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

by dhw, Thursday, December 19, 2019, 10:59 (287 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You know perfectly well that if a bacterium acts cognitively, the meaning is that it knows what it is doing – the exact opposite of automatically obeying instructions.

DAVID: It doesn't know what it is doing if it is acting from automatic instructions, as I believe.

Obviously. So when you agreed “without question” that “living cells…are cognitive (sentient) entities that act and interact purposefully”, and bacteria “vary on their own with adaptations. God is not needed for in species variation”, you actually meant that living cells are not cognitive entities, and bacteria need God’s instructions for in species variation. But apparently I am the one who is playing word games.

QUOTE: "Earlier this month, Dr. Isacc Chiu of Harvard Medical School proposed that it was time to time to adopt an expanded understanding of how the nervous and immune systems function synergistically. The nervous system isn't a mere watchdog that spots danger and alerts the body. The nervous system is an active participant in fighting infections, Chiu said. (dhw's bold)

dhw: And there you have it in a nutshell: different cell communities cooperate (function synergistically) in working out solutions to new problems. And so theoretically it is perfectly feasible that this ability, while clearly being responsible for adaptation, might also be responsible for innovation.

DAVID: Not so fast. They are designed to act together.

That can mean your God designed the intelligence that enables them to act together. It does not mean that he preprogrammed or dabbled every single cooperative action in the history of life.

QUOTE: "Adaptive immunity, also called acquired immunity, develops over time. When it encounters re-infection with a foreign antigen, it "remembers" having seen the infiltrator in the past. Memory T cells are part of adaptive immunity. They quickly convert swarm the invader in a rapid response based on the "memory" of a past infection.”

dhw: This is also how bacteria work. They swarm, and “acquire immunity”, and “remember” past infections once they’ve solved the problem, and yet they are single-cell and have no neurons or memory T cells. One might be tempted to believe that since the single cell is just as capable of solving new problems as cooperating cell communities, cognition and sentience and information processing and communication skills and decision-making (all hallmarks of intelligence) are not confined to organisms with a brain.

DAVID: And I will still insist they act under automatic instructions. The multicellular immune/memory cooperative system is designed to work that way.

To work what way? The system may have been designed to work out its own solutions to problems as and when they arise. Your alternative, though you always fight shy of spelling it out or accuse me of misrepresentation, is that 3.8 billion years ago, your God preprogrammed the first cells with every solution to every problem that bacteria would face for the rest of time, or he pops in whenever a new problem arises. How else could the system receive its “automatic instructions”, and don’t you find this a little hard to swallow?

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