Natures wonders: Bird Migration (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 04, 2012, 01:10 (2786 days ago)

More information about magntic mechanisms in migrating birds; maintaining a quantum state:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20927963.000-quantum-states-last-longer-in-birds-...

Natures wonders: Parasite life cycles

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 04, 2012, 17:17 (2785 days ago) @ David Turell

Parasite life cycles. These guys are so clever:

http://the-scientist.com/2012/01/01/animal-mind-control/

Natures wonders: Plant carnivores

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 14:48 (2779 days ago) @ David Turell

There are at least 600 plant species of this type Venus fly trap comes to mind. This one hunts bugs in the soil:

http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-01-carnivorous-worms-sticky.html

Natures wonders:Intermittent symbiosis

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 01:07 (2766 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:cell garbage collectors

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 01, 2012, 16:33 (2757 days ago) @ David Turell

Cleaning up junk in a cell. Put it in a vacuole and lyse it:

http://the-scientist.com/2012/02/01/the-enigmatic-membrane/

Natures wonders:design of spider webs

by David Turell @, Friday, February 03, 2012, 04:38 (2756 days ago) @ David Turell

Yes, they looked designed. They are strong:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120201140004.htm

Natures wonders:brain connections

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 04, 2012, 18:55 (2754 days ago) @ David Turell

A new book about the brain and how it might work. If you don't think living matter is complex, just look at this, A 100 million neurons each with thousands of connections, many self-tailored by the individual's experiences:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204740904577192974245115762.html?KEYWORDS...

Natures wonders:brain connections

by dhw, Monday, February 06, 2012, 14:52 (2752 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A new book about the brain and how it might work. If you don't think living matter is complex, just look at this, A 100 million neurons each with thousands of connections, many self-tailored by the individual's experiences:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204740904577192974245115762.html?KEYWORDS...

David, thank you for continually providing us with all these references. This one is mind (brain?) boggling.

Natures wonders:assassin bugs at work

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 09, 2012, 23:23 (2749 days ago) @ dhw

Natures wonders: Bacteria sense environment

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 15:47 (2737 days ago) @ David Turell

Bacterial molecule complex receptor molecules sense the environment:

http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-02-honeycomb-responsible-bacteria-extraordinary.html

Natures wonders: Virus gene helps human placenta

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 20:39 (2737 days ago) @ David Turell

Found in several animals that use placentas, but not pigs for example:


http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2012/02/14/mammals-made-by-viruses/

Natures wonders:Fungus masters

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 22:44 (2737 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:summing parrot

by David Turell @, Monday, February 27, 2012, 23:27 (2731 days ago) @ David Turell

Wonderful results at Harvard. A parrot who does sums correctly. Apparently he died of the strain:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=alex-parrot-posthumous-paper-mathemati...

Natures wonders:scorpion vs. sandstorm

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 23:00 (2729 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Hunting while eyeless

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 15:09 (2722 days ago) @ David Turell

The Hydra hunts and fires. Opsin triggerss the spear:


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120305150658.htm

Natures wonders: Defense by vomiting!

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 15:34 (2722 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Scratching an itch

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 15:39 (2722 days ago) @ David Turell

Brown bears (grizzlies) have large brains for their size, but they are too dangerous to learn much about. This one scratched an itch in a smart way:

http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-wild-brown-tool.html

Natures wonders: Parasites eat fish tongues! Ugh?

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 08, 2012, 21:37 (2721 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Ants find their way home

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 00:44 (2717 days ago) @ David Turell

Desert ants must return home, counting steps! Sniffing for Co2 from their breathe:

http://www.biologynews.net/archives/2012/03/09/orientation_of_desert_ants_every_cue_cou...

Natures wonders: Bird\'s eye compass

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 15, 2012, 14:14 (2714 days ago) @ David Turell

If you had a compass in your eyes, no need for a map:

http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-birds-evolved-compass.html

Natures wonders: Alert Iguanas

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 15, 2012, 18:21 (2714 days ago) @ David Turell

How iguanas know about danger, listening to bird calls. And they are sea-going as well:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/thoughtful-animal/2012/03/15/eavesdropping-iguanas-...

Natures wonders: Cooking a hornet.

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 04, 2012, 22:08 (2694 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Fastest poison makers

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 15:09 (2688 days ago) @ David Turell

Cone snails have made over 100 neurotoxins to paralyze prey by high mutation rate.

http://phys.org/news/2012-04-snails-fast-genes-predatory-refine.html

Natures wonders: Poison and symbiosis

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 15:47 (2680 days ago) @ David Turell

A marine worm lives off carbon monoxide and Hydrogen sulphide, by keeping bacteria who do the job under its skin:

http://phys.org/news/2012-04-toxic-menu-marine-worm-carbon.html

No guts at all!

Natures wonders: Poison and symbiosis

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 21:52 (2680 days ago) @ David Turell

This is a fascinating article. The only part that bugs me is the way they bandy about their presuppositions of evolution.

"They do this so effectively, that the worm has lost its entire digestive system, including its mouth and gut, during the course of evolution, and feeds only through its symbionts"

"The worm provides us with an example of the power of evolution. Over the course of millions of years, adaptation and selection have led to the development of an optimally adapted host-symbiont system. And these seemingly modest worms are an excellent model for a better understanding of other complex symbioses, such as those of the human gut", says Dubilier.

Do they have specimens of the worm WITH a digestive system, mouth, and gut, or is it just assumed sometime in the dim recesses of the past? How ironic that this worm is part of the world's natural filtration system, eating up greenhouse gasses that the rest of the living world produces.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Beck compass

by David Turell @, Friday, April 20, 2012, 06:04 (2679 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Beck compass

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, April 20, 2012, 19:54 (2678 days ago) @ David Turell

Birds navigating with compass?

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2012/04/12/those-magnetic-neurons-birds-use-t...

Seeing Magnetic Lines

If this turns out to be true then it could have major impacts on research. Will be interesting to see what comes from it.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Raven memory

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 21, 2012, 15:47 (2677 days ago) @ David Turell

Edgar Alan Poe's friends appear to hve an extended memory:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419132558.htm

Natures wonders: Plants listen & Hag fish emetics

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 17, 2012, 22:20 (2651 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Insect trapping

by David Turell @, Friday, June 15, 2012, 01:39 (2623 days ago) @ David Turell

A new approach by a pitcher plant. 'Raindrops are falling on my head':

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613184007.htm

Natures wonders: Insect trapping

by xeno6696 @, Omaha NE, Friday, June 15, 2012, 01:47 (2623 days ago) @ David Turell

A new approach by a pitcher plant. 'Raindrops are falling on my head':

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613184007.htm

That smacks more of chance: how many nasty storms will a pitcher plant see in its lifetime? 1/3? 1/2 at best?

--
\"Why is it, Master, that ascetics fight with ascetics?\"

\"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics.\"

Natures wonders: Insect trapping

by David Turell @, Friday, June 15, 2012, 05:06 (2623 days ago) @ xeno6696

A new approach by a pitcher plant. 'Raindrops are falling on my head':

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613184007.htm


That smacks more of chance: how many nasty storms will a pitcher plant see in its lifetime? 1/3? 1/2 at best?

It appears to live by rain drops.

Natures wonders: Nitrogen transfer

by David Turell @, Friday, June 22, 2012, 16:34 (2615 days ago) @ David Turell

Fungal transfer of killed insect nitrogen to plants through the soil


http://phys.org/news/2012-06-nitrogen-fungi-insects.html

Natures wonders: Nitrogen transfer

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 28, 2012, 21:48 (2609 days ago) @ David Turell

Fungal transfer of killed insect nitrogen to plants through the soil


http://phys.org/news/2012-06-nitrogen-fungi-insects.html

Another article on fungal nitrogen trasfer:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/06/21/plants-use-fungi-to-eat-i...

Natures wonders: Photosynthesis

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 03, 2012, 02:01 (2605 days ago) @ David Turell

More than 95% efficient in producing energy. Takes only four photons. Humans have created solar panels at 10-15% efficiency:

http://phys.org/news/2012-07-scientists-key-secrets-photosynthesis.html

Natures wonders: Reacting to toxins

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 03, 2012, 16:57 (2604 days ago) @ David Turell

"We have multiple codons for any one amino acid. What the cell seems to be doing is using these to fine-tune the ultimate expression of that protein," he says. "Probably what we're going to find is a code in the use of codons in the genome, where classes of proteins are grouped together by what the cell needs for a particular stress response."


http://phys.org/news/2012-07-genetic-cells-exploit-gene-sequences.html

codes within the code!

Natures wonders: Bee brains youthen

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 03, 2012, 17:01 (2604 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Gecko feet

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 03, 2012, 18:28 (2604 days ago) @ David Turell

not advertising for car insurance. Geeko feet stick or don't stick. Depends on need. Sticky pads come and go. Convergent evolution, not Darwinian evolution:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120628131053.htm

Natures wonders: piggyback bacteria

by David Turell @, Friday, July 06, 2012, 16:18 (2601 days ago) @ David Turell

Toxic bacteria can make the way for non-toxic ones to piggyback into play.

http://the-scientist.com/2012/07/05/bacterial-exploitation/

Natures wonders: diving beetle legs

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 08, 2012, 20:39 (2568 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: reptile sex change

by David Turell @, Friday, August 10, 2012, 15:24 (2566 days ago) @ David Turell

Most reptiles have no sex chromosomes. Sex is set by the thermometer, hot or hotter:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/how-alligators-become-hes-or-shes-by-...

Please ignore the creationist blather. The facts are fascinating.

Natures wonders: mouse retina

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 14:42 (2562 days ago) @ David Turell

Specialized retinal cells are an air raid warning system in mice:

http://phys.org/news/2012-08-high-resolution-retina-cells-mice-birds.html

Natures wonders: colored aphids

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 19, 2012, 03:15 (2558 days ago) @ David Turell

Aphid can make carotinoids, yes the yellow color of carrots. No one else can. They also may photosynthesize. The article doesn't mention this but ants run plant ranches with herds of aphids. Evolution can certainly get wild.

http://www.nature.com/news/first-evidence-for-photosynthesis-in-insects-1.11214

Natures wonders: sunbathing bugs

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 25, 2012, 15:53 (2551 days ago) @ David Turell

These guys produce a chemical which becomes a fungus killer by sunbathing. How does Darwin explain this one?

http://phys.org/news/2012-08-sunbathing-bugs-healthy.html

Natures wonders: bacterial weapons

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 09, 2012, 15:40 (2536 days ago) @ David Turell

Some marine bacteria produce antibiotics against others, while its relatives maintain a resistance and enjoy the protection:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120906144837.htm

Natures wonders: wasp hunts spiders

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 15:17 (2533 days ago) @ David Turell

A small wasp hunts one type of poisonous spider, paralyzes it so larvae have a meal.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911102950.htm

Natures wonders: ants using bacteria

by David Turell @, Friday, September 14, 2012, 15:48 (2531 days ago) @ David Turell

Ants farm fungus for food. The bacteria produce antibiotics to protect the fungus:

http://the-scientist.com/2012/09/14/ants-select-better-microbes/

Natures wonders:bright crows again

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 18, 2012, 15:13 (2527 days ago) @ David Turell

Thinking New Caledonian crows, smarter than ever. But they are not us:


http://the-scientist.com/2012/09/18/crows-do-it-again/

Natures wonders:insect trapping

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 27, 2012, 15:58 (2518 days ago) @ David Turell

Further research in fly traps. These plants use trapping to make up for nutrient poor soil.

http://phys.org/news/2012-09-touch-sensitive-tentacles-catapult-prey-carnivorous.html

Natures wonders:wandering DNA

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 27, 2012, 16:11 (2518 days ago) @ David Turell

Perhaps this is why women are outdistancing men in college: in numbers, in grades, in achievements:


http://the-scientist.com/2012/09/27/swapping-dna-in-the-womb/

Natures wonders:migration

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 29, 2012, 15:42 (2516 days ago) @ David Turell

Whimbrels, shore birds make long distance flights to migrate with the seasons. One bird flew for 145 hours. This reqires metabolic changes with enough fat on board as well as muscle building prior to the jump. And then one might ask how did Darwinian evolution theory provide for this? Was there a first brave bird who took the chance because he 'knew' the benefits of warmer weather? This is all instinct, developed how? Darwin has no answer for any of this, that is obvious.

http://phys.org/news/2012-09-scientists-fall-migratory-pathways-habits.html

Natures wonders: archer fish hunt insects

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 25, 2012, 17:03 (2490 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Nitrogen transfer

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 18, 2012, 21:46 (2497 days ago) @ David Turell

Getting rid of nitrogenous wastes by mouth. A salt water turtle's adaptation:


http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/10/11/this-chinese-turtle-urina...

Natures wonders: Instinct

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 25, 2012, 18:56 (2490 days ago) @ David Turell

How do newborns know what to do in their life cycles?

http://youtu.be/WJxIy2ciHAg

Natures wonders: Spider eyes

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 01, 2012, 14:18 (2483 days ago) @ David Turell

What do spiders do with eight eyes? Help avoid trouble if you are a jumping hunting spider:

http://www.livescience.com/24054-why-spiders-have-eight-eyes.html

Natures wonders: Death by predator

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 01, 2012, 18:09 (2483 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: zombies

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 07, 2012, 20:46 (2477 days ago) @ David Turell

How animals are zombified by others:

http://youtu.be/WtdMbSk3h3o

It is all in a life cycle. How did Darwin do this? Or did he?

Natures wonders: fatty acid defense

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 08, 2012, 15:26 (2476 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: inventions

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 08, 2012, 15:30 (2476 days ago) @ David Turell

Copy nature and invent new surfaces with better properties:

http://phys.org/news/2012-11-butterfly-wings-high-tech-surfaces.html

Natures wonders: 911 fish

by David Turell @, Friday, November 09, 2012, 15:48 (2475 days ago) @ David Turell

Corals can call fish to eat damaging seaweed. The fish are protected and have plenty to eat:

http://phys.org/news/2012-11-bodyguard-fish-corals-toxic-seaweed.html

Natures wonders:zombie ants again

by David Turell @, Friday, November 09, 2012, 20:55 (2475 days ago) @ David Turell

Zombie fungus attacks ants, but is itself attacked by another fungus

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=zombie-ant-fungus-parasite&page=3


"Andersen and her colleagues have found that a different breed of fungi grow over the ant corpse and the emerging fungus stalk. By covering the original fungus and its stalk, this secondary fungus—or hyperparasite—effectively prevents the zombie-ant fungus from ejecting its spores. "It looks like they completely sterilize it," Andersen says of the second-level parasite.

Even these hyperparasites seem to be specialized for growing on specific parasitizing fungi. "They're not really growing on anything else" in the area, Andersen says. This makes the hyperparasite another obligate parasite, which depends on the zombie-ant fungus, which depends, in turn, on the carpenter ant colony. "Once you're very successful, something else will take advantage of it," she notes. "It's really a little ecosystem in its own [right].'"

Natures wonders: human lens

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 15:07 (2470 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by unknown, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 15:19

"The fundamental technology behind this new lens is called "GRIN" or gradient refractive index optics. In GRIN, light gets bent, or refracted, by varying degrees as it passes through a lens or other transparent material. This is in contrast to traditional lenses, like those found in optical telescopes and microscopes, which use their surface shape or single index of refraction to bend light one way or another.

"'The human eye is a GRIN lens,' said Michael Ponting, polymer scientist and president of PolymerPlus, an Ohio-based Case Western Reserve spinoff launched in 2010. 'As light passes from the front of the human eye lens to the back, light rays are refracted by varying degrees. It's a very efficient means of controlling the pathway of light without relying on complicated optics, and one that we attempted to mimic.'"


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121113122046.htm

Another explanation:

http://phys.org/news/2012-11-human-eye-visionary-natural-lens.html

There are many examples of developing an application by copying nature. Think velcro, etc.

Natures wonders:zombie ants again

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 15:57 (1827 days ago) @ David Turell

Another study on fungus control of ants:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140818153607.htm

Natures wonders: shiny squid

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 14:49 (1826 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: ants are herdsmen

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 21, 2014, 15:04 (1825 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:zombie ants again

by David Turell @, Monday, August 25, 2014, 19:35 (1821 days ago) @ David Turell

The fungus knows when it finds the right ant brain to attack!

http://phys.org/news/2014-08-zombie-ant-fungi-brains-hosts.html

Natures wonders:frog tongue stickyness

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 15:10 (1820 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:Harp sponge

by David Turell @, Saturday, November 10, 2012, 15:03 (2474 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by unknown, Saturday, November 10, 2012, 15:41

Some sponges are carnivorous: This one sieves ocean water like a whale's mouth.

http://www.sci-news.com/biology/article00703.html

Another more scientifi verson of the find:

http://www.nature.com/news/new-carnivorous-harp-sponge-discovered-in-deep-sea-1.11789

Natures wonders:flower power

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 13, 2012, 23:39 (2441 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:puffer fish art

by David Turell @, Friday, December 14, 2012, 23:39 (2440 days ago) @ David Turell

Beautiful with a purpose. This is instinct!!! But, where did the info come from?

http://www.spoon-tamago.com/2012/09/18/deep-sea-mystery-circle-love-story/

Natures wonders:plants smell danger

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 16:07 (2435 days ago) @ David Turell

Plants can detect when an insect is going to injure them:

"The researchers found that females were significantly less likely to lay eggs on plants exposed to the male emission and about four times more likely to lay eggs on plants in a control group that were not exposed to this odor cue."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217140747.htm

Natures wonders:water slide traps

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 16:29 (2435 days ago) @ David Turell

Water slides are fun at pool side. An insect trapping plant uses the technique for dinner:

"They found that wetting strongly enhanced the slipperiness of the trap and increased the capture rate for ants almost three-fold - from 29 per cent when dry to 88 per cent when wet. Upon further examination, they found that the wetting affected the insets' adhesive pads while the directional arrangement of the hairs was effective against the claws."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-12-venezuelan-pitcher-wettable-hairs-insects.html#jCp

Natures wonders:a Michaelangelo spider

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 16:37 (2435 days ago) @ David Turell

Sculpting scarey spiders?

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/33747/title/Spider-Sculpts-Fake-S...

"In examining the decoys, Torres found them to be made up of compiled masses of dead insects, leaf bits and assorted debris. And while each was somewhat different from all the others, the overriding theme was the image of a spider, with legs and a body that resemble the real thing."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-12-species-spider-fake-decoys.html#jCp

Natures wonders:Anti-freeze molecules or gene editing

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 02, 2013, 15:15 (2421 days ago) @ David Turell

Natural antifreeze molecules exist in arctic fish and in insects. This is a recent study:

http://phys.org/news/2013-01-molecules-fire-colored-beetles-antifreeze-artists.html

And octopi control nerve transmission effects of cold climate by coding the treansmission of gene instructions differently than warm climate octopi.

http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2013/01/cellular-machinery-redesigns-genes-for.html

Natures wonders:Producing zombies and antibiotics

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 08, 2013, 23:00 (2415 days ago) @ David Turell

I've presented the art of zombifying before, and I think how wasps use cockroaches for larval food. New research shows how the larvae contend with the awful bacterial bugs in cockroaches. They secrete antibiotic saliva on the cockroach before feasting! Those saliva molecules may turn out to be new antibiotics for us to use!

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2013/01/07/parasitic-wasps-master-mic...

Natures wonders:Dragon fly hunting

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 13:10 (2413 days ago) @ David Turell

These insects which go back 325 million years can hone in on prey with accuracy 95% of the time. A tiny brain that works:

http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news58341.html

Natures wonders:Dragon fly hunting

by dhw, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 20:03 (2413 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: These insects which go back 325 million years can hone in on prey with accuracy 95% of the time. A tiny brain that works:

http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news58341.html


Actually, they say 97% accuracy. Thank you for this and for the many other fascinating posts under the same heading.

QUOTES: "What's exciting for us is that this is the first direct demonstration of something akin to selective attention in humans shown at the single neuron level in an invertebrate," Associate Professor O'Carroll says.

"Recent studies reveal similar mechanisms at work in the primate brain, but you might expect it there. We weren't expecting to find something so sophisticated in lowly insects from a group that's been around for 325 million years."

People are constantly surprised at the sophisticated level of intelligence demonstrated by insects, birds and animals. Even when they are shown to have the ability to solve problems, to communicate complex information, to feel and display emotions, to behave altruistically, to form highly efficient social groups ... still we fail to recognize that all these abilities within ourselves have been inherited from our fellow creatures. The smaller they are, the less we can identify with them because they seem so unlike us, but I suspect that the more scientists study them, the more "sophistication" they will discover.

Natures wonders: Jumping Spider eyes

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 15, 2017, 18:43 (857 days ago) @ David Turell

They've got eight for a very full range of vision:

https://aeon.co/essays/an-enigmatic-spider-and-the-fragile-threads-of-human-memory?utm_...

"P. mystaceus, which lives in North America, is a jumping spider. It is one of about 5,000 species in a highly successful family of arachnids (eight-legged, air-breathing, venom-fanged arthropods) that thrive almost everywhere except Greenland and Antarctica.

***

"Some species have better visual acuity than cats, which are more than 100 times their size, and though each of their pairs of anterior eyes has a limited field of view, the full complement of eight allows them to scan large sections of the world around them. (Like most spiders, they also have acute hearing, mediated by tiny hairs on their legs which are sensitive to the smallest vibrations.) They are much more powerful jumpers than cats, able to pounce up 50 times their body length and land with precision. And they have a safety rope: a silk thread tethered to the launch point in case they misjudge their leap and fall short. A jumping spider is a voracious panopticon, bungee-jumper and traceur in one.

***

"...the beauty of some jumping spiders is more apparent in their brains than their bodies. Just as we create patterns of the world, searching it for faces and symbols, they are mapping out their own lives in surprising detail. The drabbest genus contains some of the cleverest species known. Among them is Portia labiata, a jumping spider of South and East Asia that lives solely on the flesh of other spiders. P. labiata varies and adapts its behaviour according to the characteristics of the species it is hunting: using trial and error it observes and then mimics rhythms tapped out by species it has not encountered before in order to deceive them, and plots devious lines of attack if a full frontal assault looks too risky. The spider may spend an hour or more scanning the tangles of vegetation and gaps between itself and its intended victim, calculating the best route for a surprise attack. Scientists believe the reason labiata takes so long to do this is because, for all its excellent vision, it has very limited ability to take in and process information. So it systematically scans small sections of the surroundings with its anterior eyes, gradually building up enough information in its memory to build a mental map which it can then use. It’s a little like trying to download a large and fine-grained picture over a very slow internet connection. Once the map is complete, however, Portia will usually execute without fail, rapidly retracing its course if it finds it has started down a blind alley, choosing the correct option and finally swooping on its prey like a special forces ninja."

Comment: The spider obviously uses its brain to plan its attack. It must need all its eyes for the 3-D analysis of how to pounce. Each attack will be different, as circumstances will vary in each chance encounter. So the spider slowly plans each. the issue is not that the brain works efficiently, it is how did this spider reach its current form, bit by bit or all at once? All at once by design seems most logical. It could not live by jumping (pouncing like a cat)without its optical system intact for full 3-D planning.

Natures wonders:Algae salamander symbiosis

by David Turell @, Friday, January 18, 2013, 16:29 (2405 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:Algae salamander symbiosis

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 19, 2013, 05:43 (2405 days ago) @ David Turell

Algae use photosynthesis to feed spotted salamanders:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23090-zoologger-the-first-solarpowered-vertebrate...

More on this aspect of photosynthetic symbiosis with plastids:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/33711/title/Steal-My-Sunshine/

Natures wonders: Magnetite teeth

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 19, 2013, 15:22 (2404 days ago) @ David Turell

Growing very hard teeth to get a meal from rock. Observations in nature leads to biomimicry inventions:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130116131410.htm

Natures wonders: escape ditching organs!

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 02, 2013, 15:07 (2390 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Insect navigation

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 02, 2013, 18:35 (2390 days ago) @ David Turell

Using the milky Way. Migratory routes using several generations of Monarchs:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323375204578269963079963082.html?KEYWORDS...

Natures wonders: Frozen frogs

by David Turell @, Monday, February 04, 2013, 15:32 (2388 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: spider silk

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 07, 2013, 15:16 (2385 days ago) @ David Turell

"As fibers go, there's never been anything quite like spider silk. Stretch it. Bend it. Soak it. Dry it out. Spider silk holds up. It is five times stronger than steel and can expand nearly a third greater than its original length and snap right back like new. Ounce-for-ounce spider silk is even stronger than Kevlar, the man-made fiber used in bulletproof vests."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-spectroscopy-mysteries-spider-silk.html#jCp

Add water and the fibers shrink. Perhaps to add strength when it rains.

