. You can't find Him at all. As for the bush I've accepted God's approach of evolving complex organisms rather than the six day Genesis story. Note He had first to evolve a universe with exploding stars to spread around the necessary life-creating element molecules from their fiery fusion furnaces. God evolves what He wants to create. That conclusion cannot be avoided.

As above, the question concerns what he wanted to create. With my theist hat on, I suggest he wanted to create an ever changing show which perhaps he continues to watch. You suggest he wanted to create Homo sapiens, you don’t know why he had to create a higgledy-piggledy bush of whales and monarchs and weaverbirds’ nests and hominins in order to get there, and he’s hidden himself because…well, why has he hidden himself, and is he watching or not?

DAVID: As for your theory, what fuels evolution of life is a mechanism that knows how to change for the better, not nebulous concepts of survival and improvement.

Changing for the better IS improvement! And I don’t see anything nebulous in the concept of survival.

DAVID: You are touting purpose, which is fine sounding, but it is obvious that speciation requires foresight and planning by a mental process, in God's brain.

God’s brain (does he have one?) could have provided the mental process by which organisms work out their own path to speciation. And that process can be one of response and not crystal-ball gazing.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 16, 2017, 15:17 (308 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I don't view myself as shifting at all in my basic premise that God is in charge. And we agree He uses an evolutionary mechanism that creates a marvelously inventive bush of life.

dhw: If God exists, then of course he is in charge, and of course we agree that he used evolution, and of course we agree that evolution has resulted in a great big bush. Where we don’t agree is that God personally designed every twig of the bush although his prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain. THAT is the theory you keep trying to consolidate, and in doing so find yourself shifting ground with every anomaly it throws up.

You cannot get around the evidence that the pinnacle of evolution is the human brain, making it an obvious goal. That is all the evidence I need. Look at your own words. If He used evolution and it created a great bush, it was His work. all perfectly logical.

DAVID: We both know God is hidden. You can't find Him at all. As for the bush I've accepted God's approach of evolving complex organisms rather than the six day Genesis story. Note He had first to evolve a universe with exploding stars to spread around the necessary life-creating element molecules from their fiery fusion furnaces. God evolves what He wants to create. That conclusion cannot be avoided.

dhw: As above, the question concerns what he wanted to create. With my theist hat on, I suggest he wanted to create an ever changing show which perhaps he continues to watch. You suggest he wanted to create Homo sapiens, you don’t know why he had to create a higgledy-piggledy bush of whales and monarchs and weaverbirds’ nests and hominins in order to get there, and he’s hidden himself because…well, why has he hidden himself, and is he watching or not?

I recognize those are your questions which keep you agnostic. Accepting God's existence does away with your issues. How logical is God in human terms? Perhaps not at all.


DAVID: You are touting purpose, which is fine sounding, but it is obvious that speciation requires foresight and planning by a mental process, in God's brain.

dhw: God’s brain (does he have one?) could have provided the mental process by which organisms work out their own path to speciation. And that process can be one of response and not crystal-ball gazing.

You can't build a house without a plan. Crystal-ball gazing is required. "Their own path to speciation" response must be a step by step attempt, which cannot produce highly complex physiology or phenotypic change all at once, as the fossil gaps show. You cannot avoid the need for design.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 17, 2017, 10:40 (307 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You cannot get around the evidence that the pinnacle of evolution is the human brain, making it an obvious goal. That is all the evidence I need. Look at your own words. If He used evolution and it created a great bush, it was His work. all perfectly logical.

I have looked at my own words. If God exists, his work resulted in a great bush and in the brain of Homo sapiens. Of course it’s logical, if God exists. However, the theistic question is the nature of the work, as follows:

dhw: […] the question concerns what he wanted to create. With my theist hat on, I suggest he wanted to create an ever changing show which perhaps he continues to watch. You suggest he wanted to create Homo sapiens, you don’t know why he had to create a higgledy-piggledy bush of whales and monarchs and weaverbirds’ nests and hominins in order to get there, and he’s hidden himself because…well, why has he hidden himself, and is he watching or not?

DAVID: I recognize those are your questions which keep you agnostic. Accepting God's existence does away with your issues. How logical is God in human terms? Perhaps not at all.

They are not the questions that keep me agnostic. They are the questions I ask when I put on my theist hat, and you cannot answer them because they pinpoint the anomalies in your anthropocentric theory of evolution and your personal concept of your God.

DAVID: You are touting purpose, which is fine sounding, but it is obvious that speciation requires foresight and planning by a mental process, in God's brain.
dhw: God’s brain (does he have one?) could have provided the mental process by which organisms work out their own path to speciation. And that process can be one of response and not crystal-ball gazing.
DAVID: You can't build a house without a plan. Crystal-ball gazing is required. "Their own path to speciation" response must be a step by step attempt, which cannot produce highly complex physiology or phenotypic change all at once, as the fossil gaps show. You cannot avoid the need for design.

We are not talking about house-building but about how organisms change. Nobody understands the latter. But we actually see it happening in cases of minor adaptation, and this is in RESPONSE to environmental change. If it is not rapid, organisms will die. We have no idea how swiftly organisms can make major changes to themselves. You simply assume they can’t do it. You may be right, and you may be wrong – it is a hypothesis. I don’t know why you think I am avoiding the need for design. I am only questioning the need for your God to do all the designing. (And to please you, I can even allow for the odd dabble, which might include sapiens’ brain, though as I pointed out earlier, I can see that as a perfectly logical progression from earlier brains.) For instance, I see no reason why – in his quest to produce the human brain – he should have taken the trouble to design eight stages of whale, to guide the monarch butterfly to its distant destination (having also fiddled with its reproductive cycle), and to give the weaverbird private lessons in nest-building.

(This post also answers the points made under “revisiting convergence”.)`

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 17, 2017, 15:34 (307 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I recognize those are your questions which keep you agnostic. Accepting God's existence does away with your issues. How logical is God in human terms? Perhaps not at all.

dhw: They are not the questions that keep me agnostic. They are the questions I ask when I put on my theist hat, and you cannot answer them because they pinpoint the anomalies in your anthropocentric theory of evolution and your personal concept of your God.

Your theistic hat contains a human attempt to be logical about God, rather than accepting the evidence that God's works offer. He can only be understood from what we see He created and how it seems He did it.

DAVID: You can't build a house without a plan. Crystal-ball gazing is required. "Their own path to speciation" response must be a step by step attempt, which cannot produce highly complex physiology or phenotypic change all at once, as the fossil gaps show. You cannot avoid the need for design.

dhw: We are not talking about house-building but about how organisms change. Nobody understands the latter. But we actually see it happening in cases of minor adaptation, and this is in RESPONSE to environmental change. If it is not rapid, organisms will die. We have no idea how swiftly organisms can make major changes to themselves. You simply assume they can’t do it. You may be right, and you may be wrong – it is a hypothesis. I don’t know why you think I am avoiding the need for design. I am only questioning the need for your God to do all the designing. (And to please you, I can even allow for the odd dabble, which might include sapiens’ brain, though as I pointed out earlier, I can see that as a perfectly logical progression from earlier brains.) For instance, I see no reason why – in his quest to produce the human brain – he should have taken the trouble to design eight stages of whale, to guide the monarch butterfly to its distant destination (having also fiddled with its reproductive cycle), and to give the weaverbird private lessons in nest-building.

You are not avoiding design, but trying to find ways around the principals of how design occurs. You know how it occurs in human terms on Earth today. Since you don't like the concept of God, the hidden eternal engineer of reality, you want a mechanism to appear, by itself, which must be by chance, after life appears (somehow, but lets avoid that miracle), that speciates with huge gaps in the fossil record. The fossil record leaps and jumps. Why don't you restart your thinking from that point of view? I find the basic footprints of your theories planted firmly in mid air.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 18, 2017, 10:11 (306 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: With my theist hat on, I suggest he wanted to create an ever changing show which perhaps he continues to watch. You suggest he wanted to create Homo sapiens, you don’t know why he had to create a higgledy-piggledy bush of whales and monarchs and weaverbirds’ nests and hominins in order to get there, and he’s hidden himself because…well, why has he hidden himself, and is he watching or not?

DAVID: I recognize those are your questions which keep you agnostic. Accepting God's existence does away with your issues. How logical is God in human terms? Perhaps not at all.
dhw: They are not the questions that keep me agnostic. They are the questions I ask when I put on my theist hat, and you cannot answer them because they pinpoint the anomalies in your anthropocentric theory of evolution and your personal concept of your God.

DAVID: Your theistic hat contains a human attempt to be logical about God, rather than accepting the evidence that God's works offer. He can only be understood from what we see He created and how it seems He did it.

Of course my logic is human, but what makes you think it is not based on the evidence that your God’s works offer? Even you have agreed that my hypothesis fits in perfectly with the history of life as we know it! Yours doesn’t, which is why you don't answer the questions raised at the head of this post.

DAVID: You are not avoiding design, but trying to find ways around the principals of how design occurs. You know how it occurs in human terms on Earth today. Since you don't like the concept of God, the hidden eternal engineer of reality, you want a mechanism to appear, by itself, which must be by chance, after life appears (somehow, but lets avoid that miracle), that speciates with huge gaps in the fossil record.

Hey, hold on! Design occurs through intelligence, and I am proposing that all organisms are intelligent in their own particular way. Who says I don’t like the concept of God? I am an agnostic, not an atheist. I do not “want a mechanism that appears by itself by chance”! Its origin is a mystery, which is why I always specify that the mechanism may have been invented by your God. This is the unworthy digression you always indulge in when I challenge your version of how evolution works and of what your God’s purpose might be. That is why I put on my theist’s hat, so that we can begin with the same basic premise.

DAVID: The fossil record leaps and jumps. Why don't you restart your thinking from that point of view? I find the basic footprints of your theories planted firmly in mid air.

If your God was capable of preprogramming every leap and jump 3.8 billion years ago, I’m sure he was also capable of producing a mechanism that would do its own leaping and jumping. Once more: I am not excluding your God. I am challenging your hypothesis that your God designed every twig on the higgledy-piggledy bush, and that he did so in order to fulfil his primary purpose of producing the human brain.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 18, 2017, 17:49 (306 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: With my theist hat on, I suggest he wanted to create an ever changing show which perhaps he continues to watch. You suggest he wanted to create Homo sapiens, you don’t know why he had to create a higgledy-piggledy bush of whales and monarchs and weaverbirds’ nests and hominins in order to get there, and he’s hidden himself because…well, why has he hidden himself, and is he watching or not?

We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and n ot watch the outcomes?


DAVID: You are not avoiding design, but trying to find ways around the principals of how design occurs. You know how it occurs in human terms on Earth today. Since you don't like the concept of God, the hidden eternal engineer of reality, you want a mechanism to appear, by itself, which must be by chance, after life appears (somehow, but lets avoid that miracle), that speciates with huge gaps in the fossil record.

dhw: Hey, hold on! Design occurs through intelligence, and I am proposing that all organisms are intelligent in their own particular way. Who says I don’t like the concept of God? I am an agnostic, not an atheist. I do not “want a mechanism that appears by itself by chance”! Its origin is a mystery, which is why I always specify that the mechanism may have been invented by your God. This is the unworthy digression you always indulge in when I challenge your version of how evolution works and of what your God’s purpose might be. That is why I put on my theist’s hat, so that we can begin with the same basic premise.

We don't start with the same basic premise. Your theist hat is skewed, and you don't realize it. For example I don't know why God made the whales but I can sure He did because of the obvious design planning that must be done to span each gap between the eight stages. You want organisms to be their own architects to jump to the next species. Your theory fits only minor adaptations in existing species.


DAVID: The fossil record leaps and jumps. Why don't you restart your thinking from that point of view? I find the basic footprints of your theories planted firmly in mid air.

dhw: If your God was capable of preprogramming every leap and jump 3.8 billion years ago, I’m sure he was also capable of producing a mechanism that would do its own leaping and jumping. Once more: I am not excluding your God. I am challenging your hypothesis that your God designed every twig on the higgledy-piggledy bush, and that he did so in order to fulfil his primary purpose of producing the human brain.

Either way, under your theory, God is in charge. don't you realize that?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 11:53 (305 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?

We don’t “know” anything, but if he is there, and you believe he is watching but stays hidden, is it not possible that he started the show off because he wanted a show he could watch? What do you think would be more interesting: a lot of robots doing precisely what you have instructed them to do, or a free-for-all with unpredictable outcomes?

dhw: Design occurs through intelligence, and I am proposing that all organisms are intelligent in their own particular way. Who says I don’t like the concept of God? I am an agnostic, not an atheist. I do not “want a mechanism that appears by itself by chance”! Its origin is a mystery, which is why I always specify that the mechanism may have been invented by your God. This is the unworthy digression you always indulge in when I challenge your version of how evolution works and of what your God’s purpose might be. That is why I put on my theist’s hat, so that we can begin with the same basic premise.

DAVID: We don't start with the same basic premise. Your theist hat is skewed, and you don't realize it. For example I don't know why God made the whales but I can sure He did because of the obvious design planning that must be done to span each gap between the eight stages. You want organisms to be their own architects to jump to the next species. Your theory fits only minor adaptations in existing species.

The basic premise is that God exists and does what he wants to do. You go on to say your God designed the eight stages of whale and you don’t know why. I go on to say your God gave the whale the intelligence to adapt of its own accord to a new environment which would improve its way of life (possibly even to ensure its survival). You go on to say that your God’s prime purpose was to create Homo sapiens’ brain. I go on to say that doesn’t fit in with the higgledy-piggledy bush of evolution’s history. A free-for-all fits in perfectly (though he can still dabble if he wants to). I have agreed that we do not know if my hypothesis concerning the DEGREE of organismal intelligence is correct. Nor do we know if your hypothesis concerning a 3.8-billion-year computer programme for the whole of evolutionary history is correct. Same basic premise, different interpretation of how it applies to evolution.

DAVID: Either way, under your theory, God is in charge. don't you realize that?

Dhw: (Saturday 16 September at 13.03): If God exists, then of course he is in charge, and of course we agree that he used evolution, and of course we agree that evolution has resulted in a great big bush. Where we don’t agree is that God personally designed every twig of the bush although his prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain. THAT is the theory you keep trying to consolidate, and in doing so find yourself shifting ground with every anomaly it throws up.
I stand by every word of my earlier post.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 14:57 (305 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?

dhw: We don’t “know” anything, but if he is there, and you believe he is watching but stays hidden, is it not possible that he started the show off because he wanted a show he could watch? What do you think would be more interesting: a lot of robots doing precisely what you have instructed them to do, or a free-for-all with unpredictable outcomes?

So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.


DAVID: We don't start with the same basic premise. Your theist hat is skewed, and you don't realize it. For example I don't know why God made the whales but I can sure He did because of the obvious design planning that must be done to span each gap between the eight stages. You want organisms to be their own architects to jump to the next species. Your theory fits only minor adaptations in existing species.

The basic premise is that God exists and does what he wants to do. You go on to say your God designed the eight stages of whale and you don’t know why. I go on to say your God gave the whale the intelligence to adapt of its own accord to a new environment which would improve its way of life (possibly even to ensure its survival). You go on to say that your God’s prime purpose was to create Homo sapiens’ brain. I go on to say that doesn’t fit in with the higgledy-piggledy bush of evolution’s history. A free-for-all fits in perfectly (though he can still dabble if he wants to). I have agreed that we do not know if my hypothesis concerning the DEGREE of organismal intelligence is correct. Nor do we know if your hypothesis concerning a 3.8-billion-year computer programme for the whole of evolutionary history is correct. Same basic premise, different interpretation of how it applies to evolution.

