Explaining natural wonders (Animals)

by dhw, Thursday, March 24, 2016, 13:47 (936 days ago)

David has provided us with yet more fascinating natural wonders, for which I for one am immensely grateful.However, not unnaturally, David, you like to add your own personal slant on each of them, as follows:

Cuttlefish
Comment: If one cuttlefish developed this method he couldn't teach it to others because it is an internal metabolic trick. Learning to do it stepwise would result in lots of dead cuttlefish who are not disguised before they figure out the whole process. Saltation from God is one solution that makes sense. Any just-so stories?

Jellyfish
Comment: And dead jelly fish provide nutrients for bottom plants. The bush of life is very intertwine and necessary.

Plant fertilization
Comment: Darwin style evolution cannot create this complexity stepwise! Only saltation fits.

Cuttlefish and plant fertilization: Yes, only saltation fits. Agreed long, long, long ago, but saltation is not a synonym for divine preprogramming or divine intervention. And in any case, it is quite possible that many cuttlefish died, and only those that devised/adopted the camouflage system survived, so that eventually the camouflage system was common to all cuttlefish. That process is called natural selection.

Yes, the bush of life is full of interdependent factors, and these keep changing, and when they change, some species die out and others flourish. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that one not-so-fine day, some catastrophe or other will cause the human species to die out, leaving behind a yellowed document buried beneath the ruins of a ranch in Texas, and bearing the words: “Thank God for the balance of nature”.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 24, 2016, 15:24 (936 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Cuttlefish and plant fertilization: Yes, only saltation fits. Agreed long, long, long ago, but saltation is not a synonym for divine preprogramming or divine intervention. And in any case, it is quite possible that many cuttlefish died, and only those that devised/adopted the camouflage system survived, so that eventually the camouflage system was common to all cuttlefish. That process is called natural selection.

We have no idea how cuttlefish appeared as a species. Natural selection says they arrived and survived so we can see them because they were exceptionally fit for the environment on arrival. You are back to touting Darwinism itty-bitty variation to achieve fully species-hood. Yes, saltation fits.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Friday, March 25, 2016, 13:33 (935 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Cuttlefish and plant fertilization: Yes, only saltation fits. Agreed long, long, long ago, but saltation is not a synonym for divine preprogramming or divine intervention. And in any case, it is quite possible that many cuttlefish died, and only those that devised/adopted the camouflage system survived, so that eventually the camouflage system was common to all cuttlefish. That process is called natural selection.

DAVID: We have no idea how cuttlefish appeared as a species. Natural selection says they arrived and survived so we can see them because they were exceptionally fit for the environment on arrival. You are back to touting Darwinism itty-bitty variation to achieve fully species-hood. Yes, saltation fits.

We have no idea how any new species (broad sense) appeared. And I have no idea how you can say I am touting Darwinist itty-bitty variation when I have categorically agreed that only saltation fits. It was you who pointed out that (hypothetical) non-camouflaged cuttlefish would have fallen victim to their prey, and the scenario I have described above simply means the (hypothetical) non-camouflaged variety of cuttlefish would therefore eventually have disappeared altogether. Natural selection does not mean itty-bitty innovations.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Friday, March 25, 2016, 15:28 (935 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You are back to touting Darwinism itty-bitty variation to achieve fully species-hood. Yes, saltation fits.[/i]

dhw: We have no idea how any new species (broad sense) appeared. And I have no idea how you can say I am touting Darwinist itty-bitty variation when I have categorically agreed that only saltation fits. Natural selection does not mean itty-bitty innovations.


You are correct in that the word 'saltation' is agreed upon, but my interpretation of saltation is different than yours. For me saltation is the arrival of a fully functional organism/ species with no need for natural selection to act. In Darwin-speak NS acts upon variations and chooses/judges which is best. Vast difference.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Saturday, March 26, 2016, 12:40 (934 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You are back to touting Darwinism itty-bitty variation to achieve fully species-hood. Yes, saltation fits.
dhw: We have no idea how any new species (broad sense) appeared. And I have no idea how you can say I am touting Darwinist itty-bitty variation when I have categorically agreed that only saltation fits. Natural selection does not mean itty-bitty innovations.

DAVID: You are correct in that the word 'saltation' is agreed upon, but my interpretation of saltation is different than yours. For me saltation is the arrival of a fully functional organism/ species with no need for natural selection to act. In Darwin-speak NS acts upon variations and chooses/judges which is best. Vast difference.

I'm not sure what you mean by “the arrival”. I would define a saltation as a sudden major change from one generation of an organism to the next. (Please give me your definition if different.) There may well be times when it is difficult to distinguish between a saltation and a variation, but if you believe in common descent, every saltation - just like every variation - must take place in an existing, functioning organism. Otherwise, the “arrival of a fully functional organism/species” is a separate creation. Natural selection, as you know perfectly well, is the process whereby organisms, saltations or variations survive or not, but as Darwin didn't believe in saltations, of course his natural selection only acted on variations! That doesn't change the meaning of natural selection. I agree with your view that the cuttlefish's camouflage required new functioning mechanisms which would have “arrived” suddenly (saltation), but that doesn't mean a new functioning camouflaged CUTTLEFISH “arrived” suddenly. The cuttlefish has certain features in common with other molluscs, like squid, which would seem to suggest common ancestry, and so somewhere along the line, up popped the camouflage mechanism (preprogrammed according to you, possibly invented according to me), and the lucky or intelligent pre-cuttlefish took on a new identity. However, all of this is speculation because, as we keep saying, nobody knows how speciation (broad sense) actually took place.

xxxxxxxxx

As I was checking the meaning of saltation to make sure my interpretation was correct, I came across the following, which surprised me:

Darwin's friend Thomas Henry Huxley, too, felt that evolution could be either gradual or saltatory. In his review of the Origin, he wrote that
Mr. Darwin's position might, we think, have been even stronger than it is if he had not embarrassed himself with the aphorism, "Natura non facit saltum," which turns up so often in his pages. We believe, as we have said above, that Nature does make jumps now and then, and a recognition of the fact is of no small importance in disposing of many minor objections to the doctrine of transmutation [i.e., Darwin's theory].

I hadn't realized that Darwin's commitment to gradualism was already under fire, even from his close friend Huxley!

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 26, 2016, 14:37 (934 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You are correct in that the word 'saltation' is agreed upon, but my interpretation of saltation is different than yours. For me saltation is the arrival of a fully functional organism/ species with no need for natural selection to act. In Darwin-speak NS acts upon variations and chooses/judges which is best. Vast difference.

dhw: I'm not sure what you mean by “the arrival”. I would define a saltation as a sudden major change from one generation of an organism to the next. (Please give me your definition if different.) There may well be times when it is difficult to distinguish between a saltation and a variation, but if you believe in common descent, every saltation - just like every variation - must take place in an existing, functioning organism.

I think you are correct and I will alter my statement above. Saltation is a major change in an existing species, a disconnect from the past, never a simple variation. It may occur in the same species, or be so different, it is the creation of a new species. Punctuated equilibrium was an attempt to theorize about this. Gould made a major point of all the 'jumps' in the evolutionary bush. It is a term for sudden speciation but does not explain it.


dhw: I hadn't realized that Darwin's commitment to gradualism was already under fire, even from his close friend Huxley!

Doesn't surprise me. Darwin was not instantly accepted as he is today.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Thursday, September 15, 2016, 13:04 (761 days ago) @ dhw

Thank you for another superb collection of natural wonders. I have collated your various comments, though I wouldn't want this to detract from the marvellous education you are giving us!

David's comment: Animals with bright brains can learn, develop simple tool techniques which then become instinct, as this study appears to show. No where near as complex as tying weaver nests, but an interesting comparison.

David's comment: All organisms have enemies and counteractive responses to them. The trees show complex automatic chemical responses recognizing deer. Bacteria, molds and fungi produce antibiotics against their enemies. Humans and other animals with similar response systems modify cellular DNA to produce antibodies to experienced attacks. These are very complex reactions, which chance is very unlikely to produce through Darwinian evolutionary theory.

QUOTE: "That said, ant farmers are not directly comparable to people. They're not consciously manipulating their fungi (indeed, Schultz said, you can imagine a scenario in which the fungi rule the relationship, bending millions of tiny ant servants to their will). Ant agriculture is a product of natural selection, of innumerable accumulated genetic accidents. New strategies aren't learned, they're evolved. (David's bold)

David's comment: Ants and fungi are an evolved, learned symbiotic relationship, but the key point is an integrated society acts like a giant single organism in ants and in humans with amazing productivity. My bolded statements make the point. There is the usual vast difference in kind in how quickly humans learned agriculture compared to ants.

QUOTE: [b]This suggests that cells have evolved adaptive signalling pathways to adjust proteasome assembly to arising needs, but how this is achieved is unknown[/b]. (My [David's] bold suggests a feedback mechanism for tight control.)

David's comment: A high speed continuous process. We stay alive because the garbage is spotted, removed or destroyed, at 99.99% efficiency. Otherwise we die! Cells are in constant production of product or replacement molecules of cell structure. Developed by chance? Never!

Every example draws forth the same comments from you and/or from Peregrine: all these complex forms of behaviour “evolved”, are “automatic”, (except when humans are involved, because we are so special), and could not have come about by chance, but neither of you stops to ask how they might have originated. “Animals with bright brains can learn” is the key. It seems to be anathema to you to even consider the possibility that as well as learning, animals, insects and even plants may be able to invent. At some time, a crow used a stick as a tool, a tree found a way of combating the threat from deer, ants found a way of manipulating fungi, cells found a way of removing garbage. Whether the action begins with one particular individual making the discovery or with a community working it out together makes no difference. It had to start somewhere. I agree that it couldn't have happened by chance. I suggest that it happened through intelligence (perhaps God-given). It is possible that certain forms of behaviour do originate through a chance discovery, but even then it takes intelligence to recognize the importance of the discovery, to use it, and to pass it on. Not human, self-aware intelligence, but their own crow/ant/tree/cell intelligence. What you might call “different in kind”.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 15, 2016, 19:11 (761 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Every example draws forth the same comments from you and/or from Peregrine: all these complex forms of behaviour “evolved”, are “automatic”, (except when humans are involved, because we are so special), and could not have come about by chance, but neither of you stops to ask how they might have originated. “Animals with bright brains can learn” is the key. It seems to be anathema to you to even consider the possibility that as well as learning, animals, insects and even plants may be able to invent.

I try to present a reasonable example of the complexity of living biochemistry. I don't believe you can fully appreciate it without the same training I have. From my training and knowledge, it is so complex that it requires a planning mind/intellect to create the solutions of increasing complexity seen in evolution. Your proposal only works if God gave them the ability in a mechanism we have not yet discovered. Nothing else is reasonable.

Explaining natural wonders

by BBella @, Thursday, September 15, 2016, 22:58 (761 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Every example draws forth the same comments from you and/or from Peregrine: all these complex forms of behaviour “evolved”, are “automatic”, (except when humans are involved, because we are so special), and could not have come about by chance, but neither of you stops to ask how they might have originated. “Animals with bright brains can learn” is the key. It seems to be anathema to you to even consider the possibility that as well as learning, animals, insects and even plants may be able to invent.


I try to present a reasonable example of the complexity of living biochemistry. I don't believe you can fully appreciate it without the same training I have. From my training and knowledge, it is so complex that it requires a planning mind/intellect to create the solutions of increasing complexity seen in evolution. Your proposal only works if God gave them the ability in a mechanism we have not yet discovered. Nothing else is reasonable.

But isnt it reasonable that complex innovation happening moment by moment within all life prove there is a built in mechanism, even though that mechanism hasn't been discovered/named (by scientific agreement)? That the FACT it is happening all the time seems reasonable proof there is a mechanism to me! We may not understand or can name the mechanism that makes consciousness do its thing, but we know consciousness is - which is reasonable proof that there is a "mechanism" that makes it work! Because we haven't dis-covered a mechanism for something and able to name it, doesnt mean there's no other explanation than God took time out of his busy schedule to make it happen in the moment a living organism needs to make a change. How is that reasonable?

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Friday, September 16, 2016, 00:02 (761 days ago) @ BBella

David Your proposal only works if God gave them the ability in a mechanism we have not yet discovered. Nothing else is reasonable.

BBella: But isnt it reasonable that complex innovation happening moment by moment within all life prove there is a built in mechanism, even though that mechanism hasn't been discovered/named (by scientific agreement)? That the FACT it is happening all the time seems reasonable proof there is a mechanism to me! We may not understand or can name the mechanism that makes consciousness do its thing, but we know consciousness is - which is reasonable proof that there is a "mechanism" that makes it work! Because we haven't dis-covered a mechanism for something and able to name it, doesnt mean there's no other explanation than God took time out of his busy schedule to make it happen in the moment a living organism needs to make a change. How is that reasonable?

You must remember jumps to new species in evolution are true jumps with major changes in biochemistry that really require advanced planning to coordinate all the new parts. However this mechanism works is unknown, but it is unfair to compare it to consciousness whose origin we don't understand and may not require a specialized mechanism. You are comparing required engineering for a new model. We know the brain is required to receive consciousness, while consciousness can survive an inoperative brain.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Friday, September 16, 2016, 13:50 (760 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: It seems to be anathema to you to even consider the possibility that as well as learning, animals, insects and even plants may be able to invent.
DAVID: I try to present a reasonable example of the complexity of living biochemistry. I don't believe you can fully appreciate it without the same training I have. From my training and knowledge, it is so complex that it requires a planning mind/intellect to create the solutions of increasing complexity seen in evolution. Your proposal only works if God gave them the ability in a mechanism we have not yet discovered. Nothing else is reasonable.

You succeed admirably in presenting the complexities. So do the many researchers whom you quote, and I expect some of them are theists, some are atheists, and some are agnostics. IMHO it would be absurd to ignore the possibility that a mind designed these complexities. But my proposal is that they were designed by the minds of the organisms themselves, and yet you keep insisting that my proposal DOESN'T work: your God has to guide every innovation and natural wonder. I have said over and over again that the disagreement is over the evolutionary process itself - preprogramming/ dabbling versus autonomous intelligence. I have at all times agreed that the intelligence (my proposal) may have been God-given.

BBella: But isnt it reasonable that complex innovation happening moment by moment within all life prove there is a built in mechanism, even though that mechanism hasn't been discovered/named (by scientific agreement)? That the FACT it is happening all the time seems reasonable proof there is a mechanism to me! We may not understand or can name the mechanism that makes consciousness do its thing, but we know consciousness is - which is reasonable proof that there is a "mechanism" that makes it work! Because we haven't dis-covered a mechanism for something and able to name it, doesnt mean there's no other explanation than God took time out of his busy schedule to make it happen in the moment a living organism needs to make a change. How is that reasonable?

DAVID: You must remember jumps to new species in evolution are true jumps with major changes in biochemistry that really require advanced planning to coordinate all the new parts. However this mechanism works is unknown, but it is unfair to compare it to consciousness whose origin we don't understand and may not require a specialized mechanism. You are comparing required engineering for a new model. We know the brain is required to receive consciousness, while consciousness can survive an inoperative brain.

There is no doubt that evolutionary saltation requires coordination, though “advanced planning” is open to definition. How advanced is advanced planning - not just in terms of complexity but also in terms of time? If innovation is triggered by changes in the environment, the changes must come first, and the innovation will be a response to the new conditions. The whole point of my hypothesis, and of BBella's response to your post, is not the origin of consciousness but the existence of consciousness, i.e. a crucial part of the unknown mechanism is the conscious intelligence of organisms which enables them to work out their own innovations, without God having to set up an undiscovered 3.7-billion-year-old computer programme for everything, or to take “time out of his busy schedule”.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Friday, September 16, 2016, 14:52 (760 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: But my proposal is that they were designed by the minds of the organisms themselves, and yet you keep insisting that my proposal DOESN'T work: your God has to guide every innovation and natural wonder.

Just as you don't believe in God, I don't believe simple organisms without brains had minds.


dhw: There is no doubt that evolutionary saltation requires coordination, though “advanced planning” is open to definition. How advanced is advanced planning - not just in terms of complexity but also in terms of time? If innovation is triggered by changes in the environment, the changes must come first, and the innovation will be a response to the new conditions. The whole point of my hypothesis, and of BBella's response to your post, is not the origin of consciousness but the existence of consciousness, i.e. a crucial part of the unknown mechanism is the conscious intelligence of organisms which enables them to work out their own innovations, without God having to set up an undiscovered 3.7-billion-year-old computer programme for everything, or to take “time out of his busy schedule”.

My concept totally differs: a new species has new parts or new mechanisms which are coordinated. This must be planned in advance. If punctuated equilibrium is the rule, there is no other way. I firmly believe your concept of conscious intelligence to create new species resides in God. As an example the current compliment of 200 dog types don't look like wolves, but they really still are, and human intelligence did that. No one knows how new species happen naturally.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Saturday, September 17, 2016, 12:50 (759 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Just as you don't believe in God, I don't believe simple organisms without brains had minds.

I have never said that God does not exist. You have categorically stated that simple organisms do not have minds. The difference between us is that I leave doors open, whereas you close them.

dhw: …The whole point of my hypothesis, and of BBella's response to your post, is not the origin of consciousness but the existence of consciousness, i.e. a crucial part of the unknown mechanism is the conscious intelligence of organisms which enables them to work out their own innovations, without God having to set up an undiscovered 3.7-billion-year-old computer programme for everything, or to take “time out of his busy schedule”.

DAVID: My concept totally differs: a new species has new parts or new mechanisms which are coordinated. This must be planned in advance. If punctuated equilibrium is the rule, there is no other way. I firmly believe your concept of conscious intelligence to create new species resides in God. As an example the current compliment of 200 dog types don't look like wolves, but they really still are, and human intelligence did that. No one knows how new species happen naturally.

Of course new species have new parts or mechanisms that are coordinated. No difference between our concepts. “Planned in advance” requires explanation. In advance of what? We can see over and over again from adaptation that organisms change themselves in response to new conditions, not “in advance”. I am proposing that they may follow the same procedure with innovations, working things out once the environment has changed. What do you mean by “resides in God”? Once more, my concept does not exclude God. It excludes the argument that God preprogrammed or dabbled every innovation and natural wonder. THAT is your totally different concept. I don't see how the example of human intelligence creating new types of dog in any way precludes the possibility that organisms can also change themselves. Of course no one knows how new species happen naturally - that is why we have all these theories.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 18, 2016, 23:50 (758 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: My concept totally differs: a new species has new parts or new mechanisms which are coordinated. This must be planned in advance. If punctuated equilibrium is the rule, there is no other way. I firmly believe your concept of conscious intelligence to create new species resides in God. As an example the current compliment of 200 dog types don't look like wolves, but they really still are, and human intelligence did that. No one knows how new species happen naturally.

dhw: Of course new species have new parts or mechanisms that are coordinated. No difference between our concepts. “Planned in advance” requires explanation. In advance of what?

How are new parts coordinated unless planned in advance of them being put into play as modified organisms.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Monday, September 19, 2016, 13:22 (757 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My concept totally differs: a new species has new parts or new mechanisms which are coordinated. This must be planned in advance.

dhw: Of course new species have new parts or mechanisms that are coordinated. No difference between our concepts. “Planned in advance” requires explanation. In advance of what?

DAVID: How are new parts coordinated unless planned in advance of them being put into play as modified organisms.

I pointed out that if innovations are triggered by environmental change, they can only take place as a response to that change and not in advance of it. Nobody knows how the mechanism works, but now you expect me to know. You claim that God has placed instructions for every innovation to be handed down by the first cells (other than dabblings). How does that work? Has anybody found the divine computer programme for every innovation and natural wonder? I suggest that organisms respond inventively to environmental change, just as we know they respond adaptively. If I knew how they worked things out, even the Nobel Prize wouldn't be a big enough reward.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Monday, September 19, 2016, 15:55 (757 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: How are new parts coordinated unless planned in advance of them being put into play as modified organisms.

dhw: I pointed out that if innovations are triggered by environmental change, they can only take place as a response to that change and not in advance of it. Nobody knows how the mechanism works, but now you expect me to know. .... I suggest that organisms respond inventively to environmental change, just as we know they respond adaptively. If I knew how they worked things out, even the Nobel Prize wouldn't be a big enough reward.

You have admitted life is complex, but your statement above glosses over the issue of inventing new biochemistry for the adaptations you say happens as, 'organisms respond inventively to environmental change'. Any advance requires new proteins among millions of possibilities, plus coordinated complexes of old proteins. So far DNA or the whole genome does not seem to contain a way to do that.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 16:38 (756 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: How are new parts coordinated unless planned in advance of them being put into play as modified organisms.

dhw: I pointed out that if innovations are triggered by environmental change, they can only take place as a response to that change and not in advance of it. Nobody knows how the mechanism works, but now you expect me to know. .... I suggest that organisms respond inventively to environmental change, just as we know they respond adaptively. If I knew how they worked things out, even the Nobel Prize wouldn't be a big enough reward.

DAVID: You have admitted life is complex, but your statement above glosses over the issue of inventing new biochemistry for the adaptations you say happens as, 'organisms respond inventively to environmental change'. Any advance requires new proteins among millions of possibilities, plus coordinated complexes of old proteins. So far DNA or the whole genome does not seem to contain a way to do that.

I have not glossed over it. I have pointed out that nobody knows how the mechanism works. You have merely provided details of what nobody knows. The same objection applies to your claim that your God provided the first cells with a computer programme which over the course of 3.7 billion years has invented new biochemistry, chosen new proteins and coordinated complexes of old proteins. So far nobody has discovered God's computer programme. Nor has anybody sussed out how or indeed why your God personally intervened in order to create all these innovations and natural wonders extant and extinct (when all he wanted to do was produce humans).

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 19:13 (756 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You have admitted life is complex, but your statement above glosses over the issue of inventing new biochemistry for the adaptations you say happens as, 'organisms respond inventively to environmental change'. Any advance requires new proteins among millions of possibilities, plus coordinated complexes of old proteins. So far DNA or the whole genome does not seem to contain a way to do that.

dhw: I have not glossed over it. I have pointed out that nobody knows how the mechanism works. You have merely provided details of what nobody knows. The same objection applies to your claim that your God provided the first cells with a computer programme which over the course of 3.7 billion years has invented new biochemistry, chosen new proteins and coordinated complexes of old proteins. So far nobody has discovered God's computer programme. Nor has anybody sussed out how or indeed why your God personally intervened in order to create all these innovations and natural wonders extant and extinct (when all he wanted to do was produce humans).

And my point persists; not knowing how speciation occurs, it still must be recognized that an advance in complexity involves finding new functional protein molecules. To me this requires a planning mind behind the process, since the search landscape is so huge. Found by chance, no way!

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 12:56 (755 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have admitted life is complex, but your statement above glosses over the issue of inventing new biochemistry for the adaptations you say happens as, 'organisms respond inventively to environmental change'. Any advance requires new proteins among millions of possibilities, plus coordinated complexes of old proteins. So far DNA or the whole genome does not seem to contain a way to do that.

dhw: I have not glossed over it. I have pointed out that nobody knows how the mechanism works. You have merely provided details of what nobody knows. The same objection applies to your claim that your God provided the first cells with a computer programme which over the course of 3.7 billion years has invented new biochemistry, chosen new proteins and coordinated complexes of old proteins. So far nobody has discovered God's computer programme. Nor has anybody sussed out how or indeed why your God personally intervened in order to create all these innovations and natural wonders extant and extinct (when all he wanted to do was produce humans).

DAVID: And my point persists; not knowing how speciation occurs, it still must be recognized that an advance in complexity involves finding new functional protein molecules. To me this requires a planning mind behind the process, since the search landscape is so huge. Found by chance, no way!

As usual, when confronted by the unlikelihood of your own hypothesis, you scurry away to the safety of attacking the chance hypothesis. The point of the cellular (perhaps God-given) intelligence hypothesis is that it does NOT rely on chance. It relies on intelligence.

Your two entries under “Genome complexity” follow the same track:

Comment: As noted previously the 3-D relationships in DNA affect gene expression and control. Where a gene is located is part of its function. How did Darwin style chance evolution arrange for that? The complexities in the genome function I have presented are beyond the capacity of a Darwin style evolutionary process. (My bold)

Comment: Methylation is an active modification process, but as we always see in genetic controls, a mechanism is present to turn on but also to turn off. In the Darwinian chance form of evolution one would wonder if both parts of the controls develop together. Seem unlikely in a hunt and peck system. (My bold)

If we substitute intelligent cell communities cooperating to produce increasingly complex mechanisms, we remove chance from the hypothesis.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 19:30 (755 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: As usual, when confronted by the unlikelihood of your own hypothesis, you scurry away to the safety of attacking the chance hypothesis. The point of the cellular (perhaps God-given) intelligence hypothesis is that it does NOT rely on chance. It relies on intelligence.

I view any intelligence as God-given, never self developd by cells.


dhw: If we substitute intelligent cell communities cooperating to produce increasingly complex mechanisms, we remove chance from the hypothesis.

You have invented cells which invent cell intelligence, while I admit it can exist if given by God.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Thursday, September 22, 2016, 13:00 (754 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: As usual, when confronted by the unlikelihood of your own hypothesis, you scurry away to the safety of attacking the chance hypothesis. The point of the cellular (perhaps God-given) intelligence hypothesis is that it does NOT rely on chance. It relies on intelligence.

DAVID: I view any intelligence as God-given, never self developed by cells.

I have explicitly allowed for their intelligence being God-given. The point of this exchange was that intelligence does not rely on chance.

dhw: If we substitute intelligent cell communities cooperating to produce increasingly complex mechanisms, we remove chance from the hypothesis.

DAVID: You have invented cells which invent cell intelligence, while I admit it can exist if given by God.

I have never claimed that cells invented cell intelligence. I do not know where their (hypothetical) intelligence came from, but I have always explicitly allowed for it to be given by God. I am pleased to see that you now agree to the possibility that cells are intelligent, and that is the central point of my hypothesis that evolution is driven by cellular intelligence and not by chance or by divine preprogramming and/or dabbling (= divine “guidance”). Thank you.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 22, 2016, 20:15 (754 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You have invented cells which invent cell intelligence, while I admit it can exist if given by God.

dhw: I have never claimed that cells invented cell intelligence. I do not know where their (hypothetical) intelligence came from, but I have always explicitly allowed for it to be given by God. I am pleased to see that you now agree to the possibility that cells are intelligent, and that is the central point of my hypothesis that evolution is driven by cellular intelligence and not by chance or by divine preprogramming and/or dabbling (= divine “guidance”). Thank you.

I fully understand your point of view. I will stick with mine.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Friday, September 23, 2016, 12:32 (753 days ago) @ David Turell

Again I am telescoping threads, but before taking aim at your interpretation of natural wonders, I would once more like to thank you for all these articles. Some of them are quite breathtaking, and they are a constant source of delight!

Smart fish
QUOTE: "Forming cognitive maps and recalling them weeks later illustrates more than a frillfin goby's prodigious talent for avoiding a leap of faith. It also exposes the human prejudice to underestimate creatures that we don't understand[/b]."[/i] (My bold)
David's comment: There are many more examples, much like the ones I used in my second book, where I presented them as lifestyles provided by God. Read the whole article for amazing observations.

So if we follow your reasoning, God preprogrammed or personally taught the frillfin goby to form and remember cognitive maps so that life could go on until humans appeared. I will never understand why you cannot bear the thought that all these creatures may have the intelligence to work such things out for themselves.

Corvids
QUOTE: “…what's unwarranted is the notion that the neocortex alone is responsible for sophisticated cognition. Because birds lack this structure—the most recently evolved portion of the mammalian brain, crucial to human intelligence—neuroscientists have largely and unfortunately neglected the neural basis of corvid intelligence.”

Further evidence of the general human prejudice that if other organisms are different from us, they can't be capable of "sophisticated cognition".

Trees
QUOTE: “If trees are capable of learning (and you can see they are just by observing them), then the question becomes: Where do they store what they have learned and how do they access this information? After all, they don't have brains to function as databases and manage processes. It's the same for all plants, and that's why some scientists are skeptical and why many of them banish to the realm of fantasy the idea of plants' ability to learn.”

Understandable, but experiments have shown that trees and plants DO learn. And so do bacteria. Thus we have the typical situation in which scientists and others would prefer to ignore the evidence of experiments and first-hand observation and stick to their prejudices because they are convinced that intelligence requires a brain.

DAVID: You have invented cells which invent cell intelligence, while I admit it can exist if given by God.
dhw: I have never claimed that cells invented cell intelligence. I do not know where their (hypothetical) intelligence came from, but I have always explicitly allowed for it to be given by God. I am pleased to see that you now agree to the possibility that cells are intelligent, and that is the central point of my hypothesis that evolution is driven by cellular intelligence and not by chance or by divine preprogramming and/or dabbling (= divine “guidance”). Thank you.
DAVID: I fully understand your point of view. I will stick with mine.

I'm glad you understand mine. Your own continues to change from day to day. You have admitted that cellular intelligence can exist so long as it was given by God. Will you now stop telling us that cells cannot be intelligent?

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Friday, September 23, 2016, 15:35 (753 days ago) @ dhw

David's comment: There are many more examples, much like the ones I used in my second book, where I presented them as lifestyles provided by God. Read the whole article for amazing observations.

dhw: So if we follow your reasoning, God preprogrammed or personally taught the frillfin goby to form and remember cognitive maps so that life could go on until humans appeared. I will never understand why you cannot bear the thought that all these creatures may have the intelligence to work such things out for themselves.

As you yourself note God may have given them the intelligence, while I say God DID give them the intelligence in the form of onboard instructions.


dhw: Corvids
QUOTE: “…what's unwarranted is the notion that the neocortex alone is responsible for sophisticated cognition. Because birds lack this structure—the most recently evolved portion of the mammalian brain, crucial to human intelligence—neuroscientists have largely and unfortunately neglected the neural basis of corvid intelligence.”

Further evidence of the general human prejudice that if other organisms are different from us, they can't be capable of "sophisticated cognition".


I pointed out that their brains use a different set of neural networks, a form of evolutionary convergence,


dhw: Trees
QUOTE: “If It's the same for all plants, and that's why some scientists are skeptical and why many of them banish to the realm of fantasy the idea of plants' ability to learn.”

Understandable, but experiments have shown that trees and plants DO learn. And so do bacteria. Thus we have the typical situation in which scientists and others would prefer to ignore the evidence of experiments and first-hand observation and stick to their prejudices because they are convinced that intelligence requires a brain.

The way trees and plants react may be coded into their DNA by epigenetic or similar mechanisms, no brain needed.

DAVID: I fully understand your point of view. I will stick with mine.

dhw: I'm glad you understand mine. Your own continues to change from day to day. You have admitted that cellular intelligence can exist so long as it was given by God. Will you now stop telling us that cells cannot be intelligent?

I've never said cells do not act intelligently. They do so by using intelligent instructions/information they contain. This point of mine has never varied. The appearance of intelligent action by cells can be primary to their actual intelligence or secondary to the instruction/information they carry. To the observer there is no apparent difference.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Saturday, September 24, 2016, 12:15 (752 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: So if we follow your reasoning, God preprogrammed or personally taught the frillfin goby to form and remember cognitive maps so that life could go on until humans appeared. I will never understand why you cannot bear the thought that all these creatures may have the intelligence to work such things out for themselves.

DAVID: As you yourself note God may have given them the intelligence, while I say God DID give them the intelligence in the form of onboard instructions.

You are again playing linguistic games, which you continue to do in the rest of your post. You know very well that by “the intelligence to work things out for themselves” I mean their own autonomous intelligence, not God's instructions.

DAVID: I've never said cells do not act intelligently. They do so by using intelligent instructions/information they contain.

The theistic choice, then, is between 1) your God instructing the frillfin goby on how to create cognitive maps so that life could go on until humans appeared, and 2) your God giving the frillfin goby the ability to work it out on its own without any further input from God in the form of guidance/guidelines, computer programmes, intelligent instructions/ information. I will never understand why you insist on 1) and cannot bear the thought of 2). I hope that is clear now.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 24, 2016, 15:43 (752 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I've never said cells do not act intelligently. They do so by using intelligent instructions/information they contain.

dhw: The theistic choice, then, is between 1) your God instructing the frillfin goby on how to create cognitive maps so that life could go on until humans appeared, and 2) your God giving the frillfin goby the ability to work it out on its own without any further input from God in the form of guidance/guidelines, computer programmes, intelligent instructions/ information. I will never understand why you insist on 1) and cannot bear the thought of 2). I hope that is clear now.

From the outside of an animal or a cell, one cannot tell the difference between the above choices. Based on the degree of complexity, I've made a choice, since choices are allowed. Organisms that require highly complex activities are helped by God as in Natures IQ book. I understand the approach of choice 2, but since I've accepted the idea that evolution is God's way of creating humans any onboard instructions contain God's guidelines. My whole concept is consistent.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Sunday, September 25, 2016, 12:41 (751 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I've never said cells do not act intelligently. They do so by using intelligent instructions/information they contain.

dhw: The theistic choice, then, is between 1) your God instructing the frillfin goby on how to create cognitive maps so that life could go on until humans appeared, and 2) your God giving the frillfin goby the ability to work it out on its own without any further input from God in the form of guidance/guidelines, computer programmes, intelligent instructions/ information. I will never understand why you insist on 1) and cannot bear the thought of 2). I hope that is clear now.

DAVID: From the outside of an animal or a cell, one cannot tell the difference between the above choices. Based on the degree of complexity, I've made a choice, since choices are allowed. Organisms that require highly complex activities are helped by God as in Natures IQ book. I understand the approach of choice 2, but since I've accepted the idea that evolution is God's way of creating humans any onboard instructions contain God's guidelines. My whole concept is consistent.

I know you have made your choice. I am merely clarifying the point that a) autonomous intelligence does not mean doing what God tells you, and b) I cannot understand why you absolutely refuse to contemplate the possibility that God may have given organisms autonomous intelligence (though allowing himself the option to dabble - which he may have exercised in the case of humans). The fact that one cannot tell the difference from the outside offers no support to either option.

DAVID: under “Smart animals”): So how did they develop the intelligence you claim they have.
dhw: Nobody knows the origin of intelligence or consciousness, but it may have been provided by your God. However, the issue is whether evolution is run by divine preprogramming/dabbling or by the possibly God-given intelligence of organisms…I may have said that before!
DAVID: My viewpoint fully explained in today's entry 'Explaining natural wonders'.

It is not fully explained, but is merely repeated.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 25, 2016, 15:01 (751 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I know you have made your choice. I am merely clarifying the point that a) autonomous intelligence does not mean doing what God tells you, and b) I cannot understand why you absolutely refuse to contemplate the possibility that God may have given organisms autonomous intelligence (though allowing himself the option to dabble - which he may have exercised in the case of humans). The fact that one cannot tell the difference from the outside offers no support to either option.

Again, you demand absolute proof. Its a 50/50 proposition. I took my choice, but the uncertainty makes me also suggest pre-planning and dabbling, as you posit.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Monday, September 26, 2016, 12:35 (750 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I know you have made your choice. I am merely clarifying the point that a) autonomous intelligence does not mean doing what God tells you, and b) I cannot understand why you absolutely refuse to contemplate the possibility that God may have given organisms autonomous intelligence (though allowing himself the option to dabble - which he may have exercised in the case of humans). The fact that one cannot tell the difference from the outside offers no support to either option.

DAVID: Again, you demand absolute proof. Its a 50/50 proposition. I took my choice, but the uncertainty makes me also suggest pre-planning and dabbling, as you posit.

Why “also”? Pre-planning and dabbling are what YOU posit! In an unguarded moment (“Ruminations on multiverses; Another view”, 7 September at 15.30) you wrote: “I couldn't agree more that God may have given organisms the ability to ‘work it out for themselves'. I would just like proof that such a mechanism exists. Until then pre-planning or dabble.” Before you decided to fudge the meaning of intelligence, you recognized it as an ALTERNATIVE to your pre-planning and dabbling, but it was you who explicitly demanded proof. If it's a 50/50 proposition and proof is not possible, I remain mystified - not because you have made your choice, but because you consider yourself to be in a position authoritatively to reject outright the other 50%, as you do yet again under “stimuli”:

dhw: You refuse to accept the possibility of autonomous (i.e. without divine guidance) cellular intelligence as the driving force of evolution because, according to you, cells cannot be conscious as they do not have a brain. You believe consciousness IS possible without a brain, as shown by NDE research, but you believe it is NOT possible without a brain, as in autonomous cellular intelligence. I see that as a contradiction.
(NB, just to avoid repetition of earlier discussions, consciousness does not mean human levels of self-awareness. It means sentience, plus the autonomous ability to absorb and process information, communicate, cooperate, take decisions etc.)

DAVID: In regard to cells, the only sentience I see is the reception of stimuli, and the responses are a series of algorithmic automatic mechanisms, based on information in their genome. All cells I have ever studied act that way.

You reject the 50/50 possibility, although you repeatedly acknowledge that one cannot tell the difference from the outside. This means that every cell you have ever studied has acted as if it might be intelligent, but somehow you have the inside knowledge that although it acts as if it is intelligent, it is not. Added to your illogical insistence that consciousness is a separate entity from the brain, but cells can't be conscious because they do not have a brain, we now have two contradictions in your approach. I don't have a problem with your faith in your own subjective interpretations, but I do have a problem with your absolute refusal to accept that in what you call a 50/50 proposition, both propositions have to be possible.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Monday, September 26, 2016, 15:09 (750 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: In regard to cells, the only sentience I see is the reception of stimuli, and the responses are a series of algorithmic automatic mechanisms, based on information in their genome. All cells I have ever studied act that way.

dhw: You reject the 50/50 possibility, although you repeatedly acknowledge that one cannot tell the difference from the outside. This means that every cell you have ever studied has acted as if it might be intelligent, but somehow you have the inside knowledge that although it acts as if it is intelligent, it is not.

In studies of unicellular animals each of its responses to stimuli are a series of chemical molecular reactions to achieve the result, triggered by the specific stimulus. An amoeba gets a chemical whiff of food and moves toward it, all automatic. The same for bacteria, and the evolved cell in a multicellular human reacts in exactly the same way. Back to Shapiro. He tells us bacteria can rewrite their DNA to develop new ways of reaction, which reactions become automatic. This is the inventive mechanism that we have been discussing. Either first life invented it or it is God-given with his invention of life. You know my choice. I'm trapped by my background in physiology.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 14:45 (749 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: In regard to cells, the only sentience I see is the reception of stimuli, and the responses are a series of algorithmic automatic mechanisms, based on information in their genome. All cells I have ever studied act that way.
dhw: You reject the 50/50 possibility, although you repeatedly acknowledge that one cannot tell the difference from the outside. This means that every cell you have ever studied has acted as if it might be intelligent, but somehow you have the inside knowledge that although it acts as if it is intelligent, it is not.

DAVID: In studies of unicellular animals each of its responses to stimuli are a series of chemical molecular reactions to achieve the result, triggered by the specific stimulus. An amoeba gets a chemical whiff of food and moves toward it, all automatic. The same for bacteria, and the evolved cell in a multicellular human reacts in exactly the same way. Back to Shapiro. He tells us bacteria can rewrite their DNA to develop new ways of reaction, which reactions become automatic. This is the inventive mechanism that we have been discussing. Either first life invented it or it is God-given with his invention of life. You know my choice. I'm trapped by my background in physiology. (My bold)

Thank you for confirming the process I keep trying to describe. Shapiro tells us that bacteria are sentient, cognitive, intelligent beings. That means they deliberately rewrite their DNA to develop new ways of reaction. That is the core of my evolutionary hypothesis. Once the new way/natural wonder/physiological innovation has been established, the cells follow the procedure automatically until perhaps something goes wrong: that is the point of experiments in which researchers set problems to disrupt the automatic behaviour and thereby test the INTELLIGENCE of the organism. It is the ability to rewrite DNA to develop new ways of reaction/new organs that constitutes the inventive mechanism, and according to Shapiro that ability is conscious. But perhaps you have found a passage somewhere in which he states that cells were preprogrammed 3.7 billion years ago, or what appears to be intelligence is in fact God dabbling. However, you are right to repeat what I have repeated ad nauseam: Either it emerged with first life (I wouldn't call that “invention”) or it was God-given along with his invention of life.

DAVID's comment on the parasitical fly: I judge God's help in these situations by looking at the complexity involved. By that standard I think God may have helped the flies learn how to parasitize ants, but the beetles eating behaviour may well be a learned epigenetic instinct.

I can't help wondering why God felt he had to help the fly to parasitize the ant in order to balance nature in order to supply food in order to keep life going in order for humans to appear. Is it not possible that the fly and the beetle both found out what to do all by themselves? I find it hard to believe that your background in physiology traps you into rejecting the latter explanation.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 16:17 (749 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Thank you for confirming the process I keep trying to describe. Shapiro tells us that bacteria are sentient, cognitive, intelligent beings. That means they deliberately rewrite their DNA to develop new ways of reaction.

I am with Shapiro until he introduces the word 'cognitive' which implies thought. 'Sentient' is correct. Bacteria receive stimuli and recognize them and respond.

dhw: It is the ability to rewrite DNA to develop new ways of reaction/new organs that constitutes the inventive mechanism, and according to Shapiro that ability is conscious.

Understood, not accepted as conscious.


DAVID's comment on the parasitical fly: I judge God's help in these situations by looking at the complexity involved. By that standard I think God may have helped the flies learn how to parasitize ants, but the beetles eating behaviour may well be a learned epigenetic instinct.

dhw: I can't help wondering why God felt he had to help the fly to parasitize the ant in order to balance nature in order to supply food in order to keep life going in order for humans to appear. Is it not possible that the fly and the beetle both found out what to do all by themselves? I find it hard to believe that your background in physiology traps you into rejecting the latter explanation.

I don't use physiology in my decisions of this sort.

Explaining natural wonders; addendum

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 18:57 (749 days ago) @ David Turell


dhw: Thank you for confirming the process I keep trying to describe. Shapiro tells us that bacteria are sentient, cognitive, intelligent beings. That means they deliberately rewrite their DNA to develop new ways of reaction.


David: I am with Shapiro until he introduces the word 'cognitive' which implies thought. 'Sentient' is correct. Bacteria receive stimuli and recognize them and respond.

dhw: It is the ability to rewrite DNA to develop new ways of reaction/new organs that constitutes the inventive mechanism, and according to Shapiro that ability is conscious.


David: Understood, not accepted as conscious.

I accept his word cognitive as cognition, the ability to receive knowledge and learn it so as to act on it, which action I will only accept as automatic molecular reactions. The only inventive ability of cells is their mechanism to modify DNA and therefore the action if their genes. You and I agree on this last point.

Explaining natural wonders; addendum 2

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 01:52 (749 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: It is the ability to rewrite DNA to develop new ways of reaction/new organs that constitutes the inventive mechanism, and according to Shapiro that ability is conscious.


David: Understood, not accepted as conscious.


David: I accept his word cognitive as cognition, the ability to receive knowledge and learn it so as to act on it, which action I will only accept as automatic molecular reactions. The only inventive ability of cells is their mechanism to modify DNA and therefore the action if their genes. You and I agree on this last point.

Here is an article that shows the automaticity of sentient action in an amoeba:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2107071-brain-eating-amoebas-hunt-brain-chemical-b...

Brain-eating amoebas can enter an unwary swimmer's brain via their nose, and once that happens, their chances of survival are slim. “They have these food cups on their surface, which are like giant suckers,” says Francine Cabral of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “They'll just start eating the brain.”

***

The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri (shown in orange in the picture above), tends to lurk in fresh water, although infections can also result from swimming in hot springs or improperly chlorinated pools.

***

After the amoeba enters the body, it bypasses the nose and related tissues and heads straight to the brain, where the first areas it destroys are the olfactory regions we use to smell, and parts of the frontal lobe, which are crucial for cognition and controlling our behaviour.

Why they specifically target the brain is a mystery. Abdul Mannan Baig at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, suspected the amoeba might be attracted to a chemical called acetylcholine or ACh, which is released in large amounts by cells at the front of the brain. This chemical is already known to act as a magnet for some immune cells and growing neurons.

To test this theory, Mannan looked for receptors on the amoeba that might attach to ACh. He and his colleagues started with Acanthamoeba - a similar genus that tends to infect people through skin wounds. The team isolated 126 proteins from the amoeba and ran them through a database to find other proteins with similar components or structures. One of these had a structure similar to the human receptor for Ach. The team have since repeated their search in Naegleria and found the same result.
This suggests that the amoebas have their own, ancient receptor for ACh, says Mannan. It is this attraction that probably causes the amoeba to bypass nasal tissues and head straight for the brain.

A receptor is a molecule or a series of molecules that act in a sentient way and trigger the move to the brain after sensing the ACh chemically.

Explaining natural wonders; addendum

by dhw, Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 12:52 (748 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Shapiro tells us that bacteria are sentient, cognitive, intelligent beings. That means they deliberately rewrite their DNA to develop new ways of reaction.DAVID: I am with Shapiro until he introduces the word 'cognitive' which implies thought. 'Sentient' is correct. Bacteria receive stimuli and recognize them and respond.

You then had second thoughts:

DAVID: I accept his word cognitive as cognition, the ability to receive knowledge and learn it so as to act on it, which action I will only accept as automatic molecular reactions. The only inventive ability of cells is their mechanism to modify DNA and therefore the action of their genes. You and I agree on this last point.

