Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Monday, March 08, 2021, 14:12 (519 days ago) @ David Turell

Introducing the brain

dhw: I found the second half of the article far from instructive, and indeed very confusing, not to say misleading (and in the context, I thought dualism and materialism were in fact irrelevant). Since currently you and I are the only contributors to the forum, and disagree on so many of our topics, it is doubly important for me to know your views – especially since in this case the author was dealing with medical matters on which you are our resident expert. :-)

DAVID: The main ns only point of the article for me is most brain studies are limited to areas and miss the point that the whole brain is always at work, so in a way thestudies are distorted in the impressions they present.

She also misses out the fact that it is not just the brain that contributes to our behaviour but the whole body, as illustrated in the “gut” article, though our discussion of that has changed direction..

Your gut has a big brain

dhw: We are talking about the cell communities that contribute to our behaviour! According to you, the gut cells communicate with the brain cells – and no doubt with other cell communities – by following God’s instructions, which can only have been issued 3.8 billion years ago or dabbled whenever he felt like dabbling. I am sceptical. I think it more likely that if your God exists, he would have given ALL cells/cell communities the autonomous ability to communicate and cooperate in making their contributions to their host’s behaviour.

DAVID: It is so logic all if you accept God, and it doesn't need sword swallowing.

It seems far more logical to me that your God would have provided the means for all the billions of cells and cell communities to do their own communicating and cooperating than for him to provide 3.8-billion-year-old programmes or personal tuition for every single form of behaviour throughout life’s history.

ID explained: are cells intelligent

QUOTE: To be clear, most researchers do not think that white blood cells or bacteria are conscious, like dogs or cats. They are, however, often thought to be sentient (capable of feeling).
"At the very least, like complex machines, they are full of critical, interacting information. And sometimes, also like complex machines, they spookily manage to behave as if they were conscious.

DAVID: Since we are on the outside of cells our answer is a 50/50 probability as to which interpretation is correct, that is, primary intelligent activity or following intelligent instructions?. All ID folks side with the latter.

Once again, I must thank you for your integrity in presenting us with such an article. I’m tempted to quote all of it, but the above will do. Behaving “as if they were conscious” involves far more than sentience, because cells also appear to work out strategies and take decisions. But I don’t suppose even Shapiro would argue that they have the same sort of consciousness as dogs or cats, let alone humans. I am happy with your 50/50. That should be enough for anyone to take the possibility very seriously indeed – especially when considering the alternative, which boils down to one of two options: that there is a God who 3.8 billion years ago preprogrammed every decision taken for the rest of history, or who steps in to give cells and bacteria courses on what to do whenever new problems arise. I wonder how many ID folks subscribe to these two explanations of what looks like intelligent behaviour.

C. elegans feels colour

DAVID: Elegans had to have the ability to sense color to learn to avoid them. Where did that come from? Perhaps God.

This rang a bell in my generally fading memory, and I scurried through the pages of my well-worn Origin of Species. In Chapter VI, Difficulties on Theory, Darwin wrote: “How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that nerves sensitive to touch may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.”

The article makes me suspect that our researchers are following the same line of thought. And I also suspect that the agnostic Darwin would not object to the proposal that there is a God who designed the mechanism which eventually evolved into sight, touch and hearing.

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