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Its counterintuitive – Dawkins

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Richard Dawkins expounds:

Of course, its counter intuitive you can get something from nothing. Of course common sense doesn’t allow you to get something for nothing! That’s why its interesting. Its got to be interesting to give rise to the universe at all. Something pretty mysterious had to give rise to the origin of the universe. You can dispute what is meant by nothing, but whatever it is, it is very very simple . . . (laughter) Why is that funny?

Bishop Thug Lyfe

Well I think it is a bit funny to try to define nothing!

Laughter – the best medicine for Dawkins!

Link: https://www.facebook.com/1057346700949990/videos/1223907387627253/

76 Replies to “Its counterintuitive – Dawkins

  1. 1
    News says:

    It’s interesting that Thug Lyfe thinks it’s funny to try to define “nothing.” Here’s Hugh Ross on that weasel word “nothing” in science and philosophy—it comes in nine varieties at least.

    It’s doubtful that any of them would prove of use to Dawkins or Lyfe.

  2. 2
    RexTugwell says:

    Here’s another version of Dawkins’ nothingness that’s pretty funny.

    It is literally nothing!

    If one is (un)fortunate enough to have read Lawrence Krauss’ book A Universe From Nothing, in which Dawkins wrote the Afterward, you’ll notice there is no bibliography and no footnotes or endnotes. Just sayin’

  3. 3
    Origenes says:

    Of course, its counter intuitive you can get something from nothing.
    [Dawkins]

    Dear Richard, besides a universe from nothing, there are more “counter intuitive” aspects to your materialism:

    Organization from chaos.
    Information from randomness.
    Free responsible rational agency capable of doing science from deterministic non-rational blind particles.

  4. 4
    mike1962 says:

    Consciousness from molecules

  5. 5
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Wine from water.

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    It’s amazing that Richard Dawkins reaches the same conclusion as the philosophers and theologians of the Catholic Church.

    God is utterly simple.

  7. 7
    mike1962 says:

    Mung,

    Something is.

    In the final analysis…

    It’s all one.

  8. 8
    Robert Byers says:

    It is counter intuitive to get something, indeed something cool, out of nothing. Its also counter intuitive to get glorious complexity from , nobel prize stuff, bits flying around and bumping into each other.

  9. 9
    Zachriel says:

    It’s counterintuitive that people are tracing complex orbits in space due to the combined effect of the Earth’s rotation and revolution. It’s counterintuitive that a seemingly solid table is actually mostly empty space. It’s counterintuitive that the Earth’s continents have moved over incredible stretches of time.

    Most interesting scientific findings are counterintuitive. If they were obvious, we wouldn’t have need to wait for science to describe them.

  10. 10
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel doesn’t seem to understand the term ‘counterintuitive’.

    Zachriel: It’s counterintuitive that people are tracing complex orbits in space due to the combined effect of the Earth’s rotation and revolution.

    Why would that be counterintuitive? Because intuition informs us that the earth must be unmovable?

    Zachriel: It’s counterintuitive that the Earth’s continents have moved over incredible stretches of time.

    Why would that be counterintuitive? Because the continents look so shiny and new?

    Zachriel: It’s counterintuitive that a seemingly solid table is actually mostly empty space.

    That “mostly empty space” is not empty, but instead filled with electromagnetic force fields (energy) and no one knows what that is. IOWs the main realization should be that we don’t know/understand what a table is made of.

    Zachriel: Most interesting scientific findings are counterintuitive.

    Especially in quantum mechanics, which you don’t mention, since it spells the ruination of physical realism.

  11. 11
    niwrad says:

    Mung #6

    “It’s amazing that Richard Dawkins reaches the same conclusion as the philosophers and theologians of the Catholic Church. God is utterly simple.”

    No. God is “simple” only in the sense of “indivisible” and “without parts”. Otherwise God is the most complex, because implies all the possibilities.

    Richard Dawkins does not at all reach the same conclusion as the Catholic Church or any other orthodox metaphysical tradition. He, like all evolutionists, is wrong because believes that more can come from less. The worst case of their more-from-less is indeed this all-from-nothing, which is “counterintuitive” indeed because is nonsense at the highest degree.

    They should stop to use the easy alibi of “counterintuitiveness” to sell their blatant absurdities.

  12. 12
    ppolish says:

    “Counterintuitive” is putting it mildly. Let’s be blunt – it is irrational and it is illogical . Disregards mountains & mountains of scientific evidence. “Counterintuitive”, please stop.

  13. 13
    Axel says:

    ppolish, paradoxes and oxymorons, eh ? Our atheist, secular-fundamentalist friends, those paragons of reason and logic, trying to confuse oxymorons with paradoxes !

    What a wonderful let-out for them, paradoxes will increasingly prove, in their own sorry eyes, as they sink further and further into madness and gratuitously UN-scientific and putatively metaphysical conjectures.

    They hate true paradoxes, genuinely veridical and meaningful oxymorons, whereby the worlds of Spirit and matter are seen to merge, the divine and the profane, are actually true, because it ‘knocks on the head’ once and for all, the notion that the divine mysteries must necessarily be false, since they defy the logic of our analytical intelligence, being quite beyond its scope.

    So, yes, ‘counter-intuitive is possibly their favourite, if extraordinarily shallow, ruse, to try and get away with nonsense. Yes, they really do believe in a whole array of Flying Spaghetti Monsters, and there’s no sign that they will cease to proliferate – if only to keep up with the ever-increasing, genuine paradoxes of physics.

  14. 14
    Axel says:

    It’s why they would never have discovered quantum mechanics in a million years. Why they should think that ‘intuition’ could save Reason’s bacon, how they can accept the reality of intuition – a psychic phenomenon – would defy the most fertile of imaginations. They’re trying to ‘go along’ to get along’, though they DEFINITIVELY ‘missed the boat’ with the discovery of QM.

  15. 15
    Me_Think says:

    Axel @ 14

    It’s why they would never have discovered quantum mechanics in a million years.

    Who do you think discovered Quantum Particles and created QM?

  16. 16
    Axel says:

    Max Planck, a Lutheran church sidesman all his life.

    Planck was very conservative in his thinking, so it went against the grain to accept what he found. But his research forced him, as an honest seeker, to accept his own findings.

    ‘It was Planck’s law of radiation that yielded the first exact determination—independent of other assumptions—of the absolute magnitudes of atoms. More than that, he showed convincingly that in addition to the atomistic structure of matter there is a kind of atomistic structure to energy, governed by the universal constant h, which was introduced by Planck. This discovery became the basis of all twentieth-century research in physics and has almost entirely conditioned its development ever since. Without this discovery it would not have been possible to establish a workable theory of molecules and atoms and the energy processes that govern their transformations. Moreover, it has shattered the whole framework of classical mechanics and electrodynamics and set science a fresh task: that of finding a new conceptual basis for all of physics.’
    Albert Einstein, “Max Planck in Memorium” (1948) – from Wikiquote.

    Someone claimed that Planck had told him he did not believe in a personal God who answered prayers, etc, however such quotes as this one, emphatically suggest someone was telling ‘porkies’ :

    ‘Long and tedious reflection cannot enable us to shape our decisions and attitudes properly; only that definite and clear instruction which we gain can form a direct inner link to God. This instruction alone is able to give us the inner firmness and lasting peace of mind which must be regarded as the highest boon in life. And if we ascribe to God, in addition to His omnipotence and omniscience, also the attributes of goodness and love, recourse to Him produces an increased feeling of safety and happiness in the human being thirsting for solace. Against this conception not even the slightest objection can be raised from the point of natural science, for as we pointed it out before, questions of ethics are entirely outside of its realm.’

