Natures wonders: ant nest building (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, January 21, 2016, 18:17 (1422 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I would argue that the pheromone is not part of a computer programme, but an instrument integral to their autonomous, cooperative, ant-designed nest-building: “They add a pheromone to their material, which stimulates the other ants to build on the same spot, leading to the formation of regularly spaced pillars.”
DAVID: But you have a chicken/egg problem. Pheromones first before nests, or did they have simple nests first and then developed pheromones? Full blown ants with pheromones first smells of purposeful design to start with. Pheromones are attractants that all animals have, and they indicate purpose in design to me.

The chicken/egg problem applies to virtually every aspect of life you can think of, prior to human history. Nobody knows where the first of anything came from (which includes your God and his sourceless consciousness), and that is why there is so much theorizing.

dhw: ...but I would suggest that ants worked it out all by themselves. And whenever they come up against problems, they work out the solutions all by themselves...
DAVID: Did then invent their own pheromones? No. They were a given by advanced planning.

As above. Nobody knows the origin of life or of species (Darwin's title was highly misleading) or of the billions of lifestyles and natural wonders. “God did it” raises as many questions as it answers, as is evident from our many discussions and disagreements on these matters.

dhw: We have always agreed on the design issue. Where we disagree is on your insistence that only God and humans can design things,
DAVID: Planned designs require a mind. There is purpose. Weaver birds must have tried this and that over eons of time to achieve their current nest. Hunt and peck is not likely.
dhw: Yes, these designs require a mind, and yes there is a purpose. But why do you assume that ants and weaverbirds do NOT have minds, and are incapable of fulfilling their own purposes without your God's intervention? “Large organisms chauvinism”, as Shapiro would say.
DAVID: I think it takes a complex mind to do advanced planning. Shapiro is referring to simple epigenetic effects in comparison which do occur at those simple effects by a series of molecular reactions.

The quote was as follows:
Natasha Mitchell: I mean many would argue that even a basic nervous system is a prerequisite for cognition, and it's been a controversial suggestion, hasn't it, that bacteria are somehow cognitive. Why the controversy?
James Shapiro: Large organisms chauvinism, so we like to think that only we can do things in a cognitive way.

Link that to Shapiro's statement: “Living cells and organisms are cognitive (sentient) entities that act and interact purposefully to ensure survival, growth and proliferation. They possess corresponding sensory, communication, information-processing, and decision-making abilities.” I'm not asking you to agree with him, but I really don't see how you can avoid acknowledging that he believes cells and organisms have minds of their own.


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