Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence (Animals)

by David Turell @, Friday, May 19, 2017, 15:27 (6 days ago) @ dhw

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.

dhw: 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).

What you have not mentioned is that bacteria are blessed with exisiting alternative pathways of metabolism, and they can automatically shift to that alternative when the primary quits working.


dhw: 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.

Agreed. Thank you.

dhw: That is where multicellularity comes in: communities that combine their intelligences can go far beyond the limited powers of individual cells.

In view of your 'non-invent' view above, how did multicellularity appear?

dhw: 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.

Automatic relationships of cells are illustrated by my entry on zebrafish. In all organs the cells are automatically organized to cooperate, as in pre-Cambrian simplistic forms, and Cambrian forms. The mentation is in the planning of those organisms and the required cooperative automatic relationships.


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