Cellular intelligence: (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, December 12, 2021, 11:04 (40 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have your old 'experts', and I have my experts in present time. They are also highly trained Ph.D.'s like your were.

dhw: My experts in the field are not all old. I alerted you to several current websites, and you proceeded to misinterpret one or two quotes and then couldn’t be bothered to look at the rest.

I hope you will now drop your silly assertion that the theory of cellular intelligence belongs to the past.

dhw: […} the theory of cellular intelligence certainly solves the problems raised by the theory of random mutations, since intelligent design (by cells) would take far less time than sheer chance to come up with new methods of survival in ever changing conditions.

DAVID: So does an active designer.

Agreed. So now we have two options.

T cells:
DAVID: the key to the importance of these cells is that they develop at birth and quickly learn to recognize and neutralize foreign proteins. Obviously, continuing to live without dangerous infections is a requirement for life and this system is designed for just that protection. The cells arrive at birth with this built-in ability.

dhw: The article is too technical for me to follow, but my ears always prick up when I hear that cells learn, and arrive with a built-in ability to do so. Some of us would say that this is a hallmark of autonomous intelligence. If behaviour is already programmed and proceeds automatically, no ability is required because there is nothing to learn.

DAVID: There is much to learn with each new challenge. but 'learn' means automatically creating a new response.

I know we speak a different language, but I have never in all my life come across your definition of “learn”. Over here, it means “to gain knowledge of a subject or skill by experience, by studying it, or by being taught”. (Longman) What we and our fellow creatures then do with that knowledge will of course depend on circumstances. An automaton, on the other hand, learns nothing. It simply obeys instructions. If cells arrive with the “built-in ability” to “learn to recognize and neutralize foreign proteins”, by definition they cannot be automatons.

Baby immunity
DAVID: newborns arrive unprotected but with a robust system that is designed to be fiercely protective immediately. Automaticity is required by design.

dhw: Alternatively, newborns arrive with cells that have the ability to interpret, process, communicate with one another, and respond to new information. The baby does not control them. They control themselves. This ability – in the form of cellular intelligence – may have been designed by your God.

DAVID: You haven't negated it is all automaticity designed by God.

The ability to interpret, process information etc. (now bolded) is the opposite of automaticity. Automatons merely obey instructions.
I went on to point out that intelligence is only required when systems originate or existing systems are confronted by change. We know that cells can make small changes to themselves (adaptation), but Shapiro suggests that they are also capable of creating “evolutionary novelty”.

dhw: Not proven, of course, any more than your theory of divinely programmed “algorithms” is proven, along with its astonishing combination of “the ability to interpret” and a full list of instructions which require no such ability because the recipients are mindless automatons.

DAVID: Cells are mindless automatons.

Your usual rigid, authoritative reply.

DAVID: Again you are straining to show that evolutionary advances are due to a hypothetical innate cellular intelligence that can design. We see it in current species adaptations that are epigenetic, but the species remain the same species.

I am not “straining”, and you don’t need to repeat what I have already said about adaptations, but I’d appreciate it if you would explain how a mindless automaton can have the ability to interpret, with all the mental activities that interpretation requires.

DAVID: I'll stick with a required designer with a brilliant mind. His cells react automatically with exceptional facility in all systems as you note.

Or his cells react autonomously with exceptional facility, as I note.

DAVID: Only He can make new complex designs to handle the requirement 'when conditions change' introducing future requirements. Change always introduces the future and understanding the new challenges for new designs.

What do you mean by “change always introduces the future”? The new challenges are present, and meeting the challenge is essential in the present if the organism is to have a future! Why do you insist that innovations require gazing into a crystal ball? You know that adaptations are a RESPONSE to new conditions, so why shouldn’t innovations be the same, conducted by the same cells that produce adaptations?


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