Natures wonders: long-distance migration

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 09, 2013, 00:31 (2384 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by unknown, Saturday, February 09, 2013, 00:36

Tiny song birds hold the record:

http://phys.org/news/2012-02-featherweight-songbird-long-distance-champ.html

Also migration by magnetism in salmon:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130207131713.htm

But the truly amazing part is the metamorphosis of the gills from fresh water to salt water to back again. Those gills must change to handle the salt:

"When migrating, salmon must transition from fresh water to sea water, and then back again. During each transition, the salmon undergo a metamorphosis that Putman says is almost as dramatic as the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. Each such salmon metamorphosis involves a replacement of gill tissues that enables the fish to maintain the correct salt balance in its environment: the salmon retains salt when in fresh water and pumps out excess salt when in salt water."

How did this evolve?

Natures wonders: immunity

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 09, 2013, 15:18 (2383 days ago) @ David Turell

The memory of our immune system:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130207131602.htm

We remember pathogens we haven't even met!

Natures wonders: salmon migration

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 09, 2013, 15:20 (2383 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:plant warnings

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 15:43 (2379 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:bird migration patterns video

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 14, 2013, 21:46 (2378 days ago) @ David Turell

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=citizen-science-do-birds-really-migrat...

And this is a small distance. Some are thousands of miles across oceans

Natures wonders:bacteria fight each other

by David Turell @, Friday, February 15, 2013, 15:38 (2377 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:bacteria fight each other

by dhw, Saturday, February 16, 2013, 12:32 (2376 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Bacteria have defenses against each other:

http://phys.org/news/2013-02-deadly-bacteria-remarkable-precision.html

QUOTE: Bacteria live in huge communities that involve cooperation as well as competition.
"This may reflect ecological decisions that are made by bacteria to form mixed biofilms living together, either in the extracellular environment or even inside the human host where they coexist in large, diverse communities," Mekalanos said. "When we first embarked on this work, we were really surprised to find out that the bacteria could respond to each other in such an intimate and dynamic way."

Could you possibly find a clearer instance of the "intelligent cell" at work, or of the evolutionary process of cooperation as expounded by Margulis? Communication between individual cells, the formation of communities that live and work together, making use of whatever environment they find themselves in...Isn't this the key to adaptation and innovation within living organisms, thereby leading to new organs and new species? No need for random mutations, no problem with gaps in the fossil record, no problem with saltation, no problem with the Cambrian Explosion... "Intelligent cells" are the answer to all the evolutionary questions except that of their origin.

Natures wonders:bacteria fight each other

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 16, 2013, 15:26 (2376 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Could you possibly find a clearer instance of the "intelligent cell" at work, or of the evolutionary process of cooperation as expounded by Margulis? Communication between individual cells, the formation of communities that live and work together, making use of whatever environment they find themselves in...Isn't this the key to adaptation and innovation within living organisms, thereby leading to new organs and new species? No need for random mutations, no problem with gaps in the fossil record, no problem with saltation, no problem with the Cambrian Explosion... "Intelligent cells" are the answer to all the evolutionary questions except that of their origin.

I have no argument with the intelligence in the first cells, or your obvious conclusions ,short of thed comment about origin. Information and intelligence are two sides of the same coin. Those cells are imbued with information. Information comes from an intelligent mind which supplied that information. Information does not come from blind chance. Therefore??? It is difficult to escape that thought that God exists.

Natures wonders:bacteria rule the world

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 16, 2013, 16:11 (2376 days ago) @ David Turell

This article explains why Margulis was correct. We live in symbiosis with helpful bacteria;

http://phys.org/news/2013-02-bacterial-world-impacting-previously-thought.html

Natures wonders:bacteria fight each other

by dhw, Sunday, February 17, 2013, 13:05 (2375 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Could you possibly find a clearer instance of the "intelligent cell" at work, or of the evolutionary process of cooperation as expounded by Margulis? Communication between individual cells, the formation of communities that live and work together, making use of whatever environment they find themselves in...Isn't this the key to adaptation and innovation within living organisms, thereby leading to new organs and new species? No need for random mutations, no problem with gaps in the fossil record, no problem with saltation, no problem with the Cambrian Explosion... "Intelligent cells" are the answer to all the evolutionary questions except that of their origin.

DAVID: I have no argument with the intelligence in the first cells, or your obvious conclusions ,short of the comment about origin. Information and intelligence are two sides of the same coin. Those cells are imbued with information. Information comes from an intelligent mind which supplied that information. Information does not come from blind chance. Therefore??? It is difficult to escape that thought that God exists.

It depends on what you mean by information. Winds, rocks and heads are all imbued with information. So if a gust of wind dislodges a rock, which accidentally falls on my head and kills me, the authorities will examine the relevant information (e.g. speed of wind, composition and position of rock, position of dhw, composition of head etc.), and will attribute this truly tragic combination of information to blind chance rather than to the planning of an intelligent mind. It does, however, take intelligence to perceive, classify, identify and use information. If you think ALL information has to come from and be supplied by God, it would be very helpful if you could define exactly what you mean by "information".

Natures wonders:bacteria fight each other

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 17, 2013, 15:46 (2375 days ago) @ dhw


dhw:It depends on what you mean by information. Winds, rocks and heads are all imbued with information. So if a gust of wind dislodges a rock, which accidentally falls on my head and kills me, the authorities will examine the relevant information (e.g. speed of wind, composition and position of rock, position of dhw, composition of head etc.), and will attribute this truly tragic combination of information to blind chance rather than to the planning of an intelligent mind. It does, however, take intelligence to perceive, classify, identify and use information. If you think ALL information has to come from and be supplied by God, it would be very helpful if you could define exactly what you mean by "information".

I refer to the information that runs the processes of life. Rocks have information of a diffrent kind, as an example. They don't 'process' anything. They are processed by erosion, but we are now discussing physical non-living forces. The processes of life require information from the beginning of life.
This information for life to work must come from somewhere and only thinking minds can supply information of that sort. The information in rocks is a discovery of rocks conents by minds who study rocks. Viewed this way it is hard to avoid God.

Natures wonders:bacteria fight each other

by dhw, Monday, February 18, 2013, 19:34 (2374 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: If you think ALL information has to come from and be supplied by God, it would be very helpful if you could define exactly what you mean by "information".

DAVID: I refer to the information that runs the processes of life.

Thank you for this clarification. Information clearly exists on a variety of levels that do NOT require intelligence (in the sense of creation by God). I agree with you that the information that runs the processes of life requires intelligence, and we agreed earlier that this intelligence resides within the cells of living organisms themselves. The perpetual dispute is over how it got there.

DAVID: This information for life to work must come from somewhere and only thinking minds can supply information of that sort. [...] Viewed this way it is hard to avoid God.

Obviously atheists don't find it hard at all, and I'm afraid the argument takes us back yet again to a choice of faiths (see my reply to George, under "Evolution and atheism", and to yourself under "The difference of Man"). Neither of you has any evidence for your respective hypotheses. Viewed this way it should be hard to avoid the picket fence.

Natures wonders:antifreeze

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 15:28 (2373 days ago) @ David Turell

Many organisms produce anti-freeze proteins. Some are very potent and used in many ways, such as low fat icecream:

http://phys.org/news/2013-02-antifreeze-survive-cold.html

Natures wonders:fog collectors

by David Turell @, Friday, February 22, 2013, 14:33 (2370 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:regenerating parts

by David Turell @, Friday, February 22, 2013, 22:18 (2370 days ago) @ David Turell

Newts can regenerate large parts of their body, and have a huge very complex genome with an enormous number of RNAs:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=newt-finding-might-set-back-efforts-to...

Natures wonders:Leatherback turtles

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 19:18 (2365 days ago) @ David Turell

Seagoing monsters have a complex migratory lifestyle in the Pacific:


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130226141233.htm

Were they taught to migrate?

Natures wonders:Squid skin signals

by David Turell @, Friday, March 01, 2013, 15:09 (2363 days ago) @ David Turell

How did this develop? Squid signal with their skin, protect themselves with their skin with highly developed nervous system and complex eyes:

http://sciencereasonfaith.com/caribbean-reef-squid-a-conundrum-for-neo-darwinian-evolut...

Natures wonders:Nut cracking

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 02, 2013, 15:32 (2362 days ago) @ David Turell

Monkeys have some smarts; we invent nut crackers:

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/02/video-capuchins-are-nutcracking-.html?ref=hp

Monkey is very aware of what he needs to do for the moment. But our awareness leads us to find a better solution.

Natures wonders:shredding bacteria

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 06, 2013, 02:42 (2359 days ago) @ David Turell

With cricket wings!

http://www.nature.com/news/insect-wings-shred-bacteria-to-pieces-1.12533

What will life think of next?

Natures wonders:camouflage

by David Turell @, Friday, March 15, 2013, 22:31 (2349 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:inside a cell

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 14:03 (2344 days ago) @ David Turell

What E. coli, a bacterium looks like inside; packed tight!

http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/34767/title/Image-of-the-Day--Cr...

Natures wonders:fly traps

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 16:05 (2344 days ago) @ David Turell

Complex chemicals control plants' leaves that trap insects:

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/03/scienceshot-snap-how-carnivorous.html?ref=hp

Any just-so story as to how this developed?

Natures wonders:fly traps

by dhw, Thursday, March 21, 2013, 11:42 (2343 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Complex chemicals control plants' leaves that trap insects:

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/03/scienceshot-snap-how-
carnivorous.html?ref=hp

Any just-so story as to how this developed?

1) God said, "Let there be flycatching sundews" and there were flycatching sundews. For although God's purpose was to create humans, flycatching sundews were also his purpose.

2) God preprogrammed the first living cells to pass on the blueprint for flycatching sundews. For although God's purpose was to create humans, flycatching sundews were also his purpose.

3) God saw a non-flycatching sundew and thought, "Although my purpose is to create humans, flycatching sundews are also my purpose." And thus did God fiddle with the non-flycatching sundew's genome so that it did become a flycatching sundew.

4) God invented a mechanism called "the intelligent genome". There was once a non-flycatching sundew with an especially intelligent genome which invented a flycatching process, whereby it turned into a flycatching sundew. Flycatching sundews have survived to this day, thus proving that God's purpose was to create flycatching sundews. (There was once a unilobite with an especially intelligent genome which invented a complex eye, whereby it turned into a trilobite, and for millions of years the trilobites survived. But then something nasty happened and there were no trilobites with genomes intelligent enough to adapt. And so they died out, thus proving that God's purpose was and was not to create trilobites.)

5) As in 4), except that the "intelligent genome" just happened to assemble itself by sheer luck, and has continued its experiments ever since, thus creating a higgledy-piggledy bush of extant flycatching sundews and extinct trilobites.

6) As in 4), except that the "intelligent genome" was assembled through experiments carried out by chemicals intelligently combining, just as their invention the cell later combined intelligently with other cells, thus creating a higgledy-piggledy bush of extant flycatching sundews and extinct trilobites.

And now, David, it's your turn to tell us a just-so story.

Natures wonders:fly traps

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 21, 2013, 14:56 (2343 days ago) @ dhw


dhw:1) God said, "Let there be flycatching sundews" and there were flycatching sundews. For although God's purpose was to create humans, flycatching sundews were also his purpose.

God's purpose was to produce inventive life. Flycatching was a by-product


dhw:2) God preprogrammed the first living cells to pass on the blueprint for flycatching sundews. For although God's purpose was to create humans, flycatching sundews were also his purpose.

See my answer above


dhw:3) God saw a non-flycatching sundew and thought, "Although my purpose is to create humans, flycatching sundews are also my purpose." And thus did God fiddle with the non-flycatching sundew's genome so that it did become a flycatching sundew.

God did not have to fiddle. The genome did it all by itself, it was so smart given the information god implanted into DNA in the beginning.


dhw:4) God invented a mechanism called "the intelligent genome". There was once a non-flycatching sundew with an especially intelligent genome which invented a flycatching process, whereby it turned into a flycatching sundew. Flycatching sundews have survived to this day, thus proving that God's purpose was to create flycatching sundews. (There was once a unilobite with an especially intelligent genome which invented a complex eye, whereby it turned into a trilobite, and for millions of years the trilobites survived. But then something nasty happened and there were no trilobites with genomes intelligent enough to adapt. And so they died out, thus proving that God's purpose was and was not to create trilobites.

Natural selection was God's gift to Darwin. It sorts out life's good attempts from the bad attempts. As you see life is programmed to produce complexity


dhw: 5) As in 4), except that the "intelligent genome" just happened to assemble itself by sheer luck, and has continued its experiments ever since, thus creating a higgledy-piggledy bush of extant flycatching sundews and extinct trilobites.

Sheer luck and chance are the pipedream of atheists


dhw: 6) As in 4), except that the "intelligent genome" was assembled through experiments carried out by chemicals intelligently combining, just as their invention the cell later combined intelligently with other cells, thus creating a higgledy-piggledy bush of extant flycatching sundews and extinct trilobites.

How much intelligence does your table salt have?


dhw;And now, David, it's your turn to tell us a just-so story.

And I have just shown why I do not believe in just-so stories. Kipling was the master and his tongue was in his cheek!

The real point is that DNA is programmed to experiment and create natures wonders as I have demonstrated on this website for many years. In my estimation God has been sitting back watching all of this and proud of His invention, since humans appeared just as He knew they would at some point. Now that is the real just-so story.

Natures wonders:fly traps

by dhw, Friday, March 22, 2013, 13:05 (2342 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: And now, David, it's your turn to tell us a just-so story.

DAVID: And I have just shown why I do not believe in just-so stories. Kipling was the master and his tongue was in his cheek!

"To be great is to be misunderstood" (Emerson), though "to be misunderstood is not to be great" (dhw). You asked for a just-so story, and with tongue-bulging cheek I gave you six of the best, rattling through some of the world's great theories, with a sideswipe at your anthropocentrism as an added bonus. But if a man understandeth not cricket, how shall he understand British irony?
We must, then, be serious:

DAVID: The real point is that DNA is programmed to experiment and create natures wonders as I have demonstrated on this website for many years. In my estimation God has been sitting back watching all of this and proud of His invention, since humans appeared just as He knew they would at some point. Now that is the real just-so story.

Let us delve: you said in the same post that "God's purpose was to produce inventive life. Flycatching was a by-product". He certainly succeeded, though I'm a little surprised to hear that in contrast to your earlier refusal to anthropomorphise him, you now have him proudly enjoying the entertainment. Apart from pride, I wonder what other human emotions you'll allow him to feel as he gazes at the astonishingly rich, beautiful, kindly, cruel, destructive and selfish products of his invention.

Be that as it may, I like your latest scenario, because it's clear that since God's purpose was "inventive life", he left the course of evolution in the "hands" of his intelligent invention ... apparently preprogrammed to experiment and take its own decisions (much like us humans, then!). In other words, he did not preprogramme "by-products" like flycatchers, trilobites, dinosaurs, dodos or duck-billed platypuses, but sat back watching while the intelligent genome produced its own inventions, some of which survived, and some of which perished. Why he should have predicted the eventual arrival of humans is not at all clear from your just-so story. Perhaps he used Dawkins-like reasoning: given enough combinations, eventually you are bound to come up with the right one. Alternatively, since we are now playing the game of reading God's mind, he hadn't got a clue where it would lead (after all, who likes a show with a predictable outcome?), and so like flycatchers, humans were a "by-product" ... though no doubt providing the best entertainment of all. What is clear from the above is that humans were not planned either. This scenario fits in well with evolution's higgledy-piggledy bush, and of all the God hypotheses, it seems to me the most plausible.

Natures wonders:fly traps

by David Turell @, Friday, March 22, 2013, 15:16 (2342 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I'm a little surprised to hear that in contrast to your earlier refusal to anthropomorphise him, you now have him proudly enjoying the entertainment. Apart from pride, I wonder what other human emotions you'll allow him to feel as he gazes at the astonishingly rich, beautiful, kindly, cruel, destructive and selfish products of his invention.

I've allowed myself a little latitude in my just-so story abuot God's thinking. I have no idea if I am anywhere near correct.


dhw: Be that as it may, I like your latest scenario, because it's clear that since God's purpose was "inventive life", he left the course of evolution in the "hands" of his intelligent invention ... apparently preprogrammed to experiment and take its own decisions (much like us humans, then!). In other words, he did not preprogramme "by-products" like flycatchers, trilobites, dinosaurs, dodos or duck-billed platypuses, but sat back watching while the intelligent genome produced its own inventions, some of which survived, and some of which perished.

A good synopsis of my view of evolution.

dhw:Why he should have predicted the eventual arrival of humans is not at all clear from your just-so story. Perhaps he used Dawkins-like reasoning: given enough combinations, eventually you are bound to come up with the right one. Alternatively, since we are now playing the game of reading God's mind, he hadn't got a clue where it would lead (after all, who likes a show with a predictable outcome?), and so like flycatchers, humans were a "by-product" ... though no doubt providing the best entertainment of all. What is clear from the above is that humans were not planned either. This scenario fits in well with evolution's higgledy-piggledy bush, and of all the God hypotheses, it seems to me the most plausible.

The material I have read about human development makes it look 'favored'. The primates we sprung from, for seemingly no good reason, are still happily doing their thing (not with the poaching), and we have advanced way beyond them, a la' Adler, The Difference in Kind and the Difference it Makes, a strong suggestion of a favored outcome. Here my scenario implies a desired result, despite the bush of life; and a very interesting bush of inventions at that, as I show in the Natures Wonders thread. But there is nothing like us but us!

Natures wonders:camoflage

by David Turell @, Friday, March 29, 2013, 15:15 (2335 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders:early birth

by David Turell @, Friday, April 05, 2013, 21:37 (2328 days ago) @ David Turell

Skink babies in the egg can detect a predator and bail out of the shell and scamper away to stay alive. How did evolution figure that one out?

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/04/an-emergency-hatch-for-baby-liza.html?ref=hp

Natures wonders:heaviest migration

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 06, 2013, 16:10 (2327 days ago) @ David Turell

Huge bustards fly 4,000 kilometers to escape Siberian winters:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21829116.000-heaviest-flying-bird-makes-epic-jour...

Natures wonders: monarch navigation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 09, 2013, 05:50 (2325 days ago) @ David Turell

Kind of by the seat of their pants:

http://phys.org/news/2013-04-problems-monarchs.html

Natures wonders: ant rebellion

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 11, 2013, 21:28 (2322 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: migration

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 27, 2013, 05:53 (2307 days ago) @ David Turell

Iron balls and neurons; a way to navigate long migrations:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130426073811.htm

Natures wonders: ice fish

by David Turell @, Monday, April 29, 2013, 16:13 (2304 days ago) @ David Turell

These little characters have no hemoglobin; their blood is white and oxygen is carried as dissolved material:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/34797/title/-White-Blooded--Icefi...

Evolution can be very inventive. As a result the ice fish have a low metabolism

Natures wonders: cicada wings

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 18:43 (2303 days ago) @ David Turell

Keeping them clean is the result of the surface and jumping water droplets. The surface tension of water must play a role in droplet formation, so I think it is a combination of the amazing attributes of water and the evolution developed surface of the wings:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cicada-wings-self-cleaning

Natures wonders: plant signals

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 07, 2013, 14:36 (2296 days ago) @ David Turell

Basal helps pepper seeds grow!

http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/1756757526887438_article.pdf?random=50642

Sound waves in the soil. Wow! Everything else seems ruled out.

Natures wonders: erectile bat tongues

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 07, 2013, 15:09 (2296 days ago) @ David Turell

How to sop up nectar quickly. A hairy tongue made erect by blood just as other organs are made erect:

http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/35463/title/Dynamic-Bat-Tongue-M...

Natures wonders: Calcium controls

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 09, 2013, 15:50 (2294 days ago) @ David Turell

Cells use calcium, and neurons use it for electerical signals. The cell must control the calcium levels by opening and closing pores in the cell membrane:

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-05-cells-calcium-influx.html

Natures wonders: Communication

by David Turell @, Friday, May 10, 2013, 15:08 (2293 days ago) @ David Turell

Not just above ground,which is well recognized, but through fungus below ground:

http://phys.org/news/2013-05-underground-networks-enemy.html

Natures wonders: Cannibal queens

by David Turell @, Monday, May 13, 2013, 20:57 (2290 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Wasp vs. fruit fly

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 13:18 (2282 days ago) @ David Turell

A molecular battle to the end. How the wasp larvae win with a calcium channel blocker:

http://phys.org/news/2013-05-parasitic-wasps-calcium-block-fruit.html

Natures wonders: Turtle migration

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 30, 2013, 16:26 (2273 days ago) @ David Turell

Always return to your island of birth:

http://phys.org/news/2013-05-scientists-evidence-female-loggerhead-sea.html

And they travel the oceans of the world

Natures wonders: 13, 17-year cicadas

by David Turell @, Friday, May 31, 2013, 02:03 (2273 days ago) @ David Turell

The longest insect life cycle around. Why this evolved is any bodies guess.

http://www.nature.com/news/long-lived-insects-raise-prime-riddle-1.13080

Natures wonders: Turtle development

by David Turell @, Friday, May 31, 2013, 15:23 (2272 days ago) @ David Turell

Until recently turtles appeared out of nowhere in the fossil record. Turtles take their bones and put them outside instead of inside. That makes them having to breathe by an air swallowing mechanism. They had to develop both the breathing method and the bony armor simultaneously. Darwin cannot explain that one: a little more bone outside, a little more swallowing air, while all chance mutations are luckily in sinc?? Not likely.

Now there are two fossils, one from 2008 and one this year that flesh out the fossil story.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130530132431.htm

Natures wonders: 13, 17-year cicadas

by dhw, Friday, May 31, 2013, 17:15 (2272 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The longest insect life cycle around. Why this evolved is any bodies guess.

http://www.nature.com/news/long-lived-insects-raise-prime-riddle-1.13080

My guess is it's just one more invention by one of the countless intelligent genomes that have added their particular squiggle to the higgledy-piggledy bush. Cicada lovers, however, might argue that it is living proof of the cicacentric teleology of evolution.

Natures wonders: 13, 17-year cicadas

by David Turell @, Friday, May 31, 2013, 17:34 (2272 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The longest insect life cycle around. Why this evolved is any bodies guess.

http://www.nature.com/news/long-lived-insects-raise-prime-riddle-1.13080

dhw: My guess is it's just one more invention by one of the countless intelligent genomes that have added their particular squiggle to the higgledy-piggledy bush. Cicada lovers, however, might argue that it is living proof of the cicacentric teleology of evolution.

I guess the same would apply to turtles. What a weird branch of the bush they are! I think they were put on Earth to show that Darwinism doesn't work as an explanation for evolution.

Natures wonders: 13, 17-year cicadas

by dhw, Saturday, June 01, 2013, 12:03 (2271 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The longest insect life cycle around. Why this evolved is any bodies guess.

http://www.nature.com/news/long-lived-insects-raise-prime-riddle-1.13080

dhw: My guess is it's just one more invention by one of the countless intelligent genomes that have added their particular squiggle to the higgledy-piggledy bush. Cicada lovers, however, might argue that it is living proof of the cicacentric teleology of evolution.

DAVID: I guess the same would apply to turtles. What a weird branch of the bush they are! I think they were put on Earth to show that Darwinism doesn't work as an explanation for evolution.

Maybe they evolved on Earth to show that the Turellist Theory of Anthropocentric Evolution has turned turtle.

Natures wonders: 13, 17-year cicadas

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 01, 2013, 15:46 (2271 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I guess the same would apply to turtles. What a weird branch of the bush they are! I think they were put on Earth to show that Darwinism doesn't work as an explanation for evolution.

dhw: Maybe they evolved on Earth to show that the Turellist Theory of Anthropocentric Evolution has turned turtle.

I look at a turtle and feel sorry for them. Like medieval knights lugging around their armor, can't get right when they on their backs. I think God created them so we can see how lucky we are. My evolutionary bush is teleological. Purpose everywhere.

Speaking of turtles, a bit of autobiography: my birth surname was Turkeltaub, a slavic version of the German, Turteltaube, or turtledove in English. Why a bird mentioned in the OT got co-mingled with turtles is beyond me, but no more confusing than the strange branches of the bush of life. All they prove is that God made life's attempts at complexity very inventive. After all, travelling from rocks to life to consciousness is a major accomplishment.

But my family name lives on through the internet as well as procreation. There was a website that covered 19 branches of the name. I'm not sure it is active now. It was run by a distant cousin of mine in Venezuela. We have the same great-great grandfather.

Natures wonders: Arthorpod and insect eyes

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 01, 2013, 22:19 (2271 days ago) @ David Turell

Wonders of design. Nothing anticedent in the fossil record before the Cambrian. No evidence of evolutionary tinkering per current Darwinian theories of evolution:

http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2013/06/01/camera_designs_inspired_by_art...

Natures wonders: 13, 17-year cicadas

by dhw, Sunday, June 02, 2013, 12:14 (2270 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I guess the same would apply to turtles. What a weird branch of the bush they are! I think they were put on Earth to show that Darwinism doesn't work as an explanation for evolution.

dhw: Maybe they evolved on Earth to show that the Turellist Theory of Anthropocentric Evolution has turned turtle.

DAVID: I look at a turtle and feel sorry for them. Like medieval knights lugging around their armor, can't get right when they on their backs. I think God created them so we can see how lucky we are. My evolutionary bush is teleological. Purpose everywhere.