DAVID: Either way, under your theory, God is in charge. don't you realize that?

Dhw: (Saturday 16 September at 13.03): If God exists, then of course he is in charge, and of course we agree that he used evolution, and of course we agree that evolution has resulted in a great big bush. Where we don’t agree is that God personally designed every twig of the bush although his prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain. THAT is the theory you keep trying to consolidate, and in doing so find yourself shifting ground with every anomaly it throws up.
dhw: I stand by every word of my earlier post.

And I stand by my interpretations.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 13:37 (304 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?

dhw: We don’t “know” anything, but if he is there, and you believe he is watching but stays hidden, is it not possible that he started the show off because he wanted a show he could watch? What do you think would be more interesting: a lot of robots doing precisely what you have instructed them to do, or a free-for-all with unpredictable outcomes?

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 15:01 (304 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?

dhw: We don’t “know” anything, but if he is there, and you believe he is watching but stays hidden, is it not possible that he started the show off because he wanted a show he could watch? What do you think would be more interesting: a lot of robots doing precisely what you have instructed them to do, or a free-for-all with unpredictable outcomes?

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

dhw: You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

I don't think He watches in a human way.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, September 21, 2017, 13:06 (303 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?

dhw: We don’t “know” anything, but if he is there, and you believe he is watching but stays hidden, is it not possible that he started the show off because he wanted a show he could watch? What do you think would be more interesting: a lot of robots doing precisely what you have instructed them to do, or a free-for-all with unpredictable outcomes?

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

dhw: You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 21, 2017, 15:14 (303 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

dhw: You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

dhw: So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 22, 2017, 13:19 (302 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

dhw: You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

dhw: So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

DAVID: Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized.

So he creates a show and watches it with interest. I’ll settle for that and leave you to imagine what sort of watching is different from human watching, and what sort of interest is different from human interest.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 22, 2017, 15:03 (302 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

dhw: You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

dhw: So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

DAVID: Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized.

dhw: So he creates a show and watches it with interest. I’ll settle for that and leave you to imagine what sort of watching is different from human watching, and what sort of interest is different from human interest.

It is obvious I do not know, and do not try because He is a personality like none other.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 23, 2017, 12:48 (301 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

dhw: So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

DAVID: Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized.

dhw: So he creates a show and watches it with interest. I’ll settle for that and leave you to imagine what sort of watching is different from human watching, and what sort of interest is different from human interest.

DAVID: It is obvious I do not know, and do not try because He is a personality like none other.

How do you know he is a personality like none other? How do you know that his way of watching the show and his interest in it is not precisely the same as our way of watching and being interested? If, as some folk believe, he made us in his image, then it stands to reason that we reflect his image. You have even argued that our consciousness is a piece of his consciousness, which returns to him when we die. So how do you know that a piece of his consciousness is unlike his consciousness?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 23, 2017, 14:38 (301 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

dhw: So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

DAVID: Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized.

dhw: So he creates a show and watches it with interest. I’ll settle for that and leave you to imagine what sort of watching is different from human watching, and what sort of interest is different from human interest.

DAVID: It is obvious I do not know, and do not try because He is a personality like none other.

dhw: How do you know he is a personality like none other? How do you know that his way of watching the show and his interest in it is not precisely the same as our way of watching and being interested? If, as some folk believe, he made us in his image, then it stands to reason that we reflect his image. You have even argued that our consciousness is a piece of his consciousness, which returns to him when we die. So how do you know that a piece of his consciousness is unlike his consciousness?

As to his personality I'm quoting Adler, whose teachings I follow. As for consciousness, the basic mechanism may be the same but the personal thought process different. We may well use it differently.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 24, 2017, 13:22 (300 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized.

dhw: So he creates a show and watches it with interest. I’ll settle for that and leave you to imagine what sort of watching is different from human watching, and what sort of interest is different from human interest.

DAVID: It is obvious I do not know, and do not try because He is a personality like none other.

dhw: How do you know he is a personality like none other? How do you know that his way of watching the show and his interest in it is not precisely the same as our way of watching and being interested? If, as some folk believe, he made us in his image, then it stands to reason that we reflect his image. You have even argued that our consciousness is a piece of his consciousness, which returns to him when we die. So how do you know that a piece of his consciousness is unlike his consciousness?

DAVID: As to his personality I'm quoting Adler, whose teachings I follow. As for consciousness, the basic mechanism may be the same but the personal thought process different. We may well use it differently.

So how do you and your teacher Adler know your God is a personality like none other and indulges in a kind of watching and interest that is different from ours?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 24, 2017, 14:43 (300 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: As to his personality I'm quoting Adler, whose teachings I follow. As for consciousness, the basic mechanism may be the same but the personal thought process different. We may well use it differently.

dhw: So how do you and your teacher Adler know your God is a personality like none other and indulges in a kind of watching and interest that is different from ours?

It is an assumption based on the seeming powers, yet remoteness, of God

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 25, 2017, 13:21 (299 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: As to his personality I'm quoting Adler, whose teachings I follow. As for consciousness, the basic mechanism may be the same but the personal thought process different. We may well use it differently.

dhw: So how do you and your teacher Adler know your God is a personality like none other and indulges in a kind of watching and interest that is different from ours?

DAVID: It is an assumption based on the seeming powers, yet remoteness, of God.

Why do you assume that watching and being interested in his own creation has a different meaning for your God just because he is all-powerful and remote? I do wish you and Adler would explain what you think the words might mean to him. If you can’t, then why not assume that when you say your God is watching and is interested, he is "watching" and is "interested"?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 25, 2017, 14:31 (299 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: As to his personality I'm quoting Adler, whose teachings I follow. As for consciousness, the basic mechanism may be the same but the personal thought process different. We may well use it differently.

dhw: So how do you and your teacher Adler know your God is a personality like none other and indulges in a kind of watching and interest that is different from ours?

DAVID: It is an assumption based on the seeming powers, yet remoteness, of God.

dhw: Why do you assume that watching and being interested in his own creation has a different meaning for your God just because he is all-powerful and remote? I do wish you and Adler would explain what you think the words might mean to him. If you can’t, then why not assume that when you say your God is watching and is interested, he is "watching" and is "interested"?

Because we think He does it in His own particular way.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 12:10 (298 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: So how do you and your teacher Adler know your God is a personality like none other and indulges in a kind of watching and interest that is different from ours?

DAVID: It is an assumption based on the seeming powers, yet remoteness, of God.

dhw: Why do you assume that watching and being interested in his own creation has a different meaning for your God just because he is all-powerful and remote? I do wish you and Adler would explain what you think the words might mean to him. If you can’t, then why not assume that when you say your God is watching and is interested, he is "watching" and is "interested"?

DAVID: Because we think He does it in His own particular way.

I’ll settle for that. Your God created life and evolution to provide himself with a show which, like all of us, he could watch with interest in his own particular way.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 29, 2017, 13:29 (295 days ago) @ dhw

Once more I am bringing different threads together, as the arguments interlink.

DAVID’s comment (under "frog self-protection"): Unless these moths had these chemicals from the beginning of their species, they would not be here now. I think they were designed to be protected this way.
dhw: […] is it just possible that the now acknowledged capability for autonomous design was in operation for both the frog and the moth?
DAVID: You keep pushing your idea that God gave organisms the ability to speciate or to create irreducibly complex mechanisms. I have specifically, in both comments above, specified the need for design. And as always it is programmed from the beginning or it is a dabble. The 'capability for autonomous design' is epigenetic adaptation at the level we have discovered.

Thank you for answering my question: you believe that 3.8 billion years ago your God either provided the first living cells with a programme for the poisonous frogs and moths, or he specially created these variations in existing frogs and moths (assuming you still believe in common descent). This leads to the following point:

dhw (under “frog adaptation”):Clearly they have nothing to do with producing the brain of Homo sapiens, and you have agreed that “balance of nature” means nothing more than that life goes on, regardless of whether humans are there or not. So could it be that you are now saying your God specially designs all these things for the sake of the show (of which humans are simply one part), which he watches with interest in his own special way?
DAVID: I've not changed and neither have you. Balance of nature is absolutely necessary to produce the human brain, exactly to keep solve the issue of 'life goes on' by providing the necessary energy supply.

And so your all-powerful God could not have provided the necessary energy supply to produce the human brain without preprogramming/dabbling the poisonous moths and frogs, the weaverbird’s nest, the eight stages of whale, the monarch butterfly’s life cycle, plus all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders that no longer exist. And this makes sense to you?

DAVID: The brain is the current endpoint of evolution. The possibility of a 'show' is your side issue. I see God full of purpose, not theatrics, which might be a favorite subject of yours as a playwright.

What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 29, 2017, 15:05 (295 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I've not changed and neither have you. Balance of nature is absolutely necessary to produce the human brain, exactly to keep solve the issue of 'life goes on' by providing the necessary energy supply.

dhw: And so your all-powerful God could not have provided the necessary energy supply to produce the human brain without preprogramming/dabbling the poisonous moths and frogs, the weaverbird’s nest, the eight stages of whale, the monarch butterfly’s life cycle, plus all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders that no longer exist. And this makes sense to you?

DAVID: The brain is the current endpoint of evolution. The possibility of a 'show' is your side issue. I see God full of purpose, not theatrics, which might be a favorite subject of yours as a playwright.

dhw: What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.

Your confusion about my theory is that you refuse to recognize that evolution takes time and must be supported during the long periods. There must be a balance of nature to provide energy for life to continue to evolve. God uses evolution in all He does. That is what history tells us. I really don't delve any deeper. I'm satisfied with how all of that fits together. I'm sorry you don't see the connections.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 30, 2017, 13:20 (294 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I've not changed and neither have you. Balance of nature is absolutely necessary to produce the human brain, exactly to keep solve the issue of 'life goes on' by providing the necessary energy supply.

dhw: And so your all-powerful God could not have provided the necessary energy supply to produce the human brain without preprogramming/dabbling the poisonous moths and frogs, the weaverbird’s nest, the eight stages of whale, the monarch butterfly’s life cycle, plus all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders that no longer exist. And this makes sense to you?

DAVID: The brain is the current endpoint of evolution. The possibility of a 'show' is your side issue. I see God full of purpose, not theatrics, which might be a favorite subject of yours as a playwright.

dhw: What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.

DAVID: Your confusion about my theory is that you refuse to recognize that evolution takes time and must be supported during the long periods. There must be a balance of nature to provide energy for life to continue to evolve. God uses evolution in all He does. That is what history tells us. I really don't delve any deeper. I'm satisfied with how all of that fits together. I'm sorry you don't see the connections.

I recognize that evolution has been going on for billions of years, and that it couldn’t continue if it couldn’t continue. How does that make the brain of H. sapiens the purpose of the eight stages of whale, the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s migration, the frog’s poison, and every other innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder you can think of? The problem is that the deeper we delve, the more disconnected your hypothesis becomes. I notice you are also avoiding the subject of purpose, which you were so keen to push before. But perhaps you are right not to delve. When people are satisfied, perhaps one shouldn’t question their beliefs. And yet Dawkins is another who seems to be satisfied with how it all fits together, but you don’t hesitate to delve.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 30, 2017, 15:03 (294 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.

DAVID: Your confusion about my theory is that you refuse to recognize that evolution takes time and must be supported during the long periods. There must be a balance of nature to provide energy for life to continue to evolve. God uses evolution in all He does. That is what history tells us. I really don't delve any deeper. I'm satisfied with how all of that fits together. I'm sorry you don't see the connections.

dhw: I recognize that evolution has been going on for billions of years, and that it couldn’t continue if it couldn’t continue. How does that make the brain of H. sapiens the purpose of the eight stages of whale, the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s migration, the frog’s poison, and every other innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder you can think of? The problem is that the deeper we delve, the more disconnected your hypothesis becomes. I notice you are also avoiding the subject of purpose, which you were so keen to push before. But perhaps you are right not to delve. When people are satisfied, perhaps one shouldn’t question their beliefs. And yet Dawkins is another who seems to be satisfied with how it all fits together, but you don’t hesitate to delve.

I haven't avoided the issue of purpose. It is you who seem to avoid it. Humans with their amazing brain is the primary purpose, which you always wish to deny. The other evolutionary developments support complex ecosystems which support evolution. To me it all fits together, so why delve deeper. Where is the deeper?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, October 01, 2017, 13:38 (293 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.
[…]
dhw: The problem is that the deeper we delve, the more disconnected your hypothesis becomes. I notice you are also avoiding the subject of purpose, which you were so keen to push before. But perhaps you are right not to delve. When people are satisfied, perhaps one shouldn’t question their beliefs. And yet Dawkins is another who seems to be satisfied with how it all fits together, but you don’t hesitate to delve.

DAVID: I haven't avoided the issue of purpose. It is you who seem to avoid it. Humans with their amazing brain is the primary purpose, which you always wish to deny. The other evolutionary developments support complex ecosystems which support evolution. To me it all fits together, so why delve deeper. Where is the deeper?

I have reproduced the paragraph which I devoted to purpose and to which you have not responded. If your all-powerful God deliberately created all the complex organisms and ecosystems extant and extinct (which would have to include all the environmental changes – one of several issues you vacillate over), and if they were not directly connected to the production of the human brain (even you can’t find a connection between eight stages of whale, the weaverbird’s nest, the frog’s poison etc. and the human brain), then maybe they had another purpose. And maybe that other purpose also applied to the human brain. Or don’t you think he must have had a purpose in producing the human brain? That is what I call delving deeper. Until you can explain how your God’s personal design or preprogramming of the weaverbird’s nest “fits together” with the production of the human brain, there can be no “fitting together” of your prime purpose and the history of evolution.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, October 01, 2017, 14:37 (293 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.
[…]
dhw: The problem is that the deeper we delve, the more disconnected your hypothesis becomes. I notice you are also avoiding the subject of purpose, which you were so keen to push before. But perhaps you are right not to delve. When people are satisfied, perhaps one shouldn’t question their beliefs. And yet Dawkins is another who seems to be satisfied with how it all fits together, but you don’t hesitate to delve.

DAVID: I haven't avoided the issue of purpose. It is you who seem to avoid it. Humans with their amazing brain is the primary purpose, which you always wish to deny. The other evolutionary developments support complex ecosystems which support evolution. To me it all fits together, so why delve deeper. Where is the deeper?

dhw: I have reproduced the paragraph which I devoted to purpose and to which you have not responded. If your all-powerful God deliberately created all the complex organisms and ecosystems extant and extinct (which would have to include all the environmental changes – one of several issues you vacillate over), and if they were not directly connected to the production of the human brain (even you can’t find a connection between eight stages of whale, the weaverbird’s nest, the frog’s poison etc. and the human brain), then maybe they had another purpose. And maybe that other purpose also applied to the human brain. Or don’t you think he must have had a purpose in producing the human brain? That is what I call delving deeper. Until you can explain how your God’s personal design or preprogramming of the weaverbird’s nest “fits together” with the production of the human brain, there can be no “fitting together” of your prime purpose and the history of evolution.

My not delving into your thought processes of God's purposes is I find many of your questions unanswerable as I have stated. We can only understand God through what He has produced. His motives, from our standpoint are only educated guesses. You have yours, influenced from your non-belief, I have mine. Mine look consistent to me. Yours make me think, but if I have no answer to your questions, it is generally because I don't see how to reach one I can believe. As for watching, since God created form and function, I'm sure He watches to see how His creations are working out their lives at a functional level. Does He judge human choices and moral behavior? Doubtful. As for fitting in whales, weaverbirds, etc., I'll stick with ecosystems for food supply.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Monday, October 02, 2017, 13:39 (292 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] Until you can explain how your God’s personal design or preprogramming of the weaverbird’s nest “fits together” with the production of the human brain, there can be no “fitting together” of your prime purpose and the history of evolution.

