bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm (Animals)

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 18, 2018, 17:59 (681 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I’m also with Shapiro, who elsewhere is unequivocal in his support for the hypothesis that bacteria are (I don’t know why the article says “might be") cognitive, intelligent beings, which does not mean that their intelligence is anything like that of humans. That is why they don’t require the “sophisticated circuitry” of brains. The article focuses on the material means by which bacteria communicate (just as we humans communicate through materials). But cooperation, recruitment and negotiation are clear indications that the material means are guided by a form of cognition. If God exists, then of course he would have been the designer, and yes indeed, evolution shows clear patterns, which would still be the case if your God allowed the whole process to evolve through organisms’ autonomous use of the mechanisms he had designed.

DAVID: Those mechanisms would have followed God's guidelines. You want God to be only partially in charge.

dhw: Since you believe in human free will, clearly you acknowledge the possibility that your God is prepared to allow some organisms to make their own way – i.e. in our case he is only partially in charge. I am merely extending that principle to the evolutionary bush itself, i.e. that he set up the mechanism, and then let it make its own way. I don’t “want” anything. I am simply trying to find an explanation for why things are as they are. This particular post suggests to me that the communal intelligence of bacteria might throw light on the communal intelligence of all cell communities, from individual organs to ant society to human society. The three sentences that I highlighted illustrate the point:

And like humans, who have succeeded in large part by cooperating with each other, bacteria thrive in communities.

This electrical exchange has proved so powerful that biofilms even use it to recruit new bacteria from their surroundings, and to negotiate with neighboring biofilms for their mutual well-being.

[Shapiro] has argued that bacterial colonies might be capable of a form of cognition.

I have stated that free will exists in humans who have brains. Don't try to stretch my point to single-celled animals; it won't work. I suspect the ability for single-celled animals to cooperate is a mechanism given to them by God. The ability to use ionization electricity presages the appearance of neurons later in evolution, since one early stage set up advances in future stages, under God's control.


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