Natures wonders: ants who are slave owners (Introduction)

by dhw, Saturday, March 09, 2019, 12:42 (166 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] 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: You know I accept epigenetic abilities.

So do you accept my now bolded suggestion?

DAVID: Reread this website presented on Friday, March 02, 2018, 18:44
https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-simple-algorithm-that-ants-use-to-build-bridges-2018...

dhw: 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.

DAVID: I agree that we do not fully understand them but all the article showed were individuals we programmed to have their own individual responses once the activity started. I realize there had to be an ant who decided to start the bridge when at the lead of the column. His decision could very well be automatic or either/or: straight on or go arou nd.

I doubt if it was one ant. They work cooperatively and collectively, just as our own cell communities do. You drew my attention to the article, but it clearly leaves open the possibility that there is more to ant behaviour than mere algorithms and automaticity.

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.

dhw: […] 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?

DAVID: […] Your reliance on built in intelligence is used as a substitute for God and remains totally theoretical, while as research advances, more an more reactions are seen as automatic. My expectation is my view will prevail.

My hypothesis does not in any way “substitute” intelligence for God, but allows for God to have a different purpose and method from those which you attribute to him in your own totally theoretical hypotheses. I’m sure more and more automatic reactions will be discovered, as scientists probe the mechanics of sensing and movement and material action in all forms of life, including ourselves. But the material means of gathering information and performing material actions will not explain how organisms ranging from bacteria to humans process the information and make their decisions to perform the material actions. As a self-professed dualist, you champion the cause of autonomous intelligence, but for some strange reason, you think this only applies to large organisms.


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