DAVID: My not delving into your thought processes of God's purposes is I find many of your questions unanswerable as I have stated. We can only understand God through what He has produced. His motives, from our standpoint are only educated guesses. You have yours, influenced from your non-belief, I have mine. Mine look consistent to me. Yours make me think, but if I have no answer to your questions, it is generally because I don't see how to reach one I can believe. As for watching, since God created form and function, I'm sure He watches to see how His creations are working out their lives at a functional level. Does He judge human choices and moral behavior? Doubtful. As for fitting in whales, weaverbirds, etc., I'll stick with ecosystems for food supply.

As always, I appreciate your honesty in admitting that your hypothesis raises questions you cannot answer. That is why I keep asking you to consider other hypotheses. If God exists, we can indeed only try to understand him through what he has produced, and what he has produced does not fit in with your hypothesis. I shan’t repeat the long list of anomalies, since you acknowledge them as questions you can’t answer. My own theistic hypothesis is not “influenced by my non-belief” (when I put on my theist’s hat, I don’t suddenly become an atheist!) – it is influenced by my attempt to find a coherent explanation for evolution’s history. I agree that humans are especially self-aware and intelligent, and so they may have been an afterthought, or the result of experimentation or a dabble, but that does not make them the “prime” purpose, which needs to explain the weaverbird’s nest as well as the human brain. The motive I suggest is the spectacle (which even you think he must be watching), and the method is a free-for-all, so we needn’t wonder why he specially created the whale and the weaverbird's nest and the frog's poison. The simple answer is that he didn’t. He only created the means whereby they (their intelligent cell communities) did their own creating. Just a hypothesis, but which of your “unanswerable” questions does it fail to answer?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, October 02, 2017, 15:32 (292 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] Until you can explain how your God’s personal design or preprogramming of the weaverbird’s nest “fits together” with the production of the human brain, there can be no “fitting together” of your prime purpose and the history of evolution.

DAVID: My not delving into your thought processes of God's purposes is I find many of your questions unanswerable as I have stated. We can only understand God through what He has produced. His motives, from our standpoint are only educated guesses. You have yours, influenced from your non-belief, I have mine. Mine look consistent to me. Yours make me think, but if I have no answer to your questions, it is generally because I don't see how to reach one I can believe. As for watching, since God created form and function, I'm sure He watches to see how His creations are working out their lives at a functional level. Does He judge human choices and moral behavior? Doubtful. As for fitting in whales, weaverbirds, etc., I'll stick with ecosystems for food supply.

dhw: As always, I appreciate your honesty in admitting that your hypothesis raises questions you cannot answer. That is why I keep asking you to consider other hypotheses. If God exists, we can indeed only try to understand him through what he has produced, and what he has produced does not fit in with your hypothesis. I shan’t repeat the long list of anomalies, since you acknowledge them as questions you can’t answer. My own theistic hypothesis is not “influenced by my non-belief” (when I put on my theist’s hat, I don’t suddenly become an atheist!) – it is influenced by my attempt to find a coherent explanation for evolution’s history. I agree that humans are especially self-aware and intelligent, and so they may have been an afterthought, or the result of experimentation or a dabble, but that does not make them the “prime” purpose, which needs to explain the weaverbird’s nest as well as the human brain. The motive I suggest is the spectacle (which even you think he must be watching), and the method is a free-for-all, so we needn’t wonder why he specially created the whale and the weaverbird's nest and the frog's poison. The simple answer is that he didn’t. He only created the means whereby they (their intelligent cell communities) did their own creating. Just a hypothesis, but which of your “unanswerable” questions does it fail to answer?'

Don't you realize your paragraph is supposition piled on supposition to explain in your mind what is miraculous material. Why is there any life? Why did the human brain appear? If you look at it from a sense of wonder and appreciation purpose can appear. If you then say to yourself it all requires planning, that planning must come from a miraculous mind. It is all very logical to me. I see the coherence you can't find.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, October 03, 2017, 13:31 (291 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Don't you realize your paragraph is supposition piled on supposition to explain in your mind what is miraculous material. Why is there any life? Why did the human brain appear? If you look at it from a sense of wonder and appreciation purpose can appear. If you then say to yourself it all requires planning, that planning must come from a miraculous mind. It is all very logical to me. I see the coherence you can't find.

You keep talking of purpose, but you admit that you can’t answer my questions about how your own speculations concerning purpose fit in with the history of life, and you refuse to consider a hypothesis (not a supposition but a suggestion) which answers those questions. The sense of wonder and appreciation applies every bit as much to my hypothesis as it does to yours, so here are the suggestions in their theistic form. Why is there life? Because God wanted to create life. Why did God want to create life? Because he wanted to create a spectacle that he could watch. How did he do it? He created an autonomous mechanism which enabled living cells to change themselves into all kinds of wonderful creatures, including humans. How much of this was planned? The design of the autonomous intelligent cell was entirely his, and his plan was to create a system of changing environments which provided both challenges and opportunities for his autonomous cell communities to adapt to or exploit, so that there would be an ever changing variety of life. But he also left himself the option to dabble if he felt like it. For some people, the human brain is so unique that it must have been the result of a dabble. Some people may think that Chixculub was another dabble. But the variety of organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct is the result of autonomous intelligences, exploiting or not exploiting, coping or not coping with environmental changes. We do not have to ask unanswerable questions such as why God planned the whale and the weaverbird’s nest (he didn’t), why he adopted such a roundabout way of producing the brain of Homo sapiens (he didn’t, though he may have dabbled), whether he did or did not control every single environmental change, whether his powers are limited, why he remains hidden if he wants contact with humans etc., because they are all covered by a simple proposal: what we see is what he wanted – namely an ever changing spectacle. That provides both purpose and, in our case and perhaps also in his, a sense of wonder and appreciation. So once again, please tell us which of your “unanswerable questions” this hypothesis fails to answer.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 03, 2017, 14:22 (291 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Don't you realize your paragraph is supposition piled on supposition to explain in your mind what is miraculous material. Why is there any life? Why did the human brain appear? If you look at it from a sense of wonder and appreciation purpose can appear. If you then say to yourself it all requires planning, that planning must come from a miraculous mind. It is all very logical to me. I see the coherence you can't find.

dhw: You keep talking of purpose, but you admit that you can’t answer my questions about how your own speculations concerning purpose fit in with the history of life, and you refuse to consider a hypothesis (not a supposition but a suggestion) which answers those questions. The sense of wonder and appreciation applies every bit as much to my hypothesis as it does to yours, so here are the suggestions in their theistic form. Why is there life? Because God wanted to create life. Why did God want to create life? Because he wanted to create a spectacle that he could watch. How did he do it? He created an autonomous mechanism which enabled living cells to change themselves into all kinds of wonderful creatures, including humans. How much of this was planned? The design of the autonomous intelligent cell was entirely his, and his plan was to create a system of changing environments which provided both challenges and opportunities for his autonomous cell communities to adapt to or exploit, so that there would be an ever changing variety of life. But he also left himself the option to dabble if he felt like it. For some people, the human brain is so unique that it must have been the result of a dabble. Some people may think that Chixculub was another dabble. But the variety of organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct is the result of autonomous intelligences, exploiting or not exploiting, coping or not coping with environmental changes. We do not have to ask unanswerable questions such as why God planned the whale and the weaverbird’s nest (he didn’t), why he adopted such a roundabout way of producing the brain of Homo sapiens (he didn’t, though he may have dabbled), whether he did or did not control every single environmental change, whether his powers are limited, why he remains hidden if he wants contact with humans etc., because they are all covered by a simple proposal: what we see is what he wanted – namely an ever changing spectacle. That provides both purpose and, in our case and perhaps also in his, a sense of wonder and appreciation. So once again, please tell us which of your “unanswerable questions” this hypothesis fails to answer.

You have created an inventive scenario that fits the facts, no question. But it defines a different motive for God than those who believe in Him would ever want to accept. Since it fits, it is a possible interpretation, but that is not proof. My proof to myself gets into the issue of design complexity, which I constantly present here and you admit its importance and then appear to gloss it over in your theories. The complexity requires design by a planning mind is my constant point. I'll stick with it.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, October 04, 2017, 14:12 (290 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have created an inventive scenario that fits the facts, no question. But it defines a different motive for God than those who believe in Him would ever want to accept. Since it fits, it is a possible interpretation, but that is not proof. My proof to myself gets into the issue of design complexity, which I constantly present here and you admit its importance and then appear to gloss it over in your theories. The complexity requires design by a planning mind is my constant point. I'll stick with it.

Thank you for your first sentence. You have always rejected organized religion and identified your beliefs with panentheism, which most religious people have probably never heard of, so I would suggest that even for you, it’s more important to find explanations that fit the facts than to follow what other believers accept. In any case my hypothesis is very much in line with Deism, which proposes that God lets his creation pursue its own course. Neither your hypothesis nor mine is proven. If it were, there would be no discussion. I have never glossed over the issue of complexity, which is why my hypothesis leaves room for God. The issue is whether your God created a mechanism that was capable of creating the complexities that have given rise to the history of life on Earth. The answer is we don’t know. Your answer appears to be that although it fits the facts, unlike your own hypothesis, it doesn’t fit your interpretation of how God’s mind works.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 04, 2017, 19:04 (290 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You have created an inventive scenario that fits the facts, no question. But it defines a different motive for God than those who believe in Him would ever want to accept. Since it fits, it is a possible interpretation, but that is not proof. My proof to myself gets into the issue of design complexity, which I constantly present here and you admit its importance and then appear to gloss it over in your theories. The complexity requires design by a planning mind is my constant point. I'll stick with it.

dhw: Thank you for your first sentence. You have always rejected organized religion and identified your beliefs with panentheism, which most religious people have probably never heard of, so I would suggest that even for you, it’s more important to find explanations that fit the facts than to follow what other believers accept. In any case my hypothesis is very much in line with Deism, which proposes that God lets his creation pursue its own course. Neither your hypothesis nor mine is proven. If it were, there would be no discussion. I have never glossed over the issue of complexity, which is why my hypothesis leaves room for God. The issue is whether your God created a mechanism that was capable of creating the complexities that have given rise to the history of life on Earth. The answer is we don’t know. Your answer appears to be that although it fits the facts, unlike your own hypothesis, it doesn’t fit your interpretation of how God’s mind works.

Your summary certainly defines our differences.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, October 05, 2017, 13:30 (289 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have created an inventive scenario that fits the facts, no question. But it defines a different motive for God than those who believe in Him would ever want to accept. Since it fits, it is a possible interpretation, but that is not proof. My proof to myself gets into the issue of design complexity, which I constantly present here and you admit its importance and then appear to gloss it over in your theories. The complexity requires design by a planning mind is my constant point. I'll stick with it.

dhw: Thank you for your first sentence. You have always rejected organized religion and identified your beliefs with panentheism, which most religious people have probably never heard of, so I would suggest that even for you, it’s more important to find explanations that fit the facts than to follow what other believers accept. In any case my hypothesis is very much in line with Deism, which proposes that God lets his creation pursue its own course. Neither your hypothesis nor mine is proven. If it were, there would be no discussion. I have never glossed over the issue of complexity, which is why my hypothesis leaves room for God. The issue is whether your God created a mechanism that was capable of creating the complexities that have given rise to the history of life on Earth. The answer is we don’t know. Your answer appears to be that although it fits the facts, unlike your own hypothesis, it doesn’t fit your interpretation of how God’s mind works.

DAVID: Your summary certainly defines our differences.

The basic difference being that my hypothesis, unlike your own, fits the facts but not your interpretation of how your God’s mind works. I’ll settle for that.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 14, 2017, 19:06 (310 days ago) @ dhw

As frogs appeared and dispersed around the world there was a slow and steady adaptation to new environments, not rapid change:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170913193106.htm

"Evolutionary biologists long have supposed that when species colonize new geographic regions they often develop new traits and adaptations to deal with their fresh surroundings. They branch from their ancestors and multiply in numbers of species.

***

"New research from the University of Kansas appearing in Royal Society Biology Letters shows, in contrast to expectations, "the rapid global range expansion of true frogs was not associated with increased net-diversification."

"First, we had to identify where these true frogs came from and when they started their dispersal all over the world," said lead author Chan Kin Onn, a doctoral student at KU's Biodiversity Institute. "We found a distinct pattern. The origin of these frogs was Indochina -- on the map today, it's most of mainland Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma. True frogs dispersed throughout every continent except Antarctica from there. That's not a new idea. But we found that a lot of this dispersal happened during a short period of time -- it was during the late Eocene, about 40 million years ago. That hadn't really been identified, until now."

"Next, Chan and co-author Rafe Brown, curator-in-charge of the KU Biodiversity Institute's Herpetology Division, looked to see if this rapid dispersal of true frogs worldwide triggered a matching eruption of speciation.

"'That was our expectation," Chan said. "We thought they'd take off into all this new habitat and resources, with no competition -- and boom, you'd have a lot of new species. But we found the exact opposite was true. In most of the groups, nothing happened. There was no increase in speciation. In one of the groups, diversification significantly slowed down. That was the reverse of what was expected."

***

"'Using data from paleontological studies, we can loosely place a fossil where in the phylogeny it belongs and can put a time stamp on that point," Chan said. "That's where calibration happens, each fossil is sort of like an anchor point. You can imagine with a really big phylogeny, the more anchor points or calibration points the better your time estimate."

"Through this process, the KU researchers concluded true frogs didn't become one of the most biodiverse frog families due to dispersing into new ranges, or due to filling a gap created by a catastrophic die-off (such as the Eocene-Oligocene Extinction Event that triggered widespread extinctions from marine invertebrates to mammals in Asia and Europe).
Rather, the rich diversity of species in the Ranidae family comes from millions of years' worth of continual evolution influenced by a host of different environs.

"'Our conclusion is kind of anticlimactic, but it's cool because it goes against expectations," Chan said. "We show the reason for species richness was just a really steady accumulation of species through time -- there wasn't a big event that caused this family to diversify like crazy.'"

Comment: This contrasts with other rapid evolutionary events like the Cambrian explosion or the sudden bush of hominins. Either evolution is not a consistent progressive mechanism at all times or there is a monkey in the works, God, who picks and chooses when advances happen.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 15, 2017, 13:37 (309 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: This contrasts with other rapid evolutionary events like the Cambrian explosion or the sudden bush of hominins. Either evolution is not a consistent progressive mechanism at all times or there is a monkey in the works, God, who picks and chooses when advances happen.

Could it not be that different local environments require minor changes (finches’ beaks, froggy fiddles) or major changes (when whales switch from land to water), whereas major widespread environmental changes (the Cambrian) spark major innovations?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 15, 2017, 15:07 (309 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: This contrasts with other rapid evolutionary events like the Cambrian explosion or the sudden bush of hominins. Either evolution is not a consistent progressive mechanism at all times or there is a monkey in the works, God, who picks and chooses when advances happen.

dhw: Could it not be that different local environments require minor changes (finches’ beaks, froggy fiddles) or major changes (when whales switch from land to water), whereas major widespread environmental changes (the Cambrian) spark major innovations?

