Natures wonders: ant group actions; individuals programmed (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, August 03, 2018, 18:29 (498 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: We’ve read about similar studies before. The ants in the front make the decision, and the rest follow (= programmed to reinforce existing motion), just like most societies, in which leaders lead and followers follow. The key here is that “collective forces….make the collective decision”, and the larger the force, the quicker the decision. These are the “thinkers”, and this is why ants are my favourite example of how cell communities produce intelligence that exceeds that of the individual. From a materialist point of view, you can apply the same principle to the cell communities that make up the human brain and body. The majority of our body’s cells follow instructions issued by the leaders, and the leaders are those cells whose combined individual intelligences run the show. The dualist’s alternative is, of course, an immaterial soul.

DAVID: You are right. The leader makes a choice of two alternatives, this path or that. Not much thinking involved. Just pick one. May not need any judgement at all.

dhw: Then what on earth was the point of the test? Hundreds of tests have been carried out to show that ants make intelligent decisions.

This study concerned individual actions of the nest when a group is active.

DAVID: Our cells make much more complicated decisions on their own, with each cell programmed to choose in concert with his fellows so an organ runs properly.

dhw: Of course our decisions are more complex. But if our cells make complicated decisions on their own, they are not programmed. The leaders decide, the rest follow.

Our cells are programmed to work together for proper organ function.

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