slime mold decisions: begins to study loners (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, May 22, 2020, 11:38 (10 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES: (1) The researchers hope to pin down what’s happening at the molecular level to enable this strategy in the slime molds. (David’s bold)

"There are other contexts in which loner behavior might prove evolutionarily crucial as well. Couzin and others have found, for instance, that some forms of loner behavior can lead to the emergence of leaders in groups. (2)“Are these differences predetermined?” Couzin said. Or are they products of “a decision-making strategy that depends on both the physical and the biotic environment around the animals?

"...the work demonstrates that to truly understand how collective and cooperative behaviors evolved, and how they continue to operate, researchers may need to study the seeming misfits that don’t participate."

DAVID: dhw should delight in this study. It is not about cooperating multicellular cells. They are built that way in the process of embryological development.

Once again I must thank you for your fairness in presenting articles favourable to my own arguments. I am indeed delighted. First comment: cooperation has to start somewhere. Once it is established, it will be passed on, and will continue until new problems arise, in which case the in-built intelligence will once more have to make adjustments. See below.

DAVID: This is about individual cells who make decisions.

And the ability to make decisions is one of the characteristics of intelligence.

DAVID: Note the first bold. It could be automatic molecular reactions which are due to (see bold 2) environmental factors.

But bold 2 entails decision-making! And that is my point: it is when new problems arise (environmental factors), that intelligence comes into play. Your “could be automatic” is the alternative to intelligence.

DAVID: However, slime mold is a step on the way to multicellularity. Does that mean some cells in the huge multicellular group can actually be independent and act intellectually? We don't know what tells DNA to add methyl groups in epigenetics! There is a reason for that: We can read genes in the code, and we can show what the gene does, but we have no idea how that gene does it!!! Also, what signals DNA to make modifications? These disconnects in what we can understand may never be solved. But they are the key to speciation.

Precisely. What you are now calling the “multicellular group” is what I call the cell community, which you try to trivialize by calling it the cell committee, and yes indeed, the “disconnects” can all be connected up if some cells can “act intellectually”, make decisions, and all other cells cooperate in implementing those decisions. My thanks again for this highly revealing article. Despite all our disagreements, you remain a great science teacher!

Under Nature’s Wonders:

Bumble bees can change the timing of flowering to suit their needs:

DAVID: Leaves don't taste like pollen. We must ask how did this start to become an instinct. The flowering occurs somewhat long after the leaf munching, so it is not visual observation. Does the bee see leaf damage and then later observes earlier flowering and mentally makes the connection to start chomping? No answer here. Perhaps God helped?

Which means, presumably, perhaps God programmed bumble-bee-leaf-biting 3.8 billion years ago, or God gave bumble bees a course in leaf-biting. A theistic alternative to be considered is that God might have given ALL organisms the intelligence to see, observe and make mental connections.

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