Smart animals: bees trained to pull strings for treat (Animals)

by dhw, Friday, October 07, 2016, 13:11 (531 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Your comments on partial immunity were on a different thread and concerned the Tasmanian devil. The first few colonies in the E.coli experiment actually died. Not much immunity there.
DAVID: In e. coli experiment advances paused. If all colonies died there would have been no experiment.

I presume the researchers replaced the first colonies with new ones.

DAVID: My memory may not be reliable about my previous responses. I have trouble finding previous statements on this site. Tell me how do you do it?

The Tasmanian devil fiendishly burrowed its way into my memory, as did our exchanges on partial immunity. I actually remembered your E.coli explanation and my own scepticism, though it took me a while to find it. I have as much trouble as you locating statements. Ah, David, we are getting old! ":-("

dhw: Here is your comment, and I stand by my response:
DAVID: “Research has shown that bacteria have more than one metabolic pathway at their command to stay alive when attacked by antibiotics….Those that stay alive simply switch over and use them. It takes some effort and time so the colonies pause…”

Dhw: “Those that stay alive simply switch over…It takes some time and effort”. Hardly “simply” if it takes time and effort and lots of them die, and what sort of “effort” do the survivors make?

DAVID: If alternative pathways are on-board switching is not difficult, just like changing gears in your car. Main response blocked, use the secondary backup. Not all bacteria contain them due to individual variability, but some do and survive, and in the end all have the ability to survive.

Obviously they vary since some die, obviously some survive, and obviously when all the dead are dead and all the survivors have survived, the survivors must have the ability to survive. Bearing in mind that they are all supposed to be following built-in instructions from your God, this doesn't explain why automatons have to make an effort and why God failed to preprogramme all those that died.

DAVID: Simply explained above. Alternative metabolic pathways are a proven fact.

Too simple for me. And surely there must be more than one back-up to cover all those millions of problems. And it could even be that it requires intelligence to work out which switch to press. However, I love your image of mindless bacteria not having a clue what they're doing but somehow knowing that they need to change gear (though apparently it takes some time and effort). Especially when they're driving along a route they've never taken before. I'll assume that they change gear before they die, but how do they know they must do it? Do they learn from watching their mates die? Or do they realize they're not feeling too good, and switch over before too much damage is done? No, can't be - those would be signs of intelligence, wouldn't they?

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