When people say an organism is intelligent, I doubt if they mean it automatically obeys God's instructions, and when they say an organism is intelligent and cognitive, I doubt if they mean its actions are automatic molecular reactions. I think I prefer it when you say outright that you reject the possibility that cells are intelligent and cognitive rather than resort to linguistic fudge. Once more, though, we must distinguish between intelligent innovation (the autonomous, cognitive, inventive ability to create change) and automatic behaviour once an innovation is established. That is another fudge to be avoided.

David's comment (under “virus”): How did this develop through evolution? First, the targeted animals had to evolve. Then the virus attacked, but also first had to evolve at some point in time. Just how did the virus learn, after entering the skin, to find lymph nodes by traveling the blood vessels, and then suppress the immunity by invading the specific immunity cells to stop them. Again smells of saltation. Did God do this? dhw's take will be the viruses did it themselves.

And your second thoughts:
I've given a suggestion for development. How to analyze for an answer? By definition their lifestyle dictates viruses had to appear after life started. Did God start them? Why? Is it a mistake He could not control?

You obviously realized the awful implications of your theory that God might have preprogrammed or dabbled in order to ensure that the virus could go about its murderous business. Your questions are well worth asking! At least my anticipated answer (they did it themselves) gets you out of such awkward questions. God giving evolution a free rein sounds a lot more convincing to me than God programming or teaching viruses to kill things in order to create a balance of life in order to provide food in order to keep life going in order to pave the way for humans, presumably then in order to set humans the problem of how to deal with the viruses God specially trained to kill them.

Explaining natural wonders; addendum

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 29, 2016, 00:47 (748 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Shapiro tells us that bacteria are sentient, cognitive, intelligent beings. That means they deliberately rewrite their DNA to develop new ways of reaction.

DAVID: I am with Shapiro until he introduces the word 'cognitive' which implies thought. 'Sentient' is correct. Bacteria receive stimuli and recognize them and respond.


You then had second thoughts:

DAVID: I accept his word cognitive as cognition, the ability to receive knowledge and learn it so as to act on it, which action I will only accept as automatic molecular reactions. The only inventive ability of cells is their mechanism to modify DNA and therefore the action of their genes. You and I agree on this last point.

Not a second thought. I'm still stating automatism in the first sentence. It is how I interpret Shapiro to fit my conclusions.


dhw: Once more, though, we must distinguish between intelligent innovation (the autonomous, cognitive, inventive ability to create change) and automatic behaviour once an innovation is established. That is another fudge to be avoided.

Not fudge, just my way of interpreting his research conclusions.


David's comment (under “virus”): How did this develop through evolution? First, the targeted animals had to evolve. Then the virus attacked, but also first had to evolve at some point in time. Just how did the virus learn, after entering the skin, to find lymph nodes by traveling the blood vessels, and then suppress the immunity by invading the specific immunity cells to stop them. Again smells of saltation. Did God do this? dhw's take will be the viruses did it themselves.

And your second thoughts:
I've given a suggestion for development. How to analyze for an answer? By definition their lifestyle dictates viruses had to appear after life started. Did God start them? Why? Is it a mistake He could not control?

dhw: You obviously realized the awful implications of your theory that God might have preprogrammed or dabbled in order to ensure that the virus could go about its murderous business. Your questions are well worth asking! At least my anticipated answer (they did it themselves) gets you out of such awkward questions. God giving evolution a free rein sounds a lot more convincing to me than God programming or teaching viruses to kill things in order to create a balance of life in order to provide food in order to keep life going in order to pave the way for humans, presumably then in order to set humans the problem of how to deal with the viruses God specially trained to kill them.

In my first book I included this in the problem of evil events (theodicy), and concluded that God gave humans the ability to learn how to fight viruses. He was not creating the Garden of Eden but allowing challenges for us to solve, since we had the brains for it.

Explaining natural wonders; addendum

by dhw, Thursday, September 29, 2016, 12:53 (747 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Shapiro tells us that bacteria are sentient, cognitive, intelligent beings. That means they deliberately rewrite their DNA to develop new ways of reaction.

DAVID: I am with Shapiro until he introduces the word 'cognitive' which implies thought. 'Sentient' is correct. Bacteria receive stimuli and recognize them and respond.

dhw: You then had second thoughts:
DAVID: I accept his word cognitive as cognition, the ability to receive knowledge and learn it so as to act on it, which action I will only accept as automatic molecular reactions...

DAVID: Not a second thought. I'm still stating automatism in the first sentence. It is how I interpret Shapiro to fit my conclusions.

First you rejected “cognitive”, and then you accepted it so long as it meant what you wanted it to mean. You played the same game with “intelligence”, which according to you meant obeying God's intelligent instructions, though you know perfectly well that that is NOT what Shapiro means (or what I mean). By all means disagree with Shapiro, as you did at first, but please don't mess around with the language to make it seem as if you agree with him (or that he agrees with you)! ":-("

dhw: You obviously realized the awful implications of your theory that God might have preprogrammed or dabbled in order to ensure that the virus could go about its murderous business.
DAVID: In my first book I included this in the problem of evil events (theodicy), and concluded that God gave humans the ability to learn how to fight viruses. He was not creating the Garden of Eden but allowing challenges for us to solve, since we had the brains for it.

So God specially designed murderous viruses long before humans were around, so that they would ensure life continued until humans were around, and then humans could have a problem to solve. What fun! Here are two theistic alternatives: God specially designed viruses because he enjoys nasty things as well as nice things. God didn't design viruses at all, but allowed all life forms (if we may call viruses life forms) to work out their own ways of existence.

Explaining natural wonders; addendum

by David Turell @, Friday, September 30, 2016, 02:40 (747 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: You obviously realized the awful implications of your theory that God might have preprogrammed or dabbled in order to ensure that the virus could go about its murderous business.
DAVID: In my first book I included this in the problem of evil events (theodicy), and concluded that God gave humans the ability to learn how to fight viruses. He was not creating the Garden of Eden but allowing challenges for us to solve, since we had the brains for it.

dhw: So God specially designed murderous viruses long before humans were around, so that they would ensure life continued until humans were around, and then humans could have a problem to solve. What fun! Here are two theistic alternatives: God specially designed viruses because he enjoys nasty things as well as nice things. God didn't design viruses at all, but allowed all life forms (if we may call viruses life forms) to work out their own ways of existence.

Evil is a problem. I'll stick to my approach.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Tuesday, November 22, 2016, 12:21 (693 days ago) @ dhw

Thank you, David, for a raft of interesting posts, with the ants my favourites, as usual. In all cases, your comments raise the same issue:

Comment (Immune system): This is an automatic cellular reaction, no thought involved. The researchers are now looking for the feedback mechanism to control the reaction, a must in all the biochemistry of life. Not by chance.

Comment (Porpoises): It is hard to imagine this system of control occurred by chance, since it is so important to survival in deep dives.

QUOTE (from Ant colony farmers): “Ants are a lot smarter than we think they are – we call them superorganisms because they form networks that are much like our brains,” she says. “The information flow among ant colonies is just insane compared to human social systems, so this finding does not surprise me in the slightest.'”

Comment: Ant societies are amazing. Were the ants helped by a higher power, or did they develop it on their own?

Of course your comments are not directed at me alone, and it is fair enough to keep emphasizing the unlikelihood of all the complexities arising by chance. However, it is important also to emphasize, as you mention in the ant post, that the extraordinary intelligence that enables organisms to devise different ways of surviving and of exploiting their particular environments may be their own, which might perhaps have been given to them by “a higher power”. Just as you believe your God gave humans the ability to design their own world in their own way, we cannot discount the possibility (theistic version) that he did the same for all organisms. One can believe in God without believing in your personal interpretation of God’s methods and intentions.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 22, 2016, 14:19 (693 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Of course your comments are not directed at me alone, and it is fair enough to keep emphasizing the unlikelihood of all the complexities arising by chance. However, it is important also to emphasize, as you mention in the ant post, that the extraordinary intelligence that enables organisms to devise different ways of surviving and of exploiting their particular environments may be their own, which might perhaps have been given to them by “a higher power”. Just as you believe your God gave humans the ability to design their own world in their own way, we cannot discount the possibility (theistic version) that he did the same for all organisms. One can believe in God without believing in your personal interpretation of God’s methods and intentions.

Yes, one can! For me it is an explanation of how I arrived at faith, by reviewing His works, and what they seem to mean.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Sunday, December 04, 2016, 12:31 (681 days ago) @ dhw

David’s comment (on owls): In evolution was this developed in one step, a saltation, or bit by bit? As usual I suspect saltation, as I don't imagine the owl's tried out different trailing edge alterations which requires figuring out how to develop the proteins to make the fine hairs and develop the mechanisms to produce the hairs, the usual problem of speciation.
And: Evolutionary mechanisms are smarter than we are, so we have to learn from nature to find what works. Not by chance.

QUOTE: (from post on crows and ducks) "Such relational concepts are thought to be only available to highly intelligent animals with a high level of training, and these animals do it in 15 minutes after they come out of the egg.”

David’s comment: Finding this type of recognition ability in birds other than crows is not surprising. The question is how these birds developed the capacity, or was it given by God during evolutionary development.

It’s good to hear that you recognize the intelligence of these birds. Of course it’s not surprising if you accept common descent and the hypothesis that all life forms have inherited their intelligence from the earliest forms and have developed it in countless different ways as the countless different organisms have learned to cope with or exploit the countless different environments.

Here is another example, from a review in The Times of a book called: What a Fish Knows: The Inner lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe. He claims that fish are “conscious and modestly intelligent animals with rich social lives”. They can distinguish individuals, feel pain, enjoy being stroked, and tests on one species (archerfish) showed that they recognized one photograph out of 44 different human faces, while carp could even distinguish between types of music.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 04, 2016, 15:24 (681 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: It’s good to hear that you recognize the intelligence of these birds. Of course it’s not surprising if you accept common descent and the hypothesis that all life forms have inherited their intelligence from the earliest forms and have developed it in countless different ways as the countless different organisms have learned to cope with or exploit the countless different environments.

I don't accept the 'intelligence from the earliest forms' comment: it is still my position that bacteria are automatic reactors. The intelligence we both agree on in current animals appeared after the evolution of the neuron and its development in the Cambrian explosion.


dhw: Here is another example, from a review in The Times of a book called: What a Fish Knows: The Inner lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe. He claims that fish are “conscious and modestly intelligent animals with rich social lives”. They can distinguish individuals, feel pain, enjoy being stroked, and tests on one species (archerfish) showed that they recognized one photograph out of 44 different human faces, while carp could even distinguish between types of music.

Further proof of our discussion. Great find.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 10:08 (539 days ago) @ David Turell

I am once again combining threads, as they cover the same subject:

Dhw: The weaverbird’s knot came undone, so God gave it a twiddle? What other “guidelines” do you have in mind for the autonomous mechanism?
DAVID: Definite instructions of how to proceed with speciation, not twiddling over a messy knot.
Dhw: You now say your God would not have “guided” the bird to tie the knots, so what “guidelines” do you envisage, or do you now agree that the bird may have designed its own nest?
DAVID: I don't know exactly how God instructed the weaverbird, but He had to based on the complexity of the knots. Envisioning guidelines, beyond the generalization, is impossible. What would you suggest?

One moment the guidelines have nothing to do with twiddling over a messy knot but are confined to speciation, and the next moment the guidelines have to be based on the knots. Symptomatic perhaps of those you continue to tie yourself in. I suggest that there are no guidelines, and the weaverbird designed its own nest just like every other bird, using its (perhaps God-given) intelligence.

DAVID (under “sea urchin defense”) Defense at a distance is a great concept. This is a simple early form of an animal with a very complex defense. Hard to imagine it evolved by chance.

Brilliant stuff! Thank you. Yes, it is indeed hard to imagine that it evolved by chance, and hard to imagine your God programming it 3.8 billion years ago or personally popping in to design it so that life would keep going until humans arrived. So what is the alternative? Ah, maybe your God gave this animal the intelligence to design its own defence system. Just a thought.

David (on whales): If chance mutations can't work, the implications for design become overwhelming. Your alternative?
dhw: […] Why do you ask for my alternative, when I keep telling you that it is an autonomous inventive intelligence, possibly God-given? Not proven of course, any more than your God’s dabbling or his 3.8-billion-year-old programme for pre-whales turning into whales all for the sake of humans has been proven.
DAVID: Sorry. You are the one to raise an issue over the math of population genetics. My dabbling or pre-programming hypotheses are just as will o' the wisp as your auto inventions. My positive view is God guided evolution. I just cannot give a positive description of His methodology, so I guess. As you are guessing.

One of the problems in our discussions is the authoritative manner in which you state your own beliefs and dismiss other hypotheses. You dogmatically assert that God’s one and only purpose was to produce humans and everything else was related to that; you expressly reject bacterial intelligence and the very possibility that your God might also have endowed other organisms with the autonomous intelligence (i.e. without God's guidelines, programmes or dabbles) to design their own nests, lifestyles etc. What you have written above provides a welcome change of tone. Yes, we can only hypothesize on ALL of these questions, all our answers are riddled with uncertainties, and so belief should not turn into dogma.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 20:04 (539 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I don't know exactly how God instructed the weaverbird, but He had to based on the complexity of the knots. Envisioning guidelines, beyond the generalization, is impossible. What would you suggest?

dhw: One moment the guidelines have nothing to do with twiddling over a messy knot but are confined to speciation, and the next moment the guidelines have to be based on the knots.

I don't understand your problem with the word 'guidelines'. God undoubtedly works at the knot level and the species level, Either by direct design or by supplying guidelines.


DAVID (under “sea urchin defense”) Defense at a distance is a great concept. This is a simple early form of an animal with a very complex defense. Hard to imagine it evolved by chance.

dhw: Brilliant stuff! Thank you. Yes, it is indeed hard to imagine that it evolved by chance, ... Ah, maybe your God gave this animal the intelligence to design its own defence system. Just a thought.

There is no brain, just a nerve ring to control the spines and defense system automatically, but magically, according to you, they can invent complexity. this system is too complex for stepwise development. It had to be put together all at once.

DAVID: Sorry. You are the one to raise an issue over the math of population genetics. My dabbling or pre-programming hypotheses are just as will o' the wisp as your auto inventions. My positive view is God guided evolution. I just cannot give a positive description of His methodology, so I guess. As you are guessing.

dhw: One of the problems in our discussions is the authoritative manner in which you state your own beliefs and dismiss other hypotheses. ...What you have written above provides a welcome change of tone. Yes, we can only hypothesize on ALL of these questions, all our answers are riddled with uncertainties, and so belief should not turn into dogma.

My hypotheses fit reality as I see it. Yours fit your view. I'm on one side of the fence. I'll stay there while you will stay on it. Reality of our positions.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 09:46 (538 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I don't understand your problem with the word 'guidelines'. God undoubtedly works at the knot level and the species level, Either by direct design or by supplying guidelines.

A couple of days ago he didn’t work at the knot level, but let that pass. My problem with the word “guidelines” is actually your problem. You can’t tell me what these might be. You keep agreeing that organisms might have an inventive intelligence, but only if it is not autonomous, i.e. God guides it. So if, for example, the weaverbird’s nest was NOT programmed 3.8 billion years ago and your God did NOT give weaverbirds private tuition in knot-tying, the only guidance I can think of is if the poor old bird gets his knots wrong and God tells him to twiddle to the left instead of to the right. If you really can’t tell me what you mean by guidelines, you should not be surprised that I have a problem with them.

DAVID (under “sea urchin defense”) Defense at a distance is a great concept. This is a simple early form of an animal with a very complex defense. Hard to imagine it evolved by chance.
dhw: Brilliant stuff! Thank you. Yes, it is indeed hard to imagine that it evolved by chance, ... Ah, maybe your God gave this animal the intelligence to design its own defence system. Just a thought.
DAVID: There is no brain, just a nerve ring to control the spines and defense system automatically, but magically, according to you, they can invent complexity. this system is too complex for stepwise development. It had to be put together all at once.

As always, you refuse to accept the possibility that organisms without a brain may be intelligent. I find it very hard to believe that your God would have taken the trouble to preprogramme this mechanism 3.8 billion years ago or give the sea urchin personal tuition, especially if all he wanted to do was design humans. I therefore look for an alternative.

DAVID: My dabbling or pre-programming hypotheses are just as will o' the wisp as your auto inventions. My positive view is God guided evolution. I just cannot give a positive description of His methodology, so I guess. As you are guessing.
dhw: Yes, we can only hypothesize on ALL of these questions, all our answers are riddled with uncertainties, and so belief should not turn into dogma.
DAVID: My hypotheses fit reality as I see it. Yours fit your view. I'm on one side of the fence. I'll stay there while you will stay on it. Reality of our positions.

A perfectly fair comment. From now on, then, we shall probe each other’s hypotheses with due recognition that not a single one of them can possibly be “carved in stone” (your expression), and so we must allow for alternatives.

Explaining natural wonders

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 14:22 (538 days ago) @ dhw

I don't particularly have an issue with saying that organisms are intelligent, just that the intelligence is very, very limited. It is not difficult to imagine god imprinting birds with the concept of a nest and allowing their limited intelligence to tweak that concept without allowing them going beyond the concept of 'nest'

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 19:24 (538 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: I don't particularly have an issue with saying that organisms are intelligent, just that the intelligence is very, very limited. It is not difficult to imagine god imprinting birds with the concept of a nest and allowing their limited intelligence to tweak that concept without allowing them going beyond the concept of 'nest'

This implies that organisms cannot create bodily changes, and are guided to produce external objects such as nests.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 18:37 (538 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I don't understand your problem with the word 'guidelines'. God undoubtedly works at the knot level and the species level, Either by direct design or by supplying guidelines.

dhw; If you really can’t tell me what you mean by guidelines, you should not be surprised that I have a problem with them.

'Guidelines' obviously means there are instructions in the genome we haven't found, or God offers directions directly (by dabbling).


dhw: As always, you refuse to accept the possibility that organisms without a brain may be intelligent. I find it very hard to believe that your God would have taken the trouble to preprogramme this mechanism 3.8 billion years ago or give the sea urchin personal tuition, especially if all he wanted to do was design humans. I therefore look for an alternative.

He got to create humans by evolving them. Urchins were one step on the way. How else does evolution progress? The urchins weapons are too complex, and require intricate planning, well beyond some reflex neurons.


DAVID: My dabbling or pre-programming hypotheses are just as will o' the wisp as your auto inventions. My positive view is God guided evolution. I just cannot give a positive description of His methodology, so I guess. As you are guessing.
dhw: Yes, we can only hypothesize on ALL of these questions, all our answers are riddled with uncertainties, and so belief should not turn into dogma.
DAVID: My hypotheses fit reality as I see it. Yours fit your view. I'm on one side of the fence. I'll stay there while you will stay on it. Reality of our positions.

dhw: A perfectly fair comment. From now on, then, we shall probe each other’s hypotheses with due recognition that not a single one of them can possibly be “carved in stone” (your expression), and so we must allow for alternatives.

Agreed.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Thursday, April 27, 2017, 12:42 (537 days ago) @ David Turell

TONY: I don't particularly have an issue with saying that organisms are intelligent, just that the intelligence is very, very limited. It is not difficult to imagine god imprinting birds with the concept of a nest and allowing their limited intelligence to tweak that concept without allowing them going beyond the concept of 'nest'.

I agree that there are degrees of intelligence, and some organisms are more limited than others. But, still wearing my theist’s hat, I see no reason why one should assume that your God would not have given the first nest-builders the intelligence to use their beaks and claws and the materials available to build themselves a safe home up in the trees. And I certainly can’t see why he would find it necessary to teach one particular bird how to build one particular variation. Ditto for migration, camouflage, parasitism, hunting techniques, defensive techniques, symbiotic relationships etc. etc. Yes, limited intelligence, but intelligence all the same, without the need for your God to preprogramme or dabble or “imprint” anything except, perhaps, intelligence itself.

Dhw: If you really can’t tell me what you mean by guidelines, you should not be surprised that I have a problem with them.
DAVID: 'Guidelines' obviously means there are instructions in the genome we haven't found, or God offers directions directly (by dabbling).

So “guidelines” turn out to be the same as preprogramming or direct instructions. That makes the weaverbird, the wasp, the spider, the cuttlefish, the monarch butterfly etc. into automatons, with no inventive intelligence of their own. It puts them on a par with the sea urchin, and leads to the following:

dhw: As always, you refuse to accept the possibility that organisms without a brain may be intelligent. I find it very hard to believe that your God would have taken the trouble to preprogramme this mechanism 3.8 billion years ago or give the sea urchin personal tuition, especially if all he wanted to do was design humans. I therefore look for an alternative.
DAVID: He got to create humans by evolving them. Urchins were one step on the way. How else does evolution progress? The urchins weapons are too complex, and require intricate planning, well beyond some reflex neurons.

So your God designed the urchin’s spikes and all the other natural wonders because his only purpose was to design humans. As I said before, your God – who let us remember is now without limitations – moves in mysterious ways. See above for a less mysterious hypothesis.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 27, 2017, 20:22 (537 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: I don't particularly have an issue with saying that organisms are intelligent, just that the intelligence is very, very limited. It is not difficult to imagine god imprinting birds with the concept of a nest and allowing their limited intelligence to tweak that concept without allowing them going beyond the concept of 'nest'.

dhw: I agree that there are degrees of intelligence, and some organisms are more limited than others. But, still wearing my theist’s hat, I see no reason why one should assume that your God would not have given the first nest-builders the intelligence to use their beaks and claws and the materials available to build themselves a safe home up in the trees. And I certainly can’t see why he would find it necessary to teach one particular bird how to build one particular variation. Ditto for migration, camouflage, parasitism, hunting techniques, defensive techniques, symbiotic relationships etc. etc. Yes, limited intelligence, but intelligence all the same, without the need for your God to preprogramme or dabble or “imprint” anything except, perhaps, intelligence itself.

You are still blindly limited to the complexity you want these limited brains to provide. Those brains do learn and respond as I've shown today, but in a limited way:

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 18:46


Dhw: If you really can’t tell me what you mean by guidelines, you should not be surprised that I have a problem with them.
DAVID: 'Guidelines' obviously means there are instructions in the genome we haven't found, or God offers directions directly (by dabbling).

dhw: So “guidelines” turn out to be the same as preprogramming or direct instructions. That makes the weaverbird, the wasp, the spider, the cuttlefish, the monarch butterfly etc. into automatons, with no inventive intelligence of their own.

I've shown today there are limited brain functions, if brains are present.


dhw: So your God designed the urchin’s spikes and all the other natural wonders because his only purpose was to design humans. As I said before, your God – who let us remember is now without limitations – moves in mysterious ways. See above for a less mysterious hypothesis.

You are again avoiding the issue of supplying energy so evolutionn can proceed.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Friday, April 28, 2017, 17:41 (536 days ago) @ David Turell

Once again, I’ll condense the posts for the sake of clarity.

Dhw: If you really can’t tell me what you mean by guidelines, you should not be surprised that I have a problem with them.
DAVID: 'Guidelines' obviously means there are instructions in the genome we haven't found, or God offers directions directly (by dabbling).
dhw: So “guidelines” turn out to be the same as preprogramming or direct instructions. That makes the weaverbird, the wasp, the spider, the cuttlefish, the monarch butterfly etc. into automatons, with no inventive intelligence of their own.
DAVID: I've shown today there are limited brain functions, if brains are present.

If brains are present, they will presumably function, and even our own brains are limited. That does not mean that God preprogrammed or dabbled every natural wonder in the history of life. (See below, re the sentience and cognitive powers of insects.)

dhw: So your God designed the urchin’s spikes and all the other natural wonders because his only purpose was to design humans. As I said before, your God – who let us remember is now without limitations – moves in mysterious ways. See above for a less mysterious hypothesis.
DAVID: You are again avoiding the issue of supplying energy so evolution can proceed.

You are again avoiding the issue that all life needs energy, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with your theory that all life forms were designed by God, whose one and only purpose was to design humans.

Dhw: … Yes, limited intelligence, but intelligence all the same, without the need for your God to preprogramme or dabble or “imprint” anything except, perhaps, intelligence itself.
DAVID: You are still blindly limited to the complexity you want these limited brains to provide. Those brains do learn and respond as I've shown today, but in a limited way:

I have acknowledged that their intelligence is limited. (So is ours.) If a bird builds a complicated nest, that does not mean it can invent a computer or a rocket to the moon or a theory concerning the existence of God. It can build a nest and solve problems relating to its own existence. Not proven, but for me far from impossible.

QUOTE: (under “insects”): “We often think of insects as tiny automata—robots with everything built-in and programmed. But it is increasingly evident that insects can remember, learn, think, and communicate in quite rich and unexpected ways. Much of this, doubtless, is built-in—but much, too, seems to depend on individual experience.” It’s precisely that unexpected angle that we need to keep our eye on. While it’s far less easy to offer a definitive statement about sentience in insects than about intelligence or personality, insects are surprising us."
DAVID’s comment: I believe Sacks is correct. It takes a brain to experience stimuli and learn to respond. I've skipped some examples in the essay.

Insects can solve problems, which is probably the best guide to “intelligence”. I am not in the least surprised by these discoveries, and in due course more and more scientists will probably join McClintock, Margulis, Shapiro and others in concluding that even brainless bacteria are sentient, cognitive, intelligent beings. Many thanks for continuing to provide so much evidence for what you do not believe in.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 29, 2017, 00:48 (536 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You are again avoiding the issue of supplying energy so evolution can proceed.

dhw" You are again avoiding the issue that all life needs energy, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with your theory that all life forms were designed by God, whose one and only purpose was to design humans.

Once again you are skipping the point that the evolution of life is God's choice andtakes time, therefore everyone has to eat until humans arrive. That is the only relationship


dhw: I have acknowledged that their intelligence is limited. (So is ours.) If a bird builds a complicated nest, that does not mean it can invent a computer or a rocket to the moon or a theory concerning the existence of God. It can build a nest and solve problems relating to its own existence. Not proven, but for me far from impossible.

For me it is very far from possible. I've agreed that an IM is possible as a tip of the hat to you, but if one understands the complexity of life, I find it totally unreasonable that chance or existing species have the ability to create the next complexity in speciation.


dhw: Insects can solve problems, which is probably the best guide to “intelligence”. I am not in the least surprised by these discoveries, and in due course more and more scientists will probably join McClintock, Margulis, Shapiro and others in concluding that even brainless bacteria are sentient, cognitive, intelligent beings. Many thanks for continuing to provide so much evidence for what you do not believe in.

Note, I agree that insects with brains can solve simple problems. Single-celled organisms are automatons. I hope you can add to your favorite M.M.S group of bacteria supporters. I've not run into any but would tell you if I did.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Monday, May 01, 2017, 08:46 (533 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You are again avoiding the issue of supplying energy so evolution can proceed.
dhw: You are again avoiding the issue that all life needs energy, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with your theory that all life forms were designed by God, whose one and only purpose was to design humans.
DAVID: Once again you are skipping the point that the evolution of life is God's choice and takes time, therefore everyone has to eat until humans arrive. That is the only relationship.

If God exists, clearly he set the process of evolution in motion, and clearly evolution takes time, and clearly EVERYONE has to eat, and clearly this applies to EVERY species that follows on from other species, including humans. I simply find it illogical to argue that God specifically designed the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide food so that evolution could continue “until humans arrived”.

dhw: I have acknowledged that their intelligence is limited. (So is ours.) If a bird builds a complicated nest, that does not mean it can invent a computer or a rocket to the moon or a theory concerning the existence of God. It can build a nest and solve problems relating to its own existence. Not proven, but for me far from impossible.
DAVID: For me it is very far from possible. I've agreed that an IM is possible as a tip of the hat to you, but if one understands the complexity of life, I find it totally unreasonable that chance or existing species have the ability to create the next complexity in speciation.

I have also discounted chance. Now once again you are focusing on speciation. The weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s metamorphoses and navigation, the parasitic wasp, the cuttlefish’s camouflage, the spider’s jump etc. etc. etc. have nothing to do with speciation (unless you mean every single one of the thousands of “species” of butterfly, wasp, spider etc.), but according to you God designed these natural wonders because the organisms did not have the ability to work such things out for themselves, and they were all essential to keep evolution going until, with his limitless powers, he could finally design the only thing he wanted to design. And your only explanation for this weird logic is that this was the way your God chose.

dhw: Insects can solve problems, which is probably the best guide to “intelligence”. I am not in the least surprised by these discoveries, and in due course more and more scientists will probably join McClintock, Margulis, Shapiro and others in concluding that even brainless bacteria are sentient, cognitive, intelligent beings. Many thanks for continuing to provide so much evidence for what you do not believe in.
DAVID: Note, I agree that insects with brains can solve simple problems. Single-celled organisms are automatons. I hope you can add to your favorite M.M.S group of bacteria supporters. I've not run into any but would tell you if I did.

Your usual authoritative statement. You only have to google “bacterial intelligence” to see how controversial the subject is, partly of course because it is so difficult to define intelligence. If self-awareness, as in humans, is part of your definition, then bacteria are not intelligent, but I think most of us would agree that there are degrees of intelligence, and self-awareness is right at the top of the hierarchy. I prefer to list the attributes we associate with intelligence, and what we find is that bacteria respond to environmental change (sentience), adapt their behaviour to changing circumstances, communicate and cooperate with one another, solve problems, take decisions. Please tell me what other attributes you would consider necessary before you apply the term “intelligent”.

I have on several occasions drawn your attention to the work of G. Albrecht-Buehler, who has spent a lifetime studying cellular biology.
G. Albrecht-Buehler’s Cell Intelligence Website
www.basic.northwestern.edu/g-buehler/cellint0.htm

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Monday, May 01, 2017, 18:55 (533 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I simply find it illogical to argue that God specifically designed the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide food so that evolution could continue “until humans arrived”.

The simple logic is the weaverbird fits into an eco-niche that helps feed life

dhw: according to you God designed these natural wonders because the organisms did not have the ability to work such things out for themselves, and they were all essential to keep evolution going until, with his limitless powers, he could finally design the only thing he wanted to design. And your only explanation for this weird logic is that this was the way your God chose.

The logic has to do with an energy supply. God decided to take His time. the time scales tell us that is a distinct possibility. Why not accept it?


dhw: Insects can solve problems, which is probably the best guide to “intelligence”. I am not in the least surprised by these discoveries, and in due course more and more scientists will probably join McClintock, Margulis, Shapiro and others in concluding that even brainless bacteria are sentient, cognitive, intelligent beings. Many thanks for continuing to provide so much evidence for what you do not believe in.
DAVID: Note, I agree that insects with brains can solve simple problems. Single-celled organisms are automatons. I hope you can add to your favorite M.M.S group of bacteria supporters. I've not run into any but would tell you if I did.

dhw: I prefer to list the attributes we associate with intelligence, and what we find is that bacteria respond to environmental change (sentience), adapt their behaviour to changing circumstances, communicate and cooperate with one another, solve problems, take decisions. Please tell me what other attributes you would consider necessary before you apply the term “intelligent”.

Your attributes are correct. They are simply following an inte4lligently given algorithm. From the outside it looks just the same as what you imagine their intelligent actions seem.


dhw: I have on several occasions drawn your attention to the work of G. Albrecht-Buehler, who has spent a lifetime studying cellular biology.
G. Albrecht-Buehler’s Cell Intelligence Website
www.basic.northwestern.edu/g-buehler/cellint0.htm

I have re-read his website. Nothing in it changes my interpretation that automatic processing is happening. What I find interesting is what you are following is over 20 years old. Have you found any advances by followers in his research which covered 30 years? Remember all looks the same from the outside.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Tuesday, May 02, 2017, 11:40 (532 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I simply find it illogical to argue that God specifically designed the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide food so that evolution could continue “until humans arrived”.
DAVID: The simple logic is the weaverbird fits into an eco-niche that helps feed life.

No disagreement. And yet you keep rattling on about energy supply (coming up in a moment) as if it somehow supported your theory that your God’s one and only purpose was to produce humans, and everything else was related to that.

dhw: according to you God designed these natural wonders because the organisms did not have the ability to work such things out for themselves, and they were all essential to keep evolution going until, with his limitless powers, he could finally design the only thing he wanted to design. And your only explanation for this weird logic is that this was the way your God chose.
DAVID: The logic has to do with an energy supply. God decided to take His time. the time scales tell us that is a distinct possibility. Why not accept it?

And there you go again! We all know that life needs energy, and evolution takes time. Nothing whatsoever to do with your God’s one and only purpose being to produce humans.

dhw: […] what we find is that bacteria respond to environmental change (sentience), adapt their behaviour to changing circumstances, communicate and cooperate with one another, solve problems, take decisions. Please tell me what other attributes you would consider necessary before you apply the term “intelligent”.
DAVID: Your attributes are correct. They are simply following an intelligently given algorithm. From the outside it looks just the same as what you imagine their intelligent actions seem.

Your usual answer. If their actions conform to your own criteria for intelligence, why do you insist that they are automatons? The subject is controversial, but since you agree with these criteria, a degree of open-mindedness might not come amiss!

dhw: I have on several occasions drawn your attention to the work of G. Albrecht-Buehler, who has spent a lifetime studying cellular biology.
G. Albrecht-Buehler’s Cell Intelligence Website
www.basic.northwestern.edu/g-buehler/cellint0.htm

DAVID: I have re-read his website. Nothing in it changes my interpretation that automatic processing is happening. What I find interesting is what you are following is over 20 years old. Have you found any advances by followers in his research which covered 30 years? Remember all looks the same from the outside.

Nothing will change your opinion because you have made up your mind to dismiss any research that suggests you are wrong. As I keep pointing out, the argument that all look the same from the outside can be used to support determinism, which you rigorously oppose (and which I certainly don’t support). As for modern research, Shapiro is still active in the field, and this Wikipedia article mentions Eshel Ben-Jacob’s team of researchers.
Microbial intelligence - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microbial_intelligence

Perhaps you would now name some modern scientists who have proved that bacteria are NOT intelligent but have been given personal tuition or preprogrammed by your God to solve virtually every problem thrown at them.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 02, 2017, 18:23 (532 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Tuesday, May 02, 2017, 18:29

dhw: I have on several occasions drawn your attention to the work of G. Albrecht-Buehler, who has spent a lifetime studying cellular biology.
G. Albrecht-Buehler’s Cell Intelligence Website
www.basic.northwestern.edu/g-buehler/cellint0.htm

DAVID: I have re-read his website. Nothing in it changes my interpretation that automatic processing is happening. What I find interesting is what you are following is over 20 years old. Have you found any advances by followers in his research which covered 30 years? Remember all looks the same from the outside.

dhw: Nothing will change your opinion because you have made up your mind to dismiss any research that suggests you are wrong. As I keep pointing out, the argument that all look the same from the outside can be used to support determinism, which you rigorously oppose (and which I certainly don’t support). As for modern research, Shapiro is still active in the field, and this Wikipedia article mentions Eshel Ben-Jacob’s team of researchers.
Microbial intelligence - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microbial_intelligence

Perhaps you would now name some modern scientists who have proved that bacteria are NOT intelligent but have been given personal tuition or preprogrammed by your God to solve virtually every problem thrown at them.

All of the ID folks think so. I followed the lead you offered and found the same type of findings. All can be interpreted as automatic responses as understood from the outside of the organisms. There is no way around the alternatives we offer each other. It is 'either/or' and believe whatever you wish.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Wednesday, May 03, 2017, 12:43 (531 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Perhaps you would now name some modern scientists who have proved that bacteria are NOT intelligent but have been given personal tuition or preprogrammed by your God to solve virtually every problem thrown at them.
DAVID: All of the ID folks think so.

“Think so” is not the same as proving (which is impossible anyway), but please give me a reference to an ID scientist who actually says that God preprogrammed all bacterial behaviour 3.8 billion years ago or gave and gives bacteria personal instructions. While you’re at it, do any of them inform us that God’s one and only purpose was the production of humans and everything else was related to that purpose?

DAVID: I followed the lead you offered and found the same type of findings. All can be interpreted as automatic responses as understood from the outside of the organisms. There is no way around the alternatives we offer each other. It is 'either/or' and believe whatever you wish.

I think that in such matters belief should be based on observation rather than on wishes. And as I pointed out before, determinists (whom you resolutely oppose) can also argue that we can't tell whether intelligent behaviour is actually automatic.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 03, 2017, 15:09 (531 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I followed the lead you offered and found the same type of findings. All can be interpreted as automatic responses as understood from the outside of the organisms. There is no way around the alternatives we offer each other. It is 'either/or' and believe whatever you wish.

dhw: I think that in such matters belief should be based on observation rather than on wishes. And as I pointed out before, determinists (whom you resolutely oppose) can also argue that we can't tell whether intelligent behaviour is actually automatic.

Although intelligent behaviour can be argued as under biological controls, we fully appear to have free will, and can change course intentionally on a dime.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Thursday, May 04, 2017, 11:59 (530 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I followed the lead you offered and found the same type of findings. All can be interpreted as automatic responses as understood from the outside of the organisms. There is no way around the alternatives we offer each other. It is 'either/or' and believe whatever you wish.

dhw: I think that in such matters belief should be based on observation rather than on wishes. And as I pointed out before, determinists (whom you resolutely oppose) can also argue that we can't tell whether intelligent behaviour is actually automatic.

DAVID: Although intelligent behaviour can be argued as under biological controls, we fully appear to have free will, and can change course intentionally on a dime.

If what "appears" to be intelligent behaviour can be understood as automatic responses “from the outside of the organisms”, what "appears" to be free will may not be free will as understood "from the outside of the organisms". Bacteria can change course on a dime. Since their course-changing enables them to solve problems, what makes you think it’s not intentional?

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Friday, May 05, 2017, 01:26 (530 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Although intelligent behaviour can be argued as under biological controls, we fully appear to have free will, and can change course intentionally on a dime.

dhw: If what "appears" to be intelligent behaviour can be understood as automatic responses “from the outside of the organisms”, what "appears" to be free will may not be free will as understood "from the outside of the organisms". Bacteria can change course on a dime. Since their course-changing enables them to solve problems, what makes you think it’s not intentional?

I can explain to you what I intend to doc and do it. I can change course and explain to you why I did it. that sows free will. As for bacteria, they can't tell us anything and can be fully automatic in their responses. We are truly outside in their case, but I've taken you inside in our case.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Friday, May 05, 2017, 12:33 (529 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Although intelligent behaviour can be argued as under biological controls, we fully appear to have free will, and can change course intentionally on a dime.

dhw: If what "appears" to be intelligent behaviour can be understood as automatic responses “from the outside of the organisms”, what "appears" to be free will may not be free will as understood "from the outside of the organisms". Bacteria can change course on a dime. Since their course-changing enables them to solve problems, what makes you think it’s not intentional?

DAVID: I can explain to you what I intend to do and do it. I can change course and explain to you why I did it. that sows free will. As for bacteria, they can't tell us anything and can be fully automatic in their responses. We are truly outside in their case, but I've taken you inside in our case.

You are able to get “inside” yourself, but you are not able to get “inside” me let alone “inside” bacteria. You and I can communicate, but bacteria also communicate, and we know that they can and do change course. They may well “explain” to one another what they are going to do, though they won't analyse it like humans, because they are – in my view as in yours – highly unlikely to be as self-aware as we are. In any case, the fact that you can explain why you do something does not mean that your explanation is correct. You may THINK you know, but there may be causes you are unaware of. That is the whole basis of determinism. Of course bacteria can’t tell US anything, any more than we can tell THEM anything. We can also “be fully automatic” in our responses, and indeed much of the time we are. But when we have to take decisions, we think our responses are not automatic, so why assume that THEIR decisions are automatic, especially bearing in mind that many of them die before they solve new problems? In short, every point you make about bacteria can be applied to humans.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 06, 2017, 00:03 (529 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: You are able to get “inside” yourself, but you are not able to get “inside” me let alone “inside” bacteria. You and I can communicate, but bacteria also communicate, and we know that they can and do change course. They may well “explain” to one another what they are going to do, though they won't analyse it like humans, because they are – in my view as in yours – highly unlikely to be as self-aware as we are. In any case, the fact that you can explain why you do something does not mean that your explanation is correct. You may THINK you know, but there may be causes you are unaware of. That is the whole basis of determinism. Of course bacteria can’t tell US anything, any more than we can tell THEM anything. We can also “be fully automatic” in our responses, and indeed much of the time we are. But when we have to take decisions, we think our responses are not automatic, so why assume that THEIR decisions are automatic, especially bearing in mind that many of them die before they solve new problems? In short, every point you make about bacteria can be applied to humans.

I agree solipsism is a problem, but I am inside me and I know when and why I change course or respond. I understand that I am using my control of a biologic computer to experience these facts. You are using the Romansh materialistic argument about our brains. I simply don't buy any of it. Bacterial responses may appear intelligently directed, and if the instructions are in their DNA to act that way they really are automatic. No way around that point. We are inside of ourselves and I know what I feel. I can never imagine to understand what it is like to be a bat, but I know a bat is not automatic.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Saturday, May 06, 2017, 10:40 (528 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You are able to get “inside” yourself, but you are not able to get “inside” me let alone “inside” bacteria. You and I can communicate, but bacteria also communicate, and we know that they can and do change course. They may well “explain” to one another what they are going to do, though they won't analyse it like humans, because they are – in my view as in yours – highly unlikely to be as self-aware as we are. In any case, the fact that you can explain why you do something does not mean that your explanation is correct. You may THINK you know, but there may be causes you are unaware of. That is the whole basis of determinism. Of course bacteria can’t tell US anything, any more than we can tell THEM anything. We can also “be fully automatic” in our responses, and indeed much of the time we are. But when we have to take decisions, we think our responses are not automatic, so why assume that THEIR decisions are automatic, especially bearing in mind that many of them die before they solve new problems? In short, every point you make about bacteria can be applied to humans.

DAVID: I agree solipsism is a problem, but I am inside me and I know when and why I change course or respond.

Correction: you certainly know when, but you cannot be sure that you know why, because you cannot know the complete chain of cause and effect.

DAVID: I understand that I am using my control of a biologic computer to experience these facts. You are using the Romansh materialistic argument about our brains. I simply don't buy any of it.

Romansh’s argument was cause and effect, but the materialism of our brains is indeed part of the determinist case. Let me emphasize that I am not taking sides in the free will debate (I offered a detailed counter to Romansh’s argument). I am simply pointing out that all your OWN arguments concerning bacterial automaticity can be equally applied to humans. I am fully aware that you believe you are autonomously intelligent and bacteria are not and you "don't buy" any arguments to the contrary!

DAVID: Bacterial responses may appear intelligently directed, and if the instructions are in their DNA to act that way they really are automatic. No way around that point.

Of course there is no way round the point that IF bacteria are under instructions, they really are automatic. And hallelujah, there is no way round the point that IF bacteria are not under instructions, they really are autonomously intelligent.

DAVID: We are inside of ourselves and I know what I feel. I can never imagine to understand what it is like to be a bat, but I know a bat is not automatic.

Yes, you are self-aware and you know what you feel. However, you could be a self-aware robot unaware that you are being manipulated by instructions in your DNA, just as you are unaware of most processes that take place in your body - at least until they go wrong. NB I’m saying you could be and not you ARE a robot, just as the bacterium could be intelligent and NOT a robot. You can never imagine to understand what it is like to be a bacterium, so how do you know a bacterium IS automatic?

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 06, 2017, 19:48 (528 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I agree solipsism is a problem, but I am inside me and I know when and why I change course or respond.

dhw: Correction: you certainly know when, but you cannot be sure that you know why, because you cannot know the complete chain of cause and effect.

I don't care if I cannot follow every biologic change in my neurons. I am fully in control of the conclusions of my intentional actions.

DAVID: Bacterial responses may appear intelligently directed, and if the instructions are in their DNA to act that way they really are automatic. No way around that point.

dhw: Of course there is no way round the point that IF bacteria are under instructions, they really are automatic. And hallelujah, there is no way round the point that IF bacteria are not under instructions, they really are autonomously intelligent.

But it is either-or, nothing else. all one can do is make an intelligent choice and every metabolic step in bacteria can be carefully outlined as molecules automatically react, without sign of mental direction.


DAVID: We are inside of ourselves and I know what I feel. I can never imagine to understand what it is like to be a bat, but I know a bat is not automatic.

Yes, you are self-aware and you know what you feel. However, you could be a self-aware robot unaware that you are being manipulated by instructions in your DNA, just as you are unaware of most processes that take place in your body - at least until they go wrong. NB I’m saying you could be and not you ARE a robot, just as the bacterium could be intelligent and NOT a robot. You can never imagine to understand what it is like to be a bacterium, so how do you know a bacterium IS automatic?

Because all of its actions can be outlined in molecular automatic activity from start to finish.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Sunday, May 07, 2017, 13:16 (527 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I agree solipsism is a problem, but I am inside me and I know when and why I change course or respond.

dhw: Correction: you certainly know when, but you cannot be sure that you know why, because you cannot know the complete chain of cause and effect.

DAVID: I don't care if I cannot follow every biologic change in my neurons. I am fully in control of the conclusions of my intentional actions.

