Big brain evolution: our special gene is identified (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, January 11, 2019, 12:49 (9 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Thank you for this and for all the other articles you have posted today. If the human sense of smell is this complex, imagine what dogs’ are like. Theirs is said to be at least 1,000 times more efficient than ours! I like the expression “cooperative design”, since cell cooperation is integral to the whole process, and cell memory is another important factor for those who advocate autonomous cellular intelligence.

DAVID: I still view it as implanted intelligence from intelligent information. From the outside no different than your proposal.

Perhaps one day you will define what you mean by “intelligent information”. Either cells/cell communities are automatons whose decisions have been preprogrammed, or they make their decisions autonomously. The result is the same either way, which is why you keep acknowledging that the odds in favour/against are 50/50. If your 50/50 hypothesis is worth considering, then so is Shapiro’s.

Under “Biological complexity: plant growth…”
QUOTE: "Dr Mähönen's team combined individual cell lineage tracing and molecular genetics to show early-stage xylem cells, which had not yet differentiated, take over as the organiser and direct adjacent vascular cells to divide and function as stem cells: "We showed that this secondary development is a tightly controlled process and revealed a dynamic nature of the organiser.”

DAVID: Automaticity in growth by feedback loops to control transcription factors, hormones and microRNA. This is how cells work in everyday projects.

dhw: Even plants require a dynamic organiser, and in other posts we have seen how they communicate with one another. The ability to cope with changing conditions and potential threats suggests a form of intelligence – nothing like our own, but nevertheless entailing the processing and communication of information and the making of decisions. Unquestionably much of this is automatic, just as it is in humans whose perceptions and implementation of decisions involve automatic processes, but that does not mean the dynamic organiser is an automaton.

DAVID: Struggle with automaticity all you want, but this is a study in early development: "focused on the early (primary) stage of vascular development" is a quote from the article. In early growth of any embryonic stage there must be automaticity to produce the expected adults! Otherwise there would be a plethora of aberrant forms born or produced as plants.

Agreed. Once a successful pattern of behaviour has been established, it will be repeated automatically so long as external conditions remain the same. I had seized on the expression “dynamic organiser”, which I suggest is essential if an organism – whether animal or vegetable – is to survive changes in existing conditions, as I have specified in my comment, now bolded.

DAVID (re dragonflies): from uncommon descent website: "The question that it raises is, how do the insects “know” that they should migrate over several generations? When a larva becomes a pupa, the body completely dissolves and is reconstituted as an adult. Where and how exactly does the information survive? Reside?" I couldn't phrase the dilemma any better and remember it is the same for monarchs. These insects could not have worked this out stepwise. Only design fits. Obviously the genes survive the metamorphosis in the liquid phase.

If you mean design as opposed to chance, I agree. There is no way the repeated generational and migration pattern can have arisen by chance. But this only brings us back to our usual discussion: what was the original method of design? Cellular intelligence, your own divine, 3.8 byo programme, divine dabbling? In all cases, the pattern has to be passed on somehow. Through the genes and cell memory (see my first comment above)?

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