Logic and evolution: the giraffe problem (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 15:39 (162 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: How do complex design requirement animals like a giraffe come from? The fossils have no answer!

dhw: Nobody has the answer, and that is why I have offered three different answers, including your own. Shapiro, who believes in cellular intelligence, offers a fourth: “natural genetic engineering” (but I would add that cellular intelligence may have been designed by your God).

DAVID: Of course there is no natural answer. There are no fossil predecessors! Were is the evolution?

I offer different alternatives, but NONE of them are proven, and that is why they are hypotheses! Where is the 3.8 byo programme for giraffes and long necks?

DAVID: From the article: "the amoeba just reacts passively to the conditions" and reacts automatically.

dhw: It can’t change the conditions, can it? But why are you rewriting the sentence? It continues: “…and figures out the best possible arrangement by itself” – the exact opposite of “reacts automatically”.

DAVID: By itself of course can mean automatically. It only reacts to light or food as the article says.

Why do you keep ignoring the words “figures it out by itself” – that can’t mean automatically!

DAVID: The only real intelligence is in the research team and what they designed! The article really fools unsophisticated readers.

dhw: Margulis, McClintock, Buehler, Shapiro all champion cellular intelligence, as does this article itself. Apparently anyone who disagrees with you is “unsophisticated”. This is not the level of debate we are accustomed to.

DAVID: Quote from article: " Physarum polycephalum is a very simple organism that does two things: it moves toward food and it moves away from light. Millions of years of evolution has made Physarum abnormally efficient at both of these things." Where do you see intelligence???

Unfortunately, something went wrong with your reproduction of the article: several paragraphs were repeated and the account of the experiment itself seemed incomplete. I’ve checked and the missing section reads as follows:

In this particular case, each channel represents a city on our hypothetical salesman’s route, along with the order that the city should be visited (dhw: i.e. there is food at the end of each channel.) When the amoeba extends into a chnnel representing a city, it affects the likelihood that a light will go off in channels representing the next cities on the route. The further away the city is, the more frequently the light will go off in that channel.

You then gave us the following quotes: 'The mechanism by which the amoeba maintains the quality of the approximate solution, that is, the short route length, remains a mystery….But if the researchers can figure out just how the amoeba works [..] It could speed up our ability to solve all kinds of difficult computational problems and change the way we approach security.
"This one small amoeba—and the way it solves difficult problems—might just change the face of computing forever."

I’m not sure I understand all of this, but you obviously did and called it “amazing work”, and you also used the word “amazing” in your heading. Mere automaticity is hardly amazing. We needn’t dwell on it. I’ll stick with McLintock, Margulis, Buehler and Shapiro if you prefer.

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