Speaking of turtles, a bit of autobiography: my birth surname was Turkeltaub, a slavic version of the German, Turteltaube, or turtledove in English. Why a bird mentioned in the OT got co-mingled with turtles is beyond me...

The German turteln means to bill and coo, or to whisper sweet nothings ... which I think is wonderfully appropriate when applied to your teleology. As far as I can see, it has nothing to do with the German for turtle, which is Schildkröte, though in British English we distinguish between turtle (German: Wasserschildkröte) and tortoise (German: Landschildkröte). And so, dear David, you are a turtle dove, a whisperer of sweet nothings, and not a medieval knight in shining armour.

Natures wonders: 13, 17-year cicadas

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 02, 2013, 15:48 (2270 days ago) @ dhw


dhw:The German turteln means to bill and coo, or to whisper sweet nothings ... which I think is wonderfully appropriate when applied to your teleology. As far as I can see, it has nothing to do with the German for turtle, which is Schildkröte, though in British English we distinguish between turtle (German: Wasserschildkröte) and tortoise (German: Landschildkröte). And so, dear David, you are a turtle dove, a whisperer of sweet nothings, and not a medieval knight in shining armour.

I knew of your mastery of the German language. I appreciate the explanation. My high school German only went so far. My Jewish ancestors in Poland had to assume last names in the 17th century and went to their bible to pluck something out. I guess I have to thank my gr-gr-gr grandpa Herscz from Serpic Poland.

Natures wonders: poisonous snail eggs

by David Turell @, Monday, June 03, 2013, 23:17 (2269 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: painted lady butterflies

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 06, 2013, 02:31 (2267 days ago) @ David Turell

Their migration is up to 9,000 miles and take six generations, outdoing the Monarchs by far:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/19991550

Natures wonders: butterfly metamorphosis

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 06, 2013, 02:34 (2267 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: cell division

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 06, 2013, 02:44 (2267 days ago) @ David Turell

The DNA lines up in chromosomes and is pulled apart in to two new cells:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGV3fv-uZYI&feature=player_embedded

Natures wonders: brain clock

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 06, 2013, 17:44 (2266 days ago) @ David Turell

Our boldy follows a diurnal rhythm of sleep and awake set by our environment's sun times. Very complex and causes jet lag, because it takes time to reset.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605130107.htm

Note it is a complex of both neuron activity and various chemicals.

Natures wonders: cell division

by dhw, Thursday, June 06, 2013, 20:13 (2266 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The DNA lines up in chromosomes and is pulled apart in to two new cells:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGV3fv-uZYI&feature=player_embedded

Thank you as always for all these references. When I see such things, I sometimes wonder whether cells aren't reliving some kind of evolutionary history. Too fanciful?

Natures wonders: turtle embryos move around

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 13, 2013, 14:58 (2259 days ago) @ dhw

Responding to heat or cold, the embryos shift in the egg:

http://phys.org/news/2013-06-turtle-embryos-shells-exploit-temperature.html

Natures wonders: Fibonacci numbers

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 15, 2013, 14:45 (2257 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Enzymes

by David Turell @, Monday, June 17, 2013, 15:09 (2255 days ago) @ David Turell

In Archaea type bacteria, the most ancient kind, is an enzyme that is of an extremely complex structure:

http://phys.org/news/2013-06-uniquely-enzyme-amazes-chemists.html

Natures wonders: balance

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 18:05 (2253 days ago) @ David Turell

Whenever we introduce foreign species into a new ecologic area there is trouble. Existing nature is always balanced, and we wittingly or unwittingly unbalance it.

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/35588/title/Ladybird-Bioterrorists/

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home, your house is on fire, your children alone....as the nursery rhyme tells us.

Natures wonders: immune response

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 20, 2013, 15:49 (2252 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: modulating food supply

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 06:08 (2248 days ago) @ David Turell

Plants manage starch consumption by feedback mechanisms akin to math formulas:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22991838

Natures wonders: magnetic migration

by David Turell @, Friday, June 28, 2013, 22:10 (2244 days ago) @ David Turell

Cuting nerves and confusing the birds by relocation begins to find the migration magnetic mechanism:

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/06/beak-to-brain-nerve-may-help-bir.html?ref=hp

Natures wonders: static electricity

by David Turell @, Friday, July 05, 2013, 15:56 (2237 days ago) @ David Turell

Spider webs use static electricity to catch bugs:

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/07/scienceshot-gotcha-spider-silk-g.html?ref=hp

Bugs use it in other ways

Natures wonders: jamming bat sonar

by David Turell @, Friday, July 05, 2013, 15:59 (2237 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: clever cockatoos

by David Turell @, Friday, July 05, 2013, 16:04 (2237 days ago) @ David Turell

Solving a series of puzzle locks:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130704095123.htm

Using beak, eyes, feet

Natures wonders: clever cockatoos

by dhw, Saturday, July 06, 2013, 08:54 (2237 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Solving a series of puzzle locks:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130704095123.htm

Using beak, eyes, feet

Another revealing post. Some people (including scientists) often seem surprised that our fellow animals should display such intelligence, such awareness, such powers of reason. How do humans think other creatures survive? Do they believe that Nature simply runs like clockwork, and animals, birds, insects never have problems to solve? For those of us who believe in evolution, it is absurd to suppose that our own intelligence has nothing in common with theirs. Just as our limbs, our skeletons, our organs are variations on theirs, so too are our mental capacities. Vastly more complex, no doubt, as is proven by our technology, our abstract thinking, our art. But brilliant though we are, we cannot read the minds of our fellow animals, let alone those of other organisms that seem totally dissimilar to ourselves. I would carry that still further, and while not wishing to use the word "mind", I would suggest that "intelligence" of many different sorts is to be found throughout the organic world, right down to the single cell. Panpsychists go further still, and suggest that even inorganic matter may have an inner 'mental' aspect.

Natures wonders: triple symbiosis

by David Turell @, Monday, July 08, 2013, 19:14 (2234 days ago) @ dhw

Natures wonders: Crab grass poison

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 17:57 (2232 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Making bird feathers

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 11, 2013, 02:53 (2232 days ago) @ David Turell

http://phys.org/news/2013-04-patterns-bird-feathers.html


"The researchers transplanted a pigment-producing quail follicle into a white chicken and found the chicken produced colored feathers. This led them to believe that the patterning on the bird's coat is not controlled directly by the DNA code, but rather by the spatial organization of MsSC's in the follicle and the regulatory mechanisms. Something in the genome must control these factors, though, for each member of a species, like a black-capped chickadee or bald eagle, to produce identical feather patterns." - See more at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/07/feather_pattern074161.html#sthash.TsEf6B6o.dpuf

Natures wonders: Gender reproducion

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 11, 2013, 14:09 (2231 days ago) @ David Turell

Can females control offspring gender? Perhaps:

"To really prove this idea works, you need a perfect, complete pedigree across three generations — near impossible to get in the wild. Garner and his team tested whether, for a female that produces only sons, those sons are actually outcompeting the majority of their male peers in the population by having more offspring."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/mammals-pick-offsprings-sex-to-ma...

Natures wonders: Locusts

by David Turell @, Friday, July 12, 2013, 14:40 (2230 days ago) @ David Turell

Their appearance depends on population density:

http://phys.org/news/2013-07-destructive-locusts-genetics.html

Natures wonders: Diving mammals

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 11, 2013, 20:18 (2231 days ago) @ David Turell

High O2 concentrations in myglobin (muscle hemoglobin-like molecule) allows this:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/visualscience/2013/07/09/how-animals-evolved-to-live-...

"The key is the famous oxygen-storing protein myoglobin. Myoglobin makes human muscles look red, and is so bountiful in the muscles of diving mammals that they look black. But at such high concentrations, myoglobin ought to clump together and render itself useless.

Mirceta's team studied the charges on myoglobin in marine mammals and found that it was so highly positively charged that it was repelled by itself, allowing more of it to be safely packed into smaller volumes. The researchers found a significant correlation between how long an animals dives for and how positively charged its myoglobin is—thus a sperm whale has a much higher positive charge on its myoglobin than a human.

In the case of the sperm whale, that density of myoglobin paired with large body size means the whale can stay submerged for nearly two hours. Extreme human athletes everywhere gnash their teeth"

Natures wonders: Killer wasps

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 13, 2013, 21:41 (2229 days ago) @ David Turell

The female wasp stings the cicada, drags it to its nest, lays eggs with it, and the larva have a ready made meal:

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/another-wonderful-creature-the-cicad...

Natures wonders: bacterial language

by David Turell @, Monday, July 15, 2013, 15:40 (2227 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: blue bloods

by David Turell @, Monday, July 15, 2013, 19:30 (2227 days ago) @ David Turell

Some cold area octopi have blue blood which works better than red blood when it is cold:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/octopus-chronicles/2013/07/13/octopuses-survive-sub...

Natures wonders: bacterial language

by dhw, Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 12:55 (2226 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: They use chemical signals:

http://phys.org/news/2013-07-bacterial-language.html

In nature, bacteria are no mavericks but live in close association with neighboring bacteria. They have evolved specific cell-cell communication systems that allow them to detect the presence of others and even to build up cooperative networks.

LMU microbiologist PD Dr. Ralf Heermann and Professor Helge Bode of the Goethe-University in Frankfurt have just reported the discovery of a previously unknown bacterial "language". Their findings are detailed in the latest issue of the journal Nature Chemical Biology. "Our results demonstrate that bacterial communication is much more complex than has been assumed to date," Heermann says.

And so once again we learn that the simplest forms of life have complex methods of communicating, which enable them to cooperate, to create new communities, to innovate. These are forms of intelligence that may be very different from ours, but we only need to think about our own bodies to realize that there are countless intelligent mechanisms which perceive, calculate, decide and act independently of our will and our consciousness. Each one of us is a community of cell communities, and these function just like all communities, through a common language and a shared goal. It's the same throughout Nature ... forms of intelligence which we do not understand, but which function just as efficiently as those within us. How the first forms arose is a mystery, but once we acknowledge the inventive, cooperative intelligence of cells, all the other mysteries of evolution seem to me to solve themselves.

Natures wonders: bacterial language

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 16:19 (2226 days ago) @ dhw

"Our results demonstrate that bacterial communication is much more complex than has been assumed to date," Heermann says.[/i]

dhw: And so once again we learn that the simplest forms of life have complex methods of communicating, which enable them to cooperate, to create new communities, to innovate. These are forms of intelligence that may be very different from ours, but we only need to think about our own bodies to realize that there are countless intelligent mechanisms which perceive, calculate, decide and act independently of our will and our consciousness...... How the first forms arose is a mystery, but once we acknowledge the inventive, cooperative intelligence of cells, all the other mysteries of evolution seem to me to solve themselves.

Yes, the $64,000 question. where did intelligence and consciousness come from? And your very unreasonable answer is I&C self-invented themselves. That is bootstrapping of the highest order!

Natures wonders: bacterial language

by dhw, Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 19:16 (2225 days ago) @ David Turell

And so once again we learn that the simplest forms of life have complex methods of communicating, which enable them to cooperate, to create new communities, to innovate. These are forms of intelligence that may be very different from ours, but we only need to think about our own bodies to realize that there are countless intelligent mechanisms which perceive, decide, calculate and act independently of our will and our consciousness. Each one of us is a community of cell communities, and these function just like all communities, through a common language and a shared goal. It's the same throughout Nature ... forms of intelligence which we do not understand, but which function just as efficiently as those within us. How the first forms arose is a mystery, but once we acknowledge the inventive, cooperative intelligence of cells, all the other mysteries of evolution seem to me to solve themselves.

DAVID: Yes, the $64,000 question, where did intelligence and consciousness come from? And your very unreasonable answer is I&C self-invented themselves. That is bootstrapping of the highest order!

That is not my answer at all. In five and a half years of discussion you still haven't cottoned on to the fact that I am an agnostic! I have no answers. See above: "How the first forms arose is a mystery". Only theists and atheists believe they have an answer. Your theist answer is that I&C invented themselves and their name is God. The atheist answer is that I&C invented themselves by chance. You both have a bootstrapping belief of the "highest order". I have no belief at all.

Natures wonders: floppy flagellum

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 18, 2013, 15:19 (2224 days ago) @ dhw

Natures wonders: two worms, one memory

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 18, 2013, 21:20 (2224 days ago) @ David Turell

Work with planaria show that if the head of one is cut off after training, two worms are regrown and both show the same training:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/seriouslyscience/2013/07/15/memories-that-can-survive...

Natures wonders: longer life

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 15:29 (2211 days ago) @ David Turell

Perhaps eating wasabi will help:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/36128/title/Cool-Genes/

Seriously, nature develops tricks to expand the range of climate to allow life to exist.

Natures wonders: Bird Migration

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 25, 2013, 15:44 (2217 days ago) @ David Turell

Homing pigeons have maps in thier brains:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130725091133.htm

Natures wonders: Changing color

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 27, 2013, 00:54 (2216 days ago) @ David Turell

By changing tissue thickness and and altering light wave length and refraction:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130725141759.htm

Natures wonders: The eyes have it

by David Turell @, Monday, July 29, 2013, 17:28 (2213 days ago) @ David Turell

False eyes fool predators:

http://phys.org/news/2013-07-young-angelfish-fake-eyes-ward.html

Making eyes when threatened. Epigenetics at work

Natures wonders: The eyes have it

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 12:21 (2212 days ago) @ David Turell

This is actually an interesting puzzle for the evolution debate, because one way or another, evolutionary theorist will have to admit possibilities that do not fit in with their main theory.

Natural selection would dictate that fish with the bigger eyes in a different position of their body would lead to better chance of survival, then why do the fish not have bigger eye spots all the time? Also, where or how did they develop the ability in the first place? If they never had big eye spots, how did natural select act upon something that did not exist in order to produce them? If they witnessed them on another creature, then we have to admit that fish have a higher level of cognizance than they have previously been acknowledged as having and that natural selection is able to act upon a creature by selecting a trait that another creature possess and applying it to the host creatures physiology, which grants natural selection some semblance of omnipotency. None of these things fit with evolutionary theory.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: The eyes have it

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 14:53 (2212 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


Tony: Natural selection would dictate that fish with the bigger eyes in a different position of their body would lead to better chance of survival, then why do the fish not have bigger eye spots all the time? Also, where or how did they develop the ability in the first place? If they never had big eye spots, how did natural select act upon something that did not exist in order to produce them?

Keep in mind the context of natural election. It is active only when variations are produced by changes in the genome. NS produces nothing. It only judges among presented choices, as a final arbitor.

Natures wonders: The eyes have it

by dhw, Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 17:56 (2212 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DAVID: False eyes fool predators:

http://phys.org/news/2013-07-young-angelfish-fake-eyes-ward.html

Making eyes when threatened. Epigenetics at work

TONY: This is actually an interesting puzzle for the evolution debate, because one way or another, evolutionary theorist will have to admit possibilities that do not fit in with their main theory.

Natural selection would dictate that fish with the bigger eyes in a different position of their body would lead to better chance of survival, then why do the fish not have bigger eye spots all the time? Also, where or how did they develop the ability in the first place? If they never had big eye spots, how did natural select act upon something that did not exist in order to produce them? If they witnessed them on another creature, then we have to admit that fish have a higher level of cognizance than they have previously been acknowledged as having and that natural selection is able to act upon a creature by selecting a trait that another creature possess and applying it to the host creatures physiology, which grants natural selection some semblance of omnipotency. None of these things fit with evolutionary theory.

As David has pointed out, natural selection does not innovate or adapt. It only ensures the survival of whatever is useful and is the LAST stage in the process of evolution. The questions you're asking concern the source of innovation, and how it happens that different species can develop similar mechanisms. Yet again I would argue that the mechanism for innovation and adaptation is "the intelligent cell/genome" (an expression David diligently avoids using), which as a theist you can argue is God's invention. Convergence might explain why different species have devised the same solution. Why aren't the false eyes there all the time? Presumably because they are a defence mechanism used only when needed. Clint carries a gun, but he only draws it when he has to. Fish have their methods, and we have ours! What is the anti-evolutionary theory?

Natures wonders: Starfish eyes

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 14:55 (2212 days ago) @ David Turell

They really work and are used for navigation to food.


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130705101826.htm

Natures wonders: Bird Migration

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, July 27, 2013, 11:52 (2215 days ago) @ David Turell

A tiny brain capable of complex computations..

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Migration

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 06, 2013, 18:54 (2205 days ago) @ David Turell

More on magnetoreception, a sense we humans don't have but migratory anumals do.

Iron compounds and quantum reactions are all present:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/36722/title/A-Sense-of-Mystery/

Natures wonders: Frog antifreeze

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 22, 2013, 15:25 (2189 days ago) @ David Turell

Wood frogs can be frozen and survive. They have antifreeze in their tissues:

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/352629/description/News_in_Brief_Natural_ant...

Natures wonders: Dance of the peacock spider

by David Turell @, Friday, August 23, 2013, 18:06 (2188 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: our kidney

by David Turell @, Monday, September 09, 2013, 18:14 (2171 days ago) @ David Turell

Look how much stuff the kidney excretes and controls; over 3,000 items. And this doesn't count for the exretions in liver bile, more difficult to obtain:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0073076

All by chance of course, starting in the Cambrian explosion

Natures wonders: natural gear mesh

by George Jelliss ⌂ @, St Leonards on Sea, Friday, September 13, 2013, 07:17 (2168 days ago) @ David Turell

First gear discovered in nature

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/the-first-gear-discovered-in-nature...

Issus has gears at the top of it's legs to enable it to jump.

Thought you might like this one.

--
GPJ

Natures wonders: natural gear mesh

by David Turell @, Friday, September 13, 2013, 14:28 (2167 days ago) @ George Jelliss

First gear discovered in nature

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/the-first-gear-discovered-in-nature...

Issus has gears at the top of it's legs to enable it to jump.

Thought you might like this one.

George, you just beat me to it. Nature invents gears before we do:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/gears-allow-planthopper-to-super-...

Natures wonders: parasite ants help hosts

by David Turell @, Friday, September 13, 2013, 17:36 (2167 days ago) @ David Turell

got to keep your meals alive:

"They're still parasites because they're extracting resources," said Adams. "But in the context of this scenario, [the parasites] use the same chemical weaponry that helps them to invade the host colony against this other raiding species." Adams compared M. symmetochus workers to the Medieval mercenaries that protected cities for pay.

To Herber's mind, the work provides a neat illustration of how coevolved relationships can be transformed from purely parasitical to partially mutualistic. "Most—if not all—mutualistic interactions evolved from a parasitic relationship," she said. "So how do we get from parasitic to mutualistic? Well, this [study] shows us one way."


http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/37410/title/From-Parasites-to-Pro...

Natures wonders: Dung Beetle astronomy

by George Jelliss ⌂ @, St Leonards on Sea, Friday, September 13, 2013, 22:15 (2167 days ago) @ David Turell

Winner of joint Ignobel Prize for Biology and Astronomy:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/scicurious-brain/2013/09/12/ignobels-2013-and-the-w...

"Dung Beetles use the Milky Way for orientation"

How wonderful is that!

--
GPJ

Natures wonders: Dung Beetle astronomy

by David Turell @, Friday, September 13, 2013, 22:35 (2167 days ago) @ George Jelliss

Winner of joint Ignobel Prize for Biology and Astronomy:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/scicurious-brain/2013/09/12/ignobels-2013-and-the-w...

"Dung Beetles use the Milky Way for orientation"

George: How wonderful is that!

Wonderful find. I had skipped over that one. The abstract:

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/retrieve/pii/S0960982212015072

Natures wonders: egg trickery

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 01:53 (2156 days ago) @ David Turell

Cuckoo finches fool other parents into raising their young by egg mimicry:


http://phys.org/news/2013-09-bird-world-cuckoo-finches-host.html

A hard-boiled approach

Natures wonders: electric fish

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 01, 2013, 14:14 (2149 days ago) @ David Turell

AC and DC. Don't foget electric eels:

http://phys.org/news/2013-10-electric-fish-ac-dc.html

Natures wonders: ants farming fungus

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 01, 2013, 16:07 (2149 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Noble Rot

by David Turell @, Friday, October 04, 2013, 15:22 (2146 days ago) @ David Turell

How the fungus uses a genetic attacK with RNA to rot the grapes:

http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/37753/title/Fungus-Versus-Plant/

Sauterne anyone?

Natures wonders: Clever corvids

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 08, 2013, 17:07 (2142 days ago) @ David Turell

More on crows and their use of tools. Do they think or is it automatic:


"Despite the striking results of the study, Dr St Clair cautions that 'We still can't say whether New Caledonian crows actually 'understand' how their tools function. But of course, this is also true of many humans I know!' "

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-10-canny-crows-tools.html#jCp

Natures wonders: Venus fly trap

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 17, 2013, 05:44 (2134 days ago) @ David Turell

Nothing else like it. Looks designed to me:


http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/10/the_venus_flytr077891.html

Natures wonders: venom producers

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 18:00 (2127 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: colorful squid

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 24, 2013, 15:17 (2126 days ago) @ David Turell

No one knows why they do it whuile colorblind:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/colorful-lives-squid

Natures wonders: triple symbiosis

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 14:23 (2121 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: zombie ant picture

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 14:23 (2121 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: male mosquito makes eggs!

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 16:09 (2120 days ago) @ David Turell

Well, not really. In the sex act he delivers a hormone which induces the female to make eggs:

http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/38070/title/Male-Mosquitoes-Trig...

Natures wonders: homing pigeons

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 06, 2013, 00:28 (2114 days ago) @ David Turell

Smell their way home!:

"Experiments over the past 40 years have shown that homing pigeons get disoriented when their sense of smell is impaired or when they don't have access to natural winds at their home site. But many researchers were not convinced that wind-borne odors could provide the map pigeons need to navigate. Now, Hans Wallraff of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany, has shown that the atmosphere does contain the necessary information to help pigeons find their way home."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131105103536.htm

Natures wonders: stability, maneuverability

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 14, 2013, 01:56 (2106 days ago) @ David Turell

"One of the things they teach you in engineering is that you can't have both stability and maneuverability at the same time," said Noah Cowan, a Johns Hopkins associate professor of mechanical engineering, who supervised the research. "The Wright Brothers figured this out when they built their early airplanes. They made their planes a little unstable to get the maneuverability they needed."

When an animal or vehicle is stable, it resists changes in direction. On the other hand, if it is maneuverable, it has the ability to quickly change course. Generally, engineers assume that a system can rely on one property or the other—but not both.

http://hub.jhu.edu/2013/11/04/fishy-movement-solves-mystery

Nature can teach us many designs. Look at the knifefish video.

Natures wonders: fruit fly wing art

by David Turell @, Saturday, November 16, 2013, 01:44 (2104 days ago) @ David Turell

A type of fruit fly has perfect pictures of ants on its wings!

http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/science/fruit-fly-with-the-wings-of-beauty#ixzz...

Natures wonders: dry butterflies

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 21, 2013, 01:06 (2099 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: cryptococcal tricks

by David Turell @, Monday, November 25, 2013, 19:14 (2094 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: fungus/plant root symbiosis

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 26, 2013, 15:25 (2093 days ago) @ David Turell

"Glomeromycota is an ancient lineage of fungi that has a symbiotic relationship with roots that goes back nearly 420 million years to the earliest plants. More than two thirds of the world's plants depend on this soil-dwelling symbiotic fungus to survive, including critical agricultural crops such as wheat, cassava, and rice. The analysis of the Rhizophagus irregularis genome has revealed that this asexual fungus doesn't shuffle its genes the way researchers expected. Moreover, rather than having lost much of its metabolic genes, as observed in many mutualistic organisms, it has expanded its range of cell-to-cell communication genes and phosphorus-capturing genes"

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-11-scavenging-fungi-friend.html#jCp

Natures wonders: ant rafts cross rivers

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 27, 2013, 01:55 (2093 days ago) @ David Turell

"Fire ant rafts hold together by constantly breaking apart. Swarms of the insects link up in vast groups to float across water, sometimes forming rafts the size of dinner plates. But how they withstand waves and other forces that threaten to sink them wasn't known.

"The ants evolved to form rafts to survive the tropical wet season in their native home, the Amazon rainforest. Entire colonies can escape flooding mounds in seconds, mobilising into buoyant heaps and floating safely to their next settlements. Invasive fire ants are now found across the southern US as well as in Australia, the Caribbean and parts of southern Asia."


http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24654-fire-ants-writhe-to-make-unsinkable-rafts.html

Natures wonders: wing murals

by David Turell @, Friday, November 29, 2013, 15:28 (2090 days ago) @ David Turell

Is this visual mimickry or do we see forms automatically from our brain's interpretations of remembered forms and shapes?:

http://www.myrmecos.net/2011/08/30/a-mural-on-moth-wings/

Natures wonders: Orchid mantis

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 03, 2013, 00:20 (2087 days ago) @ David Turell

Not your pious praying mantis, but just as much a predator:

http://www.livescience.com/41605-predator-lures-prey-by-mimicking-flowers.html?cmpid=55...

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 04, 2013, 05:50 (2086 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by dhw, Wednesday, December 04, 2013, 14:50 (2085 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Stick baiting:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/2013/11/30/tool-use-in-crocs-and-g...

