General discussion about evolution

Discussion in 'Why Science Is Wrong... About Almost Everything' started by David Bailey, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    The discussion following the latest podcast with Tim Freke and Richard Cox has raised yet again the question of whether natural selection is really the mechanism behinf (most) biological evolutionary change, or whether we need to look for a better mechanism - probably a non-material one.

    Here, for example is one amazing view of evolution. The author, Donald Hoffman, sticks to the principle of evolution by natural selection, but at what cost?



    The Discover Institute want to replace natural selection by Intelligent Design. I think this probably makes sense if you interpret Intelligent Design in its broadest sense, rather than taking a Christian perspective.

    The big problem is that natural selection only works if you have a smooth 'fitness landscape', so successive mutations can each be selected because the raise the fitness of the organism slightly.

    The problem is that mutations in DNA don't work like that. To create a protein with (say) 100 amino acid residues, you have to make a whole blizzard of mutations, and most of the steps along the way will not help the organism at all - so Natural Selection can't pick the right one. Only the last step or two can be guided by NS.

    Please discuss!

    David
     
  2. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I think the idea of "Intelligent Design" is silly and tautological. The proper question is whether there is design - that is a non-material intent behind material forms. And the moment you take this line the next question is whether there an animating intelligence/spirit. As an aspiring animist I think there is.

    On the subject of evolution, we need to distinguish between adaptation (think Galapagos finches for eg), intentional breeding for desired characteristics and the idea of virtuous transition from simple to complex states. All 3 ideas are used to denote evolution. I am not yet persuaded by the virtuous transition proposition because it seems to presume some moral virtue is inherent in greater complexity.

    In our case, we seem to have caught ourselves in a self-fulfilling loop. We alter our environment and then adapt to. Our populations increase and we develop more and more complex systems. But we could pause that loop and develop self-management and go toward less complexity.

    It strikes me that natural systems phase in and out of simple/complex expressions - eg climate changes and a jungle becomes a desert (arguably less complex than a jungle - but I am open to argument on this).

    But I do believe that consciousness evolves, possibly in a virtuous way, and naturally.
     
  3. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well it labels a particular idea - that biology is far, far too complex to be produced by natural selection. When I use the term ID, that is basically what I mean. The DI have done considerable scientific research to establish this point, and I think they have the right to supply the label - even though for me, the nature of that intelligence is still to be determined. I am most definitely not veering over into Christianity!

    This video illustrates the fact that biology is in a mess, so if you haven't listened before, I recommend it!


    Yes, except that in addition evolution involves many individuals, and I guess you also need something operating at the level of an entire species. The idea is more like Sheldrake's concept of a morphogenetic field. As far as I can tell, he intends this field to be conscious - not just another bit of machinery.

    The whole NDE phenomenon suggests strongly that we have an animating spirit (a much cleaner expression that 'soul') - maybe I will steal it from you.

    David
     
  4. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    Thank you. Downloaded the video and will watch it over the next few evenings. I like Sheldrake's essential idea, but haven't gone into the depth it deserves.

    Michael Cremo's Human Devolution is a very interesting read.

    The esoteric traditions with which I am familiar allow that life groups have their own governing spirits, and for some that's also a governing spirit of an ecosystem.

    A useful line of inquiry can be had via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nature_deities

    In Western Australia there is an orchid that mimics a female wasp and when a male wasp lands on it to copulate it dongs it on the head with a kind of soft hammer that deposits pollen. I think the idea that this has evolved via some mechanical process of chance is just so silly it is risible. This is clever and humorous.

    if you search youtube for 'the secret life of plants david attenborough' bunch of usefully videos come up.

    Also recommend Peter Wohlleben's 'The Hidden Life of Trees' (i have the audible version)
     

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