    ‘No matter where and how far we look, nowhere do we find a contradiction between religion and natural science. On the contrary, we find a complete concordance in the very points of decisive importance. Religion and natural science do not exclude each other, as many contemporaries of ours would believe or fear. They mutually supplement and condition each other. The most immediate proof of the compatibility of religion and natural science, even under the most thorough critical scrutiny, is the historical fact that the very greatest natural scientists of all times — men such as Kepler, Newton, Leibniz — were permeated by a most profound religious attitude.’

    ‘Religion and natural science are fighting a joint battle in an incessant, never relaxing crusade against scepticism and against dogmatism, against disbelief and against superstition, and the rallying cry in this crusade has always been, and always will be: “On to God!”‘

  17. 17
    Axel says:

    It has been said that towards the end of his life he had become simply a deist, but such attrition by a spirit of cynicism towards the end of a very distinguished scientific career (in the case of Darwin, utterly misconceived), which had seen its heyday decades before, is not unusual, especially when the period was interrupted by a world war and the political regime of a deranged dictator, who proudly proclaimed barbarism to be admirable, having a purifying effect, and from whom the lives of themselves and their families were in danger. Planck’s son, I believe was executed, accused of being part of one of the plots to kill Hitler.

    Einstein’s career and beliefs followed a similar path. It all puts me in mind of the remark made by a British politician, the late Enoch Powell, to the effect that all political careers end in failure.

    Understandably, perhaps, having been lionized so greatly by the world in the heyday of their great successes, it seems that the geniuses of science tend to feel greatly let down – though the reality is, of course that their achievements in their younger days were epoch-making, and more than most men would dare to expect, never mind expect to continue to their dying breath. But then they were human, and the acclaim was obviously bound to become somewhat addictive.

    Anyway, both Planck and Einstein had been very scathing about the atheist, scientific Establishment of their day, and eulogized about Judaeo-Christian teachings – Einstein, notably, as the supreme purveyor of morality.

    My apologies for failing to correct in a timely way my seemingly erroneous assertions concerning Planck’s putative theism towards the end of his life.

    Incidentally, Below, Planck seems to suggest a faith-knowledge continuum, as evoked in some of the Psalms :

    ‘On the other hand, Planck wrote, “…’to believe’ means ‘to recognize as a truth,’

  18. 18
    Axel says:

    Sorry, Nirwad, I’ve just spotted your post, as the protocritic of ‘counterintuitiveness’ as an alibi for oxymoronic tosh.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Nice Einstein quote Axel.

    Of semi-related note

    Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1127450170601248/?type=2&theater

    Hitler Reacts to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlJYUIXAAQ8

  20. 20
    Me_Think says:

    Sorry Axel, it was Werner Karl Heisenberg who contributed most to QM, not Planck, which is why Heisenberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1932 for the creation of quantum mechanics Planck originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918

  21. 21
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Zachriel doesn’t seem to understand the term ‘counterintuitive’.

    We’re using the standard definition, contrary to common-sense expectation.

    Origenes: Why would that be counterintuitive? Because intuition informs us that the earth must be unmovable?

    Because the common-sense expectation for humans is that the Earth is fixed beneath their feet.

  22. 22
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: the common-sense expectation for humans is that the Earth is fixed beneath their feet.

    I’m not at all convinced that this is the case. Given the fact that the earth is free floating in space why would anyone expect that the earth is fixed? By what? A turtle?

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Given the fact that the earth is free floating in space why would anyone expect that the earth is fixed?

    You have been brought up in a culture steeped in science, and marinated from an early age in images of the Earth “floating in space”. It’s not intuitive, but the result of living in modern society.

  25. 25
    Axel says:

    Sorry Me_Think, theory precedes mechanics/embodiment. In any case, Heisenberg was evidently a theist.

    I’d like to say, ‘Nice try’, Me_Think, but I don’t want to soft-soap you. It wasn’t that germane, in any case, was it ?

  26. 26
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Origenes: “I’m not at all convinced that this is the case. Given the fact that the earth is free floating in space why would anyone expect that the earth is fixed? By what? A turtle?”

    In fact, that is what many North American natives believed.

  27. 27
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel, as a prerequisite to have intuition about something there must be an adequate perception of that object. IOWs without the perception of ‘the Earth floating in space’ intuition has no chance whatsoever to make sense. That’s why I wrote: “Given the fact that the earth is free floating in space why would anyone expect that the earth is fixed? By what? A turtle?

  28. 28
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: as a prerequisite to have intuition about something there must be an adequate perception of that object.

    Yes, and perception of the Earth was as a fixed object, not one where the motion of someone on the surface is a complex curve moving at high velocity.

    Origenes: “Given the fact that the earth is free floating in space why would anyone expect that the earth is fixed?

    Even assuming the Earth is free-floating — which is something that is not intuitive —, it’s counterintuitive that people on the Earth’s surface are tracing complex orbits in space due to the combined effect of the Earth’s rotation and revolution. Why else do you think it’s referred to as the Copernican Revolution?

  29. 29
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: Even assuming the Earth is free-floating (…), it’s counterintuitive that people on the Earth’s surface are tracing complex orbits in space due to the combined effect of the Earth’s rotation and revolution.

    Why? The opposite is true: given that the Earth is free-floating it is counterintuitive to think of the Earth as fixed. Fixed by what? A turtle?

  30. 30
    Axel says:

    Turtles all the way down, Origenes Adamantius. You should know that.

  31. 31
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel, let’s not equivocate between ignorance and intuition. For instance Darwin’s ignorance led him to endorse the view that the cell is a “lump of jelly-like substance” with “no trace of organization”. This nonsense is due to ignorance — based on inadequate perception — not intuition. Obviously we now know Darwin was dead wrong, based on an adequate perception of the cell.

    Similarly, without the perception of ‘the Earth floating in space’ intuition has no chance whatsoever to make sense.


    @30 🙂

  32. 32
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: let’s not equivocate between ignorance and intuition

    Then don’t. The human experience is of an Earth that is stable and fixed. It’s only through science that they know the Earth moves. The common-sense expectation for humans is that the Earth is fixed beneath their feet.

    Origenes: For instance Darwin’s ignorance led him to endorse the view that the cell is a “lump of jelly-like substance” with “no trace of organization”.

    From your own citation,

    Darwin: A cell is a complex structure

  33. 33
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: The human experience is of an Earth that is stable and fixed. It’s only through science that they know the Earth moves.

    Fixed by a turtle, I suppose. And no, science is not distinct from human experience.

    Zachriel: The common-sense expectation for humans is that the Earth is fixed beneath their feet.

    No, it’s actually counterintuitive and contra common-sense to hold that the Earth is fixed — by a turtle? — given the perception of the Earth free-floating in space.

    Zachriel:

    Origenes: For instance Darwin’s ignorance led him to endorse the view that the cell is a “lump of jelly-like substance” with “no trace of organization”.