QUOTE: "In recent years it has ... I really, really hope ... become better known that non-bird reptiles (turtles, lizards, snakes, crocodiles, alligators and so on) are not boring dullards, but behaviourally complex creatures that get up to all sorts of interesting things. Play behaviour, complex social interactions, gaze recognition, pair-bonding and monogamy, social hunting, speedy learning abilities and good memories have all been demonstrated across these groups. And another interesting and unexpected bit of complex behaviour has just been published. It's so interesting that I feel compelled to write about it today. It concerns what seems to be tool use in crocodiles and alligators."

Isn't it amazing how scientists studying the behaviour of all organisms from crocodiles down to bacteria find the same manifestations of intelligence? The various creatures may use different sensory apparatus and different means of communicating among themselves, but the principle is always the same: they find their own way to exploit their environment, to interact, to innovate. One is therefore led to ask: Did God build the programme for crocodile stick baiting into the very first cells, to be passed down through billions of years and organisms? Did he do a dabble to reprogramme the crocobrain so that it would play its little trick? Or did some clever croc come up with the idea all by himself and then pass it on to his mates?

Is there any difference between the croc's ingenuity and that of the first fire ants who made themselves into a raft in order to survive the floods? Preprogramming? God dabbling? Or independently inventive formic intelligence?

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 04, 2013, 15:31 (2085 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Is there any difference between the croc's ingenuity and that of the first fire ants who made themselves into a raft in order to survive the floods? Preprogramming? God dabbling? Or independently inventive formic intelligence?

Asking the same question for which there is no answer. We do not know how instinct is developed.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by dhw, Thursday, December 05, 2013, 15:19 (2084 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Is there any difference between the croc's ingenuity and that of the first fire ants who made themselves into a raft in order to survive the floods? Preprogramming? God dabbling? Or independently inventive formic intelligence?

DAVID: Asking the same question for which there is no answer. We do not know how instinct is developed.

Nor do we know how intelligence is developed. Nor do we know where to draw the borderline between instinct and intelligence. Instinct is normally pretty standardized, but if one croc uses sticks as bait and another doesn't, or one crow can solve puzzles while another can't, or one rat can exit the maze more quickly than another, is it not possible that the one is simply more intelligent than the other? And how many fire ants do you think might have drowned before they invented their D-I-Y raft? My earlier questions were meant to highlight the sheer scale of what your first-cell-preprogramming theory demands (with its zillions of physical and strategic variations for the trillions of species to follow during the next few billion years), even allowing for your divine dabbling theory (Creationism). One intelligent croc and maybe a couple of intelligent ants are all you need to come up with a stick-baiting or ant-rafting idea that can then be passed on to subsequent generations.

Here is an article on the recent discovery that ants teach each other one to one in the hunt for food, after which the pupil becomes a teacher, and so on. Why would pupils need to be taught what you think is an instinctive activity?
www.mindpowernews.com/AntsTeach.htm

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 05, 2013, 16:04 (2084 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Nor do we know how intelligence is developed. Nor do we know where to draw the borderline between instinct and intelligence. Instinct is normally pretty standardized, but if one croc uses sticks as bait and another doesn't, or one crow can solve puzzles while another can't, or one rat can exit the maze more quickly than another, is it not possible that the one is simply more intelligent than the other?

Or luckier in trial and error. But Sheldrake's work on animal consciousness shows that one lucky fellow will be immitated by the others until the whole species is doing it. There is no question this happens. The "100th monkey" story is one the classics.

dhw: One intelligent croc and maybe a couple of intelligent ants are all you need to come up with a stick-baiting or ant-rafting idea that can then be passed on to subsequent generations.

I like the way you tuck in the word intelligent.


Here is an article on the recent discovery that ants teach each other one to one in the hunt for food, after which the pupil becomes a teacher, and so on. Why would pupils need to be taught what you think is an instinctive activity?

www.mindpowernews.com/AntsTeach.htm

Excellent article and right to the point Sheldrake makes.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by dhw, Friday, December 06, 2013, 20:46 (2083 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We do not know how instinct is developed.

dhw: Nor do we know how intelligence is developed. Nor do we know where to draw the borderline between instinct and intelligence. Instinct is normally pretty standardized, but if one croc uses sticks as bait and another doesn't, or one crow can solve puzzles while another can't, or one rat can exit the maze more quickly than another, is it not possible that the one is simply more intelligent than the other?

DAVID: Or luckier in trial and error. But Sheldrake's work on animal consciousness shows that one lucky fellow will be immitated by the others until the whole species is doing it. There is no question this happens. The "100th monkey" story is one the classics.

I've looked at three websites dealing with the 100th monkey story, all of which say it has been discredited, and the sweet potato washing is accounted for by observation and passing on from one generation to another. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundredth_monkey_effect
No doubt, though, Sheldrake has plenty of other examples for his theory, but this is irrelevant to the individual, supervised tests made, for instance, on crows and rats, demonstrating their intelligent ways of solving specific problems in the laboratory. You yourself drew our attention to corvids:

DAVID: More studies on how clever crow are with brains diffrent than ours:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131128103835.htm
The whole article is filled with references to intelligent behaviour, e.g.:
"The study published in Nature Communications provides valuable insights into the parallel evolution of intelligent behavior. "Many functions are realized differently in birds because a long evolutionary history separates us from these direct descendants of the dinosaurs," says Lena Veit. "This means that bird brains can show us an alternative solution out of how intelligent behavior is produced with a different anatomy.""

The "different anatomy" comment could well apply to other organisms such as ants and bacteria. We simply don't know how "intelligence" works, but there is plenty of evidence that ours is not the only form.

dhw: One intelligent croc and maybe a couple of intelligent ants are all you need to come up with a stick-baiting or ant-rafting idea that can then be passed on to subsequent generations.
DAVID: I like the way you tuck in the word intelligent.

Hardly tucked in. That is my whole point. Meanwhile, you switch from instinct to luck ... anything but "intelligence". See your next comment.

Dhw: Here is an article on the recent discovery that ants teach each other one to one in the hunt for food, after which the pupil becomes a teacher, and so on. Why would pupils need to be taught what you think is an instinctive activity?www.mindpowernews.com/AntsTeach.htm

DAVID: Excellent article and right to the point Sheldrake makes.

Miles from the point Sheldrake makes and from the point you keep trying to make. Each ant teaches others how to detect food. How can direct one-to-one teaching and learning be linked to luck, instinct or morphogenetic fields?

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 07, 2013, 01:02 (2083 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I've looked at three websites dealing with the 100th monkey story, all of which say it has been discredited, and the sweet potato washing is accounted for by observation and passing on from one generation to another. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundredth_monkey_effect

The problems with the 'discrediting' is that the 100th monkey story invoplved hopping islands in the Pacific, where other monkeys learned the trick quicker.

dhw: No doubt, though, Sheldrake has plenty of other examples for his theory,

He does and I only mentioned the crossword puzzles. There were other studies including one with a Japanese nursery rhyme with Western folks. The blee tit milk and cream study and many others, such as by other authors with rats in a maze with apparently speeding learning through species consciousness. My point was that instinct may in part be accomplished by species consciousness.

dhw: but this is irrelevant to the individual, supervised tests made, for instance, on crows and rats, demonstrating their intelligent ways of solving specific problems in the laboratory. You yourself drew our attention to corvids.

I know, my poodle figures things out also. But crows, rats and dogs are several levels about ants. I will agree that animals at this level do some clear reasoning.


dhw; The "different anatomy" comment could well apply to other organisms such as ants and bacteria. We simply don't know how "intelligence" works, but there is plenty of evidence that ours is not the only form.

That is true, but single cells are still single cells. That is all automatic.


Dhw: Here is an article on the recent discovery that ants teach each other one to one in the hunt for food, after which the pupil becomes a teacher, and so on. Why would pupils need to be taught what you think is an instinctive activity?www.mindpowernews.com/AntsTeach.htm

DAVID: Excellent article and right to the point Sheldrake makes.

dhw: Miles from the point Sheldrake makes and from the point you keep trying to make. Each ant teaches others how to detect food. How can direct one-to-one teaching and learning be linked to luck, instinct or morphogenetic fields?

Wrong word. Morphogenesis relates to form not thought. Monkey see-monkey do; ant sees, ants do. I don't find that incredible, just copy-catting. wich most animals are capable of. Bees do their dance and recognize faces, but not their own.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by dhw, Saturday, December 07, 2013, 12:33 (2082 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I've looked at three websites dealing with the 100th monkey story, all of which say it has been discredited.
DAVID: The problems with the 'discrediting' is that the 100th monkey story invoplved hopping islands in the Pacific, where other monkeys learned the trick quicker.

QUOTE: "Claims that the practice spread suddenly to other isolated populations of monkeys may be called into question given the fact that at least one washing monkey swam to another population and spent about four years there [...]

DAVID: My point was that instinct may in part be accomplished by species consciousness.

It is the other part that I'm interested in. You are always quick to ask about origins when we discuss the complexities of organisms, but you prefer not to discuss origins when it comes to organisms performing actions that require intelligence. Once the breakthrough has been made, the knowledge spreads, as it does throughout our own human world. But the breakthrough requires intelligence.

dhw: ...but this is irrelevant to the individual, supervised tests made, for instance, on crows and rats, demonstrating their intelligent ways of solving specific problems in the laboratory.
DAVID: I know, my poodle figures things out also. But crows, rats and dogs are several levels about ants. I will agree that animals at this level do some clear reasoning.

In which case, you agree that there are different levels of intelligence. Experiments have also been carried out with ants and with bacteria, and the researchers have concluded that both are "intelligent".

dhw; The "different anatomy" comment could well apply to other organisms such as ants and bacteria. We simply don't know how "intelligence" works, but there is plenty of evidence that ours is not the only form.
DAVID: That is true, but single cells are still single cells. That is all automatic.

Questionable, since some researchers claim that bacteria are intelligent, but in any case evolution got underway when single cells combined. One cell dumb, two cells not so dumb, a billion cells...?

Dhw: Here is an article on the recent discovery that ants teach each other one to one in the hunt for food, after which the pupil becomes a teacher, and so on. Why would pupils need to be taught what you think is an instinctive activity?
DAVID: ...Monkey see-monkey do; ant sees, ants do. I don't find that incredible, just copy-catting. wich most animals are capable of. Bees do their dance and recognize faces, but not their own.

One-to-one teaching is not copy-catting, nor is it an example of species consciousness. Here is another short article that gives more details of the teaching process. Nothing like copy-catting.
www.bris.ac.uk/news/2006/879.html

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 07, 2013, 14:47 (2082 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: One-to-one teaching is not copy-catting, nor is it an example of species consciousness. Here is another short article that gives more details of the teaching process. Nothing like copy-catting.

www.bris.ac.uk/news/2006/879.html

Did you carefully read the last paragraph. I've seen the article before:

"The occurrence of teaching in ants indicates that teaching can evolve in animals with tiny brains. It is probably the value of information in social animals that determines when teaching will evolve, rather the constraints of brain size."

Again that word information! It is a mix of information they contain in their brain and genome and it is a measure of the importance of useful information to be shared. The source of the initial slug of information when these animals developed their social status is what I keep requesting. They have intelligent information which they use, we all agree. Information developed by chance?

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by dhw, Sunday, December 08, 2013, 17:03 (2081 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: One-to-one teaching is not copy-catting, nor is it an example of species consciousness. Here is another short article that gives more details of the teaching process. Nothing like copy-catting. www.bris.ac.uk/news/2006/879.html

DAVID: Did you carefully read the last paragraph. I've seen the article before:
"The occurrence of teaching in ants indicates that teaching can evolve in animals with tiny brains. It is probably the value of information in social animals that determines when teaching will evolve, rather than the constraints of brain size."
Again that word information! It is a mix of information they contain in their brain and genome and it is a measure of the importance of useful information to be shared. The source of the initial slug of information when these animals developed their social status is what I keep requesting. They have intelligent information which they use, we all agree. Information developed by chance?

You love to juggle with "that word information". QUOTE: Professor Franks said: "We also believe that true teaching always involves feedback in both directions between the teacher and the pupil. In other words, the teacher provides information or guidance for the pupil at a rate suited to the pupil's abilities, and the pupil signals to the teacher when parts of the 'lesson' have been assimilated and that the lesson may continue."
There would not be much point in teaching if the teacher had no information to impart! Here is my interpretation of the research. Ants learn either from experience or from their fellow ants how to trace food sources, and they pass this information on to other ants by teaching them. We humans do the same. No luck, no instinct, no copy-catting, no species consciousness, but simply the deliberate passing of information from one organism to another, which many of us would regard as a sign of intelligence.

If your question concerning the source of the "initial slug of information" relates to the mechanisms which give the ant its intelligence, the answer may possibly be your God, but the point we are discussing is whether or not the one-to-one lesson is a sign that ants are intelligent in their own right. You readily accept observation and specialist research which shows crows, rats and dogs to be intelligent. Why do you unreservedly reject observation and specialist research that shows formic intelligence? As with birds, so with ants: "This means that bird brains can show us an alternative solution out of how intelligent behavior is produced with a different anatomy." (Lena Veit)

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 08, 2013, 18:54 (2081 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: You love to juggle with "that word information".

Yes I do, because you seem to have a reluctance to view what is in the ant genome is information, and you can't or won't give me a source for it. The4 genome contains information by which the ants operate. Yes, they appear to have some basic intelligence which comes from that information. Information at the beginning of the ant species requires a source for the information.

dhw: There would not be much point in teaching if the teacher had no information to impart! Here is my interpretation of the research. Ants learn either from experience or from their fellow ants how to trace food sources, and they pass this information on to other ants by teaching them. We humans do the same. No luck, no instinct, no copy-catting, no species consciousness, but simply the deliberate passing of information from one organism to another, which many of us would regard as a sign of intelligence.

I'll accept your statement if you will accept mine that they operate from information in their genome in their brains. I do think that most of it is instinct, but I admit they can do some simple teaching guided by instinct


dhw;If your question concerning the source of the "initial slug of information" relates to the mechanisms which give the ant its intelligence, the answer may possibly be your God, but the point we are discussing is whether or not the one-to-one lesson is a sign that ants are intelligent in their own right. You readily accept observation and specialist research which shows crows, rats and dogs to be intelligent. Why do you unreservedly reject observation and specialist research that shows formic intelligence? As with birds, so with ants: "This means that bird brains can show us an alternative solution out of how intelligent behavior is produced with a different anatomy." (Lena Veit)

Because I think it is mostly instinct just as bees dance to show where the pollen is hiding. Did they invent the dance or was it given to them? This is where I must say I don't know. God lets life figure it out or dabble?

Natures wonders: Electrostatic spider webs

by David Turell @, Monday, December 09, 2013, 15:25 (2080 days ago) @ David Turell

They are charged enough to attract particles and insects:

http://phys.org/news/2013-12-electricity-spider-webs-prey-pollutants.html

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by dhw, Monday, December 09, 2013, 18:37 (2080 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You love to juggle with "that word information".
DAVID: Yes I do, because you seem to have a reluctance to view what is in the ant genome is information, and you can't or won't give me a source for it.

No-one knows the source of the information in the human genome either. You like to juggle with the word because it enables you to switch the focus from behaviour indicative of independent intelligence to the unknown source of ALL intelligence.

dhw: Here is my interpretation of the research. Ants learn either from experience or from their fellow ants how to trace food sources, and they pass this information on to other ants by teaching them. We humans do the same. No luck, no instinct, no copy-catting, no species consciousness, but simply the deliberate passing of information from one organism to another, which many of us would regard as a sign of intelligence.
DAVID: I'll accept your statement if you will accept mine that they operate from information in their genome in their brains. I do think that most of it is instinct, but I admit they can do some simple teaching guided by instinct.

We ALL operate from information in the genome in the brain, but we regard our human capacity for processing and using information, communicating it to others, cooperating with others, taking decisions etc. as an indication of independent intelligence. "Most of it" is not "all of it", and it's the non-instinctive part that constitutes intelligence.

dhw: If your question concerning the source of the "initial slug of information" relates to the mechanisms which give the ant its intelligence, the answer may possibly be your God [...] You readily accept observation and specialist research which shows crows, rats and dogs to be intelligent. Why do you unreservedly reject observation and specialist research that shows formic intelligence? As with birds, so with ants: "This means that bird brains can show us an alternative solution out of how intelligent behavior is produced with a different anatomy." (Lena Veit)
DAVID: Because I think it is mostly instinct just as bees dance to show where the pollen is hiding. Did they invent the dance or was it given to them? This is where I must say I don't know. God lets life figure it out or dabble?

"Mostly" again. So what is the rest? Life only exists in the form of living organisms, and so your last sentence should read: "God lets the living organisms figure it out or he dabbles?" (I'm glad you've omitted your other theory that the ants' teaching or the bees' dance was just one of the zillions of programmes God planted in the first living cells). "Figuring it out" demands intelligence.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 03:41 (2080 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You love to juggle with "that word information".
DAVID: Yes I do, because you seem to have a reluctance to view what is in the ant genome is information, and you can't or won't give me a source for it.

dhw:No-one knows the source of the information in the human genome either. You like to juggle with the word because it enables you to switch the focus from behaviour indicative of independent intelligence to the unknown source of ALL intelligence.

Information and intelligence are two separate items. I can't seem to get you to recognize the difference as one thinks about the genome. The genome, as we both know, is a code. Information is something that intelligence uses. In our experience in life we know tht information is supplied by mental intelligence and codes are made by mental thought or intelligence. This means to me there is a conscious intelligent source for the code and information in the genome. Granted from that point on we can dsicuss the possible sources all year long, but there will never be a proof we can find or agree upon for who or what that source is.


dhw: We ALL operate from information in the genome in the brain, but we regard our human capacity for processing and using information, communicating it to others, cooperating with others, taking decisions etc. as an indication of independent intelligence. "Most of it" is not "all of it", and it's the non-instinctive part that constitutes intelligence.

Agreed, but most of what animals, not humans, do is instinct.


dhw:"Mostly" again. So what is the rest? Life only exists in the form of living organisms, and so your last sentence should read: "God lets the living organisms figure it out or he dabbles?" (I'm glad you've omitted your other theory that the ants' teaching or the bees' dance was just one of the zillions of programmes God planted in the first living cells). "Figuring it out" demands intelligence.

I will agree at the corvid/ ape/ dog level that they can do some figuring out wbhich is basic intelligence. But not at the bacterial level. That they think I will never agree to.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by dhw, Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 20:03 (2079 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Information and intelligence are two separate items. I can't seem to get you to recognize the difference as one thinks about the genome. The genome, as we both know, is a code. Information is something that intelligence uses. In our experience in life we know tht information is supplied by mental intelligence and codes are made by mental thought or intelligence. This means to me there is a conscious intelligent source for the code and information in the genome. Granted from that point on we can dsicuss the possible sources all year long, but there will never be a proof we can find or agree upon for who or what that source is.

You juggle with two types of information: information in the genetic code, and information we absorb and process from our contact with the outside world. Whenever I want to discuss the mechanism (intelligence) which deals with the latter, you switch to the former and ask for its source.

dhw: We ALL operate from information in the genome in the brain, but we regard our human capacity for processing and using information, communicating it to others, cooperating with others, taking decisions etc. as an indication of independent intelligence. "Most of it" is not "all of it", and it's the non-instinctive part that constitutes intelligence.
DAVID: Agreed, but most of what animals, not humans, do is instinct.

Once again, it is the non-instinctive element that I am focusing on. We agree that human intelligence is vastly more developed than that of other organisms, but that does not mean other organisms are not intelligent.

dhw: "Mostly" again. So what is the rest? Life only exists in the form of living organisms, and so your last sentence should read: "God lets the living organisms figure it out or he dabbles?" (I'm glad you've omitted your other theory that the ants' teaching or the bees' dance was just one of the zillions of programmes God planted in the first living cells). "Figuring it out" demands intelligence.
DAVID: I will agree at the corvid/ ape/ dog level that they can do some figuring out wbhich is basic intelligence. But not at the bacterial level. That they think I will never agree to.

As usual, you bring in words like "think", which automatically conjure up associations with human-type thinking. I have never included the word among the attributes I list (see earlier). Of course you have every right to dismiss the research of those specialists who believe bacteria to be intelligent. Any concessions for my friends the ant-teachers?

Just a reminder to anyone interested: this whole discussion centres on the question of how evolution proceeds. I am suggesting the possibility that the higgledy-piggledy bush is the result of "intelligent" cell communities cooperating and making their own changes as environmental conditions demand or allow, with natural selection deciding which will perish and which will survive. David believes that it is the result of God's either preprogramming the first cells with all the billions of physical and strategic variations we now know, or God dabbling. Darwin believed it was the result of billions of random mutations, followed by natural selection as above.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 02:21 (2079 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: You juggle with two types of information: information in the genetic code, and information we absorb and process from our contact with the outside world. Whenever I want to discuss the mechanism (intelligence) which deals with the latter, you switch to the former and ask for its source.

That is because I want you to clearly make the distinction. I know there are both kinds of information as you do, but I am insisting that in the simple organisms, what looks like intelligence is really programs running on information in the genome, and those programs respond to information the sensory mechanism pick up.

dhw; Once again, it is the non-instinctive element that I am focusing on. We agree that human intelligence is vastly more developed than that of other organisms, but that does not mean other organisms are not intelligent.

At the advanced level like corvids, dogs, apes, yes they have some simple intelligence.


dhw: Of course you have every right to dismiss the research of those specialists who believe bacteria to be intelligent. Any concessions for my friends the ant-teachers?

I agree they instruct, but perhaps by instinct only.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 06:03 (2079 days ago) @ David Turell


dhw: You juggle with two types of information: information in the genetic code, and information we absorb and process from our contact with the outside world. Whenever I want to discuss the mechanism (intelligence) which deals with the latter, you switch to the former and ask for its source.


David: That is because I want you to clearly make the distinction. I know there are both kinds of information as you do, but I am insisting that in the simple organisms, what looks like intelligence is really programs running on information in the genome, and those programs respond to information the sensory mechanism pick up.

Even a simple computer program can learn new routines.

dhw; Once again, it is the non-instinctive element that I am focusing on. We agree that human intelligence is vastly more developed than that of other organisms, but that does not mean other organisms are not intelligent.


David: At the advanced level like corvids, dogs, apes, yes they have some simple intelligence.

At about the same level of some computer programs. Corvids display basic facial recognition software, others display basic varieties of pathfinding or flocking software, all of which can be pre-programmed to account for changing conditions.


dhw: Of course you have every right to dismiss the research of those specialists who believe bacteria to be intelligent. Any concessions for my friends the ant-teachers?


David: I agree they instruct, but perhaps by instinct only.

Again, look at basic computer AI, none of which comes remotely close to simulating the degree of intelligence found in humans.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 14:44 (2078 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


dhw: You juggle with two types of information: information in the genetic code, and information we absorb and process from our contact with the outside world. Whenever I want to discuss the mechanism (intelligence) which deals with the latter, you switch to the former and ask for its source.


David: That is because I want you to clearly make the distinction. I know there are both kinds of information as you do, but I am insisting that in the simple organisms, what looks like intelligence is really programs running on information in the genome, and those programs respond to information the sensory mechanism pick up.


Tony:Even a simple computer program can learn new routines.

dhw; Once again, it is the non-instinctive element that I am focusing on. We agree that human intelligence is vastly more developed than that of other organisms, but that does not mean other organisms are not intelligent.


David: At the advanced level like corvids, dogs, apes, yes they have some simple intelligence.


Tony; At about the same level of some computer programs. Corvids display basic facial recognition software, others display basic varieties of pathfinding or flocking software, all of which can be pre-programmed to account for changing conditions.


dhw: Of course you have every right to dismiss the research of those specialists who believe bacteria to be intelligent. Any concessions for my friends the ant-teachers?


David: I agree they instruct, but perhaps by instinct only.


Tony: Again, look at basic computer AI, none of which comes remotely close to simulating the degree of intelligence found in humans.

That is all I have said to dhw in referring to the genome as a biologic computer. A computer is not intelligent. It uses information in programs.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by dhw, Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 19:43 (2078 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

dhw: You juggle with two types of information: information in the genetic code, and information we absorb and process from our contact with the outside world. Whenever I want to discuss the mechanism (intelligence) which deals with the latter, you switch to the former and ask for its source.

DAVID: That is because I want you to clearly make the distinction. I know there are both kinds of information as you do, but I am insisting that in the simple organisms, what looks like intelligence is really programs running on information in the genome, and those programs respond to information the sensory mechanism pick up.

TONY: Even a simple computer program can learn new routines.

