autonomy v. automaticity (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, March 01, 2018, 12:54 (538 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "WorldPost: Do creatures such as bacteria know what they are doing or why?
Damasio: No, they do not. They do what they do because they are made to, imperiously, by nature, under the mandate of their homeostasis.

QUOTE: "WorldPost: But isn’t the fact that all living creatures share the same biological roots a way of denying human exceptionalism?
Damasio: Not at all. It is a fact that we share homeostatic regulation and genetic systems with all other living creatures. Still, there are many reasons to consider humans exceptional. For example, we experience pain, suffering or pleasure to a degree that has been amplified and deepened by memories of our individual past and by memories of what we anticipate for the future. That particular capacity to feel in the context of individual, acquired experience, along with our unique capacity to invent, sets us apart from all other living creatures."

DAVID’s comment: My point of view, exactly.

I have no idea how my experience of pain, suffering and pleasure can be amplified by memories of what I anticipate for the future, or indeed how I can even have memories of what I currently think might happen later on in my life. However, I would not dispute the fact that while we have lots and lots of features in common with our fellow organisms (e.g. the experience of pain, suffering and pleasure), our additional degrees of consciousness have resulted in major differences that make us exceptional.

The assumption that bacteria don’t know what they’re doing because imperious nature imperiously instructs them to maintain their equilibrium is imperious.


DAVID (re "fat cells"): I know only they only appear intelligent and we are. See today's entry on homeostasis and automaticity in bacteria.

You don’t “know” it. You believe it.

DAVID (re "beetle camouflage"): The beetles didn't find the mutations to do it. And a hunt and peck attempt would not have meant survival.

Another imperious assumption. It is perfectly possible for a species to survive and then to find new methods to improve its chances of survival. Different types of ants have worked out different strategies to cope with different situations. Why shouldn’t beetles do the same? Why do you think your God had to provide the first living cells 3.8 billion years ago with a programme to create beetles and then to enable a particular type of beetle to camouflage itself in a particular way?

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