    From your own citation,
    Darwin: A cell is a complex structure

    You should have read the entire article by Casey Luskin. Here the relevant part, for your convenience:

    Well, let’s take a closer look at that quote from Darwin. He said that the cell is “complex,” in part, because it has a “membrane, nucleus, and nucleolus.” It’s no surprise that Darwin knew about these cellular components, because they were visible to microscopes of that time. But does this mean he really appreciated or anticipated the complexity of the cell?
    The answer is a resounding no. Consider the article that Darwin approvingly cites in that quote, the one by G.H. Lewes in Fortnightly Review. Lewes serves as Darwin’s authority for the claim that the cell is “complex,” so let’s start by looking at what Lewes said about the protoplasm in that very article:

    The simplest form of organic life is not — as commonly stated — a cell, but a microscopic lump of jelly-like substance, or protoplasm, which has been named sarcode by Dujardin, cytode by Haeckel, and germinal matter by Lionel Beale. This protoplasm, although entirely destitute of texture, and consequently destitute of organs, is nevertheless considered to be an Organism, because it manifests the cardinal phenomena of Life: Nutrition, Reproduction, and Contractility. As examples of this simplest organism we may cite Monads, Vibriones, Protamoebae, and Polythalamia. Few things are more surprising than the vital activity of these organisms, which puzzle naturalists as to whether they should be called plants or animals. All microscopists are familiar with the spectacle of a formless lump of albuminous matter (a Rhizopod), putting forth a process of its body as a temporary arm or leg, or else slowly wrapping itself round a microscopic plant, or morsel of animal substance, thus making its whole body a mouth and a stomach; but these phenomena are as nothing to those described by Cienkowski, who narrates how one Monad fastens on to a plant and sucks the chlorophyl, first from one cell and then from another; while another Monad, unable to make a hole in the cell-wall, thrusts long processes of its body into the opening already made, and drags out the remains of the chlorophyl left there by its predecessor; while a third Monad leads a predatory life, falling upon other Monads who have filled themselves with food. Here, as he says, we stand on the threshold of that dark region where Animal Will begins; and yet there is here no trace of organisation.

    So protoplasm — which we now call “cytoplasm” and know to be full of cellular organelles, molecular machines, RNA molecules, enzymes, and numerous other crucial biomolecules — is considered by Darwin’s favored authority on the subject to be the “simplest form of organic life,” which is a “microscopic lump of jelly-like substance” that is “destitute of texture” and “destitute of organs” with “no trace of organization.” This same authority believed a eukaryotic organism like a Rhizopod is little more than a “formless lump of albuminous matter.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement or appreciation of the complexity of the cell.

  34. 34
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Science is not distinct from human experience.

    Science is modern. Most of human history predates science, and predates knowledge of the Earth’s movement. If human’s common-sense expectation was that the Earth rotated and revolved, then it wouldn’t have had to be discovered.

    Origenes: it’s actually counterintuitive and contra common-sense to hold that the Earth is fixed

    That’s because you are steeped in modern culture. It’s something you would not intuit.

    Origenes: “But does this mean he really appreciated or anticipated the complexity of the cell?

    Darwin couldn’t have known what we know today about the cell. So? He explicitly stated the cell was complex, directly contradicting your claim above.

    Origenes: So protoplasm …

    Are you changing your claim? Darwin thought the cell protoplasm was not complex?

  35. 35
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: Science is modern.

    Nope, science is not restricted to modern times, but even so, modernity is not distinct from human experience.

    Zachriel: If human’s common-sense expectation was that the Earth rotated and revolved, (…)

    It is indeed common-sense to expect a moving Earth, given the perception of a free-floating earth.

    Zachriel:

    Origenes: it’s actually counterintuitive and contra common-sense to hold that the Earth is fixed — by a turtle? — given the perception of the Earth free-floating in space.

    That’s because you are steeped in modern culture.

    Nope, that’s not the reason at all.

    Zachriel: It’s something you would not intuit.

    Oh yes, I most definitely would.

    Zachriel: Darwin couldn’t have known what we know today about the cell. So?

    So, Darwin’s ignorance did the talking — not his intuition.

  36. 36
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Nope, science is not restricted to modern times,

    You can quibble over the nature of science, but science as a distinct discipline is modern.

    Origenes: but even so, modernity is not distinct from human experience.

    No, but it is modern.

    Origenes: It is indeed common-sense to expect a moving Earth, given the perception of a free-floating earth.

    Gee whiz, Origenes. There is no perception of a free-floating Earth.

    Psalm 104:5: “Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.”

    Origenes: I most definitely would.

    Sure you would — if only you knew then (thousands of years ago) what you know now.

    Origenes: Darwin’s ignorance did the talking — not his intuition.

    Your claim was patently false. Darwin said, “A cell is a complex structure”.

  37. 37
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: No, but it is modern.

    Modernity is modern … What is your point?

    Zachriel:

    Origenes: It is indeed common-sense to expect a moving Earth, given the perception of a free-floating earth.

    Gee whiz, Origenes. There is no perception of a free-floating Earth.

    Of course there is. And when there is this adequate perception then intuition and common sense informs us that it is likely that the Earth is in movement.
    Without adequate perception, ignorance takes over; see Darwin’s endorsement of nonsensical statements about the cell, post #33.

    Zachriel: Your claim was patently false. Darwin said, “A cell is a complex structure”.

    My claim is: Darwin’s ignorance led him to endorse the view that the cell is a “lump of jelly-like substance” with “no trace of organization”.
    Have you read the article already?

  38. 38
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Origenes, you insist that we perceive the earth to be free floating and not fixed. What is it that we see on a daily basis that allows us to perceive this? And don’t try to use the movement of the sun, moon and stars because man perceived this as evidence of a fixed earth for countless centuries longer than our recent knowledge of it moving in space.

  39. 39
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: My claim is: Darwin’s ignorance led him to endorse the view that the cell is a “lump of jelly-like substance” with “no trace of organization”.

    Which is clearly false as Darwin explicitly stated that a cell is a complex structure.

  40. 40
    Origenes says:

    Indiana Effigy,

    IE: Origenes, you insist that we perceive the earth to be free floating and not fixed.

    No, I insist that once we have the perception of the Earth as free-floating — once we have adequate perception —, intuition and common sense can then informs us that the Earth is moving. IOWs adequate perception is a prerequisite for intuition and common sense to function.
    Without adequate perception one can expect ignorance to take over; e.g. see Darwin’s endorsement of total nonsense; post#33.

  41. 41
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    For instance Darwin’s ignorance led him to endorse the view that the cell is a “lump of jelly-like substance” with “no trace of organization”.

    Those aren’t quotes from Darwin, nor are they statements that Darwin quoted.
    I wouldn’t assume that because Darwin quotes from part of an article that he agrees with everything in the article. I would rather quote Darwin, or quote stuff that Darwin has quoted, to get insight into what Darwin believes.

    Here’s an example of Darwin talking about cells:
    “We cannot fathom the marvellous complexity of an organic being; but on the hypothesis here advanced this complexity is much increased. Each living creature must be looked at as a microcosm – a little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars in heaven.”

    A marvelous complexity that we cannot fathom. Each living creature is like a little universe.
    Hmm, kinda hard to twist that into cells being an organized lump. I guess it is best you avoid anything from Darwin if you want to advance your argument.

  42. 42
    Axel says:

    Neither of you, Zachriel and goodusername, are even addressing the subject.

    ‘Here’s an example of Darwin talking about cells:
    “We cannot fathom the marvellous complexity of an organic being; but on the hypothesis here advanced this complexity is much increased. Each living creature must be looked at as a microcosm – a little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars in heaven.”’

    Of the cell, he merely states that they are self-propagating, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven. All the rest is about ‘the little universe of cells’ of the ORGANIC BEING and the LATTER’S complexity.

    You must not confuse the properties of the organism with one of the cells constituting it. A massive blunder.

  43. 43
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername: Those aren’t quotes from Darwin, nor are they statements that Darwin quoted.

    Those are statements which Darwin endorsed, which has been my claim all along.

    When Darwin and his contemporaries refer to the cell as ‘complex’, they do not have anything in mind that correlates with the astounding specified complexity that has been discovered since the mid-20th century. Famously Ernst Haeckel called the cell a “simple little lump of albuminous combination of carbon”.

    It seems to me that, in Darwin’s days, complexity was thought to reside above the level of the cell.
    For instance Darwin believed that inherited traits did not stem from cells, but from “gemmules” which were shed by the organs of the body, collected in the bloodstream and then carried to the reproductive organs.

