some irony from my bio book

So, I read this part of my biology textbook a long time ago (its in chapter one so it must have been at the begingin of the year) and it cracked me up, so I thought I’d share.

Emergent properties are neither supernatural nor unique to life. We can see the importance of arrangement in the distinction between a box of bicycle parts and a working bicycle.

Its talking about living parts or systems that will not function if they are not together in a specific pattern: like how vein structures are useless without a heart and blood, or how flagelum will not move unless specific molecules are in a specific pattern and activated a certain way.  Since these parts do not function separately, natural selection would not have kept them around separately, nor can natural selection explain how even the small parts would arise spontaneously, so from a naturalistic world view these systems with emergent properties must have just appeared all at once.

The funny part is that their example for how this is not supernatural is a bicycle.  The last time I checked, if you leave a box of bicycle parts in your garage, they will not turn into a working bicycle.  They might rust by themselves, but unless an intellegent being puts them together, they will never function as a bicycle.

They’re other example in the following sentence was the emergent properties of the crystal structure of a diamond and how this is different from the non-structure of loose carbon atoms or coal.  They know how carbon atoms become diamonds (at least, I think ”they  know the process), but I know that they don’t really know how life came to occur, which is immensely more complicated and also completely unrelated to diamonds.

Basically, It’s really hard to prove that a supernatural occurence is not supernatural.


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