Natures wonders: using the magnetic field (dhw note) (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, July 03, 2015, 16:55 (1329 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "It sounds silly to ask whether bacteria can think. However, science has known for more than 100 years that the little guys can indeed think. Experiments in 1883 conducted by Wilhelm Pfeffer showed that bacteria will swim toward good food like chicken soup and away from poisons such as mop disinfectant.
Pfeffer also learned that bacteria can make decisions. He made sure that his bacteria knew the location of chicken soup. Then he separated them from it with a mild mixture of disinfectant. He found that the little fellows would swim as fast as they could through the disinfectant to get to the soup.
This is the same type of decision-making process you and I go through every day. We often tolerate the unpleasant to arrive at the pleasant. As a result of this research, scientists today talk about bacteria actually making decisions."

DAVID: You are again describing automatic reactions based on biochemical processes, given to the bacteria by God.

I had suggested that in order to prove mentation, the worms you described should be subjected to tests in which they were confronted by problems outside their normal range of experience, as had been done with many other organisms. You asked which organisms had been subjected to such tests. I have answered your question at various levels. In the case of bacteria, my name is not Pfeffer (or Margulis, or McClintock, or Albrecht-Bühler, or Shapiro), who would certainly dispute your opinion that bacterial decision-making is automatic. I'm sure, though, that he (and they) would agree that the information on which the autonomous decisions are based is indeed provided by biological processes, and the actions resulting from those decisions would also set in motion more biochemical processes - as is the case with us humans. The question is what processes take place in us and in all other organisms between perception of the problem and decisions regarding the actions needed in order to resolve it.

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