bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven (Animals)

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 07, 2017, 15:43 (1028 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: My hypothesis is that the first cells do not “develop” intelligence – they are ALREADY intelligent (possibly thanks to your God), but their intelligence is limited. As they combine with one another, they not only share intelligences (all organisms are individual) but they also learn from experience to produce different ways of surviving and improving. In that sense, yes, they “develop”. I agree that the evidence is not yet available.

DAVID: Oxford dictionary definition of intelligence: the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Cells respond to stimuli and react to them in processes that are shown to be automatic. They also share by chemical signals. That reeks of design.

dhw: It may reek of design, but since you yourself have given us the example of cells which “learn by experience” and apply their acquired knowledge in order to change their own DNA, they clearly fulfil the criteria for intelligence laid down by your Oxford dictionary. Merely repeating that their actions are automatic does not mean they are automatic. All organisms with or without brains, including ourselves, respond to stimuli and react to them – sometimes automatically when the processes are long established, but sometimes intelligently, e.g. when there are new problems to be dealt with. Chemical signals are means of communication, without which no organisms can cooperate. Communication, cooperation, learning by experience and applying the acquired knowledge – it all “reeks” of autonomous intelligence.

And the cells that learn by experience are programmed to do so. I think this discussion has reached an insoluble end point. From the outside, and we are outside, cells that act intelligently can be automatic or actually intelligent, 50/50 chance. I've picked a view and will stick with it based on all the automaticity I see in the cells I've studied.


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