The rest of the post follows the same line of argument, as does David's latest. So let us focus solely on ants. What exactly is the theistic theory on offer here? 1) God preprogrammed the very first living cells to pass on the programme that would produce ants (along with umpteen billion other species) plus every single response that ants could make to a changing environment, including the building of underground cities, farming, military strategies, teaching the young etc. 2) God specially created ants, and inserted a programme for every single response, as in 1). 3) God preprogrammed the very first living cells to pass on the programme that would produce ants, but every so often, when ants face new problems, he dabbles with the programme to provide them with a solution (e.g. rafting). Or 4) God provided the very first living cells with a mechanism enabling them to cooperate freely (i.e. not preprogrammed) in producing any number of species, including ants which would also cooperate freely (i.e. not preprogrammned) in working out their own solutions to new problems.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 20:18 (2078 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: So let us focus solely on ants. What exactly is the theistic theory on offer here? 1) God preprogrammed the very first living cells to pass on the programme that would produce ants (along with umpteen billion other species) plus every single response that ants could make to a changing environment, including the building of underground cities, farming, military strategies, teaching the young etc. 2) God specially created ants, and inserted a programme for every single response, as in 1). 3) God preprogrammed the very first living cells to pass on the programme that would produce ants, but every so often, when ants face new problems, he dabbles with the programme to provide them with a solution (e.g. rafting). Or 4) God provided the very first living cells with a mechanism enabling them to cooperate freely (i.e. not preprogrammed) in producing any number of species, including ants which would also cooperate freely (i.e. not preprogrammned) in working out their own solutions to new problems.

We have found evidnece supporting all of your choices except #4. Cells are highly programmed. Read Dr. Woese's article, courtesy of George, carefully.

Natures wonders: Plant defense

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 12, 2013, 15:01 (2077 days ago) @ David Turell

How plants defend themselves from disease. It is all biochemical reactions to recognition of disease, also done biochemically. dhw, do plants think? This is automatic:

http://phys.org/news/2013-12-molecular-snapshot-immune.html

Natures wonders: Plant defense

by dhw, Friday, December 13, 2013, 13:20 (2076 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: How plants defend themselves from disease. It is all biochemical reactions to recognition of disease, also done biochemically. dhw, do plants think? This is automatic:

http://phys.org/news/2013-12-molecular-snapshot-immune.html

As always, you prefer to ask whether plants "think" rather than whether plants are "intelligent". No, I don't believe plants gaze up at the sky and in best American ask themselves how they got here, what life is all about, and when the hell is it gonna rain? Nor do I believe that they have intelligence remotely like that of a corvid or your dog, and if they do have intelligence (this is, after all, only a hypothesis) it must be almost infinitely far removed from our own. But I do not define intelligence as self-awareness, or the ability to think abstractly, or to speak fluent American, or even to communicate with us humans. Flora and fauna are all cell communities, and I remain sceptical that your God would have preprogrammed the first living cells eventually to have produced not only these particular plants but also their response to every single disease that might strike them during the next few billion years. I am also sceptical that if he didn't preprogramme their responses, he will step in and dabble with the cells to help them through the crisis.

My alternative (theistic version) to these two hypotheses is that he provided the cells with a form of intelligence that would enable them to work out their own response, through some central, intelligent control system (analogous to the human brain). We are told that "the infected cells make very specific decisions about the actions actually required." Decision-making, based on the processing of information, is an attribute of intelligence.

QUOTE: "We would like to know how the plant resistance signalling system works and makes decisions in a dynamic way to confer resistance. Handling pathogen stress likely involves exquisite communication between different pathways." says Jane Parker, explaining her interest in the three proteins."

That is what we would all like to know. You insist that God has worked every detail out in advance, so no decisions are necessary ... the plant merely follows God's 10,954th set of inherited instructions (or he pops in to dabble). I am suggesting that the plant cells work it out for themselves, using biochemistry to do the job. As Woese says: "If they are not machines, then what are organisms?" Maybe plants too are intelligent beings.

Natures wonders: Plant defense

by David Turell @, Friday, December 13, 2013, 15:27 (2076 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Decision-making, based on the processing of information, is an attribute of intelligence.

Tony has carefully explained how this can work automatically, no innate intelligence involved, all programming.

dhw:That is what we would all like to know. You insist that God has worked every detail out in advance, so no decisions are necessary ... the plant merely follows God's 10,954th set of inherited instructions (or he pops in to dabble). I am suggesting that the plant cells work it out for themselves, using biochemistry to do the job. As Woese says: "If they are not machines, then what are organisms?" Maybe plants too are intelligent beings.

If I counld accept that God is as omniscient as religions describe, than I wouldn't wonder about the issue of dabbling. Tony's answer of five hours ago covers the problem.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by dhw, Thursday, December 12, 2013, 17:38 (2077 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: So let us focus solely on ants. What exactly is the theistic theory on offer here? 1) God preprogrammed the very first living cells to pass on the programme that would produce ants (along with umpteen billion other species) plus every single response that ants could make to a changing environment, including the building of underground cities, farming, military strategies, teaching the young etc. 2) God specially created ants, and inserted a programme for every single response, as in 1). 3) God preprogrammed the very first living cells to pass on the programme that would produce ants, but every so often, when ants face new problems, he dabbles with the programme to provide them with a solution (e.g. rafting). Or 4) God provided the very first living cells with the ability to cooperate freely (i.e. not preprogrammed) in producing any number of species, including ants which would independently work out their own solutions to new problems.

DAVID: We have found evidence supporting all of your choices except 4). Cells are highly programmed. Read Dr. Woese's article, courtesy of George, carefully.

I have read it carefully. There is no evidence for any of these hypotheses. Woese makes no attempt to explain what he calls "novelty", and although in a very limited way he challenges the perceived concept of common descent, he calls for a holistic view focusing on "evolution, emergence, and biology's innate complexity". But he also quotes David Bohm's warning of 40 years ago: "If the trend continues...scientists will be regarding living and intelligent beings as mechanical..." N.B. Bohm did not specify humans, although it's not clear how far he was extending his notion of "beings". (Shapiro referred to bacteria as sentient beings.)Woese himself asks: "If they are not machines, then what are organisms?" The question itself shows quite clearly that he does not regard organisms (i.e. communities of cells, among which we can include ants) as machines, whereas if they are preprogrammed and have no freedom to do anything beyond what is preprogrammed, you can hardly call them anything other than machines.

Furthermore, Woese sees evolution as a bumpy road, on which the "outcomes of these transitions, saltations, are not predictable a priori" (which fits in better with higgledy-piggledy that with pre-planning). He does not go so far as to suggest that cell communities are intelligent, but the following concurs absolutely with the research done by Margulis, Shapiro, Albrecht-Buehler et al: "A common thread that links language and multicellularity is communication (interaction at a distance). In each case a complex, sophisticated network of interactions forms the medium within which the new level of organization (entities) comes into existence." Of course you can impose your theory and insist that it's all mechanical instinct preprogrammed by your God, but that is not what Woese says. He says explicitly that organisms are not machines.

What he is examining here is the pre-Darwinian evolution of cells. The first proteinaceous cells are "a kind of novelty that we would not encounter in the modern biological era, and it had to have been generated in a kind of way that we have yet to fathom." However, he does conclude that evolution began "in a highly multiplex fashion, from many initial ancestral starting points, not just a single one", and talks of a "shotgun strategy" rather than a rifle (again hardly offering support for your divine preprogramming).

In short, Woese rejects the notion of organisms (cell communities) as machines, makes no mention whatsoever of divine preprogramming, confirms the sophistication of the mechanisms enabling cells to communicate and cooperate, and when it comes to origins clearly shares Schrödinger's view: "In an honest search for knowledge you quite often have to abide by ignorance for an indefinite period." This doesn't mean giving up ... it is "a signpost to further quest". I've no idea what Woese's religious tendencies were, but all of this strongly suggests agnosticism to me, and you certainly can't claim that his article supports your divine preprogramming-and-dabbling hypothesis while rejecting that of "the intelligent cell". It does neither. We remain ignorant.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, December 15, 2013, 06:19 (2075 days ago) @ David Turell

Surprising Discovery: Multi-cellular response is all for one

The Northwestern researchers demonstrated something very unexpected in their studies of the worm C. elegans: Authority is taken away from individual cells and given to two specialized neurons to sense temperature stress and organize an integrated molecular response for the entire organism.

Is this a shot in the foot for DHW's theory?

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by dhw, Sunday, December 15, 2013, 14:52 (2074 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW (to Tony, under "Nature's Wonders: Crocodile tools"): You and David are happy to describe computerized learning as Artificial Intelligence, but when the procedures are carried out by a living organism with a live memory, ability to perceive, process and communicate data, make decisions, pass data across generations, suddenly these attributes no longer signify intelligence!
DHW: I am disappointed that neither of you has responded to this.

TONY: I did not coin the phrase 'Artificial Intelligence' and have repeatedly stated a need to distinguish between different levels of intelligence/consciousness. Also, see the link where major responses by hundreds of cells are controlled by two neurons. No intelligence, simple guided automatons.

I'm very happy with your acknowledgement that there are different levels of intelligence, but I'd prefer if possible to avoid "consciousness", because David likes to equate that with human self-awareness, whereas I associate it just with awareness, e.g. of the environment (including other organisms). My argument is that perception, processing and communication of data, decision-making, cooperation etc. are attributes of intelligence, and these attributes are present in all organisms from bacteria through to humans. This is also illustrated by the example you refer to:

TONY: Surprising Discovery: Multi-cellular response is all for one
"The Northwestern researchers demonstrated something very unexpected in their studies of the worm C. elegans: Authority is taken away from individual cells and given to two specialized neurons to sense temperature stress and organize an integrated molecular response for the entire organism."
Is this a shot in the foot for DHW's theory?

I would take it to be an illustration of how unicellularity and multicellularity both work. Within the single cell is an intelligent control centre (Albrecht-Buehler says it's the centrosome); within multicellular organisms there must also be an intelligent control centre. In organisms like dogs, corvids and humans we assume it is the brain. In C. elegans it appears to be bound up with two neurons which assume "authority" and "organize" the response of the entire organism. The other cells will obey their commands, just as my legs obey when my brain passes on the message that "I" want to walk. In other words, individual cells have their own intelligence, but when they merge into cell communities, they take on different functions, and these are organized by an independent, overall intelligence within or "emerging" from that community. "Multicellular response is all for one" sums it up nicely. Otherwise the organism couldn't function! Again, the ant colony provides the perfect analogy.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 15, 2013, 16:06 (2074 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: In other words, individual cells have their own intelligence, but when they merge into cell communities, they take on different functions, and these are organized by an independent, overall intelligence within or "emerging" from that community. "Multicellular response is all for one" sums it up nicely. Otherwise the organism couldn't function! Again, the ant colony provides the perfect analogy.

Yes, cells 'own intelligence' is their ability to use implanted information wthin the genome to which they have continuous access. And yes, a community of these cooopeating cells, acting according to plan, create the emergence of life in the multicelled folks. Single celled guys amazingly do it all on their own, which in a perverse way makes them seem even more intelligent!

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Monday, December 16, 2013, 06:18 (2074 days ago) @ dhw

If the cells were autonomously intelligent, you would expect to see some form of dissent in the ranks, a dumb cell that couldn't follow directions, or just went its own way. They behaved exactly like I would expect a computer to behave, not like I would expect an intelligent creature to behave.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by dhw, Monday, December 16, 2013, 18:02 (2073 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

dhw: In other words, individual cells have their own intelligence, but when they merge into cell communities, they take on different functions, and these are organized by an independent, overall intelligence within or "emerging" from that community. "Multicellular response is all for one" sums it up nicely. Otherwise the organism couldn't function! Again, the ant colony provides the perfect analogy.

DAVID: Yes, cells 'own intelligence' is their ability to use implanted information wthin the genome to which they have continuous access. And yes, a community of these cooopeating cells, acting according to plan, create the emergence of life in the multicelled folks. Single celled guys amazingly do it all on their own, which in a perverse way makes them seem even more intelligent!

We have no idea how life or intelligence "emerge" from chemicals or from cooperating cells. The word is simply used to indicate that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When you say "their ability", it's no different from saying that "you" have an ability to use information within your own genome, but what is the "you" that decides HOW to use the information? What is the control centre? The brain? If you have an "intelligent", autonomous but not automatic control centre, what makes you so certain that other organisms don't? No matter how often and how authoritatively you slip in words like "plan" and "seem", your divinely preprogrammed version remains a purely subjective interpretation of the evolutionary process and of the way cells/cell communities function.

TONY: If the cells were autonomously intelligent, you would expect to see some form of dissent in the ranks, a dumb cell that couldn't follow directions, or just went its own way. They behaved exactly like I would expect a computer to behave, not like I would expect an intelligent creature to behave.

That's because although you acknowledge that there are different types and levels of intelligence, you seem to think only in terms of humans and computers. Why must intelligence presuppose the possibility of dissent? Even in a human context, the general gives the orders and the soldiers obey, but they must still use their intelligence to deal with contingencies. Maybe that's how all cells and cell communities function: through orders given and obeyed by different levels of intelligence, all of which (like the ant colony) follow the precept "Multicellular response is all for one". Only humans and to a lesser degree some of our fellow animals have the self-awareness that makes them question what is good for the community ... but that doesn't mean that other organisms don't need intelligence to work out what is good, or to implement the strategies.

I hesitate to get drawn into a discussion on the nature of disease, but I'd have thought cancerous cells might represent the sort of "dissent" you're talking about. Would you argue that your God preprogrammed such "dissent"? After all, according to you and David, cells are automatons obeying his instructions.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 00:43 (2073 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: No matter how often and how authoritatively you slip in words like "plan" and "seem", your divinely preprogrammed version remains a purely subjective interpretation of the evolutionary process and of the way cells/cell communities function.

We now know that protein production and transcription controls and modifications are part of two layered codes in DNA; first the simple one of 50-60 years ago, and now the second complex planning layer which helps organize single proteins into complex organs. There has to be an organizing plan controlling all of this from the beginning.


dhw: That's because although you acknowledge that there are different types and levels of intelligence, you seem to think only in terms of humans and computers. Why must intelligence presuppose the possibility of dissent? ..... Only humans and to a lesser degree some of our fellow animals have the self-awareness that makes them question what is good for the community ... but that doesn't mean that other organisms don't need intelligence to work out what is good, or to implement the strategies.

How do cells recognize what is good for the community? That is an amorphous suggestion. Tell me how it works.


dhw: I hesitate to get drawn into a discussion on the nature of disease, but I'd have thought cancerous cells might represent the sort of "dissent" you're talking about. Would you argue that your God preprogrammed such "dissent"? After all, according to you and David, cells are automatons obeying his instructions.

No, cancer cells manage to escape the tight controls that supervise the constant turn over of living cells. None of us are the same physical person we were a few months ago in parts of our body. The escape can be due to virus, to irritation, and even to faulting genes that allow it. not preprogramming.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by dhw, Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 19:42 (2072 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We now know that protein production and transcription controls and modifications are part of two layered codes in DNA; first the simple one of 50-60 years ago, and now the second complex planning layer which helps organize single proteins into complex organs. There has to be an organizing plan controlling all of this from the beginning.

Woese, whom you recommended so highly, speculates on the evolution of the cell: It is NOT a machine, evolution is a bumpy road with unpredictable outcomes, we have yet to fathom how the novelty of the proteinaceous cell was generated, but the cell evolved from many starting points through a shotgun strategy, as opposed to a rifle. Where in all this is there an organizing plan? Why don't Margulis, Shapiro, Albrecht-Buehler & Co tell us about God's plans, instead of insisting that cells are "intelligent" in their own right?

dhw: (to Tony) Only humans and to a lesser degree some of our fellow animals have the self-awareness that makes them question what is good for the community ... but that doesn't mean that other organisms don't need intelligence to work out what is good, or to implement the strategies.
DAVID: How do cells recognize what is good for the community? That is an amorphous suggestion. Tell me how it works.

Are you saying your own cells don't recognize what is good for your body? If there was no such recognition, organisms would not survive! How does it work? Tell me how any form of intelligence works. You know as well as I do that we have no answer.

Dhw [to Tony]: I'd have thought cancerous cells might represent the sort of "dissent" you're talking about. Would you argue that your God preprogrammed such "dissent"? After all, according to you and David, cells are automatons obeying his instructions.
DAVID: No, cancer cells manage to escape the tight controls that supervise the constant turn over of living cells. [...] The escape can be due to virus, to irritation, and even to faulting genes that allow it. not preprogramming.

So the cancer cells are not preprogrammed to "dissent"? And yet when cells resist viruses and outside irritants, or adapt to new dangers, they have been preprogrammed by your God to do so. It's only when they fail to resist or adapt that the hypothesis of God's preprogramming sort of falls by the wayside. In other words, he preprogrammes whatever works, but whatever doesn't work is just...well...bad luck?

Here's a different hypothesis: evolution is a history of constant improvisation and experimentation, as intelligent cells and cell communities respond in a vast variety of ways to ever changing challenges from the world in which they live ... adapting, innovating, creating new lifestyles and strategies. Many of them fail, and organisms therefore come and go via the process we know as Natural Selection. Theistic slant: God created the intelligent cell.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 20:48 (2072 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Woese, whom you recommended so highly, speculates on the evolution of the cell: It is NOT a machine, evolution is a bumpy road with unpredictable outcomes, we have yet to fathom how the novelty of the proteinaceous cell was generated, but the cell evolved from many starting points through a shotgun strategy, as opposed to a rifle. Where in all this is there an organizing plan? Why don't Margulis, Shapiro, Albrecht-Buehler & Co tell us about God's plans, instead of insisting that cells are "intelligent" in their own right?

You are lining up atheists against me. they have their interpretation, I have mine.

DAVID: How do cells recognize what is good for the community? That is an amorphous suggestion. Tell me how it works.

dhw: Are you saying your own cells don't recognize what is good for your body? If there was no such recognition, organisms would not survive! How does it work? Tell me how any form of intelligence works. You know as well as I do that we have no answer.

The cells are automatically controlled to give proper reactions to changing stimuli in our bodies. Kidneys would lose their function otherwise.


Dhw [to Tony]: I'd have thought cancerous cells might represent the sort of "dissent" you're talking about. Would you argue that your God preprogrammed such "dissent"? After all, according to you and David, cells are automatons obeying his instructions.
DAVID: No, cancer cells manage to escape the tight controls that supervise the constant turn over of living cells. [...] The escape can be due to virus, to irritation, and even to faulting genes that allow it. not preprogramming.

dhw: So the cancer cells are not preprogrammed to "dissent"? And yet when cells resist viruses and outside irritants, or adapt to new dangers, they have been preprogrammed by your God to do so. It's only when they fail to resist or adapt that the hypothesis of God's preprogramming sort of falls by the wayside. In other words, he preprogrammes whatever works, but whatever doesn't work is just...well...bad luck?

Read David Raup's book on "Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad luck?", and he answers bad luck!


dhw: Here's a different hypothesis: evolution is a history of constant improvisation and experimentation, as intelligent cells and cell communities respond in a vast variety of ways to ever changing challenges from the world in which they live ... adapting, innovating, creating new lifestyles and strategies. Many of them fail, and organisms therefore come and go via the process we know as Natural Selection. Theistic slant: God created the intelligent cell.

There is not time enough for your improvisation theory, and your theistic slant should read: God put intelligent information in the cells to allow them to adapt as conditions changed. Just a tiny variation of how cells act intelligently.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 05:27 (2072 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: If the cells were autonomously intelligent, you would expect to see some form of dissent in the ranks, a dumb cell that couldn't follow directions, or just went its own way. They behaved exactly like I would expect a computer to behave, not like I would expect an intelligent creature to behave.

That's because although you acknowledge that there are different types and levels of intelligence, you seem to think only in terms of humans and computers. Why must intelligence presuppose the possibility of dissent? Even in a human context, the general gives the orders and the soldiers obey, but they must still use their intelligence to deal with contingencies. Maybe that's how all cells and cell communities function: through orders given and obeyed by different levels of intelligence, all of which (like the ant colony) follow the precept "Multicellular response is all for one". Only humans and to a lesser degree some of our fellow animals have the self-awareness that makes them question what is good for the community ... but that doesn't mean that other organisms don't need intelligence to work out what is good, or to implement the strategies.

It is not that I can only think in terms of computers or humans, but rather in terms of independent or not. A computer can not think independently. Humans(and other animals to a lesser extent) can. Given that the animal kingdom, at the level of complex organisms, displays the traits I was discussing (dissent, disobedience, independence, and idiocy), if we consider cells to have any form of intelligence even remotely close to that, then we should expect the same behavior. I would go as far as saying that all intelligent life(as we know it), regardless of the level of consciousness has these traits.

I hesitate to get drawn into a discussion on the nature of disease, but I'd have thought cancerous cells might represent the sort of "dissent" you're talking about. Would you argue that your God preprogrammed such "dissent"? After all, according to you and David, cells are automatons obeying his instructions.

Not really. When I look at the devolution of mankind, I think of cancer much the same way as I would think of a dry-rotting tire: it's a natural consequence of decay and long-term detrimental mutations being expressed. Would you say that the designers of your car screwed up your tires if you let the car sit in the driveway untouched for a year or two? I don't consider our neglect to be his fault or responsibility.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by dhw, Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 19:41 (2071 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

dhw: Why don't Margulis, Shapiro, Albrecht-Buehler & Co tell us about God's plans, instead of insisting that cells are "intelligent" in their own right?DAVID: You are lining up atheists against me. they have their interpretation, I have mine.

You claim that science supports your hypothesis, and I'm lining up experts in the field who disagree with you. We're all entitled to our interpretations, but you have consistently dismissed the concept of the intelligent cell as being contrary to the findings of science, metaphorical, "poppycock", "kooky", an attempt to seek popularity. Let's have some respect here!

Dhw: [...] when cells resist viruses and outside irritants, or adapt to new dangers, they have been preprogrammed by your God to do so. It's only when they fail to resist or adapt that the hypothesis of God's preprogramming sort of falls by the wayside. In other words, he preprogrammes whatever works, but whatever doesn't work is just...well...bad luck?
DAVID: Read David Raup's book on "Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad luck?", and he answers bad luck!

So when organisms succeed, they have been preprogrammed to do so, but when they fail, it's bad luck. So much for teleology.

dhw: Here's a different hypothesis: evolution is a history of constant improvisation and experimentation, as intelligent cells and cell communities respond in a vast variety of ways to ever changing challenges from the world in which they live...
DAVID: There is not time enough for your improvisation theory, and your theistic slant should read: God put intelligent information in the cells to allow them to adapt as conditions changed. Just a tiny variation of how cells act intelligently.

How do you know the amount of time required for a community of intelligent beings to devise a new machine? As for your revision of my theistic slant, why not stick to God put intelligence in the cells to allow them to adapt as conditions changed? Then you needn't flap around trying to explain God's purposeful preprogramming mingled with lots of bad luck, the first tiny cells being bunged up with billions of programmes, and God butting in every so often to make up for the gaps in his preprogramming.

TONY: A computer can not think independently. Humans(and other animals to a lesser extent) can. Given that the animal kingdom, at the level of complex organisms, displays the traits I was discussing (dissent, disobedience, independence, and idiocy), if we consider cells to have any form of intelligence even remotely close to that, then we should expect the same behavior. I would go as far as saying that all intelligent life(as we know it), regardless of the level of consciousness has these traits.

I can only ask again why you think dissent and idiocy are essential attributes of intelligence. It seems to me that perception, processing and communication of information, the ability to take decisions, to cooperate with other organisms, to devise new strategies etc. are far more important. When you say "independent" ... independent of what? Cells belong to communities, and for the smooth functioning of those communities (and hence of themselves), it is essential that they cooperate interdependently without "dissent". There still has to be a certain hierarchy within the community, with some sort of central control, but that applies to all organisms, including ourselves. You have acknowledged that there are different levels of intelligence, and that will apply throughout each cellular community. Perhaps part of cellular intelligence is the awareness that "multicellular response is all for one". We could learn a thing or two from that. You don't have to disobey an intelligent order to prove your own intelligence.

dhw: I hesitate to get drawn into a discussion on the nature of disease, but I'd have thought cancerous cells might represent the sort of "dissent" you're talking about. Would you argue that your God preprogrammed such "dissent"? After all, according to you and David, cells are automatons obeying his instructions.
TONY: Not really. When I look at the devolution of mankind, I think of cancer much the same way as I would think of a dry-rotting tire: it's a natural consequence of decay and long-term detrimental mutations being expressed. Would you say that the designers of your car screwed up your tires if you let the car sit in the driveway untouched for a year or two? I don't consider our neglect to be his fault or responsibility.

I'm not talking about responsibility or screwing up. I'm challenging the concept of God preprogramming the first living cells (or intervening) with every strategy that works, while we disregard those that don't. The scenario David categorically rejects is that your God may have invented an intelligent mechanism which went its own way ... creating a history of success and failure, full of surprise and variety (which I'd have thought would be much more entertaining for a creator anyway). It's still not clear to me why you object to this hypothesis.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 19, 2013, 01:29 (2071 days ago) @ dhw


dhw; So when organisms succeed, they have been preprogrammed to do so, but when they fail, it's bad luck. So much for teleology.

Don't throw out teleology so quickly. No one said it had to be a straight efficient path to humans.


dhw: How do you know the amount of time required for a community of intelligent beings to devise a new machine? As for your revision of my theistic slant, why not stick to God put intelligence in the cells to allow them to adapt as conditions changed?

