Cellular intelligence: (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, December 13, 2021, 18:19 (38 days ago) @ David Turell

T cells:
DAVID: There is much to learn with each new challenge. but 'learn' means automatically creating a new response.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: You cannot use human 'learning' to fit the language in biochemistry. When the T cell recognizes non-self and thereby discovers a foreign protein is present, it automatically invents an answer which identifies the invader, by attaching a protein marker, which allows it to be destroyed or neutralized. That is learning in biochemical speak!!

So if cells already have God-given “algorithms” to correct errors and to kill foreign invaders, how do you account for the fact that vast numbers of victims (from bacteria to humans) can die before a solution to each new problem is found?

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 bbbinterpret, process, communicate with one another, and respond to new informationbbb. The baby does not control them. They control themselves. This ability – in the form of cellular intelligence – may have been designed by your God.
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.

dhw: 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: See above to not be repetitious.

Above is nothing but your repetition of your belief that cells are mindless automatons!

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.

dhw: 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.

dhw: 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?

DAVID: 'Adaptations' imply tiny steps, not the way to speciation which are giant steps into the future requiring major design.

It’s sometimes difficult to draw a borderline between adaptations and innovations (leg turning into flipper might be one example) but as usual you are missing or avoiding the point. We KNOW that small changes are a RESPONSE to new conditions. Why do you insist that large changes can only be made by anticipation of new conditions? Is it not far more logical to assume that all changes, large and small, will be a response rather than an act of clairvoyance? Why change something that is working perfectly well in the present?


To add to family woes, my computer is now playing extremely frustrating games. It has taken me all day to get onto the Internet! But my computer is now old, and there are no silicantibodies to counter the effects of silicold age. I shall have to get a new one!

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