slime mold decisions (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, June 10, 2016, 12:38 (1483 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: And so the question to you has to be: if “intelligence” is separate from the brain, why do you consider it impossible for intelligently behaving organisms without a brain to be “intelligent”?

DAVID: I think they are not capable of being intelligent, because the only intelligence we can understand by our own experience, because we have it, is connected to a neuron network. I've said over and over, intelligently planned molecular responses, as shown in existing living organ systems, gives exactly the same appearance, and is just as explanatory. Since such automatic systems exist and work, why look for nebulous autonomous cellular 'intelligence'?

I assume you think the planning was done by your God. If so, the “intelligently planned molecular responses” (without an autonomous guiding intelligence within the cell itself) would have had to incorporate solutions to every single new situation confronting unicellular organisms throughout the history of life. Alternatively, your God would have had to intervene personally in order to instruct the bacterium in ways of resisting antibiotics, or to shove the slime mould in the right direction.

When scientists set these organisms new problems, it is to test their ability to find solutions. You accept such tests as signs of intelligence when they are applied to organisms with brains, but because you have had no personal experience of any form of intelligence not linked to a brain, you resort to what Talbott calls “a rather odd urgency” which makes you insist that “while organisms certainly look as if they possessed intelligent agency, we should not be so foolish as to be compelled by the evidence of our own eyes.

Why look for cellular intelligence? Because if organisms have an autonomous inventive or complexification mechanism, it can ONLY be run by the intelligence of the cell communities! And so if unicellular organisms are shown to be intelligent, this would add powerful support to the AIM hypothesis.

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