You and I will always differ on where the spark comes from. The increase in oxygen provided the energy for the complex animals of the Cambrian to appear. It did not require their appearance. As for the hominin bush, as savannah appeared only the pre-homos bothered to come down from the trees, but 23 million years ago monkey lumbar spines were showing preparatory changes while still in the trees. It seems to me only God can provides the push to advance.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:58 (308 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Could it not be that different local environments require minor changes (finches’ beaks, froggy fiddles) or major changes (when whales switch from land to water), whereas major widespread environmental changes (the Cambrian) spark major innovations?

DAVID: You and I will always differ on where the spark comes from. The increase in oxygen provided the energy for the complex animals of the Cambrian to appear. It did not require their appearance.

As we have agreed a thousand times, no appearance was “required” beyond that of bacteria. That is why I go beyond survival to improvement. New conditions present new opportunities, and these were provided by the increase in oxygen.

DAVID: As for the hominin bush, as savannah appeared only the pre-homos bothered to come down from the trees, but 23 million years ago monkey lumbar spines were showing preparatory changes while still in the trees. It seems to me only God can provide the push to advance.

As I keep pointing out, evolution takes place in individual organisms. The emergence of one species from another does not mean the preceding species dies out. Pre-homos diverged from their ape ancestors, who stayed in the trees. That is the process of common descent we both believe in. We have no idea what lumbar-changing monkeys were up to 23 million years ago. Maybe they spent 50% of their time in the trees and 50% on the ground. Most of the changes you focus on are saltations (only God can do them), but now we have preparatory work, which clearly indicates a gradual process (and only God can do that too). If your God’s prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain, do you really think he was incapable of doing it without millions of years of “preparatory” work?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 16, 2017, 14:59 (308 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You and I will always differ on where the spark comes from. The increase in oxygen provided the energy for the complex animals of the Cambrian to appear. It did not require their appearance.

dhw: As we have agreed a thousand times, no appearance was “required” beyond that of bacteria. That is why I go beyond survival to improvement. New conditions present new opportunities, and these were provided by the increase in oxygen.

But as the frogs show, new opportunities does not mean they are always taken.


DAVID: As for the hominin bush, as savannah appeared only the pre-homos bothered to come down from the trees, but 23 million years ago monkey lumbar spines were showing preparatory changes while still in the trees. It seems to me only God can provide the push to advance.

dhw: As I keep pointing out, evolution takes place in individual organisms. The emergence of one species from another does not mean the preceding species dies out. Pre-homos diverged from their ape ancestors, who stayed in the trees. That is the process of common descent we both believe in. We have no idea what lumbar-changing monkeys were up to 23 million years ago. Maybe they spent 50% of their time in the trees and 50% on the ground. Most of the changes you focus on are saltations (only God can do them), but now we have preparatory work, which clearly indicates a gradual process (and only God can do that too). If your God’s prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain, do you really think he was incapable of doing it without millions of years of “preparatory” work?

Since we do not see direct creation but evolution, that must be God's preference. His ability to directly create is seen in saltations of irreducibly complex mechanisms.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 17, 2017, 10:34 (307 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You and I will always differ on where the spark comes from. The increase in oxygen provided the energy for the complex animals of the Cambrian to appear. It did not require their appearance.

dhw: As we have agreed a thousand times, no appearance was “required” beyond that of bacteria. That is why I go beyond survival to improvement. New conditions present new opportunities, and these were provided by the increase in oxygen.

DAVID: But as the frogs show, new opportunities does not mean they are always taken.

If my hypothesis is correct, evolution depends on the intelligence of the cell communities that all individual organisms consist of. Some will exploit opportunities to innovate, and some will remain as they are, and some will die out.

Dhw: If your God’s prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain, do you really think he was incapable of doing it without millions of years of “preparatory” work?

DAVID: Since we do not see direct creation but evolution, that must be God's preference. His ability to directly create is seen in saltations of irreducibly complex mechanisms.

Since we see the evolution of apes to hominins to humans to sapiens instead of direct creation of sapiens, and we see the evolution of pre-whales to whales, and we see the evolution of countless other species, lifestyles and natural wonders with no conceivable connection to the brain of Homo sapiens, perhaps it was your God’s preference to let evolution run its own course.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 17, 2017, 15:19 (307 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Since we do not see direct creation but evolution, that must be God's preference. His ability to directly create is seen in saltations of irreducibly complex mechanisms.

dhw: Since we see the evolution of apes to hominins to humans to sapiens instead of direct creation of sapiens, and we see the evolution of pre-whales to whales, and we see the evolution of countless other species, lifestyles and natural wonders with no conceivable connection to the brain of Homo sapiens, perhaps it was your God’s preference to let evolution run its own course.

Your proposal ignores the obvious increasing complexity shown in evolution, which requires foresight and planning by a designing mind, an evolution which ends in the human brain, the most complex evolved organ so far. Animals do not have the demonstrated ability to change autonomously beyond minor adaptations.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 18, 2017, 10:04 (306 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Since we see the evolution of apes to hominins to humans to sapiens instead of direct creation of sapiens, and we see the evolution of pre-whales to whales, and we see the evolution of countless other species, lifestyles and natural wonders with no conceivable connection to the brain of Homo sapiens, perhaps it was your God’s preference to let evolution run its own course.

DAVID: Your proposal ignores the obvious increasing complexity shown in evolution, which requires foresight and planning by a designing mind, an evolution which ends in the human brain, the most complex evolved organ so far. Animals do not have the demonstrated ability to change autonomously beyond minor adaptations.

Once again: my proposal attributes the obvious increasing complexity to a process of innovation that requires a perhaps God-given intelligence to respond to and exploit new opportunities. I have no trouble accepting that the human brain is the most complex evolved organ so far. That doesn’t mean your God designed life and evolution for the sake of the human brain. I have agreed many times that the capacity for major adaptations and innovations has not been demonstrated, which is why it is a hypothesis, as unproven as (though far more logical than) the hypothesis that an unknown, hidden and sourceless intelligence preprogrammed or dabbled eight stages of whale, monarch butterflies’ reproduction and navigation, and weaverbirds’ nests in order to produce the human brain.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 18, 2017, 15:34 (306 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Since we see the evolution of apes to hominins to humans to sapiens instead of direct creation of sapiens, and we see the evolution of pre-whales to whales, and we see the evolution of countless other species, lifestyles and natural wonders with no conceivable connection to the brain of Homo sapiens, perhaps it was your God’s preference to let evolution run its own course.

DAVID: Your proposal ignores the obvious increasing complexity shown in evolution, which requires foresight and planning by a designing mind, an evolution which ends in the human brain, the most complex evolved organ so far. Animals do not have the demonstrated ability to change autonomously beyond minor adaptations.

dhw: Once again: my proposal attributes the obvious increasing complexity to a process of innovation that requires a perhaps God-given intelligence to respond to and exploit new opportunities. I have no trouble accepting that the human brain is the most complex evolved organ so far. That doesn’t mean your God designed life and evolution for the sake of the human brain. I have agreed many times that the capacity for major adaptations and innovations has not been demonstrated, which is why it is a hypothesis, as unproven as (though far more logical than) the hypothesis that an unknown, hidden and sourceless intelligence preprogrammed or dabbled eight stages of whale, monarch butterflies’ reproduction and navigation, and weaverbirds’ nests in order to produce the human brain.

Note my bold: do you agree intelligent planning is required for the increasing complexity?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 11:47 (305 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Once again: my proposal attributes the obvious increasing complexity to a process of innovation that requires a perhaps God-given intelligence to respond to and exploit new opportunities. I have no trouble accepting that the human brain is the most complex evolved organ so far. That doesn’t mean your God designed life and evolution for the sake of the human brain. I have agreed many times that the capacity for major adaptations and innovations has not been demonstrated, which is why it is a hypothesis, as unproven as (though far more logical than) the hypothesis that an unknown, hidden and sourceless intelligence preprogrammed or dabbled eight stages of whale, monarch butterflies’ reproduction and navigation, and weaverbirds’ nests in order to produce the human brain.

DAVID: Note my bold: do you agree intelligent planning is required for the increasing complexity?

No. The whole point of my hypothesis is that organisms RESPOND to challenges and opportunities by using their perhaps God-given intelligence. It may even be that some opportunities are discovered by chance (particularly in the case of natural wonders), but even then it takes intelligence to recognize the benefits of a chance discovery and build on them. The key to my hypothesis is intelligent RESPONSE, not crystal ball gazing followed by planning followed by the actual events that demand or allow the physical change, which may or may not entail an increase in complexity.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 14:54 (305 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Once again: my proposal attributes the obvious increasing complexity to a process of innovation that requires a perhaps God-given intelligence to respond to and exploit new opportunities. I have no trouble accepting that the human brain is the most complex evolved organ so far. That doesn’t mean your God designed life and evolution for the sake of the human brain. I have agreed many times that the capacity for major adaptations and innovations has not been demonstrated, which is why it is a hypothesis, as unproven as (though far more logical than) the hypothesis that an unknown, hidden and sourceless intelligence preprogrammed or dabbled eight stages of whale, monarch butterflies’ reproduction and navigation, and weaverbirds’ nests in order to produce the human brain.

DAVID: Note my bold: do you agree intelligent planning is required for the increasing complexity?

dhw: No. The whole point of my hypothesis is that organisms RESPOND to challenges and opportunities by using their perhaps God-given intelligence. It may even be that some opportunities are discovered by chance (particularly in the case of natural wonders), but even then it takes intelligence to recognize the benefits of a chance discovery and build on them. The key to my hypothesis is intelligent RESPONSE, not crystal ball gazing followed by planning followed by the actual events that demand or allow the physical change, which may or may not entail an increase in complexity.

Once again you are skipping over the issue of gaps in the fossil record. Even the few intermediate forms are giant leaps in form and function. You do not answer how this is covered. My answer is foresight and planning to look at a current goal.. No crystal ball fuzziness required.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 13:31 (304 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Note my bold: do you agree intelligent planning is required for the increasing complexity?

dhw: No. The whole point of my hypothesis is that organisms RESPOND to challenges and opportunities by using their perhaps God-given intelligence. It may even be that some opportunities are discovered by chance (particularly in the case of natural wonders), but even then it takes intelligence to recognize the benefits of a chance discovery and build on them. The key to my hypothesis is intelligent RESPONSE, not crystal ball gazing followed by planning followed by the actual events that demand or allow the physical change, which may or may not entail an increase in complexity.

DAVID: Once again you are skipping over the issue of gaps in the fossil record. Even the few intermediate forms are giant leaps in form and function. You do not answer how this is covered. My answer is foresight and planning to look at a current goal.. No crystal ball fuzziness required.

You can’t plan unless you know what you are planning for, i.e. future conditions. That is crystal ball gazing, unless you are arguing that your God preprogrammed every environmental change in the history of evolution.

The gaps are saltations, i.e. major adaptations or innovations with no known intermediate stages. These are the great mystery of evolution. Your hypothesis is that your God preprogrammed every single one 3.8 billion years ago, or dabbled them personally, even though his primary aim was to produce the human brain. My hypothesis is that cell communities have the intelligence (possibly God-given) to design their own major adaptations or innovations. You’ve heard all this a hundred times over, so why you regard it as “skipping the issue” of gaps, i.e. of saltatory major adaptations or innovations, I don’t know.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 14:59 (304 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Note my bold: do you agree intelligent planning is required for the increasing complexity?

dhw: No. The whole point of my hypothesis is that organisms RESPOND to challenges and opportunities by using their perhaps God-given intelligence. It may even be that some opportunities are discovered by chance (particularly in the case of natural wonders), but even then it takes intelligence to recognize the benefits of a chance discovery and build on them. The key to my hypothesis is intelligent RESPONSE, not crystal ball gazing followed by planning followed by the actual events that demand or allow the physical change, which may or may not entail an increase in complexity.

DAVID: Once again you are skipping over the issue of gaps in the fossil record. Even the few intermediate forms are giant leaps in form and function. You do not answer how this is covered. My answer is foresight and planning to look at a current goal.. No crystal ball fuzziness required.

dhw: You can’t plan unless you know what you are planning for, i.e. future conditions. That is crystal ball gazing, unless you are arguing that your God preprogrammed every environmental change in the history of evolution.

The gaps are saltations, i.e. major adaptations or innovations with no known intermediate stages. These are the great mystery of evolution. Your hypothesis is that your God preprogrammed every single one 3.8 billion years ago, or dabbled them personally, even though his primary aim was to produce the human brain. My hypothesis is that cell communities have the intelligence (possibly God-given) to design their own major adaptations or innovations. You’ve heard all this a hundred times over, so why you regard it as “skipping the issue” of gaps, i.e. of saltatory major adaptations or innovations, I don’t know.

You skip over the point as usual. Please look at the whales. We both know exactly what conditions have to be planned for to have an air breathing mammal enter water as a full time environment. You constantly overlook the issue of purpose. Darwinism doesn't know where it is going. Evolution is either chance or knows where it is going. Whether you realize it or not, you start your thinking from a chance approach.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, September 21, 2017, 12:58 (303 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Once again you are skipping over the issue of gaps in the fossil record. Even the few intermediate forms are giant leaps in form and function. You do not answer how this is covered. My answer is foresight and planning to look at a current goal.. No crystal ball fuzziness required.

dhw: You can’t plan unless you know what you are planning for, i.e. future conditions. That is crystal ball gazing, unless you are arguing that your God preprogrammed every environmental change in the history of evolution.
The gaps are saltations, i.e. major adaptations or innovations with no known intermediate stages. These are the great mystery of evolution. Your hypothesis is that your God preprogrammed every single one 3.8 billion years ago, or dabbled them personally, even though his primary aim was to produce the human brain. My hypothesis is that cell communities have the intelligence (possibly God-given) to design their own major adaptations or innovations. You’ve heard all this a hundred times over, so why you regard it as “skipping the issue” of gaps, i.e. of saltatory major adaptations or innovations, I don’t know.

DAVID: You skip over the point as usual. Please look at the whales. We both know exactly what conditions have to be planned for to have an air breathing mammal enter water as a full time environment. You constantly overlook the issue of purpose. Darwinism doesn't know where it is going. Evolution is either chance or knows where it is going. Whether you realize it or not, you start your thinking from a chance approach.

You start with the assumption that the whale entered the water fully equipped for aquatic life (although incomprehensibly for you, it took your God eight stages and millions of years to perfect the equipment). From my perspective, this is the wrong starting point. Pre-whale would have entered the water to explore. From then on, each stage would have been an improvement, as it adapted to life in the water, which was its purpose. You yourself keep admitting that you don’t know the purpose of the eight-stage whale, let alone how it links up with what you keep saying is God’s primary purpose, the production of the brain of Homo sapiens. As for my thinking, it starts with the unknown factor of how life originated, and I cannot believe in chance or in God, which is why I remain agnostic. From the moment living forms appear, I regard them as pursuing the purposes of survival and/or improvement, and the only chance element is environmental change. If God exists, I suspect that his purpose was to produce a show for himself (but this need not mean detachment – he could have feelings just like ours). If he does not exist, the universe has no purpose, but organisms have their own purposes, as above. I don’t think I can express it any more clearly.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 21, 2017, 15:12 (303 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You skip over the point as usual. Please look at the whales. We both know exactly what conditions have to be planned for to have an air breathing mammal enter water as a full time environment. You constantly overlook the issue of purpose. Darwinism doesn't know where it is going. Evolution is either chance or knows where it is going. Whether you realize it or not, you start your thinking from a chance approach.

dhw: You start with the assumption that the whale entered the water fully equipped for aquatic life (although incomprehensibly for you, it took your God eight stages and millions of years to perfect the equipment). From my perspective, this is the wrong starting point. Pre-whale would have entered the water to explore. From then on, each stage would have been an improvement, as it adapted to life in the water, which was its purpose. You yourself keep admitting that you don’t know the purpose of the eight-stage whale, let alone how it links up with what you keep saying is God’s primary purpose, the production of the brain of Homo sapiens. As for my thinking, it starts with the unknown factor of how life originated, and I cannot believe in chance or in God, which is why I remain agnostic. From the moment living forms appear, I regard them as pursuing the purposes of survival and/or improvement, and the only chance element is environmental change. If God exists, I suspect that his purpose was to produce a show for himself (but this need not mean detachment – he could have feelings just like ours). If he does not exist, the universe has no purpose, but organisms have their own purposes, as above. I don’t think I can express it any more clearly.