God did but in the only version I favor: intelligent information to be used by the cells through their genome. The codes operate by using intelligent information


dhw: I'm not talking about responsibility or screwing up. I'm challenging the concept of God preprogramming the first living cells (or intervening) with every strategy that works, while we disregard those that don't. The scenario David categorically rejects is that your God may have invented an intelligent mechanism which went its own way ... creating a history of success and failure, full of surprise and variety (which I'd have thought would be much more entertaining for a creator anyway).

More entertaining, which gives God a personality taht may well notg be warrented. We know that success and failure led to humans, so the process worked, even if the exact details are still muyserious

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by dhw, Thursday, December 19, 2013, 15:53 (2070 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: So when organisms succeed, they have been preprogrammed to do so, but when they fail, it's bad luck. So much for teleology.
DAVID: Don't throw out teleology so quickly. No one said it had to be a straight efficient path to humans.

Maybe it didn't have to be a path to humans at all. But from my subjective standpoint, I would have expected your almighty God to rely on skill rather than luck if he had a particular purpose in mind.

Dhw: As for your revision of my theistic slant, why not stick to "God put intelligence in the cells to allow them to adapt as conditions changed"? Then you needn't flap around trying to explain God's purposeful preprogramming mingled with lots of bad luck, the first tiny cells being bunged up with billions of programmes, and God butting in to show the fire ants how to make themselves into a raft.
DAVID: God did but in the only version I favor: intelligent information to be used by the cells through their genome. The codes operate by using intelligent information.

Obfuscation. Cells using intelligent information...codes using intelligent information...In computers this is called Artificial Intelligence, so in living organisms some of us would call it natural intelligence.

Dhw (to Tony): The scenario David categorically rejects is that your God may have invented an intelligent mechanism which went its own way ... creating a history of success and failure, full of surprise and variety (which I'd have thought would be much more entertaining for a creator anyway).
DAVID: More entertaining, which gives God a personality that may well not be warranted. We know that success and failure led to humans, so the process worked, even if the exact details are mysterious.

Carts before horses. You assume the process was meant to lead to humans. It also led to every single species that is still in existence. Your version of God has him messing things up on the way to fulfilling his purpose (success and failure). My version at least gets rid of the blinkers and the lousy sense of direction. However, if I did believe in God, I would not object to the idea of the occasional dabble. It's the colossal scale and detailed plans behind your hypothetical preprogramming of the very first living cells that I find so unbelievable when set against evolutionary history.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by David Turell @, Friday, December 20, 2013, 01:11 (2070 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: But from my subjective standpoint, I would have expected your almighty God to rely on skill rather than luck if he had a particular purpose in mind.

I don't know God's exact plan when it seems he started evolution and it turned out like a confusing bush of organisms.

dhw; Obfuscation. Cells using intelligent information...codes using intelligent information...In computers this is called Artificial Intelligence, so in living organisms some of us would call it natural intelligence.

The information used has to have a source. The first cells had information to work with. How did they get it?


dhw: You assume the process was meant to lead to humans. It also led to every single species that is still in existence. ..... if I did believe in God, I would not object to the idea of the occasional dabble. It's the colossal scale and detailed plans behind your hypothetical preprogramming of the very first living cells that I find so unbelievable when set against evolutionary history.

The thought comes from the evidence of the evolutionary process we see.

Natures wonders: Color vision

by David Turell @, Friday, September 16, 2016, 00:19 (1069 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Further understanding of human color vision is described:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/color-vision-strategy-defies-textbook-picture

"Color vision may actually work like a colorized version of a black-and-white movie, a new study suggests.

"Cone cells, which sense red, green or blue light, detect white more often than colors, researchers report September 14 in Science Advances. The textbook-rewriting discovery could change scientists' thinking about how color vision works.

"For decades, researchers have known that three types of cone cells in the retina are responsible for color vision. Those cone cells were thought to send “red,” “green” and “blue” signals to the brain. The brain supposedly combines the colors, much the way a color printer does, to create a rainbow-hued picture of the world (including black and white). But the new findings indicate that “the retina is doing more of the work, and it's doing it in a more simpleminded way.

***

"Red and green cone cells each come in two types: One type signals “white”; another signals color, vision researcher Ramkumar Sabesan and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered. The large number of cells that detect white (and black — the absence of white) create a high-resolution black-and-white picture of a person's surroundings, picking out edges and fine details. Red- and green-signaling cells fill in low-resolution color information. The process works much like filling in a coloring book or adding color to a black-and-white film,

***

"Of the red cones the researchers stimulated, 119 made the men see white, while only 48 flashed red. Similarly, only 21 of the green cones tested actually signaled green, while 77 registered white. Each individual cone probably signals only white or color, the researchers say. “It's a rather inefficient arrangement,” says Donald MacLeod, a vision scientist at the University of California, San Diego. All the cone cells are capable of detecting color, but few actually seem to do so.

"Cells surrounded by cones that detect a different color were more likely to send white signals, the researchers found. That finding is unexpected and runs counter to a popular idea that cones ringed by cells detecting other colors would be better at color detection, MacLeod says.

"These findings could be good news for people with color blindness. The results suggest that gene therapy that adds red or green cones could work even in adults, Neitz says. Although his group gave a monkey full color vision (SN: 10/10/09, p.14), many researchers thought human brains would never be able to incorporate additional color information even though the eye could detect it. The new findings indicate the brain needs to learn only that there is one more color needed to fill in to a basically black-and-white picture, a task it should accomplish easily, Neitz says."

Comment: Our plastic brain should handle this easily. I wonder how color vision developed It is quite a trick.. It is certainly a very helpful attribute which most animals have to varying degrees, based on the fact they have the same or similar color cones in their retinas. Solipsism is an issue here. Do I see the same shade of green as you do, while at the same time agreeing the object in question is green?

Natures wonders: how vision works

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 28, 2019, 13:44 (145 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by David Turell, Thursday, March 28, 2019, 14:12

The type of vision we have evolved long before we appeared on the scene:

http://nautil.us/issue/70/variables/a-magician-explains-why-we-see-whats-not-there

"We see things because objects reflect light that is projected onto our retina, and once our photoreceptors register the light, they send a neural signal down the optic nerve. As we have learned earlier on, perception does not take place in the eyes, and lots of complex neural computations are required before we can experience the world. Neural signals are initiated in the retina and then pass via different neural centers to the visual cortex and higher cortical areas, which eventually build a mental representation of the outside world. Neural processing is not instantaneous because neural signals are passed along neurons at a finite speed. It takes about a tenth of a second for the light registered by the retina to become a visual perception in the brain. This means that our perception lags about a tenth of a second behind what is happening in the world. I will give you a few moments for this thought to settle, and just in case you are still struggling to come to terms with it, let me help you with an analogy: During a thunderstorm, vast amounts of electrical energy are discharged, which results in a flash and a loud bang. As you watch the storm from a distance, you see the lighting before you hear the thunder. This is, of course, because sound travels much slower than light, and so we hear the thunder several seconds after the electrical discharge has occurred. It is the same for perception. The neural delay means that we perceive things at least a tenth of a second after they have occurred.

"You might think that a tenth-of-a-second delay makes very little difference to your morning commute, but believe me, this is a substantial delay. Let me put it in context: if you are walking at a modest speed of about one meter per second, a tenth-of-a-second delay will result in you perceiving the world as lagging 10 centimeters behind you. This is quite hard to believe because you simply do not experience the world as lagging, and such a perceptual error should certainly result in many early-morning collisions. Likewise, this perceptual delay should make it impossible for you to catch a ball, especially because this perceptual delay does not account for the substantially longer amount of time your brain requires to plan and initiate a motor response capable of catching the ball.

"It is only once you start thinking about some of the huge day-to-day challenges our visual system constantly faces that the true wonders of the brain start to emerge. Our brain uses a really clever and almost science-fictional trick that prevents us from living in the past: we look into the future. Our visual system is continuously predicting the future, and the world that you are now perceiving is the world that your visual system has predicted to be the present in the past. This idea takes a bit of time to get used to, and the first time I heard it, I thought it must be crazy. However, unless we predict the future, we will always experience the past."

Comment: And this amazing system that helps us perceive the world could not have arisen by chance. It also shows why Libet's brain delay studies do not apply.

Natures wonders: Cellular intelligence derailed?

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 15, 2013, 15:35 (2074 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

David Surprising Discovery: Multi-cellular response is all for one

The Northwestern researchers demonstrated something very unexpected in their studies of the worm C. elegans: Authority is taken away from individual cells and given to two specialized neurons to sense temperature stress and organize an integrated molecular response for the entire organism.


Tony: Is this a shot in the foot for DHW's theory?

That is why I published it.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, December 13, 2013, 09:32 (2076 days ago) @ dhw

DHW: The rest of the post follows the same line of argument, as does David's latest. So let us focus solely on ants. What exactly is the theistic theory on offer here? 1) God preprogrammed the very first living cells to pass on the programme that would produce ants (along with umpteen billion other species) plus every single response that ants could make to a changing environment, including the building of underground cities, farming, military strategies, teaching the young etc. 2) God specially created ants, and inserted a programme for every single response, as in 1). 3) God preprogrammed the very first living cells to pass on the programme that would produce ants, but every so often, when ants face new problems, he dabbles with the programme to provide them with a solution (e.g. rafting). Or 4) God provided the very first living cells with a mechanism enabling them to cooperate freely (i.e. not preprogrammed) in producing any number of species, including ants which would also cooperate freely (i.e. not preprogrammned) in working out their own solutions to new problems.


Fractals
AI

There is a point behind these two links that relates indirectly to your ant. The first is that, in the case of fractals, very tiny mathematical differences can lead to major changes at scale. The second is that 'machine learning' is not all that complicated(relatively), particularly when you have a biological fast access memory(brains), a method for passing/receiving data(communication and the senses), and a method for preserving data across generations(genetic coding).

There was no need for tampering after the fact.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Friday, December 13, 2013, 15:12 (2076 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Fractals
AI

Tony: There is a point behind these two links that relates indirectly to your ant. The first is that, in the case of fractals, very tiny mathematical differences can lead to major changes at scale. The second is that 'machine learning' is not all that complicated(relatively), particularly when you have a biological fast access memory(brains), a method for passing/receiving data(communication and the senses), and a method for preserving data across generations(genetic coding).

There was no need for tampering after the fact.

Stated another way, if the genome is complex enough as a computer setup with a comprehensive enough program, it can all work from the beginning until now without inervention.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by dhw, Saturday, December 14, 2013, 14:08 (2075 days ago) @ David Turell

DHW: The rest of the post follows the same line of argument, as does David's latest. So let us focus solely on ants. What exactly is the theistic theory on offer here? 1) God preprogrammed the very first living cells to pass on the programme that would produce ants (along with umpteen billion other species) plus every single response that ants could make to a changing environment, including the building of underground cities, farming, military strategies, teaching the young etc. 2) God specially created ants, and inserted a programme for every single response, as in 1). 3) God preprogrammed the very first living cells to pass on the programme that would produce ants, but every so often, when ants face new problems, he dabbles with the programme to provide them with a solution (e.g. rafting). Or 4) God provided the very first living cells with a mechanism enabling them to cooperate freely (i.e. not preprogrammed) in producing any number of species, including ants which would also cooperate freely (i.e. not preprogrammed) in working out their own solutions to new problems.

Tony: Fractals
AI

There is a point behind these two links that relates indirectly to your ant. The first is that, in the case of fractals, very tiny mathematical differences can lead to major changes at scale. The second is that 'machine learning' is not all that complicated(relatively), particularly when you have a biological fast access memory(brains), a method for passing/receiving data(communication and the senses), and a method for preserving data across generations(genetic coding).
There was no need for tampering after the fact.

So which of the four hypotheses do you subscribe to, Tony?
I'm afraid I couldn't read the fractals article (too dazzling for the eye and confusing for the mind), but the AI one was clear enough, and I'm delighted to hear that "machine learning" is not all that complicated. You and David are happy to describe computerized learning as Artificial Intelligence, but when the procedures are carried out by a living organism with a live memory, ability to perceive, process and communicate data, make decisions, pass data across generations, suddenly these attributes no longer signify intelligence!

Meanwhile, David has come up with two wonderful "ifs":
1) "Stated another way, if the genome is complex enough as a computer setup with a comprehensive enough program, it can all work from the beginning until now without intervention."
2) (under "Plant Defense"): If I could accept that God is as omniscient as religions describe, then I wouldn't wonder about the issue of dabbling. Tony's answer of five hours ago covers the problem.

So IF your God could preprogramme the first cells comprehensively enough to produce all the changes necessary to create every single adaptation, innovation, species, lifestyle, strategy, then he wouldn't have needed to dabble. That's it. Our knowledge of fractals and of AI shows he could have done it IF he could have done it!

IFs are fun. Here's another for you: IF your God could put together a "not all that complicated (relatively)" simple intelligent cell with the potential to link up with other relatively simple intelligent cells to form more complex intelligent cell communities, and IF those more complex intelligent cell communities learned from their experiences that just a few minor tweaks here and there could lead to major changes (such as adaptations and new organs and new lifestyles and new strategies), evolution could all work from the beginning until now without preprogramming and without dabbling. Tony's answer covers the problem.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 14, 2013, 15:15 (2075 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: IFs are fun. Here's another for you: IF your God could put together a "not all that complicated (relatively)" simple intelligent cell with the potential to link up with other relatively simple intelligent cells to form more complex intelligent cell communities, and IF those more complex intelligent cell communities learned from their experiences that just a few minor tweaks here and there could lead to major changes (such as adaptations and new organs and new lifestyles and new strategies), evolution could all work from the beginning until now without preprogramming and without dabbling. Tony's answer covers the problem.

As long as you accept that 'intelligent cells' really are litle computers with clever genomes filled with God-supplied information that can answer an stimulus with an intelligent responses based on the information they have, then you have a solid theory. Inventing a liver or kidney NEVER is a minor tweak. I wish you really understood how terribly complicated they are.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by dhw, Sunday, December 15, 2013, 08:32 (2075 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: (To Tony): You and David are happy to describe computerized learning as Artificial Intelligence, but when the procedures are carried out by a living organism with a live memory, ability to perceive, process and communicate data, make decisions, pass data across generations, suddenly these attributes no longer signify intelligence!

I am disappointed that neither of you has responded to this.

DAVID: As long as you accept that 'intelligent cells' really are litle computers with clever genomes filled with God-supplied information that can answer an stimulus with an intelligent responses based on the information they have, then you have a solid theory. Inventing a liver or kidney NEVER is a minor tweak. I wish you really understood how terribly complicated they are.

I do not accept that intelligent cells are little computers. I am not prepared to rubbish the research of so many scientists who claim that cells are sentient, intelligent beings. I do not dispute that the invention of complex organs like the liver is a major problem (above all for the chance hypothesis), but this is why it is essential to distinguish between types of intelligence. Even you have accepted that dogs and corvids have intelligence, though it is far below that of humans. Where does it spring from? One proposal is that it emerges from the interactions between billions of CELLS. If this is so, there is no reason in theory why all kinds of intelligence should not emerge from interaction between all kinds of cells. The ant is particularly important for me as an example of how emergence works, and as an analogy of how it might work with cells. The first underground cities and the invention of farming and military strategies etc. illustrate how complex ideas may emerge from interaction between comparatively simple individuals. The interaction between billions of human brain cells produces machines of astonishing complexity. The greater the complexity of interaction between these vast numbers of cells, the greater the intelligence.

There are, then, three theistic hypotheses here: God preprogrammed the liver, intervened in order to invent the liver, or devised an infinitely flexible system of interacting intelligences ultimately capable of inventing the liver, the Boeing 747, "King Lear". According to the theory of "emergence", they all stem from interaction between cells. Because of your anthropocentric view of the universe, you are forced to argue that although corvid, canine and human intelligence emerges from the interaction between cells, it must also be linked to something else, but you don't know what. If there is a "don't know what", how do you know it's not present in different forms and degrees in ants and in cells? If there is no "don't know what", then you are stuck with intelligence as a property that emerges from biochemical interactions, ranging from bacteria to humans. Since you can never draw a clear dividing line between what seems intelligent and what is intelligent, your insistence on cellular, bacterial and formic automatism is nothing but assumption.

*****

As usual, I am several hours behind in these exchanges. A warm welcome back to Matt, who under "Buddhism and Karma" has captured the essence of the argument:

MATT: I'm saying that the intelligent behaviour of ants isn't an illusion of intelligence, but that it is actually intelligence. And that if you accept the argument that this intelligence is ultimately the result of gene expression contained within the DNA of the individuals of a colony, then you necessarily accept an identical argument for the human brain. That's because neurons are no less automatons than the individuals of an ant colony.

Thank you.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, December 15, 2013, 11:43 (2074 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: (To Tony): You and David are happy to describe computerized learning as Artificial Intelligence, but when the procedures are carried out by a living organism with a live memory, ability to perceive, process and communicate data, make decisions, pass data across generations, suddenly these attributes no longer signify intelligence!

DHW: I am disappointed that neither of you has responded to this.

I did not coin the phrase 'Artificial Intelligence' and have repeatedly stated a need to distinguish between different levels of intelligence/consciousness. Also, see the link where major responses by hundreds of cells are controlled by two neurons. No intelligence, simple guided automatons.

What the neurons are doing, in computer terms, is synonymous with calling a function( a pre-programmed bit of code that only runs when called by a different program).

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Crocodile tools

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 15, 2013, 15:50 (2074 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I do not accept that intelligent cells are little computers. ..... The greater the complexity of interaction between these vast numbers of cells, the greater the intelligence.

Life is an emergent quality arsing from computerized cells. The emergence is caused by the intricate codes, now discovered to be at two different levels in DNA, protein manufacture (simple) and gene expression (very complex). All of this can only come from a planning intelligence, not chance as you agree. The information in the cell is the source of the intelligent responses. Cells are litle computers.


dhw: Because of your anthropocentric view of the universe, you are forced to argue that although corvid, canine and human intelligence emerges from the interaction between cells, it must also be linked to something else, but you don't know what. If there is a "don't know what", how do you know it's not present in different forms and degrees in ants and in cells? If there is no "don't know what", then you are stuck with intelligence as a property that emerges from biochemical interactions, ranging from bacteria to humans. Since you can never draw a clear dividing line between what seems intelligent and what is intelligent, your insistence on cellular, bacterial and formic automatism is nothing but assumption.

I have described a clear line which you will not accept. the "don't know what" is the emergence of life from the information in the cell, which cannnot have arisen by chance. There is a cause


*****

dhw;As usual, I am several hours behind in these exchanges. A warm welcome back to Matt, who under "Buddhism and Karma" has captured the essence of the argument:

MATT: I'm saying that the intelligent behaviour of ants isn't an illusion of intelligence, but that it is actually intelligence. And that if you accept the argument that this intelligence is ultimately the result of gene expression contained within the DNA of the individuals of a colony, then you necessarily accept an identical argument for the human brain. That's because neurons are no less automatons than the individuals of an ant colony.

dhw: Thank you.

I given my answer earlier. Neurons are also computers: intellience and consciousness are emergent, a word which covers we don't know how!

Natures wonders: Lemon sharks

by David Turell @, Friday, December 06, 2013, 20:52 (2083 days ago) @ David Turell

Like salmon returning to the same stream bed, these sharks return to their birthplace, year later:

http://www.livescience.com/41710-lemon-sharks-return-to-birthplace.html?cmpid=556085

Natures wonders: Razzle dazzle camouflage

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 04, 2013, 18:02 (2085 days ago) @ dhw

Nature can do anything:

"'Motion dazzle' camouflage uses bold geometric patterns in an attempt not to blend in, but to confuse observers. Theoretically, these patterns make it difficult to judge speed and trajectory. Zebras' stripes may be an example of this camouflage, though that's never been proven — their bold black-and-white stripes also repel flies, which may be their main function. Motion dazzle camouflage isn't about blending in, as blend-in camouflage stops working as soon as an animal moves. A similar type of camouflage is disruptive or edge camouflage, which similarly uses bold patterns to confuse the eye even when an animal is in motion."

http://www.livescience.com/41659-razzle-dazzle-camouflage-fools-eye.html?cmpid=556084

Natures wonders: wasps recognize faces

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 04, 2013, 21:24 (2085 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Zebra camouflage

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 15:08 (2071 days ago) @ David Turell

Of course to confuse:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/25260311

Natures wonders: Triple symbiosis

by David Turell @, Friday, December 20, 2013, 15:36 (2069 days ago) @ David Turell

Ants tend to fungus gardens and supply leaves. Fungus enzymes break down the cellulose, bacteria fix nitrogen, and ants harvest and eat fungus. Isn't life very inventive?:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/37587/title/Biofuel-Mimicry/

Natures wonders: Developing flowering plants

by David Turell @, Friday, December 20, 2013, 15:42 (2069 days ago) @ David Turell

A simple first angiosperm gobbled up genes and created a flower shop:

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2013/12/humble-shrub-sheds-light-history-flowering-p...

Natures wonders: Zombie ant fungus

by David Turell @, Monday, December 23, 2013, 15:54 (2066 days ago) @ David Turell

One of my very favorites for a wild life cycle. And it is my revenge for fire ants:

http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/38057/title/Image-of-the-Day--Zo...

Great picture. There are many varieties of this process. Give me a just-so story if its development.

Natures wonders: Drinking turtle tears

by David Turell @, Monday, December 23, 2013, 18:03 (2066 days ago) @ David Turell

Butterflies drink turtle tears for the mineral content:

http://www.livescience.com/39558-butterflies-drink-turtle-tears.html

Natures wonders: Eleven wonders

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 25, 2013, 14:58 (2064 days ago) @ David Turell

Some of these have been presented here before, but it is fun to see up close how strange life can be:

http://www.newscientist.com/gallery/zoologger-2013

Natures wonders: better than ant rafts

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 25, 2013, 15:14 (2064 days ago) @ David Turell

Drumming termites. Perhaps they can start a rock band. This is instinct at its best. We still must wonder ow it all began and finally was coded into their DNA:

http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/38377/title/Little-Drummer-Bugs/

Natures wonders: plants communicate

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 02, 2014, 16:15 (2056 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: spider architecture

by David Turell @, Monday, January 06, 2014, 17:09 (2052 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: spider web tensile strength

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 09, 2014, 02:17 (2050 days ago) @ David Turell

Weight for weight stronger than steel!:

"Spider silk, then, is stronger than steel on a per weight basis while being very environmentally friendly. This may not have the same pithy ring to it as "spider silk is stronger than steel", but it tells a much more dramatic story about why the mimicry of natural materials is a rapidly growing area of materials science and engineering.

"We are yet to be able to fully understand how spider silk is made. An attempt at commercialisation through "spider goats", where a genetically modified goat produced milk containing an extra protein that could be extracted and spun into spider silk thread, resulted in bankruptcy. But hope remains that by studying how spider silk delivers its strength through a sequences of genes present in spider DNA, engineers will one day be able to build airplanes and other high-performance devices using planet-sparing materials rich in information and low in energy."

http://theconversation.com/spider-silk-is-a-wonder-of-nature-but-its-not-stronger-than-...

Natures wonders: flying in formation

by David Turell @, Monday, January 20, 2014, 01:17 (2039 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by unknown, Monday, January 20, 2014, 01:25

The way the birds fly they help each other:

http://www.nature.com/news/precision-formation-flight-astounds-scientists-1.14537

How does this develop as an instinct? I can't explain it by the usual just-so stories of Darwinian evolution.

"Migratory birds coordinate their wing flaps with much more finesse than previously thought, so as to reap the best energy savings from flying in formation, suggests a new study.


"In 2011, as part of a reintroduction programme, captive-bred ibises following an ultralight aircraft to their wintering grounds arranged themselves in the shape of a V. Data loggers on their backs captured every position and wing flap, yielding the most compelling experimental evidence yet that birds exploit the aerodynamics of the familiar formation to conserve energy.

Theoretical models had previously shown that the V formation, seen in other migratory birds such as geese, could enable trailing birds to save energy. But the models also indicated that the birds' coordination would have to be exceptionally precise to make a difference, and many scientists had doubted that the animals could achieve such a feat during flight, says ecophysiologist Steven Portugal at the Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield, UK.

"They are just so aware of where each other are and what the other bird is doing," Portugal says. "And that's what I find really impressive."

Natures wonders: ant bridges

by David Turell @, Friday, January 10, 2014, 06:09 (2049 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: yellow flower spider

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 23, 2014, 18:00 (2035 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: crystal eyes

by David Turell @, Friday, January 24, 2014, 20:39 (2034 days ago) @ David Turell

The brittlestar is one big eye. How does it form these crystals or are they formed naturally? It runs its arms with a nervous system but no central 'brain':

"On the top of the brittlestar's arms, are calcite domes about one-twentieth of a millimetre across. These focus light, avoiding the blurring that perfectly spherical lenses produce. The intricate calcite crystals are aligned so as not to split light into multiple images.

