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

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 00:43 (558 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: [...] we are discussing whether cells are intelligent or automatic, and although you have made your choice, I am simply pointing out that “programmed to learn by experience” does not denote being programmed with all the solutions to all the problems – it only denotes being given the means to learn by experience. [David's bold]

DAVID: I completely accept your statement in bold. Cells can be programmed to learn from experience as in the immunity system. Thus the 3.8 billion year old programming we discuss may work in just this way.

dhw: I see a glimmer of hope! If some brainless cells have the means to learn from experience, and take decisions based on what they have learned, and they have not been preprogrammed with the solutions to all problems, they clearly work out the solutions themselves, and that = autonomous intelligence (“the ability to acquire knowledge and skills” was the definition you suppled).

Immune cells are programmed to change their DNA in order to tailor antibodies to the chemicals in the invader. Please re-read this article which I presented earlier:

dhw: And if they have it, other cells/cell communities may have it too, and so may brainless bacteria. In turn, I completely accept, as I have always done, the possibility that this autonomous intelligence was designed initially, i.e. 3.8 billion years ago, by a God.

Only the immune system is known to have this capacity, which is absolutely necessary for life to survive.


I’m going to be a bit naughty here, and switch the thread for this post, because it relates more to cellular intelligence than to the subject of how the brain evolved.

QUOTE: (under “learning new tasks”) We don’t know how it happens in the brain that you decide when to take a particular action and how to execute that action. Having neural measurements from all over the brain of what happened just before the animal spontaneously decided to go and get a reward will be a huge step forward."

DAVID’s comment: An entirely mechanistic approach to the brain as a mechanical computer. It will not tell us how consciousness appears or works. Just how the brain responds to the thoughts that are developed by consciousness in charge of the brain.

dhw: I agree. But no matter whether materialism or dualism is correct, there is no escaping the fact that absorbing and evaluating information must take place before this mysterious “consciousness” takes its decisions. There is no difference here between mice with brains, and immune cells and bacteria without brains. Once you claim that consciousness is the sole (soul?) “developer” of thought, whatever its source, and since we can take it for granted that even without a brain the cells and the bacteria absorb and process the information needed to make their decisions, it becomes increasingly difficult to argue that they cannot make those decisions for themselves.

But you keep forgetting that I view bacterial actions as totally a series of molecular reactions triggered by stimuli, which are molecular also.

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