Our discussion is not about whether you do or don’t have free will, but about the possibility that bacteria are autonomously intelligent. You argue that seemingly intelligent behaviour can in fact be automatic, i.e. dictated by in-built factors over which the doer has no control. You are convinced that YOU are in control, but others can argue that you are not. You are convinced that bacteria are not in control, but others can argue that they are. All you are doing in this discussion is telling me that in both cases you are right and they are wrong. Here are your other responses in relation to bacteria:

DAVID: But it is either-or, nothing else. all one can do is make an intelligent choice and every metabolic step in bacteria can be carefully outlined as molecules automatically react, without sign of mental direction.

Yes, it is either-or, but you are insisting that since intelligent behaviour CAN be interpreted as automatic, the “intelligent choice” is that they ARE automatic. So your choice is intelligent, whereas the choice made by Shapiro and others is what - stupid? A third intelligent choice might be to keep an open mind.

DAVID: Because all of its actions can be outlined in molecular automatic activity from start to finish.

Same again: it CAN be automatic, and therefore you have concluded that it IS automatic. All the actions of every organism including ourselves can be “outlined in molecular automatic activity”. The question is what LEADS to the actions, i.e. what processes make an organism decide to take a particular action. You somehow know that the actions of bats are based on mental processes, and you somehow know that the actions of bacteria are not.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 07, 2017, 15:42 (527 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I don't care if I cannot follow every biologic change in my neurons. I am fully in control of the conclusions of my intentional actions.

dhw: Our discussion is not about whether you do or don’t have free will, but about the possibility that bacteria are autonomously intelligent. You argue that seemingly intelligent behaviour can in fact be automatic, i.e. dictated by in-built factors over which the doer has no control. You are convinced that YOU are in control, but others can argue that you are not. You are convinced that bacteria are not in control, but others can argue that they are. All you are doing in this discussion is telling me that in both cases you are right and they are wrong. Here are your other responses in relation to bacteria:

DAVID: But it is either-or, nothing else. all one can do is make an intelligent choice and every metabolic step in bacteria can be carefully outlined as molecules automatically react, without sign of mental direction.

dhw: Yes, it is either-or, but you are insisting that since intelligent behaviour CAN be interpreted as automatic, the “intelligent choice” is that they ARE automatic. So your choice is intelligent, whereas the choice made by Shapiro and others is what - stupid? A third intelligent choice might be to keep an open mind.

You know there are conceptually only two choices, and all of us outside the bacteria cannot tell whether bacteria can act intelligently or whether they follow intelligently supplied instructions to act automatically. I've made a choice. We can never know what it is like to be an E. coli. Of what importance is bacterial intelligence to you? Where does it lead you philosophically? I believe you are trying to produce a bottom up source for intelligence and consciousness from the start of life on a rocky Earth. I totally reject that approach.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Monday, May 08, 2017, 13:46 (526 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Of what importance is bacterial intelligence to you? Where does it lead you philosophically? I believe you are trying to produce a bottom up source for intelligence and consciousness from the start of life on a rocky Earth. I totally reject that approach.

I have said repeatedly that bacterial intelligence is crucial to the hypothesis of the autonomous (i.e. without divine instructions/guidelines) inventive mechanism as a driving force for evolution, as opposed to your own hypothesis of a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for all life forms, styles and natural wonders supplemented by divine dabbles. And I have said repeatedly that it allows for your God as the inventor of the autonomous inventive intelligence. And I have said repeatedly that the panpsychist source of intelligence from the start of life is an alternative which I do not find any more credible than the God hypothesis. Even you accept the “bottom up” theory of biological evolution itself, beginning with the comparatively simple and developing into ever increasing complexities. The theistic question is therefore whether this bottom up process was preprogrammed and/or dabbled by God, or simply set in motion through his invention of an autonomous IM. Could it be that you are excluding the latter out of fear that it might open the door to an atheistic interpretation of evolution? If so, have no fear. There is no getting round the problem of the source of the autonomous IM, so you are safe to accept it as a POSSIBILITY, which is all I ask.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Monday, May 08, 2017, 18:12 (526 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Of what importance is bacterial intelligence to you? Where does it lead you philosophically? I believe you are trying to produce a bottom up source for intelligence and consciousness from the start of life on a rocky Earth. I totally reject that approach.

dhw: I have said repeatedly that bacterial intelligence is crucial to the hypothesis of the autonomous (i.e. without divine instructions/guidelines) inventive mechanism as a driving force for evolution, as opposed to your own hypothesis of a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for all life forms, styles and natural wonders supplemented by divine dabbles. And I have said repeatedly that it allows for your God as the inventor of the autonomous inventive intelligence. And I have said repeatedly that the panpsychist source of intelligence from the start of life is an alternative which I do not find any more credible than the God hypothesis. Even you accept the “bottom up” theory of biological evolution itself, beginning with the comparatively simple and developing into ever increasing complexities. The theistic question is therefore whether this bottom up process was preprogrammed and/or dabbled by God, or simply set in motion through his invention of an autonomous IM. Could it be that you are excluding the latter out of fear that it might open the door to an atheistic interpretation of evolution? If so, have no fear. There is no getting round the problem of the source of the autonomous IM, so you are safe to accept it as a POSSIBILITY, which is all I ask.

You have repeated all of our struggles. I have agreed that God could have used an IM, but always with the proviso that God would give it explicit guidelines or step in and dabble. The key to all of this is God is in control of evolution. You accept that as a possibility without accepting God, as you sit on your picket fence.

Explaining natural wonders

by dhw, Tuesday, May 09, 2017, 12:03 (525 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: […] The theistic question is therefore whether this bottom up process was preprogrammed and/or dabbled by God, or simply set in motion through his invention of an autonomous IM. Could it be that you are excluding the latter out of fear that it might open the door to an atheistic interpretation of evolution? If so, have no fear. There is no getting round the problem of the source of the autonomous IM, so you are safe to accept it as a POSSIBILITY, which is all I ask.

DAVID: You have repeated all of our struggles. I have agreed that God could have used an IM, but always with the proviso that God would give it explicit guidelines or step in and dabble. The key to all of this is God is in control of evolution. You accept that as a possibility without accepting God, as you sit on your picket fence.

An AUTONOMOUS inventive mechanism is not autonomous if it is controlled by God. According to you he specially designed everything, although he only wanted to design one thing. Why are you so afraid to acknowledge the POSSIBILITY that he enabled organisms to do their own designing (though with the option of dabbling when he felt like it)?

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 09, 2017, 18:15 (525 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: An AUTONOMOUS inventive mechanism is not autonomous if it is controlled by God. According to you he specially designed everything, although he only wanted to design one thing. Why are you so afraid to acknowledge the POSSIBILITY that he enabled organisms to do their own designing (though with the option of dabbling when he felt like it)?

Not 'afraid'. God is in charge no matter how it happened. 3.8 billion year program or dabbling remain the only possibilities. Organisms have epigenetic abilities. We know that they can adapt but not change to a new species.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 18:43 (516 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I have said repeatedly that bacterial intelligence is crucial to the hypothesis of the autonomous (i.e. without divine instructions/guidelines) inventive mechanism as a driving force for evolution,

I've tried to explain why I know bacteria are basically automatic. Let us look at bacterial chemotaxis:

http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020049

"we propose what is to our knowledge the first computational model for B. subtilis chemotaxis and compare it to previously published models for chemotaxis in E. coli. The models reveal that the core control strategy for signal processing is the same in both organisms, though in B. subtilis there are two additional feedback loops that provide an additional layer of regulation and robustness. Furthermore, the network structures are different despite the similarity of the proteins in each organism. These results demonstrate the limitations of pathway inferences based solely on homology and suggest that the control strategy is an evolutionarily conserved property.

***

"Chemotaxis is the process by which motile bacteria sense changes in their chemical environment and move to more favorable conditions . In peritrichously flagellated bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, swimming alternates between smooth runs and reorientating tumbles. Smooth runs require that the flagellar motors spin counterclockwise, whereas tumbles result from clockwise spins. Bacteria follow a random walk that is biased in the presence of gradients of attractants and repellents by alternating the frequency of runs and tumble. Owing to their small size, most bacteria are unable to sense chemical gradients across the length of their body. Rather, they respond only to temporal changes. In particular, their stimulated response always returns to prestimulus levels despite the sustained presence of attractants or repellents. Sensory adaptation involves a rudimentary form of memory that allows bacteria to compare their current and past environments. Bacteria regulate chemotaxis using a network of interacting proteins. The basic mechanism in flagellated bacteria involves receptor-mediated phosphorylation of a cytoplasmic protein (CheY) that binds to the flagellar motor and changes the spin direction (Falke et al. 1997). This pathway is characterized best in the γ-proteobacteria—E. coli and Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium.

***

" By constructing a model of B. subtilis chemotaxis and comparing it to models of E. coli chemotaxis, we were able to explore two mechanisms for sensory adaptation involving homologous genes. These models enabled us to interpret a large class of data involving many different experimental conditions and mutants. The conclusion from this theoretical study is that both networks involve the same core control process, though the physical interactions and feedback loops that form this process are different."

Comment: It is worth looking at the complex biochemical pathways that this study illustrates. Note the mention of feedback loop controls. The only mentation is a chemical semi-memory of past stimuli to allow some choices which, if you note carefully, are temporal along the length of their bodies!

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 18:58 (516 days ago) @ David Turell

Another approach to bacterial intelligence from the physicist/philosopher previously presented:

https://aeon.co/essays/consciousness-is-not-a-thing-but-a-process-of-inference?utm_sour...

"As a result of the arrow of time, systems that can grasp the impact of their future actions must necessarily have a temporal thickness. They must have internal models of themselves and the world that allow them to make predictions about things that have not and might not actually happen. Such models can be thicker and thinner, deeper or shallower, depending on how far forward they predict, as well as how far back they postdict, that is, whether they can capture how things might have ended up if they had acted differently. Systems with deeper temporal structures will be better at inferring the counterfactual consequences of their actions.

***

"The distinction between thick and thin models of time, then, suggests that viruses are not conscious; even if they respond inferentially to changes in their external milieu, they do not embody a deep understanding of their past or a long-run view of their future, which would enable them to minimise that hasn’t-yet-happened surprise.

***

" In non-conscious processes, this selection is realised in the here and now; for example, with selection among competing systems (such as phenotypes in evolution) or the evocation of reflexes (such as chemotaxis in simple organisms, in which they move towards or away from a higher concentration of a chemical). Conversely, the sort of selection we have associated with consciousness operates in parallel but within the same system – a system that can simulate multiple futures, under different circumstances, and select the action with the least surprising outcome. The conscious self is simply a way of capturing these counterfactual futures, in a way that facilitates active inference."

Comment: To make significant changes to an organism, it is unavoidable that the changes involve a knowledge of the future result. Can bacteria imagine the future? Preposterous. Any other proposal is a return to chance alterations.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Friday, May 19, 2017, 13:05 (515 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: It is worth looking at the complex biochemical pathways that this study illustrates. Note the mention of feedback loop controls. The only mentation is a chemical semi-memory of past stimuli to allow some choices which, if you note carefully, are temporal along the length of their bodies!

DAVID’s comment: To make significant changes to an organism, it is unavoidable that the changes involve a knowledge of the future result. Can bacteria imagine the future? Preposterous. Any other proposal is a return to chance alterations.

Just like all other organisms, including humans, bacteria use biochemicals and feedback loops in their processes of perception, communication and action. We do not know if their memory of past stimuli is their “only” mentation. As you keep saying, no-one outside can tell the difference between mentation and automaticity. You could say that adaptation, of which bacteria are surely the world’s greatest masters, also requires a “knowledge” of the future result: if the bacterium stays as it is, it will die (and frequently does); those that survive must “know” they have to make changes or they WILL die (future), and the very fact that they make those changes can only mean a “knowledge” of cause (present) and effect (future). The only alternative you have offered is that either your God preprogrammed every bacterial adaptation 3.8 billion years ago (though of course the dead bacteria didn’t inherit the programme), or he dabbles whenever they have a problem.

However, when you talk of “significant changes”, I presume you are thinking of innovations rather than adaptations, and since bacteria have remained bacteria, I would also assume that they do not have the mental abilities to invent. That is where multicellularity comes in: communities that combine their intelligences can go far beyond the limited powers of individual cells. ALL organs and organisms consist of cell communities, and all innovations require cooperative rearrangement of some kind between those communities. It is not “preposterous” to assume a degree of mentation in all organisms/cell communities, but we simply do not know their ultimate potential. Materialists would claim that ALL mentation, including our own, stems from cell communities, but that is the subject of another thread.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Friday, May 19, 2017, 15:27 (515 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: It is worth looking at the complex biochemical pathways that this study illustrates. Note the mention of feedback loop controls. The only mentation is a chemical semi-memory of past stimuli to allow some choices which, if you note carefully, are temporal along the length of their bodies!

DAVID’s comment: To make significant changes to an organism, it is unavoidable that the changes involve a knowledge of the future result. Can bacteria imagine the future? Preposterous. Any other proposal is a return to chance alterations.

dhw: Just like all other organisms, including humans, bacteria use biochemicals and feedback loops in their processes of perception, communication and action. We do not know if their memory of past stimuli is their “only” mentation. As you keep saying, no-one outside can tell the difference between mentation and automaticity. You could say that adaptation, of which bacteria are surely the world’s greatest masters, also requires a “knowledge” of the future result: if the bacterium stays as it is, it will die (and frequently does); those that survive must “know” they have to make changes or they WILL die (future), and the very fact that they make those changes can only mean a “knowledge” of cause (present) and effect (future).

What you have not mentioned is that bacteria are blessed with exisiting alternative pathways of metabolism, and they can automatically shift to that alternative when the primary quits working.


dhw: However, when you talk of “significant changes”, I presume you are thinking of innovations rather than adaptations, and since bacteria have remained bacteria, I would also assume that they do not have the mental abilities to invent.

Agreed. Thank you.

dhw: That is where multicellularity comes in: communities that combine their intelligences can go far beyond the limited powers of individual cells.

In view of your 'non-invent' view above, how did multicellularity appear?

dhw: ALL organs and organisms consist of cell communities, and all innovations require cooperative rearrangement of some kind between those communities. It is not “preposterous” to assume a degree of mentation in all organisms/cell communities, but we simply do not know their ultimate potential. Materialists would claim that ALL mentation, including our own, stems from cell communities, but that is the subject of another thread.

Automatic relationships of cells are illustrated by my entry on zebrafish. In all organs the cells are automatically organized to cooperate, as in pre-Cambrian simplistic forms, and Cambrian forms. The mentation is in the planning of those organisms and the required cooperative automatic relationships.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Saturday, May 20, 2017, 10:30 (514 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Just like all other organisms, including humans, bacteria use biochemicals and feedback loops in their processes of perception, communication and action. We do not know if their memory of past stimuli is their “only” mentation. As you keep saying, no-one outside can tell the difference between mentation and automaticity. [..]
DAVID: What you have not mentioned is that bacteria are blessed with existing alternative pathways of metabolism, and they can automatically shift to that alternative when the primary quits working.

All adaptation and innovation must entail “alternative pathways”. And when under threat from new conditions, organisms that can’t find or devise “alternative pathways” will die. How do you know that they are “blessed” with a given programme of alternatives (= your God preprogramming them) which automatically does (or doesn’t switch) itself on at the required moment? How do you know they are not “blessed” with a (perhaps God-given) means of working out their own alternatives?

dhw: …since bacteria have remained bacteria, I would assume that they do not have the mental abilities to invent. That is where multicellularity comes in: communities that combine their intelligences can go far beyond the limited powers of individual cells.
DAVID: In view of your 'non-invent' view above, how did multicellularity appear?

I would win the Nobel Prize if I could answer that question. But our ignorance of the origin does not invalidate the obvious fact that multicellularity has created intelligences far in excess of single cells – the community can achieve a great deal more than the individual. Maybe going as far as inventing new lifestyles and natural wonders or even - who knows? - speciation. (But that does not exclude your God as the original provider of life and of the intelligence to run evolution.)

DAVID: Automatic relationships of cells are illustrated by my entry on zebrafish. In all organs the cells are automatically organized to cooperate, as in pre-Cambrian simplistic forms, and Cambrian forms. The mentation is in the planning of those organisms and the required cooperative automatic relationships.

Yes, we know, you think your God preprogrammed the zebrafish 3.8 billion years ago as part of his great plan to keep life going until humans could evolve. You always slip in “automatic” as if somehow it proved your point. Once a system is established, of course it will be repeated automatically, or every species, lifestyle and natural wonder would be changing every five minutes. The question is how they all originated, and one possible clue is the fact that when an established system comes under threat from a changed environment, some cell communities cease to act automatically, and make changes to themselves in order to counter the threat. (Others don’t, and perish.) This departure from automaticity opens up the possibility that they may also be able to change themselves in order to exploit the opportunities offered by a new environment.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 20, 2017, 16:09 (514 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: What you have not mentioned is that bacteria are blessed with existing alternative pathways of metabolism, and they can automatically shift to that alternative when the primary quits working.

dhw: All adaptation and innovation must entail “alternative pathways”. And when under threat from new conditions, organisms that can’t find or devise “alternative pathways” will die. How do you know that they are “blessed” with a given programme of alternatives (= your God preprogramming them) which automatically does (or doesn’t switch) itself on at the required moment? How do you know they are not “blessed” with a (perhaps God-given) means of working out their own alternatives?

Because the alternative pathways exist in advance of the switch. Studies have shown that.

DAVID: Automatic relationships of cells are illustrated by my entry on zebrafish. In all organs the cells are automatically organized to cooperate, as in pre-Cambrian simplistic forms, and Cambrian forms. The mentation is in the planning of those organisms and the required cooperative automatic relationships.

dhw: Yes, we know, you think your God preprogrammed the zebrafish 3.8 billion years ago as part of his great plan to keep life going until humans could evolve. You always slip in “automatic” as if somehow it proved your point. Once a system is established, of course it will be repeated automatically, or every species, lifestyle and natural wonder would be changing every five minutes. The question is how they all originated, and one possible clue is the fact that when an established system comes under threat from a changed environment, some cell communities cease to act automatically, and make changes to themselves in order to counter the threat. (Others don’t, and perish.) This departure from automaticity opens up the possibility that they may also be able to change themselves in order to exploit the opportunities offered by a new environment.

You are again implying the leap from epigenetic changes to speciation. I am insisting the leap requires advanced conceptualization of future form and a planned coordination of all the new required parts and processes. Only advanced mentation can do this.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Sunday, May 21, 2017, 15:33 (513 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: What you have not mentioned is that bacteria are blessed with existing alternative pathways of metabolism, and they can automatically shift to that alternative when the primary quits working.
dhw: […] How do you know they are not “blessed” with a (perhaps God-given) means of working out their own alternatives?
DAVID: Because the alternative pathways exist in advance of the switch. Studies have shown that.

I’ve had to do some googling on this, and it’s not clear to me how you distinguish between the automatic day-to-day processes (e.g. processing food into energy), and those involved when bacteria are confronted with new problems. For example, one website lists various strategies for countering antibiotics:
One effective way to keep a drug from reaching its target is to prevent it from being taken up at all. Bacteria do this by changing the permeability of their membranes or by reducing the number of channels available for drugs to diffuse through. Another strategy is to create the molecular equivalent of a club bouncer to escort antibiotics out the door if it gets in. Some bacteria use energy from ATP to power pumps that shoot antibiotics out of the cell.
Changing the target Many antibiotics work by sticking to their target and preventing it from interacting with other molecules inside the cell. Some bacteria respond by changing the structure of the target (or even replacing it within another molecule altogether) so that the antibiotic can no longer recognize it or bind to it.
Destroying the antibiotic This tactic takes interfering with the antibiotic to an extreme. Rather than simply pushing the drug aside or setting up molecular blockades, some bacteria survive by neutralizing their enemy directly. For example, some kinds of bacteria produce enzymes called beta-lactamases that chew up penicillin.

Bearing in mind that vast numbers will die before bacteria come up with these strategies, are you saying that your God preprogrammed every one of them as an “alternative pathway” to cope with dangers that would arise 3.8 billion years later?

DAVID: Automatic relationships of cells are illustrated by my entry on zebrafish. In all organs the cells are automatically organized to cooperate, as in pre-Cambrian simplistic forms, and Cambrian forms. The mentation is in the planning of those organisms and the required cooperative automatic relationships.
dhw: This departure from automaticity opens up the possibility that they may also be able to change themselves in order to exploit the opportunities offered by a new environment.
DAVID: You are again implying the leap from epigenetic changes to speciation.

Yes, that is the HYPOTHESIS. Epigenetic changes offer us a possible clue. We do not know the extent to which epigenetic change can operate.

DAVID: I am insisting the leap requires advanced conceptualization of future form and a planned coordination of all the new required parts and processes. Only advanced mentation can do this.

I know you are insisting on the correctness of your own hypothesis that 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution, except when he dabbled in advance of environmental changes, though these may have “initiated” (your word) the organic changes. And furthermore, I know you insist that every single innovation etc. extant and extinct was “related to” (your words) the production of humans. I’m sorry, but I just can’t accept insistence as a substitute for logic.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 21, 2017, 19:16 (513 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Because the alternative pathways exist in advance of the switch. Studies have shown that.

dhw: Bearing in mind that vast numbers will die before bacteria come up with these strategies, are you saying that your God preprogrammed every one of them as an “alternative pathway” to cope with dangers that would arise 3.8 billion years later?

Yes, I've seen all of these strategies. You know that bacteria have survived forever. I assume you know that all antibiotics that are now resisted came from antibiotics that have always been present in nature or are human-invented forms originating in the natural form. Bacteria have known how to combat them from the beginning or they wouldn't be here. Since I think God invented life, He gave them these pathways.

DAVID: You are again implying the leap from epigenetic changes to speciation.

dhw: Yes, that is the HYPOTHESIS. Epigenetic changes offer us a possible clue. We do not know the extent to which epigenetic change can operate.

We have not found epigenetic steps to speciation so far. That is possible, but the gaps in the fossil record imply it does not exist.


DAVID: I am insisting the leap requires advanced conceptualization of future form and a planned coordination of all the new required parts and processes. Only advanced mentation can do this.

dhw: I know you are insisting on the correctness of your own hypothesis that 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution, except when he dabbled in advance of environmental changes, though these may have “initiated” (your word) the organic changes. And furthermore, I know you insist that every single innovation etc. extant and extinct was “related to” (your words) the production of humans. I’m sorry, but I just can’t accept insistence as a substitute for logic.

Once again you have talked around the need for future conceptualization and planning to explain the gaps in the fossil record. Isn't that a requirement for species gap advancement? Let's address that issue, before attacking my conclusion.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Monday, May 22, 2017, 13:09 (512 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Bearing in mind that vast numbers will die before bacteria come up with these strategies, are you saying that your God preprogrammed every one of them as an “alternative pathway” to cope with dangers that would arise 3.8 billion years later?
DAVID: Yes, I've seen all of these strategies. You know that bacteria have survived forever. I assume you know that all antibiotics that are now resisted came from antibiotics that have always been present in nature or are human-invented forms originating in the natural form. Bacteria have known how to combat them from the beginning or they wouldn't be here. Since I think God invented life, He gave them these pathways.

The means of combating them must be present as a potential, but that applies to every measure and countermeasure you can think of. However, since billions of bacteria are killed by antibiotics before some of them come up with their different countermeasures, billions of them didn’t know how to combat them. And that is why we can hypothesize that some bacteria might be better at finding solutions than others. Why would that be? Has God preprogrammed or dabbled with Baccies 1, 2 and 3, but not Baccies 4, 5 and 6? Or are 1, 2 and 3 cleverer than 4, 5 and 6?

DAVID: You are again implying the leap from epigenetic changes to speciation.
dhw: Yes, that is the HYPOTHESIS. Epigenetic changes offer us a possible clue. We do not know the extent to which epigenetic change can operate.
DAVID: We have not found epigenetic steps to speciation so far. That is possible, but the gaps in the fossil record imply it does not exist.

No, we haven’t found them. That is why is it is a HYPOTHESIS. If we could find fossils for every single stage of speciation from bacteria to humans (not asking much, are we?) we wouldn’t need to hypothesize. If we could find God’s 3.8-billion-year-old software for every single stage of speciation from bacteria to humans, we wouldn’t need to hypothesize. If God came down from heaven to earth and explained everything to us, we wouldn’t need to hypothesize. Unfortunately for poor old Dawkins and Co, there are no “ifs” that can prove God doesn’t exist, so at least that’s one argument you can’t lose!

DAVID: I am insisting the leap requires advanced conceptualization of future form and a planned coordination of all the new required parts and processes. Only advanced mentation can do this.
dhw: I know you are insisting on the correctness of your own hypothesis that 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution, except when he dabbled in advance of environmental changes, though these may have “initiated” (your word) the organic changes. And furthermore, I know you insist that every single innovation etc. extant and extinct was “related to” (your words) the production of humans. I’m sorry, but I just can’t accept insistence as a substitute for logic.
DAVID: Once again you have talked around the need for future conceptualization and planning to explain the gaps in the fossil record. Isn't that a requirement for species gap advancement? Let's address that issue, before attacking my conclusion.

I have already addressed that issue, but you take no notice. Once again: in my hypothesis there is no future conceptualization and planning. Evolution progresses through the intelligent RESPONSES of organisms to the opportunities (and dangers) presented by changes in the environment. The gaps in the fossil record can be explained by saltations, and a major environmental change (e.g.maybe Cambrian oxygen) may trigger major innovations. You are understandably sceptical that cell communities are capable of such major self-reorganizations. I don’t know if they are or not. It is a HYPOTHESIS which allows for your God as the creator of cellular intelligence as well as possible dabbles, but removes the need for all the convolutions and contradictions of your own hypotheses outlined above.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Monday, May 22, 2017, 20:08 (512 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Bacteria have known how to combat them from the beginning or they wouldn't be here. Since I think God invented life, He gave them these pathways.

The means of combating them must be present as a potential, but that applies to every measure and countermeasure you can think of. However, since billions of bacteria are killed by antibiotics before some of them come up with their different countermeasures, billions of them didn’t know how to combat them. And that is why we can hypothesize that some bacteria might be better at finding solutions than others.

You are skipping over our previous discussions. Bacteria are variable. Some easily switch on the right mechanism, most don't and die. The survivors repopulate.

DAVID: We have not found epigenetic steps to speciation so far. That is possible, but the gaps in the fossil record imply it does not exist.

dhw: No, we haven’t found them. That is why is it is a HYPOTHESIS. If we could find fossils for every single stage of speciation from bacteria to humans (not asking much, are we?) we wouldn’t need to hypothesize.

You are back to Darwin hoping the missing tiny steps would be found. Gould famously said they didn't exist and invented punctuated equilibrium to explain it, but it doesn't.

dhw there are no “ifs” that can prove God doesn’t exist, so at least that’s one argument you can’t lose!

The real argument is that design is required to cover the gaps.

DAVID: Once again you have talked around the need for future conceptualization and planning to explain the gaps in the fossil record. Isn't that a requirement for species gap advancement? Let's address that issue, before attacking my conclusion.

dhw: I have already addressed that issue, but you take no notice. Once again: in my hypothesis there is no future conceptualization and planning. Evolution progresses through the intelligent RESPONSES of organisms to the opportunities (and dangers) presented by changes in the environment. The gaps in the fossil record can be explained by saltations, and a major environmental change (e.g.maybe Cambrian oxygen) may trigger major innovations.

The same old suggestions. Yes, more oxygen allowed for more energy utilization and the appearance of more complex body forms, but that does not explain what drove the complexity to appear. Simple forms taking advantage of it is not an answer. It assumes they have an intelligence which has not be demonstrated. Yes, you hypothesize, but I prefer to follow what is known and demonstrated. Saltations in biology require major complex mutational changes and prior planning. If you look back in today's comments, you keep hoping for tiny steps. So did Darwin.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 14:11 (511 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Bacteria have known how to combat them from the beginning or they wouldn't be here. Since I think God invented life, He gave them these pathways.
Dhw: The means of combating them must be present as a potential, but that applies to every measure and countermeasure you can think of. However, since billions of bacteria are killed by antibiotics before some of them come up with their different countermeasures, billions of them didn’t know how to combat them. And that is why we can hypothesize that some bacteria might be better at finding solutions than others.
DAVID: You are skipping over our previous discussions. Bacteria are variable. Some easily switch on the right mechanism, most don't and die. The survivors repopulate.

You are merely repeating what I have said. They are all confronted with the same problem, some solve it and some don’t. Of course they are variable – that is my point. But instead of some of them unknowingly turning on your God’s 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for countering antiobiotic number 150 while the others miss out, I suggest some of them work out how to do it because they are cleverer than the others.

DAVID: We have not found epigenetic steps to speciation so far. That is possible, but the gaps in the fossil record imply it does not exist.
dhw: No, we haven’t found them. That is why is it is a HYPOTHESIS. If we could find fossils for every single stage of speciation from bacteria to humans (not asking much, are we?) we wouldn’t need to hypothesize.
DAVID: You are back to Darwin hoping the missing tiny steps would be found. Gould famously said they didn't exist and invented punctuated equilibrium to explain it, but it doesn't.

That was not my point, and you know it. You keep saying that evidence for my explanation has not been found, and I keep pointing out that ALL these explanations are HYPOTHESES (i.e. there is no proof), as is patently obvious from the continuation of my post:
If we could find God’s 3.8-billion-year-old software for every single stage of speciation from bacteria to humans, we wouldn’t need to hypothesize. If God came down from heaven to earth and explained everything to us, we wouldn’t need to hypothesize. Unfortunately for poor old Dawkins and Co, there are no “ifs” that can prove God doesn’t exist, so at least that’s one argument you can’t lose!

DAVID: Once again you have talked around the need for future conceptualization and planning to explain the gaps in the fossil record. Isn't that a requirement for species gap advancement? Let's address that issue, before attacking my conclusion.
dhw: I have already addressed that issue, but you take no notice. Once again: in my hypothesis there is no future conceptualization and planning. Evolution progresses through the intelligent RESPONSES of organisms to the opportunities (and dangers) presented by changes in the environment. The gaps in the fossil record can be explained by saltations, and a major environmental change (e.g.maybe Cambrian oxygen) may trigger major innovations.
DAVID: The same old suggestions. Yes, more oxygen allowed for more energy utilization and the appearance of more complex body forms, but that does not explain what drove the complexity to appear. Simple forms taking advantage of it is not an answer. It assumes they have an intelligence which has not be demonstrated.

You accused me of dodging the issue of future planning, and I have given you the same answer as I gave you before, and now you complain that I am giving you the same answer as before! And as I have already explained umpteen times before, environmental change offers opportunity, and the drive for improvement (which you call complexity) is what leads to speciation. Cellular intelligence is a HYPOTHESIS, just like your own, “which has not been demonstrated” either.

DAVID: Yes, you hypothesize, but I prefer to follow what is known and demonstrated. Saltations in biology require major complex mutational changes and prior planning. If you look back in today's comments, you keep hoping for tiny steps. So did Darwin.

I do not keep hoping for tiny steps – you edited my post to change its meaning – and I have repeatedly accepted saltations. Yes, they require major changes, but that does not mean they must be planned beforehand (they may be a RESPONSE to environmental change). It is not "known" and has not been "demonstrated" anywhere at any time by anyone that God exists, let alone that God planned every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution, let alone that he did so for the sole purpose of producing humans.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 00:50 (511 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: You are merely repeating what I have said. They are all confronted with the same problem, some solve it and some don’t. Of course they are variable – that is my point. But instead of some of them unknowingly turning on your God’s 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for countering antiobiotic number 150 while the others miss out, I suggest some of them work out how to do it because they are cleverer than the others.

You are ignoring my point that the alternate pathways already exist. It is just a matter of the lucky ones switching them on.

DAVID: You are back to Darwin hoping the missing tiny steps would be found. Gould famously said they didn't exist and invented punctuated equilibrium to explain it, but it doesn't.

dhw: That was not my point, and you know it. You keep saying that evidence for my explanation has not been found, and I keep pointing out that ALL these explanations are HYPOTHESES (i.e. there is no proof), as is patently obvious from the continuation of my post:
If we could find God’s 3.8-billion-year-old software for every single stage of speciation from bacteria to humans, we wouldn’t need to hypothesize. If God came down from heaven to earth and explained everything to us, we wouldn’t need to hypothesize. Unfortunately for poor old Dawkins and Co, there are no “ifs” that can prove God doesn’t exist, so at least that’s one argument you can’t lose!

My point in referring to tiny steps is my repeated idea that only chance (tiny steps) or design fit the evolution story because of all the large gaps we have not filled in our fossil discoveries, and no matter how hard we look the gaps don't ever decease. The Cambrian precursor gap as the most significant of all.

dhw:...as I have already explained umpteen times before, environmental change offers opportunity, and the drive for improvement (which you call complexity) is what leads to speciation.

Yes, opportunity. We each recognize the complexification, but we disagree on the cause. I'm with God.

DAVID: Yes, you hypothesize, but I prefer to follow what is known and demonstrated. Saltations in biology require major complex mutational changes and prior planning. If you look back in today's comments, you keep hoping for tiny steps. So did Darwin.

dhw: I do not keep hoping for tiny steps – you edited my post to change its meaning – and I have repeatedly accepted saltations. Yes, they require major changes, but that does not mean they must be planned beforehand (they may be a RESPONSE to environmental change).

You have not mentioned my entry from yesterday about intrinsic hominin spine changes from 3.3 million years ago which are an obvious preparation for fully upright posture: Monday, May 22, 2017, 20:43. These changes are certainly a speciation change, which offers no immediate environmental advantage, since the change is only a step in a process, but a major complex phenotypic change, allowing eventual bipedalism. The spinal advances allowed humans to change environment, while apes stayed in their accustomed range Speciation first, environment second. But I agree environment can drive adaptations of existing species.

dhw; It is not "known" and has not been "demonstrated" anywhere at any time by anyone that God exists, let alone that God planned every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution, let alone that he did so for the sole purpose of producing humans.

It requires analysis and the recognition of the need for design. Then faith can appear.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 13:33 (510 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I suggest some of them [bacteria] work out how to do it because they are cleverer than the others.
DAVID: You are ignoring my point that the alternate pathways already exist. It is just a matter of the lucky ones switching them on.

As I wrote on Saturday, "all adaptation and innovation must entail 'alternative pathways'”. Whatever measures and countermeasures are taken must already exist potentially, but that does not mean that 3.8 billion years ago the first cells were loaded with programmes for every single measure and countermeasure, leaving it to Lady Luck whether today’s bacteria would accidentally switch on the right one. I have offered an alternative above.

DAVID: My point in referring to tiny steps is my repeated idea that only chance (tiny steps) or design fit the evolution story [etc.]
You need not remind me after our nine years of discussion that the choice is between chance and design, or that certain changes suggest saltation. You dismiss my cellular intelligence hypothesis because there is not enough evidence. I pointed out that the same applied to your hypothesis of a 3.8-billion-year-old programme, and that is why we HYPOTHESIZE.

DAVID: You have not mentioned my entry from yesterday about intrinsic hominin spine changes from 3.3 million years ago which are an obvious preparation for fully upright posture: Monday, May 22, 2017, 20:43. These changes are certainly a speciation change, which offers no immediate environmental advantage, since the change is only a step in a process, but a major complex phenotypic change, allowing eventual bipedalism. The spinal advances allowed humans to change environment, while apes stayed in their accustomed range. Speciation first, environment second. But I agree environment can drive adaptations of existing species.

You have also agreed that environmental change can initiate speciation. We have no idea what triggered this particular change, or whether it offered an improvement. Improvement is not an absolute, and a small advantage can still be improved on. (Each stage of whale evolution must have improved its aquatic lifestyle.) What on earth would have been the point anyway of your God changing Salem’s spine if it was of no immediate advantage? He popped down to Ethiopia, did a dabble, and said: “Go forth with your new spine, Salem & Co. It won’t be of any use to you now, but in the future I shall improve it still further, so that in a few million years’ time it will allow bipedalism and I shall achieve my one and only purpose, which is upright homo sapiens.” Truly your God works in mysterious ways his purpose to achieve.

dhw: It is not "known" and has not been "demonstrated" anywhere at any time by anyone that God exists, let alone that God planned every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution, let alone that he did so for the sole purpose of producing humans.
DAVID: It requires analysis and the recognition of the need for design. Then faith can appear.

You said you “prefer to follow what is known and demonstrated”. I am merely pointing out that absolutely nothing in your hypothesis is known or demonstrated.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 19:14 (510 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You are ignoring my point that the alternate pathways already exist. It is just a matter of the lucky ones switching them on.

dhw: As I wrote on Saturday, "all adaptation and innovation must entail 'alternative pathways'”. Whatever measures and countermeasures are taken must already exist potentially, but that does not mean that 3.8 billion years ago the first cells were loaded with programmes for every single measure and countermeasure, leaving it to Lady Luck whether today’s bacteria would accidentally switch on the right one. I have offered an alternative above.

You've ignored my previous comment that antibiotic chemicals are rampant in nature. Bacteria survived despite them, which means bacteria have had alternative pathways from the beginning. Certainly they have them now, and they have not been shown to invent new ones. See Lenski's E. coli over 58,000 generations, in which they altered existing ones. No Lady Luck involved. I follow observed facts about bacteria.


DAVID: You have not mentioned my entry from yesterday about intrinsic hominin spine changes from 3.3 million years ago which are an obvious preparation for fully upright posture: Monday, May 22, 2017, 20:43. These changes are certainly a speciation change, which offers no immediate environmental advantage, since the change is only a step in a process, but a major complex phenotypic change, allowing eventual bipedalism. The spinal advances allowed humans to change environment, while apes stayed in their accustomed range. Speciation first, environment second. But I agree environment can drive adaptations of existing species.

dhw: You have also agreed that environmental change can initiate speciation.

You keep making this statement about my thinking, but it is not true. Environment does not initiate speciation. That is a separate process. It changes conditions so that an advance in complexity is possible, never probable. Speciation can occur without environmental change or by taking advantage of it. Both obviously happen.

dhw: We have no idea what triggered this particular change, or whether it offered an improvement. Improvement is not an absolute, and a small advantage can still be improved on. (Each stage of whale evolution must have improved its aquatic lifestyle.)

Of course each new species in the whale series improved its aquatic abilities. Each step was A huge jump is phenotypic form or physiologic organ change.

dhw: What on earth would have been the point anyway of your God changing Salem’s spine if it was of no immediate advantage?

What is wrong with advanced design changes as the future goal was contemplated. Note the mental processes involved that you seem not to notice:

dhw: He popped down to Ethiopia, did a dabble, and said: “Go forth with your new spine, Salem & Co. It won’t be of any use to you now, but in the future I shall improve it still further, so that in a few million years’ time it will allow bipedalism and I shall achieve my one and only purpose, which is upright homo sapiens.” Truly your God works in mysterious ways his purpose to achieve.

H. sapiens did appear, didn't they, while apes are still apes? So we have God favoring one group only. Not fair for God to do that. Your comment does not recognize your own acceptance of common descent by speciation change.


dhw: It is not "known" and has not been "demonstrated" anywhere at any time by anyone that God exists, let alone that God planned every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution, let alone that he did so for the sole purpose of producing humans.
DAVID: It requires analysis and the recognition of the need for design. Then faith can appear.

dhw: You said you “prefer to follow what is known and demonstrated”. I am merely pointing out that absolutely nothing in your hypothesis is known or demonstrated.

Remember, I go by the scientific facts that have been demonstrated, and the hypothesize. I interpret. You accept the interpretation of a solitary few scientists about cells' intelligence and hypothesize. We differ. I prefer my analysis from the biologic facts I know.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Thursday, May 25, 2017, 13:56 (509 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: As I wrote on Saturday, "all adaptation and innovation must entail 'alternative pathways'”. Whatever measures and countermeasures are taken must already exist potentially, but that does not mean that 3.8 billion years ago the first cells were loaded with programmes for every single measure and countermeasure, leaving it to Lady Luck whether today’s bacteria would accidentally switch on the right one.
DAVID: You've ignored my previous comment that antibiotic chemicals are rampant in nature. Bacteria survived despite them, which means bacteria have had alternative pathways from the beginning. Certainly they have them now, and they have not been shown to invent new ones. See Lenski's E. coli over 58,000 generations, in which they altered existing ones. No Lady Luck involved. I follow observed facts about bacteria.

As I said above, the potential solution already exists. Yesterday you wrote: “You are ignoring my point that the alternate pathways already exist. It is just a matter of the lucky ones switching them on.” Today: “No Lady Luck involved.” Please make up your mind.

DAVID: Speciation first, environment second. But I agree environment can drive adaptations of existing species.
dhw: You have also agreed that environmental change can initiate speciation.
DAVID: You keep making this statement about my thinking, but it is not true. Environment does not initiate speciation. That is a separate process. It changes conditions so that an advance in complexity is possible, never probable. Speciation can occur without environmental change or by taking advantage of it. Both obviously happen.

Dealt with comprehensively under “whale changes”.

dhw: What on earth would have been the point anyway of your God changing Salem’s spine if it was of no immediate advantage?
DAVID: What is wrong with advanced design changes as the future goal was contemplated. Note the mental processes involved that you seem not to notice:
dhw: He popped down to Ethiopia, did a dabble, and said: “Go forth with your new spine, Salem & Co. It won’t be of any use to you now, but in the future I shall improve it still further, so that in a few million years’ time it will allow bipedalism and I shall achieve my one and only purpose, which is upright homo sapiens.” Truly your God works in mysterious ways his purpose to achieve.

How is it possible for your God to design anything without “mental processes”. I am pointing out the illogicality of your scenario. See my next comment.

DAVID: H. sapiens did appear, didn't they, while apes are still apes? So we have God favoring one group only. Not fair for God to do that. Your comment does not recognize your own acceptance of common descent by speciation change.

Who has said anything about “not fair”? It is simply not logical that your God with his unlimited powers should have planned homo sapiens from the start, but specially designed ancestors with useless new spines in preparation for a proper spine a few million years later. I would suggest that the various modifications of existing structures (common descent) – probably triggered by environmental changes - took place as a result of a drive for improvement (which you call complexity), leading to different species of pre-humans.

dhw: You said you “prefer to follow what is known and demonstrated”. I am merely pointing out that absolutely nothing in your hypothesis is known or demonstrated.
DAVID: Remember, I go by the scientific facts that have been demonstrated, and the hypothesize. I interpret. You accept the interpretation of a solitary few scientists about cells' intelligence and hypothesize. We differ. I prefer my analysis from the biologic facts I know.

There is no such thing as a “solitary” few. A few = a few, and they are/were all dedicated experts in their field. In any case, you have admitted that there is no way of knowing whether the biologic facts denote intelligence or automaticity. But my reference was not to the solitary issue of bacterial intelligence, and your divine preprogramming/dabbling anthropocentric hypothesis is based on nothing known or demonstrated.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 25, 2017, 19:17 (509 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You've ignored my previous comment that antibiotic chemicals are rampant in nature. Bacteria survived despite them, which means bacteria have had alternative pathways from the beginning. Certainly they have them now, and they have not been shown to invent new ones. See Lenski's E. coli over 58,000 generations, in which they altered existing ones. No Lady Luck involved. I follow observed facts about bacteria.

dhw: As I said above, the potential solution already exists. Yesterday you wrote: “You are ignoring my point that the alternate pathways already exist. It is just a matter of the lucky ones switching them on.” Today: “No Lady Luck involved.” Please make up your mind.

Not all bacteria have alternative pathways. There are individual differences. That is why I used the word lucky. I was rejecting the idea that Lady luck helped bacteria invent something that did not exist. Perhaps I misunderstood you.


dhw: It is simply not logical that your God with his unlimited powers should have planned homo sapiens from the start, but specially designed ancestors with useless new spines in preparation for a proper spine a few million years later. I would suggest that the various modifications of existing structures (common descent) – probably triggered by environmental changes - took place as a result of a drive for improvement (which you call complexity), leading to different species of pre-humans.

In my view, God uses an evolutionary process to advance complex life. You are assuming His unlimited powers. I am saying He didn't choose instant creation. You are saying He can. Are you now religious?


dhw: You said you “prefer to follow what is known and demonstrated”. I am merely pointing out that absolutely nothing in your hypothesis is known or demonstrated.
DAVID: Remember, I go by the scientific facts that have been demonstrated, and the hypothesize. I interpret. You accept the interpretation of a solitary few scientists about cells' intelligence and hypothesize. We differ. I prefer my analysis from the biologic facts I know.

dhw: There is no such thing as a “solitary” few. A few = a few, and they are/were all dedicated experts in their field. In any case, you have admitted that there is no way of knowing whether the biologic facts denote intelligence or automaticity. But my reference was not to the solitary issue of bacterial intelligence, and your divine preprogramming/dabbling anthropocentric hypothesis is based on nothing known or demonstrated.

We have covered all this before. We remain apart.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Friday, May 26, 2017, 14:04 (508 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You've ignored my previous comment that antibiotic chemicals are rampant in nature. Bacteria survived despite them, which means bacteria have had alternative pathways from the beginning. Certainly they have them now, and they have not been shown to invent new ones. See Lenski's E. coli over 58,000 generations, in which they altered existing ones. No Lady Luck involved. I follow observed facts about bacteria.
dhw: As I said above, the potential solution already exists. Yesterday you wrote: “You are ignoring my point that the alternate pathways already exist. It is just a matter of the lucky ones switching them on.” Today: “No Lady Luck involved.” Please make up your mind.