Again skipping over the clear problem. Your pre-whale wishes to live in water. He has purpose. Now he needs to design some changes so he can achieve his goal. He has to understand what is required in order to modify. He needs to see needs in his future role. You gloss over this entire problem of how " [they] pursu[e] the purposes of survival and/or improvement". Something must be acting with foresight to cover the large gaps in form and physiology that the fossil record shows. Your cover your nebulous concept with the word "pursue" or "pursuing". We know that only a mind can plan. This is the basis of the ID philosophy. You could accept that and not include God.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 22, 2017, 13:15 (302 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Again skipping over the clear problem. Your pre-whale wishes to live in water. He has purpose. Now he needs to design some changes so he can achieve his goal. He has to understand what is required in order to modify. He needs to see needs in his future role.

He, or rather his cell communities, must design changes, and they have to understand the problems, but this does not relate to the future. To put it in concrete terms: legs are not as useful in water as fins. The pre-whale is in the water. The cell communities work out a way of changing the legs to fins, just as cell communities work out ways of changing short beaks into long beaks (your epigenetic changes). This is not future planning. It is adjusting to present conditions.

DAVID: You gloss over this entire problem of how " [they] pursu[e] the purposes of survival and/or improvement". Something must be acting with foresight to cover the large gaps in form and physiology that the fossil record shows. Your cover your nebulous concept with the word "pursue" or "pursuing".

There is no glossing over. We know from minor adaptations that organisms react to their present circumstances, and change accordingly. They do not look into a crystal ball and forecast the conditions that will require them to change. You accept this for minor but not for major changes. What we don’t know is the mechanism that enables them to accomplish the latter. You say it is a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme or direct dabbling by your God. I propose that it is the same cellular intelligence that enables them to accomplish the minor changes.

DAVID: We know that only a mind can plan. This is the basis of the ID philosophy. You could accept that and not include God.

I accept that only intelligence of some kind can produce the minor and major adaptations and innovations that have resulted in the great evolutionary bush of life. I also accept the possibility that this intelligence was invented by your God. I do not accept that these adaptations and innovations must be planned in advance.

Meanwhile, you continue to gloss over the dislocation between your God’s so-called prime purpose and the higgledy-piggledy bush, which includes the story of the whale, plus the problem of why your all-powerful God needed eight stages and millions of years to come up with his final version of the whale, as well as the huge problem of the extent to which your planning God plans all the environmental changes, local and global, that trigger organismal change.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 22, 2017, 15:11 (302 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: We know that only a mind can plan. This is the basis of the ID philosophy. You could accept that and not include God.

dhw: I accept that only intelligence of some kind can produce the minor and major adaptations and innovations that have resulted in the great evolutionary bush of life. I also accept the possibility that this intelligence was invented by your God. I do not accept that these adaptations and innovations must be planned in advance.

Meanwhile, you continue to gloss over the dislocation between your God’s so-called prime purpose and the higgledy-piggledy bush, which includes the story of the whale, plus the problem of why your all-powerful God needed eight stages and millions of years to come up with his final version of the whale, as well as the huge problem of the extent to which your planning God plans all the environmental changes, local and global, that trigger organismal change.

If nothing is planned in advance to accommodate required change, can you explain the latest buildings in London? As for God's methods, I simply accept that He evolves solutions.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 23, 2017, 12:54 (301 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We know that only a mind can plan. This is the basis of the ID philosophy. You could accept that and not include God.

dhw: I accept that only intelligence of some kind can produce the minor and major adaptations and innovations that have resulted in the great evolutionary bush of life. I also accept the possibility that this intelligence was invented by your God. I do not accept that these adaptations and innovations must be planned in advance.
Meanwhile, you continue to gloss over the dislocation between your God’s so-called prime purpose and the higgledy-piggledy bush, which includes the story of the whale, plus the problem of why your all-powerful God needed eight stages and millions of years to come up with his final version of the whale, as well as the huge problem of the extent to which your planning God plans all the environmental changes, local and global, that trigger organismal change.

DAVID: If nothing is planned in advance to accommodate required change, can you explain the latest buildings in London? As for God's methods, I simply accept that He evolves solutions.

I have never said that humans do not plan in advance. So do many animals. I don’t know why you think the process of evolution is the same as the process of building houses. Houses, in case you hadn’t noticed, are inanimate, inorganic objects which as far as we know are incapable of reproducing themselves and of communicating with one another and of taking decisions. In that respect they are no different from birds’ nests and anthills. There is absolutely no parallel between the inorganic products of intelligence and the organic changes which organisms undergo during the process of evolution. You insist that your God preprogrammed or dabbled them all in advance. I propose that intelligent organisms (cell communities) responded to the challenges and opportunities offered by a changing environment. My hypothesis provides an answer to some of the questions that your hypothesis engenders, which are summarized above and which you continue to gloss over.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 23, 2017, 14:45 (301 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We know that only a mind can plan. This is the basis of the ID philosophy. You could accept that and not include God.

dhw: I accept that only intelligence of some kind can produce the minor and major adaptations and innovations that have resulted in the great evolutionary bush of life. I also accept the possibility that this intelligence was invented by your God. I do not accept that these adaptations and innovations must be planned in advance.
Meanwhile, you continue to gloss over the dislocation between your God’s so-called prime purpose and the higgledy-piggledy bush, which includes the story of the whale, plus the problem of why your all-powerful God needed eight stages and millions of years to come up with his final version of the whale, as well as the huge problem of the extent to which your planning God plans all the environmental changes, local and global, that trigger organismal change.

DAVID: If nothing is planned in advance to accommodate required change, can you explain the latest buildings in London? As for God's methods, I simply accept that He evolves solutions.

dhw: I have never said that humans do not plan in advance. So do many animals. I don’t know why you think the process of evolution is the same as the process of building houses. Houses, in case you hadn’t noticed, are inanimate, inorganic objects which as far as we know are incapable of reproducing themselves and of communicating with one another and of taking decisions. In that respect they are no different from birds’ nests and anthills. There is absolutely no parallel between the inorganic products of intelligence and the organic changes which organisms undergo during the process of evolution. You insist that your God preprogrammed or dabbled them all in advance. I propose that intelligent organisms (cell communities) responded to the challenges and opportunities offered by a changing environment. My hypothesis provides an answer to some of the questions that your hypothesis engenders, which are summarized above and which you continue to gloss over.

It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize the need for planning the changes that must occur within the gaps in the fossil record. I'm not glossing. I see the need for intelligent planning. You simply do not. Of course speciation is due to 'challenges and opportunities'. I'm suggesting a portion of the requirements, planning with foresight and then changing. Nothing else will work.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 24, 2017, 13:26 (300 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: There is absolutely no parallel between the inorganic products of intelligence and the organic changes which organisms undergo during the process of evolution. You insist that your God preprogrammed or dabbled them all in advance. I propose that intelligent organisms (cell communities) responded to the challenges and opportunities offered by a changing environment. My hypothesis provides an answer to some of the questions that your hypothesis engenders, which are summarized above and which you continue to gloss over.

DAVID: It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize the need for planning the changes that must occur within the gaps in the fossil record. I'm not glossing. I see the need for intelligent planning. You simply do not. Of course speciation is due to 'challenges and opportunities'. I'm suggesting a portion of the requirements, planning with foresight and then changing. Nothing else will work.

I’m delighted at your recognition of the fact that speciation is due to challenges and opportunities. It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize that these challenges and opportunities must arise before organisms change. Why would a pre-whale’s legs change to fins before it even found out that life in the water was better for it than life on land? The very idea of your all-powerful God fiddling with it in advance, and then doing seven more fiddles over the next few million years (“Oops, forgot the blowhole!”) as he perfects the process, while all the time actually wanting to produce the brain of Homo sapiens, stretches credulity to snapping point. But NB, my hypothesis is not atheistic, just in case you scurry back to origins. The (hypothetical) mechanism that would enable organisms to respond to (as opposed to prepare for) challenges and opportunities may have been your God’s invention.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 24, 2017, 14:50 (300 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize the need for planning the changes that must occur within the gaps in the fossil record. I'm not glossing. I see the need for intelligent planning. You simply do not. Of course speciation is due to 'challenges and opportunities'. I'm suggesting a portion of the requirements, planning with foresight and then changing. Nothing else will work.

dhw: I’m delighted at your recognition of the fact that speciation is due to challenges and opportunities. It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize that these challenges and opportunities must arise before organisms change. Why would a pre-whale’s legs change to fins before it even found out that life in the water was better for it than life on land? The very idea of your all-powerful God fiddling with it in advance, and then doing seven more fiddles over the next few million years (“Oops, forgot the blowhole!”) as he perfects the process, while all the time actually wanting to produce the brain of Homo sapiens, stretches credulity to snapping point. But NB, my hypothesis is not atheistic, just in case you scurry back to origins. The (hypothetical) mechanism that would enable organisms to respond to (as opposed to prepare for) challenges and opportunities may have been your God’s invention.

But I'll stick with the requirement that changes required by challenges and opportunities require foresight and planning to jump the gaps. Thank you for noting God might have helped. And note you have never answered the problem of the gaps as exemplified by the Cambrian animals.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 25, 2017, 13:24 (299 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize the need for planning the changes that must occur within the gaps in the fossil record. I'm not glossing. I see the need for intelligent planning. You simply do not. Of course speciation is due to 'challenges and opportunities'. I'm suggesting a portion of the requirements, planning with foresight and then changing. Nothing else will work.

dhw: I’m delighted at your recognition of the fact that speciation is due to challenges and opportunities. It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize that these challenges and opportunities must arise before organisms change. Why would a pre-whale’s legs change to fins before it even found out that life in the water was better for it than life on land? The very idea of your all-powerful God fiddling with it in advance, and then doing seven more fiddles over the next few million years (“Oops, forgot the blowhole!”) as he perfects the process, while all the time actually wanting to produce the brain of Homo sapiens, stretches credulity to snapping point. But NB, my hypothesis is not atheistic, just in case you scurry back to origins. The (hypothetical) mechanism that would enable organisms to respond to (as opposed to prepare for) challenges and opportunities may have been your God’s invention.

DAVID: But I'll stick with the requirement that changes required by challenges and opportunities require foresight and planning to jump the gaps. Thank you for noting God might have helped. And note you have never answered the problem of the gaps as exemplified by the Cambrian animals.

So you will stick with your “explanation” that you don’t know why your God prepared pre-whales for life in the water eight different times over several million years, although his prime purpose was to create the human brain. My hypothesis is not that God “helped” but that if he exists, he provided the mechanism enabling organisms to help themselves. The problem of the Cambrian gaps is solved if the autonomous mechanism for minor adaptations is also capable of major adaptations and innovations in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by changes in the environment. I accept that this is the big “IF”. The problem is also solved if there is an unknown, sourceless, intelligent mind that preprogrammed every single environmental change, major adaptation and innovation 3.8 billion years ago, or kept popping down to Earth to do the necessary. That is also a big “IF”.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 25, 2017, 16:13 (299 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: But I'll stick with the requirement that changes required by challenges and opportunities require foresight and planning to jump the gaps. Thank you for noting God might have helped. And note you have never answered the problem of the gaps as exemplified by the Cambrian animals.

dhw: So you will stick with your “explanation” that you don’t know why your God prepared pre-whales for life in the water eight different times over several million years, although his prime purpose was to create the human brain. My hypothesis is not that God “helped” but that if he exists, he provided the mechanism enabling organisms to help themselves. The problem of the Cambrian gaps is solved if the autonomous mechanism for minor adaptations is also capable of major adaptations and innovations in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by changes in the environment. I accept that this is the big “IF”. The problem is also solved if there is an unknown, sourceless, intelligent mind that preprogrammed every single environmental change, major adaptation and innovation 3.8 billion years ago, or kept popping down to Earth to do the necessary. That is also a big “IF”.

Yes big IF's. But those are the only two choices. The Cambrian gap was Darwin's biggest bugaboo. The sudden appearance of such complex organisms require enormous elements of foresight and planning. Within our experience we know that only a planning mind can accomplish such developments. That mind must exist.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 12:14 (298 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: (under “Trees induce ants…” Another agreement. Today is a red letter day! Now we agree that bacteria are conscious, and that organisms have an autonomous, possibly God-given mechanism through which they can make changes to themselves without any input from your God. Therefore “God did it” could mean that he did it by providing cells/cell communities with the intelligence to create ALL the adaptations and innovations that have taken place throughout evolution.

DAVID: That is a jump in possibilities that I cannot accept. The gaps in evolution require foresight and planning that only a planning mind can provide.

Dhw (on this thread): So you will stick with your “explanation” that you don’t know why your God prepared pre-whales for life in the water eight different times over several million years, although his prime purpose was to create the human brain. […] The problem of the Cambrian gaps is solved if the autonomous mechanism for minor adaptations is also capable of major adaptations and innovations in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by changes in the environment. I accept that this is the big “IF”. The problem is also solved if there is an unknown, sourceless, intelligent mind that preprogrammed every single environmental change, major adaptation and innovation 3.8 billion years ago, or kept popping down to Earth to do the necessary. That is also a big “IF”.

DAVID: Yes big IF's. But those are the only two choices. The Cambrian gap was Darwin's biggest bugaboo. The sudden appearance of such complex organisms require enormous elements of foresight and planning. Within our experience we know that only a planning mind can accomplish such developments. That mind must exist.

We have no experience of such developments. None of us were around at the time, and so we do not “know” anything. We speculate. Why should it be beyond the bounds of possibility that your all-powerful God could invent a mechanism capable of autonomous innovation? Besides, we should not forget that your hypothesis is not confined to Cambrian gaps, or are you now withdrawing your insistence that only your God could have designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle, the parasitic wasp etc.?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 17:19 (298 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Yes big IF's. But those are the only two choices. The Cambrian gap was Darwin's biggest bugaboo. The sudden appearance of such complex organisms require enormous elements of foresight and planning. Within our experience we know that only a planning mind can accomplish such developments. That mind must exist.

dhw: We have no experience of such developments. None of us were around at the time, and so we do not “know” anything. We speculate. Why should it be beyond the bounds of possibility that your all-powerful God could invent a mechanism capable of autonomous innovation? Besides, we should not forget that your hypothesis is not confined to Cambrian gaps, or are you now withdrawing your insistence that only your God could have designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle, the parasitic wasp etc.?

