David's theory of evolution Part One (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, November 10, 2019, 13:18 (9 days ago) @ David Turell

GEORGE: There is nothing here that talks about "intelligent cells or cell communities" that have "their own special form of consciousness". This is an interpretation or overlay put on his [Shapiro’s] work by proponents of Intelligent Design or Universal Consciousness ideas.

dhw: […] Why don’t you look beyond Amazon? Here are extracts from a detailed review of Shapiro’s book (my bold), to be taken in the context of the reviewer’s criticism:
James A. Shapiro: Evolution: a view from the twenty-first ...

QUOTES: …the bottom line of Shapiro’s book is (biological) evolution itself IS an ‘intelligent’ (‘cognitive’, ‘sentient’, ‘thoughtful’ are the words he uses) process. In the words of the first paragraph “life requires cognition at all levels” and in the concluding paragraphs: [21st view of evolution implies] “a shift from thinking about gradual selection of localized random changes to sudden genome structuring by sensory network-influenced cell systems…. It replaces the ‘invisible hands’ of geological time and natural selection with cognitive networks and cellular functions of self modification.

The reviewer, however. doesn’t like Shapiro’s emphasis on cellular intelligence:

However, unfortunately, Shapiro tends to grossly oversell his case, which I find irritating. Calling evolution (and cells) ‘cognitive’, ‘sentient’ and ‘thoughtful’,is in my opinion not very illuminating, nor does it set a clear research agenda.

DAVID: I certainly agree with the reviewer, and I've read the book! He only studies bacteria which as freely living, must make responses, that obviously could be built-in automatic.

George and you both dispute that Shapiro is advocating cellular intelligence as the engineering force behind speciation. I am merely pointing out that this is precisely his theory. I know you disagree with him, and prefer your speciation theory of divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programmes for speciation.

DAVID: I do not interpret Lieff as you do. See my comment

John Lieff: The Emperor of Cells – How intelligent are Cancer Cells?
"Microbes have abilities to make decisions, communicate, and solve problems.
While microbes appear to have a type of cognition, the neuron has been observed to be vastly more complex with its own intelligent activity, an entire civilization by comparison to a microbe.

DAVID: Lieff's point is that neurons are vastly different, a difference you are trying to smudge.

dhw: Lieff’s point is that microbes are intelligent but neurons are vastly more intelligent – a difference in intelligence which you are trying to smudge.

DAVID: No smudge. Of course neurons are vastly superior. Remember cell responses may be automatic.

You keep claiming that scientists pooh-pooh the idea that cells are intelligent. Now you are trying to gloss over yet another scientist’s championship of the theory by saying neurons are different and superior, while deliberately leaving out his own word “intelligent”!

dhw: Environmental change may well result in major necessity, but opportunity may also be a factor that leads organisms to a new form of behaviour.

DAVID: Go on dreaming that a change in behavior creates new species. That is your implication and it comes from pure Darwin.

dhw: A change in environmental conditions will inevitably lead to a change in behaviour (entailing adaptation and/or innovation or death), which in turn will lead to anatomical changes to enable the organism to function in the new environment (e.g. flippers, bipedalling legs). Pure Darwin or not, why do you find this illogical?

DAVID: There is no proof changes in behavior cause speciation, which is your Darwinian point.

You simply refuse to recognize that NOBODY can prove the cause of speciation, which is why we have theories like mine and yours. And you still refuse to say why you find my proposal illogical.

From “Introducing the brain”: "The researchers found that even though the animals couldn’t see anything, the activity in their visual cortex was both extensive and shockingly multidimensional, meaning that it was encoding a great deal of information. Not only were the neurons chatting, but “there were many conversations going on at the same time,” wrote Marius Pachitariu, a neuroscientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute."

Sounds to me like a community of cells constantly communicating with one another, passing on information, but always ready to focus on single issues when necessary and to pool their information and take communal decisions. All signs of intelligence.

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