by David Turell @, Thursday, April 26, 2018, 21:19 (797 days ago) @ dhw


There is, then, no dichotomy. Our personal cell communities cooperate with one another to produce all the attributes that make us ourselves, and the brain’s thinkers direct the brain’s implementers, just as they do in any community. But outside forces (diseases, drugs) can disrupt the inner communities and change their behaviour, again as in any community. In extreme cases, the cells cannot defend themselves.

Ours is an intelligence on a vastly higher level than that of individual bacteria and individual ants, but the two examples show the potential for complexity that arises from cooperation between individual intelligences, let alone between multiple communities of intelligences.

We have no real evidence of cellular intelligence. We only can see how individual cells react in response to stimuli, and when each of reactions is studied down to the individual parts of the reaction, it is one molecule reacting to another in a series until the reaction is complete. It all can be seen as an automatic process run by information given to the cell.

dhw: In conclusion – though perhaps this post is more of a starting point than a conclusion, as I’m aware that there are still multiple facets not covered, e.g. psychic experiences – I would accept the basis of dualism itself, in so far as we are a mixture of material body and immaterial intelligence, but we have two possible sources for that intelligence: one is immaterial, in the form of a soul which is a portion of a god’s intelligence; the other is material, in the form of our own cells cooperating with one another. As I hope is clear from the above, the dichotomy I outlined at the start simply disappears if we accept the second of these hypotheses. It still lingers with the first if we try to explain how an immaterial soul can be changed by material means (diseases, drugs), but since a soul has to be subject to change (it spends a lifetime learning), that might be a subject for further discussion.

Disease of the brain alters its function and obviously affects how the s/s/c can think, if as I propose, it is tightly interfaced with the brain cells in order to produce thought that the owner of that brain can recognize in his head.

dhw: There is one last sting in the tail. It must be emphasized that the origin of our cells’ intelligence is open to question: the theist will say God invented the whole mechanism; the atheist will say it was all a stroke of luck; the panpsychist can go for the God solution or claim that intelligence is innate in all materials. The only other alternative that I can think of is that there is no such thing as intelligence. And if you believe that, you won’t have been able to read this post.

I cannot accept the alternative that the inorganic universe has any intelligence of its own. The only panpsychism possible is that the universe is an extension of God's mind. Of course intelligence exists in this universe. It is the miraculous result of the evolution of life, whose appearance is a miracle in and of itself.

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