I think God stepped in at many levels. I've not changed. I don 't know why it is so important to you that God gave organisms an inventive mechanism. It is just an other way for God to be in control. I use God's control as signifying a purpose in how evolution plays out. Are you trying to get rid of purpose?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 10:56 (297 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Yes big IF's. But those are the only two choices. The Cambrian gap was Darwin's biggest bugaboo. The sudden appearance of such complex organisms require enormous elements of foresight and planning. Within our experience we know that only a planning mind can accomplish such developments. That mind must exist.

dhw: We have no experience of such developments. None of us were around at the time, and so we do not “know” anything. We speculate. Why should it be beyond the bounds of possibility that your all-powerful God could invent a mechanism capable of autonomous innovation? Besides, we should not forget that your hypothesis is not confined to Cambrian gaps, or are you now withdrawing your insistence that only your God could have designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle, the parasitic wasp etc.?

DAVID: I think God stepped in at many levels. I've not changed. I don't know why it is so important to you that God gave organisms an inventive mechanism. It is just an other way for God to be in control. I use God's control as signifying a purpose in how evolution plays out. Are you trying to get rid of purpose?

We have spent years discussing your proposal that your God’s prime purpose was to create the brain of Homo sapiens – a hypothesis that throws up so many illogicalities in relation to the higgledy-piggledy bush of life that even you admit to not understanding much of it. I am proposing that instead of your God controlling every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution, he set the wheels in motion by creating an autonomous inventive mechanism (though he could dabble if he wished to). We have just devoted several posts to discussing my suggestion that by doing so he created a show that he watches and is interested in. That is a purpose to which you have agreed (with the strange proviso that you don't know what watching and interest mean to God). It also explains the higgledy-piggledy bush. At last you have recognized that my hypothesis does not exclude your God or limit his powers other than when he decides to let organisms (including humans) control themselves. What it does do is offer an explanation of evolution that eliminates all the illogicalities and unanswered questions that bedevil your own hypothesis. To echo your post: I don’t know why it is so important to you to have your God designing the weaverbird’s nest.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 17:25 (297 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Yes big IF's. But those are the only two choices. The Cambrian gap was Darwin's biggest bugaboo. The sudden appearance of such complex organisms require enormous elements of foresight and planning. Within our experience we know that only a planning mind can accomplish such developments. That mind must exist.

dhw: We have no experience of such developments. None of us were around at the time, and so we do not “know” anything. We speculate. Why should it be beyond the bounds of possibility that your all-powerful God could invent a mechanism capable of autonomous innovation? Besides, we should not forget that your hypothesis is not confined to Cambrian gaps, or are you now withdrawing your insistence that only your God could have designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle, the parasitic wasp etc.?

DAVID: I think God stepped in at many levels. I've not changed. I don't know why it is so important to you that God gave organisms an inventive mechanism. It is just an other way for God to be in control. I use God's control as signifying a purpose in how evolution plays out. Are you trying to get rid of purpose?

dhw: We have spent years discussing your proposal that your God’s prime purpose was to create the brain of Homo sapiens – a hypothesis that throws up so many illogicalities in relation to the higgledy-piggledy bush of life that even you admit to not understanding much of it. I am proposing that instead of your God controlling every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution, he set the wheels in motion by creating an autonomous inventive mechanism (though he could dabble if he wished to). We have just devoted several posts to discussing my suggestion that by doing so he created a show that he watches and is interested in. That is a purpose to which you have agreed (with the strange proviso that you don't know what watching and interest mean to God). It also explains the higgledy-piggledy bush. At last you have recognized that my hypothesis does not exclude your God or limit his powers other than when he decides to let organisms (including humans) control themselves. What it does do is offer an explanation of evolution that eliminates all the illogicalities and unanswered questions that bedevil your own hypothesis. To echo your post: I don’t know why it is so important to you to have your God designing the weaverbird’s nest.

Once again you have God giving organisms the ability to speciate as an alternative to my approach. At the same time you have allowed God to dabble. This means in your thinking God can control all of evolution if He wishes. But at the same time you propose He lets things run along producing what the organisms wish to invent. So basically you are inventing God in two ways! I chose one approach. I don't think you can have it both ways. But since you don't accept God, I'm not surprised. My bush is balance of nature, which explanation satisfies me. It is required.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, September 28, 2017, 13:02 (296 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Once again you have God giving organisms the ability to speciate as an alternative to my approach. At the same time you have allowed God to dabble. This means in your thinking God can control all of evolution if He wishes. But at the same time you propose He lets things run along producing what the organisms wish to invent. So basically you are inventing God in two ways! I chose one approach. I don't think you can have it both ways. But since you don't accept God, I'm not surprised. My bush is balance of nature, which explanation satisfies me. It is required.

My non-aceptance/non-rejection of your God has nothing to do with the way we think he might have operated. You have now agreed that he has created a show which he watches with interest in his own special way. As the all-powerful creator, of course he can let the show run itself or he can interfere if he feels like it. There is nothing contradictory in this. Humans use such options all the time as circumstances change. But your “one approach” entails a show which has the prime purpose of producing the brain of Homo sapiens, while at the same time it also entails your God specially creating the whale in eight different stages, designing the weaverbird’s nest, equipping moths and frogs with poisons that won’t harm them, preparing monarch butterflies for their migration, plus millions of other innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders, 99% of which have come and gone. Clearly they have nothing to do with producing the brain of Homo sapiens, and you have agreed that “balance of nature” means nothing more than that life goes on, regardless of whether humans are there or not. So could it be that you are now saying your God specially designs all these things for the sake of the show (of which humans are simply one part), which he watches with interest in his own special way?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 28, 2017, 14:34 (296 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Once again you have God giving organisms the ability to speciate as an alternative to my approach. At the same time you have allowed God to dabble. This means in your thinking God can control all of evolution if He wishes. But at the same time you propose He lets things run along producing what the organisms wish to invent. So basically you are inventing God in two ways! I chose one approach. I don't think you can have it both ways. But since you don't accept God, I'm not surprised. My bush is balance of nature, which explanation satisfies me. It is required.

dhw: My non-aceptance/non-rejection of your God has nothing to do with the way we think he might have operated. You have now agreed that he has created a show which he watches with interest in his own special way. As the all-powerful creator, of course he can let the show run itself or he can interfere if he feels like it. There is nothing contradictory in this. Humans use such options all the time as circumstances change. But your “one approach” entails a show which has the prime purpose of producing the brain of Homo sapiens, while at the same time it also entails your God specially creating the whale in eight different stages, designing the weaverbird’s nest, equipping moths and frogs with poisons that won’t harm them, preparing monarch butterflies for their migration, plus millions of other innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders, 99% of which have come and gone. Clearly they have nothing to do with producing the brain of Homo sapiens, and you have agreed that “balance of nature” means nothing more than that life goes on, regardless of whether humans are there or not. So could it be that you are now saying your God specially designs all these things for the sake of the show (of which humans are simply one part), which he watches with interest in his own special way?

I've not changed and neither have you. Balance of nature is absolutely necessary to produce the human brain, exactly to keep solve the issue of 'life goes on' by providing the necessary energy supply, The brain is the current endpoint of evolution. The possibility of a 'show' is your side issue. I see God full of purpose, not theatrics, which might be a favorite subject of yours as a playwright.

Evolution: networks of coevolution

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 20:00 (276 days ago) @ David Turell

The interaction of species fighting off or cooperating with other species create networks of relationships that affect each species evolution. This is a study of those networks:

https://phys.org/news/2017-10-rapid-environmental-species-vulnerable-extinction.html

"Coevolution, which occurs when species interact and adapt to each other, is often studied in the context of pair-wise interactions between mutually beneficial symbiotic partners. But many species have mutualistic interactions with multiple partners, leading to complex networks of interacting species.

***

"a group of ecologists and evolutionary biologists from five universities has attempted to understand how species coevolve within large webs of mutualistic species. The study yielded surprising findings about the relative importance of direct and indirect effects within such networks.

***

"Natural selection favors predators that are better at capturing prey, prey that have better defenses, and individuals that compete better against other species. Among mutualistic species, natural selection favors, for example, plants that are better at attracting pollinating insects and flower-visiting insects that are better at extracting pollen and nectar from flowers.

***
"Each web had, at one extreme, species that interact with only one other species and, at the other extreme, species that interact with many other species. When drawn as a network, each species is a node and each interaction between species is a line between two nodes. Each line is therefore a direct interaction between two species.

***
"Their analyses suggested two counterintuitive results. First, the stronger the importance of coevolutionary selection between partners, the greater the importance of indirect effects on overall evolution throughout the network. Second, in mutualisms involving multiple partners, the most specialized species—those species with the fewest direct partners—are more influenced by indirect effects than by their direct partners.

"These two results, together with other results reported in the paper, have many implications for the understanding of evolution and coevolution within webs of interacting species. Among the most important are two conclusions that link evolution, coevolution, and the rate of environmental change.

"With slow environmental change, the indirect effects of species on the evolution of other species may help mutualistic interactions persist over long periods of time. In contrast, rapid environmental change may slow the overall rate of evolution driven by direct interactions within large networks, making each species more vulnerable to extinction. With rapid environmental change, then, environments may change faster than species can adapt within large mutualistic networks.

"'The indirect effects serve to buffer the system under slow environmental change, keeping it stable. With the kinds of rapid environmental changes we're seeing now, however, this buffering effect can actually prevent species from adapting fast enough," Thompson said."

Comment: This research will help us understand more exactly how econiches work in balance of nature. It has been shown how top predators are essential. But so is cooperation. These complex networks must have existed since life began 3.6-3.8 billion years ago.

Evolution: chance, contingent or convergent

by David Turell @, Friday, October 27, 2017, 01:28 (268 days ago) @ David Turell

A new book presents it own argument:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23631480-700-a-new-book-balances-two-powerful-ri...

"IT’S one of the biggest questions in biology: is the outcome of evolution deterministic and predictable? In particular, was the evolution of human beings, or something similar, inevitable?

"Jonathan Losos, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University, approaches this through the contrasting views of the late Stephen Jay Gould and University of Cambridge palaeontologist Simon Conway Morris.

"Gould famously argued that if we “replayed the tape of life” we would get very different outcomes, because the pattern of evolution is unpredictable. In contrast, Conway Morris claims that convergent evolution – the idea that similar conditions produce similar adaptations – is “completely ubiquitous”.

***

"Losos does not explain the reasons behind Gould’s and Conway Morris’s ideas. Nor does he fully explore how their contrasting world views (Conway Morris is a devout Christian; Gould was a Marxist) influence their thinking.

***

"Losos’s conclusion is that neither Gould nor Conway Morris is right. Faced with similar selection pressures, similar populations will indeed often produce convergent evolutionary outcomes. Even distantly related groups, such as marsupials and placental mammals, may do this – think of the marsupial and placental moles, separated by over 150 million years.

"But the process isn’t ubiquitous. Sometimes, stuff happens and evolution goes a little crazy. In New Zealand, there were no terrestrial mammals (bats aside) until humans arrived, but in a striking example of non-convergent evolution, the islands’ birds did not evolve forms resembling mammals elsewhere that have a similar ecological niche and environment.

"Alongside the widespread phenomenon of convergent evolution, life produces many unique forms. The human lineage is one such.

"But before the reader can conclude that our uniqueness suggests we are the whole point of evolution, Losos plays his trump card: the duck-billed platypus.

"This monotreme mammal has hair and a beak, and lays eggs. Like ours, its lineage is unique in the fossil record. Losos concludes that humans are no more the end-point of evolution than is the platypus, with its singular and slightly comical assemblage of characteristics. Not all evolution is convergent, he argues, and uniqueness does not imply destiny. That seems about right."

Comment: Not right to me. The platypus is simply a side branch in the bush of life, just as I think whales are. As the author of this review notes 'life produces many unique forms'. I'm still with Conway Morris.

Evolution: trying to mutate a protein

by David Turell @, Friday, November 10, 2017, 05:36 (253 days ago) @ David Turell

Can a long series of mutations produce a desired protein. it seems the answer is no:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171102091113.htm

"Scientists theorized that they could manipulate a protein one mutation at a time and predict its evolution. They sought to prove it. And failed. They do think, however, that they've found a fundamental truth underlying unpredictability in a biological system.

***

"While we got a surprising negative result, we were able to say why," said Michael J. Harms, a professor in the UO Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and scientist in the Institute of Molecular Biology. "That is a positive. Our simple study provides confirmation of what many people in the field have observed repeatedly -- unpredictability. It appears it is universal."

"The research was a digital affair, done with computer simulations designed by UO doctoral student Zachary R. Sailer. He and Harms created a simple lattice protein, using an approach previously created in the Harms lab, with a random sequence of 12 amino acids. They then ran evolutionary simulations to optimize stability, a physical property of the protein.

"The goal was to use the effects of all 228 mutations known to be associated with the starting protein to predict these simulated trajectories: which mutation would occur, when, over time. The ability to project ahead faded fast after the first two mutations. After that, the anticipated trajectories went astray amid a growing number of rerouting probabilities.

"'The quality of your information actually decays over time," Sailer said. "As mutations accumulate, the effects of the mutations that you measured start to change so that you can't predict where you are going."

"In their paper, Sailer and Harms suggest that physics, particularly thermodynamics, is at play. Each mutation alters the protein in a small, but nonlinear way. This means that the effect of each mutation depends on all mutations that occurred before.

"'I think that what we showed, fundamentally, is that even if you know a lot about a system, about a protein, you cannot predict how it evolves because of the physics of the system," Harms said. "There are physical rules that limit evolution and its predictability.'"

Comment: I realize this is a computer simulation and might be open to human error in software. However, this is straightforward study and likely correct. Which raises the issue, if evolution is at the mercy of random mutation, how does any evolution occur at all? Perhaps God must HAVE to do it by Himself. The obvious appearance of purpose and directionality strongly suggests God is necessary.

Evolution: a giant nutrition step

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 30, 2017, 00:38 (234 days ago) @ David Turell

Snowball Earth set up a huge nutritional supply when it melted:

http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/researchers-solve-one-of-the-greatest-mysteries-of-scie...

"He set the stage for how algae had such an impact by describing an event called Snowball Earth which took place 700 million years ago. It resulted in Earth being completely frozen over for 50 million years. But once the ice started to melt, a tremendous amount of nutrients was released:

"'The Earth was frozen over for 50 million years. Huge glaciers ground entire mountain ranges to powder that released nutrients, and when the snow melted during an extreme global heating event rivers washed torrents of nutrients into the ocean," elaborated Brocks.

"The rush of nutrients and the cooling of global temperatures created the right conditions for the growth and rapid propagation of algae. The ocean was no longer just full of bacteria, moving towards hosting more complex life forms. This set of an evolutionary chain reaction that resulted in you and me.

"'These large and nutritious organisms at the base of the food web provided the burst of energy required for the evolution of complex ecosystems, where increasingly large and complex animals, including humans, could thrive on Earth," proposed Brocks.

"The research team's co-lead Dr. Amber Jarrett, who found the ancient rocks that were dated to just after the Snowball Earth period, called their discovery "ground-breaking" --

"'In these rocks we discovered striking signals of molecular fossils," said Dr Jarrett. "We immediately knew that we had made a ground-breaking discovery that snowball Earth was directly involved in the evolution of large and complex life.'"

Comment: the usual overblown description, which assumes evolution just plowed ahead once nutrition appeared. It does not tell us how multicellularity appeared, but certainly the event supplied nutrients.

Evolution: whales and hippos related?

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 15, 2018, 00:09 (129 days ago) @ David Turell

This hew paper claims they are through a common ancestor:

https://www.livescience.com/102-cousins-whales-hippos.html

"if the idea of whales being mammals has always seemed a bit wild, then you'll probably be surprised to learn that the giant aquatic beasts are pretty closely related to the hippopotamus.

