Yeah …a little trial and error, plus hot and cold… wet or dry conditions and you get happy new plants and animals.
Ha ha, that made me chuckle. I know it looks like I’m just challenging here, but I’m deeply curious about the process being hypothesized in evolution. I feel I don’t quite grasp what is being claimed in the first place.
I’ve learned it’s not adaptation per se but rather something like,
“Things die that can’t survive and others that can, continue on; then they spread the feature in them that made them survive to others and everyone survives who acquires the new feature and others die that don’t. Then the surviving animal becomes the type of animal that has this new feature.”
What I’m wondering about is the process. It seems to me that there is a kind of basic element that makes itself into anything. (Or at least, into all the features of all living organisms that have ever been on this planet.) Hence my ‘super clay’. I don’t mean that as a jab. It’s a genuine analogy. It seems to me you must posit:
a) The super clay
b) A natural software of self-organization built into the super clay.
To me, that looks like the work of intelligence; not a blind, random universe.
Modern day evolution would actually agree with you prokaryots (that is bacteria) cannot change into anything other than a prokaryot.
We didn’t descend from bacteria. We descended from eukaryoets, which you’ll find in algae and yeast. We are still eukaryots. If you compare a human cell, indeed, any cell from any multicellular lifeform on earth, with a yeast cell, you’d find vast architectural similarities.
The notion of species isn’t exact scientific, and in the theory of evolution it is replaced with a much more precise notion of cladistics.
The eukaryots in a succession of clades, became sinapsids.
The sinapsids didn’t stop being eukaryots in any sense of the world. They were eukaryots, and their cells have all the inherented essence of the eukaryots in them.
The sinapsids are the common ancestor of mammals and reptiles. Its morpheology and the topology of its bone structure, is inherited across both mammals and reptiles. All mammals and all reptiles are sinapsids. They have bilateral symmetry, they have two front limbs, two hind limbs, both have five (or less) appendages at the end of each limb, and a tail (we still have a tailbone).
Sinapsids -> Cynodonts -> Simians -> Apes -> Great Apes -> Hominids -> Humans
Humans are hominids, like the Neanderthals, Homo Habiensis, Homo Australiphicus, Homo Hobiensis… All of the hominids are Great Apes. Each successive step backwards brings us into a bigger group of familial relations.
So evolution doesn’t proceed by turning something into something fundementally different. It succeeds by successive corruptions to use some terms from the great St. Thomas Aquinas (who had some speculations along these lines), by producing ever varying sub categories of being.
Tldr; A prokaryot will only ever become a prokaryot. But since our species is a prokaryot, there’s nothing preventing an early eukaryot from becoming us.
I’m hesitant to describe life in completely mechanistic terms. I go more with the scholastic approach to life. And there doesn’t seem to be any argument that life is forced to merely clone itself. It seems quite possible that life can have a means of changing its predisposition to give rise to the same essence, by introducing changes (St. Aquinas called them corruptions - though the meaning for him isn’t value laden), that would produce more subcategories of the same species.
Now, according to the Malthusian principle we have limited resources in the world but exponentially increasing competitors for those resources, ergo there will be conflict and competition between them.
Some of the subcategories of the species will perform worse or better. If some perform better, they bred more, and since their descendents tend to inherit their parents essence, they get similar abilities. Ergo their line of offspring will do better, and their particular variation will start to dominate.
This is kind of obvious, but does become clear with both mathematical models and experiments.
Your problem seems to be the origin of the first life capable of self-replicating. That is a problem. True. No one knows how the first life was made. Whether God directly created it, or whether God created the circumstances for it and it arose naturally.
At any rate the theory of evolution deals with explaining the ongoing changing of the species of the Earth, which we see in the geological record. As well as explaining the biogeographical distribution of lifeforms. Explaining the similarities of morphology in the fossil record, and amongst extant living species. Explaining the similarities in the DNA sequences.
And it goes beyond merely giving a metanarrative, it gives even the ability to figure out where to look for further similarities.
Mutations are random, so they will introduce a lot of random stuff. Some is bad for you (deleterious mutations), some has no effect (neutral mutations) and a little is good for you (beneficial mutations). Included in those beneficial mutations are the beginnings of those “features you don’t have”.
Given something that is useful/beneficial then natural selection will spread it through the population.
DNA undergoes random mutations. Natural selection selects those variants which are advantageous in the current environment. Thick fur is advantageous at the poles, less so at the equator. The DNA of an organism reflects the environment in which that organism lives.
In the case of lungs/gills/etc. they allow the organism to grow larger than simple oxygen diffusion would allow. Flatworms (Platyhelminthes) have to stay flat because they work by diffusion, so every part of their body has to be near the surface. They have neither lungs nor a heart.
