Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Tuesday, March 09, 2021, 11:59 (66 days ago) @ David Turell

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 logical if you accept God, and it doesn't need sword swallowing.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: They communicate because of His programming.

I would have thought they communicated because they had something to tell one another. I view the theory that your God gave them the ABILITY to do so as a possibility. Could this be what you mean? Or do you mean that every single communication was programmed 3.8 billion years ago?

ID explained: are cells intelligent

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. (dhw's bold)

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.

DAVID: They believe God is in charge as designer, no more.

Just to make it clear: are you saying they do NOT propose that all cellular activities are governed by instructions that God issued 3.8 billion years ago, or by means of individual courses he delivers when necessary?

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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: I appreciate this comment.

I particularly value your appreciation of this, because if by chance anyone else happens to read it, it might help to remove some of the prejudices against Darwin arising out of both theistic and atheistic interpretations of his work. Thank you.


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