DAVID: Not all bacteria have alternative pathways. There are individual differences. That is why I used the word lucky. I was rejecting the idea that Lady luck helped bacteria invent something that did not exist. Perhaps I misunderstood you.

There is no mention in my post of bacteria inventing something that did not exist. So we're back to some lucky bacteria unknowingly switching on the alternative pathways which God set out 3.8 billion years ago, while the rest either don't know the pathways are there, or press the wrong switch. Or maybe some bacteria are cleverer than others at finding the solutions as problems arise.

dhw: It is simply not logical that your God with his unlimited powers should have planned homo sapiens from the start, but specially designed ancestors with useless new spines in preparation for a proper spine a few million years later. I would suggest that the various modifications of existing structures (common descent) – probably triggered by environmental changes - took place as a result of a drive for improvement (which you call complexity), leading to different species of pre-humans.
DAVID: In my view, God uses an evolutionary process to advance complex life. You are assuming His unlimited powers.

Yes, we agree that evolution took place, and so if God exists he used evolution. As regards unlimited powers, I was referring to your beliefs, not mine. In our discussion on “delay” you vacillated over whether he had them or not, and then concluded he did, but you have changed your mind so often that maybe I’m mistaken. If so, my apologies.

DAVID: I am saying He didn't choose instant creation. You are saying He can. Are you now religious?

No. I am only saying it doesn’t make sense to me to assume that he specially designed ancestors with useless spines (= of no immediate advantage) in order to prepare for proper spines millions of years later. But perhaps once again you are going back to the idea that he couldn’t design the “right” spine because his powers were limited.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Friday, May 26, 2017, 22:00 (508 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Not all bacteria have alternative pathways. There are individual differences. That is why I used the word lucky. I was rejecting the idea that Lady luck helped bacteria invent something that did not exist. Perhaps I misunderstood you.

dhw: There is no mention in my post of bacteria inventing something that did not exist. So we're back to some lucky bacteria unknowingly switching on the alternative pathways which God set out 3.8 billion years ago, while the rest either don't know the pathways are there, or press the wrong switch. Or maybe some bacteria are cleverer than others at finding the solutions as problems arise.

My point remains the same. Alternative pathways have always existed, stronger in some than others due to individual variability. The lucky ones with stronger pathways survive, cleverness not involved. Clear?
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DAVID: In my view, God uses an evolutionary process to advance complex life. You are assuming His unlimited powers.

dhw: Yes, we agree that evolution took place, and so if God exists he used evolution. As regards unlimited powers, I was referring to your beliefs, not mine. In our discussion on “delay” you vacillated over whether he had them or not, and then concluded he did, but you have changed your mind so often that maybe I’m mistaken. If so, my apologies.

I've always pointed out His use of evolution. That implies that He might not be all-powerful. On the other hand He might simply prefer the method. I can't reach a conclusion, but we've thoroughly discussed this many times.


DAVID: I am saying He didn't choose instant creation. You are saying He can. Are you now religious?

dhw: No. I am only saying it doesn’t make sense to me to assume that he specially designed ancestors with useless spines (= of no immediate advantage) in order to prepare for proper spines millions of years later. But perhaps once again you are going back to the idea that he couldn’t design the “right” spine because his powers were limited.

Have you forgotten that evolution requires steps of improvement? Preliminary alerations are usually required before big changes. I don't undertand your comment.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Saturday, May 27, 2017, 12:20 (507 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Not all bacteria have alternative pathways. There are individual differences. That is why I used the word lucky. I was rejecting the idea that Lady luck helped bacteria invent something that did not exist. Perhaps I misunderstood you.
dhw: There is no mention in my post of bacteria inventing something that did not exist. So we're back to some lucky bacteria unknowingly switching on the alternative pathways which God set out 3.8 billion years ago, while the rest either don't know the pathways are there, or press the wrong switch. Or maybe some bacteria are cleverer than others at finding the solutions as problems arise.
DAVID: My point remains the same. Alternative pathways have always existed, stronger in some than others due to individual variability. The lucky ones with stronger pathways survive, cleverness not involved. Clear?

I know you reject cleverness. That leaves you with your 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for every alternative pathway in the history of life on earth, and some lucky bacteria will accidentally hit the right switch, while the unlucky rest either don’t have the programme or hit the wrong button. Your only alternative apparently is that God pops in to give instructions to the lucky few. I find it all rather hard to believe.

DAVID: I am saying He didn't choose instant creation. You are saying He can. Are you now religious?
dhw: No. I am only saying it doesn’t make sense to me to assume that he specially designed ancestors with useless spines (= of no immediate advantage) in order to prepare for proper spines millions of years later. But perhaps once again you are going back to the idea that he couldn’t design the “right” spine because his powers were limited.
DAVID: Have you forgotten that evolution requires steps of improvement? Preliminary alerations are usually required before big changes. I don't undertand your comment.

You wrote, concerning the early spinal changes, that they offered “no immediate environmental advantage, since the change is only a step in a process, but a major complex phenotypic change, allowing eventual bipedalism”. I see no sense in the special creation of something useless, merely as a preparation for something that will be specially designed a few million years later. Nor do I think it would have survived if it had not provided some kind of advantage over the old form. It would make more sense to me if each change were designed (whether by God or by the cell communities themselves) for the sake of improvement at the time.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 28, 2017, 00:28 (507 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Sunday, May 28, 2017, 01:03

DAVID: My point remains the same. Alternative pathways have always existed, stronger in some than others due to individual variability. The lucky ones with stronger pathways survive, cleverness not involved. Clear?

dhw: I know you reject cleverness. That leaves you with your 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for every alternative pathway in the history of life on earth, and some lucky bacteria will accidentally hit the right switch, while the unlucky rest either don’t have the programme or hit the wrong button. Your only alternative apparently is that God pops in to give instructions to the lucky few. I find it all rather hard to believe.

You don't seem to want to believe individual variability or the presence of alternative pathways, all shown by current science. Please re-read my above statement. Accept facts. They explain how bacteria survived since the beginning of life.

DAVID: Have you forgotten that evolution requires steps of improvement? Preliminary alerations are usually required before big changes. I don't undertand your comment.

dhw: You wrote, concerning the early spinal changes, that they offered “no immediate environmental advantage, since the change is only a step in a process, but a major complex phenotypic change, allowing eventual bipedalism”. I see no sense in the special creation of something useless, merely as a preparation for something that will be specially designed a few million years later. Nor do I think it would have survived if it had not provided some kind of advantage over the old form. It would make more sense to me if each change were designed (whether by God or by the cell communities themselves) for the sake of improvement at the time.

You are back to pure Darwin. Things don't have to appear only because they offer a current advantage. In The Atheist Delusion, on page 258, to which I have referred before, Dr. Filler is described as having found a early vertebral change toward bipedalism in a 21-million-year-old monkey. He thinks like I do. The changes are so enormous in the gaps, certain small preparatory changes have to occur early on, with no relationship to demonstrable current improvement at that time. Just as with the big brain. As early humans learned to use it, their survivability markedly improved. The only concept Darwin proved to me is common descent. His guesses as to mechanism are never supported by subsequent findings. But the findngs of minor anticipatory changes such as the ones described fit with the concept of a designing force making pre-planned early beginnings for major speciation later. The gaps are what undo Darwin. He recognized the gaps, and hoped they would be filled to support his theories. They never were.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence (2)

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 28, 2017, 02:47 (507 days ago) @ David Turell

This is an addendum to my last thought. You have equated our concepts of the process of the advancement of evolution. You see improvement and I see complexity. They have vastly different imports in the understanding of evolution. The subject arises because of the study of a spinal change which occurred, but the animal retained the same species form and function. It was a minor initial adaptation. A bit of complexity, no real improvement.

Complexity for complexity's sake does not imply that improvement has to take place. Obviously, in general, complexity will result in improvement, but not necessarily. My problem with the whale series is a case in point. I see it as an enormous physiological and phenotypical complexity inducing branch of evolution for no obvious good reason.

On the other hand I see the current end of evolution resulting in the most complex invention of all from evolution, the human brain. Viewed this way, as evolution driven by a complexification drive, makes the whole of evolution understandably logical. The whales are simply a complexification branch of the bush gone wild. Improvement not always needed.

Improvement harks back to Darwin's concept of competition for survival. I'm not sure that applies at all. Survival of the fittest is a tautology, as we both know. Natural selection is a passive process. The initial life form is still here, conquering every weird area of the world. They are perfect survivors. They obviously started that way with the full capability to survive anything. They make the point that improvement was never needed! But it happened. Another point for a drive to complexity. I'll leave it at that.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Sunday, May 28, 2017, 15:36 (506 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My point remains the same. Alternative pathways have always existed, stronger in some than others due to individual variability. The lucky ones with stronger pathways survive, cleverness not involved. Clear?
dhw: I know you reject cleverness. That leaves you with your 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for every alternative pathway in the history of life on earth, and some lucky bacteria will accidentally hit the right switch, while the unlucky rest either don’t have the programme or hit the wrong button. Your only alternative apparently is that God pops in to give instructions to the lucky few. I find it all rather hard to believe.
DAVID: You don't seem to want to believe individual variability or the presence of alternative pathways, all shown by current science. Please re-read my above statement. Accept facts. They explain how bacteria survived since the beginning of life.

I am arguing that individual variability may account for different degrees of intelligence, whereby some bacteria work out the right “pathway” for themselves. Your variability refers to the lucky dip summarized above.

dhw: You wrote, concerning the early spinal changes, that they offered “no immediate environmental advantage, since the change is only a step in a process, but a major complex phenotypic change, allowing eventual bipedalism”. I see no sense in the special creation of something useless, merely as a preparation for something that will be specially designed a few million years later. Nor do I think it would have survived if it had not provided some kind of advantage over the old form. It would make more sense to me if each change were designed (whether by God or by the cell communities themselves) for the sake of improvement at the time.
DAVID: You are back to pure Darwin.

Forget Darwin, and stick to the point. You keep telling us how purposeful your God is, so which makes MORE sense? Your God designing something that has no purpose, but survives until a few million years later he redesigns it, or your God designing something which is useful at the time but which can be improved?

DAVID: This is an addendum to my last thought. You have equated our concepts of the process of the advancement of evolution. You see improvement and I see complexity. They have vastly different imports in the understanding of evolution. The subject arises because of the study of a spinal change which occurred, but the animal retained the same species form and function. It was a minor initial adaptation. A bit of complexity, no real improvement.

What do you mean by no “real” improvement? Even a slight improvement is an improvement.

DAVID: Complexity for complexity's sake does not imply that improvement has to take place. Obviously, in general, complexity will result in improvement, but not necessarily. My problem with the whale series is a case in point. I see it as an enormous physiological and phenotypical complexity inducing branch of evolution for no obvious good reason.

I join you in seeing no good reason why your God would specially design the changes, and take so long to perfect them, especially when all he wanted to do was produce humans. An obvious good reason for the changes might be that there was more food in the water than on the land, and so pre-whales adapted to life in the water, improving their adaptations stage by stage. But for some reason, you won't even consider that.

DAVID: On the other hand I see the current end of evolution resulting in the most complex invention of all from evolution, the human brain. Viewed this way, as evolution driven by a complexification drive, makes the whole of evolution understandably logical. The whales are simply a complexification branch of the bush gone wild. Improvement not always needed.

This is a very promising line of thought. There is, of course, no logic to the argument that your God’s aim was to produce the human brain and so evolution went wild and resulted in billions of purposeless complexifications. But you have reiterated over and over again that your God is in charge, in which case how could evolution run wild unless he WANTED it to run wild? Hence the higgledy-piggledy bush as organisms did their own thing, as opposed to his specially designing every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder. We are making remarkable progress.

DAVID: Improvement harks back to Darwin's concept of competition for survival.

No it doesn’t, and I do wish you would stick to my arguments instead of launching off into yet another attack on Darwin. I have always used the twin concepts of survival and improvement as driving forces, and neither of them depends on competition, though of course it may be one factor. Cooperation is an equally powerful one. I see no reason to assume that our friend the pre-whale was forced into the water because other animals were eating all its food (= competition). It’s just as feasible that the land became flooded (= need to survive), or there was a lot more food in the water than on the land and who cares about other animals – plenty of tasty morsels out there, so let’s go get ‘em (= opportunity for improvement).

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 28, 2017, 18:54 (506 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You don't seem to want to believe individual variability or the presence of alternative pathways, all shown by current science. Please re-read my above statement. Accept facts. They explain how bacteria survived since the beginning of life.

dhw: I am arguing that individual variability may account for different degrees of intelligence, whereby some bacteria work out the right “pathway” for themselves. Your variability refers to the lucky dip summarized above.

You at claiming that bacteria invented these pathways we see along the way. They survived 3.8 billion years ago on a chaotic Earth. Did they invent them then with an already intelligent ability? Not without God's help.


dhw: Forget Darwin, and stick to the point. You keep telling us how purposeful your God is, so which makes MORE sense? Your God designing something that has no purpose, but survives until a few million years later he redesigns it, or your God designing something which is useful at the time but which can be improved?

Covered below:


DAVID: This is an addendum to my last thought. You have equated our concepts of the process of the advancement of evolution. You see improvement and I see complexity. They have vastly different imports in the understanding of evolution. The subject arises because of the study of a spinal change which occurred, but the animal retained the same species form and function. It was a minor initial adaptation. A bit of complexity, no real improvement.

dhw: What do you mean by no “real” improvement? Even a slight improvement is an improvement.

Real speciation. 'Minor initial adaptation' implies only that. No obvious major advance. Improvement is not as important as complexity.


DAVID: Complexity for complexity's sake does not imply that improvement has to take place. Obviously, in general, complexity will result in improvement, but not necessarily. My problem with the whale series is a case in point. I see it as an enormous physiological and phenotypical complexity inducing branch of evolution for no obvious good reason.

dhw: I join you in seeing no good reason why your God would specially design the changes, and take so long to perfect them, especially when all he wanted to do was produce humans. An obvious good reason for the changes might be that there was more food in the water than on the land, and so pre-whales adapted to life in the water, improving their adaptations stage by stage. But for some reason, you won't even consider that.

Your just-so story ignores the required huge changes. Not worth the trouble.


DAVID: On the other hand I see the current end of evolution resulting in the most complex invention of all from evolution, the human brain. Viewed this way, as evolution driven by a complexification drive, makes the whole of evolution understandably logical. The whales are simply a complexification branch of the bush gone wild. Improvement not always needed.

dhw: This is a very promising line of thought. There is, of course, no logic to the argument that your God’s aim was to produce the human brain and so evolution went wild and resulted in billions of purposeless complexifications. But you have reiterated over and over again that your God is in charge, in which case how could evolution run wild unless he WANTED it to run wild? Hence the higgledy-piggledy bush as organisms did their own thing, as opposed to his specially designing every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder. We are making remarkable progress.

DAVID: Improvement harks back to Darwin's concept of competition for survival.

dhw; No it doesn’t, and I do wish you would stick to my arguments instead of launching off into yet another attack on Darwin. I have always used the twin concepts of survival and improvement as driving forces, and neither of them depends on competition, though of course it may be one factor. Cooperation is an equally powerful one.

Your just-so stories smell of Darwin, I'm sorry to say. I'm attacking your improvement theory. I've always thought complexity was more important. It's in my first book.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Monday, May 29, 2017, 14:07 (505 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You at claiming that bacteria invented these pathways we see along the way. They survived 3.8 billion years ago on a chaotic Earth. Did they invent them then with an already intelligent ability? Not without God's help.

I have made no such claim. I wrote that the potential solutions to all the different problems must already be there, but as opposed to your God preprogramming every single one of them into the first living cells and leaving it to sheer luck for some bacteria to switch on the right programme, some of them may have worked out the right solution for themselves, using what I have always said is their possibly God-given intelligence.

DAVID (re a spinal change): A bit of complexity, no real improvement.
dhw: What do you mean by no “real” improvement? Even a slight improvement is an improvement.
DAVID: Real speciation. 'Minor initial adaptation' implies only that. No obvious major advance. Improvement is not as important as complexity.

You said your God deliberately introduced a spinal change which was of no immediate advantage but was part of his preparation for a full spinal change a few million years later. Of no immediate advantage then changed to “no real improvement”, not to “no real speciation”. An improvement is an improvement. I don’t know why you think complexity without any purpose is “more important” than complexity for the sake of improvement. Using your favourite example of the whale, more important for what? My suggestion is below:

dhw: I join you in seeing no good reason why your God would specially design the changes, and take so long to perfect them, especially when all he wanted to do was produce humans. An obvious good reason for the changes might be that there was more food in the water than on the land, and so pre-whales adapted to life in the water, improving their adaptations stage by stage. But for some reason, you won't even consider that.
DAVID: Your just-so story ignores the required huge changes. Not worth the trouble.

Why is survival or a better life a just-so story? How would you describe a story that runs: God made huge changes over several million years to enable whales to live in the water, but he had no conceivable reason for doing so except complexity for the sake of complexity?

DAVID: On the other hand I see the current end of evolution resulting in the most complex invention of all from evolution, the human brain. Viewed this way, as evolution driven by a complexification drive, makes the whole of evolution understandably logical. The whales are simply a complexification branch of the bush gone wild. Improvement not always needed.
dhw: This is a very promising line of thought. There is, of course, no logic to the argument that your God’s aim was to produce the human brain and so evolution went wild and resulted in billions of purposeless complexifications. But you have reiterated over and over again that your God is in charge, in which case how could evolution run wild unless he WANTED it to run wild? Hence the higgledy-piggledy bush as organisms did their own thing, as opposed to his specially designing every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder. We are making remarkable progress.

You have at long last embarked on a line of thinking that revolutionizes your previous hypotheses and puts them directly in line with my own as an “understandably logical” explanation of the higgledy-piggledy bush, and yet you have made no comment.

dhw: I have always used the twin concepts of survival and improvement as driving forces, and neither of them depends on competition, though of course it may be one factor. Cooperation is an equally powerful one.
DAVID: Your just-so stories smell of Darwin, I'm sorry to say. I'm attacking your improvement theory. I've always thought complexity was more important. It's in my first book.

I don’t know why you keep referring to Darwin, or why you consider the drive for survival and/or improvement/complexity, competition and/or cooperation a smelly “just-so” story. See above for complexity versus improvement.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Monday, May 29, 2017, 15:33 (505 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You at claiming that bacteria invented these pathways we see along the way. Did they invent them then with an already intelligent ability? Not without God's help.

dhw: I have made no such claim. I wrote that the potential solutions to all the different problems must already be there, but as opposed to your God preprogramming every single one of them into the first living cells and leaving it to sheer luck for some bacteria to switch on the right programme, some of them may have worked out the right solution for themselves, using what I have always said is their possibly God-given intelligence.

Makes no sense. 'Potential solutions' are the existing alternative pathways, which bacteria that have them can switch on, as current studies show.

dhw: I don’t know why you think complexity without any purpose is “more important” than complexity for the sake of improvement. Using your favourite example of the whale, more important for what? My suggestion is below:

DAVID: Your just-so story ignores the required huge changes. Not worth the trouble.

dhw: Why is survival or a better life a just-so story? How would you describe a story that runs: God made huge changes over several million years to enable whales to live in the water, but he had no conceivable reason for doing so except complexity for the sake of complexity?

Makes the best sense. I don't think you recognize the enormity of the changes required to put a mammal into a totally aquatic lifestyle.


DAVID: On the other hand I see the current end of evolution resulting in the most complex invention of all from evolution, the human brain. Viewed this way, as evolution driven by a complexification drive, makes the whole of evolution understandably logical. The whales are simply a complexification branch of the bush gone wild. Improvement not always needed.

dhw: This is a very promising line of thought. There is, of course, no logic to the argument that your God’s aim was to produce the human brain and so evolution went wild and resulted in billions of purposeless complexifications. But you have reiterated over and over again that your God is in charge, in which case how could evolution run wild unless he WANTED it to run wild? Hence the higgledy-piggledy bush as organisms did their own thing, as opposed to his specially designing every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder. We are making remarkable progress.

You have at long last embarked on a line of thinking that revolutionizes your previous hypotheses and puts them directly in line with my own as an “understandably logical” explanation of the higgledy-piggledy bush, and yet you have made no comment.

I used 'run wild' as an expression of exuberance. I have not separated a drive to complexity as separate from God's control. It appears to me as a method He uses. And it sure helps explain the whales.


dhw: I have always used the twin concepts of survival and improvement as driving forces, and neither of them depends on competition, though of course it may be one factor. Cooperation is an equally powerful one.
DAVID: Your just-so stories smell of Darwin, I'm sorry to say. I'm attacking your improvement theory. I've always thought complexity was more important. It's in my first book.

dhw: I don’t know why you keep referring to Darwin, or why you consider the drive for survival and/or improvement/complexity, competition and/or cooperation a smelly “just-so” story. See above for complexity versus improvement.

You use 'survival' and 'competition' which are Darwin terms. I have never considered the idea of the struggle to survive as the driving force in evolution. Back to bacteria who arrived early and have had no problem surviving. Something else drives evolution. God. Darwin and you think God not needed.

bacterial intelligence: extremophiles everywhere

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 15:31 (504 days ago) @ David Turell

Archaean bacteria are from the oldest life and they can live anywhere, metabolize anything as this study on salt-loving, methane producing type shows:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/49525/title/Researchers-Discover-...

"Many strains of archaea are capable of living in environments with high salt concentrations, and others are able to produce methane, but only a few can do both. In a study published today (May 26) in Nature Microbiology, researchers identified and cultured two lineages of methane-generating archaea that thrive in salty lakes. The two strains—part of a class the authors named “Methanonatronarchaeia”—appear to be most closely related to the Halobacteria, a class of archaea found in salt-rich environments worldwide.
 
“'The halophilic archaea had long been suspected to have evolved from a lineage of methanogens, and this new lineage is the missing link confirming this hypothesis,” William Whitman, a microbiologist at the University of Georgia who did not participate in the study, wrote in an email to The Scientist. “This work is of great value and an important development.” 

***

"To culture the strains successfully, the team grew them at high salt concentrations and temperatures and added a form of iron sulfide, a mineral that is found in the sediments where these microbes grow.

"The researchers observed the production of methane in the cultures only when they provided both formate and methanol or trimethylamine, two substrate combinations used in the methyl-reducing pathway of methanogenesis. They concluded that the two archaeal lineages likely use this pathway instead of three alternative methanogenesis pathways commonly used by other archaea.

"The authors compared representative genomes of the two lineages to each other, as well as to the genomes of other archaea. These comparisons suggested that the common ancestor of archaea was a methane-producer, a hypothesis that others have explored as well. They also found genomic evidence that this class of archaea copes with high salt concentrations by transporting potassium ions into their cells, rather than by excluding salt, behavior that is more similar to halophilic archaea than to other methanogens.

***

"Sorokin explained that another open question is how the organisms use iron sulfide, since it doesn’t appear to get into their cells. But the future direction that most interests him is understanding how this class of archaea functions in the environment.
“The main question now is how they compete,” Sorokin said. In sediment incubation experiments, the team found that “as soon as the conditions are right, [these organisms] immediately jump to domination of 90 percent of the community, but of course how it goes on in the native setting, I still don’t know,” he explained.

'We know that there are many ancient lineages in the prokaryotic world that have never been cultured and haven’t been fully explored,” said Whitman. “This is a good example of how studying these lineages provides much more detail about the early evolution of life.'” (my bold)

Comment: From the start of life, which we do not understand, these ancient bacteria forged forward into every complex and difficult environment, altering their metabolic processes to fit each problem. Note the bold above. How did they gain the ability to be so inventive when the two other common branches of bacteria did not? Not by chance.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 20:05 (504 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I wrote that the potential solutions to all the different problems must already be there, but as opposed to your God preprogramming every single one of them into the first living cells and leaving it to sheer luck for some bacteria to switch on the right programme, some of them may have worked out the right solution for themselves, using what I have always said is their possibly God-given intelligence.
DAVID: Makes no sense. 'Potential solutions' are the existing alternative pathways, which bacteria that have them can switch on, as current studies show.

1) I’m going to add phase A) here, so please tell me if the following is a correct reading of your hypothesis: A) 3.8 billion years ago, your God preprogrammed some bacteria to create diseases. B) Humans (presumably not preprogrammed) use existing materials to kill the bacteria that create those diseases. C) 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed some bacteria to use existing “pathways” to combat current human use of existing materials that kill bacteria.
2) I accept that we do not “know” if bacteria are intelligent or not – it is a hypothesis – but please tell me why it makes no sense to argue that they might use their intelligence to solve problems, as opposed to the equally unproven 1).

dhw: Why is survival or a better life a just-so story? How would you describe a story that runs: God made huge changes over several million years to enable whales to live in the water, but he had no conceivable reason for doing so except complexity for the sake of complexity?
DAVID: Makes the best sense. I don't think you recognize the enormity of the changes required to put a mammal into a totally aquatic lifestyle.

The enormity of the changes (acknowledged umpteen times) has nothing to do with whether the changes were made for the sake of complexity for complexity’s sake, or for the sake of enabling the whale to improve its lifestyle by adapting to the water. But if the former makes more sense to you than the latter, so be it.

DAVID: Viewed this way, as evolution driven by a complexification drive, makes the whole of evolution understandably logical. The whales are simply a complexification branch of the bush gone wild. Improvement not always needed.
dhw: This is a very promising line of thought. There is, of course, no logic to the argument that your God’s aim was to produce the human brain and so evolution went wild and resulted in billions of purposeless complexifications. But you have reiterated over and over again that your God is in charge, in which case how could evolution run wild unless he WANTED it to run wild? Hence the higgledy-piggledy bush as organisms did their own thing, as opposed to his specially designing every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder. We are making remarkable progress.
DAVID: I used 'run wild' as an expression of exuberance. I have not separated a drive to complexity as separate from God's control. It appears to me as a method He uses. And it sure helps explain the whales.

So God specially created the whales (and all the other species, lifestyles and natural wonders, extant and extinct) out of exuberance – the sheer joy of creating so many different things. This makes a lot more sense than the hypothesis that his sole purpose was to create humans and everything else was related to it. The only difference between our theistic hypotheses now seems to be special creation of everything versus his design of an autonomous IM. And in his exuberance he can still dabble or experiment to create humans, or have new ideas as he goes along. I am delighted at this sudden rapprochement.

dhw: I don’t know why you keep referring to Darwin, or why you consider the drive for survival and/or improvement/complexity, competition and/or cooperation a smelly “just-so” story.
DAVID: You use 'survival' and 'competition' which are Darwin terms. I have never considered the idea of the struggle to survive as the driving force in evolution. Back to bacteria who arrived early and have had no problem surviving. Something else drives evolution. God. Darwin and you think God not needed.

Forget your blind prejudice against any word of Darwin’s and please note that there are TWO driving forces mentioned above: the drive for survival and/or improvement or complexity. And there are TWO major influences on the outcome: competition and/or cooperation. Whether this whole process was devised by a god is an open question, and does not in any way affect either Darwin’s concept of the evolutionary process or my own (which differs from his in several aspects).

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 01:22 (504 days ago) @ dhw

i]

DAVID: Makes no sense. 'Potential solutions' are the existing alternative pathways, which bacteria that have them can switch on, as current studies show.

dhw: 1) so please tell me if the following is a correct reading of your hypothesis: A) 3.8 billion years ago, your God preprogrammed some bacteria to create diseases. B) Humans (presumably not preprogrammed) use existing materials to kill the bacteria that create those diseases. C) 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed some bacteria to use existing “pathways” to combat current human use of existing materials that kill bacteria.

I take exception to the wording of A. God did not purposefully design disease bacteria. The disease they cause are a result of their natural lifestyle taking them to the wrong place for them to live. This is accidental.

2) I accept that we do not “know” if bacteria are intelligent or not – it is a hypothesis – but please tell me why it makes no sense to argue that they might use their intelligence to solve problems, as opposed to the equally unproven 1).

Because the source of intelligence when first life appeared is totally a pipedream to me, if it supposedly appeared de novo by chance. I view chance or design as the only alternatives. A designing mind is required.

DAVID: I used 'run wild' as an expression of exuberance. I have not separated a drive to complexity as separate from God's control. It appears to me as a method He uses. And it sure helps explain the whales.

dhw: So God specially created the whales (and all the other species, lifestyles and natural wonders, extant and extinct) out of exuberance – the sheer joy of creating so many different things. This makes a lot more sense than the hypothesis that his sole purpose was to create humans and everything else was related to it. The only difference between our theistic hypotheses now seems to be special creation of everything versus his design of an autonomous IM. And in his exuberance he can still dabble or experiment to create humans, or have new ideas as he goes along. I am delighted at this sudden rapprochement.

I'm simply exploring newly thought of possibilities. Humans are always the goal. Complexity has always been the evolutionary drive. Creating complexity beautifully explains those darn whales.

DAVID: You use 'survival' and 'competition' which are Darwin terms. I have never considered the idea of the struggle to survive as the driving force in evolution. Back to bacteria who arrived early and have had no problem surviving. Something else drives evolution. God. Darwin and you think God not needed.

dhw: Forget your blind prejudice against any word of Darwin’s and please note that there are TWO driving forces mentioned above: the drive for survival and/or improvement or complexity. And there are TWO major influences on the outcome: competition and/or cooperation. Whether this whole process was devised by a god is an open question, and does not in any way affect either Darwin’s concept of the evolutionary process or my own (which differs from his in several aspects).

You have again repeated Darwin. Competition and cooperation may have no role to play. This is unproven theorizing. Bacteria tell us survival can be easy. We are attempting to find a reason why life advanced beyond them, and we have no reasonable answer, so we theorize.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 12:34 (503 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: 1) so please tell me if the following is a correct reading of your hypothesis: A) 3.8 billion years ago, your God preprogrammed some bacteria to create diseases. B) Humans (presumably not preprogrammed) use existing materials to kill the bacteria that create those diseases. C) 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed some bacteria to use existing “pathways” to combat current human use of existing materials that kill bacteria.
DAVID: I take exception to the wording of A. God did not purposefully design disease bacteria. The disease they cause are a result of their natural lifestyle taking them to the wrong place for them to live. This is accidental.

So although 3.8 billion years ago your God deliberately preprogrammed some bacteria to combat current human use of materials to kill them, he didn’t know they were going to create the circumstances in which they would need to be preprogrammed to combat current human use of materials to kill them.

dhw: 2) I accept that we do not “know” if bacteria are intelligent or not – it is a hypothesis – but please tell me why it makes no sense to argue that they might use their intelligence to solve problems, as opposed to the equally unproven 1).
DAVID: Because the source of intelligence when first life appeared is totally a pipedream to me, if it supposedly appeared de novo by chance. I view chance or design as the only alternatives. A designing mind is required.

Sorry, I forgot that you would forget: why does it make no sense to argue that bacteria might use their (possibly God-given) intelligence to solve problems, as opposed to the equally unproven 1)?

DAVID: I used 'run wild' as an expression of exuberance. […]
dhw: […] This makes a lot more sense than the hypothesis that his sole purpose was to create humans and everything else was related to it. […] I am delighted at this sudden rapprochement.
DAVID: I'm simply exploring newly thought of possibilities. Humans are always the goal. Complexity has always been the evolutionary drive. Creating complexity beautifully explains those darn whales.

You are exploring the possibility that I have been hammering away at year after year: that all the species, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct may NOT be related to the one and only purpose of creating humans. The rich diversity of life, with all its comings and goings, may be a purpose in itself – the result of your God’s "exuberance", and a source of pleasure to him.

dhw: Forget your blind prejudice against any word of Darwin’s and please note that there are TWO driving forces mentioned above: the drive for survival and/or improvement or complexity. And there are TWO major influences on the outcome: competition and/or cooperation. Whether this whole process was devised by a god is an open question, and does not in any way affect either Darwin’s concept of the evolutionary process or my own (which differs from his in several aspects).
DAVID: You have again repeated Darwin. Competition and cooperation may have no role to play. This is unproven theorizing. Bacteria tell us survival can be easy. We are attempting to find a reason why life advanced beyond them, and we have no reasonable answer, so we theorize.

Please stop moaning about Darwin and stick to the arguments. We are ALL theorizing, and you and I have theorized that the reason life advanced beyond bacteria is a drive for improvement (me) or complexity (you). Personally I believe that competition and cooperation have had an enormous role to play in the history of evolution: the reference to carnivores (under “Earth’s environmental role”) illustrates the effect of competition, and evolution would have been impossible without cell communities cooperating with one another to form new structures, whether guided by God or not. But if you reject such theories, so be it.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 15:55 (503 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I take exception to the wording of A. God did not purposefully design disease bacteria. The disease they cause are a result of their natural lifestyle taking them to the wrong place for them to live. This is accidental.

dhw: So although 3.8 billion years ago your God deliberately preprogrammed some bacteria to combat current human use of materials to kill them, he didn’t know they were going to create the circumstances in which they would need to be preprogrammed to combat current human use of materials to kill them.

Stop twisting my words. Antibiotics are a natural material. We have discovered and used them. Bacteria have survived without difficulty even though they are present, and they do that because they have alternative pathways to use if they are attacked. Since bacteria are representatives of the earliest life, we should conclude they came with those defense mechanisms.


dhw: 2) I accept that we do not “know” if bacteria are intelligent or not – it is a hypothesis – but please tell me why it makes no sense to argue that they might use their intelligence to solve problems, as opposed to the equally unproven 1).
DAVID: Because the source of intelligence when first life appeared is totally a pipedream to me, if it supposedly appeared de novo by chance. I view chance or design as the only alternatives. A designing mind is required.

dhw: Sorry, I forgot that you would forget: why does it make no sense to argue that bacteria might use their (possibly God-given) intelligence to solve problems, as opposed to the equally unproven 1)?

I fully accept that God gave bacteria alternative metabolic pathways which they can

DAVID: I'm simply exploring newly thought of possibilities. Humans are always the goal. Complexity has always been the evolutionary drive. Creating complexity beautifully explains those darn whales.

dhw: You are exploring the possibility that I have been hammering away at year after year: that all the species, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct may NOT be related to the one and only purpose of creating humans. The rich diversity of life, with all its comings and goings, may be a purpose in itself – the result of your God’s "exuberance", and a source of pleasure to him.

Diversity can be another side purpose for that pleases humans also.


dhw: Please stop moaning about Darwin and stick to the arguments. We are ALL theorizing, and you and I have theorized that the reason life advanced beyond bacteria is a drive for improvement (me) or complexity (you). Personally I believe that competition and cooperation have had an enormous role to play in the history of evolution: the reference to carnivores (under “Earth’s environmental role”) illustrates the effect of competition, and evolution would have been impossible without cell communities cooperating with one another to form new structures, whether guided by God or not. But if you reject such theories, so be it.

Everybody munching out is simply a reference to the abundant energy supply for life to continue and for evolution to advance, if it needs to. Chicxulub shows the power of environmental change over predation. I think evolution is over. And I reject cell committees thinking things out.

bacterial intelligence: prexisting protections

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 20:18 (503 days ago) @ David Turell

Mycobacteria cause TB. They also contain defense mechanisms in some individuals that can help them survive our antibacterials:

https://phys.org/news/2017-05-mycobacteria-protein-diverse-populations-drugs.html

"Subgroups of tuberculosis (TB)-causing bacteria can persist even when antibiotics wipe out most of the overall population. The need to eliminate these persistent subpopulations is one reason why TB treatment regimens are so lengthy. Now, researchers have shown that a single protein allows mycobacteria to generate diverse populations that can avoid TB drugs. The protein may be a target for intervention; blocking it might result in less mycobacterial diversity and shorten TB treatment courses.

***

"Using fluorescent reporter molecules and time-lapse microscopy, they examined individual cells as they grew and divided. Mycobacteria can generate daughter cells through asymmetric growth, resulting in genetically identical, but physiologically diverse, populations. The mechanisms underlying this ability and the extent to which the cells' size, growth rate and other physiological properties relate to survival in mycobacterial populations were not well understood.

"Dr. Rubin and colleagues determined that the protein product of a single gene, lamA, is a member of the protein machinery that is active when mycobacteria divide. The protein—which is not known to exist in other rod-shaped bacteria or other organisms—seems to allow for asymmetrical growth in new mycobacterial cells made during cell division. The asymmetrical growth leads to bacteria with wide variations in physiological properties and susceptibility to antibiotics.

"In experiments using Mtb, the scientists found that mycobacteria without lamA formed far less diverse bacteria with more uniform susceptibility to antibiotics. When exposed to the front-line TB drug rifampicin, for example, Mtb cells lacking lamA were less able to survive than wildtype bacteria."

Comment: Here we see a gene which directly creates variability in daughters, some of which have the ability to fight off an antibiotic. This is all automatic in its reproduction. No intelligence involved.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Thursday, June 01, 2017, 11:34 (502 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Stop twisting my words. Antibiotics are a natural material. We have discovered and used them. Bacteria have survived without difficulty even though they are present, and they do that because they have alternative pathways to use if they are attacked. Since bacteria are representatives of the earliest life, we should conclude they came with those defense mechanisms.

According to your hypothesis, 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed some bacteria to switch on the correct alternative pathways (= defense mechanisms) to combat current human use of materials to kill them. If he preprogrammed them, did he do so without knowing that they would create the circumstances in which they would need to be preprogrammed to switch on the correct pathway to combat current human use of materials to kill them?

dhw: ...why does it make no sense to argue that bacteria might use their (possibly God-given) intelligence to solve problems, as opposed to the equally unproven 1)?
DAVID: I fully accept that God gave bacteria alternative metabolic pathways which they can

Tantalisingly unfinished, but I suspect it won’t answer my question. So I’ll try again. Why does it make no sense for God to give bacteria the intelligence to solve their problems?

DAVID: I'm simply exploring newly thought of possibilities. Humans are always the goal. Complexity has always been the evolutionary drive. Creating complexity beautifully explains those darn whales.
dhw: You are exploring the possibility that I have been hammering away at year after year: that all the species, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct may NOT be related to the one and only purpose of creating humans. The rich diversity of life, with all its comings and goings, may be a purpose in itself – the result of your God’s "exuberance", and a source of pleasure to him.
DAVID: Diversity can be another side purpose for that pleases humans also.

I’m not sure how humans can be pleased to see the 99% of species they never knew. But it’s still a great step forward that you are prepared to consider various side purposes now. This means that the production of humans was not the sole purpose, and everything was not related to that one purpose.

DAVID: Everybody munching out is simply a reference to the abundant energy supply for life to continue and for evolution to advance, if it needs to. Chicxulub shows the power of environmental change over predation. I think evolution is over. And I reject cell committees thinking things out.

So you don’t think competition may determine the success or failure of species and hence the course of evolution, and you don’t think your God organized the cooperativeness of cells without which no organism can change or even function – and that includes you. However, let us not get distracted from our latest developments: God may not have geared the whole of evolution to the production of humans, and evolution advanced because organisms have an in-built (perhaps God-given) drive for improvement or complexity, which…according to me…enables them to take advantage of the opportunities offered by environmental change, whereas according to you God likes to transform them before the environment changes.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 01, 2017, 22:12 (502 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I fully accept that God gave bacteria alternative metabolic pathways which they can turn on.

dhw: Tantalisingly unfinished, but I suspect it won’t answer my question. So I’ll try again. Why does it make no sense for God to give bacteria the intelligence to solve their problems?

Finished. Because they have nothing which can contain that capacity. See Tony's quote from Shapiro.


DAVID: Everybody munching out is simply a reference to the abundant energy supply for life to continue and for evolution to advance, if it needs to. Chicxulub shows the power of environmental change over predation. I think evolution is over. And I reject cell committees thinking things out.

dhw: let us not get distracted from our latest developments: God may not have geared the whole of evolution to the production of humans, and evolution advanced because organisms have an in-built (perhaps God-given) drive for improvement or complexity, which…according to me…enables them to take advantage of the opportunities offered by environmental change, whereas according to you God likes to transform them before the environment changes.

Yes, God transforms them, and environment may or may not play a role.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Friday, June 02, 2017, 20:24 (501 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I fully accept that God gave bacteria alternative metabolic pathways which they can turn on.
dhw: Tantalisingly unfinished, but I suspect it won’t answer my question. So I’ll try again. Why does it make no sense for God to give bacteria the intelligence to solve their problems?
DAVID: Finished. Because they have nothing which can contain that capacity. See Tony's quote from Shapiro.

QUOTE: "James Shapiro’s talk, clearly one of the most interesting of the conference, highlighted this difficulty in its most fundamental form. Shapiro presented fascinating evidence showing, contra neo-Darwinism, the non-random nature of many mutational processes – processes that allow organisms to respond to various environmental challenges or stresses. The evidence he presented suggests that many organisms possess a kind of pre-programmed adaptive capacity – a capacity that Shapiro has elsewhere described as operating under “algorithmic control.” Yet, neither Shapiro, nor anyone else at the conference, attempted to explain how the information inherent in such algorithmic control or pre-programmed capacity might have originated."

dhw: Shapiro is a champion of cellular intelligence, and so I don’t know why he doesn’t go the whole hog and offer it as an explanation for innovation. Perhaps, though, it’s a bit too radical to present to the Royal Society, and it would probably be far too radical for them to countenance anyone allowing for the existence of God as the possible originator of cellular intelligence or a “pre-programmed capacity”.

DAVID: Your paragraph above is an interesting and incorrect interpretation of the quote. What it states is Algorithmic control runs bacteria, and that is exactly my point about bacteria. They contain information to run the algorithms and are preprogrammed. They contain programs to turn on re-writes of their DNA and respond in that way.

I did not interpret the quote. I was referring to the fact that Shapiro is a champion of cellular/bacterial intelligence, despite the fact that bacteria do not have a brain. I don’t know why he didn’t emphasize this extremely important point in his talk to the Royal Society. However, on a second reading, I realize that it is the reporter who is making the reference to Shapiro’s “algorithmic control”, and as we don’t have a transcript of the talk, it’s possible that he might also have brought in the cognitive powers of bacteria (intelligence). You will recall that when asked why these were a matter of controversy, he responded: Large organisms chauvinism, so we like to think that only we can do things in a cognitive way.

dhw: let us not get distracted from our latest developments: God may not have geared the whole of evolution to the production of humans, and evolution advanced because organisms have an in-built (perhaps God-given) drive for improvement or complexity, which…according to me…enables them to take advantage of the opportunities offered by environmental change, whereas according to you God likes to transform them before the environment changes.
DAVID:
Yes, God transforms them, and environment may or may not play a role.

Don’t forget that according to you God transforms them before the environment changes - or is it before he himself changes the environment? I never quite know how much control you assign to your God.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 03, 2017, 01:57 (501 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Your paragraph above is an interesting and incorrect interpretation of the quote. What it states is Algorithmic control runs bacteria, and that is exactly my point about bacteria. They contain information to run the algorithms and are preprogrammed. They contain programs to turn on re-writes of their DNA and respond in that way.

dhw: I did not interpret the quote. I was referring to the fact that Shapiro is a champion of cellular/bacterial intelligence, despite the fact that bacteria do not have a brain. I don’t know why he didn’t emphasize this extremely important point in his talk to the Royal Society. However, on a second reading, I realize that it is the reporter who is making the reference to Shapiro’s “algorithmic control”, and as we don’t have a transcript of the talk, it’s possible that he might also have brought in the cognitive powers of bacteria (intelligence). You will recall that when asked why these were a matter of controversy, he responded: Large organisms chauvinism, so we like to think that only we can do things in a cognitive way.

You are correct that Shapiro's talk is recounted secondhand. I've googled reviews and all I came with is the same statements as above. They seem supported.


dhw: let us not get distracted from our latest developments: God may not have geared the whole of evolution to the production of humans, and evolution advanced because organisms have an in-built (perhaps God-given) drive for improvement or complexity, which…according to me…enables them to take advantage of the opportunities offered by environmental change, whereas according to you God likes to transform them before the environment changes.

DAVID: [/i]Yes, God transforms them, and environment may or may not play a role.

dhw: Don’t forget that according to you God transforms them before the environment changes - or is it before he himself changes the environment? I never quite know how much control you assign to your God.

I think God speciates. He controls the universe, but I don't know about local weather. He certainly controlled the evolution of a living Earth.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Saturday, June 03, 2017, 10:48 (500 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: let us not get distracted from our latest developments: God may not have geared the whole of evolution to the production of humans, and evolution advanced because organisms have an in-built (perhaps God-given) drive for improvement or complexity, which…according to me…enables them to take advantage of the opportunities offered by environmental change, whereas according to you God likes to transform them before the environment changes.

DAVID: [/i]Yes, God transforms them, and environment may or may not play a role.

dhw: Don’t forget that according to you God transforms them before the environment changes - or is it before he himself changes the environment? I never quite know how much control you assign to your God.

DAVID: I think God speciates. He controls the universe, but I don't know about local weather. He certainly controlled the evolution of a living Earth.

For me “local weather” means sunshine and showers. I am talking about the kind of environmental change that demands or allows major changes to organisms. The examples we have been discussing recently are forests turning into plains, and the move from land to water. (Chixculub is another prime example.) According to you, he created hominins and whales in advance of such environmental changes. So do you think he organized them, or left them to chance? If he left them to chance, how could he have engineered those species in advance?