"One theory had been that hippos were related to pigs. Yet mounting evidence suggested they are closer to whales. A new study concludes that a four-footed semi-aquatic mammal that thrived for some 40 million years was a common ancestor to both whales and hippos.

"'The problem with hippos is, if you look at the general shape of the animal it could be related to horses, as the ancient Greeks thought, or pigs, as modern scientists thought, while molecular phylogeny shows a close relationship with whales," said Jean-Renaud Boisserie, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. "But cetaceans - whales, porpoises and dolphins - don't look anything like hippos."

"To complicate matters, there is a 40-million-year gap between fossils of early cetaceans and early hippos.

"Boisserie and colleagues in France say they've filled in the gap with fossils of a "water-loving animal" that evolved into two groups, early cetaceans and a group of four-legged animals called anthracotheres. The pig-like anthracotheres, which developed at least 37 distinct genera, died out less than 2.5 million years ago, leaving only one line: the hippopotamus.

"The analysis puts whales within a large group of cloven-hoofed mammals called Artiodactyla.

"That makes them relatives of cows, pigs, sheep, antelopes, camels and giraffes, too.

"The idea of whales and hippos being related has gained steam in recent years. Boisserie's team analyzed new and previous hippo, whale and anthracothere fossils to pin down anthracotheres as the missing link between hippos and cetaceans, they say.

"'Our study is the most complete to date, including lots of different taxa and a lot of new characteristics," Boisserie said. But leaving the case not quite shut, he added: "Our results are very robust and a good alternative to our findings is still to be formulated.'"

Comment: Makes sense. Hippos live in water. Buy at least they had the sense to not true to imitate fish.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by David Turell @, Monday, March 26, 2018, 23:14 (117 days ago) @ David Turell

Yes they are, but other aquatic mammals have other ancestors, and they all come with constraints:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180326152405.htm

"Anyone who has witnessed majestic whales or lumbering elephant seals in person would be forgiven for associating ocean life with unlimited size in mammals, but new research reveals that mammal growth is actually more constrained in water than on land.

***

"the group found that aquatic mammal size is bounded at the small end by the need to retain heat and at the large end by difficulties getting enough food to survive.

***

"Instead, the group found that aquatic mammal size is bounded at the small end by the need to retain heat and at the large end by difficulties getting enough food to survive. The group published their findings March 26 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"'Many people have viewed going into the water as more freeing for mammals, but what we're seeing is that it's actually more constraining," said co-author Jonathan Payne, a professor of geological sciences at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth). "It's not that water allows you to be a big mammal, it's that you have to be a big mammal in water -- you don't have any other options."

"Although mammals that live in water share a similarly oblong body shape, they are not closely related. Rather, seals and sea lions are closely related to dogs, manatees share ancestry with elephants, and whales and dolphins are related to hippos and other hoofed mammals.

***

"From this analysis, the group found that once land animals take to the water, they evolve very quickly toward their new size, converging at around 1,000 pounds. Smaller ancestors like dog relatives increased in size more than larger ancestors like hippos to reach that optimal weight, suggesting that bigger is better for aquatic life, but only up to a point. The group points out that otters, which took to the water more recently, don't follow that trend, perhaps because many otter species still live much of their lives on land.

***

"The group argues that the larger size helps aquatic mammals retain heat in water that's lower than body temperature. "When you're very small, you lose heat back into the water so fast, there's no way to eat enough food to keep up," Payne said.

"They also suggest that metabolism increases with size more than an animal's ability to gather food, putting a boundary on how big aquatic mammals can grow. "Basically, animals are machines that require energy to operate. This need for energy places hard limits on what animals can do and how big they can be," said McClain, who was a co-author on the study.

***

"If otters are the exception at the small end, baleen whales prove the exception at the larger size. These whales expend much less energy on feeding than their toothed counterparts because they filter all their food, which makes them more efficient and allows them to grow larger than toothed whales.

"'The sperm whale seems to be the largest you can get without a new adaptation," Gearty said.

"'The only way to get as big as a baleen whale is to completely change how you're eating.'"

Comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by dhw, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 13:00 (116 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 14:40 (116 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

dhw: This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

So you think land animals convert to aquatic environment with an easy change to their physiology. It is very difficult and requires many new designed systems.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by dhw, Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 12:22 (115 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

dhw: This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

DAVID: So you think land animals convert to aquatic environment with an easy change to their physiology. It is very difficult and requires many new designed systems.

I don’t remember saying it was easy. I find all of nature’s wonders wonderful. Not easy. I find human technology wonderful too, but a long, long way from being easy. It’s truly amazing what intelligent beings can come up with, and I do not believe intelligence is confined to humans. And if God exists, I do not believe it is beyond his powers to endow cell communities with the intelligence to engineer their own ways of coping with the environment.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 15:09 (115 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

dhw: This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

DAVID: So you think land animals convert to aquatic environment with an easy change to their physiology. It is very difficult and requires many new designed systems.

dhw: I don’t remember saying it was easy. I find all of nature’s wonders wonderful. Not easy. I find human technology wonderful too, but a long, long way from being easy. It’s truly amazing what intelligent beings can come up with, and I do not believe intelligence is confined to humans. And if God exists, I do not believe it is beyond his powers to endow cell communities with the intelligence to engineer their own ways of coping with the environment.

I agree with guidelines and help in design.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by dhw, Thursday, March 29, 2018, 09:25 (114 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

dhw: This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

DAVID: So you think land animals convert to aquatic environment with an easy change to their physiology. It is very difficult and requires many new designed systems.

dhw: I don’t remember saying it was easy. I find all of nature’s wonders wonderful. Not easy. I find human technology wonderful too, but a long, long way from being easy. It’s truly amazing what intelligent beings can come up with, and I do not believe intelligence is confined to humans. And if God exists, I do not believe it is beyond his powers to endow cell communities with the intelligence to engineer their own ways of coping with the environment.

DAVID: I agree with guidelines and help in design.

If you insist that organisms cannot cope with their environment unless they have guidelines and help, you refuse to consider the possibility that your God gave them the autonomous means to cope with their environment. There is no agreement. And among other titbits for you to savour is that your God guided and helped bad bacteria and viruses to do their dirty deeds.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 29, 2018, 15:18 (114 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

dhw: This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

DAVID: So you think land animals convert to aquatic environment with an easy change to their physiology. It is very difficult and requires many new designed systems.

dhw: I don’t remember saying it was easy. I find all of nature’s wonders wonderful. Not easy. I find human technology wonderful too, but a long, long way from being easy. It’s truly amazing what intelligent beings can come up with, and I do not believe intelligence is confined to humans. And if God exists, I do not believe it is beyond his powers to endow cell communities with the intelligence to engineer their own ways of coping with the environment.

DAVID: I agree with guidelines and help in design.

dhw: If you insist that organisms cannot cope with their environment unless they have guidelines and help, you refuse to consider the possibility that your God gave them the autonomous means to cope with their environment. There is no agreement. And among other titbits for you to savour is that your God guided and helped bad bacteria and viruses to do their dirty deeds.

You are following the religious line that God does only good things. That is certainly not true, as I discussed in my first book. Just understanding how dangerous a place is the universe gives evidence.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by dhw, Friday, March 30, 2018, 12:45 (113 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If you insist that organisms cannot cope with their environment unless they have guidelines and help, you refuse to consider the possibility that your God gave them the autonomous means to cope with their environment. There is no agreement. And among other titbits for you to savour is that your God guided and helped bad bacteria and viruses to do their dirty deeds.

DAVID: You are following the religious line that God does only good things. That is certainly not true, as I discussed in my first book. Just understanding how dangerous a place is the universe gives evidence.

I'm not following any line. If you believe your God deliberately created "bad things", that's up to you. But you are the one who said it raised an issue you can't resolve. :

DAVID: under “bacterial intelligenceAnother non-religious thought is God created a such a strong driving force to produce life on Earth with bacteria that viruses also appeared and in each group nasty ones popped up, that then had to be controlled. Raises the issue of whether God is under total control or just well-intended? I have no way of knowing.

dhw: […] So did he give the nasty bacteria and viruses guidelines, as above, or did he lose control, or maybe even willingly sacrifice control? Now apparently you have no way of knowing. We are making progress.

DAVID: Since it is obvious to me God used evolution to create living forms and He wanted the arrival of humans, He controlled the advance of evolution, but viruses may have been a side effect of the drive for life. They appear to have been present since the very beginning, which also suggests they are a purposeful addition. Evidence is not clear.

Dhw: So your God may have purposefully added bad viruses and bacteria, or he may have lost control, or he may have deliberately sacrificed control to let evolution take its own course (you left out that alternative). Evidence is not clear. You are prepared to consider the possibility that he did not HAVE total control, and yet you are not prepared to consider the possibility that he did not WANT total control.

That is the point at issue, and still you refuse to consider the possibility that he did not WANT total control.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by David Turell @, Friday, March 30, 2018, 14:47 (113 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Since it is obvious to me God used evolution to create living forms and He wanted the arrival of humans, He controlled the advance of evolution, but viruses may have been a side effect of the drive for life. They appear to have been present since the very beginning, which also suggests they are a purposeful addition. Evidence is not clear.

Dhw: So your God may have purposefully added bad viruses and bacteria, or he may have lost control, or he may have deliberately sacrificed control to let evolution take its own course (you left out that alternative). Evidence is not clear. You are prepared to consider the possibility that he did not HAVE total control, and yet you are not prepared to consider the possibility that he did not WANT total control.

dhw: That is the point at issue, and still you refuse to consider the possibility that he did not WANT total control.

I have never thought He was not in full control. My statement of viruses as a 'side effect' certainly suggests the option that His control was not complete, but that has two interpretations: He did mean to lose total control or He didn't mean it. Om balance He demonstrates extraordinary purpose which still support full control.

Evolution: baleen whales once had teeth

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 10, 2018, 20:24 (72 days ago) @ David Turell

They came from toothed animals and now have baleen filters to use for feeding. they look like a venitian blind set of slats:

https://phys.org/news/2018-05-ancient-skull-early-baleen-whale.html

"Today's baleen whales (Mysticetes) support their massive bodies by filtering huge volumes of small prey from seawater using comb-like baleen in their mouths much like a sieve. But new evidence reported in the journal Current Biology on May 10 based on careful analysis of a 34-million-year-old whale skull from Antarctica—the second-oldest "baleen" whale ever found—suggests that early whales actually didn't have baleen at all. Their mouths were equipped instead with well-developed gums and teeth, which they apparently used to bite large prey.

"'Llanocetus denticrenatus is an ancient relative of our modern gentle giants, like humpback and blue whales," says Felix Marx of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. "Unlike them, however, it had teeth, and probably was a formidable predator."

"'Until recently, it was thought that filter feeding first emerged when whales still had teeth," adds R. Ewan Fordyce at the University of Otago in New Zealand. "Llanocetus shows that this was not the case."

***

"'Instead of a filter, it seems that Llanocetus simply had large gums and, judging from the way its teeth are worn, mainly fed by biting large prey," Marx says. "Even so, it was huge: at a total body length of around 8 meters, it rivals some living whales in size."

"The findings suggest that large gums in whales like Llanocetus gradually became more complex over evolutionary time and, ultimately, gave rise to baleen. That transition probably happened only after the teeth had already been lost and whales had switched from biting to sucking in small prey—as many whales and dolphins now do. Marx and Fordyce suggest that baleen most likely arose as a way to keep such small prey inside the mouth more effectively.

***

"Soft tissues, including baleen, normally rot away, making it difficult to study their evolution. As a result, researchers must rely on indicators preserved on the bones, such as tell-tale grooves or lumps indicating the position of a muscle, or holes for the passage of particular blood vessels and nerves.

"'Llanocetus presents a lucky combination, where the shape of the bones, small features suggesting the course of soft tissues, and tooth wear all combine to tell a clear story," Fordyce says. "Crucially, Llanocetus is also extremely old and lived at the very time when Mysticetes first appeared. As such, it provides a rare window into the earliest phase of their evolution."

"In the new study, Fordyce and Marx found that the broad rostrum of Llanocetus had sharp, widely spaced teeth with marked tooth wear suggesting that they were used to bite and shear prey. As in living Mysticetes, the palate bears many grooves, which have commonly been interpreted as evidence for baleen. However, the researchers showed that those grooves instead converged on the bony tooth sockets, suggesting a peri-dental blood supply to well-developed gums, rather than racks of baleen.

"The findings show that the evolution of filter feeding wasn't as straightforward as previously thought, the researchers say. They'd now like to sort out when filter feeding and baleen first evolved.

"'The giants of our modern ocean may be gentle, but their ancestors were anything but," Marx says. "Llanocetus was both large and a ferocious predator and probably had little in common with how modern whales behave.'"

Comment: Another example of the enormous changes that had to occur to produce today's whales

Evolution: insect explosion much like the Cambrian

by David Turell @, Monday, May 14, 2018, 21:00 (68 days ago) @ David Turell

There is a million year gap in insect evolution with several types appearing all at once, just like the Cambrian, with no known precursors:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mysterious-insect-fossil-gap-explained/?utm_...

"Yet there are none whatsoever in the known fossil record between 385 million and 325 million years ago. The earliest known insect fossil is a 385-million-year-old wingless creature that looks like a silverfish. But for the next 60 million years there is not so much as a single dragonfly, grasshopper or roach.

"This so-called hexapod gap has long vexed paleontologists, given that insects today are found in almost every imaginable land habitat. One hypothesis suggests that chokingly low oxygen levels kept insect diversity from soaring during the gap and that these creatures proliferated only once the life-giving gas increased.

"But advances in the understanding of atmospheric oxygen levels are challenging that idea, explains Sandra Schachat, a paleoentomologist at Stanford University, who led a recent study that modeled the gas's availability during the hexapod gap. Atmospheric oxygen at the time was much higher than once believed, according to the research.

***

"Schachat and her team combed through fossil information from a public paleontology database and realized there was something special about many of the insect fossils that came after the gap: they had wings. This was likely the trait that helped hexapod diversity take off; winged insects can zip away from predators and get at otherwise unreachable foods such as leaves and other insects. “The gap is simply the tail end of a larger interval in which insects are very rare on the landscape because wings had not yet originated,” Schachat says.

"The mystery now bugging Schachat is how insect wings evolved at all; the earliest flying insects found after the gap seem to have already been very diverse. “The two very first winged insects that we have in the fossil record—they're about as different from each other as you could imagine,” she says. The origins of wings, then, must lie within the gap itself. Lurking somewhere in it, there may be undiscovered fossils that could reveal how insects became the first animals to take to the skies."

Comment: Evolutionary theory now faces three gaps: the Cambrian explosion, the insect gap and the plant bloom, all preceded by time intervals in which no obvious precursor is present. It is very obvious evolution was not a gradual process but very much proceeded in a staccato fashion.

Evolution: arriving on land

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 02, 2018, 18:39 (49 days ago) @ David Turell

The mass Devonian extinction in the oceans may have driven partially air-breathing animals onto land by using estuaries:

https://phys.org/news/2018-06-stable-isotopes-earliest-tetrapods-euryhaline.html

"A team of researchers from several institutions in France and China has found evidence that some of the earliest creatures to walk on land likely emerged from estuaries or deltas. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes studying certain stable isotopes in fossil specimens to determine the salinity in which they lived.

"Back in 1929, a team of researchers discovered the fossilized remains of Ichthyostega, a tetrapod that was believed to be among the first creatures to walk on land. Since that time, similar types of remains have been found in places like Greenland and China. Study has shown the creatures were able to live both on land and in water—they had four legs, tails for swimming and gills. But until now, scientists reported difficulty in figuring out if the water they came from was fresh or salty (suggesting an ocean existence). In this new effort, the researchers tested 51 ancient fossilized tetrapod bones as a new way to find the answer to this question.

