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

by dhw, Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 13:23 (522 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: [...] 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: 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 supplied).

DAVID: 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:

The article is a red herring. Its concern is to dismiss Darwinian randomness in favour of design - a totally different point to the one we are discussing. It was you who said the immune cells learn by experience and change their DNA accordingly, and I thought you had agreed that they were NOT preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago with every possible solution to every problem. Your next comment appears to confirm this.

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

Which capacity? According to you, all cell communities have been preprogrammed, so if you think the immune system is unique, then its "capacity" must be the ability to take its own decisions - an integral element of autonomous intelligence. Of course this is necessary for life to survive. The smooth functioning of many cell communities is necessary for life to survive! But if one cell community is KNOWN to have autonomous intelligence, then others may have it too (you agreed to a 50/50 chance), and so perhaps you will pay more heed now to all the implications of the hypothesis. It does not preclude design or the existence of a designer. It only precludes a scenario in which 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed every innovation, lifestyle, natural wonder and cellular adaptation (other than that of the immune cells!) in the history of life, or alternatively dabbled each one personally.


dhw: 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.

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

I don’t keep forgetting it – I keep pointing out that your view entails a computer programme for every bacterial adaptation over the last 3.8 billion years plus the rest of time, and that some scientists who have spent their working lives studying such micro-organisms disagree with your view.

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