    Wiki: Gemmules were imagined particles of inheritance proposed by Charles Darwin as part of his Pangenesis theory. This appeared in his book The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, published in 1868, nine years after the publication of his famous book On the Origin of Species.
    Gemmules, also called plastitudes or pangenes, were assumed to be shed by the organs of the body and carried in the bloodstream to the reproductive organs where they accumulated in the germ cells or gametes. They thus provided a possible mechanism for the inheritance of acquired characteristics, as proposed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, which Darwin believed to be a cause of the observed variation in living organisms.

  44. 44
    Zachriel says:

    Axel: You must not confuse the properties of the organism with one of the cells constituting it.

    Darwin: “A cell is a complex structure”.

    If you want to argue the cell is much more complex than Darwin knew, then sure. However, arguing against his explicit statement on the subject is not convincing.

  45. 45
    Zachriel says:

    Indiana Effigy: Origenes, you insist that we perceive the earth to be free floating and not fixed. What is it that we see on a daily basis that allows us to perceive this?

    Origenes: I insist that once we have the perception of the Earth as free-floating — once we have adequate perception

    Again, what is that “adequate perception”?

  46. 46
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes,
    There is no frame of reference to perceive that Earth is free floating, which is why it is counter intuitive.

  47. 47
    goodusername says:

    Axel,

    Of the cell, he merely states that they are self-propagating, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven. All the rest is about ‘the little universe of cells’ of the ORGANIC BEING and the LATTER’S complexity.
    You must not confuse the properties of the organism with one of the cells constituting it. A massive blunder.

     
    It’s not clear from the quote, but the “hypothesis” he’s referring to there is his hypothesis of pangenesis.  Those “self-propagating organisms” that are “inconceivably minute” and “as numerous as the stars in heaven” he refers to aren’t the cells – but the gemmules within cells.  That’s why he says that with the “hypothesis here advanced” that the “complexity is much increased,” because he’s proposing that there’s far more going on in cells than anyone imagined.
    (The notion that there are a lot of small reproducing cells would not be news to most people.)

    Origenes,

    It seems to me that, in Darwin’s days, complexity was thought to reside above the level of the cell.
    For instance Darwin believed that inherited traits did not stem from cells, but from “gemmules” which were shed by the organs of the body, collected in the bloodstream and then carried to the reproductive organs.

    Well, to be more specific, he believed that the gemmules were in the cells of organs. But he also believed that the gemmules could leave the cell and move to other cells in the body. Thus each cell in the body, including gametes, collected gemmules from the other cells in the body. This is how he believed the gametes acquired the information to construct a whole body. He also believed that this happened throughout the lifetime of the body thus giving a mechanism for the inheritance of acquired characteristics. When it was found around the turn of the century that the gemmules (later named pangenes in honor of Darwin’s hypothesis and later shortened to “genes”) were more-or-less stuck in the center/nucleus of cells, most biologists gave up on the idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics.

  48. 48
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername,

    Your portrayal of Darwin’s position doesn’t quite capture the absurdness of his theory of heredity.

    Allow me to give it a go (the quotes are from Darwin online):

    1. Gemmules are emitted by every cell of the organism during all stages of life.

    Gemmules are supposed to be thrown off by every cell or unit, not only during the adult state, but during all the stages of development.

    2. Gemmules form aggregations and in doing so form buds or germs.

    Lastly, I assume that the gemmules in their dormant state have a mutual affinity for each other, leading to their aggregation either into buds or into the sexual elements. (…)
    The aggregation of gemmules derived from every part of the body, through their mutual affinity, would form buds, and their aggregation in some special manner, apparently in small quantity, together probably with the presence of gemmules of certain primordial cells, would constitute the sexual elements.
    (…)
    According to my view, the germs or gemmules of each separate part were not originally pre-formed, but are continually produced at all ages during each generation, with some handed down from preceding generations.

    3. Again, all the cells of the body are (by way of emitting gemmules) involved in producing germs.

    Hence, speaking strictly, it is not the reproductive elements, nor the buds, which generate new organisms, but the cells themselves throughout the body.

  49. 49
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Your portrayal of Darwin’s position doesn’t quite capture the absurdness of his theory of heredity.

    Pangenesis, Darwin’s “provisional hypothesis”, was without much empirical support, but why do you call it absurd?

    Origenes: I insist that once we have the perception of the Earth as free-floating — once we have adequate perception

    Once again, what is that “adequate perception”?

  50. 50
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    Allow me to give it a go (the quotes are from Darwin online):

    You mostly just repeated stuff that I had just said.

    Your portrayal of Darwin’s position doesn’t quite capture the absurdness of his theory of heredity.

    Darwin, as far as I can tell, was the first to propose the idea that inheritance is (at least in many cases) non-blending (with pangenesis it often was and often wasn’t).

    Darwin was almost the first to propose that there are particles in cells that carry hereditary information (I believe Spencer barely beat him there).

    Was there something “absurd” about proposing that the particles circulate? Or that they are produced throughout the lifetime of the organism? Yes, it turns out that those ideas are wrong, but there was nothing absurd about the idea, and I doubt you’d say that it was if it was someone other than Darwin that proposed the hypothesis.

    IMO, Darwin’s hypothesis was rather remarkable considering how little was known about heredity – he did better than anyone else at least. In fact, the primary purpose of the hypothesis was to get the ball rolling on research on heredity – a field of study that really didn’t exist yet. Darwin recognized that the way to get people thinking about the field, and to start experimenting, was to propose a hypothesis. And it worked. Both Galton and Weismann performed tests to try to disprove pangenesis, and as a result both independently discovered the separation of the somatic and germ line. De Vries, who independently discovered “Mendel’s Laws” in the late 19th century with his own experiments, claims that it was Darwin’s hypothesis that inspired him to work in the field of heredity (and used the term “pangenes” in its honor).

  51. 51
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername,

    On the the absurdity of Darwin’s Pangenesis:

    All the cells of the body emit gemmules. Gemmules have a “mutual affinity for each other, leading to their aggregation” into germs.
    Now an obvious question presents itself: how could an aggregate of gemmules, stemming from all the cells of the body, form a coherent set of instruction wrt the embryonal development? What would developmental biology look like given randomly formed clusters of gemmules, which can contain nothing other than an incoherent mixture of information stemming from all directions? Is Pangenesis not in an obvious need for a mechanism that assigns the proper place in the aggregate to each and every gemmule?

  52. 52
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: What would developmental biology look like given randomly formed clusters of gemmules, which can contain nothing other than an incoherent mixture of information stemming from all directions?

    Why randomly formed? Why not each part of the body contributing to the whole? Pan-genesis means “whole-birth”.

    Origenes: I insist that once we have the perception of the Earth as free-floating — once we have adequate perception

    Once again, what is that “adequate perception”?

  53. 53
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel, there are obvious answers to all your “questions”. Try figuring things out by yourself.

  54. 54
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: there are obvious answers to all your “questions”.

    Great! Then it shouldn’t be a problem to let us know the answers to the questions @52.

  55. 55
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    All the cells of the body emit gemmules. Gemmules have a “mutual affinity for each other, leading to their aggregation” into germs.
    Now an obvious question presents itself: how could an aggregate of gemmules, stemming from all the cells of the body, form a coherent set of instruction wrt the embryonal development? What would developmental biology look like given randomly formed clusters of gemmules, which can contain nothing other than an incoherent mixture of information stemming from all directions? Is Pangenesis not in an obvious need for a mechanism that assigns the proper place in the aggregate to each and every gemmule?

