Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence (Animals)

by dhw, Friday, May 19, 2017, 13:05 (62 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: It is worth looking at the complex biochemical pathways that this study illustrates. Note the mention of feedback loop controls. The only mentation is a chemical semi-memory of past stimuli to allow some choices which, if you note carefully, are temporal along the length of their bodies!

DAVID’s comment: To make significant changes to an organism, it is unavoidable that the changes involve a knowledge of the future result. Can bacteria imagine the future? Preposterous. Any other proposal is a return to chance alterations.

Just like all other organisms, including humans, bacteria use biochemicals and feedback loops in their processes of perception, communication and action. We do not know if their memory of past stimuli is their “only” mentation. As you keep saying, no-one outside can tell the difference between mentation and automaticity. You could say that adaptation, of which bacteria are surely the world’s greatest masters, also requires a “knowledge” of the future result: if the bacterium stays as it is, it will die (and frequently does); those that survive must “know” they have to make changes or they WILL die (future), and the very fact that they make those changes can only mean a “knowledge” of cause (present) and effect (future). The only alternative you have offered is that either your God preprogrammed every bacterial adaptation 3.8 billion years ago (though of course the dead bacteria didn’t inherit the programme), or he dabbles whenever they have a problem.

However, when you talk of “significant changes”, I presume you are thinking of innovations rather than adaptations, and since bacteria have remained bacteria, I would also assume that they do not have the mental abilities to invent. That is where multicellularity comes in: communities that combine their intelligences can go far beyond the limited powers of individual cells. ALL organs and organisms consist of cell communities, and all innovations require cooperative rearrangement of some kind between those communities. It is not “preposterous” to assume a degree of mentation in all organisms/cell communities, but we simply do not know their ultimate potential. Materialists would claim that ALL mentation, including our own, stems from cell communities, but that is the subject of another thread.


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