I’m pretty sure God created it. Dead molecules bumping into each other can’t just turn “alive” or develop a code capable of creating every species of plant and animal that has existed.
But no, I wasn’t just inquiring about the origin of life. I know science has no answer for that. I really was inquiring about evolution. Given what you’ve written to me and the other poster, and given what @rossum has written to me above, I think I still think DNA qualifies as a super clay or at least a super code.
I imagine it’s like the code system of a safe. You get a certain series of numbers, you express some quality; they add up somehow and become a new feature as per natural selection pressures etc. But you can’t get a new number that’s not in the prior set numbers of the code.
For example, if its three places, each with 0 to 4, you can get any combination of numbers limited to 1 and 4 in those three places. Potentially millions of combinations (I have no idea, I haven’t calculated it, just guessing–in addition to not being a Biologist, I’m also not a Mathematician!)
But you can’t suddenly get 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9, just coz its now needed or would be useful.
Don’t you guys think that the code then carries in itself, from the beginning, all the potential for every feature of plants and animals that have ever existed?
And how then can this be, without an intelligence behind it? It seems like a super clay designed with this super ability to live in every corner and climate of Earth. Is that not a marvellous technology by a far superior intelligence right there?
Exactly! You are identifying one of the philosophical bases on which evolution rests.
Evolution isn’t science but rather an interpretation of the science that serves the purposes of society in explaining not merely our origins, but what we are and why we are. On the basis of those answers, we justify our actions and thereby determine who we will be. This and similar attitudes are pervasive and it is unsettling to those who think and know otherwise to see them voiced in the media and in the school system as the science of evolution.
The belief is unconscious for the most part, which is what one sees when Hawking tells philosophers that they have not kept up with science and their art is dead. Perhaps it goes back to the Cartesian dichotomy of mind and matter, but the tendency is to assume that empiricism is pretty much the only way to the truth, the corollary being that matter is the fundamental reality.
Of course there are other perspectives, other ways to put the facts of science together, and they come together beautifully in total coherence with the teachings of the church, revealing the glory of God and the intimate relationship He has with mankind, within a creationist understanding, among which Intelligent Design here has found support.
I would take an existential approach, which in other words means that the soul or spirit is primary. For example, a Malthusian principle is not among the laws that define physics or chemistry. It has to do with the relationship of a whole creature with its environment. There exist different levels of being, from atoms in themselves, bacteria, which arise as individual expressions of their own kind, the various plants, animals and we ourselves. Existence essentially being relational as a self-other connection, each being is defined by its relationships. What exists are individual members, whose interactions form a greater whole system in itself. In terms of ourselves, there is one humanity united in love, broken in sin.
It isn’t called the Malthusian principle in the litterature, mostly because it is something that is considered so obvious there’s no point in describing it. All it means is that organisms replicate exponentially if they have resources, and that there are finite resources, ergo competition for resources arises.
This is not a philosophical principle, if by that you mean a principle which we are free to deny or accept (which is a rather weird approach to philosophy to begin with). Its perfectly valid abstraction of empirical observation. We observe it in nature.
Darwin’s own and excellent example was that of a lawn.
I go with super code.
We here are sharing our thoughts. What we are communicating is information about the world from the perspective of our global understanding which makes sense of it.
As a knower who knows and imagines, we are discussing what it is that we are trying to know. What that is we can describe as that which God’s thoughts bring into being. In other words it is the reality of “information”, be it atoms, bacteria, plants, animals or ourselves.
Bercause we live in a world of stuff, we imagine that atoms are also some form of stuff rather than a basic collection of relational possibilities. The “information” that constitutes the carbon atom, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and others, is intergrated into an encompassing code that is DNA. That molecule is utilized within a cell, as part of an integrated system that is whole in itself. These can be understood as a hierarchy of codes contained within one another. So, the supercode is the person, containing those that define the various interrelated organ systems, their tissues, cells and biolchemistry. The psychological structure would be that segment of the supercode that underlies the material organization of the brain.
We can isolate the code that is DNA and manipulate it because, although it is an essential part of a living unity that is the cell, a being in itself, it can exist separate from that whole.
I would assert that we interpret nature in accordance to that principle.
I see the the loaves and the fishes. There is actually cooperation in nature; together the various forms of life create an environment they all ca share.
I’m not sure what you’re claiming. Do you believe that there are infinite resources in nature? Or that animals only reproduce precisely in such a way that their numbers remain constant?
Both would be false. There are finite resources.
Are you referring to the miracle given by Our Lord? That’s the exception and not the rule.