"The team studied sulfur and oxygen isotopes. Seawater has more sulfur-34 compared to sulfur-32 than freshwater. Since both wind up in the bones of creatures that live in water, the researchers studied the ratios in the fossilized bones. They found that the ratios fell closer to seawater. But in studying oxygen isotopes, they found that the creatures were also exposed to freshwater. The evidence suggests that the tetrapods lived part of the time in seawater and part of the time in freshwater. Such places today include estuaries and river deltas. To further bolster their theory, they tested modern creatures that live in such places and found a near match.

"Adding to the story, the fossilized remains have been dated back to approximately 365 million years ago, which was towards the end of the Devonian Period—just prior to the mass extinction of ocean dwelling creatures. The ability to live in both fresh water and sea water, the researchers note, would have given the tetrapods a leg up, so to speak—they would have been able to survive in both types of water and sometimes on land. "


Comment: why did seagoing animals have the ability to breath air in advance of the mass extinction? Good ,luck or God?

Evolution: arriving on land

by dhw, Sunday, June 03, 2018, 09:39 (48 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: why did seagoing animals have the ability to breath air in advance of the mass extinction? Good luck or God?

Those that had already ventured onto land had already adapted to life out of the water, and those that hadn’t adapted went extinct. Sounds perfectly natural to me.

Evolution: arriving on land

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 03, 2018, 18:46 (48 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: why did seagoing animals have the ability to breath air in advance of the mass extinction? Good luck or God?

dhw: Those that had already ventured onto land had already adapted to life out of the water, and those that hadn’t adapted went extinct. Sounds perfectly natural to me.

You are assuming an advanced adaptation. Either an air bladder or rudimentary lungs must be available to stay awhile on land. How does adaptation occur in such an unfriendly environment? Multiple beneficial mutations are necessary. Not by chance.

Evolution: arriving on land

by dhw, Monday, June 04, 2018, 13:09 (47 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: why did seagoing animals have the ability to breath air in advance of the mass extinction? Good luck or God?

dhw: Those that had already ventured onto land had already adapted to life out of the water, and those that hadn’t adapted went extinct. Sounds perfectly natural to me.

DAVID: You are assuming an advanced adaptation. Either an air bladder or rudimentary lungs must be available to stay awhile on land. How does adaptation occur in such an unfriendly environment? Multiple beneficial mutations are necessary. Not by chance.

But these adaptations DID occur! And I am not saying they occurred by chance! And I keep repeating that all the cell communities of which organisms are composed must cooperate to enable such adaptations to occur. In most cases, the cell communities are incapable of mastering the “unfriendly environment”, and so they go extinct. According to you, your God either forecast each environmental change 3.8 billion years ago and provided a computer programme for 1% of organisms to switch on and be saved, or he said to himself: “Whoops, looks like there’s a mass extinction on the way. I’d better fiddle with a few critters so they can carry on breathing. Otherwise, life won’t survive until I’m able to design the sapiens brain.” But you have the right to believe what you will.

Evolution: arriving on land

by David Turell @, Monday, June 04, 2018, 14:15 (47 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: why did seagoing animals have the ability to breath air in advance of the mass extinction? Good luck or God?

dhw: Those that had already ventured onto land had already adapted to life out of the water, and those that hadn’t adapted went extinct. Sounds perfectly natural to me.

DAVID: You are assuming an advanced adaptation. Either an air bladder or rudimentary lungs must be available to stay awhile on land. How does adaptation occur in such an unfriendly environment? Multiple beneficial mutations are necessary. Not by chance.

dhw: But these adaptations DID occur! And I am not saying they occurred by chance! And I keep repeating that all the cell communities of which organisms are composed must cooperate to enable such adaptations to occur. In most cases, the cell communities are incapable of mastering the “unfriendly environment”, and so they go extinct. According to you, your God either forecast each environmental change 3.8 billion years ago and provided a computer programme for 1% of organisms to switch on and be saved, or he said to himself: “Whoops, looks like there’s a mass extinction on the way. I’d better fiddle with a few critters so they can carry on breathing. Otherwise, life won’t survive until I’m able to design the sapiens brain.” But you have the right to believe what you will.

Of course adaptations occurred. I have my thoughts and keep debating the one's you have a right to have.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 07:50 (151 days ago) @ dhw

Sometimes I think we zoom to far in when we are looking at the subject. In this case, what looks like fierce competition when viewed closely appears as wonderful harmony when we step back and look at the ecosystems as a whole. Perhaps the 'competitive' element is there as a product to prevent the degradation of the species through laziness and glut.

In this sense, it is little different than the idea of Capitalism. Through competition we improve both quality and efficiency of what we have to offer. Some businesses fail, some thrive, but in the end, it there is a net gain to the larger society.

If that is true, it would make sense that God would preprogram that concept, as it would cover a multitude of behaviors and provide multiple benefits both to the species and the ecosystem.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 12:04 (151 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: Sometimes I think we zoom to far in when we are looking at the subject. In this case, what looks like fierce competition when viewed closely appears as wonderful harmony when we step back and look at the ecosystems as a whole. Perhaps the 'competitive' element is there as a product to prevent the degradation of the species through laziness and glut.

In this sense, it is little different than the idea of Capitalism. Through competition we improve both quality and efficiency of what we have to offer. Some businesses fail, some thrive, but in the end, it there is a net gain to the larger society.

If that is true, it would make sense that God would preprogram that concept, as it would cover a multitude of behaviors and provide multiple benefits both to the species and the ecosystem.

Delighted to have you contributing again, and once more my thanks for your New Year message.

The above, as usual, is a thought-provoking argument, but (also as usual) it leads to a lot of questions. Which species and which ecosystems are you looking at as a whole? Ecosystems have come and gone throughout the history of life, and although I know you dispute the figure of 99%, you will not dispute that vast numbers of species have gone extinct - the most extreme form of “degradation”! So net gain for which species and which ecosystem?

You might apply the same argument to capitalism. Which “larger society” are you thinking of? And one might even ask which form of capitalism? In most societies and under most systems it seems that the rich get richer, whether they are capitalist industrialists or socialist government officials, while the poor get poorer. Theoretically (that word needs huge emphasis) the socialist ideal, whereby those in power take good care of the rest of us, should “result in a net gain to the larger society”, shouldn’t it? Whereas capitalism focuses firmly on the wealth of the individual. But typically, I’m not taking sides. There are good and bad ramifications with both systems, and as I see it, all systems are only as humanitarian and as ecologically efficient as the people who run them.

If God exists, I would hesitate to guess what system he would favour. If he is all-powerful, as many religious people assume, I guess a benign dictatorship would be his preferred option!

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 14:54 (151 days ago) @ dhw

We don't know how many have gone extinct, but it isn't the number I would argue about. What's worth arguing about is WHY they went extinct.

Let's categorize these into three groups: those that went extinct naturally, those that went extinct through natural cataclysm, and those that went extinct due to human activity.

The latter category we can scratch from this discussion entirely, because their extinction was enacted by an intelligent (and I use the word loosely) enemy. We may also scratch catastrophies, as they would bypass the 'evolutionary' mechanism.

That leaves the category of those that went extinct naturally, without unnatural excessive interference. This is generally the province of natural selection with it's survival of the fittest. If we examine each biological niche and role, we could likely determine a biological TODO list of events that must happen for the continuation of life. We would also likely find that those organisms which best fill that todo list are the ones that survive, much as happens to business when exposed to free market forces.

At any rate,the point was, what if we examine organisms through the lens of an ecological roles, and their efficacy at filling that role, instead of looking first at the individual organism.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 13:17 (150 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: We don't know how many have gone extinct, but it isn't the number I would argue about. What's worth arguing about is WHY they went extinct.

Let's categorize these into three groups: those that went extinct naturally, those that went extinct through natural cataclysm, and those that went extinct due to human activity.

The latter category we can scratch from this discussion entirely, because their extinction was enacted by an intelligent (and I use the word loosely) enemy. We may also scratch catastrophies, as they would bypass the 'evolutionary' mechanism.

That leaves the category of those that went extinct naturally, without unnatural excessive interference. This is generally the province of natural selection with it's survival of the fittest. If we examine each biological niche and role, we could likely determine a biological TODO list of events that must happen for the continuation of life. We would also likely find that those organisms which best fill that todo list are the ones that survive, much as happens to business when exposed to free market forces.

At any rate, the point was, what if we examine organisms through the lens of an ecological roles, and their efficacy at filling that role, instead of looking first at the individual organism.

I’m afraid I’m not quite sure what your point is. In your original post, you suggested that competition engendered harmony which prevented “degradation of the species through laziness and glut”, and it made sense for God to have programmed it because it provided a “multitude of benefits both to the species and the ecosystem”. I pointed out that vast numbers of species have gone extinct, and the ecosystem both local and global has been subjected to constant change. If God exists, I don’t have a problem with him setting up a system of competition – it fits in perfectly with my proposal that he gave organisms the means with which to follow their own evolutionary path. You also seem to be implying that natural extinction (probably through changes in living conditions) and natural catastrophes are not controlled by God, so all in all I can only see your post as supporting my own concept of evolution as a free-for-all. It benefited lots of different species and ecosystems in the past. Clearly the human species are current beneficiaries (while some do their best to wreck it all for others), and bacteria have never stopped benefiting.

Evolution, driven by dark DNA and hot spots?

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 08, 2018, 19:53 (135 days ago) @ dhw

The sand rat is opening up a whole hidden area of DNA that may drive evolution, and it does not follow Darwin's theory:

https://phys.org/news/2017-08-dark-dnathe-phenomenon-evolution.html

"Some animal genomes seem to be missing certain genes, ones that appear in other similar species and must be present to keep the animals alive. These apparently missing genes have been dubbed "dark DNA". And its existence could change the way we think about evolution.

"My colleagues and I first encountered this phenomenon when sequencing the genome of the sand rat (Psammomys obesus), a species of gerbil that lives in deserts. In particular we wanted to study the gerbil's genes related to the production of insulin, to understand why this animal is particularly susceptible to type 2 diabetes.

"But when we looked for a gene called Pdx1 that controls the secretion of insulin, we found it was missing, as were 87 other genes surrounding it. Some of these missing genes, including Pdx1, are essential and without them an animal cannot survive. So where are they?

"The first clue was that, in several of the sand rat's body tissues, we found the chemical products that the instructions from the "missing" genes would create. This would only be possible if the genes were present somewhere in the genome, indicating that they weren't really missing but just hidden.

"The DNA sequences of these genes are very rich in G and C molecules, two of the four "base" molecules that make up DNA. We know GC-rich sequences cause problems for certain DNA-sequencing technologies. This makes it more likely that the genes we were looking for were hard to detect rather than missing. For this reason, we call the hidden sequence "dark DNA" as a reference to dark matter, the stuff that we think makes up about 25% of the universe but that we can't actually detect.

"By studying the sand rat genome further, we found that one part of it in particular had many more mutations than are found in other rodent genomes. All the genes within this mutation hotspot now have very GC-rich DNA, and have mutated to such a degree that they are hard to detect using standard methods. Excessive mutation will often stop a gene from working, yet somehow the sand rat's genes manage to still fulfil their roles despite radical change to the DNA sequence. This is a very difficult task for genes.

"Most textbook definitions of evolution state that it occurs in two stages: mutation followed by natural selection. DNA mutation is a common and continuous process, and occurs completely at random. Natural selection then acts to determine whether mutations are kept and passed on or not, usually depending on whether they result in higher reproductive success. In short, mutation creates the variation in an organism's DNA, natural selection decides whether it stays or if it goes, and so biases the direction of evolution.

"But hotspots of high mutation within a genome mean genes in certain locations have a higher chance of mutating than others. This means that such hotspots could be an underappreciated mechanism that could also bias the direction of evolution, meaning natural selection may not be the sole driving force.

"So far, dark DNA seems to be present in two very diverse and distinct types of animal. But it's still not clear how widespread it could be. Could all animal genomes contain dark DNA and, if not, what makes gerbils and birds so unique? The most exciting puzzle to solve will be working out what effect dark DNA has had on animal evolution.

"In the example of the sand rat, the mutation hotspot may have made the animal's adaptation to desert life possible. But on the other hand, the mutation may have occurred so quickly that natural selection hasn't been able to act fast enough to remove anything detrimental in the DNA. If true, this would mean that the detrimental mutations could prevent the sand rat from surviving outside its current desert environment.

"The discovery of such a weird phenomenon certainly raises questions about how genomes evolve, and what could have been missed from existing genome sequencing projects. Perhaps we need to go back and take a closer look."

Comment: There are also reported hot spots in the human genome which are thought to have driven human evolution. Perhaps these are God's control points. We have much to still discover.

Evolution: a yeast translates DNA two ways

by David Turell @, Friday, June 15, 2018, 19:06 (36 days ago) @ David Turell

DNA is supposed to have one mode of translating bases. This yest has two ways:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180614213814.htm

"DNA is often referred to as the blueprint for life, however scientists have for the first time discovered a microbe that uses two different translations of the DNA code at random. This unexpected finding breaks what was thought to be a universal rule, since the proteins from this microbe cannot be fully predicted from the DNA sequence.

***

"It was originally thought that any given codon always results in the same amino acid -- just as dot dot dot always means S in morse code. GGA in the DNA for example translates as the amino acid glycine.

"However a collaboration between Dr Stefanie Mühlhausen and Professor Laurence Hurst at the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, and Martin Kollmar and colleagues at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany have now described the first -- and unexpected -- exception to this rule in a natural code.

"The group examined an unusual group of yeasts in which some species have evolved an unusual non-universal code. While humans (and just about everything else) translate the codon CTG as the amino acid leucine, some of the species of yeast instead translate this as the amino acid serine whilst others translate it as alanine.

"This is odd enough in itself. But the team was even more surprised to find one species, Ascoidea asiatica, randomly translated this codon as serine or leucine. Every time this codon is translated the cell tosses a chemical coin: heads for leucine, tails it's serine.

***

"'This is the first time we've seen this in any species.

"'We were surprised to find that about 50 per cent of the time that CTG is translated as serine, the remainder of the time it is leucine.

"'The last rule of genetics codes, that translation is deterministic, has been broken. This makes this genome unique -- you cannot work out the proteins if you know the DNA."

***

"Dr Martin Kollmar, from the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen said: "We found that Ascoidea asiatica, is unusual in having two sorts of tRNAs for CTG -- one which bridges with leucine and one which bridges with serine.

"'So when CTG comes to be translated, it randomly picks one of the two tRNAs and hence randomly picks between serine and leucine."

"Dr Stefanie Mühlhausen from The Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath added: "Swapping a serine for leucine could cause serious problems in a protein as they have quite different properties -- serine is often found on the surface of the protein whereas leucine is hydrophobic and often buried inside the protein.

"'We looked at how this strange yeast copes with this randomness and found that A. asiatica has evolved to use the CTG codon very rarely and especially avoids key parts of proteins."
The researchers estimate that the random encoding is 100 million years old, but other closely related species evolved to lose this potentially problematic trait.

"Dr Martin Kollmar said: "It's unclear why A. asiatica should have retained this stochastic encoding for so long. Perhaps there are rare occasions when this sort of randomness can be beneficial.'"

Comment: This article suggests DNA had more than one way of translation 100 million years ago. Perhaps that variability helped drive evolution.

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