David's theory of evolution: James A. Shapiro's view (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, December 12, 2019, 08:48 (293 days ago) @ David Turell

Under “Bacteria: chemical communication”, I asked you to explain why NEW drugs kill millions of bacteria, if all cells were “prepared” to deal with the damage.

DAVID: The answer you want is there is individual variation and some bacteria do not have the defensive protein, so they die.

So did your God leave it to chance to decide which of his bacteria would inherit his 3.8-billion-year-old programme for every single problem that bacteria would face for the rest of time?

DAVID: Of course cells are cognitive and act purposefully from their programming. I'v e never disagreed with that thought. My disagreement is I'm sure they are programmed/designed to act that way. They didn't invent the programming.

dhw: Cognitive means having the ability to know, understand, learn, make decisions etc. – all attributes of intelligence. You have always argued that their actions are automatic. An automaton doesn’t know, understand, learn or make decisions. By all means argue that this autonomous ability was designed by your God, but please don’t pretend that Shapiro’s theory is anything other than the autonomous ability of intelligent cells to invent evolutionary novelty and to self-modify.

DAVID: Your evolutionary novelty in bacteria is simple adaptation to current challenges, for which they are programmed

Just to clarify: you have agreed that cells (not just bacteria) are cognitive, and that “evolutionary novelty arises from the production of new cell and multicellular structures as a result of cellular self-modification”, but you say “the two parts are totally disconnected”. Shapiro’s theory (and mine) is that they are connected. Your own theory is that despite their cognitive powers, cells were programmed 3.8 billion years ago both to adapt and presumably also to produce “evolutionary novelty”.

DAVID: Software has to be designed by a mind. Of course you don't see that.

dhw: You ignored my response, which was:
dhw: And the basis of Shapiro’s theory (and mine) is that cells/cell communities are cognitive entities with decision-making abilities etc., i.e. that they have their own minds which create the new software.

DAVID: Minds really appeared when neurons arrived. Only neurons make minds.

dhw: Pure prejudice. You have said over and over again that there is a 50/50 chance that you are wrong.

DAVID: That 50/50 means we look from the outside and reach conclusions. I'm no more prejudiced than you are, and I started my research from your position.

You have made a definitive statement about minds. Shapiro is offering a THEORY (as am I) which you dismiss: that cells/cell communities are cognitive, sentient beings which make their own decisions and are capable of inventing their own “novelties”, as opposed to having every decision preprogrammed for them 3.8 billion years ago. During this discussion you have tried to dismiss his theory on the grounds that it is based solely on his research into bacteria, but it is not. You have accused me of bastardizing his theory, but I have not. And now you are repeating your own belief that despite being cognitive beings, cells don’t have “minds”, i.e. are not capable of knowing, understanding, learning, making decisions. If you mean they are programmed to be cognitive, then that = your God gave them the autonomous intelligence to act purposefully. If you mean that their purposeful actions have been programmed, then I don't see how you can agree that they are cognitive. Perhaps you would explain what you mean by "cognitive" and sort out this contradiction.

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