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 03, 2017, 18:31 (500 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I think God speciates. He controls the universe, but I don't know about local weather. He certainly controlled the evolution of a living Earth.

dhw: For me “local weather” means sunshine and showers. I am talking about the kind of environmental change that demands or allows major changes to organisms. The examples we have been discussing recently are forests turning into plains, and the move from land to water. (Chixculub is another prime example.) According to you, he created hominins and whales in advance of such environmental changes. So do you think he organized them, or left them to chance? If he left them to chance, how could he have engineered those species in advance?

For the whales the environmental change is precise. Put a paw/hoof into water and change it to a flipper. As for hominins we have had the example of Selam with a lower body more humanoid than the upper body, a transitional form. Thursday, June 01, 2017, 00:54

God never let the development of humans to chance. So far, only god can speciate. Darwin has no demonstrated mechanism for it by chance.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Sunday, June 04, 2017, 13:14 (499 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I think God speciates. He controls the universe, but I don't know about local weather. He certainly controlled the evolution of a living Earth.

dhw: For me “local weather” means sunshine and showers. I am talking about the kind of environmental change that demands or allows major changes to organisms. The examples we have been discussing recently are forests turning into plains, and the move from land to water. (Chixculub is another prime example.) According to you, he created hominins and whales in advance of such environmental changes. So do you think he organized them, or left them to chance? If he left them to chance, how could he have engineered those species in advance?

DAVID: For the whales the environmental change is precise. Put a paw/hoof into water and change it to a flipper. As for hominins we have had the example of Selam with a lower body more humanoid than the upper body, a transitional form. Thursday, June 01, 2017, 00:54
God never let the development of humans to chance. So far, only god can speciate. Darwin has no demonstrated mechanism for it by chance.

We are discussing whether your God controlled the environmental changes or not. Your theory is that he restructured organisms before the environment changed. I have suggested that the organismal restructuring took place as a response to environmental change. The fact that both whales and hominins underwent transitional stages suggests to me that they were responding to the new environment rather than having been prepared for it in advance. But if they were indeed prepared in advance, that would mean your God must have organized the environmental changes. He would hardly have rejigged the pre-whale or the pre-human if he didn’t know the whale was going to enter the water or the human was going to descend from the trees. Or did he look into his crystal ball to see what chance events were on their way?

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 04, 2017, 19:04 (499 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I think God speciates. He controls the universe, but I don't know about local weather. He certainly controlled the evolution of a living Earth.

dhw: For me “local weather” means sunshine and showers. I am talking about the kind of environmental change that demands or allows major changes to organisms. The examples we have been discussing recently are forests turning into plains, and the move from land to water. (Chixculub is another prime example.) According to you, he created hominins and whales in advance of such environmental changes. So do you think he organized them, or left them to chance? If he left them to chance, how could he have engineered those species in advance?

DAVID: For the whales the environmental change is precise. Put a paw/hoof into water and change it to a flipper. As for hominins we have had the example of Selam with a lower body more humanoid than the upper body, a transitional form. Thursday, June 01, 2017, 00:54
God never let the development of humans to chance. So far, only god can speciate. Darwin has no demonstrated mechanism for it by chance.

dhw: We are discussing whether your God controlled the environmental changes or not. Your theory is that he restructured organisms before the environment changed. I have suggested that the organismal restructuring took place as a response to environmental change. The fact that both whales and hominins underwent transitional stages suggests to me that they were responding to the new environment rather than having been prepared for it in advance. But if they were indeed prepared in advance, that would mean your God must have organized the environmental changes. He would hardly have rejigged the pre-whale or the pre-human if he didn’t know the whale was going to enter the water or the human was going to descend from the trees. Or did he look into his crystal ball to see what chance events were on their way?

Local environmental change would relate to the ice ages. Note my entry today. I'm sure God created the fine-tuned universe which gives us life. He controlled Earth's evolution and life's development. The ice ages appear to have probable natural causes due to Milankovitch cycles and for civilizations sake hopefully high CO2 levels will keep a new one at bay. I know how to compare the whale/human environmental changes. Entering water is a deliberate transition for pre-whales. Trees to savannah is a slow local change. Salam looks to be prepared for the change to come, as do the pre-whales. God undoubtedly know of the change as He got animals into the water. And He undoubtedly anticipated the savannah. Not by chance!

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Monday, June 05, 2017, 13:06 (498 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We are discussing whether your God controlled the environmental changes or not. Your theory is that he restructured organisms before the environment changed. I have suggested that the organismal restructuring took place as a response to environmental change. The fact that both whales and hominins underwent transitional stages suggests to me that they were responding to the new environment rather than having been prepared for it in advance. But if they were indeed prepared in advance, that would mean your God must have organized the environmental changes. He would hardly have rejigged the pre-whale or the pre-human if he didn’t know the whale was going to enter the water or the human was going to descend from the trees. Or did he look into his crystal ball to see what chance events were on their way?

DAVID: Local environmental change would relate to the ice ages. Note my entry today. I'm sure God created the fine-tuned universe which gives us life. He controlled Earth's evolution and life's development. The ice ages appear to have probable natural causes due to Milankovitch cycles and for civilizations sake hopefully high CO2 levels will keep a new one at bay. I know how to compare the whale/human environmental changes. Entering water is a deliberate transition for pre-whales. Trees to savannah is a slow local change. Salam looks to be prepared for the change to come, as do the pre-whales. God undoubtedly know of the change as He got animals into the water. And He undoubtedly anticipated the savannah. Not by chance!

Sorry, but none of this quite answers my question. You say ice ages probably had natural causes, and I’m sure one can find natural causes for trees giving way to savannah and for dry land giving way to water. So when you say your God “controlled Earth’s evolution and life’s development”, do you mean that he organized all the environmental changes, including these three, or that he simply “anticipated” them (infallible crystal ball-gazing), and they actually occurred by chance?

DAVID’s comment: the last ice age ended about 11,700 years ago.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_glacial_period Survival concepts are described in this article. Little else occupied our brain at that point. It must have become more complex faced with this degree of environmental adversity.

An important observation, as it suggests environmental change initiated brain change, just as it may well have initiated other responses that led to speciation. In this case, it would have activated the internal drive for survival, and the lucky few were able to come up with concepts that enabled them to give the requisite instructions to their brains and bodies.;-)

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Monday, June 05, 2017, 14:46 (498 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Local environmental change would relate to the ice ages. Note my entry today. I'm sure God created the fine-tuned universe which gives us life. He controlled Earth's evolution and life's development. The ice ages appear to have probable natural causes due to Milankovitch cycles and for civilizations sake hopefully high CO2 levels will keep a new one at bay. I know how to compare the whale/human environmental changes. Entering water is a deliberate transition for pre-whales. Trees to savannah is a slow local change. Salam looks to be prepared for the change to come, as do the pre-whales. God undoubtedly know of the change as He got animals into the water. And He undoubtedly anticipated the savannah. Not by chance!

dhw: Sorry, but none of this quite answers my question. You say ice ages probably had natural causes, and I’m sure one can find natural causes for trees giving way to savannah and for dry land giving way to water. So when you say your God “controlled Earth’s evolution and life’s development”, do you mean that he organized all the environmental changes, including these three, or that he simply “anticipated” them (infallible crystal ball-gazing), and they actually occurred by chance?

God doesn't actually tell us what is on or within His mind. I am convinced He controls evolution and the gaps in the fossils make it appear He knows what environmental changes are coming. I can't go further.


DAVID’s comment: the last ice age ended about 11,700 years ago.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_glacial_period

Survival concepts are described in this article. Little else occupied our brain at that point. It must have become more complex faced with this degree of environmental adversity.


dhw: An important observation, as it suggests environmental change initiated brain change, just as it may well have initiated other responses that led to speciation. In this case, it would have activated the internal drive for survival, and the lucky few were able to come up with concepts that enabled them to give the requisite instructions to their brains and bodies.;-)

11,700 years ago, the brain change is not in size; that was fixed 200,000 years ago. Of course groups developed survival concepts and their brains became more complex and more prepared for when the warmer interglacial time (now) arrived. Size first, use second. :-)

Explaining natural wonders: before or after?

by dhw, Tuesday, June 06, 2017, 15:05 (497 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You say ice ages probably had natural causes, and I’m sure one can find natural causes for trees giving way to savannah and for dry land giving way to water. So when you say your God “controlled Earth’s evolution and life’s development”, do you mean that he organized all the environmental changes, including these three, or that he simply “anticipated” them (infallible crystal ball-gazing), and they actually occurred by chance?
DAVID: God doesn't actually tell us what is on or within His mind. I am convinced He controls evolution and the gaps in the fossils make it appear He knows what environmental changes are coming. I can't go further.

Fair enough, but your hypothetical preprogramming or dabbling of all the structural changes could just as easily have taken place AFTER and in response to the environmental changes, and you would still have had the gaps in the fossils. Changing the structures before the changes were needed not only seems against common sense, but it also leaves you with the commonsense argument that he must have fiddled with the environment as well as with the organisms. However, if there is a possibility that he left environmental change to chance, there must also be a possibility that he sacrificed control over other aspects of evolution (e.g. lifestyles and natural wonders), no matter how convinced you may be.

DAVID’s comment: the last ice age ended about 11,700 years ago.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_glacial_period
Survival concepts are described in this article. Little else occupied our brain at that point. It must have become more complex faced with this degree of environmental adversity.

dhw: An important observation, as it suggests environmental change initiated brain change, just as it may well have initiated other responses that led to speciation. In this case, it would have activated the internal drive for survival, and the lucky few were able to come up with concepts that enabled them to give the requisite instructions to their brains and bodies. ;-)

DAVID: 11,700 years ago, the brain change is not in size; that was fixed 200,000 years ago. Of course groups developed survival concepts and their brains became more complex and more prepared for when the warmer interglacial time (now) arrived. Size first, use second. :-)

Ah, but I didn’t say the change was in size. The point was the sequence: environmental change triggers drive for survival, triggers concepts to enable survival, triggers brain changes. In this case, yes, the size was already there, as it had reached its maximum, but if concept precedes and causes brain change (complexification) after the 200,000 years, why would it not also have preceded and caused brain change (expansion) before the 200,000 years?:-P

Explaining natural wonders: before or after?

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 06, 2017, 15:31 (497 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: An important observation, as it suggests environmental change initiated brain change, just as it may well have initiated other responses that led to speciation. In this case, it would have activated the internal drive for survival, and the lucky few were able to come up with concepts that enabled them to give the requisite instructions to their brains and bodies. [/i];-)

DAVID: 11,700 years ago, the brain change is not in size; that was fixed 200,000 years ago. Of course groups developed survival concepts and their brains became more complex and more prepared for when the warmer interglacial time (now) arrived. Size first, use second. :-)

dhw: Ah, but I didn’t say the change was in size. The point was the sequence: environmental change triggers drive for survival, triggers concepts to enable survival, triggers brain changes. In this case, yes, the size was already there, as it had reached its maximum, but if concept precedes and causes brain change (complexification) after the 200,000 years, why would it not also have preceded and caused brain change (expansion) before the 200,000 years?:-P

Now we have our pre-sapiens conceptualizing their need for bigger brains so they can handle their lives a little better, or better than that a lot better. Bigger skull, bigger frontal lobe, please, and then mirabile dictu it appears! :-|

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Monday, June 05, 2017, 17:57 (498 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Stop twisting my words. Antibiotics are a natural material. We have discovered and used them. Bacteria have survived without difficulty even though they are present, and they do that because they have alternative pathways to use if they are attacked. Since bacteria are representatives of the earliest life, we should conclude they came with those defense mechanisms.

dhw: According to your hypothesis, 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed some bacteria to switch on the correct alternative pathways (= defense mechanisms) to combat current human use of materials to kill them. If he preprogrammed them, did he do so without knowing that they would create the circumstances in which they would need to be preprogrammed to switch on the correct pathway to combat current human use of materials to kill them?

There are many examples of bacteria fighting bacteria with antibiotic weapons. Here is another:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/49590/title/Microbe-from-Yogurt-I...

"Lactobacillus parafarraginis KU495926, extracted from yogurt, hindered the growth of 14 multidrug-resistant and so-called extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) bacteria obtained from infected patients at a Washington D.C. hospital,

***

"ESBL bacteria make beta-lactamase enzymes, which promote resistance to certain broad-spectrum antibiotics. The researchers found that L. parafarraginis, a gram-positive microbe, produced a substance, likely a bacteriocin—a type of antimicrobial protein—that inhibited the gram-negative ESBL and multidrug-resistant pathogens. According to lead author Rachelle Allen-McFarlane, a graduate student in Broderick Eribo’s lab at Howard, this may be one of few known examples of gram-positive bacteria-derived bacteriocins inhibiting the growth of gram-negative bacteria.

"Typically, bacteriocins from one particular strain are only capable of inhibiting closely related strains, Allen-McFarlane tells The Scientist. Most of the time, “gram-positive kills gram-positive,” she explains. 

"Though it’s rare, it is possible. “My area of interest is to identify bacteriocins from lactic acid bacteria that are capable of inhibiting multi-drug resistant and ESBL gram-negative bacteria,” she says.

"To examine whether the metabolic products produced by L. parafarraginis could inhibit ESBL and drug-resistant bacteria, the researchers first demonstrated that metabolites derived from L. parafarraginis could hinder pathogenic growth in culture. Once they demonstrated this was possible, they verified their findings using flow cytometry and fluorescent microscopy. These experiments revealed that when certain pathogens, including wound-derived E. coli, were added to media containing L. parafarraginis metabolites, their growth was significantly inhibited.

"Next, using PCR, the researchers identified four bacteriocin structural genes in L. parafarraginis, and as a final step, verified that this bacterium was indeed capable of producing the proteins."

Comment: It stands to reason these chemical warfare antibiotics go back to the beginning of life. Beta lactamase is the chemical enzyme that fights penicillin and its relatives. It is not intelligence, it is the weapons they have at their command.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta-lactamase

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Tuesday, June 06, 2017, 15:23 (497 days ago) @ David Turell

Unfortunately, this thread has been twisting and turning all over the place, and so it is not surprising that you have lost track. Here are quotes from different posts to establish the sequence:

DAVID: You are ignoring my point that the alternate pathways already exist. It is just a matter of the lucky ones switching them on. (My bold)

dhw: 1) so please tell me if the following is a correct reading of your hypothesis: A) 3.8 billion years ago, your God preprogrammed some bacteria to create diseases. B) Humans (presumably not preprogrammed) use existing materials to kill the bacteria that create those diseases. C) 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed some bacteria to use existing “pathways” to combat current human use of existing materials that kill bacteria.

DAVID: I take exception to the wording of A. God did not purposefully design disease bacteria. The disease they cause are a result of their natural lifestyle taking them to the wrong place for them to live. This is accidental. (My bold)

Dhw: So although 3.8 billion years ago your God deliberately preprogrammed some bacteria to combat current human use of materials to kill them, he didn’t know they were going to create the circumstances in which they would need to be preprogrammed to combat current human use of materials to kill them.

DAVID: There are many examples of bacteria fighting bacteria with antibiotic weapons.
DAVID's comment: It stands to reason these chemical warfare antibiotics go back to the beginning of life. Beta lactamase is the chemical enzyme that fights penicillin and its relatives. It is not intelligence, it is the weapons they have at their command.

I am not disputing the history of bacterial warfare, and although eventually this discussion does link up with bacterial intelligence, the dispute here is over my suggestion that your God preprogrammed bacteria to create disease. You responded that disease was accidental. This therefore raises the vital question of your God’s control. You appear to be saying God didn’t know bacteria would cause disease (it was accidental), and yet he inserted programmes (“alternative pathways”) that some lucky bacteria accidentally switch on today in order to counter the programmes humans design to counter the diseases. I must confess, I rather like your theory that God leaves all these things to luck and accident, but that creates huge problems for your other theory that God is always in control.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 06, 2017, 17:50 (497 days ago) @ dhw

[/i]

DAVID's comment: It stands to reason these chemical warfare antibiotics go back to the beginning of life. Beta lactamase is the chemical enzyme that fights penicillin and its relatives. It is not intelligence, it is the weapons they have at their command.

dhw: I am not disputing the history of bacterial warfare, and although eventually this discussion does link up with bacterial intelligence, the dispute here is over my suggestion that your God preprogrammed bacteria to create disease. You responded that disease was accidental. This therefore raises the vital question of your God’s control. You appear to be saying God didn’t know bacteria would cause disease (it was accidental), and yet he inserted programmes (“alternative pathways”) that some lucky bacteria accidentally switch on today in order to counter the programmes humans design to counter the diseases. I must confess, I rather like your theory that God leaves all these things to luck and accident, but that creates huge problems for your other theory that God is always in control.

I still think accidental fits. It gets back to my view of theodicy. Evil disease exists when bacteria and viruses end up in the wrong places, just as evil people with free will and a dangerous universe exist. Part of an evolving reality. But God gave us a big brain and the challenge to solve the problems and we are doing a good job. We learn to kill bacteria. We track asteroids. We have ethical (sort of) societies to handle evil people.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Wednesday, June 07, 2017, 14:20 (496 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: It stands to reason these chemical warfare antibiotics go back to the beginning of life. Beta lactamase is the chemical enzyme that fights penicillin and its relatives. It is not intelligence, it is the weapons they have at their command.
dhw: I am not disputing the history of bacterial warfare, and although eventually this discussion does link up with bacterial intelligence, the dispute here is over my suggestion that your God preprogrammed bacteria to create disease. You responded that disease was accidental. This therefore raises the vital question of your God’s control. You appear to be saying God didn’t know bacteria would cause disease (it was accidental), and yet he inserted programmes (“alternative pathways”) that some lucky bacteria accidentally switch on today in order to counter the programmes humans design to counter the diseases. I must confess, I rather like your theory that God leaves all these things to luck and accident, but that creates huge problems for your other theory that God is always in control.

DAVID: I still think accidental fits. It gets back to my view of theodicy. Evil disease exists when bacteria and viruses end up in the wrong places, just as evil people with free will and a dangerous universe exist. Part of an evolving reality. But God gave us a big brain and the challenge to solve the problems and we are doing a good job. We learn to kill bacteria. We track asteroids. We have ethical (sort of) societies to handle evil people.

Whether we are doing a good job or not is open to debate, and you’ve still got your God preprogramming some bacteria to resist countermeasures against their accidental attempted murders, but I have no objections to this theistic answer, which fits in with reality as we know it. It shows that your God has no problem giving up control, even to the point that he is willing to leave Nature to do its own thing: bacteria to cause diseases, the dangerous universe to destroy life willy-nilly. If millions of humans die in an ice age or because of a plague or because a comet crashes into the earth, so be it. He gave us a big brain, so it’s up to us to solve the problems he has created through a system of “accidents”. Of course, we shouldn’t ask what might have been his purpose in setting it all up, because that would mean trying to read his mind. And yet you cannot countenance the possibility that he might also have set up a system whereby organisms designed their own lifestyles and natural wonders. Let bacteria, ice ages and asteroids do their worst, but in the meantime he must personally design the weaverbird’s nest and teach the monarch the tricks of migration and prepare the pre-whale to enter the water. Only this section of “evolving reality” demands his total control. Purpose? Well, apparently without the nest, the migration and the blowhole, life could not have gone on long enough for him to produce humans, which was his sole purpose apart from other purposes you can’t think of. Don't you find all this a bit disjointed?

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 07, 2017, 18:25 (496 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I still think accidental fits. It gets back to my view of theodicy. Evil disease exists when bacteria and viruses end up in the wrong places, just as evil people with free will and a dangerous universe exist. Part of an evolving reality. But God gave us a big brain and the challenge to solve the problems and we are doing a good job. We learn to kill bacteria. We track asteroids. We have ethical (sort of) societies to handle evil people.

dhw: Whether we are doing a good job or not is open to debate, and you’ve still got your God preprogramming some bacteria to resist countermeasures against their accidental attempted murders, but I have no objections to this theistic answer, which fits in with reality as we know it. It shows that your God has no problem giving up control, even to the point that he is willing to leave Nature to do its own thing: bacteria to cause diseases, the dangerous universe to destroy life willy-nilly. If millions of humans die in an ice age or because of a plague or because a comet crashes into the earth, so be it. He gave us a big brain, so it’s up to us to solve the problems he has created through a system of “accidents”. Of course, we shouldn’t ask what might have been his purpose in setting it all up, because that would mean trying to read his mind. And yet you cannot countenance the possibility that he might also have set up a system whereby organisms designed their own lifestyles and natural wonders. Let bacteria, ice ages and asteroids do their worst, but in the meantime he must personally design the weaverbird’s nest and teach the monarch the tricks of migration and prepare the pre-whale to enter the water. Only this section of “evolving reality” demands his total control. Purpose? Well, apparently without the nest, the migration and the blowhole, life could not have gone on long enough for him to produce humans, which was his sole purpose apart from other purposes you can’t think of. Don't you find all this a bit disjointed?

Not at all disjointed. We've been over all of this. He doesn't control every movement of every bacteria. They take care of themselves very well. They accidently get into our lungs or urine and cause trouble. We know how to solve that now with our big brains. His disjointed use of evolving life? No way. That was his choice. And the balance of nature provides the energy for evolution to last long enough to reach the H. sapiens form. Makes perfect sense to me once you accept humans are the goal from the start of the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. He either cannot or would not do a six day job, called for by the gross misinterpretation of Genesis in old Hebrew.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Thursday, June 08, 2017, 12:45 (495 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] Let bacteria, ice ages and asteroids do their worst, but in the meantime he must personally design the weaverbird’s nest and teach the monarch the tricks of migration and prepare the pre-whale to enter the water. Only this section of “evolving reality” demands his total control. Purpose? Well, apparently without the nest, the migration and the blowhole, life could not have gone on long enough for him to produce humans, which was his sole purpose apart from other purposes you can’t think of. Don't you find all this a bit disjointed?

DAVID: Not at all disjointed. We've been over all of this. He doesn't control every movement of every bacteria. They take care of themselves very well. They accidently get into our lungs or urine and cause trouble. We know how to solve that now with our big brains. His disjointed use of evolving life? No way. That was his choice. And the balance of nature provides the energy for evolution to last long enough to reach the H. sapiens form. Makes perfect sense to me once you accept humans are the goal from the start of the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. He either cannot or would not do a six day job, called for by the gross misinterpretation of Genesis in old Hebrew.

DAVID (under “Milky Way”): the universe is a dangerous place for life to exist. Thank goodness we are in a quiet spot. Purposefully?
DAVID (under “Baleen Whales”): this article is presented to show another of the complexities the evolution of whales faced in becoming aquatic. And remember whales have to handle the metabolism of salt water, too much of which will kill a mammal. My question is still why did God bother?
DAVID: (under “Homo sapiens 350,000 years ago”): this branch appears to be possibly a pre-branch before more modern H. sapiens appeared?

Apparently all this makes “perfect sense” once you accept that humans were "the" goal (not even one of several goals) right from the start. How could your God possibly have created homo sapiens without crunching galaxy clusters 2.4 billion light years away at temperatures reaching 1.7 million degrees Celsius, and without organizing the complex evolution of the whale (though even you don’t know why he bothered), and without producing lots of different pre-sapiens and even contemporary homos, and without accidents like bacterial diseases, and without personally designing the weaverbird’s nest and teaching the monarch how to navigate and camouflaging the cuttlefish and showing the wasp how to lay its eggs on the spider’s back? It’s not at all disjointed. Just don’t look for the joints.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 08, 2017, 16:43 (495 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID (under “Milky Way”): the universe is a dangerous place for life to exist. Thank goodness we are in a quiet spot. Purposefully?
DAVID (under “Baleen Whales”): this article is presented to show another of the complexities the evolution of whales faced in becoming aquatic. And remember whales have to handle the metabolism of salt water, too much of which will kill a mammal. My question is still why did God bother?
DAVID: (under “Homo sapiens 350,000 years ago”): this branch appears to be possibly a pre-branch before more modern H. sapiens appeared?

dhw: Apparently all this makes “perfect sense” once you accept that humans were "the" goal (not even one of several goals) right from the start. How could your God possibly have created homo sapiens without crunching galaxy clusters 2.4 billion light years away at temperatures reaching 1.7 million degrees Celsius, and without organizing the complex evolution of the whale (though even you don’t know why he bothered), and without producing lots of different pre-sapiens and even contemporary homos, and without accidents like bacterial diseases, and without personally designing the weaverbird’s nest and teaching the monarch how to navigate and camouflaging the cuttlefish and showing the wasp how to lay its eggs on the spider’s back? It’s not at all disjointed. Just don’t look for the joints.

It all makes perfect 'jointed' sense if you accept that God is in control, uses evolutionary processes to produce His desires, of which humans are the primary goal. He prefers a bush of life which provides energy for evolution of life to continue for very long periods. He evolved the universe and the current condition of the Earth. Do you accept that approach as reasonable?

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Friday, June 09, 2017, 19:12 (494 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID (under “Milky Way”): the universe is a dangerous place for life to exist. Thank goodness we are in a quiet spot. Purposefully?
DAVID (under “Baleen Whales”): this article is presented to show another of the complexities the evolution of whales faced in becoming aquatic. And remember whales have to handle the metabolism of salt water, too much of which will kill a mammal. My question is still why did God bother?
DAVID: (under “Homo sapiens 350,000 years ago”): this branch appears to be possibly a pre-branch before more modern H. sapiens appeared?[/i]

dhw: Apparently all this makes “perfect sense” once you accept that humans were "the" goal (not even one of several goals) right from the start. How could your God possibly have created homo sapiens without crunching galaxy clusters 2.4 billion light years away at temperatures reaching 1.7 million degrees Celsius, and without organizing the complex evolution of the whale (though even you don’t know why he bothered), and without producing lots of different pre-sapiens and even contemporary homos, and without accidents like bacterial diseases, and without personally designing the weaverbird’s nest and teaching the monarch how to navigate and camouflaging the cuttlefish and showing the wasp how to lay its eggs on the spider’s back? It’s not at all disjointed. Just don’t look for the joints.

DAVID: It all makes perfect 'jointed' sense if you accept that God is in control, uses evolutionary processes to produce His desires, of which humans are the primary goal. He prefers a bush of life which provides energy for evolution of life to continue for very long periods. He evolved the universe and the current condition of the Earth. Do you accept that approach as reasonable?

But you have told us that God might not be in control of the dangerous universe and the nasty bacteria and various other “accidents”. So he’s in control but he’s not in control. Yes, if he exists, we agree that he uses evolutionary processes to produce his desires, but what ARE his desires, and how do they fit in with the history of life as we know it? One moment you say humans are his only purpose, the next they are his primary purpose, and sometimes it's just "a" purpose, but whichever it is, even you don’t know why he bothered to design all those pre-whales, let alone the actual whale. Not much of a link there, according to you. Yes, we agree that he would have created a system that led to a bush of life, and to life continuing for a long time, but that has nothing to do with the production of homo sapiens. It would still apply if humans had never walked the planet and if they ceased to walk the planet tomorrow. And yes, if he exists, he would have created the universe and the Earth and life itself and the mechanisms for evolution. But colliding galaxy clusters (no doubt more to come 2.4 billion years from now), bacterial diseases, dangerous asteroids, the all-important weaverbird’s nest, and all those pre-humans and different branches of humans just because he who is in control only wanted to produce homo sapiens? No, I don’t see that as “perfect jointed sense”.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Friday, June 09, 2017, 22:17 (494 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: It all makes perfect 'jointed' sense if you accept that God is in control, uses evolutionary processes to produce His desires, of which humans are the primary goal. He prefers a bush of life which provides energy for evolution of life to continue for very long periods. He evolved the universe and the current condition of the Earth. Do you accept that approach as reasonable?

dhw: But you have told us that God might not be in control of the dangerous universe and the nasty bacteria and various other “accidents”. So he’s in control but he’s not in control. Yes, if he exists, we agree that he uses evolutionary processes to produce his desires, but what ARE his desires, and how do they fit in with the history of life as we know it? One moment you say humans are his only purpose, the next they are his primary purpose, and sometimes it's just "a" purpose, but whichever it is, even you don’t know why he bothered to design all those pre-whales, let alone the actual whale. Not much of a link there, according to you. Yes, we agree that he would have created a system that led to a bush of life, and to life continuing for a long time, but that has nothing to do with the production of homo sapiens. It would still apply if humans had never walked the planet and if they ceased to walk the planet tomorrow. And yes, if he exists, he would have created the universe and the Earth and life itself and the mechanisms for evolution. But colliding galaxy clusters (no doubt more to come 2.4 billion years from now), bacterial diseases, dangerous asteroids, the all-important weaverbird’s nest, and all those pre-humans and different branches of humans just because he who is in control only wanted to produce homo sapiens? No, I don’t see that as “perfect jointed sense”.

Your view is the difference between belief and non-belief. I explain God and his motives from the facts I see.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Saturday, June 10, 2017, 12:02 (493 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: It all makes perfect 'jointed' sense if you accept that God is in control, uses evolutionary processes to produce His desires, of which humans are the primary goal. He prefers a bush of life which provides energy for evolution of life to continue for very long periods. He evolved the universe and the current condition of the Earth. Do you accept that approach as reasonable?

dhw: But you have told us that God might not be in control of the dangerous universe and the nasty bacteria and various other “accidents”. So he’s in control but he’s not in control. Yes, if he exists, we agree that he uses evolutionary processes to produce his desires, but what ARE his desires, and how do they fit in with the history of life as we know it? One moment you say humans are his only purpose, the next they are his primary purpose, and sometimes it's just "a" purpose, but whichever it is, even you don’t know why he bothered to design all those pre-whales, let alone the actual whale. Not much of a link there, according to you. Yes, we agree that he would have created a system that led to a bush of life, and to life continuing for a long time, but that has nothing to do with the production of homo sapiens. It would still apply if humans had never walked the planet and if they ceased to walk the planet tomorrow. And yes, if he exists, he would have created the universe and the Earth and life itself and the mechanisms for evolution. But colliding galaxy clusters (no doubt more to come 2.4 billion years from now), bacterial diseases, dangerous asteroids, the all-important weaverbird’s nest, and all those pre-humans and different branches of humans just because he who is in control only wanted to produce homo sapiens? No, I don’t see that as “perfect jointed sense”.

DAVID: Your view is the difference between belief and non-belief. I explain God and his motives from the facts I see.

The above has nothing to do with belief and non-belief. These discussions are a joint quest to find some kind of explanation for all the mysteries with which we are confronted. In emphasizing the complexities of living organisms, you do a magnificent job in putting the case for your God’s existence, but when it comes to guessing at his motives and methods, your arguments seem to me to be full of holes. These are not filled by claiming that you are a believer and I am an agnostic. I have even offered a theistic alternative which you agreed DID fit the facts as we see them!

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 10, 2017, 19:30 (493 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: It all makes perfect 'jointed' sense if you accept that God is in control, uses evolutionary processes to produce His desires, of which humans are the primary goal. He prefers a bush of life which provides energy for evolution of life to continue for very long periods. He evolved the universe and the current condition of the Earth. Do you accept that approach as reasonable?

dhw: But you have told us that God might not be in control of the dangerous universe and the nasty bacteria and various other “accidents”. So he’s in control but he’s not in control. Yes, if he exists, we agree that he uses evolutionary processes to produce his desires, but what ARE his desires, and how do they fit in with the history of life as we know it? One moment you say humans are his only purpose, the next they are his primary purpose, and sometimes it's just "a" purpose, but whichever it is, even you don’t know why he bothered to design all those pre-whales, let alone the actual whale. Not much of a link there, according to you. Yes, we agree that he would have created a system that led to a bush of life, and to life continuing for a long time, but that has nothing to do with the production of homo sapiens. It would still apply if humans had never walked the planet and if they ceased to walk the planet tomorrow. And yes, if he exists, he would have created the universe and the Earth and life itself and the mechanisms for evolution. But colliding galaxy clusters (no doubt more to come 2.4 billion years from now), bacterial diseases, dangerous asteroids, the all-important weaverbird’s nest, and all those pre-humans and different branches of humans just because he who is in control only wanted to produce homo sapiens? No, I don’t see that as “perfect jointed sense”.

DAVID: Your view is the difference between belief and non-belief. I explain God and his motives from the facts I see.

dhw: The above has nothing to do with belief and non-belief. These discussions are a joint quest to find some kind of explanation for all the mysteries with which we are confronted. In emphasizing the complexities of living organisms, you do a magnificent job in putting the case for your God’s existence, but when it comes to guessing at his motives and methods, your arguments seem to me to be full of holes. These are not filled by claiming that you are a believer and I am an agnostic. I have even offered a theistic alternative which you agreed DID fit the facts as we see them!

My explanations of His motives are methods are just guesses, based on my beliefs about his capabilities and his thoughts about us. We've been over this many times.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Sunday, June 11, 2017, 17:13 (492 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your view is the difference between belief and non-belief. I explain God and his motives from the facts I see.
dhw: The above has nothing to do with belief and non-belief. These discussions are a joint quest to find some kind of explanation for all the mysteries with which we are confronted. In emphasizing the complexities of living organisms, you do a magnificent job in putting the case for your God’s existence, but when it comes to guessing at his motives and methods, your arguments seem to me to be full of holes. These are not filled by claiming that you are a believer and I am an agnostic. I have even offered a theistic alternative which you agreed DID fit the facts as we see them!
DAVID: My explanations of His motives are methods are just guesses, based on my beliefs about his capabilities and his thoughts about us. We've been over this many times.

We have indeed. The existence, nature, motives and methods of a possible God, the workings of evolution, the mysteries of life and consciousness – they are all the raison d’être of this website. We examine all the theories, and we ask awkward questions to see if the theories will stand up to scrutiny. You have quite rightly questioned your own theory today in your “whale hearing” post, though ignoring my own question:

dhw: But what is surprising is your insistence that your God prepared the pre-whale for marine life before it entered the water. So how much of all this do you think was divinely dabbled, and how much was caused by a perhaps God-given internal drive for improvement, as the cell communities adapted to a “complete marine life cycle”?
DAVID: My answer is still 'why bother' since it involved so many complex adaptations. Why take the hard path when there are easier ones?

Precisely. And you could ask the same question about the knotty weaverbird’s nest, the complexities of the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle and migration, and indeed about the labyrinthine path to homo sapiens. It is a question that undermines the whole theory that your God created the universe in order to produce homo sapiens. And it opens up the path for alternatives, both theistic and atheistic. Your comment under “Plant extremophiles” and the extraordinary tale of the zombified beetles may point the way:

David’s comment: There seem to be few limits to where life cannot go.

And indeed to the ways in which organisms find ways to survive. Viewed from a theistic perspective, if we are trying to guess at God’s motives and methods, it’s quite difficult to imagine him preprogramming or dabbling these funguses and extremophiles. Why bother? And if his sole purpose was to produce homo sapiens, well, surely there must have been easier paths. Perhaps it’s less difficult to imagine, for instance, that this astonishing variety of life that comes and goes is the result of him designing a mechanism which enables organisms to do their own inventing, to design their own ways of surviving, and even improving their mode of living. If the show was an end in itself, we wouldn’t have to ask “why bother?” And if homo sapiens were not the only goal, we wouldn’t have to ask why he didn’t take the easier path.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 11, 2017, 18:26 (492 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: when it comes to guessing at his motives and methods, your arguments seem to me to be full of holes. These are not filled by claiming that you are a believer and I am an agnostic. I have even offered a theistic alternative which you agreed DID fit the facts as we see them!

Your arguments are mostly imaginative suggestions for what God might have done in conducting evolution. We have no evidence of an internal drive for improvement (see below), but we do see exceedingly complex life forms appearing and the changes are highly complex but not necessarily improvements as in the whale series. So I conclude that without concern for improvement there is a drive for complexity. You ask if God implanted that drive and let the organisms evolve in a free for all and I don't think He would give up that much control, and the other consideration is I firmly believe some of what is produced in the complexity of lifestyles is too complex to occur without God's help. Which gets back to pre-planning or dabbling.


dhw: But what is surprising is your insistence that your God prepared the pre-whale for marine life before it entered the water. So how much of all this do you think was divinely dabbled, and how much was caused by a perhaps God-given internal drive for improvement, as the cell communities adapted to a “complete marine life cycle”?

Answered above. Either dabbling or pre-planned, or both.

DAVID: My answer is still 'why bother' since it involved so many complex adaptations. Why take the hard path when there are easier ones?

dhw: Precisely. And you could ask the same question about the knotty weaverbird’s nest, the complexities of the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle and migration, and indeed about the labyrinthine path to homo sapiens. It is a question that undermines the whole theory that your God created the universe in order to produce homo sapiens.

It undermines nothing. We do see the labyrinthine path. It can be accepted as God's method of evolution.

dhw: And it opens up the path for alternatives, both theistic and atheistic. Your comment under “Plant extremophiles” and the extraordinary tale of the zombified beetles may point the way:

David’s comment: There seem to be few limits to where life cannot go.

dhw: And indeed to the ways in which organisms find ways to survive. Viewed from a theistic perspective, if we are trying to guess at God’s motives and methods, it’s quite difficult to imagine him preprogramming or dabbling these funguses and extremophiles. Why bother? And if his sole purpose was to produce homo sapiens, well, surely there must have been easier paths. Perhaps it’s less difficult to imagine, for instance, that this astonishing variety of life that comes and goes is the result of him designing a mechanism which enables organisms to do their own inventing, to design their own ways of surviving, and even improving their mode of living. If the show was an end in itself, we wouldn’t have to ask “why bother?” And if homo sapiens were not the only goal, we wouldn’t have to ask why he didn’t take the easier path.

Again, as many times before, you are asking human questions of God's motives, looking for human motives in God's thinking. He may well have none of your suppositions in his thought pattern. I don't know, as a human, why He bothered with whales, but I must accept that He did. I don't see any way the land animals invented themselves into whales. It involves massively complex somatic and physiological alterations.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Monday, June 12, 2017, 12:29 (491 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your arguments are mostly imaginative suggestions for what God might have done in conducting evolution.
Of course. So are yours!

DAVID: […] So I conclude that without concern for improvement there is a drive for complexity.
I disagree, but I’m happy to give them as alternatives, since the vital point is that there is an internal onward drive which explains why life did not stop with bacteria.

DAVID: You ask if God implanted that drive and let the organisms evolve in a free for all and I don't think He would give up that much control…
An “imaginative suggestion” for what God might or might not have thought/done in conducting evolution.

DAVID: …and the other consideration is I firmly believe some of what is produced in the complexity of lifestyles is too complex to occur without God's help. Which gets back to pre-planning or dabbling.

I can’t say I firmly believe in what is only a hypothesis. But your firm belief that organisms are incapable of working out their own lifestyle is purely subjective, and your firm belief that God “helps” them is simply an “imaginative suggestion”.

DAVID: My answer is still 'why bother' since it involved so many complex adaptations. Why take the hard path when there are easier ones?
dhw: Precisely. And you could ask the same question about the knotty weaverbird’s nest, the complexities of the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle and migration, and indeed about the labyrinthine path to homo sapiens. It is a question that undermines the whole theory that your God created the universe in order to produce homo sapiens.
DAVID: It undermines nothing. We do see the labyrinthine path. It can be accepted as God's method of evolution.

Anything can be “accepted” by anyone. The question is whether it makes sense or not. Even you can’t see why he takes the hard path, but you refuse to “accept” that there could be a different version of “what God might have done in conducting evolution”.

DAVID: Again, as many times before, you are asking human questions of God's motives, looking for human motives in God's thinking. He may well have none of your suppositions in his thought pattern. I don't know, as a human, why He bothered with whales, but I must accept that He did. I don't see any way the land animals invented themselves into whales. It involves massively complex somatic and physiological alterations.

Of course I ask “human questions” like yours (“Why bother?” “Why take the hard path?”) and look for motives which I can understand. And that involves trying to read his mind, just as you do with all your guesses. Even if you “must” accept that he bothered with whales, you don’t have to accept that he did so for the sake of human beings. Why not for the sheer delight in creating beautiful things? Just an “imaginative suggestion”, of course, but doesn’t it make more sense than not knowing why he bothered to create whales and yet at the same time claiming to know why he bothered to create the universe?

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Monday, June 12, 2017, 16:44 (491 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: […] So I conclude that without concern for improvement there is a drive for complexity.

dhw: I disagree, but I’m happy to give them as alternatives, since the vital point is that there is an internal onward drive which explains why life did not stop with bacteria.

I can accept 'onward drive', but I feel it is directed by God.


DAVID: …and the other consideration is I firmly believe some of what is produced in the complexity of lifestyles is too complex to occur without God's help. Which gets back to pre-planning or dabbling.

dhw: I can’t say I firmly believe in what is only a hypothesis. But your firm belief that organisms are incapable of working out their own lifestyle is purely subjective, and your firm belief that God “helps” them is simply an “imaginative suggestion”.

Not subjective. I know how cells work in biology. They are automatic.

DAVID: It undermines nothing. We do see the labyrinthine path. It can be accepted as God's method of evolution.

dhw: Anything can be “accepted” by anyone. The question is whether it makes sense or not. Even you can’t see why he takes the hard path, but you refuse to “accept” that there could be a different version of “what God might have done in conducting evolution”.

If it is God's method it does not have to make sense. The whales present evidence that the simplest path is not always used, for reasons not clear to me, or you.


DAVID: Again, as many times before, you are asking human questions of God's motives, looking for human motives in God's thinking. He may well have none of your suppositions in his thought pattern. I don't know, as a human, why He bothered with whales, but I must accept that He did. I don't see any way the land animals invented themselves into whales. It involves massively complex somatic and physiological alterations.

dhw: Of course I ask “human questions” like yours (“Why bother?” “Why take the hard path?”) and look for motives which I can understand. And that involves trying to read his mind, just as you do with all your guesses. Even if you “must” accept that he bothered with whales, you don’t have to accept that he did so for the sake of human beings. Why not for the sheer delight in creating beautiful things? Just an “imaginative suggestion”, of course, but doesn’t it make more sense than not knowing why he bothered to create whales and yet at the same time claiming to know why he bothered to create the universe?

The evidence, again, is humans with their brains and consciousness are the most complex production of evolution, therefore a pinnacle, and a desired result. He created the universe to produce humans, without question.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 11:11 (490 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I can’t say I firmly believe in what is only a hypothesis. But your firm belief that organisms are incapable of working out their own lifestyle is purely subjective, and your firm belief that God “helps” them is simply an “imaginative suggestion”.
DAVID: Not subjective. I know how cells work in biology. They are automatic.

Shapiro, Margulis, McClintock, Buehler also know/knew how cells work in biology, and they believe in cellular intelligence. And I can’t help wondering how many of your fellow scientists would agree with you that only God could possibly have designed the weaverbird’s nest, or taught the monarch butterfly how to navigate, or instructed the wasp to lay its eggs on the spider’s back.

DAVID: It undermines nothing. We do see the labyrinthine path. It can be accepted as God's method of evolution.
dhw: Anything can be “accepted” by anyone. The question is whether it makes sense or not. Even you can’t see why he takes the hard path, but you refuse to “accept” that there could be a different version of “what God might have done in conducting evolution”.
DAVID: If it is God's method it does not have to make sense. The whales present evidence that the simplest path is not always used, for reasons not clear to me, or you.

And so we are back to your acknowledgement that your version of God’s method does not make sense to you, and yet you are not prepared to consider any theistic alternative that does make sense. Dr David, you are suffering from a severe form of dogmatism.

DAVID: The evidence, again, is humans with their brains and consciousness are the most complex production of evolution, therefore a pinnacle, and a desired result. He created the universe to produce humans, without question.

They can be a desired result without being the one and only reason for God creating the universe. The whales can also be a desired result. The vast variety of life forms can be a desired result. And if humans are the pinnacle, that could be the result of your God having had a new idea after a few thousand million years, or experimenting because he didn’t know how to produce a consciousness like his own, or devising an autonomous inventive mechanism which gave rise to all the different species, lifestyles etc. and eventually (and perhaps inevitably) led to humans via a whole series of improvements, as exemplified by the evolution of hominins to homo sapiens. All of these theistic alternatives make perfect sense and fit in with the history of life as we know it. None of them demand faith in a dogma which even you admit does not make sense.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 17:54 (490 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Shapiro, Margulis, McClintock, Buehler also know/knew how cells work in biology, and they believe in cellular intelligence. And I can’t help wondering how many of your fellow scientists would agree with you that only God could possibly have designed the weaverbird’s nest, or taught the monarch butterfly how to navigate, or instructed the wasp to lay its eggs on the spider’s back.

And all my ID scientists agree with me.

DAVID: If it is God's method it does not have to make sense. The whales present evidence that the simplest path is not always used, for reasons not clear to me, or you.

dhw: And so we are back to your acknowledgement that your version of God’s method does not make sense to you, and yet you are not prepared to consider any theistic alternative that does make sense. Dr David, you are suffering from a severe form of dogmatism.

Just as you dogmatically deny God exists, although as a condensation you admit He might actually exist. Your fence is shaky!


