An Alternative to Evolution: Expounded Upon (Introduction)

by dhw, Saturday, August 04, 2018, 09:14 (474 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: Is there any demonstrable evidence that a cell learns [...] then stores that knowledge somewhere?

Cells/cell communities learn all the time! Even single cells learn. How do bacteria survive new conditions if they don’t learn how to cope with them, and if they don’t pass that knowledge on? How do our own cells do the same? Scientists have even pinpointed particular areas of the brain that learn and remember (store knowledge). The brain consists of cell communities!

TONY: Learning requires stimulus/response systems, which they have, in order to gather data. Now, since they don't have Google (or books), they must needs learn by experimentation. Which means we should see repeated actions from the cell that become more proficient over time.

Yes, organisms learn by experimentation. When bacteria are confronted by a new threat, many may die, but eventually they always seem to find a solution, i.e. become “more proficient”. The brain cells of other organisms learn from birth to activate and use the other cell communities that make up the rest of their bodies. And the more they repeat the actions, the more proficient they become. Look at your children.

TONY: ….in order to indicate learning, we would need to see the cell attempt something and FAIL, then attempt to do it a different way, over and over, until a successful solution was found. That is not what we observe.

That is precisely what we observe. See the example of bacteria above. I’d class death as failure. Throughout the history of life, organisms (i.e. cell communities) have been faced with problems, and it is believed that eventually about 99% of them have failed to solve them. Conversely, how would the immune system work if the relevant cells didn’t confront new experiences, come up with strategies, and remember those that work?

TONY: Memory - Now, assuming that the organism does pass the first check, it must now store that information somewhere. Where is the long term data storage that survives cell division? […]

If our cells didn’t pass on the information they’ve learned, how would their successors manage to perform the same tasks? Every innovation that survives entails passing on stored information. Where is the storage system? I’m afraid you’ll have to ask a cytologist!

TONY: Creativity - Ah, this is really where it all falls down. Creativity requires a frame of reference, a goal, a vision. Even without self-awareness or self-reflection, the creative act requires at a minimum abstract reasoning; the ability to imagine. And, in order to bring that creative vision to fruition, it requires the ability to plan, which implies forward thinking and logic.

My hypothesis attributes most innovations (but see below re sex) to the response of cells/cell communities to changing environments. For instance, I do not share David’s belief that his God restructured pre-whales before they entered the water. I suggest that environmental change may have made the water more attractive than the land, and the cell communities made changes to their structure in order to make better use of the new conditions. No abstract reasoning, planning, forward thinking involved. Just the cells responding to environmental challenges or opportunities. And every innovation entails the restructuring of cell communities, whether you like it or not. The question is not whether it happens but how it happens.

TONY: To make matters more complicated, it would also require cells to learn about things that they have no way to learn about! How would a cell make the leap from cell division to sex? […]

I agree with the whole of this paragraph. Sex is one of the great mysteries, and if anyone knew all the answers to all the great mysteries, there would be nothing left but facts! But my hypothesis of cellular intelligence as the driving force of evolution has always allowed for your God being its inventor and your God doing a dabble when he feels like it. Sex might be an instance of a dabble. Perfectly understandable if he created life, watched the intelligent cells produce all the different varieties, but also decided from time to time to intervene. I have never disputed the case for design. But…

TONY: These are not trivial problems for your hypothesis to overcome.

Of course not. That is why it remains a hypothesis, much like the hypothesis that all the mysteries we can’t understand were created by a mystery we can’t understand - namely, an eternal, unknown, unknowable, conscious mind which came from nowhere.

DAVID: dhw's problem is that he is quoting scientists who do single cell studies of response to specific stimuli and extrapolates their findings of 'intelligent' responses to make the point that the cells must have intelligence and that intelligence can be seen in whole organs. It is obvious to me an intelligent designer can create exactly what is seen.

It is the scientists who extrapolate the point that cells are intelligent. Do you really want me to repeat my post of 31 July?

DAVID (under “Bacterial intelligence”): Once again we see that bacteria use purposeful molecular reactions to react to stimuli. These are automatic mechanisms that use enzymes, giant molecules to activate and control the response speedily.

Yes, our senses also work automatically. Intelligence consists in working out how to use the information provided by the senses.

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