The simplest explanation? (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, October 30, 2020, 09:13 (194 days ago) @ George Jelliss

GEORGE: dhw asked me for my opinion on "cellular intelligence".
I did a search and came across this article on the subject:

He says in the last paragraph that his views are based on experimental evidence
and not on philosophical assumptions.

Buehler is one of several notable specialists who have studied the behaviour of cells, including Lynn Margulis, the Nobel-prizewinner Barbara McClintock, and currently James A. Shapiro, whose theory I mentioned before.

GEORGE: It does seem from this that cells, at least in the form of bacteria,
which are self-contained life forms, do have sensors and a control centre,
which I suppose can be thought of as a sort of "brain",
but I would be reluctant to call it "intelligence", since it just reacts to stimuli. But this is not a subject I've looked into before

Bacteria, like the cells in our bodies, solve problems and adapt to new conditions. They form communities, communicate with one another, pass on information and take decisions based on the information they have processed. These abilities are essential for survival. That doesn’t mean bacteria and other cells think as we do, and it doesn’t mean that the cell communities of which all bodies are comprised are capable of major innovations, but they are proven to be capable of minor adaptations, in which case perhaps they are also capable of major adaptations and innovations. I find this explanation of speciation far more convincing than random mutations, or divine dabbling, or a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for every development. Bearing in mind that natural selection does not create anything but only selects changes which are beneficial, should I assume that you believe random mutations are a satisfactory explanation for all the innovations that have led from the first living cells to, let’s say, the human brain?

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