slime mold intelligence transfers (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, December 30, 2016, 13:09 (996 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Perhaps we can end this discussion once and for all if you give us your own definition.
DAVID: We can end this discussion by returning to my inside/outside comment. From the outside of the organisms you listed, they act as if intelligent by your definition.
dhw:It’s a pity you are not willing to give us your own definition.

DAVID: My definition of organismal 'intelligence', in this case the slime mold, is always the same: the mold runs on intelligent information in its genome it has received. The mold is not innately intelligent just as bacteria are not independently intelligent, but run on received intelligently crafted information.

I have attempted to define intelligence as “the autonomous ability to absorb and process information, learn, communicate, cooperate, and take decisions based on the information absorbed, processed and learned.” According to my definition, the mold and bacteria are intelligent. The statement that they are not intelligent does not constitute an alternative definition of intelligence. If you accept my definition, please explain how “intelligent” information processes information, learns, communicates and takes decisions.

DAVID: True observation, but there remains the two possibilities. Either they are actually acting intelligently by your definition or they are acting through intelligent operative information they have been given to make their responses. It is my 100% belief they act through the latter possibility.
dhw: Yes, I know your 100% belief. It runs parallel to the belief of determinists that there is no such thing as free will. Looked at from the outside, we act as if we are intelligent, but determinists say that on the inside we act according to causes entirely beyond our own control (information we have been given to make our responses). While I admire the self-confidence of those who have 100% beliefs of any kind, I can’t help feeling they may be missing something.
DAVID: Can you explain 'that something'. I like my feeling of free will which I think is a correct interpretation of the free choices I make all the time. I know the brain takes shortcuts for us all the time. So what! It is only to help us respond quickly as the article on human complexity shows. And the brain modifies itself to keep up with our intellectual habits. How clever an arrangement! I view that a gift from God.

Of course you like your own opinions. The ‘something’ you are missing with your 100% belief in the automaticity of bacteria – quite apart from the unlikelihood of your God preprogramming the first cells to pass on every solution to every possible problem for the rest of time (along with all the undabbled innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders in life’s history) – is the perfectly rational observation that intelligent behaviour might be a sign of intelligence. You even acknowledge 50/50, and yet insist on 100!


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