DAVID: The evidence, again, is humans with their brains and consciousness are the most complex production of evolution, therefore a pinnacle, and a desired result. He created the universe to produce humans, without question.

dhw: They can be a desired result without being the one and only reason for God creating the universe. The whales can also be a desired result. The vast variety of life forms can be a desired result. And if humans are the pinnacle, that could be the result of your God having had a new idea after a few thousand million years, or experimenting because he didn’t know how to produce a consciousness like his own, or devising an autonomous inventive mechanism which gave rise to all the different species, lifestyles etc. and eventually (and perhaps inevitably) led to humans via a whole series of improvements, as exemplified by the evolution of hominins to homo sapiens. All of these theistic alternatives make perfect sense and fit in with the history of life as we know it. None of them demand faith in a dogma which even you admit does not make sense.

Just the opposite. It is apparent that God uses evolutionary processes at all levels: universe, Earth, life. If we accept it as his preferred approach, it all makes sense. He may not be limited as you try to imply. It is obvious you dogmatically refuse to accept the idea that God knows exactly what He is doing.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 23:31 (490 days ago) @ David Turell

An E. coli built in mechanism just discovered:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170613145146.htm

"In the periplasm -- the space between the inner and outer membranes of a bacteria's cell wall -- defensive proteins that detect a poison assemble like barrel staves to form a tunnel between pumps in the cell's inner and outer membranes to eject the intruders.

"By tagging a cell's proteins with fluorescent beacons, Cornell researchers have found out how E. coli bacteria defend themselves against antibiotics and other poisons. Probably not good news for the bacteria.

"When undesirable molecules show up, the bacterial cell opens a tunnel though its cell wall and "effluxes," or pumps out, the intruders.

"'Dynamic assembly of these tunnels has long been hypothesized," said Peng Chen, professor of chemistry and chemical biology. "Now we see them."

***

"Under a powerful microscope, they exposed a bacterial cell to an environment containing copper atoms and periodically zapped the cell with an infrared laser to induce fluorescence. Following the blinking lights, they had a "movie" showing where the tagged protein traveled in the cell. They further genetically engineered the various proteins to turn their metal-binding capability on and off, and observed the effects.

***

"The key protein, known as CusB, resides in the periplasm, the space between the inner and outer membranes that make up the bacteria's cell wall. When CusB binds to an intruder -- in this experiment, a copper atom -- that has passed through the porous outer membrane, it changes its shape so that it will attach itself between two related proteins in the inner and outer membranes to form a complex known as CusCBA that acts as a tunnel through the cell wall. The inner protein has a mechanism to grab the intruder and push it through.

"The tunnel locks the inner and outer membranes together, making the periplasm less flexible and interfering with its normal functions. The ability to assemble the tunnel only when needed, rather than having it permanently in place, gives the cell an advantage, the researchers point out."

Comment: this defensive mechanism must have been present in the original bacteria as a molecular machine to dump dangerous garbage. There are other dangerous substances beside copper on Earth to be defended against. It is difficult to imagine this evolved by chance evolution, finding just the right organic molecule for the built in job. The bacteria doesn't use intelligence to perform this task. It simply senses the copper danger and reacts.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 19:15 (489 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Shapiro, Margulis, McClintock, Buehler also know/knew how cells work in biology, and they believe in cellular intelligence. And I can’t help wondering how many of your fellow scientists would agree with you that only God could possibly have designed the weaverbird’s nest, or taught the monarch butterfly how to navigate, or instructed the wasp to lay its eggs on the spider’s back.
DAVID: And all my ID scientists agree with me.

On what? That God preprogrammed or dabbled to make sure the wasp laid its eggs on the spider’s back, so that he could keep life going until he was able to produce humans? If you mean cellular intelligence, the fact that scientists disagree confirms my point that your and their conclusion can only be subjective.

DAVID: If it is God's method it does not have to make sense. The whales present evidence that the simplest path is not always used, for reasons not clear to me, or you.
dhw: And so we are back to your acknowledgement that your version of God’s method does not make sense to you, and yet you are not prepared to consider any theistic alternative that does make sense. Dr David, you are suffering from a severe form of dogmatism.
DAVID: Just as you dogmatically deny God exists, although as a condensation you admit He might actually exist. Your fence is shaky!

I have never denied , let alone dogmatically, that God exists! The whole point of agnosticism is the acknowledgement that one does not know what to believe, and so one remains open-minded. How can that be called dogmatic?

DAVID: The evidence, again, is humans with their brains and consciousness are the most complex production of evolution, therefore a pinnacle, and a desired result. He created the universe to produce humans, without question.
dhw: […] All of these theistic alternatives make perfect sense and fit in with the history of life as we know it. None of them demand faith in a dogma which even you admit does not make sense.
DAVID: Just the opposite. It is apparent that God uses evolutionary processes at all levels: universe, Earth, life. If we accept it as his preferred approach, it all makes sense

If God exists, of course he used evolutionary processes. But you have admitted that your interpretation of HOW he used them doesn’t make sense even to you.

DAVID: He may not be limited as you try to imply. It is obvious you dogmatically refuse to accept the idea that God knows exactly what He is doing.

Totally wrong. I offered three alternative hypotheses (no dogmatic beliefs), the first two of which allow for limitations, though he would still know exactly what he was doing: namely, experimenting or coming up with new ideas. Both of these may question how much control he has in pursuing his purposes, but even you vacillate over that problem from one day to the next. My third hypothesis (the autonomous IM) also has him knowing exactly what he is doing: namely, deliberately setting in motion a free-for-all, though always with the option of dabbling – just as you believe he knew exactly what he was doing when he deliberately gave humans free will. What I dogmatically refuse to accept is that only your interpretation of God’s motives and methods is correct, even though it makes no sense, while no other hypothesis should even be considered.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 15, 2017, 01:34 (489 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: And all my ID scientists agree with me.

dhw: On what?

That a designing mind is absolutely required to create life and subsequent evolution.


DAVID: He may not be limited as you try to imply. It is obvious you dogmatically refuse to accept the idea that God knows exactly what He is doing.

dhw: Totally wrong. I offered three alternative hypotheses (no dogmatic beliefs), the first two of which allow for limitations, though he would still know exactly what he was doing: namely, experimenting or coming up with new ideas. Both of these may question how much control he has in pursuing his purposes, but even you vacillate over that problem from one day to the next. My third hypothesis (the autonomous IM) also has him knowing exactly what he is doing: namely, deliberately setting in motion a free-for-all, though always with the option of dabbling – just as you believe he knew exactly what he was doing when he deliberately gave humans free will. What I dogmatically refuse to accept is that only your interpretation of God’s motives and methods is correct, even though it makes no sense, while no other hypothesis should even be considered.

I have realized that we are off on a tangent. Of course I can't prove exactly why God does what He does, and some of it makes no sense to me. But you are debating with me God's possible motives, etc., when you don't accept the reality of God existing and I do. I've realized in thinking back that whenever I've raised the issue of chance vs. design as the only two possibilities for life and evolution you've slipped us into these discussions about God's motives and/or methods. You deny chance. Only design is left and only a planning mind can design. Can you offer a third alternative? I can't, which is why I believe.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Thursday, June 15, 2017, 12:50 (488 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: And all my ID scientists agree with me.
dhw: On what? That God preprogrammed or dabbled to make sure the wasp laid its eggs on the spider’s back, so that he could keep life going until he was able to produce humans? If you mean cellular intelligence, the fact that scientists disagree confirms my point that your and their conclusion can only be subjective.
DAVID: That a designing mind is absolutely required to create life and subsequent evolution.

That was not what I asked. Your answer suggests that you don’t even have support from your ID scientists on the subjects I asked about.

DAVID: He may not be limited as you try to imply. It is obvious you dogmatically refuse to accept the idea that God knows exactly what He is doing.
dhw: Totally wrong. I offered three alternative hypotheses (no dogmatic beliefs), the first two of which allow for limitations, though he would still know exactly what he was doing: namely, experimenting or coming up with new ideas. Both of these may question how much control he has in pursuing his purposes, but even you vacillate over that problem from one day to the next. My third hypothesis (the autonomous IM) also has him knowing exactly what he is doing: namely, deliberately setting in motion a free-for-all, though always with the option of dabbling – just as you believe he knew exactly what he was doing when he deliberately gave humans free will. What I dogmatically refuse to accept is that only your interpretation of God’s motives and methods is correct, even though it makes no sense, while no other hypothesis should even be considered.

DAVID: I have realized that we are off on a tangent. Of course I can't prove exactly why God does what He does, and some of it makes no sense to me. But you are debating with me God's possible motives, etc., when you don't accept the reality of God existing and I do. I've realized in thinking back that whenever I've raised the issue of chance vs. design as the only two possibilities for life and evolution you've slipped us into these discussions about God's motives and/or methods. You deny chance. Only design is left and only a planning mind can design. Can you offer a third alternative? I can't, which is why I believe.

No, it is not a tangent. The existence of God is a different subject from his possible methods and motives if he does exist, and when I question your interpretation of these, you try to use my agnosticism as a means of diverting attention away from the inconsistencies in your arguments. That is precisely what you are doing here. In all our discussions on how evolution works, I allow for the existence of God. I do not believe for one second that every theistic evolutionist agrees with you that he designed the universe and all innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders only in order to keep life going until he could produce humans. I offer alternative theistic interpretations which are in line with various -isms and -ologies, such as deism and process theology.

As for chance versus design, not only have we agreed a hundred times that this is one of the most powerful arguments for the existence of God (the other being various so-called psychic experiences), but we have also a hundred times discussed a third choice, which is some form of panpsychism: the evolution of countless intelligences, as opposed to the eternal existence of one intelligence. I’m sorry, but that subject does not in any way alter the fact that your exclusively anthropocentric view of God’s evolutionary motives and methods doesn’t make sense, even to you.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 15, 2017, 19:55 (488 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: And all my ID scientists agree with me.
dhw: On what? That God preprogrammed or dabbled to make sure the wasp laid its eggs on the spider’s back, so that he could keep life going until he was able to produce humans? If you mean cellular intelligence, the fact that scientists disagree confirms my point that your and their conclusion can only be subjective.
DAVID: That a designing mind is absolutely required to create life and subsequent evolution.

dhw: That was not what I asked. Your answer suggests that you don’t even have support from your ID scientists on the subjects I asked about.

What they discuss is what I said, not the specifics you offered.


DAVID: I have realized that we are off on a tangent. Of course I can't prove exactly why God does what He does, and some of it makes no sense to me. But you are debating with me God's possible motives, etc., when you don't accept the reality of God existing and I do. I've realized in thinking back that whenever I've raised the issue of chance vs. design as the only two possibilities for life and evolution you've slipped us into these discussions about God's motives and/or methods. You deny chance. Only design is left and only a planning mind can design. Can you offer a third alternative? I can't, which is why I believe.

dhw: No, it is not a tangent. The existence of God is a different subject from his possible methods and motives if he does exist, and when I question your interpretation of these, you try to use my agnosticism as a means of diverting attention away from the inconsistencies in your arguments. That is precisely what you are doing here. In all our discussions on how evolution works, I allow for the existence of God. I do not believe for one second that every theistic evolutionist agrees with you that he designed the universe and all innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders only in order to keep life going until he could produce humans. I offer alternative theistic interpretations which are in line with various -isms and -ologies, such as deism and process theology.

dhw: As for chance versus design, not only have we agreed a hundred times that this is one of the most powerful arguments for the existence of God (the other being various so-called psychic experiences), but we have also a hundred times discussed a third choice, which is some form of panpsychism: the evolution of countless intelligences, as opposed to the eternal existence of one intelligence. I’m sorry, but that subject does not in any way alter the fact that your exclusively anthropocentric view of God’s evolutionary motives and methods doesn’t make sense, even to you.

Panpsychism may suggest that the universe or objects in it are conscious, but that does not tell us that the level of consciousness is capable of advancing evolution in the multiple complex biologic systems we see. And once again I view the hypothesis of panpsychism is simply a version of God's mind gone lite.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Friday, June 16, 2017, 12:45 (487 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: That a designing mind is absolutely required to create life and subsequent evolution.
dhw: That was not what I asked. Your answer suggests that you don’t even have support from your ID scientists on the subjects I asked about.
DAVID: What they discuss is what I said, not the specifics you offered.

We were discussing the specific issue of cellular intelligence, to which I added your anthropocentric theory of evolution, and you said your ID scientists agreed with you. It would seem from your answer that they don’t.

dhw: As for chance versus design, not only have we agreed a hundred times that this is one of the most powerful arguments for the existence of God (the other being various so-called psychic experiences), but we have also a hundred times discussed a third choice, which is some form of panpsychism: the evolution of countless intelligences, as opposed to the eternal existence of one intelligence. I’m sorry, but that subject does not in any way alter the fact that your exclusively anthropocentric view of God’s evolutionary motives and methods doesn’t make sense, even to you.

DAVID: Panpsychism may suggest that the universe or objects in it are conscious, but that does not tell us that the level of consciousness is capable of advancing evolution in the multiple complex biologic systems we see. And once again I view the hypothesis of panpsychism is simply a version of God's mind gone lite.

You had accused me of going off at a tangent, and I pointed out that the tangent was yours, trying to divert attention from the flaws in your anthropocentric interpretation of God’s motives and methods by returning to the chance versus design debate. I can appreciate that you are far more comfortable dealing with that subject, but I have already agreed with you a hundred times that the panpsychist option has as many flaws as those of atheist chance and of your monotheism (we never seem to bother about polytheism, but the same applies). No doubt we shall in due course return to the flaws in your anthropocentric reading of your God’s mind. (See, for instance, the latest post about whales.)

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Friday, June 16, 2017, 20:32 (487 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: That a designing mind is absolutely required to create life and subsequent evolution.
dhw: That was not what I asked. Your answer suggests that you don’t even have support from your ID scientists on the subjects I asked about.
DAVID: What they discuss is what I said, not the specifics you offered.

dhw: We were discussing the specific issue of cellular intelligence, to which I added your anthropocentric theory of evolution, and you said your ID scientists agreed with you. It would seem from your answer that they don’t.

They do agree with me. cellular function is designed by God and is automatic.

dhw: No doubt we shall in due course return to the flaws in your anthropocentric reading of your God’s mind. (See, for instance, the latest post about whales.)

It is interesting that you do not accept belief in God but you know his mind better than I do, when both of us are just guessing from existing evidence.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by dhw, Saturday, June 17, 2017, 12:28 (486 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We were discussing the specific issue of cellular intelligence, to which I added your anthropocentric theory of evolution, and you said your ID scientists agreed with you. It would seem from your answer that they don’t.

DAVID: They do agree with me. cellular function is designed by God and is automatic.

At least this is a more direct answer. The hypothesis that cellular function is designed by God is not the issue, since my hypothesis of cellular intelligence also allows for God being its designer. Even if all the ID scientists do indeed support your claim that there is no such thing as cellular intelligence, that is still a subjective conclusion, since other scientists disagree. I notice you have not mentioned any agreement with your anthropocentric theory of evolution, whereby whales are inexplicably prepared for entry into the water for the sake of producing humans.

dhw: No doubt we shall in due course return to the flaws in your anthropocentric reading of your God’s mind. (See, for instance, the latest post about whales.)
DAVID: It is interesting that you do not accept belief in God but you know his mind better than I do, when both of us are just guessing from existing evidence.

Of course I don’t know his mind better than you do. I have offered three alternative readings of his mind, two of which are exclusively theistic and actually focus on humans as a special purpose. The third makes full allowance for the existence of a god and also for humans as a special purpose. However, you reject them all and insist that your own particular anthropocentric guess is the only one worth considering, although it doesn’t make sense even to you.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 17, 2017, 19:33 (486 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: We were discussing the specific issue of cellular intelligence, to which I added your anthropocentric theory of evolution, and you said your ID scientists agreed with you. It would seem from your answer that they don’t.

DAVID: They do agree with me. cellular function is designed by God and is automatic.

dhw: At least this is a more direct answer. The hypothesis that cellular function is designed by God is not the issue, since my hypothesis of cellular intelligence also allows for God being its designer. Even if all the ID scientists do indeed support your claim that there is no such thing as cellular intelligence, that is still a subjective conclusion, since other scientists disagree. I notice you have not mentioned any agreement with your anthropocentric theory of evolution, whereby whales are inexplicably prepared for entry into the water for the sake of producing humans.

You ask for ID specifics about evolution. They believe a designer created life. They totally disagree with Darwin and some of them do not believe in evolution. They present valid science to support their conjectures. Whales are the result of my analysis.

DAVID: It is interesting that you do not accept belief in God but you know his mind better than I do, when both of us are just guessing from existing evidence.

dhw: Of course I don’t know his mind better than you do. I have offered three alternative readings of his mind, two of which are exclusively theistic and actually focus on humans as a special purpose. The third makes full allowance for the existence of a god and also for humans as a special purpose. However, you reject them all and insist that your own particular anthropocentric guess is the only one worth considering, although it doesn’t make sense even to you.

Our disagreement is anthropocentrism. We are conscious with consciousness. God is consciousness. Since we share that with Him, we are his purpose. That is my logical reasoning, which makes perfect sense to me. We disagree about why the bush of life looks like it does. You want internal drives for evolutionary change. I prefer God as an external drive

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Monday, October 09, 2017, 17:27 (372 days ago) @ David Turell

New research altering bacterial DNA can make the bugs do what the scientist wants:

https://phys.org/news/2017-10-bacteria-synthetic-gene-circuit-self-assemble.html
Researchers at Duke University have turned bacteria into the builders of useful devices by programming them with a synthetic gene circuit.

"As a bacterial colony grows into the shape of a hemisphere, the gene circuit triggers the production of a type of protein to distribute within the colony that can recruit inorganic materials. When supplied with gold nanoparticles by researchers, the system forms a golden shell around the bacterial colony, the size and shape of which can be controlled by altering the growth environment.

"The result is a device that can be used as a pressure sensor, proving that the process can create working devices.

"While other experiments have successfully grown materials using bacterial processes, they have relied entirely on externally controlling where the bacteria grow and have been limited to two dimensions. In the new study, researchers at Duke demonstrate the production of a composite structure by programming the cells themselves and controlling their access to nutrients, but still leaving the bacteria free to grow in three dimensions.

***

"The genetic circuit is like a biological package of instructions that researchers embed into a bacterium's DNA. The directions first tell the bacteria to produce a protein called T7 RNA polymerase (T7RNAP), which then activates its own expression in a positive feedback loop. It also produces a small molecule called AHL that can diffuse into the environment like a messenger.

"As the cells multiply and grow outward, the concentration of the small messenger molecule hits a critical concentration threshold, triggering the production of two more proteins called T7 lysozyme and curli. The former inhibits the production of T7RNAP while the latter acts as sort of biological Velcro that can latch onto inorganic compounds.

"The dynamic interaction of these feedback loops causes the bacterial colony to grow in a dome-shaped pattern until it runs out of food. It also causes the bacteria on the outside of the dome to produce the biological Velcro, which grabs onto gold nanoparticles supplied by the researchers, forming a shell about the size of your average freckle.

"The researchers were able to alter the size and shape of the dome by controlling the properties of the porous membrane it grows on. For example, changing the size of the pores or how much the membrane repels water affects how many nutrients are passed to the cells, altering their growth pattern.

"'We're demonstrating one way of fabricating a 3-D structure based entirely on the principal of self-organization," said Stefan Zauscher, the Sternberg Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Duke. "That 3-D structure is then used as a scaffold to generate a device with well-defined physical properties. This approach is inspired by nature, and because nature doesn't do this on its own, we've manipulated nature to do it for us."

Comment: These scientists act like God might. If the instructions are put into bacterial DNA the bacteria act automatically to respond to them. Bacteria are automatic responders obviously. Note I have subverted the point of the article to support my theories, just as I have a perfect right to use Shapiro in my interpretations.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 14:13 (371 days ago) @ David Turell

I am telescoping two threads on the subject of cellular intelligence. The first exchange was under "killer penguins":

dhw: The very fact that there is no consensus among the experts should make it clear to you that neither hypothesis is “beyond possibility”.
DAVID: Of course not.
dhw: Thank you. This is an important agreement, since it is key to the whole debate on how evolution has happened.
DAVID: Really?

Have you “really” not understood the three theistic evolutionary hypotheses on offer? Let me remind you yet again:
1) God created a mechanism of random mutations. (Rejected by both of us.)
2) God controlled the whole of evolution by a 3.8-billion-year-old programme for every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder, or by personal intervention which we have called dabbling.
3) God allowed evolution to run its own course by creating an autonomous inventive mechanism which I have called cellular intelligence.
Your agreement that cellular intelligence is NOT “beyond possibility” is key to hypothesis 3). That does not mean hypothesis 3) is now proven. It means that hypothesis 3) is possible.

Xxxx

DAVID's comment: These scientists act like God might. If the instructions are put into bacterial DNA the bacteria act automatically to respond to them. Bacteria are automatic responders obviously. Note I have subverted the point of the article to support my theories, just as I have a perfect right to use Shapiro in my interpretations.

If you insert certain chemicals into the human body, you can completely change the behaviour of the person concerned. Hypnosis is said to have the same effect. Humans “are automatic responders obviously”. No? Then why do you draw different conclusions from the same process?

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 14:56 (371 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: The very fact that there is no consensus among the experts should make it clear to you that neither hypothesis is “beyond possibility”.
DAVID: Of course not.
dhw: Thank you. This is an important agreement, since it is key to the whole debate on how evolution has happened.
DAVID: Really?

dhw: Have you “really” not understood the three theistic evolutionary hypotheses on offer? Let me remind you yet again:
1) God created a mechanism of random mutations. (Rejected by both of us.)
2) God controlled the whole of evolution by a 3.8-billion-year-old programme for every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder, or by personal intervention which we have called dabbling.
3) God allowed evolution to run its own course by creating an autonomous inventive mechanism which I have called cellular intelligence.
Your agreement that cellular intelligence is NOT “beyond possibility” is key to hypothesis 3). That does not mean hypothesis 3) is now proven. It means that hypothesis 3) is possible.

I believe I said that since God is universal consciousness His consciousness could be extended into the cellular level. I still believe cellular responses are automatic.


Xxxx

DAVID's comment: These scientists act like God might. If the instructions are put into bacterial DNA the bacteria act automatically to respond to them. Bacteria are automatic responders obviously. Note I have subverted the point of the article to support my theories, just as I have a perfect right to use Shapiro in my interpretations.

dhw: If you insert certain chemicals into the human body, you can completely change the behaviour of the person concerned. Hypnosis is said to have the same effect. Humans “are automatic responders obviously”. No? Then why do you draw different conclusions from the same process?

Anesthetics put one to sleep temporarily. Psychedelics cause experiences which are transient. The bacteria are totally changed. Your statement is not correct.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 13:48 (370 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Your agreement that cellular intelligence is NOT “beyond possibility” is key to hypothesis 3). That does not mean hypothesis 3) is now proven. It means that hypothesis 3) is possible.

DAVID: I believe I said that since God is universal consciousness His consciousness could be extended into the cellular level. I still believe cellular responses are automatic.

The exchange came about when I listed scientists who believe in cellular intelligence, and so you listed some scientists who don’t. You agreed that the fact that there is no consensus must mean that neither hypothesis is “beyond possibility”, then you questioned why your agreement was key to the whole debate on how evolution happened. I know you don’t accept (3) (the autonomous inventive mechanism), but if cellular intelligence is possible, then so is (3). That is why your agreement is key to the whole debate.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 15:06 (370 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: Your agreement that cellular intelligence is NOT “beyond possibility” is key to hypothesis 3). That does not mean hypothesis 3) is now proven. It means that hypothesis 3) is possible.

DAVID: I believe I said that since God is universal consciousness His consciousness could be extended into the cellular level. I still believe cellular responses are automatic.

dhw: The exchange came about when I listed scientists who believe in cellular intelligence, and so you listed some scientists who don’t. You agreed that the fact that there is no consensus must mean that neither hypothesis is “beyond possibility”, then you questioned why your agreement was key to the whole debate on how evolution happened. I know you don’t accept (3) (the autonomous inventive mechanism), but if cellular intelligence is possible, then so is (3). That is why your agreement is key to the whole debate.

Thee article I presented showed that bacterial responses are dependent on DNA and when artificially changed the bacteria changed. All automatic. When I say 'not beyond possibility' I'm admitting I accept the fact that I could be wrong, but I think not. Shapiro's finding that bacteria can edit their own DNA, in my view, is an automatic mechanism given to bacteria by God.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Thursday, October 12, 2017, 14:04 (369 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Your agreement that cellular intelligence is NOT “beyond possibility” is key to hypothesis 3). That does not mean hypothesis 3) is now proven. It means that hypothesis 3) is possible.

DAVID: I believe I said that since God is universal consciousness His consciousness could be extended into the cellular level. I still believe cellular responses are automatic.

dhw: The exchange came about when I listed scientists who believe in cellular intelligence, and so you listed some scientists who don’t. You agreed that the fact that there is no consensus must mean that neither hypothesis is “beyond possibility”, then you questioned why your agreement was key to the whole debate on how evolution happened. I know you don’t accept (3) (the autonomous inventive mechanism), but if cellular intelligence is possible, then so is (3). That is why your agreement is key to the whole debate.

DAVID: The article I presented showed that bacterial responses are dependent on DNA and when artificially changed the bacteria changed. All automatic.

If scientists were to “artificially” inject a cocktail of poisons into your system, bash your brains out with a sledgehammer, or expose you to a few nasty viruses from their laboratory, I suggest there might well be automatic changes to your behaviour. You would no doubt say that human autonomy of thought cannot be judged by what happens when the body is subjected to artificial, body-changing influences. And I say equal rights for bacteria.

DAVID: When I say 'not beyond possibility' I'm admitting I accept the fact that I could be wrong, but I think not. Shapiro's finding that bacteria can edit their own DNA, in my view, is an automatic mechanism given to bacteria by God.

I know you think you’re right. I am only asking you to admit that you could be wrong. I know you disagree with Shapiro. And Shapiro disagrees with you. There is no consensus. Until there is, my hypothesis is not beyond possibility.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 12, 2017, 14:43 (369 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: The article I presented showed that bacterial responses are dependent on DNA and when artificially changed the bacteria changed. All automatic.

dhw: If scientists were to “artificially” inject a cocktail of poisons into your system, bash your brains out with a sledgehammer, or expose you to a few nasty viruses from their laboratory, I suggest there might well be automatic changes to your behaviour. You would no doubt say that human autonomy of thought cannot be judged by what happens when the body is subjected to artificial, body-changing influences. And I say equal rights for bacteria.

Totally misses the point. The bacteria are responding to DNA alterations of living instructions. My battered body still has an intact DNA. Comparing injury to changing instructions. Apples and oranges.


DAVID: When I say 'not beyond possibility' I'm admitting I accept the fact that I could be wrong, but I think not. Shapiro's finding that bacteria can edit their own DNA, in my view, is an automatic mechanism given to bacteria by God.

dhw: I know you think you’re right. I am only asking you to admit that you could be wrong. I know you disagree with Shapiro. And Shapiro disagrees with you. There is no consensus. Until there is, my hypothesis is not beyond possibility.

I don't know if Shapiro really disagrees with me. He says bacteria can edit their DNA. That could be an automatic God-given mechanism. Shapiro was president of his Jewish Temple.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Friday, October 13, 2017, 11:04 (368 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The article I presented showed that bacterial responses are dependent on DNA and when artificially changed the bacteria changed. All automatic.
dhw: If scientists were to “artificially” inject a cocktail of poisons into your system, bash your brains out with a sledgehammer, or expose you to a few nasty viruses from their laboratory, I suggest there might well be automatic changes to your behaviour. You would no doubt say that human autonomy of thought cannot be judged by what happens when the body is subjected to artificial, body-changing influences. And I say equal rights for bacteria.
DAVID: Totally misses the point. The bacteria are responding to DNA alterations of living instructions. My battered body still has an intact DNA. Comparing injury to changing instructions. Apples and oranges.

So are you telling me that if scientists were given a totally free hand to mess about with human DNA (as they can with bacteria) in whatever part of the body they chose, they would not be able to change the person concerned?

DAVID: When I say 'not beyond possibility' I'm admitting I accept the fact that I could be wrong, but I think not. Shapiro's finding that bacteria can edit their own DNA, in my view, is an automatic mechanism given to bacteria by God.
dhw: I know you think you’re right. I am only asking you to admit that you could be wrong. I know you disagree with Shapiro. And Shapiro disagrees with you. There is no consensus. Until there is, my hypothesis is not beyond possibility.
DAVID: I don't know if Shapiro really disagrees with me. He says bacteria can edit their DNA. That could be an automatic God-given mechanism. Shapiro was president of his Jewish Temple.

How often do I have to quote him? And you can add Jeffrey Stock. And belief in bacterial intelligence does not make you an atheist!

The secret life of bacteria - small, smart and thoughtful ...
www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/the-secret-life...


Natasha Mitchell: I mean many would argue that even a basic nervous system is a prerequisite for cognition, and it's been a controversial suggestion, hasn't it, that bacteria are somehow cognitive. Why the controversy?
James Shapiro: Large organisms chauvinism, so we like to think that only we can do things in a cognitive way. […]
Natasha Mitchell: Microbiologist Professor Jeffry Stock is from Princeton University.
Jeffry Stock: They behave intelligently with respect to their environment and change themselves in response to environmental stimuli. What else is intelligence?

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Friday, October 13, 2017, 18:57 (368 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Totally misses the point. The bacteria are responding to DNA alterations of living instructions. My battered body still has an intact DNA. Comparing injury to changing instructions. Apples and oranges.

dhw: So are you telling me that if scientists were given a totally free hand to mess about with human DNA (as they can with bacteria) in whatever part of the body they chose, they would not be able to change the person concerned?

Messing with DNA was my point, NOW its yours. A fully formed human will not be changed, unless your scientist altered the DNA of neurons to change human behaviour. Way off the original point.

DAVID: I don't know if Shapiro really disagrees with me. He says bacteria can edit their DNA. That could be an automatic God-given mechanism. Shapiro was president of his Jewish Temple.

How often do I have to quote him? And you can add Jeffrey Stock. And belief in bacterial intelligence does not make you an atheist!

From ABC: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/the-secret-life-of-bacteria--...

"Natasha Mitchell: Flagella being like the little tail, like a little paddle.

"Jeffry Stock: Yes it's a tail that's like a propeller in fact they rotate and drives them through. But there are other bacteria that work by other mechanisms like throwing out an anchor that hooks on to something in their environment, pulling themselves along, there are all different ways that they swim but they all have the same apparatus for processing information. And that apparatus consists of thousands of protein fibres so the structure of the protein is similar to hair, and I originally called it a hairbrain -- but the fibres are made in E coli there are about 10,000 of these fibres and at one end of each fibre is a little glob of protein that binds a spectrum of chemicals in the environment. And at the other end is a glob of protein that produces a signal that controls the motor and in between there's this bundle of interacting hairs, sort of, that do the information processing. The amount of information encoded in that fibre network is impossibly complex to actually work out for any particular network. One of the reasons I thought it was like a brain was because you'll never really figure out how one works.

"Natasha Mitchell: You suggest that these nano brains can process up to 10 to the 8, that's 10 with eight zeros after it bits of information per second. Information like temperature and the nutrients in the environment; salts, Ph, measure the Ph, that sort of thing. But should we be calling it a brain, isn't that going one step too far?

"Jeffry Stock: Maybe. Well it's a brain in that it functions like a brain, it takes information like our brains do from our various sensory inputs and then it makes decisions that control motor activity. So that's what a brain does, if you don't move, you're a plant and you don't have a brain. And bacteria that don't move don't have this apparatus. It's specialised for bacteria that move, which is what brains do. What do we mean by intelligence? It isn't really all about another organism communicating with us, that's not what intelligence is about. Intelligence is about taking information in the environment and making decisions that are advantageous to the organism. Koshland said that there's no question that bacteria are the most intelligent organisms on earth, at least on a per gram weight basis because they are so small."

Just because we don't know how it works, does not mean it is not automatic. And it is too complex for chance. Intelligent design instructions are just that. The mind of God at work.

bacterial intelligence using molecular switch

by David Turell @, Friday, October 13, 2017, 21:57 (368 days ago) @ David Turell

Riboswitches on mRNA can change gene expression:

https://phys.org/news/2017-10-molecular-riboswitches-bacteria.html

"Many bacteria have molecular control elements via which they can switch genes on and off. These riboswitches also open up new options in the development of antibiotics or the detection and decomposition of environmental toxins.

***

"Riboswitches are located on the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) that transports genetic information to the site of protein biosynthesis. A riboswitch consists of a sensor measuring the concentration of a small metabolic molecule and an effector controlling gene expression and, hence, synthesis of a protein. (my bold)

***

"The research groups of Professor Gerd Ulrich Nienhaus of KIT and Professor Andres Jäschke of Heidelberg University studied the S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM)-I riboswitch. "Attachment of the SAM molecule to this riboswitch causes the conformation, that is the spatial arrangement of atoms, to change from the anti-terminator (AT) to the terminator (T) structure," Nienhaus explains. "As a result, gene expression is switched off."

***

"In their analysis, the researchers distinguished two conformations (T and AT) of the SAM-I riboswitch, and a total of four conformations (T1, T2, AT1, and AT2). Surprisingly, the riboswitch did not fully switch between the T and AT structures in the presence and absence of SAM, as had been expected, but fluctuated permanently between all states—only weightings were shifted. A result important to the biological function was that structure fluctuations observed with an attached SAM were far quicker than without SAM. As the riboswitch sequence on the messenger RNA is located directly in front of the gene to be controlled, the RNA molecule has to form a T structure (switch off) as quickly as possible after synthesis in the presence of SAM in order to prevent subsequent transcription of the gene to be controlled. Acceleration of structure fluctuations by SAM attachment thus ensures sufficiently quick formation of a T structure. "Consequently, dynamics of the SAM-I riboswitch play an important role for its function," Nienhaus says."

Comment: Note my bold. The riboswitch has a sensor which is following protein levels. It senses and automatically acts. This is the 'intelligence' a bacteria exhibits. All comes from intelligent design and planned instructions.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Saturday, October 14, 2017, 13:10 (367 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Totally misses the point. The bacteria are responding to DNA alterations of living instructions. My battered body still has an intact DNA. Comparing injury to changing instructions. Apples and oranges.
dhw: So are you telling me that if scientists were given a totally free hand to mess about with human DNA (as they can with bacteria) in whatever part of the body they chose, they would not be able to change the person concerned?
DAVID: Messing with DNA was my point, NOW its yours. A fully formed human will not be changed, unless your scientist altered the DNA of neurons to change human behaviour. Way off the original point.

Scientists altered the behaviour of bacteria by fiddling with their DNA. I gave examples of behaviour being altered by the physical effects of poisons, injuries and viruses, but you rejected them because your point concerned fiddling with DNA. I have therefore replied by returning to DNA. You tell us that if scientists altered the DNA of neurons, they would change human behaviour. Of course bacteria do not have a nervous system or a brain, but you have kindly extended my quotes from experts in the field who believe they have an equivalent. Same process, then.

DAVID: I don't know if Shapiro really disagrees with me. He says bacteria can edit their DNA. That could be an automatic God-given mechanism. Shapiro was president of his Jewish Temple.
How often do I have to quote him? And you can add Jeffrey Stock. And belief in bacterial intelligence does not make you an atheist!

From ABC: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/the-secret-life-of-bacteria--...
You now go on to quote Jeffrey Stock, who concludes:

Intelligence is about taking information in the environment and making decisions that are advantageous to the organism. Koshland said that there's no question that bacteria are the most intelligent organisms on earth, at least on a per gram weight basis because they are so small."

You said you didn’t know if Shapiro disagreed with you. So now we have Shapiro, Stockland and Koshland disagreeing with you. Thank you for adding to the lengthening list.

DAVID: Just because we don't know how it works, does not mean it is not automatic. And it is too complex for chance. Intelligent design instructions are just that. The mind of God at work.

So you have quoted yet more of your opponents in order to tell us you disagree with them all. As I keep saying, there is no consensus, and therefore cellular intelligence remains a possibility. If, as you say, Shapiro is a theist, I’m sure he will agree that bacterial intelligence is too complex for chance and must have been created by your God.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

QUOTE: "Many bacteria have molecular control elements via which they can switch genes on and off. These riboswitches also open up new options in the development of antibiotics or the detection and decomposition of environmental toxins.
***
"Riboswitches are located on the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) that transports genetic information to the site of protein biosynthesis. A riboswitch consists of a sensor measuring the concentration of a small metabolic molecule and an effector controlling gene expression and, hence, synthesis of a protein. (DAVID’s bold)

David’s comment: Note my bold. The riboswitch has a sensor which is following protein levels. It senses and automatically acts. This is the 'intelligence' a bacteria exhibits. All comes from intelligent design and planned instructions.

Humans have all kinds of control elements via which they switch this, that and the other on and off. Humans, like bacteria, are physical beings, and there are automatic processes as well as directed processes. Shapiro and his colleagues tell us that the latter (such as decision-making, in your quote from the microbiologist Jeffrey Stock) are directed by intelligence and are not automatic. You disagree.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Saturday, October 14, 2017, 15:27 (367 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Just because we don't know how it works, does not mean it is not automatic. And it is too complex for chance. Intelligent design instructions are just that. The mind of God at work.

dhw: So you have quoted yet more of your opponents in order to tell us you disagree with them all. As I keep saying, there is no consensus, and therefore cellular intelligence remains a possibility. If, as you say, Shapiro is a theist, I’m sure he will agree that bacterial intelligence is too complex for chance and must have been created by your God.

Which is my point: whether it is all automatic or bacteria can somehow make decisions all looks the same from outside. The very point of my entry quoted below.


Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

QUOTE: "Many bacteria have molecular control elements via which they can switch genes on and off. These riboswitches also open up new options in the development of antibiotics or the detection and decomposition of environmental toxins.
***
"Riboswitches are located on the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) that transports genetic information to the site of protein biosynthesis. A riboswitch consists of a sensor measuring the concentration of a small metabolic molecule and an effector controlling gene expression and, hence, synthesis of a protein. (DAVID’s bold)

David’s comment: Note my bold. The riboswitch has a sensor which is following protein levels. It senses and automatically acts. This is the 'intelligence' a bacteria exhibits. All comes from intelligent design and planned instructions.

dhw: Humans have all kinds of control elements via which they switch this, that and the other on and off. Humans, like bacteria, are physical beings, and there are automatic processes as well as directed processes. Shapiro and his colleagues tell us that the latter (such as decision-making, in your quote from the microbiologist Jeffrey Stock) are directed by intelligence and are not automatic. You disagree.

All it needs are automatic intelligent instructions. Scientists find the molecules doing the deciding. Molecules work automatically according to the chemical principals.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Sunday, October 15, 2017, 09:05 (366 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Just because we don't know how it works, does not mean it is not automatic. And it is too complex for chance. Intelligent design instructions are just that. The mind of God at work.

dhw: So you have quoted yet more of your opponents in order to tell us you disagree with them all. As I keep saying, there is no consensus, and therefore cellular intelligence remains a possibility. If, as you say, Shapiro is a theist, I’m sure he will agree that bacterial intelligence is too complex for chance and must have been created by your God.

DAVID: Which is my point: whether it is all automatic or bacteria can somehow make decisions all looks the same from outside. The very point of my entry quoted below.

You didn’t know if Shapiro disagreed with you. I showed you that he does, as do the other experts you kindly quoted. My point was that if there is no consensus among the experts, one should not reject the possibility that Shapiro & Co are right, which leaves open the possibility that (perhaps God-given) cellular intelligence is the driving force behind evolution.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

David’s comment: The riboswitch has a sensor which is following protein levels. It senses and automatically acts. This is the 'intelligence' a bacteria exhibits. All comes from intelligent design and planned instructions.

dhw: Humans have all kinds of control elements via which they switch this, that and the other on and off. Humans, like bacteria, are physical beings, and there are automatic processes as well as directed processes. Shapiro and his colleagues tell us that the latter (such as decision-making, in your quote from the microbiologist Jeffrey Stock) are directed by intelligence and are not automatic. You disagree.

DAVID: All it needs are automatic intelligent instructions. Scientists find the molecules doing the deciding. Molecules work automatically according to the chemical principals.

1) I can’t deny that if, 3.8 billion years ago, your God preprogrammed the first cells to provide bacteria with the solution to every problem they would face for the rest of time, that’s all they would need.
2) I can’t deny that if your God stepped in to solve every problem bacteria have faced, are facing and will face, that’s all they would need.
3) You can’t deny that if bacteria had the (perhaps God-given) autonomous intelligence to solve every problem they would face for the rest of time, that’s all they would need.
It would seem that a number of experts in the field who have spent their careers studying bacteria are convinced that 3) is correct. Other experts disagree, though I wonder how many support your 1) or 2).

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Sunday, October 15, 2017, 15:21 (366 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Which is my point: whether it is all automatic or bacteria can somehow make decisions all looks the same from outside. The very point of my entry quoted below.

dhw: You didn’t know if Shapiro disagreed with you. I showed you that he does, as do the other experts you kindly quoted. My point was that if there is no consensus among the experts, one should not reject the possibility that Shapiro & Co are right, which leaves open the possibility that (perhaps God-given) cellular intelligence is the driving force behind evolution.

Cellular intelligence, unsourced, is not possible, therefore you offer God. Biochemical molecules simply lying about are simply that, a pile of molecules. Organized to create living organisms they maintain homeostatic life, which I view as a miracle. 'God given' is still God if slightly removed from direct action.


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David’s comment: The riboswitch has a sensor which is following protein levels. It senses and automatically acts. This is the 'intelligence' a bacteria exhibits. All comes from intelligent design and planned instructions.

dhw: Humans have all kinds of control elements via which they switch this, that and the other on and off. Humans, like bacteria, are physical beings, and there are automatic processes as well as directed processes. Shapiro and his colleagues tell us that the latter (such as decision-making, in your quote from the microbiologist Jeffrey Stock) are directed by intelligence and are not automatic. You disagree.

DAVID: All it needs are automatic intelligent instructions. Scientists find the molecules doing the deciding. Molecules work automatically according to the chemical principals.

dhw: 1) I can’t deny that if, 3.8 billion years ago, your God preprogrammed the first cells to provide bacteria with the solution to every problem they would face for the rest of time, that’s all they would need.
2) I can’t deny that if your God stepped in to solve every problem bacteria have faced, are facing and will face, that’s all they would need.
3) You can’t deny that if bacteria had the (perhaps God-given) autonomous intelligence to solve every problem they would face for the rest of time, that’s all they would need.
It would seem that a number of experts in the field who have spent their careers studying bacteria are convinced that 3) is correct. Other experts disagree, though I wonder how many support your 1) or 2).

If you could supply a logical source for the cellular intelligence without God I might accept your theory.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Monday, October 16, 2017, 14:35 (365 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You didn’t know if Shapiro disagreed with you. I showed you that he does, as do the other experts you kindly quoted. My point was that if there is no consensus among the experts, one should not reject the possibility that Shapiro & Co are right, which leaves open the possibility that (perhaps God-given) cellular intelligence is the driving force behind evolution.

DAVID: Cellular intelligence, unsourced, is not possible, therefore you offer God. Biochemical molecules simply lying about are simply that, a pile of molecules. Organized to create living organisms they maintain homeostatic life, which I view as a miracle. 'God given' is still God if slightly removed from direct action.

Yes indeed, my hypothesis offers the possibility of your God as the source of autonomous cellular intelligence, and so leaves most of the “action” to the organisms themselves, while still allowing for occasional direct action if your God wishes to dabble. Up until now, you have bitterly opposed the very concept of cellular intelligence. However, your final statement offers an extraordinary new approach:

DAVID: If you could supply a logical source for the cellular intelligence without God I might accept your theory.

This doesn’t make sense! Why is the hypothesis of cellular intelligence only acceptable to you, a theist, if I can show that God is NOT the source? Do you think he is incapable of inventing such a thing?

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Monday, October 16, 2017, 15:17 (365 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You didn’t know if Shapiro disagreed with you. I showed you that he does, as do the other experts you kindly quoted. My point was that if there is no consensus among the experts, one should not reject the possibility that Shapiro & Co are right, which leaves open the possibility that (perhaps God-given) cellular intelligence is the driving force behind evolution.

DAVID: Cellular intelligence, unsourced, is not possible, therefore you offer God. Biochemical molecules simply lying about are simply that, a pile of molecules. Organized to create living organisms they maintain homeostatic life, which I view as a miracle. 'God given' is still God if slightly removed from direct action.

dhw: Yes indeed, my hypothesis offers the possibility of your God as the source of autonomous cellular intelligence, and so leaves most of the “action” to the organisms themselves, while still allowing for occasional direct action if your God wishes to dabble. Up until now, you have bitterly opposed the very concept of cellular intelligence. However, your final statement offers an extraordinary new approach:

DAVID: If you could supply a logical source for the cellular intelligence without God I might accept your theory.

dhw: This doesn’t make sense! Why is the hypothesis of cellular intelligence only acceptable to you, a theist, if I can show that God is NOT the source? Do you think he is incapable of inventing such a thing?

Yes, I make sense of your hypothesis. Of course God can give cells the appearance of intelligence with complete instructions for all stimuli responses, which in bacteria are a very short list: go for food sensed, avoid danger signals, put out antibiotic chemicals, sense crowds, simply cooperate with them in mats. Did bacteria develop these reactions on their own from the first cells, whose start you can't answer. I'm with God.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 19:00 (364 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: If you could supply a logical source for the cellular intelligence without God I might accept your theory.

dhw: This doesn’t make sense! Why is the hypothesis of cellular intelligence only acceptable to you, a theist, if I can show that God is NOT the source? Do you think he is incapable of inventing such a thing?

