Natures wonders: ants who are slave owners (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, March 08, 2019, 13:29 (352 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I've agreed ants can alter their DNA and behavior through epigenetic coding. But that doesn't get around the fact that whatever behavior exists at any given time is due to the DNA that exists at that time.

We are not talking about the behaviour at any given time, but about the changes that are made to existing behaviour! Here the scientists changed ant behaviour by messing about with existing DNA. You agree, however, that new behaviour can change DNA. I suggest that if some ants are required by a particular situation to change their behaviour, it is likely that the change of behaviour will change the DNA rather than the DNA forcing them to change their behaviour.

DAVID: And I repeat, each individual ant does his programmed individual thing as previously shown.

dhw: You have not previously shown any such thing.

DAVID: Reread this website presented on Friday, March 02, 2018, 18:44

If it were true that the article opted for divine preprogramming, I would say it is another example of confirmation/conclusion bias, but it even leaves open the possibility that ants are not confined to robotic behaviour. You obviously haven't read the conclusion (my bold)

QUOTE: A second [challenge] is that it’s very possible there’s more governing army ant behavior than two simple rules.
“We describe army ants as simple, but we don’t even understand what they’re doing. Yes, they’re simple, but maybe they’re not as simple as people think,” said Melvin Gauci, a researcher at Harvard University working on swarm robotics.

dhw: It is your fixed belief that your God either popped in to teach ants how to build rafts and bridges, or he supplied the first living cells with a 3.8-billion-year old programme for ant rafts and ant bridges to be passed on along with his programme for ant-making and for every other life form and natural wonder (though the programmes mysteriously bypassed bacteria, which only inherited programmes for bacteria). I propose that when ants first built rafts and bridges, they used their combined intelligences to do so. Once they had succeeded, this knowledge was passed on.

DAVID: We've covered this many times. God is in control with pre-programming/ and or dabbling. Each stage of evolution has a set of rules to follow. They carry instructions for future steps but aren't privy to it.

When I asked if the warty comb jelly’s disappearing anus was dabbled or preprogrammed, or designed by its own cell community, you replied: “How could I answer or know?” But here we go again, with your rigid beliefs stated as if they were facts. How can you know that bridge-building ants have been preprogrammed or taught by your God and, when they first started bridge-building, did not combine their intelligences and pass on the information? And let me repeat my request on the “genome complexity” thread: please tell us how ant-evolving and bridge-building instructions could have been passed on from the first living cells, if unicellular life forms only contained a library of instructions for themselves. I look forward to your explanation.

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