Perhaps an example might help understand what I mean. Let’s take bacteria and molds. You may not believe it, but ssume when the first of their kind came into being that they contained the capacity which most today still exhibit, of not only controlling their numbers through the chemicals they release, the amount of which in the local environment affects replication and the various proteins (antibiotics) they can produce to counteract what could be seen as a growing numbers of competitors, but in terms of the whole environment which they participate in forming, is the means by which balance is maintained. This order provides the basis of more complex forms of life.
Of course in a fallen world, which might be assumed to be the world as it must be, where individual beings are driven by self-interest, the scenario that you describe would apply. Nature is not totally corrupted and this is why for the most part things work out.
Evolution clearly describes some of the forces at work in the world in its pillars of random mutation of the genome and natural selection. In both cases these are desctructive. If that is all one sees, they must be transformed into what they are not; they do not explain diversity although they are good at explaining why cancer happens and takes over.
Which should read “can share”.
Interestingly, it is the rule, which we as principle causal agents in this fallen world, fail to abide by in pursuit of our own interest over willing the good of the other.
The scenario you describe prior to this was highly speculative. You’re free to postulate such mechanisms. But that amounts to a waving of the arms. Place any bacteria in a petrii dish cultured with its favorite food and it grows exponential until it starts coming up against various limits impeding its growth. (usually lack of nurishment)
In contrast we have good evidence of the competition for resources. Again, its virtually undeniable. If a species is introduced to an environment where it has no competitors, it will grow out of control until natural competitors arise.
So again, given that this is how life evolved on Earth, this is what we use to describe it with. There is no evidence that things were any different no matter how far back in the multi-million year long history of natural life.
So nothing you’ve said so far really amounts to a proper answer.
I think you’re reacting to an animosity there is in the Church against the writings of Malthus. And its true Malthus wrote a lot about population control, and wanted to encourage people to remain chaste to keep the population down. For various reasons the Church is arguing against that.
But that doesn’t extend to the notion that there are limited resources. That’s a matter of natural fact.
I have no idea what you’re talking about now. Animals are not living in a hippy utopia of sharing food with eachother, and tending to one another.
I have a feeling you imagine this was the case before the fall, across the world? I’d be wrong with that assumption?
On what empirical evidence do you base such a belief?
Me personally I’m agnostic as to the extent of the Garden of Eden, or even whether it was entirely an allegory for what actually took place. If it was a physical place, I believe its size and extent would have to be very small indeed. Probably no larger than a small city.
Small enough to leave absolutely no traces of itself behind.
I have a graduate degree on this subject, so the above is just sheer nonsense, is anti-science, and is also anti-Catholic as far as the Church’s teachings on this is concerned.
I used to take your position many many moons ago, but what I did was to keep and open mind and study. It’s too bad that you think scientists are fools and/or are dishonest, but since I worked in that field for many decades, and you couldn’t be further from the truth.
That’s not the kind of code I mean.
I’m saying: If everything came from one organism, and the process of diversification is through random mutations in the genes, then it necessarily means the original DNA contained in its code all the potential life forms that can be traced to it and all their features.
I say it’s super in the sense that it already has all life forms ever and all their features in that code in some way at the very beginning.
So in a sense, they were already created “in the beginning” and have only been waiting for the right time, place, and environment to come out and express or actualize the potentiality of their being.
I cannot understand how that could be seen as anything short of miraculous and as superb evidence of a Super intellect at work. Nature could not fashion such a code. It is a technology. The technology of life forms. Technology is the product of intellects, not of random collisions of blind, dead elements.
It sure does.
Thomas Aquinas had something else to say:
According to St. Thomas Aquinas: “The effect of divine providence is not only that things should happen somehow, but that they should happen either by necessity or by contingency. Therefore, whatsoever divine providence ordains to happen infallibly and of necessity happens infallibly and of necessity; and that happens from contingency, which the divine providence conceives to happen from contingency” ( Summa theologiae, I, 22,4 ad 1). In the Catholic perspective, neo-Darwinians who adduce random genetic variation and natural selection as evidence that the process of evolution is absolutely unguided are straying beyond what can be demonstrated by science. Divine causality can be active in a process that is both contingent and guided. Any evolutionary mechanism that is contingent can only be contingent because God made it so. An unguided evolutionary process – one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence – simply cannot exist because “the causality of God, Who is the first agent, extends to all being, not only as to constituent principles of species, but also as to the individualizing principles…It necessarily follows that all things, inasmuch as they participate in existence, must likewise be subject to divine providence” ( Summa theologiae I, 22, 2).
Would you consider the formation of stars an increase of entropy?
I’d like to know what the Big Bang exploded into. And the chemical composition of the Big Bang material just prior to detonation.
Indeed, it is a super code. We have only scratched the surface.