    There were things that Darwin believed that the hypothesis had to be consistent with.  Each type of body part produces cells of a certain type (liver, heart, kidney, etc), but somehow each part of the body (particularly the gametes) also has the information for producing the whole body.

    So either each part of the body produces cells that have only the instructions to produce that part of the body, but also somehow gains the information for producing the other body parts; or, each cell of the body has the same set of instructions to begin with, yet, somehow knows to only use a sub-set of the instructions in order produce cells of a certain type. 

    How is the former any more absurd than the latter (except in light of relatively recent discoveries)?

    I’m not sure why you say that a cluster of gemmules would be randomly formed and contain an incoherent mixture of information.  Obviously there would need to be layers of complexity governing the movement of the gemmules and the development of the clusters.  Darwin recognized this which is why says that this hypothesis greatly increases our view of the level of complexity of the cell.  The countless gummules aren’t random, but behave as if a “little universe.”
    Is that why the hypothesis is absurd – because of the level of complexity it envisions?  Because that’s the complete opposite of your criticism of Darwin at the start of the convo.

    The alternative explanation, that each part the body has the same set of instructions, yet each somehow only produces cells of a certain type, also required levels of complexity to govern how each cell somehow knows to only execute certain sets of instructions. We’re still trying to figure out exactly how that happens.

    Darwin was trying to come up with solutions to problems that most people never imagined.  As mentioned, that was the point of the hypothesis – to get others to think about such issues and do experimenting:

    I am aware that my view is merely a provisional hypothesis or speculation; but until a better one be advanced, it may be serviceable by bringing together a multitude of facts which are at present left disconnected by any efficient cause. As Whewell, the historian of the inductive sciences remarks: “Hypotheses may often be of service to science, when they involve a certain portion of incompleteness, and even error”. Under this point of view I venture to advance the hypothesis of Pangenesis, which implies that every separate part of the whole organisation reproduces itself.

  56. 56
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername,

    Goodusername: Obviously there would need to be layers of complexity governing the movement of the gemmules and the development of the clusters.

    We seem to be in agreement. That’s why I wrote: “Is Pangenesis not in an obvious need for a mechanism that assigns the proper place in the aggregate to each and every gemmule?”. Our agreement is actually rather pleasant. There are ppl on this forum who do not understand something basic as this….
    If Darwin was aware of this obvious need for “governing the movement of the gemmules and the development of the clusters” and offered a mechanism of some sort then I was mistaken. However I haven’t noticed such awareness. All I found was ….

    Darwin: Lastly, I assume that the gemmules in their dormant state have a mutual affinity for each other, leading to their aggregation either into buds or into the sexual elements. (…)
    The aggregation of gemmules derived from every part of the body, through their mutual affinity, would form buds, and their aggregation in some special manner, apparently in small quantity, together probably with the presence of gemmules of certain primordial cells, would constitute the sexual elements.

    … which obviously does not include an attempt to offer a governing mechanism.
    Maybe you can point me to the relevant part of his theory?

  57. 57
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    We seem to be in agreement. That’s why I wrote: “Is Pangenesis not in an obvious need for a mechanism that assigns the proper place in the aggregate to each and every gemmule?”.

    I’m sure Darwin would be in agreement on that as well. It was very incomplete and speculative, as Darwin himself said numerous times in numerous ways.

    There are ppl on this forum who do not understand something basic as this….

    I doubt that.

    Who doesn’t realize that it was wrong and woefully incomplete?

    In fact, pangenesis is often ridiculed by people from all sides, which I think is kind of a shame cause it was remarkably insightful for its time.

    If Darwin was aware of this obvious need for “governing the movement of the gemmules and the development of the clusters” and offered a mechanism of some sort then I was mistaken. However I haven’t noticed such awareness. All I found was ….

    He didn’t offer a mechanism for how gemmules clustered – my guess is that’s because he had no idea of how that occured. Do you think there’s some other reason? I’m not sure what you’re trying to get at.

    Pangenesis left open many questions and was highly speculative.
    It was a hypothesis (Darwin didn’t even call it a theory) in a field that can hardly be said to even exist yet. Again, that’s why Darwin wanted to get the ball rolling of people thinking and experimenting in this area.  Hardly anyone was doing any work at all in that field at the time.
    That’s why Darwin was so admired by many of the early geneticists, such as De Vries, cause they recognized him as a founder of the field.  It’s no coincidence that “genes” and “genetics” etc derive from the name of Darwin’s hypothesis – as problematic and incomplete as it was.

  58. 58
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername: Obviously there would need to be layers of complexity governing the movement of the gemmules and the development of the clusters.

    On this insight we are in agreement. However there is a group of persons on this forum who do not agree.

    Goodusername: I doubt that.

    No really, they do exist. And their name is Zachriel.

    Zachriel:

    Origenes: What would developmental biology look like given randomly formed clusters of gemmules, which can contain nothing other than an incoherent mixture of information stemming from all directions? Is Pangenesis not in an obvious need for a mechanism that assigns the proper place in the aggregate to each and every gemmule?

    Why randomly formed? Why not each part of the body contributing to the whole? Pan-genesis means “whole-birth”.

    See? They don’t get it.
    – – –
    There is however another person who doesn’t get it… Nowhere in his chapter on Pangenesis does Darwin mention the problem which we both identify with ease. On the contrary, Darwin stresses the idea that gemmules are not ordered in any way, they are “free” and “thoroughly diffused”.

    The gemmules in each organism must be thoroughly diffused; nor does this seem improbable considering their minuteness, and the steady circulation of fluids throughout the body. (…)
    I assume that cells, before their conversion into completely passive or “formed material,” throw off minute granules or atoms [read: gemmules], which circulate freely throughout the system,

    [Darwin]

    Nowhere does Darwin stop and say that there (obviously) should be “layers of complexity governing the movement of the gemmules and the development of the clusters”. No, he envisions gemmules, thoroughly diffused and moving freely in the body, which form aggregates through “mutual affinity”, after all ” in all ordinary cases of sexual reproduction the male and female elements have a mutual affinity for each other”, next they reach the reproductive organs or form buds and “development apparently commences”.
    Yeah sure, what’s the problem?

    I hate to say it but Darwin and Zachriel are kindred spirits. And I maintain my assertion that the Pangenesis hypothesis is absurd.

  59. 59
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    See? They don’t get it.

    I must not either, cause I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    On the contrary, Darwin stresses the idea that gemmules are not ordered in any way, they are “free” and “thoroughly diffused”.

    Yeah, gemmules means that cells are more complex than we ever envisioned and each are like a little universe… you know… not ordered in any way. (?!)

    Nowhere in his chapter on Pangenesis does Darwin mention the problem which we both identify with ease. On the contrary, Darwin stresses the idea that gemmules are not ordered in any way, they are “free” and “thoroughly diffused”.

    I’m not sure where you read about pangenesis, but if you’re curious about the hypothesis I’d suggest the original source in Animals and Plants Under Domestication. You’ll see that he mentions such problems throughout the text, “What determines the aggregation of the gemmules within the sexual organs we do not in the least know”.

    Yeah sure, what’s the problem?

    The problem? Isn’t it obvious? There are unknowns every step of the way, as highlighted by Darwin throughout the text.

    Darwin realized that there were too many problems and unknowns to present his idea as an actual theory, which is why he presented it as a “provisional hypothesis”. (He almost didn’t present the idea at all – Huxley had to talk him into it.)

    Of course, all of the unknowns is precisely why he wanted to present a hypothesis – he was trying to start a whole new field of study.

    And it worked.

  60. 60
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: No really, they do exist. And their name is Zachriel.

    That is not correct. We never said there wasn’t complexity, indeed, it’s implicit in our position. Rather, you had claimed it was absurd to hypothesize that different cells of the body contribute to the offspring. Saying that such a process would be complex does not make the position absurd.

