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

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 08, 2018, 19:50 (489 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: They 'knew' they had a problem because, like us, they recognize hunger as an automatic stimulus. Do you think about your automatic responses, or is breathing thoughtful?

dhw: Of course not. You are merely repeating what I said as if it proved your point! When I talk to you, I do not think about vibrating my vocal chords or opening and shutting my mouth or moving my tongue – these are automatic, like the bacteria signals. But I use these automatic movements to convey a message, and the message is the product of my thought. I have a problem, and I tell you about it. The bacteria have a problem and they tell each other about it. How do they know what to signal if they don’t know what they’re signalling about?

DAVID: I said they knew they had a problem. Their responses don't require thought.

dhw: I’m glad you’ve now omitted the inverted commas round ‘knew’. So an organism knows it has a problem, communicates with its mates to try and solve the problem, but knowing you have a problem and communicating with others in order to find a solution does not require thought. And elsewhere you have dismissed as “hyperbole” the very idea that communication and problem-solving require thought. “No way,” you said. He who thinks he sees all, sees not his own blinkers (new Taunton proverb).

You are right: no thought involved, just receiving a stimulus and automatically responding.


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