Ants, slime mold & bacteria (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, April 22, 2016, 05:12 (1242 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I don't know if any intelligence is involved with slime mold. They solve the maze by checking every passage and then automatically pick the shortest route which can be done by feed back loop chemistry.

dhw: If you insert the word “automatically”, of course you preclude intelligence. I would have thought that checking information required awareness and finding a solution required intelligent decision-making.

In nature the slime mold must find food. So it/they move round to find it. It/they are obviously programmed to find the closest food as it requires the least energy to reach. The maze shows this probability. No intellect required.

dhw: It can all be automatic, as in your interpretation of the behaviour of bacteria, or it can all be intelligence, as in the findings of the eminent scientists you disagree with, though you admit that their conclusions are “equally possible”. That is an admission that you might be wrong, which is good enough for me.

I have my interpretation, you have yours.

Dhw (re bacteria): QUOTE: " […]This communication alters gene expression and allows bacteria to mount coordinated responses to their environments, in a manner that is comparable to behavior and signaling in higher organisms. […]

If you wish to argue that their behaviour (e.g. decision-making) is automatic because the chemical processes involved in acquiring and communicating information are automatic, then you may as well say the same of all “higher organisms”, including humans.

I've pointed out that most of your bodily functions except thinking are automatic.

dhw: You are repeating my own argument! You only focus on the chemical processes involved in acquiring and communicating information, and you ignore the “behaviour”. Here you have deliberately brought in the additional levels of consciousness that distinguish humans from less “intelligent” organisms, though you know perfectly well that the “intelligence” proposed by McClintock, Margulis, Shapiro, Bühler et al relates to decision-making and does not extend to concept-making.

And that 'decision making' can simply be chemical responses to chemical stimuli.

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