    Mendel posited that genetics was discrete. That the actual molecular basis is complex doesn’t mean his position was absurd. Rather, it just means his hypothesis only concerned one aspect of the genetic relationship.

    Zachriel: Why randomly formed? Why not each part of the body contributing to the whole? Pan-genesis means “whole-birth”.

    Origenes: See? They don’t get it.

    You’re the one who said the hypothesis was that, in Pangenesis, offspring were randomly formed. That was incorrect. Darwin never posited a mechanism, but the idea is that each part of the body contributes to the whole offspring, a.k.a. “whole-birth”.

    Origenes: And I maintain my assertion that the Pangenesis hypothesis is absurd.

    You can maintain your assertion, but have yet to show it.

  61. 61
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername: Obviously there would need to be layers of complexity governing the movement of the gemmules and the development of the clusters.

    Indeed! If the gemmules — each one contains only the instructions to produce one specific type of cell — form randomly arranged aggregates (“buds” and “germs”) then developmental biology would have nothing to work with. This is indeed obvious.

    However, nowhere in his chapter on Pangenesis does Darwin indicate that he is aware of the apparent need for order and government wrt the position of gemmules.

    An overview:

    1. The positions of the gemmules are as random as they could be.

    Darwin:
    The gemmules in each organism must be thoroughly diffused; nor does this seem improbable considering their minuteness, and the steady circulation of fluids throughout the body. (…)
    I assume that cells, before their conversion into completely passive or “formed material,” throw off minute granules or atoms [read: gemmules], which circulate freely throughout the system,
    [Darwin; CHAPTER XXVII. Darwin online]

    2. No governing mechanism that arranges the position of gemmules is offered.
    On the contrary, according to Darwin, gemmules aggregate themselves by mutual affinity:

    Darwin:
    I assume that the gemmules in their dormant state have a mutual affinity for each other, leading to their aggregation either into buds or into the sexual elements. (…)
    (…) parts would have to throw off atoms or gemmules, which when aggregated by mutual affinity would form either buds or the sexual elements.
    As soon as the gemmules have aggregated themselves, development apparently commences, (…)
    The aggregation of gemmules derived from every part of the body, through their mutual affinity, would form buds, (…)

    3. Illustrative for Darwin’s disregard for the whole, he continually argues that body parts are autonomous.

    Darwin:
    The cells or units of the body are generally admitted by physiologists to be autonomous, like the buds on a tree, but in a less degree. I go one step further and assume that they throw off reproductive gemmules. Thus an animal does not, as a whole, generate its kind through the sole agency of the reproductive system, but each separate cell generates its kind. (…)
    This fact well illustrates how independent each structure must be from that which precedes and follows it in the course of development.
    The Functional Independence of the Elements or Units of the Body.—Physiologists agree that the whole organism consists of a multitude of elemental parts, which are to a great extent independent of each other. Each organ, says Claude Bernard,18 has its proper life, its autonomy; it can develop and reproduce itself independently of the adjoining tissues.

    – –
    In defense of Darwin, Goodusername states:

    Goodusername: The countless gummules aren’t random, but behave as if a “little universe.”

    Darwin refers to an organism as a “little universe” — he does not refer to the gemmules or their behavior, which he describes as “free” and “thoroughly diffused” ( see 2. above), IOWs random.

    Darwin:
    Each living creature must be looked at as a microcosm—a little universe, (…)

    Goodusername: You’ll see that he mentions such problems throughout the text, (…)

    Sure Darwin mentions all sorts of problems. However, again, he does not — anywhere — mention the problem of government for gemmules.

    Goodusername: (…) “What determines the aggregation of the gemmules within the sexual organs we do not in the least know” [Darwin].

    Right! This is, as far as I can see, the one and only line of text that can be used to argue that Darwin is aware of the apparent need for order and government wrt gemmules.
    Can it indeed be the case that Darwin means to say that the sexual organs are capable of arranging the gemmules in an ordered way and thereby overriding the spontaneous chaotic clustering by mutual affinity (see 2. above)? It seems inconsistent and highly unlikely.
    What Darwin is talking about here becomes clearer when we read the following:

    Darwin:
    The aggregation of gemmules derived from every part of the body, through their mutual affinity, would form buds, and their aggregation in some special manner, apparently in small quantity, together probably with the presence of gemmules of certain primordial cells, would constitute the sexual elements.

    What Darwin is concerned about is the enormous quantities of gemmules that his hypothesis proposes and he holds that these amounts — especially in conjunction with the smallness of germs — makes his hypothesis seem improbable. So my guess is that when he writes “What determines the aggregation of the gemmules (…)” and “apparently in small quantity” he is again concerned about quantities.
    Here we see Darwin arguing that large numbers do not refute his hypothesis:

    The retention of free and undeveloped gemmules in the same body from early youth to old age may appear improbable, (…)
    As each unit, or group of similar units throughout the body, casts off its gemmules, and as all are contained within the smallest egg or seed, and within each spermatozoon or pollen-grain, their number and minuteness must be something inconceivable. I shall hereafter recur to this objection, which at first appears so formidable; but it may here be remarked that a cod-fish has been found to produce 4,872,000 eggs, a single Ascaris about 64,000,000 eggs, and a single Orchidaceous plant probably as many million seeds.34 In these several cases, the spermatozoa and pollen-grains must exist in considerably larger numbers. Now, when we have to deal with numbers such as these, which the human intellect cannot grasp, there is no good reason for rejecting our present hypothesis on account of the assumed existence of cell-gemmules a few thousand times more numerous.

  62. 62
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: Rather, you had claimed it was absurd to hypothesize that different cells of the body contribute to the offspring.

    I never made this claim.

    Zachriel: Saying that such a process would be complex does not make the position absurd.

    I never made that claim either.
    Stop making things up.

  63. 63
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    Indeed! If the gemmules — each one contains only the instructions to produce one specific type of cell — form randomly arranged aggregates (“buds” and “germs”) then developmental biology would have nothing to work with. This is indeed obvious.

    Why would the aggregates be randomly arranged?  And why would developmental biology have nothing to work with?

    And history shows otherwise, to say the least.  In the years following the publication of the hypothesis it was the basis for experimentation (Galton, Weismann, De Vries, etc)  in the field of heredity and the field finally took off.

    No governing mechanism that arranges the position of gemmules is offered.
    On the contrary, according to Darwin, gemmules aggregate themselves by mutual affinity

    Right, as they are traveling through the bodily fluids they are dispersing through the process of diffusion, that is how the gemmules of each type of cell reaches every other part of the body.  How they aggregate however is unknown, as Darwin admits, and you acknowledge he admits.  
    Is there a complaint other than Darwin not repeating the obvious enough times?

    No one disputes that it’s wrong and incomplete, and the hypothesis has bigger problems than what you’ve brought up. I was just curious as to how it was “absurd”. And I still don’t know.

    Again, is there an alternative hypothesis that would be less “absurd” given what was known at the time?

  64. 64
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername: Why would the aggregates be randomly arranged?

    I have provided two arguments:

    1. The positions of the gemmules are as random as they could be.
    2. No governing mechanism that arranges the position of gemmules is offered. On the contrary, according to Darwin, gemmules aggregate themselves by mutual affinity.

    * For the Darwin quotes that support my two arguments see my post #61.
    —-

    Goodusername: And why would developmental biology have nothing to work with?

    Randomly arranged aggregates (buds or germs) are not a workable starting position for any conceivable developmental biology.
    —–

    Goodusername: How they [gemmules] aggregate however is unknown, as Darwin admits, and you acknowledge he admits.

