Cellular intelligence: Animal Algorithms reviewed (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, November 13, 2021, 07:44 (21 days ago) @ David Turell

Sensing autonomic activity
QUOTE: Rolls’ study shows “there is a driver,” he said. “There is someone who decides whether to hit the brake or the gas pedal.”

DAVID: […] each stimulus has an automatic response. That is the way living biochemistry works.

dhw: In the course of evolution, there is virtually no limit to stimuli, and different organisms have learned to cope with every kind of environment.

DAVID: If you list possible stimuli they are limited in number.

dhw: Well, OK, I’ll let you compile the list, starting on Monday, 1st January, 3.8 thousand million years ago…

DAVID: In immediate time external stimuli are limited: environmental changes, dangerous events, in water or on land, etc.

I suggest that throughout the last 3.8 thousand million years, there have been countless examples of environmental changes, dangerous events, in water or on land, etc., and these in turn have led to countless changes in life forms as well as lifestyles and natural wonders. Hence the history of evolution.

Control of differentiation
DAVID: Lots of mindless activity occurs with living organisms.

dhw: Of course it does. Conscious intelligence only comes into play with the invention of new processes and/or when things go wrong.

DAVID: Where are you placing conscious intelligence?

Nobody knows the source of conscious intelligence. We only know that it must be there, since we and other life forms respond intelligently to conditions that require the observation, thought-processing, communication, decision-making etc. which are the hallmarks of conscious intelligence.

Animal algorithms
DAVID: You completely miss the point of the neural complexity that this AI expert denies that natural evolution could have designed it.

dhw: No he doesn’t. He asks if animals have minds, and says the question is unanswered!

DAVID: The complete quote:
Do animals exhibiting CPBs have themselves “minds” in some sense? That question is unanswered. We do know from logic and experience, however, that goal-directed action supported by hardware and software systems must originate from the design efforts of intelligent agents, that is, from conscious minds. Jonathan Bartlett’s June 15, 2021, article here concisely summarized this conclusion:
Intelligent Design … says that agency is a distinct causal category in the world. That is, when I code a computer program, write a book, invent a formula, write a poem, etc., I am doing something that is distinctively beyond the operation of pure physics. There is something distinct about the way that causation works for beings with minds compared to how it works for beings without minds.

Just as it takes human intelligence to code programmes, write books, invent formulas, it takes cellular intelligence (an intelligent mind) to perform such “goal-directed actions” as creating new antibodies to counter new threats, restructuring cell communities in order to meet new requirements (adaptation), and creating what Shapiro calls “evolutionary novelty” (the equivalent of human inventions). All of these actions are “distinctively beyond the operation of pure physics”. But the only intelligent minds you can think of are ours and your God’s. You can’t imagine your God giving ALL life forms intelligent “minds in some sense”.

DAVID: Picking a minor point of a quote of context is what you do.

Even if Mr Bartlett is like you, and can’t imagine animals and cells having “minds”, what he has written does not in any way weaken the case for cellular intelligence.

DAVID: 'Complexity' in living biochemistry and in neural circuits can only be fully appreciated if educated in the subjects. The opinions cannot be sluffed off. Believe me the complexity requires a designing mind.

dhw:I believe you. And I believe Cassell when he says that the question whether animals have minds is unanswered.

DAVID: Repeating an honest observation out of context of the whole book.

The words you have quoted leave open the case for cellular intelligence. I’m in no position to comment on the whole book. If you choose a quote that can be used to support my case, please don’t blame me.

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