"The tiny crystal balls "were too similar to lenses to have been formed by chance", says Joanna Aizenberg, of Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, New Jersey. She happened upon the "incredible structures" while studying the brittlestar Ophiocoma wendtii1.

"It's astonishing that this organic creature can manipulate inorganic matter with such precision - and yet it's got no brain," says Roy Sambles, who works on optics and photonics at the University of Exeter in Britain.

"The crystals' growth must be self-organized - emerging from the right chemical environment rather than being engineered by detailed top-down control. "It's starting with a soup of chemicals and pulling out this wonderful microstructure," says Sambles, who fantasizes about emulating the process "in a bucket in a corner of the lab"."

http://www.nature.com/news/2001/010823/full/news010823-11.html

Natures wonders: mantis shrimp eyes

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 25, 2014, 00:29 (2034 days ago) @ David Turell

Twelve types of color sensors:

:The colorful mantis shrimp is known for powerful claws that can stun prey with 200 lbs. (91 kilograms) of force. Now, new research finds that these aggressive crustaceans are weird in another way: They see color like no other animal on the planet.

"In fact, the 400-million-year-old visual system of the mantis shrimp works more like a satellite sensor than any other animal eye, said study researcher Justin Marshall, a neurobiologist at the University of Queensland in Australia. Instead of processing ratios of stimulation from just a few color receptors, the mantis shrimp has 12 — and it seems to use them to recognize color with minimal effort.

"There is no other animal out there that has anything remotely like this," Marshall told LiveScience. "


http://www.livescience.com/42797-mantis-shrimp-sees-color.html?cmpid=556397

Natures wonders: ant rafts design found

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 12, 2014, 20:05 (1895 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 06, 2014, 15:19 (1840 days ago) @ David Turell

How pH changes help form spider silk, which is stronger than steel:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140805150836.htm

Requires intricate planning.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Wednesday, August 06, 2014, 22:59 (1840 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: How pH changes help form spider silk, which is stronger than steel:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140805150836.htm

Requires intricate planning.

DAVID (under "Cell Memories"): At a guess, pre-programming seems to fit more with the concept of God as a first mover.

So let me get this straight. Your best guess is that God built into the very first living cells an intricately planned mechanism which billions of years later, having passed through zillions of generations of different organisms, would enable spiders to spin their silk. But you also think it possible that God took hold of some non-silk-spinning organisms and juggled with their genome so that they could spin silk. Can you think of any other way in which this "intricate planning" could have taken place?

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 07, 2014, 01:40 (1840 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID (under "Cell Memories"): At a guess, pre-programming seems to fit more with the concept of God as a first mover.

dhw: So let me get this straight. Your best guess is that God built into the very first living cells an intricately planned mechanism which billions of years later, having passed through zillions of generations of different organisms, would enable spiders to spin their silk. But you also think it possible that God took hold of some non-silk-spinning organisms and juggled with their genome so that they could spin silk. Can you think of any other way in which this "intricate planning" could have taken place?

Actually no. I just can't imagine a group of "intelligent" cells conjuring up the necesary pH changes to spin silk from protein molecules on the spot, which is what spiders do. It, obviously to me, takes some very careful planning in putting the mechanism in action.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Thursday, August 07, 2014, 22:25 (1839 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID (under "Cell Memories"): At a guess, pre-programming seems to fit more with the concept of God as a first mover.

dhw: So let me get this straight. Your best guess is that God built into the very first living cells an intricately planned mechanism which billions of years later, having passed through zillions of generations of different organisms, would enable spiders to spin their silk. But you also think it possible that God took hold of some non-silk-spinning organisms and juggled with their genome so that they could spin silk. Can you think of any other way in which this "intricate planning" could have taken place?

DAVID: Actually no. I just can't imagine a group of "intelligent" cells conjuring up the necesary pH changes to spin silk from protein molecules on the spot, which is what spiders do. It, obviously to me, takes some very careful planning in putting the mechanism in action

Fair enough, but it seems your criterion for belief is what you can imagine. So can you in all honesty imagine your “pure energy” God preprogramming the very first cells with plans for eyes, kidneys, livers, lungs, spider silk, ant rafts and all the rest of Nature's Wonders - every plan to be passed down through the billions of years and zillions of organisms, and to be carried out automatically when the time was right? Alternatively, can you imagine your God fiddling around with zillions of individual organisms to endow them with these different mechanisms?

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Friday, August 08, 2014, 02:19 (1839 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Fair enough, but it seems your criterion for belief is what you can imagine. So can you in all honesty imagine your “pure energy” God preprogramming the very first cells with plans for eyes, kidneys, livers, lungs, spider silk, ant rafts and all the rest of Nature's Wonders - every plan to be passed down through the billions of years and zillions of organisms, and to be carried out automatically when the time was right? Alternatively, can you imagine your God fiddling around with zillions of individual organisms to endow them with these different mechanisms?

As I have stated over and over, I don't know which of the two concepts of God is true. I can label my belief as theistic evolution, but that is just a label. I don't know the inner workings of a God-riven evolutionary process. As I have shown in the Nstures wonders topic life evolved some amazing life styles, so one conclusion is that evolving life is very inventive, and seemingly much more so than chance should allow. It is very difficult to imagine the tiny epigenetic steps, for example, to have a fungus take over an ant brain. Or a salmon figure out how to come back years later to the same tiny stream bed high in the Pacific Cascade mountain range or how Monarch butterflies migrate back and forth thousands of miles, through metamorphizing four generations of adults and returm each winter to the same forest glen. Darwin's imagination is much mightier than mine. His followers insist though a prcoess of random mutation and Natural selection all this could be created.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Friday, August 08, 2014, 19:36 (1838 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Fair enough, but it seems your criterion for belief is what you can imagine. So can you in all honesty imagine your “pure energy” God preprogramming the very first cells with plans for eyes, kidneys, livers, lungs, spider silk, ant rafts and all the rest of Nature's Wonders - every plan to be passed down through the billions of years and zillions of organisms, and to be carried out automatically when the time was right? Alternatively, can you imagine your God fiddling around with zillions of individual organisms to endow them with these different mechanisms?

DAVID: As I have stated over and over, I don't know which of the two concepts of God is true.

You seem determined to restrict the choice to these two. But since you rejected my cell hypothesis on the grounds that you couldn't imagine it, my question was whether you could actually imagine either of these alternatives.

DAVID: As I have shown in the Nstures wonders topic life evolved some amazing life styles, so one conclusion is that evolving life is very inventive, and seemingly much more so than chance should allow.

“Evolving life” is not inventive. There is no “life” without living organisms, and no living organisms that are not composed of cells. So what is inventive? Once again, if we agree that chance could not produce these inventions, we are left with your preprogramming of the cells or your Creationism (see under “Cell Memories”), both of which require an imagination beyond my range and, I suspect, beyond yours too. So just for the hell of it, let's do the imagination test. Can you or can you not imagine your God creating a mechanism capable of reproducing itself, changing its form, and communicating and combining with its fellows to produce an almost infinite variety of forms, while he himself sits back and watches all the weird and wonderful and unpredictable results of his ingenuity?

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 09, 2014, 02:02 (1838 days ago) @ dhw


dhw:There is no “life” without living organisms, and no living organisms that are not composed of cells. So what is inventive?..... Can you or can you not imagine your God creating a mechanism capable of reproducing itself, changing its form, and communicating and combining with its fellows to produce an almost infinite variety of forms, while he himself sits back and watches all the weird and wonderful and unpredictable results of his ingenuity?

Yes, exactly the way I imagine the pre-programming process. You are well aware of my thoughts here. I have predicted there could be a hidden genetic code, not yet discovered, which controls a drive to complexity, and may define the complexity.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Sunday, August 10, 2014, 19:43 (1836 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Can you or can you not imagine your God creating a mechanism capable of reproducing itself, changing its form, and communicating and combining with its fellows to produce an almost infinite variety of forms, while he himself sits back and watches all the weird and wonderful and unpredictable results of his ingenuity?

DAVID: Yes, exactly the way I imagine the pre-programming process. You are well aware of my thoughts here. I have predicted there could be a hidden genetic code, not yet discovered, which controls a drive to complexity, and may define the complexity.

The question is whether this hidden genetic code contains instructions for all the innovations and Nature's Wonders (which you call evidence of “intricate planning”) preprogrammed - and hence surely predictable - by your God into the first living cells, or it contains the sentience, cognition, communicative skills, inventiveness and intelligence that have enabled cell communities to devise their own unpredictable innovations, as autonomous agents and not automata. The outcome of course is the same for both hypotheses. It's bold of you to predict that science will uncover God's hidden programme for making spider silk. I may as well predict that science will uncover evidence that spiders invented spider silk.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 10, 2014, 23:48 (1836 days ago) @ dhw

dhw:The question is whether this hidden genetic code contains instructions for all the innovations and Nature's Wonders (which you call evidence of “intricate planning”) preprogrammed - and hence surely predictable - by your God into the first living cells, or it contains the sentience, cognition, communicative skills, inventiveness and intelligence that have enabled cell communities to devise their own unpredictable innovations, as autonomous agents and not automata.

I would remind you that your "extremely brilliant cell theory", which can plan all the complexity and coordination seen in advanced life in the Cambrian, started as musing whether panpsychism could imply these 'wonder cells' and therefore they could sit around the table and discuss the miraculous advances. Panpsychism is an extention of thought that God is in everything. In a way similar to my univerasl intelligence and species consciousness thoughts.

I'll grant you, if God is actually within everything and everyone, then your cells could work, using all the wisdom God can impart. Will you put God in there?

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Monday, August 11, 2014, 23:16 (1835 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The question is whether this hidden genetic code contains instructions for all the innovations and Nature's Wonders (which you call evidence of “intricate planning”) preprogrammed - and hence surely predictable - by your God into the first living cells, or it contains the sentience, cognition, communicative skills, inventiveness and intelligence that have enabled cell communities to devise their own unpredictable innovations, as autonomous agents and not automata.

DAVID: I would remind you that your "extremely brilliant cell theory", which can plan all the complexity and coordination seen in advanced life in the Cambrian, started as musing whether panpsychism could imply these 'wonder cells' and therefore they could sit around the table and discuss the miraculous advances. Panpsychism is an extention of thought that God is in everything. In a way similar to my univerasl intelligence and species consciousness thoughts.

You needn't remind me, since I have devoted several posts to precisely this point. Any attempt to anthropomorphize cells by sitting them round a table is, of course, as unworthy as any attempt to depict God as a bearded old man. Shame on you. The similarity to your panentheism is, however, very important. If you can believe your “universal intelligence” is in all things, you can hardly reject out of hand the hypothesis that all things are intelligent, as is clear from your next remark:

DAVID: I'll grant you, if God is actually within everything and everyone, then your cells could work, using all the wisdom God can impart. Will you put God in there?

My hypothesis is an alternative, not a belief: God may or may not exist, God may or may not be in there, and God may or may not have invented the autonomously intelligent cell, if it exists as such. But your comment admits the possibility of cells doing their own unpreprogrammed, undabbled-with inventing, provided we say that their form of intelligence is part of God's intelligence, and by God you mean a single universal mind. Well, now that you've made this concession, try it the other way round. Cells and even particles have their own individual, autonomous forms of intelligence, and they combine to create more and more complex forms of intelligence, so that by a process of emergence through billions and billions of years, the particles of the universe and the cells of living organisms have evolved to their present state of complexity. Some people believe these billions of combined intelligences are all one, and they call it “God”.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 18:38 (1834 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: The similarity to your panentheism is, however, very important. If you can believe your “universal intelligence” is in all things, you can hardly reject out of hand the hypothesis that all things are intelligent, as is clear from your next remark:

DAVID: I'll grant you, if God is actually within everything and everyone, then your cells could work, using all the wisdom God can impart. Will you put God in there?

dhw: My hypothesis is an alternative, not a belief: God may or may not exist, God may or may not be in there, and God may or may not have invented the autonomously intelligent cell, if it exists as such. But your comment admits the possibility of cells doing their own unpreprogrammed, undabbled-with inventing, provided we say that their form of intelligence is part of God's intelligence, and by God you mean a single universal mind.

Now you see the light. A little bit of God in every cell allows Him to control evolution. That makes sense.

dhw: Cells and even particles have their own individual, autonomous forms of intelligence, and they combine to create more and more complex forms of intelligence, so that by a process of emergence through billions and billions of years, the particles of the universe and the cells of living organisms have evolved to their present state of complexity. Some people believe these billions of combined intelligences are all one, and they call it “God”.

Now you are off the deep end again. Complexity requires planning and coordination. Tell me how that works in your scheme, not simply repeating an amorphous 'combining to create' pipedream. As you cook a lovely sea bass for dinner, does the fish tell you how to do it?

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 23:13 (1833 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: My hypothesis is an alternative, not a belief: God may or may not exist, God may or may not be in there, and God may or may not have invented the autonomously intelligent cell, if it exists as such. But your comment admits the possibility of cells doing their own unpreprogrammed, undabbled-with inventing, provided we say that their form of intelligence is part of God's intelligence, and by God you mean a single universal mind.
DAVID: Now you see the light. A little bit of God in every cell allows Him to control evolution. That makes sense.

Then you can no longer claim that cells must be automata, since each one contains its own share of your God's intelligence.

dhw: Cells and even particles have their own individual, autonomous forms of intelligence, and they combine to create more and more complex forms of intelligence, so that by a process of emergence through billions and billions of years, the particles of the universe and the cells of living organisms have evolved to their present state of complexity. Some people believe these billions of combined intelligences are all one, and they call it “God”.
DAVID: Now you are off the deep end again. Complexity requires planning and coordination. Tell me how that works in your scheme, not simply repeating an amorphous 'combining to create' pipedream. As you cook a lovely sea bass for dinner, does the fish tell you how to do it?

If you can believe that a little bit of your universal intelligence is in every cell, you can believe that lots of little bits of it can plan and coordinate. There is nothing amorphous about “combining to create”. Every single one of your Nature's Wonders illustrates the point. Cells HAVE to combine if organs are to work. What is “amorphous” is our not knowing the mechanism or how it works, but it is hardly less amorphous to call the mechanism “God”, which you are now prepared to do.

The cells of my brain are quite separate from those of the lovely sea bass. They combine their intelligence to tell me how to cook it, and they even communicate with other cell communities in my body to take it across to the oven and then to the dinner table and then to my digestive system. And because they are “my” cell communities and nobody else's, their unique combination gives me “my” identity.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 14, 2014, 02:14 (1833 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Then you can no longer claim that cells must be automata, since each one contains its own share of your God's intelligence.

Now, now, let's not stetch too much. Shapiro's cells have simple automatic reactions with controlled choices. One has to add God's intelligence above and beyond the cell to make the complex advances of the Cambrian.


dhw:If you can believe that a little bit of your universal intelligence is in every cell, you can believe that lots of little bits of it can plan and coordinate.

There has to be an overall universal consciousness doing the planning and coordination, not litle bits superficially connected with their automatic biochemical responses. You have it backwards to avoid God.

dhw: Cells HAVE to combine if organs are to work. What is “amorphous” is our not knowing the mechanism or how it works, but it is hardly less amorphous to call the mechanism “God”, which you are now prepared to do.

Exactly. Don't include me in your 'our not knowing the mechanism' clause.


dhw: their unique combination gives me “my” identity.

You have a unique identity, and I'll bet you sea bass is delicious.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, August 15, 2014, 05:01 (1832 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw:If you can believe that a little bit of your universal intelligence is in every cell, you can believe that lots of little bits of it can plan and coordinate.


David: There has to be an overall universal consciousness doing the planning and coordination, not litle bits superficially connected with their automatic biochemical responses. You have it backwards to avoid God.

DHW, your cellular intelligence lacks the scope to be able to plan creation. It might serve to plan small changes within its individual unit (body) but it can not account for the organization within the universe as a whole. You can't separate one from the other when trying to discuss "the big picture".

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Friday, August 15, 2014, 14:25 (1831 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: DHW, your cellular intelligence lacks the scope to be able to plan creation. It might serve to plan small changes within its individual unit (body) but it can not account for the organization within the universe as a whole. You can't separate one from the other when trying to discuss "the big picture".

Thank you for joining in. I was hoping you would. Throughout this whole discussion I've been trying to offer an explanation of "Nature's Wonders" and innovation in evolution. “The big picture”, or “the organization within the universe as a whole”, is what we have discussed under “A Panpsychist Hypothesis” (beginning on June 14).

As you've probably missed the dozens of posts on the various threads, let me summarize. My starting point is my belief in common descent, i.e. that all organisms except the very first have descended from earlier living organisms. If there's an unbroken line, the innovations that have produced the new organs can only have taken place within existing organisms. Nobody knows how. Neither David nor I can believe that Darwin's random mutations are the answer. David offers two explanations: his God either dabbled or preprogrammed all the wonders and changes right from the beginning. I‘m proposing another hypothesis: the cellular communities of which all organisms consist were themselves responsible for the wonders and innovations that were made either necessary or possible by major changes in the environment (e.g. during the Cambrian). Researchers have shown that cells are sentient, communicative, intelligent beings, although their intelligence, like their methods of communication, must be very different from our own. What we do not know is just how far their sentient, communicative intelligence can take them. David dismisses the idea that cell communities could combine their intelligences to create something as complex as spider silk, let alone a kidney, and sticks to divine preprogramming or dabbling. I prefer to keep an open mind.

And so to your point. My hypothesis (it is not a belief) leaves open the question of whether God exists as organizer of the universe, because it makes no attempt to explain how cells/cell communities might have acquired their inventive intelligence in the first place (if they actually have it). A theist can say only God could have designed such a mechanism, and an atheist can say it happened by chance. This discussion is about the evolutionary process, and the wider implications for the big picture have been discussed elsewhere. Let us by all means go back to the panpsychist theme, but I'd be very interested to know whether your own version of God might allow the possibility of his inventing a mechanism that gave cells an autonomous ability to work out their own wonders and innovations.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Friday, August 15, 2014, 09:20 (1832 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Now you see the light. A little bit of God in every cell allows Him to control evolution. That makes sense.
dhw: Then you can no longer claim that cells must be automata, since each one contains its own share of your God's intelligence.
DAVID: Now, now, let's not stetch too much. Shapiro's cells have simple automatic reactions with controlled choices. One has to add God's intelligence above and beyond the cell to make the complex advances of the Cambrian.

Firstly, Shapiro and others explicitly attribute “sentience, subjectivity, cognition, communication and intelligence” to cells. It is you who insist that they are automatons. Do by all means question the degree of their intelligence, but don't tell me that these are the attributes of preprogrammed robots. Secondly, “a little bit of God in every cell” has suddenly changed to “above and beyond the cell”. Having conceded that your universal intelligence may indeed be within all things, you have scurried back to the idea of a single mind above and beyond (instead of inside) cells controlling their behaviour by preprogramming them or dabbling with them.

dhw: If you can believe that a little bit of your universal intelligence is in every cell, you can believe that lots of little bits of it can plan and coordinate.

DAVID: There has to be an overall universal consciousness doing the planning and coordination, not litle bits superficially connected with their automatic biochemical responses. You have it backwards to avoid God.

“Has to be”? You have already strongly defended the idea that certain cell communities can think, invent, and take autonomous decisions without having your God doing the planning and coordination for them, or is it now your contention that he also preprogrammed every human invention into the first living cells, or dabbles whenever we come up with something new, or guides every intelligent action performed by so many of our fellow animals? Of course not. But the smaller the organism, and the less like us, the more certain you are that it must be an automaton. So let's try phrasing things slightly differently. You wrote: “A little bit of God in every cell allows Him to control evolution. That makes sense.” You frequently use the term “universal intelligence” for God. Then try it here: “A little bit of universal intelligence in every cell allows it to control evolution. That makes sense.” It does, doesn't it? And universal intelligence is intelligence. Once again, you are happy to accept the principle that cells may have intelligence of their own inside them, controlling evolution, so long as we call that intelligence God.

NB A reminder: I am not asking you to believe this alternative scenario, but only to keep an open mind. We do not know what cells and cell communities are capable of under conditions we have not experienced.

PS Yep, the sea bass was delicious. I'm grateful to my cell communities for helping me choose, cook and enjoy it.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Friday, August 15, 2014, 23:48 (1831 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: You have already strongly defended the idea that certain cell communities can think, invent, and take autonomous decisions without having your God doing the planning and coordination for them,..... So let's try phrasing things slightly differently. You wrote: “A little bit of God in every cell allows Him to control evolution. ....“A little bit of universal intelligence in every cell allows it to control evolution. That makes sense.” ... Once again, you are happy to accept the principle that cells may have intelligence of their own inside them, controlling evolution, so long as we call that intelligence God.

The idea that: "A little bit of universal intelligence in every cell allows it to control evolution. That makes sense.”, does not make sense. Each cell controlled by the universal consciousness which can then be used to advance evolution. The emphasis is NOT on the cell but on the overall planning agent. Individual soldiers on the battlefield do not plan the battle. They participate in the battle as directed by thier leaders.

Once again, each single cell is functional at a very automatic level. Sense a stimulus, pick a reply. The information in the genome is intelligently planned to have the cell function fully and cooperatively with sister cells.


dhw; NB A reminder: I am not asking you to believe this alternative scenario, but only to keep an open mind. We do not know what cells and cell communities are capable of under conditions we have not experienced.

Careful cellular studies would disagree. We have a very clear understanding of how cells function, operate and coooperate at molecular levels. I have provided video descriptions in the past.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Sunday, August 17, 2014, 10:54 (1829 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID (12 August): A little bit of God in every cell allows Him to control evolution. That makes sense.

DAVID (15 August): The idea that: "A little bit of universal intelligence in every cell allows it to control evolution. That makes sense.”, does not make sense.

But you call God a universal intelligence. If the one makes sense, so must the other.

DAVID: Each cell controlled by the universal consciousness which can then be used to advance evolution. The emphasis is NOT on the cell but on the overall planning agent. Individual soldiers on the battlefield do not plan the battle. They participate in the battle as directed by thier leaders.

Well, YOUR emphasis is on the overall planning agent, if there is one. But let me try to follow your logic. Your God is in every cell controlling evolution but he is outside every cell telling it what to do. And your preferred explanation of evolution is that God preprogrammed every step of the way. If we put the two together, this presumably means that the little bit of God in every cell is the programme he implanted right from the start. If so, the idea that God programmed the very first cells to pass on intricate plans for spider silk, fire ant rafting, eyes, kidneys plus zillions of other “Nature's Wonders” and innovations, all to be implemented billions of years later after billions of other programmes had been implemented, seems to me to require a great deal more faith than the idea that he invented a mechanism that would do its own inventing as and when conditions demanded or allowed. I wonder if he also preprogrammed those first cells to pass plans for the motor car down to our human brain cells (which presumably are also automata but are somehow preprogrammed to enable us to think for ourselves since you believe we have free will). Your alternative, of course, is your God dabbling - i.e. inserting new programmes as he goes along - but that's a problem too, because you are an evolutionist and not a Creationist. St Paul tells us that faith can move mountains. I guess there are plenty of mountains for it to move.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 17, 2014, 16:07 (1829 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Each cell controlled by the universal consciousness which can then be used to advance evolution. The emphasis is NOT on the cell but on the overall planning agent. Individual soldiers on the battlefield do not plan the battle. They participate in the battle as directed by thier leaders.

dhw: Well, YOUR emphasis is on the overall planning agent, if there is one. But let me try to follow your logic. Your God is in every cell controlling evolution but he is outside every cell telling it what to do. And your preferred explanation of evolution is that God preprogrammed every step of the way. If we put the two together, this presumably means that the little bit of God in every cell is the programme he implanted right from the start.

I have constantly said that, since I cannot know how God did it, I preferred pre-programming as a concept. You keep asking for exact mechanisms for God, but if I have no idea how it is done, I can't fully answer. All I do know is, cells operate on information, which in my view must be supplied by intelligence.

dhw: If so, the idea that God programmed the very first cells to pass on intricate plans for spider silk, fire ant rafting, eyes, kidneys plus zillions of other “Nature's Wonders” and innovations, all to be implemented billions of years later after billions of other programmes had been implemented, seems to me to require a great deal more faith than the idea that he invented a mechanism that would do its own inventing as and when conditions demanded or allowed.

Your latter suggestion makes more sense. He used a self-inventing mechanism is a great idea. Your help in proposing a most reasonable explanation for a God-guided evolution process is much appreciated.

dhw: Your alternative, of course, is your God dabbling - i.e. inserting new programmes as he goes along - but that's a problem too, because you are an evolutionist and not a Creationist.

Yes, I believe in theistic evolution, but that really falls under the umbrella of a form of Creationism. And yes, dabbling has always bothered me. I like your self-inventing built into the mechanism.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Monday, August 18, 2014, 20:57 (1828 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: ...the idea that God programmed the very first cells to pass on intricate plans for spider silk, fire ant rafting, eyes, kidneys plus zillions of other “Nature's Wonders” and innovations, all to be implemented billions of years later after billions of other programmes had been implemented, seems to me to require a great deal more faith than the idea that he invented a mechanism that would do its own inventing as and when conditions demanded or allowed

DAVID: Your latter suggestion makes more sense. He used a self-inventing mechanism is a great idea. Your help in proposing a most reasonable explanation for a God-guided evolution process is much appreciated.

dhw: Your alternative, of course, is your God dabbling - i.e. inserting new programmes as he goes along - but that's a problem too, because you are an evolutionist and not a Creationist.

