David's theory of evolution Part One (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, November 11, 2019, 10:51 (346 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: “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.

dhw: 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: You haven't answered my point. Free-living bacteria are a different breed of cat than cells in multicellular organisms. Shapiro cannot infer that they are the same and I am not sure he really does. All he has studied is DNA in single cells.

I reproduced the quote because George had failed to find any reference to Shapiro’s belief in cellular intelligence. I know you oppose this idea, and yes, there are different types of cells, but there are scientists who believe that they all have varying degrees of intelligence, as illustrated by the Lieff quotation.

dhw: 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”!

DAVID: Of course neurons are great contributors to intelligence. They are totally different than the cells you want to tout as intelligent, which could be totally automatic.

Yes I know. But many scientists believe that all cells have varying degrees of intelligence, and frankly I don’t know of any who claim that a God provided the first cells with computer programmes to be passed on for every cellular process, strategy, innovation, natural wonder, lifestyle etc. in the history of life. Do you?

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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Look at Talbott's essay for an answer. That new species have attributes that handle new environmental problems only tells us some agency developed the design preparation for a new species.

Talbott does not know the definitive answer any more than you or I do, but I cannot see how his view contradicts my proposal that “some agency” (let’s call it God) may have designed the mechanism which enabled organisms to work out their own responses to the demands of the environment.

QUOTE 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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: What the researchers were seeing in the visual area activity was the fact that the brain is programmed to understand what the body is doing and rapid running can be dangerous, so it must be alert for dangers. Clever program that. Where did it come from, which agency? The answer can only be God or nature, and do you think nature designs? Not! Which you explain is why you are agnostic without an answer you can believe.

The above quote says nothing about a 3.8-billion-year-old programme. It says the cells were encoding information and chatting about it. Maybe their ability to encode information and chat about it and take decisions about individual courses of action is the result of an autonomous mechanism for thought. “Where did it come from, which agency?” Maybe your God? Who knows?

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