    Darwin (nor I) admits no such thing. Darwin repeatedly states that gemmules aggregate themselves by mutual affinity; see paragraph 2. of my post #61.
    There is however an unexplained ‘low quantity aggregation’, which I discuss in the last part of post #61.

  65. 65
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: you had claimed it was absurd to hypothesize that different cells of the body contribute to the offspring.

    Origenes: I never made this claim.

    The claim of Pangenesis is that each organ of the body contributes to the offspring by passing gemmules to the reproductive organs. You claimed Pangenesis is “absurd”, so it seemed a reasonable restatement of your view. However, perhaps there is some other reason you think Pangenesis is absurd. You might want to clarify what you consider absurd about Pangenesis.

    Origenes: I insist that once we have the perception of the Earth as free-floating — once we have adequate perception

    Once again, what is that “adequate perception”?

  66. 66
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: 1. The positions of the gemmules are as random as they could be.

    No. They are posited to aggregate in the reproductive organs.

    Origenes: 2. No governing mechanism that arranges the position of gemmules is offered.

    That’s correct.

    Origenes: On the contrary, according to Darwin, gemmules aggregate themselves by mutual affinity.

    It’s not contrary, but just another way to state there is an unspecified mechanism involved. If someone notes that blood clots, that doesn’t mean they necessarily know the mechanism by which it occurs.

    Origenes: Randomly arranged aggregates (buds or germs) are not a workable starting position for any conceivable developmental biology.

    Pangenesis is not a theory of developmental biology, but of heredity.

    Liver gemmules and brain gemmules and bone gemmules are posited to aggregate in the reproductive organs. How they are then arranged into the new organism is not part of the hypothesis.

    You do realize that Mendel didn’t explain development either?

  67. 67
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername,

    You asked why the aggregates would be randomly arranged and I said that I provided two arguments; see #64. There is however a third argument as to the chaotic random arrangement of gemmules into aggregates:
    According to Darwin’s hypothesis each cell continually emits gemmules, during its entire life cycle. Moreover all these gemmules are being conserved:

    Darwin:
    Gemmules are supposed to be thrown off by every cell or unit, not only during the adult state, but during all the stages of development. (…)
    The retention of free and undeveloped gemmules in the same body from early youth to old age may appear improbable, but we should remember how long seeds lie dormant in the earth and buds in the bark of a tree. Their transmission from generation to generation may appear still more improbable; but here again we should remember that many rudimentary and useless organs are transmitted and have been transmitted during an indefinite number of generations. We shall presently see how well the long-continued transmission of undeveloped gemmules explains many facts.

    This adds to the picture of utter incoherence, prompted by Darwin’s hypothesis. Not only is there no order in the gemmules position in the aggregates, things are even worse:
    Given that all these countless gemmules, produced by each cell during all the stages of development, are “thoroughly diffused” and spontaneously (by mutual affinity) form aggregates , one cannot help but envision how some cells are over-represented in the gemmules-aggregates (“buds” or “sperm”) and others are not represented at all.

  68. 68
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Given that all these countless gemmules, produced by each cell during all the stages of development, are “thoroughly diffused” and spontaneously (by mutual affinity) form aggregates , one cannot help but envision how some cells are over-represented in the gemmules-aggregates (“buds” or “sperm”) and others are not represented at all.

    The hypothesis is for a very large number of gemmules, so they would be “super abundant” and then collected in the reproductive organs.

    Origenes: I insist that once we have the perception of the Earth as free-floating — once we have adequate perception

    What is that “adequate perception”?

  69. 69
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Not only is there no order in the gemmules position in the aggregates

    The process by which the gemmules are organized within the reproductive organ is part of development, something about which Darwin said “the whole subject of the development of the various tissues is as yet far from clear.”

  70. 70
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    I have provided two arguments:

    Darwin does say that they spread through the body via diffusion, but he no where describes the arrangement of the aggregates as random.

    Randomly arranged aggregates (buds or germs) are not a workable starting position for any conceivable developmental biology.

    Putting aside the matter the Darwin never describes the aggregates as random – What importance would the arrangement of the aggregates have for the starting position for developmental biology?

    Darwin (nor I) admits no such thing. Darwin repeatedly states that gemmules aggregate themselves by mutual affinity; see paragraph 2. of my post #61.
    There is however an unexplained ‘low quantity aggregation’, which I discuss in the last part of post #61.

    The problem with the quantity of gemmules that Darwin brings up is regarding their production.

    “What determines the aggregation of the gemmules within the sexual organs we do not in the least know”.
    There’s nothing about the quantity of gemmules in or anywhere near that quote.
    In 19th century British here “determines” could have the meaning of either control/govern or shape/arrange. So he’s saying we don’t know what governs/controls the aggregation of the gemmules, or he may be saying we don’t know how the aggregation is shaped/arranged. Probably both.

  71. 71
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername:
    Darwin does say that they spread through the body via diffusion, (…)

    To be clear, the terms Darwin uses wrt the movement of gemmules are “circulate freely throughout the system” and “totally diffused”.

    Goodusername:
    (…) but he no where describes the arrangement of the aggregates as random.

    I respectfully disagree. Nowhere does Darwin offer a governing mechanism for the arrangement of the aggregates and — far worse — nowhere does he mention that there should be a governing mechanism. What Darwin does instead is stating that gemmules form aggregates all by themselves by means of mutual affinity. IOWs, according to Charles, they don’t need any guidance whatsoever.

    Darwin: I assume that the gemmules in their dormant state have a mutual affinity for each other, leading to their aggregation either into buds or into the sexual elements.

    Moreover (!), according to Darwin, there is really no need at all for an ordered development. The various body parts, which are more or less autonomous anyway (see paragraph 3 of my post #61), happen to have an affinity for each other during early development.

    Darwin: The affinity of various parts of the body for each other during their early development was shown in the last chapter, when discussing the tendency to fusion in homologous parts. This affinity displays itself in the normal fusion of organs which are separate at an early embryonic age, and still more plainly in those marvellous cases of double monsters in which each bone, muscle, vessel, and nerve in the one embryo, blends with the corresponding part in the other.

    Goodusername:

    Origenes: Randomly arranged aggregates (buds or germs) are not a workable starting position for any conceivable developmental biology.

    Putting aside the matter the Darwin never describes the aggregates as random – What importance would the arrangement of the aggregates have for the starting position for developmental biology?

    An aggregate with neatly mapped out gemmules, orderly representing all body parts may offer developmental biology something to work with. It may be a basis for a mechanism that explains embryonic development.

    Goodusername:
    The problem with the quantity of gemmules that Darwin brings up is regarding their production.

    I may answer your objection another day.

  72. 72
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    To be clear, the terms Darwin uses wrt the movement of gemmules are “circulate freely throughout the system” and “totally diffused”.

    Yes, that’s when the gemmules are transporting. What has that got to do with the arrangement of gemmules in an aggregate, or how aggregates form?

    I respectfully disagree. Nowhere does Darwin offer a governing mechanism for the arrangement of the aggregates and — far worse — nowhere does he mention that there should be a governing mechanism. What Darwin does instead is stating that gemmules form aggregates all by themselves by means of mutual affinity. IOWs, according to Charles, they don’t need any guidance whatsoever.

    He doesn’t offer a governing mechanism because – as he admits – “we do not in the least know” what it is, which also, btw, implies that such mechanism(s) exist.

    I don’t know why you put so much importance on the fact that Darwin says that they form into aggregates themselves.
    That doesn’t imply that there aren’t governing principles. That doesn’t imply that the aggregates are random, or form randomly.
    H and O atoms form into H2O “all by themselves”. Water molecules form snowflakes “all by themselves”. Countless chemicals form from atoms “all by themselves”.
    That hardly implies that such molecules/aggregates form randomly – or that there aren’t governing principles – or that their arrangement is random!

