autonomy v. automaticity (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, March 08, 2018, 13:55 (165 days ago) @ David Turell

I’m combining different threads, as they centre on the same topic.

DAVID’s comment: Single celled organisms had to start cooperating if multicellularity was destined to appear. God guided them.

Wonderful to see how cell communities form and cooperate – a reminder that all multicellular organisms consist of groups cooperating with groups to create the astonishing diversity of the evolutionary bush. God “guided” them – i.e. every single detail divinely dabbled, or preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago? All for the sake of the human brain?

The forminifera “wonder” is doubly fascinating because of the following quote:
“'This mode of construction ... seems to require either an extraordinarily selective trial-and-error process at the site of cementation or an active sensory and decision-making system within the cell,” the researchers write.
"Charles Darwin apparently felt as Lam and I do […] “One cannot believe that they have mental power enough to do so, and how any structure or kind of viscidity can lead to this result passes all understanding.”
"With due respect to Mr. Darwin, “mental power” is probably the wrong phrase to use in talking about foraminifera. With just a single cell to speak of, forams don't have a nervous system with which to make decisions […]A foram architect is not “smart” in the same manner as a human one."

Of course not “smart” in the same manner as a human one. Why do humans think that only human “smartness” counts as smart? Clearly the author agrees with your rejection of smartness, and even Darwin couldn’t believe that these organisms might actually be intelligent. What a shame that he never lived to see the research done and the conclusions drawn by such experts in the field as McClintock, Margulis, Albrecht-Bühl, and in our own day James Shapiro. But yes, it remains a hypothesis.
DAVID: Intelligence involves being able to handle constructional information and informational stimuli with proper responses. Since biological research shows only automatic responses I do not accept your theory. As layer after layer of genome controls is uncovered, that is all that is found. I admit that the future might bring some evidence to help you. Only time will tell.

Biological research shows that even bacteria have the ability to solve problems, which means they are able to handle all kinds of information and come up with “proper responses”, i.e. fulfil your criteria for intelligence. See above for some biological researchers who disagree with your dismissal of bacterial intelligence. And I don’t know of any biological research that has yet brought any evidence of a 3.8-billion-year old computer programme installed by your God or even, if it comes to that, of the human soul you believe in. How could it if intelligence is immaterial?

dhw: Nor do I understand why your God should find it necessary to direct weaver knot-tying and ant bridge-building when apparently all he wants to do is produce the brain of Homo sapiens.
DAVID: God wanted to produce humans. He used a process of evolution which produced a bush of life, not just a tree. The weavers are simply a stop on the way.

Why do you think your God had to stop and design the nest “on the way”? No, don’t tell me: “balance of nature” – life could not possibly have continued without the nest and the ant bridge, and without them we would never have had humans.

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