DAVID: Yes, I make sense of your hypothesis. Of course God can give cells the appearance of intelligence with complete instructions for all stimuli responses, which in bacteria are a very short list: go for food sensed, avoid danger signals, put out antibiotic chemicals, sense crowds, simply cooperate with them in mats. Did bacteria develop these reactions on their own from the first cells, whose start you can't answer. I'm with God.

My hypothesis is not that your God may have given bacteria the APPEARANCE of intelligence, but that he may have given them intelligence. If we define intelligence as the ability to take in information, process it, communicate, cooperate, make decisions etc., then according to the various scientists you so kindly quoted, bacteria are intelligent. The discussion here concerns the existence of cellular intelligence, not the source of life and intelligence, which nobody knows. However, we have considered three options: a God, chance, a form of panpsychism that gradually evolved bottom upwards out of the infinite and eternal mixing of energy and matter. I know you’re with God. That does not mean there is no such thing as cellular intelligence.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 15:15 (363 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Yes, I make sense of your hypothesis. Of course God can give cells the appearance of intelligence with complete instructions for all stimuli responses, which in bacteria are a very short list: go for food sensed, avoid danger signals, put out antibiotic chemicals, sense crowds, simply cooperate with them in mats. Did bacteria develop these reactions on their own from the first cells, whose start you can't answer. I'm with God.

dhw: My hypothesis is not that your God may have given bacteria the APPEARANCE of intelligence, but that he may have given them intelligence. If we define intelligence as the ability to take in information, process it, communicate, cooperate, make decisions etc., then according to the various scientists you so kindly quoted, bacteria are intelligent. The discussion here concerns the existence of cellular intelligence, not the source of life and intelligence, which nobody knows. However, we have considered three options: a God, chance, a form of panpsychism that gradually evolved bottom upwards out of the infinite and eternal mixing of energy and matter. I know you’re with God. That does not mean there is no such thing as cellular intelligence.

We are still at the same point and apart. Intelligent instructions will appear to be cellular intelligence. Bacteria react automatically to stimuli.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Thursday, October 19, 2017, 12:51 (362 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: If we define intelligence as the ability to take in information, process it, communicate, cooperate, make decisions etc., then according to the various scientists you so kindly quoted, bacteria are intelligent. The discussion here concerns the existence of cellular intelligence, not the source of life and intelligence, which nobody knows. However, we have considered three options: a God, chance, a form of panpsychism that gradually evolved bottom upwards out of the infinite and eternal mixing of energy and matter. I know you’re with God. That does not mean there is no such thing as cellular intelligence.

DAVID: We are still at the same point and apart. Intelligent instructions will appear to be cellular intelligence. Bacteria react automatically to stimuli.

So do humans. And then they use their autonomous intelligence to work out what to do if the stimulus creates a problem. You wrote that you might accept my hypothesis of cellular intelligence if I could supply a logical source other than God. I asked why it could only be acceptable if God was NOT the source, and if you thought he was incapable of inventing such a mechanism.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 19, 2017, 17:54 (362 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: If we define intelligence as the ability to take in information, process it, communicate, cooperate, make decisions etc., then according to the various scientists you so kindly quoted, bacteria are intelligent. The discussion here concerns the existence of cellular intelligence, not the source of life and intelligence, which nobody knows. However, we have considered three options: a God, chance, a form of panpsychism that gradually evolved bottom upwards out of the infinite and eternal mixing of energy and matter. I know you’re with God. That does not mean there is no such thing as cellular intelligence.

DAVID: We are still at the same point and apart. Intelligent instructions will appear to be cellular intelligence. Bacteria react automatically to stimuli.

dhw: So do humans. And then they use their autonomous intelligence to work out what to do if the stimulus creates a problem. You wrote that you might accept my hypothesis of cellular intelligence if I could supply a logical source other than God. I asked why it could only be acceptable if God was NOT the source, and if you thought he was incapable of inventing such a mechanism.

When we have discussed cell intelligence I have said God supplies the intelligent instructions. I don't see any other way.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Friday, October 20, 2017, 17:06 (361 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We are still at the same point and apart. Intelligent instructions will appear to be cellular intelligence. Bacteria react automatically to stimuli.

dhw: So do humans. And then they use their autonomous intelligence to work out what to do if the stimulus creates a problem. You wrote that you might accept my hypothesis of cellular intelligence if I could supply a logical source other than God. I asked why it could only be acceptable if God was NOT the source, and if you thought he was incapable of inventing such a mechanism.

DAVID: When we have discussed cell intelligence I have said God supplies the intelligent instructions. I don't see any other way.

If you think cells can only act intelligently by following your God’s instructions, you clearly believe he is incapable of giving them autonomous intelligence!

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Friday, October 20, 2017, 18:13 (361 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We are still at the same point and apart. Intelligent instructions will appear to be cellular intelligence. Bacteria react automatically to stimuli.

dhw: So do humans. And then they use their autonomous intelligence to work out what to do if the stimulus creates a problem. You wrote that you might accept my hypothesis of cellular intelligence if I could supply a logical source other than God. I asked why it could only be acceptable if God was NOT the source, and if you thought he was incapable of inventing such a mechanism.

DAVID: When we have discussed cell intelligence I have said God supplies the intelligent instructions. I don't see any other way.

dhw: If you think cells can only act intelligently by following your God’s instructions, you clearly believe he is incapable of giving them autonomous intelligence!

He is not incapable. He didn't want to.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Saturday, October 21, 2017, 15:01 (360 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: When we have discussed cell intelligence I have said God supplies the intelligent instructions. I don't see any other way.
dhw: If you think cells can only act intelligently by following your God’s instructions, you clearly believe he is incapable of giving them autonomous intelligence!
DAVID: He is not incapable. He didn't want to.

So you can see no way that cells might act intelligently other than through your God’s instructions, because although he was capable of giving them autonomous intelligence, you happen to know that he didn’t want to. Whatever happened to science?

DAVID’s comment (under “ultra-tiny bacteria”): These findings indirectly support Margulies theory about mitochondria. This is a strange branch of the tree of life, but these organisms are not fully independent organisms, but do represent the experimentation that goes on within evolution. I am unsure about God's role here. Does God allow these guys to play together on their own or does He take control? I don't think this advances evolution but it does support balance of nature. The arrangement of mitochondria is only tangentially related, and I suspect He controlled that advancement in complexity.

All living organisms “support balance of nature” until they fail to “support balance of nature”, or balance of nature fails to support them, and then they go extinct. However, I like your reference to Margulis and your willingness to consider the possibility that God might “allow these guys to play together on their own”. Here is an extract from an interview with Margulis:
Discover Interview: Lynn Margulis Says She's Not ...
discovermagazine.com/2011/apr/16-interview-lynn-margulis-not...

(Ugh, ugh, my usual technical problem: I can't get a direct link. Sorry!)

INTERVIEWER: When you talk about the evolutionary intelligence of bacteria, it almost sounds like you think of them as conscious beings.

MARGULIS: I do think consciousness is a property of all living cells. All cells are bounded by a membrane of their own making. To sense chemicals—food or poisons—it takes a cell. To have a sense of smell takes a cell. To sense light, it takes a cell. You have to have a bounded entity with photoreceptors inside to sense light. Bacteria are conscious. (My bold)

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Saturday, October 21, 2017, 23:29 (360 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: If you think cells can only act intelligently by following your God’s instructions, you clearly believe he is incapable of giving them autonomous intelligence!

DAVID: He is not incapable. He didn't want to.

dhw: So you can see no way that cells might act intelligently other than through your God’s instructions, because although he was capable of giving them autonomous intelligence, you happen to know that he didn’t want to. Whatever happened to science?

It is not science. it is analysis. God is most probably capable of doing whatever He wants, is my basic premise. It is possible He has limits as we've discussed, but more than likely what we see is what He wants.


DAVID’s comment (under “ultra-tiny bacteria”): These findings indirectly support Margulies theory about mitochondria. This is a strange branch of the tree of life, but these organisms are not fully independent organisms, but do represent the experimentation that goes on within evolution. I am unsure about God's role here. Does God allow these guys to play together on their own or does He take control? I don't think this advances evolution but it does support balance of nature. The arrangement of mitochondria is only tangentially related, and I suspect He controlled that advancement in complexity.

dhw: All living organisms “support balance of nature” until they fail to “support balance of nature”, or balance of nature fails to support them, and then they go extinct. However, I like your reference to Margulis and your willingness to consider the possibility that God might “allow these guys to play together on their own”. Here is an extract from an interview with Margulis:
Discover Interview: Lynn Margulis Says She's Not ...
discovermagazine.com/2011/apr/16-interview-lynn-margulis-not...

(Ugh, ugh, my usual technical problem: I can't get a direct link. Sorry!)

INTERVIEWER: When you talk about the evolutionary intelligence of bacteria, it almost sounds like you think of them as conscious beings.

MARGULIS: I do think consciousness is a property of all living cells. All cells are bounded by a membrane of their own making. To sense chemicals—food or poisons—it takes a cell. To have a sense of smell takes a cell. To sense light, it takes a cell. You have to have a bounded entity with photoreceptors inside to sense light. Bacteria are conscious. (My bold)

I agree that their responses are intelligently planned from info on board.

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Sunday, October 22, 2017, 13:52 (359 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If you think cells can only act intelligently by following your God’s instructions, you clearly believe he is incapable of giving them autonomous intelligence!
DAVID: He is not incapable. He didn't want to.
dhw: So you can see no way that cells might act intelligently other than through your God’s instructions, because although he was capable of giving them autonomous intelligence, you happen to know that he didn’t want to. Whatever happened to science?
DAVID: It is not science. it is analysis. God is most probably capable of doing whatever He wants, is my basic premise. It is possible He has limits as we've discussed, but more than likely what we see is what He wants.

If God exists, I would also assume he is capable of doing whatever he wants. I just don’t know on what authority you can tell us that he didn’t want to give cells autonomous intelligence.

INTERVIEWER: When you talk about the evolutionary intelligence of bacteria, it almost sounds like you think of them as conscious beings.
MARGULIS: I do think consciousness is a property of all living cells. All cells are bounded by a membrane of their own making. To sense chemicals—food or poisons—it takes a cell. To have a sense of smell takes a cell. To sense light, it takes a cell. You have to have a bounded entity with photoreceptors inside to sense light. Bacteria are conscious. (dhw’s bold)
DAVID: I agree that their responses are intelligently planned from info on board.

“Agree”? Her statement could hardly be clearer: the intelligence is their own: they register and process information and use their conscious intelligence to take their decisions. She is NOT saying that God plants the info and plans their responses, which you claim is the only way you can see for cells to act intelligently. So who are you agreeing with?

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Sunday, October 22, 2017, 14:48 (359 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: If you think cells can only act intelligently by following your God’s instructions, you clearly believe he is incapable of giving them autonomous intelligence!
DAVID: He is not incapable. He didn't want to.
dhw: So you can see no way that cells might act intelligently other than through your God’s instructions, because although he was capable of giving them autonomous intelligence, you happen to know that he didn’t want to. Whatever happened to science?
DAVID: It is not science. it is analysis. God is most probably capable of doing whatever He wants, is my basic premise. It is possible He has limits as we've discussed, but more than likely what we see is what He wants.

dhw: If God exists, I would also assume he is capable of doing whatever he wants. I just don’t know on what authority you can tell us that he didn’t want to give cells autonomous intelligence.

Because I think cells are automatic.


INTERVIEWER: When you talk about the evolutionary intelligence of bacteria, it almost sounds like you think of them as conscious beings.
MARGULIS: I do think consciousness is a property of all living cells. All cells are bounded by a membrane of their own making. To sense chemicals—food or poisons—it takes a cell. To have a sense of smell takes a cell. To sense light, it takes a cell. You have to have a bounded entity with photoreceptors inside to sense light. Bacteria are conscious. (dhw’s bold)
DAVID: I agree that their responses are intelligently planned from info on board.

dhw: “Agree”? Her statement could hardly be clearer: the intelligence is their own: they register and process information and use their conscious intelligence to take their decisions. She is NOT saying that God plants the info and plans their responses, which you claim is the only way you can see for cells to act intelligently. So who are you agreeing with?

I am agreeing with myself

bacterial intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 30, 2017, 15:28 (320 days ago) @ David Turell

A new study shows that by changing the DNA code bacteria do what they are told by the DNA they are given:

https://phys.org/news/2017-11-dna-alphabet-cells-proteins.html

"Scientists are expanding the genetic code of life, using man-made DNA to create a semi-synthetic strain of bacteria—and new research shows those altered microbes actually worked to produce proteins unlike those found in nature.

***

"A team at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, expanded the genetic alphabet, creating two artificial DNA "letters" called X and Y. A few years ago, the researchers brewed up a type of E. coli bacteria commonly used for lab research that contained both natural DNA and this new artificial base pair—storing extra genetic information inside cells.

"The next challenge: Normal DNA contains the coding for cells to form proteins that do the work of life. Could cells carrying this weird genomic hybrid work the same way?

"Sure enough, the altered cells glowed green as they produced a fluorescent protein containing unnatural amino acids, researchers reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.

"'We can make proteins that are built of more things than they normally are," explained Scripps chemist Floyd Romesberg, who leads the project.

***

"That's an ultimate goal in the field of synthetic biology—designing organisms that work differently from the way nature intended so scientists can harness them to create designer drugs, biofuels or a range of other products.

***

"The new work traced the biological steps as the altered E. coli read the artificial genetic code and assembled the pieces for a new protein, with the same efficiency as if using normal DNA.

***

"This bacterial strain was "modified in a really dramatic and unusual way at these positions in its genome," Boeke said. "And that's what makes it different from every other organism on the planet today.'"

Comment: It cannot be denied that the new DNA made these bacteria act automatically to produce a new protein! Substitute God for human scientists doing the bacterial programming and it is easy to accept my point of view. Bacterial 'thinking' is simply programmed responses to stimuli.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 30, 2017, 18:47 (320 days ago) @ David Turell

DNA alterations change cell functions:

https://phys.org/news/2017-11-reprogramming-adult-cells-high-yields.html

"A modified version of iPS methodology, called interrupted reprogramming, allows for a highly controlled, potentially safer, and more cost-effective strategy for generating progenitor-like cells from adult cells. As demonstrated November 30 in the journal Stem Cell Reports, researchers in Canada converted adult mouse respiratory tract cells called Club cells into large, pure populations of induced progenitor-like (iPL) cells, which retained a residual memory of their parental cell lineage and therefore specifically generated mature Club cells. Moreover, these cells showed potential as a cell replacement therapy in mice with cystic fibrosis.

***

"A modified version of iPS methodology, called interrupted reprogramming, allows for a highly controlled, potentially safer, and more cost-effective strategy for generating progenitor-like cells from adult cells. As demonstrated November 30 in the journal Stem Cell Reports, researchers in Canada converted adult mouse respiratory tract cells called Club cells into large, pure populations of induced progenitor-like (iPL) cells, which retained a residual memory of their parental cell lineage and therefore specifically generated mature Club cells. Moreover, these cells showed potential as a cell replacement therapy in mice with cystic fibrosis.

***

"To address these issues, Waddell and co-senior study author Andras Nagy of Mount Sinai Hospital developed an interrupted reprogramming strategy, which is a modified version of the iPS methodology. The researchers started to genetically reprogram adult Club cells isolated from mice, transiently expressing the four iPS reprogramming factors, but interrupted the process early, prior to reaching the pluripotent state, to generate progenitor-like cells, which are more committed to a specific lineage and show more controlled proliferation than pluripotent cells.

"'The reprogramming process had previously been considered as an all-or-none process," Waddell says. "We were surprised to the extent that it can be fine-tuned by the timing and dosing of the drug used to activate the reprogramming factors. That is interesting as it gives lots of opportunities for control, but it does mean we have lots of work to do to get it right."

"To address these issues, Waddell and co-senior study author Andras Nagy of Mount Sinai Hospital developed an interrupted reprogramming strategy, which is a modified version of the iPS methodology. The researchers started to genetically reprogram adult Club cells isolated from mice, transiently expressing the four iPS reprogramming factors, but interrupted the process early, prior to reaching the pluripotent state, to generate progenitor-like cells, which are more committed to a specific lineage and show more controlled proliferation than pluripotent cells.

"'The reprogramming process had previously been considered as an all-or-none process," Waddell says. "We were surprised to the extent that it can be fine-tuned by the timing and dosing of the drug used to activate the reprogramming factors. That is interesting as it gives lots of opportunities for control, but it does mean we have lots of work to do to get it right.'"

Comment: Another example of programming cells or bacteria (both of which are happening) to do what the scientists want, just as God could and probably does do it. Note it is all automatic!

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Friday, December 01, 2017, 12:12 (319 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: It cannot be denied that the new DNA made these bacteria act automatically to produce a new protein! Substitute God for human scientists doing the bacterial programming and it is easy to accept my point of view. Bacterial 'thinking' is simply programmed responses to stimuli.

DAVID's comment: Another example of programming cells or bacteria (both of which are happening) to do what the scientists want, just as God could and probably does do it. Note it is all automatic!

If scientists were to mess around with your DNA to their hearts’ content, I suspect they could make you into somebody quite different. Therefore apparently you are an automaton.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Friday, December 01, 2017, 14:51 (319 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: It cannot be denied that the new DNA made these bacteria act automatically to produce a new protein! Substitute God for human scientists doing the bacterial programming and it is easy to accept my point of view. Bacterial 'thinking' is simply programmed responses to stimuli.

DAVID's comment: Another example of programming cells or bacteria (both of which are happening) to do what the scientists want, just as God could and probably does do it. Note it is all automatic!

dhw: If scientists were to mess around with your DNA to their hearts’ content, I suspect they could make you into somebody quite different. Therefore apparently you are an automaton.

We are discussing single cells or haven't you noticed? Apparently you have no answer to the point.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Friday, December 01, 2017, 15:44 (319 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: It cannot be denied that the new DNA made these bacteria act automatically to produce a new protein! Substitute God for human scientists doing the bacterial programming and it is easy to accept my point of view. Bacterial 'thinking' is simply programmed responses to stimuli.

DAVID's comment: Another example of programming cells or bacteria (both of which are happening) to do what the scientists want, just as God could and probably does do it. Note it is all automatic!

dhw: If scientists were to mess around with your DNA to their hearts’ content, I suspect they could make you into somebody quite different. Therefore apparently you are an automaton.


We are discussing single cells or haven't you noticed? Apparently you have no answer to the point. My recent entries on controlling DNA expression are right on point and demonstrate automatism.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Saturday, December 02, 2017, 13:31 (318 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: It cannot be denied that the new DNA made these bacteria act automatically to produce a new protein! Substitute God for human scientists doing the bacterial programming and it is easy to accept my point of view. Bacterial 'thinking' is simply programmed responses to stimuli.

DAVID's comment: Another example of programming cells or bacteria (both of which are happening) to do what the scientists want, just as God could and probably does do it. Note it is all automatic!

dhw: If scientists were to mess around with your DNA to their hearts’ content, I suspect they could make you into somebody quite different. Therefore apparently you are an automaton.

DAVID: We are discussing single cells or haven't you noticed? Apparently you have no answer to the point.

That IS my answer to the point. Scientists change the behaviour of a single cell by messing about with its DNA. According to you, that proves the single cell is an automaton. By the same logic, if they messed about with your DNA, they would change your behaviour, and so you must be an automaton. I don’t accept either conclusion. You have the same double standards here as with your belief in dualism. According to you, humans – and other animals – do not need brains to think autonomously (they have souls that survive death), but bacteria can’t think autonomously because they haven’t got brains.

I need to qualify all this, as I have done before, by emphasizing that much of cellular behaviour obviously IS automatic. If the cells did not automatically perform their given functions, things would go wrong. The intelligence of bacteria and cell communities, however, is shown by their ability to adjust to new circumstances, e.g. by adaptation or, as you have pointed out yourself in the case of immune cells, “learning by experience” and changing their structure according to new demands. It is this ability that underpins my hypothesis that they may be able to change their structure to the extent of innovating as well as adapting, and that would explain speciation.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 02, 2017, 14:30 (318 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: We are discussing single cells or haven't you noticed? Apparently you have no answer to the point.

dhw: That IS my answer to the point. Scientists change the behaviour of a single cell by messing about with its DNA. According to you, that proves the single cell is an automaton. By the same logic, if they messed about with your DNA, they would change your behaviour, and so you must be an automaton. I don’t accept either conclusion. You have the same double standards here as with your belief in dualism. According to you, humans – and other animals – do not need brains to think autonomously (they have souls that survive death), but bacteria can’t think autonomously because they haven’t got brains.

I need to qualify all this, as I have done before, by emphasizing that much of cellular behaviour obviously IS automatic. If the cells did not automatically perform their given functions, things would go wrong. The intelligence of bacteria and cell communities, however, is shown by their ability to adjust to new circumstances, e.g. by adaptation or, as you have pointed out yourself in the case of immune cells, “learning by experience” and changing their structure according to new demands. It is this ability that underpins my hypothesis that they may be able to change their structure to the extent of innovating as well as adapting, and that would explain speciation.

It is exactly the immune system tht makes my point. The newborn mammal is born with antibodies to protect him from his Mother's milk, since he has none of his own. His own cells must be able to learn about infectious elements as they are encountered. His immune cells come with that ability, designed that way. That is how vaccines work as an obvious example. The whole immune system is a perfect exa ple of design.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Sunday, December 03, 2017, 13:23 (317 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: That IS my answer to the point. Scientists change the behaviour of a single cell by messing about with its DNA. According to you, that proves the single cell is an automaton. By the same logic, if they messed about with your DNA, they would change your behaviour, and so you must be an automaton. I don’t accept either conclusion. You have the same double standards here as with your belief in dualism. According to you, humans – and other animals – do not need brains to think autonomously (they have souls that survive death), but bacteria can’t think autonomously because they haven’t got brains.

I need to qualify all this, as I have done before, by emphasizing that much of cellular behaviour obviously IS automatic. If the cells did not automatically perform their given functions, things would go wrong. The intelligence of bacteria and cell communities, however, is shown by their ability to adjust to new circumstances, e.g. by adaptation or, as you have pointed out yourself in the case of immune cells, “learning by experience” and changing their structure according to new demands. It is this ability that underpins my hypothesis that they may be able to change their structure to the extent of innovating as well as adapting, and that would explain speciation.

DAVID: It is exactly the immune system tht makes my point. The newborn mammal is born with antibodies to protect him from his Mother's milk, since he has none of his own. His own cells must be able to learn about infectious elements as they are encountered. His immune cells come with that ability, designed that way. That is how vaccines work as an obvious example. The whole immune system is a perfect example of design.

It is exactly the immune system that makes my point. If the cells must be able to “learn about infectious elements as they are encountered”, they clearly have the ability to learn and to make adjustments according to what they have learned. That is a fundamental feature of autonomous intelligence. I have never dismissed the case for design. It is your suggestion that the cells are automatons that I oppose. Interfering with DNA does not prove that cells/humans are automatons, and learning by experience suggests that they are endowed with an autonomous (possibly God-given) intelligence.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 03, 2017, 15:42 (317 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: It is exactly the immune system tht makes my point. The newborn mammal is born with antibodies to protect him from his Mother's milk, since he has none of his own. His own cells must be able to learn about infectious elements as they are encountered. His immune cells come with that ability, designed that way. That is how vaccines work as an obvious example. The whole immune system is a perfect example of design.

dhw: It is exactly the immune system that makes my point. If the cells must be able to “learn about infectious elements as they are encountered”, they clearly have the ability to learn and to make adjustments according to what they have learned. That is a fundamental feature of autonomous intelligence. I have never dismissed the case for design. It is your suggestion that the cells are automatons that I oppose. Interfering with DNA does not prove that cells/humans are automatons, and learning by experience suggests that they are endowed with an autonomous (possibly God-given) intelligence.

I agree that the immune cells look as if they contain their own intelligence, but can be programmed that way by design. Kidney cells make decisions all the time to maintain fluid balance and salt levels. They certainly act as if they are intelligent. Their molecular reactons are known to measure levels. For me cells are cells and all are created with purposeful programming. Don't ignore purpose to help explain function.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Monday, December 04, 2017, 13:46 (316 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: It is exactly the immune system that makes my point. The newborn mammal is born with antibodies to protect him from his Mother's milk, since he has none of his own. His own cells must be able to learn about infectious elements as they are encountered. His immune cells come with that ability, designed that way. That is how vaccines work as an obvious example. The whole immune system is a perfect example of design.

dhw: It is exactly the immune system that makes my point. If the cells must be able to “learn about infectious elements as they are encountered”, they clearly have the ability to learn and to make adjustments according to what they have learned. That is a fundamental feature of autonomous intelligence. I have never dismissed the case for design. It is your suggestion that the cells are automatons that I oppose. Interfering with DNA does not prove that cells/humans are automatons, and learning by experience suggests that they are endowed with an autonomous (possibly God-given) intelligence.

DAVID: I agree that the immune cells look as if they contain their own intelligence, but can be programmed that way by design. Kidney cells make decisions all the time to maintain fluid balance and salt levels. They certainly act as if they are intelligent. Their molecular reactons are known to measure levels. For me cells are cells and all are created with purposeful programming. Don't ignore purpose to help explain function.

Do you think an intelligent organism would act without a purpose? The cells use their intelligence to perform their functions. The function IS the initial purpose, and the intelligence is the mechanism by which they achieve it. The overall purpose is the onward drive for survival and, when these organs first appeared, improvement – which you have now agreed is a “major tenet” of evolution.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Monday, December 04, 2017, 15:07 (316 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: It is exactly the immune system that makes my point. The newborn mammal is born with antibodies to protect him from his Mother's milk, since he has none of his own. His own cells must be able to learn about infectious elements as they are encountered. His immune cells come with that ability, designed that way. That is how vaccines work as an obvious example. The whole immune system is a perfect example of design.

dhw: It is exactly the immune system that makes my point. If the cells must be able to “learn about infectious elements as they are encountered”, they clearly have the ability to learn and to make adjustments according to what they have learned. That is a fundamental feature of autonomous intelligence. I have never dismissed the case for design. It is your suggestion that the cells are automatons that I oppose. Interfering with DNA does not prove that cells/humans are automatons, and learning by experience suggests that they are endowed with an autonomous (possibly God-given) intelligence.

DAVID: I agree that the immune cells look as if they contain their own intelligence, but can be programmed that way by design. Kidney cells make decisions all the time to maintain fluid balance and salt levels. They certainly act as if they are intelligent. Their molecular reactons are known to measure levels. For me cells are cells and all are created with purposeful programming. Don't ignore purpose to help explain function.

dhw: Do you think an intelligent organism would act without a purpose? The cells use their intelligence to perform their functions. The function IS the initial purpose, and the intelligence is the mechanism by which they achieve it. The overall purpose is the onward drive for survival and, when these organs first appeared, improvement – which you have now agreed is a “major tenet” of evolution.

And you admit all of this purposeful activity could be the plan of a designer.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Tuesday, December 05, 2017, 12:15 (315 days ago) @ David Turell

I am again combining two threads, as they repeat the same arguments.

DAVID: I agree that the immune cells look as if they contain their own intelligence, but can be programmed that way by design. Kidney cells make decisions all the time to maintain fluid balance and salt levels. They certainly act as if they are intelligent. Their molecular reactons are known to measure levels. For me cells are cells and all are created with purposeful programming. Don't ignore purpose to help explain function.

dhw: Do you think an intelligent organism would act without a purpose? The cells use their intelligence to perform their functions. The function IS the initial purpose, and the intelligence is the mechanism by which they achieve it. The overall purpose is the onward drive for survival and, when these organs first appeared, improvement – which you have now agreed is a “major tenet” of evolution.

DAVID: And you admit all of this purposeful activity could be the plan of a designer.

You are a master of obfuscation! I admit that the autonomous intelligence of organisms could be the invention of your God. If my hypothesis is correct, all this purposeful activity has been designed by the cellular communities themselves. I do not admit that your God could have preprogrammed all this purposeful activity – along with every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder – 3.8 billion years ago, or that he personally dabbles to direct every new, purposeful activity performed by every cell community. If cells learn by experience, that suggests to me that they are not preprogrammed or being dabbled with.

DAVID: (under"revisiting convergence"): In my view the appearance of cellular intelligent action can be from designed activties in the cell supplied by God's design. How this can be translated into cell committies designing their own future evolutionary changes is for me beyond reason. What is the source of heir intelligence? Evidence not available in science.

“Activities supplied by God’s design” is another of your nebulous phrases which can only mean your God’s instructions passed on through a computer programme inserted in the first cells 3.8 billion years ago, or personally dabbled as each new set of circumstances arises. This for me is “beyond reason”. If your God exists, he must be the source of cellular intelligence. If he doesn’t, the source can only be chance or some form of panpsychism. The evidence for ANY of these hypotheses is not available in science.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 05, 2017, 14:52 (315 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: And you admit all of this purposeful activity could be the plan of a designer.

dhw: You are a master of obfuscation! I admit that the autonomous intelligence of organisms could be the invention of your God. If my hypothesis is correct, all this purposeful activity has been designed by the cellular communities themselves. I do not admit that your God could have preprogrammed all this purposeful activity – along with every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder – 3.8 billion years ago, or that he personally dabbles to direct every new, purposeful activity performed by every cell community. If cells learn by experience, that suggests to me that they are not preprogrammed or being dabbled with.

Cells can be programmed to learn from experience. That is exactly what the immune system cells do!


DAVID: (under"revisiting convergence"): In my view the appearance of cellular intelligent action can be from designed activities in the cell supplied by God's design. How this can be translated into cell committees designing their own future evolutionary changes is for me beyond reason. What is the source of heir intelligence? Evidence not available in science.

dhw: “Activities supplied by God’s design” is another of your nebulous phrases which can only mean your God’s instructions passed on through a computer programme inserted in the first cells 3.8 billion years ago, or personally dabbled as each new set of circumstances arises. This for me is “beyond reason”. If your God exists, he must be the source of cellular intelligence. If he doesn’t, the source can only be chance or some form of panpsychism. The evidence for ANY of these hypotheses is not available in science.

The evidence is not yet available, but the fact still remains that cells can be programmed to act intelligentluy or they are intelligent. I'm on one side, you are on the other, and you expect cells to evolve to develop intelligence on their own from the first life forms.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Wednesday, December 06, 2017, 13:13 (314 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Cells can be programmed to learn from experience. That is exactly what the immune system cells do!

“Programmed to learn” can only denote that they have been given the MEANS of learning. Or do you think that 3.8 billion years ago your God provided the first cells with programmes to deal with every new experience for the rest of time? In that case they learn nothing, but merely obey instructions. (Dabbling does not constitute preprogramming.) Which of the two explanations do you accept?

dhw: If your God exists, he must be the source of cellular intelligence. If he doesn’t, the source can only be chance or some form of panpsychism. The evidence for ANY of these hypotheses is not available in science.

DAVID: The evidence is not yet available, but the fact still remains that cells can be programmed to act intelligentluy or they are intelligent. I'm on one side, you are on the other, and you expect cells to evolve to develop intelligence on their own from the first life forms.

My hypothesis is that the first cells do not “develop” intelligence – they are ALREADY intelligent (possibly thanks to your God), but their intelligence is limited. As they combine with one another, they not only share intelligences (all organisms are individual) but they also learn from experience to produce different ways of surviving and improving. In that sense, yes, they “develop”. I agree that the evidence is not yet available.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 06, 2017, 15:38 (314 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: The evidence is not yet available, but the fact still remains that cells can be programmed to act intelligentluy or they are intelligent. I'm on one side, you are on the other, and you expect cells to evolve to develop intelligence on their own from the first life forms.

dhw: My hypothesis is that the first cells do not “develop” intelligence – they are ALREADY intelligent (possibly thanks to your God), but their intelligence is limited. As they combine with one another, they not only share intelligences (all organisms are individual) but they also learn from experience to produce different ways of surviving and improving. In that sense, yes, they “develop”. I agree that the evidence is not yet available.

Oxford dictionary definition of intelligence: the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Cells respond to stimuli and react to them in processes that are shown to be automatic. They also share by chemical signals. That reeks of design.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Thursday, December 07, 2017, 13:11 (313 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: My hypothesis is that the first cells do not “develop” intelligence – they are ALREADY intelligent (possibly thanks to your God), but their intelligence is limited. As they combine with one another, they not only share intelligences (all organisms are individual) but they also learn from experience to produce different ways of surviving and improving. In that sense, yes, they “develop”. I agree that the evidence is not yet available.

DAVID: Oxford dictionary definition of intelligence: the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Cells respond to stimuli and react to them in processes that are shown to be automatic. They also share by chemical signals. That reeks of design.

It may reek of design, but since you yourself have given us the example of cells which “learn by experience” and apply their acquired knowledge in order to change their own DNA, they clearly fulfil the criteria for intelligence laid down by your Oxford dictionary. Merely repeating that their actions are automatic does not mean they are automatic. All organisms with or without brains, including ourselves, respond to stimuli and react to them – sometimes automatically when the processes are long established, but sometimes intelligently, e.g. when there are new problems to be dealt with. Chemical signals are means of communication, without which no organisms can cooperate. Communication, cooperation, learning by experience and applying the acquired knowledge – it all “reeks” of autonomous intelligence.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 07, 2017, 15:43 (313 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: My hypothesis is that the first cells do not “develop” intelligence – they are ALREADY intelligent (possibly thanks to your God), but their intelligence is limited. As they combine with one another, they not only share intelligences (all organisms are individual) but they also learn from experience to produce different ways of surviving and improving. In that sense, yes, they “develop”. I agree that the evidence is not yet available.

DAVID: Oxford dictionary definition of intelligence: the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Cells respond to stimuli and react to them in processes that are shown to be automatic. They also share by chemical signals. That reeks of design.

dhw: It may reek of design, but since you yourself have given us the example of cells which “learn by experience” and apply their acquired knowledge in order to change their own DNA, they clearly fulfil the criteria for intelligence laid down by your Oxford dictionary. Merely repeating that their actions are automatic does not mean they are automatic. All organisms with or without brains, including ourselves, respond to stimuli and react to them – sometimes automatically when the processes are long established, but sometimes intelligently, e.g. when there are new problems to be dealt with. Chemical signals are means of communication, without which no organisms can cooperate. Communication, cooperation, learning by experience and applying the acquired knowledge – it all “reeks” of autonomous intelligence.

And the cells that learn by experience are programmed to do so. I think this discussion has reached an insoluble end point. From the outside, and we are outside, cells that act intelligently can be automatic or actually intelligent, 50/50 chance. I've picked a view and will stick with it based on all the automaticity I see in the cells I've studied.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Friday, December 08, 2017, 13:24 (312 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Oxford dictionary definition of intelligence: the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Cells respond to stimuli and react to them in processes that are shown to be automatic. They also share by chemical signals. That reeks of design.

dhw: It may reek of design, but since you yourself have given us the example of cells which “learn by experience” and apply their acquired knowledge in order to change their own DNA, they clearly fulfil the criteria for intelligence laid down by your Oxford dictionary. Merely repeating that their actions are automatic does not mean they are automatic. All organisms with or without brains, including ourselves, respond to stimuli and react to them – sometimes automatically when the processes are long established, but sometimes intelligently, e.g. when there are new problems to be dealt with. Chemical signals are means of communication, without which no organisms can cooperate. Communication, cooperation, learning by experience and applying the acquired knowledge – it all “reeks” of autonomous intelligence.

DAVID: And the cells that learn by experience are programmed to do so. I think this discussion has reached an insoluble end point. From the outside, and we are outside, cells that act intelligently can be automatic or actually intelligent, 50/50 chance. I've picked a view and will stick with it based on all the automaticity I see in the cells I've studied.

I’m happy to leave it at 50/50, balancing your views against those of others who have also studied cells. But I’d like to make just one more point about your answer. You have often said that your God has given us the means to solve problems. ‘Programmed to learn by experience’ can only denote that we and other organisms have been given the means to learn. It doesn’t denote that we and other organisms have been preprogrammed to implement a given solution to each and every given problem. THAT would be automaticity.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Friday, December 08, 2017, 20:49 (312 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: And the cells that learn by experience are programmed to do so. I think this discussion has reached an insoluble end point. From the outside, and we are outside, cells that act intelligently can be automatic or actually intelligent, 50/50 chance. I've picked a view and will stick with it based on all the automaticity I see in the cells I've studied.

dhw: I’m happy to leave it at 50/50, balancing your views against those of others who have also studied cells. But I’d like to make just one more point about your answer. You have often said that your God has given us the means to solve problems. ‘Programmed to learn by experience’ can only denote that we and other organisms have been given the means to learn. It doesn’t denote that we and other organisms have been preprogrammed to implement a given solution to each and every given problem. THAT would be automaticity.

I'm discssing cellular automaticity, not solving problems by a brain.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Saturday, December 09, 2017, 13:48 (311 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: And the cells that learn by experience are programmed to do so. I think this discussion has reached an insoluble end point. From the outside, and we are outside, cells that act intelligently can be automatic or actually intelligent, 50/50 chance. I've picked a view and will stick with it based on all the automaticity I see in the cells I've studied.

dhw: I’m happy to leave it at 50/50, balancing your views against those of others who have also studied cells. But I’d like to make just one more point about your answer. You have often said that your God has given us the means to solve problems. ‘Programmed to learn by experience’ can only denote that we and other organisms have been given the means to learn. It doesn’t denote that we and other organisms have been preprogrammed to implement a given solution to each and every given problem. THAT would be automaticity.

DAVID: I'm discssing cellular automaticity, not solving problems by a brain.

Firstly, as a dualist, you insist that the brain is not the source of thought – and you can’t solve problems without thought. Secondly, solving problems is an obvious way in which to test intelligence, as proven by all the experiments conducted with rats, corvids, other birds, ants etc., which you have illustrated again and again on this forum. (That is why problem-solving experiments on bacteria cannot be ignored.) Thirdly, we are discussing whether cells are intelligent or automatic, and although you have made your choice, I am simply pointing out that “programmed to learn by experience” does not denote being programmed with all the solutions to all the problems – it only denotes being given the means to learn by experience.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I may not be able to respond for the next couple of days, depending on the weather!

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 09, 2017, 15:40 (311 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: And the cells that learn by experience are programmed to do so. I think this discussion has reached an insoluble end point. From the outside, and we are outside, cells that act intelligently can be automatic or actually intelligent, 50/50 chance. I've picked a view and will stick with it based on all the automaticity I see in the cells I've studied.

dhw: I’m happy to leave it at 50/50, balancing your views against those of others who have also studied cells. But I’d like to make just one more point about your answer. You have often said that your God has given us the means to solve problems. ‘Programmed to learn by experience’ can only denote that we and other organisms have been given the means to learn. It doesn’t denote that we and other organisms have been preprogrammed to implement a given solution to each and every given problem. THAT would be automaticity.

DAVID: I'm discssing cellular automaticity, not solving problems by a brain.

dhw: Firstly, as a dualist, you insist that the brain is not the source of thought – and you can’t solve problems without thought. Secondly, solving problems is an obvious way in which to test intelligence, as proven by all the experiments conducted with rats, corvids, other birds, ants etc., which you have illustrated again and again on this forum. (That is why problem-solving experiments on bacteria cannot be ignored.) Thirdly, we are discussing whether cells are intelligent or automatic, and although you have made your choice, I am simply pointing out that “programmed to learn by experience” does not denote being programmed with all the solutions to all the problems – it only denotes being given the means to learn by experience.

I completely accept your statement in bold. Cells can be programmed to learn from experience as in the immunity system. Thus the 3.8 billion year old programming we discuss may work in just this way.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 08:58 (308 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: [...] we are discussing whether cells are intelligent or automatic, and although you have made your choice, I am simply pointing out that “programmed to learn by experience” does not denote being programmed with all the solutions to all the problems – it only denotes being given the means to learn by experience. [David's bold]

DAVID: I completely accept your statement in bold. Cells can be programmed to learn from experience as in the immunity system. Thus the 3.8 billion year old programming we discuss may work in just this way.

I see a glimmer of hope! If some brainless cells have the means to learn from experience, and take decisions based on what they have learned, and they have not been preprogrammed with the solutions to all problems, they clearly work out the solutions themselves, and that = autonomous intelligence (“the ability to acquire knowledge and skills” was the definition you suppled). And if they have it, other cells/cell communities may have it too, and so may brainless bacteria. In turn, I completely accept, as I have always done, the possibility that this autonomous intelligence was designed initially, i.e. 3.8 billion years ago, by a God.

xxxx

I’m going to be a bit naughty here, and switch the thread for this post, because it relates more to cellular intelligence than to the subject of how the brain evolved.

QUOTE: (under “learning new tasks”) We don’t know how it happens in the brain that you decide when to take a particular action and how to execute that action. Having neural measurements from all over the brain of what happened just before the animal spontaneously decided to go and get a reward will be a huge step forward."

DAVID’s comment: An entirely mechanistic approach to the brain as a mechanical computer. It will not tell us how consciousness appears or works. Just how the brain responds to the thoughts that are developed by consciousness in charge of the brain.

I agree. But no matter whether materialism or dualism is correct, there is no escaping the fact that absorbing and evaluating information must take place before this mysterious “consciousness” takes its decisions. There is no difference here between mice with brains, and immune cells and bacteria without brains. Once you claim that consciousness is the sole (soul?) “developer” of thought, whatever its source, and since we can take it for granted that even without a brain the cells and the bacteria absorb and process the information needed to make their decisions, it becomes increasingly difficult to argue that they cannot make those decisions for themselves.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 00:43 (308 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: [...] we are discussing whether cells are intelligent or automatic, and although you have made your choice, I am simply pointing out that “programmed to learn by experience” does not denote being programmed with all the solutions to all the problems – it only denotes being given the means to learn by experience. [David's bold]

DAVID: I completely accept your statement in bold. Cells can be programmed to learn from experience as in the immunity system. Thus the 3.8 billion year old programming we discuss may work in just this way.

dhw: I see a glimmer of hope! If some brainless cells have the means to learn from experience, and take decisions based on what they have learned, and they have not been preprogrammed with the solutions to all problems, they clearly work out the solutions themselves, and that = autonomous intelligence (“the ability to acquire knowledge and skills” was the definition you suppled).

Immune cells are programmed to change their DNA in order to tailor antibodies to the chemicals in the invader. Please re-read this article which I presented earlier:

https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/the-immune-system-is-really-amazing-and-designed/

dhw: And if they have it, other cells/cell communities may have it too, and so may brainless bacteria. In turn, I completely accept, as I have always done, the possibility that this autonomous intelligence was designed initially, i.e. 3.8 billion years ago, by a God.

Only the immune system is known to have this capacity, which is absolutely necessary for life to survive.


xxxx

I’m going to be a bit naughty here, and switch the thread for this post, because it relates more to cellular intelligence than to the subject of how the brain evolved.

QUOTE: (under “learning new tasks”) We don’t know how it happens in the brain that you decide when to take a particular action and how to execute that action. Having neural measurements from all over the brain of what happened just before the animal spontaneously decided to go and get a reward will be a huge step forward."

DAVID’s comment: An entirely mechanistic approach to the brain as a mechanical computer. It will not tell us how consciousness appears or works. Just how the brain responds to the thoughts that are developed by consciousness in charge of the brain.

dhw: I agree. But no matter whether materialism or dualism is correct, there is no escaping the fact that absorbing and evaluating information must take place before this mysterious “consciousness” takes its decisions. There is no difference here between mice with brains, and immune cells and bacteria without brains. Once you claim that consciousness is the sole (soul?) “developer” of thought, whatever its source, and since we can take it for granted that even without a brain the cells and the bacteria absorb and process the information needed to make their decisions, it becomes increasingly difficult to argue that they cannot make those decisions for themselves.

But you keep forgetting that I view bacterial actions as totally a series of molecular reactions triggered by stimuli, which are molecular also.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 13:23 (307 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: [...] I am simply pointing out that “programmed to learn by experience” does not denote being programmed with all the solutions to all the problems – it only denotes being given the means to learn by experience.[David's bold]

DAVID: I completely accept your statement in bold. Cells can be programmed to learn from experience as in the immunity system. Thus the 3.8 billion year old programming we discuss may work in just this way.

dhw: If some brainless cells have the means to learn from experience, and take decisions based on what they have learned, and they have not been preprogrammed with the solutions to all problems, they clearly work out the solutions themselves, and that = autonomous intelligence (“the ability to acquire knowledge and skills” was the definition you supplied).

DAVID: Immune cells are programmed to change their DNA in order to tailor antibodies to the chemicals in the invader. Please re-read this article which I presented earlier:
https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/the-immune-system-is-really-amazing-and-designed/

The article is a red herring. Its concern is to dismiss Darwinian randomness in favour of design - a totally different point to the one we are discussing. It was you who said the immune cells learn by experience and change their DNA accordingly, and I thought you had agreed that they were NOT preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago with every possible solution to every problem. Your next comment appears to confirm this.

DAVID: Only the immune system is known to have this capacity, which is absolutely necessary for life to survive.