    It’s like you’re trying to beat a 130 year old dead horse and you’re swinging and missing.

  73. 73
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername:

    Origenes: To be clear, the terms Darwin uses wrt the movement of gemmules are “circulate freely throughout the system” and “totally diffused”.

    Yes, that’s when the gemmules are transporting. What has that got to do with the arrangement of gemmules in an aggregate, or how aggregates form?

    The fact that gemmules are “totally diffused” informs us that at the moment that aggregates are formed there can be no order in the composition of the gemmules involved. At the starting point of aggregation there must be a thorough mixture of gemmules stemming from cells of the brain, liver, skin, bones, nerves and so forth. Moreover, in this incoherent mixture are multiple gemmules from each cell produced “from early youth to old age”.
    I would say that this has obvious implications for “the arrangement of gemmules in an aggregate, or how aggregates form.” Without a governing principle, it looks like a complete mess.

    Goodusername:

    Origenes: What Darwin does instead is stating that gemmules form aggregates all by themselves by means of mutual affinity. IOWs, according to Charles, they don’t need any guidance whatsoever.

    I don’t know why you put so much importance on the fact that Darwin says that they form into aggregates themselves.

    Because self-assembly renders a governing principle redundant.

    Goodusername:
    H and O atoms form into H2O “all by themselves”. Water molecules form snowflakes “all by themselves”. Countless chemicals form from atoms “all by themselves”.

    Isn’t that the reason why no one asks: “what is the governing mechanism for the formation of H2O?”

    Goodusername:
    That hardly implies that such molecules/aggregates form randomly – or that there aren’t governing principles – or that their arrangement is random!

    Is there anyone who holds that, during the formation of H2O, there is a governing mechanism that selects two particular H atoms to combine with a particular O atom? I would think not. What is random, during the formation of water, is which H atom combines with which O atom.
    However a precise selection, by a governing mechanism which ‘knows’ the entire body plan, is exactly what we need wrt Pangenesis. Gemmules need to be ‘hand-picked’ and carefully placed, if we want an ordered representation by gemmules of all the cells of the body in the aggregates (“buds” and “germs”).
    Darwin does not offer such a governing mechanism.
    Darwin does not express the need for such a mechanism.
    Darwin states that thoroughly diffused gemmules form aggregates by mutual affinity.
    Darwin states that, during early development, body parts unite by the affinity they have for each other.

    Goodusername:
    He doesn’t offer a governing mechanism because – as he admits – “we do not in the least know” what it is, which also, btw, implies that such mechanism(s) exist.

    In the bottom part of post #61 I have argued that this quote does not express the need for a governing mechanism of the type we are discussing. For some unknown reason you are not convinced. I’m content to leave that part of the discussion as it stands.

    Goodusername: It’s like you’re trying to beat a 130 year old dead horse and you’re swinging and missing.

    It’s interesting to see what kind of mind produced evolutionary theory. A poorly reasoned attempt of bottom-up explanation and a total disregard for the level of the whole organism — both typical for materialism — are very telling.

  74. 74
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    Isn’t that the reason why no one asks: “what is the governing mechanism for the formation of H2O?”

    They don’t?  That’s a shame.  I guess if they don’t it’s because they think they have most of it figured out (at least they think).

    I’ve spent a lot of time in chem classes learning about the principles that govern whether atoms combine and how they arrange themselves.

    Because self-assembly renders a governing principle redundant.

     
    Tell that to chemists.
     
    Also try telling chemists that because atoms and molecules are “totally diffused” in a liquid that there can be no order in the composition of the molecules they form.

    It’s clear from the terms Darwin uses to describe the actions of gemmules that he was thinking of them in terms of chemistry (he even uses the term “atoms” for gemmules on several occasions). For example “mutual affinity” was a very common term at the time to describe the actions of atoms when forming molecules. (Do a google search for chemistry and mutual affinity, and look at the dates for the results).

    In the bottom part of post #61 I have argued that this quote does not express the need for a governing mechanism of the type we are discussing. For some unknown reason you are not convinced. I’m content to leave that part of the discussion as it stands.

    The quote at the bottom of #61 is addressing those who may object that so many gemmules could possibly be produced.
    Darwin answers that many animals can produce millions, or even tens of millions, of eggs, and plants produce millions of seeds, so the production of even more gemmules, which are vastly smaller, shouldn’t be seen as insurmountable.  It has nothing to do with how gemmules are arranged in an aggregate.

  75. 75
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername: Tell that to chemists.

    Unless you are willing to argue that chemists hold that a governing principle precisely selects particular H atoms to combine with a particular O atom (see #73), you are not making a point.

    Goodusername: Also try telling chemists that because atoms and molecules are “totally diffused” in a liquid that there can be no order in the composition of the molecules they form.

    Unless you are willing to argue that the kind of order in composition you are talking about is comparable to being lined-up wrt a body plan, as should be the case with gemmules (see #73), you are not making a point.

    Goodusername: The quote at the bottom of #61 is addressing those who may object that so many gemmules could possibly be produced.
    Darwin answers that many animals can produce millions, or even tens of millions, of eggs, and plants produce millions of seeds, so the production of even more gemmules, which are vastly smaller, shouldn’t be seen as insurmountable. It has nothing to do with how gemmules are arranged in an aggregate.

    The gemmules must be arranged “in some special manner”, and “apparently in small quantity” because they must be “contained within the smallest egg or seed”. How to reconcile the enormous quantity of gemmules and the smallness of eggs and seed is what Darwin is worried about when he writes “What determines the aggregation of the gemmules within the sexual organs we do not in the least know.” IOWs how can the aggregation be so small? Notice that he is not worried about “buds”, — which he continually mentions, but not here — apparently because he holds them to be big enough.

    Darwin: As each unit, or group of similar units throughout the body, casts off its gemmules, and as all are contained within the smallest egg or seed, and within each spermatozoon or pollen-grain, their number and minuteness must be something inconceivable. I shall hereafter recur to this objection, which at first appears so formidable (…) a single Ascaris about 64,000,000 eggs, and a single Orchidaceous plant probably as many million seeds (…)
    when we have to deal with numbers such as these, which the human intellect cannot grasp, there is no good reason for rejecting our present hypothesis on account of the assumed existence of cell-gemmules a few thousand times more numerous.

    When organisms evolve and acquire modifications, is that because of a change in a mechanism that governs the gemmules? Not according to Darwin’s hypothesis. Typically also here there is no need for such a governing mechanism. Modifications are acquired when modified gemmules become “sufficiently numerous to overpower and supplant the old gemmules.”

    Darwin: It is generally, perhaps always, necessary that an organism should be exposed during several generations to changed conditions or habits, in order that any modification in the structure of the offspring should ensue. This may be partly due to the changes not being at first marked enough to catch the attention, but this explanation is insufficient; and I can account for the fact, only by the assumption, which we shall see under the head of reversion is strongly supported, that gemmules derived from each cell before it had undergone the least modification are transmitted in large numbers to successive generations, but that the gemmules derived from the same cells after modification, naturally go on increasing under the same favouring conditions, until at last they become sufficiently numerous to overpower and supplant the old gemmules.

  76. 76
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Unless you are willing to argue that chemists hold that a governing principle precisely selects particular H atoms to combine with a particular O atom (see #73), you are not making a point.

    Of course the point was made. You said self-assembly renders a governing principle redundant. The counterexample is chemistry.

    Furthermore, positing gemmules directly contradicts the claim that Darwin thought the cell was not complex.

    Finally, you haven’t shown that Pangenesis is absurd, rather than simply wrong.

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