Natures wonders: Crocodile tools (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 20:03 (1898 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Information and intelligence are two separate items. I can't seem to get you to recognize the difference as one thinks about the genome. The genome, as we both know, is a code. Information is something that intelligence uses. In our experience in life we know tht information is supplied by mental intelligence and codes are made by mental thought or intelligence. This means to me there is a conscious intelligent source for the code and information in the genome. Granted from that point on we can dsicuss the possible sources all year long, but there will never be a proof we can find or agree upon for who or what that source is.

You juggle with two types of information: information in the genetic code, and information we absorb and process from our contact with the outside world. Whenever I want to discuss the mechanism (intelligence) which deals with the latter, you switch to the former and ask for its source.

dhw: We ALL operate from information in the genome in the brain, but we regard our human capacity for processing and using information, communicating it to others, cooperating with others, taking decisions etc. as an indication of independent intelligence. "Most of it" is not "all of it", and it's the non-instinctive part that constitutes intelligence.
DAVID: Agreed, but most of what animals, not humans, do is instinct.

Once again, it is the non-instinctive element that I am focusing on. We agree that human intelligence is vastly more developed than that of other organisms, but that does not mean other organisms are not intelligent.

dhw: "Mostly" again. So what is the rest? Life only exists in the form of living organisms, and so your last sentence should read: "God lets the living organisms figure it out or he dabbles?" (I'm glad you've omitted your other theory that the ants' teaching or the bees' dance was just one of the zillions of programmes God planted in the first living cells). "Figuring it out" demands intelligence.
DAVID: I will agree at the corvid/ ape/ dog level that they can do some figuring out wbhich is basic intelligence. But not at the bacterial level. That they think I will never agree to.

As usual, you bring in words like "think", which automatically conjure up associations with human-type thinking. I have never included the word among the attributes I list (see earlier). Of course you have every right to dismiss the research of those specialists who believe bacteria to be intelligent. Any concessions for my friends the ant-teachers?

Just a reminder to anyone interested: this whole discussion centres on the question of how evolution proceeds. I am suggesting the possibility that the higgledy-piggledy bush is the result of "intelligent" cell communities cooperating and making their own changes as environmental conditions demand or allow, with natural selection deciding which will perish and which will survive. David believes that it is the result of God's either preprogramming the first cells with all the billions of physical and strategic variations we now know, or God dabbling. Darwin believed it was the result of billions of random mutations, followed by natural selection as above.


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