Which capacity? According to you, all cell communities have been preprogrammed, so if you think the immune system is unique, then its "capacity" must be the ability to take its own decisions - an integral element of autonomous intelligence. Of course this is necessary for life to survive. The smooth functioning of many cell communities is necessary for life to survive! But if one cell community is KNOWN to have autonomous intelligence, then others may have it too (you agreed to a 50/50 chance), and so perhaps you will pay more heed now to all the implications of the hypothesis. It does not preclude design or the existence of a designer. It only precludes a scenario in which 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed every innovation, lifestyle, natural wonder and cellular adaptation (other than that of the immune cells!) in the history of life, or alternatively dabbled each one personally.

xxxx

dhw: Once you claim that consciousness is the sole (soul?) “developer” of thought, whatever its source, and since we can take it for granted that even without a brain the cells and the bacteria absorb and process the information needed to make their decisions, it becomes increasingly difficult to argue that they cannot make those decisions for themselves.

DAVID: But you keep forgetting that I view bacterial actions as totally a series of molecular reactions triggered by stimuli, which are molecular also.

I don’t keep forgetting it – I keep pointing out that your view entails a computer programme for every bacterial adaptation over the last 3.8 billion years plus the rest of time, and that some scientists who have spent their working lives studying such micro-organisms disagree with your view.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 14:16 (307 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 15:09


The article is a red herring. Its concern is to dismiss Darwinian randomness in favour of design - a totally different point to the one we are discussing. It was you who said the immune cells learn by experience and change their DNA accordingly, and I thought you had agreed that they were NOT preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago with every possible solution to every problem. Your next comment appears to confirm this.

DAVID: Only the immune system is known to have this capacity, which is absolutely necessary for life to survive.

dhw: Which capacity? According to you, all cell communities have been preprogrammed, so if you think the immune system is unique, then its "capacity" must be the ability to take its own decisions - an integral element of autonomous intelligence. Of course this is necessary for life to survive. The smooth functioning of many cell communities is necessary for life to survive! But if one cell community is KNOWN to have autonomous intelligence, then others may have it too (you agreed to a 50/50 chance), and so perhaps you will pay more heed now to all the implications of the hypothesis. It does not preclude design or the existence of a designer. It only precludes a scenario in which 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed every innovation, lifestyle, natural wonder and cellular adaptation (other than that of the immune cells!) in the history of life, or alternatively dabbled each one personally.

The immune cells are the only cells in life with their special ability to adapt their functions to respond to invaders with specialized secretions to kill. This is clearly shown in the research. No other cell type has been showen to have this function. This is not a 50/50 chance. For these cells it is 100%. There is no 'perhaps' here. These cells can learn to recognize the invaders proteins and produce counter measure killing chemicals. This is just how vaccinations work. They do this automatically.

An article shows some of the automaticity:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-12-aging-impairs-innate-immune-response.html

Iwasaki and her colleagues investigated the innate, or inborn, immune response to the flu virus. The Yale team collected blood samples from healthy young adults and older adults aged 65 and above. They isolated monocytes, a type of white blood cell, from the samples and stimulated the monocytes with either flu virus or a mimic of the virus.

The immune response in cells from older adults was severely impaired in critical ways, the researchers found. To fight the flu virus, the body needs to activate potent antiviral proteins called interferons. But in older adults, this response is weakened by age-related damage to a molecule, TRAF3, that signals immune cells to make interferon. Without that signal, and another involving antiviral genes, resistance to flu falls short, they noted.

These cells are programmed!

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Thursday, December 14, 2017, 10:52 (306 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: The article is a red herring. Its concern is to dismiss Darwinian randomness in favour of design - a totally different point to the one we are discussing. It was you who said the immune cells learn by experience and change their DNA accordingly, and I thought you had agreed that they were NOT preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago with every possible solution to every problem. Your next comment appears to confirm this. (dhw's bold)

DAVID: Only the immune system is known to have this capacity, which is absolutely necessary for life to survive.

dhw: Which capacity? According to you, all cell communities have been preprogrammed, so if you think the immune system is unique, then its "capacity" must be the ability to take its own decisions - an integral element of autonomous intelligence. Of course this is necessary for life to survive. The smooth functioning of many cell communities is necessary for life to survive! But if one cell community is KNOWN to have autonomous intelligence, then others may have it too (you agreed to a 50/50 chance), and so perhaps you will pay more heed now to all the implications of the hypothesis. It does not preclude design or the existence of a designer. It only precludes a scenario in which 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed every innovation, lifestyle, natural wonder and cellular adaptation (other than that of the immune cells!) in the history of life, or alternatively dabbled each one personally.

DAVID: The immune cells are the only cells in life with their special ability to adapt their functions to respond to invaders with specialized secretions to kill. This is clearly shown in the research.

And according to you they learn by experience and are able to adapt their DNA according to whatever situation they are confronted with. Having referred me to an article that dismissed Darwinian randomness, you next refer me to an article that explains why the immune cells of older patients are less able to make these changes to themselves. And then you repeat that the cells are programmed. Please simply tell me whether you think the immune cells were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago with solutions to every single problem thrown at them by invaders for the rest of time, or whether they were given the mechanism with which to learn by experience and make their own decisions about how to kill invaders.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Friday, December 15, 2017, 20:58 (305 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: The article is a red herring. Its concern is to dismiss Darwinian randomness in favour of design - a totally different point to the one we are discussing. It was you who said the immune cells learn by experience and change their DNA accordingly, and I thought you had agreed that they were NOT preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago with every possible solution to every problem. Your next comment appears to confirm this. (dhw's bold)

DAVID: Only the immune system is known to have this capacity, which is absolutely necessary for life to survive.

dhw: Which capacity? According to you, all cell communities have been preprogrammed, so if you think the immune system is unique, then its "capacity" must be the ability to take its own decisions - an integral element of autonomous intelligence. Of course this is necessary for life to survive. The smooth functioning of many cell communities is necessary for life to survive! But if one cell community is KNOWN to have autonomous intelligence, then others may have it too (you agreed to a 50/50 chance), and so perhaps you will pay more heed now to all the implications of the hypothesis. It does not preclude design or the existence of a designer. It only precludes a scenario in which 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed every innovation, lifestyle, natural wonder and cellular adaptation (other than that of the immune cells!) in the history of life, or alternatively dabbled each one personally.

DAVID: The immune cells are the only cells in life with their special ability to adapt their functions to respond to invaders with specialized secretions to kill. This is clearly shown in the research.

dhw: And according to you they learn by experience and are able to adapt their DNA according to whatever situation they are confronted with. Having referred me to an article that dismissed Darwinian randomness, you next refer me to an article that explains why the immune cells of older patients are less able to make these changes to themselves. And then you repeat that the cells are programmed. Please simply tell me whether you think the immune cells were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago with solutions to every single problem thrown at them by invaders for the rest of time, or whether they were given the mechanism with which to learn by experience and make their own decisions about how to kill invaders.

They were evolved to automatically learn to kill invaders.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Saturday, December 16, 2017, 11:59 (304 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Please simply tell me whether you think the immune cells were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago with solutions to every single problem thrown at them by invaders for the rest of time, or whether they were given the mechanism with which to learn by experience and make their own decisions about how to kill invaders.

DAVID: They were evolved to automatically learn to kill invaders.

A masterly response. I can only squirm in admiration. They didn’t evolve but “were evolved” (i.e. presumably God guided them), and they learned by experience and changed their DNA according to what they had learned, but they didn’t learn by experience or change their DNA according to what they had learned, because they were automatons merely obeying instructions. The evasion suggests to me that you realize how absurd the 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for every innovation, lifestyle, natural wonder and cellular adaptation really is. So why not accept the possibility that immune cells were given the mechanism with which to learn by experience and make their own decisions accordingly?

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 21, 2017, 00:47 (300 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Please simply tell me whether you think the immune cells were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago with solutions to every single problem thrown at them by invaders for the rest of time, or whether they were given the mechanism with which to learn by experience and make their own decisions about how to kill invaders.

DAVID: They were evolved to automatically learn to kill invaders.

dhw: A masterly response. I can only squirm in admiration. They didn’t evolve but “were evolved” (i.e. presumably God guided them), and they learned by experience and changed their DNA according to what they had learned, but they didn’t learn by experience or change their DNA according to what they had learned, because they were automatons merely obeying instructions. The evasion suggests to me that you realize how absurd the 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for every innovation, lifestyle, natural wonder and cellular adaptation really is. So why not accept the possibility that immune cells were given the mechanism with which to learn by experience and make their own decisions accordingly?

The cells were given an automatic mechanism from the start of life to protect them from the viral enemies that probably arrived at the same time. They could learn by experience and had aguided mechanism for proper reponses, just as our immune cells do now. Vaccinations work because of this ability.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Friday, December 22, 2017, 11:07 (298 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Please simply tell me whether you think the immune cells were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago with solutions to every single problem thrown at them by invaders for the rest of time, or whether they were given the mechanism with which to learn by experience and make their own decisions about how to kill invaders.
DAVID: They were evolved to automatically learn to kill invaders.

dhw: A masterly response. I can only squirm in admiration. They didn’t evolve but “were evolved” (i.e. presumably God guided them), and they learned by experience and changed their DNA according to what they had learned, but they didn’t learn by experience or change their DNA according to what they had learned, because they were automatons merely obeying instructions. The evasion suggests to me that you realize how absurd the 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for every innovation, lifestyle, natural wonder and cellular adaptation really is. So why not accept the possibility that immune cells were given the mechanism with which to learn by experience and make their own decisions accordingly?

DAVID: The cells were given an automatic mechanism from the start of life to protect them from the viral enemies that probably arrived at the same time. They could learn by experience and had a guided mechanism for proper reponses, just as our immune cells do now. Vaccinations work because of this ability.

I suggest that the unnamed mechanism the cells were given from the start of life was intelligence, and they automatically used and use and will go on using their intelligence to come up with the proper responses to each new experience. What do you mean by “guided mechanism”? You have come up with no form of guidance other than a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme or direct dabbling, in which case there is no need for the cells to learn anything by experience. Your God does it all.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Friday, December 22, 2017, 15:53 (298 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: The cells were given an automatic mechanism from the start of life to protect them from the viral enemies that probably arrived at the same time. They could learn by experience and had a guided mechanism for proper reponses, just as our immune cells do now. Vaccinations work because of this ability.

dhw: I suggest that the unnamed mechanism the cells were given from the start of life was intelligence, and they automatically used and use and will go on using their intelligence to come up with the proper responses to each new experience. What do you mean by “guided mechanism”? You have come up with no form of guidance other than a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme or direct dabbling, in which case there is no need for the cells to learn anything by experience. Your God does it all.

As usual, those cells have an appearance of intelligence, because their internal mechanism is so complex and complete and so efficient. Once designed and developed, God had no need to dabble further.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Saturday, December 23, 2017, 12:48 (297 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The cells were given an automatic mechanism from the start of life to protect them from the viral enemies that probably arrived at the same time. They could learn by experience and had a guided mechanism for proper reponses, just as our immune cells do now. Vaccinations work because of this ability.

dhw: I suggest that the unnamed mechanism the cells were given from the start of life was intelligence, and they automatically used and use and will go on using their intelligence to come up with the proper responses to each new experience. What do you mean by “guided mechanism”? You have come up with no form of guidance other than a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme or direct dabbling, in which case there is no need for the cells to learn anything by experience. Your God does it all.

DAVID: As usual, those cells have an appearance of intelligence, because their internal mechanism is so complex and complete and so efficient. Once designed and developed, God had no need to dabble further.

Good. Out goes dabbling, and we skate over 3.8 billion years’ worth of computer programmes plus however many more billion years of new experiences are left. Frankly, I don’t think merely having the appearance of intelligence would suffice to cover billions of years of new experiences from which the cells must learn. But once your God had designed an internal mechanism which could autonomously take its own decisions based on the information it processed through billions of years, I agree there would have been no need for him to dabble. Dabbling would only be necessary if the cells did not have the autonomous intelligence to process all the information and take the appropriate decisions.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 23, 2017, 16:18 (297 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: As usual, those cells have an appearance of intelligence, because their internal mechanism is so complex and complete and so efficient. Once designed and developed, God had no need to dabble further.

dhw: Good. Out goes dabbling, and we skate over 3.8 billion years’ worth of computer programmes plus however many more billion years of new experiences are left. Frankly, I don’t think merely having the appearance of intelligence would suffice to cover billions of years of new experiences from which the cells must learn. But once your God had designed an internal mechanism which could autonomously take its own decisions based on the information it processed through billions of years, I agree there would have been no need for him to dabble. Dabbling would only be necessary if the cells did not have the autonomous intelligence to process all the information and take the appropriate decisions.

Yes, the immune cells have the intelligent information to make new antibodies as needed and protect us.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by dhw, Tuesday, December 26, 2017, 09:06 (294 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: As usual, those cells have an appearance of intelligence, because their internal mechanism is so complex and complete and so efficient. Once designed and developed, God had no need to dabble further.

dhw: Good. Out goes dabbling, and we skate over 3.8 billion years’ worth of computer programmes plus however many more billion years of new experiences are left. Frankly, I don’t think merely having the appearance of intelligence would suffice to cover billions of years of new experiences from which the cells must learn. But once your God had designed an internal mechanism which could autonomously take its own decisions based on the information it processed through billions of years, I agree there would have been no need for him to dabble. Dabbling would only be necessary if the cells did not have the autonomous intelligence to process all the information and take the appropriate decisions.

DAVID: Yes, the immune cells have the intelligent information to make new antibodies as needed and protect us.

A truly remarkable discovery. Cells do not have such hallmarks of intelligence as learning by experience, communicating with one another, taking decisions etc. It is information that learns by experience, communicates (presumably with other information) and takes the decisions that lead to new antibodies. And scientists should test information to see how intelligently it responds to new problems.

bacterial (cellular) intelligence shown to be DNA driven

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 26, 2017, 14:40 (294 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: As usual, those cells have an appearance of intelligence, because their internal mechanism is so complex and complete and so efficient. Once designed and developed, God had no need to dabble further.

dhw: Good. Out goes dabbling, and we skate over 3.8 billion years’ worth of computer programmes plus however many more billion years of new experiences are left. Frankly, I don’t think merely having the appearance of intelligence would suffice to cover billions of years of new experiences from which the cells must learn. But once your God had designed an internal mechanism which could autonomously take its own decisions based on the information it processed through billions of years, I agree there would have been no need for him to dabble. Dabbling would only be necessary if the cells did not have the autonomous intelligence to process all the information and take the appropriate decisions.

DAVID: Yes, the immune cells have the intelligent information to make new antibodies as needed and protect us.

dhw: A truly remarkable discovery. Cells do not have such hallmarks of intelligence as learning by experience, communicating with one another, taking decisions etc. It is information that learns by experience, communicates (presumably with other information) and takes the decisions that lead to new antibodies. And scientists should test information to see how intelligently it responds to new problems.

The cells have all the hallmarks of intelligence, because they contain intelligently designed mechanisms to react to pathogens and create precise antibodies. All life operates on information and with purpose.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by David Turell @, Friday, March 16, 2018, 19:04 (214 days ago) @ David Turell

Shown by recent recearch:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/bacteria-use-brainlike-bursts-of-electricity-to-communic...

"The preferred form of community for bacteria seems to be the biofilm. On teeth, on pipes, on rocks and in the ocean, microbes glom together by the billions and build sticky organic superstructures around themselves. In these films, bacteria can divide labor: Exterior cells may fend off threats, while interior cells produce food. And like humans, who have succeeded in large part by cooperating with each other, bacteria thrive in communities.

***

"But Süel and other scientists are now finding that bacteria in biofilms can also talk to one another electrically. Biofilms appear to use electrically charged particles to organize and synchronize activities across large expanses. This electrical exchange has proved so powerful that biofilms even use it to recruit new bacteria from their surroundings, and to negotiate with neighboring biofilms for their mutual well-being.

***

"Süel, who was trained in physics, suspected that something more than the diffusion of chemical messengers was at work in his Bacillus colonies. He focused on ion channels — specialized molecules that nestle into cells’ outer membranes and ferry electrically charged particles in and out. Ion channels are probably most famous for their role in nerve cells, or neurons.

***

"Despite the parallels to neural activity, Süel emphasizes that biofilms are not just like brains. Neural signals, which rely on fast-acting sodium channels in addition to the potassium channels, can zip along at more than 100 meters per second — a speed that is critical for enabling animals to engage in sophisticated, rapid-motion behaviors such as hunting. The potassium waves in Bacillus spread at the comparatively tortoise-like rate of a few millimeters per hour. “Basically, we’re observing a primitive form of action potential in these biofilms,”

***

"The first answer came earlier this year, in which they showed that Bacillus bacteria seem to use potassium ions to recruit free-swimming cells to the community. Amazingly, the bacteria attracted not only other Bacillus, but also unrelated species. Bacteria, it seems, may have evolved to live not just in monocultures but in diverse communities.

***

"For Gemma Reguera, a microbiologist at Michigan State University, the recent revelations bolster an argument she has long been making to her biologist peers: that physical signals such as light, sound and electricity are as important to bacteria as chemical signals.

***

“'I personally have found [positively charged ion channels] in every single-celled organism I’ve ever looked at,” said Steve Lockless, a biologist at Texas A&M University who was Süel’s lab mate in graduate school. Bacteria could thus use potassium to speak not just with one another but with other life-forms, including perhaps humans, (my bold)

***


"'The fact that microbes use potassium suggests that this is an ancient adaptation that developed before the eukaryotic cells that make up plants, animals and other life-forms diverged from bacteria, according to Jordi Garcia-Ojalvo, a professor of systems biology
(my bold)

***

"The findings form “a very interesting piece of work,” said James Shapiro, a bacterial geneticist at the University of Chicago. Shapiro is not afraid of bold hypotheses: He has argued that bacterial colonies might be capable of a form of cognition. But he approaches analogies between neurons and bacteria with caution. The potassium-mediated behaviors Süel has demonstrated so far are simple enough that they don’t require the type of sophisticated circuitry brains have evolved, Shapiro said. “It’s not clear exactly how much information processing is going on.'”

Comment: I'm with Shapiro. This activity is certainly managed in some layer of genome control. But it also fits my key point that God uses patterns to develop upon as He conducts the process of evolution. Note my bolded sentences above.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by dhw, Saturday, March 17, 2018, 12:18 (213 days ago) @ David Turell

Shown by recent research:
https://www.quantamagazine.org/bacteria-use-brainlike-bursts-of-electricity-to-communic...

QUOTE: "The preferred form of community for bacteria seems to be the biofilm. On teeth, on pipes, on rocks and in the ocean, microbes glom together by the billions and build sticky organic superstructures around themselves. In these films, bacteria can divide labor: Exterior cells may fend off threats, while interior cells produce food. And like humans, who have succeeded in large part by cooperating with each other, bacteria thrive in communities. (dhw’s bold)

QUOTE: "But Süel and other scientists are now finding that bacteria in biofilms can also talk to one another electrically. Biofilms appear to use electrically charged particles to organize and synchronize activities across large expanses. This electrical exchange has proved so powerful that biofilms even use it to recruit new bacteria from their surroundings, and to negotiate with neighboring biofilms for their mutual well-being.” (dhw’s bold)

QUOTE: The findings form “a very interesting piece of work,” said James Shapiro, a bacterial geneticist at the University of Chicago. Shapiro is not afraid of bold hypotheses: He has argued that bacterial colonies might be capable of a form of cognition. But he approaches analogies between neurons and bacteria with caution. The potassium-mediated behaviors Süel has demonstrated so far are simple enough that they don’t require the type of sophisticated circuitry brains have evolved, Shapiro said. “It’s not clear exactly how much information processing is going on.'” (dhw's bold)

DAVID’s comment: I'm with Shapiro. This activity is certainly managed in some layer of genome control. But it also fits my key point that God uses patterns to develop upon as He conducts the process of evolution. Note my bolded sentences above.

I’m also with Shapiro, who elsewhere is unequivocal in his support for the hypothesis that bacteria are (I don’t know why the article says “might be") cognitive, intelligent beings, which does not mean that their intelligence is anything like that of humans. That is why they don’t require the “sophisticated circuitry” of brains. The article focuses on the material means by which bacteria communicate (just as we humans communicate through materials). But cooperation, recruitment and negotiation are clear indications that the material means are guided by a form of cognition. If God exists, then of course he would have been the designer, and yes indeed, evolution shows clear patterns, which would still be the case if your God allowed the whole process to evolve through organisms’ autonomous use of the mechanisms he had designed.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 17, 2018, 14:29 (213 days ago) @ dhw

Shown by recent research:
https://www.quantamagazine.org/bacteria-use-brainlike-bursts-of-electricity-to-communic...

QUOTE: "The preferred form of community for bacteria seems to be the biofilm. On teeth, on pipes, on rocks and in the ocean, microbes glom together by the billions and build sticky organic superstructures around themselves. In these films, bacteria can divide labor: Exterior cells may fend off threats, while interior cells produce food. And like humans, who have succeeded in large part by cooperating with each other, bacteria thrive in communities. (dhw’s bold)

QUOTE: "But Süel and other scientists are now finding that bacteria in biofilms can also talk to one another electrically. Biofilms appear to use electrically charged particles to organize and synchronize activities across large expanses. This electrical exchange has proved so powerful that biofilms even use it to recruit new bacteria from their surroundings, and to negotiate with neighboring biofilms for their mutual well-being.” (dhw’s bold)

QUOTE: The findings form “a very interesting piece of work,” said James Shapiro, a bacterial geneticist at the University of Chicago. Shapiro is not afraid of bold hypotheses: He has argued that bacterial colonies might be capable of a form of cognition. But he approaches analogies between neurons and bacteria with caution. The potassium-mediated behaviors Süel has demonstrated so far are simple enough that they don’t require the type of sophisticated circuitry brains have evolved, Shapiro said. “It’s not clear exactly how much information processing is going on.'” (dhw's bold)

DAVID’s comment: I'm with Shapiro. This activity is certainly managed in some layer of genome control. But it also fits my key point that God uses patterns to develop upon as He conducts the process of evolution. Note my bolded sentences above.

dhw: I’m also with Shapiro, who elsewhere is unequivocal in his support for the hypothesis that bacteria are (I don’t know why the article says “might be") cognitive, intelligent beings, which does not mean that their intelligence is anything like that of humans. That is why they don’t require the “sophisticated circuitry” of brains. The article focuses on the material means by which bacteria communicate (just as we humans communicate through materials). But cooperation, recruitment and negotiation are clear indications that the material means are guided by a form of cognition. If God exists, then of course he would have been the designer, and yes indeed, evolution shows clear patterns, which would still be the case if your God allowed the whole process to evolve through organisms’ autonomous use of the mechanisms he had designed.

Those mechanisms would have followed God's guidelines. You want God to be only partially in charge.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by dhw, Sunday, March 18, 2018, 12:03 (212 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I’m also with Shapiro, who elsewhere is unequivocal in his support for the hypothesis that bacteria are (I don’t know why the article says “might be") cognitive, intelligent beings, which does not mean that their intelligence is anything like that of humans. That is why they don’t require the “sophisticated circuitry” of brains. The article focuses on the material means by which bacteria communicate (just as we humans communicate through materials). But cooperation, recruitment and negotiation are clear indications that the material means are guided by a form of cognition. If God exists, then of course he would have been the designer, and yes indeed, evolution shows clear patterns, which would still be the case if your God allowed the whole process to evolve through organisms’ autonomous use of the mechanisms he had designed.

DAVID: Those mechanisms would have followed God's guidelines. You want God to be only partially in charge.

Since you believe in human free will, clearly you acknowledge the possibility that your God is prepared to allow some organisms to make their own way – i.e. in our case he is only partially in charge. I am merely extending that principle to the evolutionary bush itself, i.e. that he set up the mechanism, and then let it make its own way. I don’t “want” anything. I am simply trying to find an explanation for why things are as they are. This particular post suggests to me that the communal intelligence of bacteria might throw light on the communal intelligence of all cell communities, from individual organs to ant society to human society. The three sentences that I highlighted illustrate the point:

And like humans, who have succeeded in large part by cooperating with each other, bacteria thrive in communities.

This electrical exchange has proved so powerful that biofilms even use it to recruit new bacteria from their surroundings, and to negotiate with neighboring biofilms for their mutual well-being.

[Shapiro] has argued that bacterial colonies might be capable of a form of cognition.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 18, 2018, 17:59 (212 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I’m also with Shapiro, who elsewhere is unequivocal in his support for the hypothesis that bacteria are (I don’t know why the article says “might be") cognitive, intelligent beings, which does not mean that their intelligence is anything like that of humans. That is why they don’t require the “sophisticated circuitry” of brains. The article focuses on the material means by which bacteria communicate (just as we humans communicate through materials). But cooperation, recruitment and negotiation are clear indications that the material means are guided by a form of cognition. If God exists, then of course he would have been the designer, and yes indeed, evolution shows clear patterns, which would still be the case if your God allowed the whole process to evolve through organisms’ autonomous use of the mechanisms he had designed.

DAVID: Those mechanisms would have followed God's guidelines. You want God to be only partially in charge.

dhw: Since you believe in human free will, clearly you acknowledge the possibility that your God is prepared to allow some organisms to make their own way – i.e. in our case he is only partially in charge. I am merely extending that principle to the evolutionary bush itself, i.e. that he set up the mechanism, and then let it make its own way. I don’t “want” anything. I am simply trying to find an explanation for why things are as they are. This particular post suggests to me that the communal intelligence of bacteria might throw light on the communal intelligence of all cell communities, from individual organs to ant society to human society. The three sentences that I highlighted illustrate the point:

And like humans, who have succeeded in large part by cooperating with each other, bacteria thrive in communities.

This electrical exchange has proved so powerful that biofilms even use it to recruit new bacteria from their surroundings, and to negotiate with neighboring biofilms for their mutual well-being.

[Shapiro] has argued that bacterial colonies might be capable of a form of cognition.

I have stated that free will exists in humans who have brains. Don't try to stretch my point to single-celled animals; it won't work. I suspect the ability for single-celled animals to cooperate is a mechanism given to them by God. The ability to use ionization electricity presages the appearance of neurons later in evolution, since one early stage set up advances in future stages, under God's control.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by dhw, Monday, March 19, 2018, 12:43 (211 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Those mechanisms would have followed God's guidelines. You want God to be only partially in charge.

dhw: Since you believe in human free will, clearly you acknowledge the possibility that your God is prepared to allow some organisms to make their own way – i.e. in our case he is only partially in charge. I am merely extending that principle to the evolutionary bush itself, i.e. that he set up the mechanism, and then let it make its own way. I don’t “want” anything. I am simply trying to find an explanation for why things are as they are. This particular post suggests to me that the communal intelligence of bacteria might throw light on the communal intelligence of all cell communities, from individual organs to ant society to human society. The three sentences that I highlighted illustrate the point:

And like humans, who have succeeded in large part by cooperating with each other, bacteria thrive in communities.
This electrical exchange has proved so powerful that biofilms even use it to recruit new bacteria from their surroundings, and to negotiate with neighboring biofilms for their mutual well-being.”

[Shapiro] has argued that bacterial colonies might be capable of a form of cognition.

DAVID: I have stated that free will exists in humans who have brains. Don't try to stretch my point to single-celled animals; it won't work.

You complained that I wanted God to be only partially in charge. My point was that he CHOSE to be only partially in charge if he gave humans free will. I am not discussing the mechanisms of free will here, but the fact that your God is prepared NOT to be in full charge. An evolutionary free-for-all would also be in keeping with your own theory that he watches with interest.

DAVID: I suspect the ability for single-celled animals to cooperate is a mechanism given to them by God. The ability to use ionization electricity presages the appearance of neurons later in evolution, since one early stage set up advances in future stages, under God's control.

If one believes in God, then of course the mechanism would have stemmed from him, and there is no reason to assume that the mechanism is not an autonomous form of cognition. I like the idea of bacterial electricity presaging neurons – it establishes a clear evolutionary progression. Whether your God directed that progression or watched it evolve through the mechanism he had invented (allowing for occasional dabbles) is as open to debate as the question of your God’s existence.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by David Turell @, Monday, March 19, 2018, 14:20 (211 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I have stated that free will exists in humans who have brains. Don't try to stretch my point to single-celled animals; it won't work.

dhw: You complained that I wanted God to be only partially in charge. My point was that he CHOSE to be only partially in charge if he gave humans free will. I am not discussing the mechanisms of free will here, but the fact that your God is prepared NOT to be in full charge. An evolutionary free-for-all would also be in keeping with your own theory that he watches with interest.

God was obviously prepared when He gave humans the degree of consciousness we have. You can't extrapolate that willingness to anything before He achieved his goal.


DAVID: I suspect the ability for single-celled animals to cooperate is a mechanism given to them by God. The ability to use ionization electricity presages the appearance of neurons later in evolution, since one early stage set up advances in future stages, under God's control.

dhw: If one believes in God, then of course the mechanism would have stemmed from him, and there is no reason to assume that the mechanism is not an autonomous form of cognition. I like the idea of bacterial electricity presaging neurons – it establishes a clear evolutionary progression. Whether your God directed that progression or watched it evolve through the mechanism he had invented (allowing for occasional dabbles) is as open to debate as the question of your God’s existence.

It all follows my thought about using patterns of development.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by dhw, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 12:22 (210 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I have stated that free will exists in humans who have brains. Don't try to stretch my point to single-celled animals; it won't work.

dhw: You complained that I wanted God to be only partially in charge. My point was that he CHOSE to be only partially in charge if he gave humans free will. I am not discussing the mechanisms of free will here, but the fact that your God is prepared NOT to be in full charge. An evolutionary free-for-all would also be in keeping with your own theory that he watches with interest.

DAVID: God was obviously prepared when He gave humans the degree of consciousness we have. You can't extrapolate that willingness to anything before He achieved his goal.

Nor can you assume that he did not have that willingness before humans came on the scene. These are two different theistic hypothesis – God in complete control until evolution reached Homo sapiens, or God deliberately allowing evolution to run its own course (though of course he could dabble if he wanted to). The latter fits perfectly with the higgledy-piggledy bush of comings and goings, and you cannot claim you know that your God did not willingly relinquish control.

dhw: If one believes in God, then of course the mechanism would have stemmed from him, and there is no reason to assume that the mechanism is not an autonomous form of cognition. I like the idea of bacterial electricity presaging neurons – it establishes a clear evolutionary progression. Whether your God directed that progression or watched it evolve through the mechanism he had invented (allowing for occasional dabbles) is as open to debate as the question of your God’s existence.

DAVID: It all follows my thought about using patterns of development.

The patterns of development are clear, and form the basis of Darwin’s theory of common descent. He even attributes the patterns to your God in later editions of Origin, though as an agnostic he would in fact have kept an open mind.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 17:13 (210 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: God was obviously prepared when He gave humans the degree of consciousness we have. You can't extrapolate that willingness to anything before He achieved his goal.

dhw: Nor can you assume that he did not have that willingness before humans came on the scene. These are two different theistic hypothesis – God in complete control until evolution reached Homo sapiens, or God deliberately allowing evolution to run its own course (though of course he could dabble if he wanted to). The latter fits perfectly with the higgledy-piggledy bush of comings and goings, and you cannot claim you know that your God did not willingly relinquish control.

If God wanted a directed evolution, as I believe He did, then His release of any control would have been with guidelines, as I've suggested in the past.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by dhw, Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 12:53 (209 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment (under “Immunity"): These findings add to the complexity of the immune response. Since bacteria and viruses constantly or on the attack, these systems must have developed early in evolution in a complete defense. They must have been designed by God.

dhw: Your God must have had lots of fun designing these killer bacteria and viruses, and then working out ways in which some organisms might or might not be able to survive them. And apparently all for the sake of the human brain.

DAVID: Another non-religious thought is God created a such a strong driving force to produce life on Earth with bacteria that viruses also appeared and in each group nasty ones popped up, that then had to be controlled. Raises the issue of whether God is under total control or just well-intended? I have no way of knowing.

You have no way of knowing, and yet when I suggest that he might deliberately have sacrificed control (as opposed to actually losing control, which is the possibility you envisage here with nasty ones “popping up”) and allowed evolution to run its own course, you refuse to accept that possibility.

DAVID: God was obviously prepared when He gave humans the degree of consciousness we have. You can't extrapolate that willingness to anything before He achieved his goal.

dhw: Nor can you assume that he did not have that willingness before humans came on the scene. These are two different theistic hypothesis – God in complete control until evolution reached Homo sapiens, or God deliberately allowing evolution to run its own course (though of course he could dabble if he wanted to). The latter fits perfectly with the higgledy-piggledy bush of comings and goings, and you cannot claim you know that your God did not willingly relinquish control.

DAVID: If God wanted a directed evolution, as I believe He did, then His release of any control would have been with guidelines, as I've suggested in the past.

The only guidelines you have come up with are precise instructions handed down by the first cells, or personal dabbles. No autonomy anywhere. So did he give the nasty bacteria and viruses guidelines, as above, or did he lose control, or maybe even willingly sacrifice control? Now apparently you have no way of knowing. We are making progress.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 13:08 (209 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment (under “Immunity"): These findings add to the complexity of the immune response. Since bacteria and viruses constantly or on the attack, these systems must have developed early in evolution in a complete defense. They must have been designed by God.

dhw: Your God must have had lots of fun designing these killer bacteria and viruses, and then working out ways in which some organisms might or might not be able to survive them. And apparently all for the sake of the human brain.

DAVID: Another non-religious thought is God created a such a strong driving force to produce life on Earth with bacteria that viruses also appeared and in each group nasty ones popped up, that then had to be controlled. Raises the issue of whether God is under total control or just well-intended? I have no way of knowing.

dhw: You have no way of knowing, and yet when I suggest that he might deliberately have sacrificed control (as opposed to actually losing control, which is the possibility you envisage here with nasty ones “popping up”) and allowed evolution to run its own course, you refuse to accept that possibility.

DAVID: God was obviously prepared when He gave humans the degree of consciousness we have. You can't extrapolate that willingness to anything before He achieved his goal.

dhw: Nor can you assume that he did not have that willingness before humans came on the scene. These are two different theistic hypothesis – God in complete control until evolution reached Homo sapiens, or God deliberately allowing evolution to run its own course (though of course he could dabble if he wanted to). The latter fits perfectly with the higgledy-piggledy bush of comings and goings, and you cannot claim you know that your God did not willingly relinquish control.

DAVID: If God wanted a directed evolution, as I believe He did, then His release of any control would have been with guidelines, as I've suggested in the past.

dhw: The only guidelines you have come up with are precise instructions handed down by the first cells, or personal dabbles. No autonomy anywhere. So did he give the nasty bacteria and viruses guidelines, as above, or did he lose control, or maybe even willingly sacrifice control? Now apparently you have no way of knowing. We are making progress.

Since it is obvious to me God used evolution to create living forms and He wanted the arrival of humans, He controlled the advance of evolution, but viruses may have been a side effect of the drive for life. They appear to have been present since the very beginning, which also suggests they are a purposeful addition. Evidence is not clear.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by dhw, Thursday, March 22, 2018, 10:39 (208 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Another non-religious thought is God created a such a strong driving force to produce life on Earth with bacteria that viruses also appeared and in each group nasty ones popped up, that then had to be controlled. Raises the issue of whether God is under total control or just well-intended? I have no way of knowing.

DAVID: If God wanted a directed evolution, as I believe He did, then His release of any control would have been with guidelines, as I've suggested in the past.
dhw: The only guidelines you have come up with are precise instructions handed down by the first cells, or personal dabbles. No autonomy anywhere. So did he give the nasty bacteria and viruses guidelines, as above, or did he lose control, or maybe even willingly sacrifice control? Now apparently you have no way of knowing. We are making progress.

DAVID: Since it is obvious to me God used evolution to create living forms and He wanted the arrival of humans, He controlled the advance of evolution, but viruses may have been a side effect of the drive for life. They appear to have been present since the very beginning, which also suggests they are a purposeful addition. Evidence is not clear.

So your God may have purposefully added bad viruses and bacteria, or he may have lost control, or he may have deliberately sacrificed control to let evolution take its own course (you left out that alternative). Evidence is not clear. You are prepared to consider the possibility that he did not HAVE total control, and yet you are not prepared to consider the possibility that he did not WANT total control.

bacterial intelligence: they signal electrically in biofilm

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 22, 2018, 17:51 (208 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Another non-religious thought is God created a such a strong driving force to produce life on Earth with bacteria that viruses also appeared and in each group nasty ones popped up, that then had to be controlled. Raises the issue of whether God is under total control or just well-intended? I have no way of knowing.

DAVID: If God wanted a directed evolution, as I believe He did, then His release of any control would have been with guidelines, as I've suggested in the past.
dhw: The only guidelines you have come up with are precise instructions handed down by the first cells, or personal dabbles. No autonomy anywhere. So did he give the nasty bacteria and viruses guidelines, as above, or did he lose control, or maybe even willingly sacrifice control? Now apparently you have no way of knowing. We are making progress.

DAVID: Since it is obvious to me God used evolution to create living forms and He wanted the arrival of humans, He controlled the advance of evolution, but viruses may have been a side effect of the drive for life. They appear to have been present since the very beginning, which also suggests they are a purposeful addition. Evidence is not clear.

dhw: So your God may have purposefully added bad viruses and bacteria, or he may have lost control, or he may have deliberately sacrificed control to let evolution take its own course (you left out that alternative). Evidence is not clear. You are prepared to consider the possibility that he did not HAVE total control, and yet you are not prepared to consider the possibility that he did not WANT total control.

Since He had to be sure humans evolved, He maintained full guidance.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial defences

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 14:24 (279 days ago) @ David Turell

New information on bacterial protective mechanisms involving a group of enzymes to fight viruses, which do not indicate whether bacteria are intelligent:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/bacteria-find-united-they-stand-divided-they-fall

"In a counter-intuitive result, researchers have found that viruses that infect and kill individual bacterial cells can end up benefitting the same bacterial species on a population level.

***

"Viruses that infect bacteria are known as bacteriophages. Some are lethal to the target microbe, while others end up in a more complex relationship, sometimes actually integrating some of their genetic material with their host. This kind of transfer has long been recognised as an important mechanism by which bacteria adapt and evolve.

"Viruses that can blend in rather than kill outright are called temperate, but their friendliness can’t be taken for granted. Whether the outcome for an individual bacterium is useful or lethal appears to be random – an observation that caused a team led by IST Austria’s Maros Pleska to wonder if there was some type of governing mechanism at work on either side of virus-bacteria divide that somehow determined the outcome.

"What they discovered surprised them.

"The key, they suspected, was a bit of bacterial kit known as a Restriction-Modification system (RMS), a collection of specialist enzymes that attack viral genetic material and cut it up into fragments. Bacteria deploy their RMS, sometimes successfully, to defeat lethal viral types. Pleska and colleagues wanted to know if the RMS behaved differently when confronted with a temperate virus that might be potentially beneficial to the individual bacterium.

"The answer, it turned out, was no: the RMS always attacked, but the virus usually won -- and usually killed the host.

"The team then scaled up their experiment to a population level, essentially introducing a large temperate virus horde to an even larger single-species bacterial colony. Based on the individual results, the researchers predicted that the bacteria would use its RMS to battle the infection but that in the end the size of the colony would be significantly reduced.
The actual result was confounding: in a much higher proportion than was predicted, the viruses integrated with the bacteria, passing on genetic material. On a population level, the bacteria benefitted, even though any given microbe, in isolation, was likely to die.

"The explanation, they discovered, lay in a misunderstanding regarding the role of the RMS. Rather than simply being there to kill, or try to kill, an invading virus, Pleska’s team discovered its function was more nuanced. Its job was not to defeat, but to delay infection.
The delay bought time for the bacteria, allowing the colony to grow. Beyond an optimum size, the virus-bacteria battle became a numbers game, with more bacteria able to integrate viral DNA than be killed by it.

"The researchers found that small bacterial colonies were much more likely than large ones to suffer high casualty rates from viral infections. Similarly, a growing colony was much more likely to fare badly if it was infected early in the growth."

Comment: This is not bacterial intelligence, but a complement of giant enzymes molecules that bacteria produce to fend off viruses. I believe it is an implant of intelligently supplied molecules. A random search by chance evolution is very unlikely to find a specialized group of huge enzyme molecules.

Explaining natural wonders: bacterial defences

by dhw, Thursday, January 11, 2018, 14:52 (278 days ago) @ David Turell

Three posts today, all of which demonstrate various manifestations of autonomous intelligence (including the ability to learn by experience) in brainless organisms.

DAVID: New information on bacterial protective mechanisms involving a group of enzymes to fight viruses, which do not indicate whether bacteria are intelligent:
https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/bacteria-find-united-they-stand-divided-they-fall

QUOTE: “The delay bought time for the bacteria, allowing the colony to grow. Beyond an optimum size, the virus-bacteria battle became a numbers game, with more bacteria able to integrate viral DNA than be killed by it.”
"The researchers found that small bacterial colonies were much more likely than large ones to suffer high casualty rates from viral infections..."

DAVID’s comment: This is not bacterial intelligence, but a complement of giant enzymes molecules that bacteria produce to fend off viruses. I believe it is an implant of intelligently supplied molecules. […]

You begin by saying the experiment does not show whether bacteria are intelligent, and you end by saying they are not. It does not occur to you that “bacteria find united they stand, divided they fall” suggests that they might know what they are doing.
xxxxx
QUOTE: (under “cell memories”) “Epithelial stem cells are the first non-immune cells found to have a memory, and the findings point to “a primitive basic response to jazz up the cells quickly and make them heal the wound,” says George Cotsarelis, a dermatologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine who was not involved in the study. “It changes the way people think about the skin now.'”

DAVID’s comment: That DNA (chromatin) automatically remained open indicates a logical cellular automaticity for survival, developed in the course of evolution.

In addition to immune cells which work out solutions to new problems, we now have epithelial stem cells that have memory, which also enables them to learn from experience and solve the healing problem faster than they did originally. By parroting the word “automatic”, while admitting that one cannot tell the difference between autonomous intelligence and automaticity, you do not prove automaticity.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
DAVID (under “plant roots seek water”): A new study shows that root tips grow toward water. The exact cellular mechanism is not yet known:
https://phys.org/news/2018-01-darkhow-roots-growth.html

QUOTES: "Without eyes, ears, or a central nervous system, plants can perceive the direction of environmental cues and respond to ensure their survival.”
"'We knew plants were doing this—branching toward water—but not the mechanism of how the plant was perceiving and reacting to this environmental signal," Dinneny explained.

"Using both fine-scale microdissection and mathematical modeling approaches, they found that the tip of the root where cell expansion drives growth is uniquely able to perceive and respond to moisture cues by shaping the direction in which the root branches out into the soil.

DAVID’s comment: I am sure the cells at the tip of each root have automatic stimuli receptors which then set up growth director systems, and will be discovered.

Yes, you are always sure that some sort of automatic mechanism will be discovered, and you cannot abide the idea that all living organisms – whether they have brains or not - may have some form of autonomous intelligence. Now you have your God’s 3.8-billion-year-old computer preprogramme providing the first living cells with instructions to be passed on to tree root tips.

Explaining natural wonders

by BBella @, Monday, September 19, 2016, 20:46 (757 days ago) @ David Turell


DAVID: My concept totally differs: a new species has new parts or new mechanisms which are coordinated. This must be planned in advance. If punctuated equilibrium is the rule, there is no other way. I firmly believe your concept of conscious intelligence to create new species resides in God. As an example the current compliment of 200 dog types don't look like wolves, but they really still are, and human intelligence did that. No one knows how new species happen naturally.

dhw: Of course new species have new parts or mechanisms that are coordinated. No difference between our concepts. “Planned in advance” requires explanation. In advance of what?


How are new parts coordinated unless planned in advance of them being put into play as modified organisms.

Why planning in advance the only option, David? All organisms could just as well have a morphogenic field intrinsically connected with all other fields, so that if any advances or changes are to be processed, organisms themselves could coordinate instantly, if needs be, or incrementally with ALL other fields to advance the new change that will work best, not only for that which needs the change, but for ALL within the closed fields and beyond.

Explaining natural wonders

by David Turell @, Monday, September 19, 2016, 23:25 (757 days ago) @ BBella


DAVID: My concept totally differs: a new species has new parts or new mechanisms which are coordinated. This must be planned in advance. If punctuated equilibrium is the rule, there is no other way. I firmly believe your concept of conscious intelligence to create new species resides in God. As an example the current compliment of 200 dog types don't look like wolves, but they really still are, and human intelligence did that. No one knows how new species happen naturally.

dhw: Of course new species have new parts or mechanisms that are coordinated. No difference between our concepts. “Planned in advance” requires explanation. In advance of what?


David: How are new parts coordinated unless planned in advance of them being put into play as modified organisms.


BBella: Why planning in advance the only option, David? All organisms could just as well have a morphogenic field intrinsically connected with all other fields, so that if any advances or changes are to be processed, organisms themselves could coordinate instantly, if needs be, or incrementally with ALL other fields to advance the new change that will work best, not only for that which needs the change, but for ALL within the closed fields and beyond.

Morphogenic fields guide form creation, other fields could guide protein planning, and from my viewpoint God contributed all the fields. Should we assume the fields appeared by chance?

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