Emergence (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, October 11, 2018, 12:46 (5 days ago)

Under “Natural wonders: …soldier ants.."

QUOTE: The researchers also discovered that the colony as a whole maintains the balance between soldiers and minor workers by regulating the growth of the rudimentary wing discs in larvae.

DAVID:: This shows an automatic control over soldier numbers by a pheramone release. I can predict the next finding: the ant colony estimates the ratio of soldiers by analyzing the concentration of a pheramone the soldiers release within the colony and adjust fetal ratios appropriately. A great example of design.

Thank you once more for a fascinating article about these wonderful creatures. We need to delve deeper, though. You and the authors talk of the colony maintaining the balance and estimating the ratio, but what is the colony? It’s a collection of individual ants. And the ants cooperate to produce every action they perform. Of course you can argue that 3.8 billion years ago your God programmed every aspect of ant society, or that he stepped in to adjust the programme whenever there was a problem. But another possibility is that individual ants pooled their (perhaps God-given) intelligence to invent all the techniques which they now use to enable their society to run as smoothly and efficiently as it does now. In other words, another great example of ant design.

Under "Big brain evolution":

QUOTES: “microglia, immune cells that live in the brain, prune back unwanted synapses by engulfing or "eating" them.
"The findings add fuel to the idea that the brain has a balance of opposing factors that help fine-tune its connections—a yin/yang of sorts.

An interesting parallel to the ant procedure. Again we talk of the brain as a unit, like the ant colony, but it’s made up of cooperating individuals. We never think of it that way, but if we do, we come back to the concept of emergence, which Wikipedia describes as follows:

"In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence occurs when "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts," meaning the whole has properties its parts do not have. These properties come about because of interactions among the parts."

This fits in neatly with the "Theory of Intelligence" I tried to develop elsewhere, and also with Sheldrake’s morphic fields. It may be possible (emphasis on "may") that interactions among the parts of the brain can produce the immaterial intelligent self which dualists call the "soul".


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