DAVID: Yes, I believe in theistic evolution, but that really falls under the umbrella of a form of Creationism. And yes, dabbling has always bothered me. I like your self-inventing built into the mechanism.

Phew! Your approval of the idea, however, has to bring us back to the fact that all organisms are composed of cells. We have no idea what the mechanism is or how it works, but it has to be within the cells, and if they were not preprogrammed for each innovation right from the beginning of life, each invention can only be the result of their ongoing cooperation with one another. You are, of course, free to say that such an inventive mechanism could only have been designed by your God, since it must be immeasurably too complex to have assembled itself by chance. An atheist would still insist it was a lucky break, but at least he or she would no longer have to rely on a zillion more lucky breaks in the form of random mutations. My concern, though, in these posts has been to find a solution to the problem of innovation in evolution, as exemplified by the Cambrian Explosion. Maybe this is the best so far.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 01:12 (1828 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Yes, I believe in theistic evolution, but that really falls under the umbrella of a form of Creationism. And yes, dabbling has always bothered me. I like your self-inventing built into the mechanism.

dhw: Your approval of the idea, however, has to bring us back to the fact that all organisms are composed of cells. We have no idea what the mechanism is or how it works, but it has to be within the cells, and if they were not preprogrammed for each innovation right from the beginning of life, each invention can only be the result of their ongoing cooperation with one another.

No, the cells don't initiate a cooperation. They are directed to cooperate following a set of rules in a self-inventing mechanism in the genome to respond to changes in the organisms' environment

dhw: You are, of course, free to say that such an inventive mechanism could only have been designed by your God, since it must be immeasurably too complex to have assembled itself by chance. An atheist would still insist it was a lucky break....My concern, though, in these posts has been to find a solution to the problem of innovation in evolution, as exemplified by the Cambrian Explosion. Maybe this is the best so far.

I think it is.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 14:18 (1827 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Yes, I believe in theistic evolution, but that really falls under the umbrella of a form of Creationism. And yes, dabbling has always bothered me. I like your self-inventing built into the mechanism.

dhw: Your approval of the idea, however, has to bring us back to the fact that all organisms are composed of cells. We have no idea what the mechanism is or how it works, but it has to be within the cells, and if they were not preprogrammed for each innovation right from the beginning of life, each invention can only be the result of their ongoing cooperation with one another.

DAVID: No, the cells don't initiate a cooperation. They are directed to cooperate following a set of rules in a self-inventing mechanism in the genome to respond to changes in the organisms' environment.

As regards your initial "no", you always talk as if somehow the genome were separate from the cell. I have said before that I am perfectly happy to accept the idea that the “brains” of the cell are somewhere inside the genome, but just as we say humans are intelligent, and not humans' brains are intelligent, I don't see why you need to make this distinction. Nor do I see why you have to introduce a “set of rules”, which seems to hark back to your preprogramming. Of course there are limitations to what all organisms can do, but if your God (or chance, or panpsychist intelligence) created a mechanism that did its own inventing, then it did its own inventing. (“Self-inventing” is ambiguous, as it could mean the mechanism invented itself,which is certainly not what you believe.) Again I would draw the parallel with human intelligence. If your God created the mechanism for it, did he also insert rules to make it invent the motor car, the airplane, the computer? If I accept your location of the cell's intelligence as being the genome, I would phrase your comment as follows: Cells are directed to cooperate by an inventive mechanism in the genome that responds to changes in the organism's environment.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 17:58 (1827 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: As regards your initial "no", you always talk as if somehow the genome were separate from the cell. I have said before that I am perfectly happy to accept the idea that the “brains” of the cell are somewhere inside the genome, but just as we say humans are intelligent, and not humans' brains are intelligent, I don't see why you need to make this distinction. Nor do I see why you have to introduce a “set of rules”, which seems to hark back to your preprogramming.

I should have said self-reinventing. In comparing human brains to cells, in a way of looking at cell intelligence, we really do not know how brains become conscious or develop intelligence. All we know is those attributes reside in the brain somehow and emerge somehow. Cells are under automatic controls. That is quite clear to me from my reading. And I'm not reintroducing preprogramming. The idea of an inventive mechanism available to the organism is an excellent suggestion. Simple cell responses don't explain the Cambrian gap.

dhw: Of course there are limitations to what all organisms can do, but if your God (or chance, or panpsychist intelligence) created a mechanism that did its own inventing, then it did its own inventing. Again I would draw the parallel with human intelligence.

I'm not sure a parallel is warrented.

dhw: If I accept your location of the cell's intelligence as being the genome, I would phrase your comment as follows: Cells are directed to cooperate by an inventive mechanism in the genome that responds to changes in the organism's environment.

An excellent statement, which fits my requirements. I think such a mechanism is hidden there capable of the giant jumps in organismal complexity. If we don't find it, then God dabbling comes back to haunt me.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 16:25 (1826 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: In comparing human brains to cells, in a way of looking at cell intelligence, we really do not know how brains become conscious or develop intelligence. All we know is those attributes reside in the brain somehow and emerge somehow. Cells are under automatic controls. That is quite clear to me from my reading. And I'm not reintroducing preprogramming. The idea of an inventive mechanism available to the organism is an excellent suggestion. Simple cell responses don't explain the Cambrian gap.

The point I'm trying to make is that human brains ARE cells, but we don't know how these particular cells become intelligent, just as we don't know how other cell communities become “intelligent”, i.e. capable of inventing spider silk and kidneys, as human brain cells have invented motor cars. (I put the word in inverted commas so as not to equate cellular intelligence with human intelligence. They have to be very different - just as you say your God's intelligence must be different from ours. Neither should be anthropomorphized.) Of course simple cell responses don't explain the Cambrian. But an inventive mechanism inside the genome of the cell, or rather the genomes of the cell communities of which all organisms consist, does explain it. In response to environmental change, the inventive mechanism within cells/cell communities brings about cooperation between the cells to produce something new, either to cope with the change or to exploit it.

dhw: Of course there are limitations to what all organisms can do, but if your God (or chance, or panpsychist intelligence) created a mechanism that did its own inventing, then it did its own inventing. Again I would draw the parallel with human intelligence.
DAVID: I'm not sure a parallel is warrented.

This was in response to your claim that the inventive mechanism had to follow a set of rules. My point is that the inventive mechanism that creates new organs and “Nature's Wonders” would be no more subject to “rules” (other than the constraints of Nature) than the inventive mechanism that creates motor cars and computers. Hence the enormous variety of innovations and wonders.

dhw: If I accept your location of the cell's intelligence as being the genome, I would phrase your comment as follows: Cells are directed to cooperate by an inventive mechanism in the genome that responds to changes in the organism's environment.

DAVID: An excellent statement, which fits my requirements. I think such a mechanism is hidden there capable of the giant jumps in organismal complexity. If we don't find it, then God dabbling comes back to haunt me.

So too would you be haunted by the extraordinary concept of the first few cells being programmed with every single wonder and innovation throughout the history of evolution.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 18:34 (1826 days ago) @ dhw


dhw:The point I'm trying to make is that human brains ARE cells, but we don't know how these particular cells become intelligent, just as we don't know how other cell communities become “intelligent”,

We know that cells operate on information in the genome. You and I may disagree on the source of the information.

dhw: Of course simple cell responses don't explain the Cambrian. But an inventive mechanism inside the genome of the cell, or rather the genomes of the cell communities of which all organisms consist, does explain it.

I have no disagreement with this.


dhw: This was in response to your claim that the inventive mechanism had to follow a set of rules. My point is that the inventive mechanism that creates new organs and “Nature's Wonders” would be no more subject to “rules”..... Hence the enormous variety of innovations and wonders.

My point should be clear enough. The cells are not capable of such natures wonders unless there is an inventive mechanism they can use. By themselves they don't have the capacity. They are too automatic, they follow rules. A natural threat brings out the need to stir up the inventive mechanism in the genome which I believe is yet to be discovered.

dhw: So too would you be haunted by the extraordinary concept of the first few cells being programmed with every single wonder and innovation throughout the history of evolution.

That does bother me. The idea of an inventive mechanism being present makes sense.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Thursday, August 21, 2014, 13:07 (1825 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: My point is that the inventive mechanism that creates new organs and “Nature's Wonders” would be no more subject to “rules” (other than the constraints of Nature) than the inventive mechanism that creates motor cars and computers. Hence the enormous variety of innovations and wonders.

DAVID: My point should be clear enough. The cells are not capable of such natures wonders unless there is an inventive mechanism they can use. By themselves they don't have the capacity. They are too automatic, they follow rules. A natural threat brings out the need to stir up the inventive mechanism in the genome which I believe is yet to be discovered.

I simply don't understand why you insist on separating the genome from the cell. This is like saying that human beings are automata not capable of inventing anything unless they have a brain. The whole point is that, if this hypothesis is correct, cells/cell communities are able to invent because they do have the equivalent of a brain (somewhere in the genome, if you like), which we are calling an inventive mechanism.

dhw: So too would you be haunted by the extraordinary concept of the first few cells being programmed with every single wonder and innovation throughout the history of evolution.
DAVID: That does bother me. The idea of an inventive mechanism being present makes sense.

I am relieved that you have now, at least for the time being, abandoned the hypotheses of preprogramming and dabbling in favour of what I have called the “intelligent cell”, although you still seem to dislike the term because you insist on separating the “brain” (inventive mechanism) from the “body” (the rest of the cell/cell community). As with us humans, the one wouldn't be much use without the other.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 21, 2014, 21:51 (1825 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I simply don't understand why you insist on separating the genome from the cell. .... The whole point is that, if this hypothesis is correct, cells/cell communities are able to invent because they do have the equivalent of a brain (somewhere in the genome, if you like), which we are calling an inventive mechanism.

All I am saying is that individual cells cannnot act as you describe. But cell communities, as in whole animals can act to change phenotype, if an inventive mechanism is in the genome of that animal, as we have proposed. One would assume that the change is epigentic, not mutational in the Darwinian sense. This is what Shapiro seems to be driving at, although he has not dscribed such a mechanism as yet in his research.


dhw: I am relieved that you have now, at least for the time being, abandoned the hypotheses of preprogramming and dabbling in favour of what I have called the “intelligent cell”, although you still seem to dislike the term because you insist on separating the “brain” (inventive mechanism) from the “body” (the rest of the cell/cell community).

I'm not separating it. I'm defining it more closely than your nebulous theory. If there is an inventive mechanism, of course it is in the genome, and is part of the total organism. And somehow the organism decides to tap into its abilities for change.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Friday, August 22, 2014, 15:55 (1824 days ago) @ David Turell

Some research in how cells communicate and modify the output of other cells. This is not how our brains communicate, but cells can tap into their genome and modify or change:

http://phys.org/news/2014-08-cell.html

Natures wonders: plant reproduction

by David Turell @, Friday, August 22, 2014, 16:00 (1824 days ago) @ David Turell

A very complex double process using calcium:

http://phys.org/news/2014-08-calcium-reproduction.html

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Friday, August 22, 2014, 17:59 (1824 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Some research in how cells communicate and modify the output of other cells. This is not how our brains communicate, but cells can tap into their genome and modify or change:

http://phys.org/news/2014-08-cell.html

I struggled through this because it's way above my head, but I'm glad I did because the last sentence yet again suggests that cells may be capable of far more than we know of at the moment:

QUOTE: If cells of different type and origin can effectively exchange this form of genetic information, then boundaries must be less tight than we used to think.

Thank you for this. The evidence for the "intelligent cell" hypothesis seems to be mounting!

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 23, 2014, 16:00 (1823 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: but I'm glad I did because the last sentence yet again suggests that cells may be capable of far more than we know of at the moment:

QUOTE: If cells of different type and origin can effectively exchange this form of genetic information, then boundaries must be less tight than we used to think.

Thank you for this. The evidence for the "intelligent cell" hypothesis seems to be mounting!

It is a throw-away conclusion which you want to stretch beyond the evidence. Of course cells communicate or the body wouldn't know how to work. All I wanted you to see is molecular communication which is done using information in the genome. These are biochemical reactions with no degree of consciousness in and of themselves, but is impossible to conclude that intelligent planning is not involved.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Friday, August 22, 2014, 17:50 (1824 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I simply don't understand why you insist on separating the genome from the cell. .... The whole point is that, if this hypothesis is correct, cells/cell communities are able to invent because they do have the equivalent of a brain (somewhere in the genome, if you like), which we are calling an inventive mechanism

DAVID: All I am saying is that individual cells cannnot act as you describe. But cell communities, as in whole animals can act to change phenotype, if an inventive mechanism is in the genome of that animal, as we have proposed.

I have stressed all the way along that cells must cooperate in order to produce innovations. It would certainly be absurd to argue that a single cell decides to make itself into a kidney!

DAVID: One would assume that the change is epigentic, not mutational in the Darwinian sense. This is what Shapiro seems to be driving at, although he has not dscribed such a mechanism as yet in his research.

The idea is simply an extension of the claims made by Shapiro, Margulis and Albrecht-Buehler that cells are sentient, cognitive, communicative, decision-making, intelligent beings.

dhw: I am relieved that you have now, at least for the time being, abandoned the hypotheses of preprogramming and dabbling in favour of what I have called the “intelligent cell”, although you still seem to dislike the term because you insist on separating the “brain” (inventive mechanism) from the “body” (the rest of the cell/cell community).

DAVID: I'm not separating it. I'm defining it more closely than your nebulous theory. If there is an inventive mechanism, of course it is in the genome, and is part of the total organism. And somehow the organism decides to tap into its abilities for change.

I'm delighted that you are now trying to find a more detailed definition, but I'm not sure that it's possible to go beyond the concept of “the intelligent cell”, at least until the mechanism is found (if ever). The total organism is a collection of cell communities, and so you might as well say it is the cell communities that decide to tap into their ability to change. “Somehow” is as nebulous as you can get, and it still boils down to cells.

Bearing in mind that bacteria are single-celled and according to the above researchers show every sign of sentience, intelligence etc., the process seems to me to be a logical progression. Some intelligent cells combine with other intelligent cells to create multicellularity (although other single-celled organisms continue to go their own way), and the intelligence which we have called the inventive mechanism within cell communities brings about an almost infinite variety of innovations as and when the environment demands or allows. I think it is essential to include “allows” here, but let's proceed one step at a time! Are you still opposed to the term “the intelligent cell” (not my coinage, of course)? Would you perhaps prefer “the inventive cell”?

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 23, 2014, 15:53 (1823 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I have stressed all the way along that cells must cooperate in order to produce innovations. It would certainly be absurd to argue that a single cell decides to make itself into a kidney!

It is just as absurd to imagine a kidney appearing simply because a whole organism desires to have one. Something so complex has to be developed following a plan. That is why the inventive mechanism idea is so appealing, if it is assumed hat highly intelligent information is available inthe genome.


dhw: The idea is simply an extension of the claims made by Shapiro, Margulis and Albrecht-Buehler that cells are sentient, cognitive, communicative, decision-making, intelligent beings.

An extension beyond credulity. Those attributes are extremely minimal.


dhw: I'm delighted that you are now trying to find a more detailed definition, but I'm not sure that it's possible to go beyond the concept of “the intelligent cell”, at least until the mechanism is found (if ever). The total organism is a collection of cell communities, and so you might as well say it is the cell communities that decide to tap into their ability to change. “Somehow” is as nebulous as you can get, and it still boils down to cells.

The cells are following instructions in the genome, instructions that plan for large changes, is the way I view it.


dhw: Bearing in mind that bacteria are single-celled and according to the above researchers show every sign of sentience, intelligence etc., the process seems to me to be a logical progression. ....the intelligence which we have called the inventive mechanism within cell communities brings about an almost infinite variety of innovations as and when the environment demands or allows. I think it is essential to include “allows” here,

Once again, the intelligence is the information in the genome, which directs the cell responses, which are almost always automatic. My concept of an inventive mechanism takes that into account, because planning information is available in the genome. I predict it will be found.

dhw: Are you still opposed to the term “the intelligent cell” (not my coinage, of course)? Would you perhaps prefer “the inventive cell”?

Neither. For the reasoning given.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, August 23, 2014, 22:49 (1823 days ago) @ David Turell

When I listen to you two going back and forth, it always makes me smile.... then it makes me scratch my head at the things that aren't being discussed.

With all of this "intelligent cell" talk and "innovation from cell communities", has the scope of what you are saying really ever been considered? You talk about developing a kidney, an eye, or a limb as if it were something trivial to design and implement. I would remind you that you are essentially talking about single celled organisms developing technology that humans don't even understand, much less have the capacity to duplicate. So either you are saying that single-celled organisms are more intelligent than humans (while this might be true for some humans, I doubt it is true for all..), or your theory holds no water. Not only are organs and tissues mindbogglingly complex, but the vast majority of them are considered to be "functionally perfect", and have been so for millions of years.

Just how much intelligence are you willing to ascribe to a single-celled organism, or even a collection of them?

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 23, 2014, 23:39 (1823 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: When I listen to you two going back and forth, it always makes me smile.... then it makes me scratch my head at the things that aren't being discussed.

With all of this "intelligent cell" talk and "innovation from cell communities", has the scope of what you are saying really ever been considered?

This is the dhw approach, not mine. Look at all of my discussions refuting him.

Tony: You talk about developing a kidney, an eye, or a limb as if it were something trivial to design and implement. I would remind you that you are essentially talking about single celled organisms developing technology that humans don't even understand, much less have the capacity to duplicate.

I've tried to tell him how complex the liver and kidney are. Cells with some degree of intelligent information to operate by, cannot come up with a kidney plan.

Tony: Not only are organs and tissues mindbogglingly complex, but the vast majority of them are considered to be "functionally perfect", and have been so for millions of years.

Exactly.


Tony: Just how much intelligence are you willing to ascribe to a single-celled organism, or even a collection of them?

Only a simple amount. That is why I think there is an inventive mechanism (placed there by God)in the genome to create by plan such complexity, and I think it is yet to be discovered. The other alternative is God stepping in at the Cambrian and designing everything on the spot ( actually about 10 million years).

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Sunday, August 24, 2014, 17:16 (1822 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained
edited by dhw, Sunday, August 24, 2014, 18:27

TONY: When I listen to you two going back and forth, it always makes me smile.... then it makes me scratch my head at the things that aren't being discussed.
With all of this "intelligent cell" talk and "innovation from cell communities", has the scope of what you are saying really ever been considered?

DAVID: This is the dhw approach, not mine. Look at all of my discussions refuting him.
TONY: You talk about developing a kidney, an eye, or a limb as if it were something trivial to design and implement. I would remind you that you are essentially talking about single celled organisms developing technology that humans don't even understand, much less have the capacity to duplicate.So either you are saying that single-celled organisms are more intelligent than humans...or your theory holds no water
DAVID: I've tried to tell him how complex the liver and kidney are. Cells with some degree of intelligent information to operate by, cannot come up with a kidney plan.

Until a week ago, David was adamant that the only possible explanations for all the amazingly complex innovations and Nature's Wonders were programmes planted by God in the first living cells, to be implemented through billions of generations and organisms, or God dabbling (= creationism). I have suggested an alternative: that the inventive power lies within living cells/cell communities. Suddenly David has embraced this idea, but insists on somehow separating the inventive mechanism from the cells. My argument is that the inventive mechanism (perhaps invented by your God, but that's another issue) is within the cells/cell communities just as the brain is within the body (Albrecht-Buehler equates the cell's “brain” with the centrosome). David's is that the mechanism is within the genome (which is part of the cell/cell communities). I see no difference.

The basis of this discussion, though, is that David and I believe evolution happened - i.e. that all living forms descended from earlier living forms. The enormous complexity of all organs and Nature's Wonders is not, in our view, explicable by Darwin's random mutations. If your God did not preprogramme every single one from the word go and did not create them separately, the mechanism for invention has to be present in the cells. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago under “Cell Memories"(before David's conversion from preprogramming and dabbling: “the theist can then argue that only God could have designed such an inventively, cooperatively intelligent mechanism, and the atheist can argue that it came about by chance.” Perhaps, David, you would explain the difference, in terms of how evolution works, between my proposed inventively, cooperatively intelligent mechanism situated in the cells/cell communities (that may have been created by your God) and the mechanism you are proposing.

Your argument, Tony, that single-celled organisms must then be more intelligent than humans misses the point that we ourselves, with all our intelligence, are a mass of cell communities, each one of which (if you believe evolution happened) is the result of billions of years of development, with each cell community the result of earlier developments in cell communities. Of course an individual cell is not as “intelligent” as a community of cells, and the more combinations you have, the greater the variety of intelligences. Perhaps ours is the culmination of this process. The whole point of my hypothesis is that the intelligent, inventive, cooperative mechanism within cells/cell communities can account not only for the complexity but also for the variety, the Cambrian, and the higglepiggledy comings and goings in the history of evolution. Theistic evolution, as I see it, therefore means God created a mechanism which enables cells/cell communities to do their own inventing, adjusting to or exploiting changes in the environment, without God interfering or preplanning. (Much more entertaining for him I'd have thought). Perhaps you would let us know your alternative explanation.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 24, 2014, 19:01 (1822 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Until a week ago, David was adamant that the only possible explanations for all the amazingly complex innovations and Nature's Wonders were programmes planted by God in the first living cells, to be implemented through billions of generations and organisms, or God dabbling (= creationism). ..... Suddenly David has embraced this idea, but insists on somehow separating the inventive mechanism from the cells. My argument is that the inventive mechanism (perhaps invented by your God, but that's another issue) is within the cells/cell communities just as the brain is within the body (Albrecht-Buehler equates the cell's “brain” with the centrosome). David's is that the mechanism is within the genome (which is part of the cell/cell communities). I see no difference.

Of course, the inventive mechanism is implanted within the cells, and I do accept that as an alternative to dabbling, but it is equivalent to preplanning, and must have existed in the first living cells. As I said to Tony, the only possibilities are some form of preplanning or an inventive mechanism that follows intelligent plans, or God dabbles.


dhw: The basis of this discussion, though, is that David and I believe evolution happened - i.e. that all living forms descended from earlier living forms. The enormous complexity of all organs and Nature's Wonders is not, in our view, explicable by Darwin's random mutations. ....Perhaps, David, you would explain the difference, in terms of how evolution works, between my proposed inventively, cooperatively intelligent mechanism situated in the cells/cell communities (that may have been created by your God) and the mechanism you are proposing.

I'll accept it as long as you recognize that cells, themselves, alone or in groups have very little power, are generally very automatic, and we have no idea whether an inventive mechanism takes charge when it has to to answer challenges in nature, or the cells respond to the challenge by asking the inventive mechanism to take charge. Cell comunities without such a mechanism are not capable of doing much. To create a kidney requires planning.


dhw: Of course an individual cell is not as “intelligent” as a community of cells, and the more combinations you have, the greater the variety of intelligences.

You can pile cells upon cells, look at completed organisms, and you cannot find the intelligence you want, except as provided in inventive planning from the beginning.

dhw: Theistic evolution, as I see it, therefore means God created a mechanism which enables cells/cell communities to do their own inventing, adjusting to or exploiting changes in the environment, without God interfering or preplanning.

The cells don't do their own inventing. And the inventive mchanism implies pre-planning.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Monday, August 25, 2014, 14:09 (1821 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: My argument is that the inventive mechanism (perhaps invented by your God, but that's another issue) is within the cells/cell communities just as the brain is within the body (Albrecht-Buehler equates the cell's “brain” with the centrosome). David's is that the mechanism is within the genome (which is part of the cell/cell communities). I see no difference.
DAVID: Of course, the inventive mechanism is implanted within the cells, and I do accept that as an alternative to dabbling, but it is equivalent to preplanning, and must have existed in the first living cells. As I said to Tony, the only possibilities are some form of preplanning or an inventive mechanism that follows intelligent plans, or God dabbles.

Of course the inventive mechanism must have existed in the first living cells. Otherwise there would never have been evolution. The “equivalent to preplanning” is an equivocation. WHAT was “planned”? Until a week ago, your version of preplanning was that every innovation and Nature's Wonder was the result of dabbling, or was preprogrammed in the first living cells. By “an inventive mechanism that follows intelligent plans”, do you mean it implements its own plans (= invention) or it follows plans laid down by your God (= preprogramming, not invention, and back to square one)? The point of the inventive mechanism, if we adopt a theistic approach, would be that your God put it into the first living cells so that their descendants would by themselves, over billions of years and through zillions of combinations, produce an almost infinite, unplanned variety of organisms without his interference and in accordance with unplanned changes in environmental conditions. This hypothesis (which I have called “the intelligent cell”, but call it “the inventive cell” if it makes you happier) fits in with and explains complexity, the Cambrian, and the variety, comings and goings of evolution.

dhw: Perhaps, David, you would explain the difference, in terms of how evolution works, between my proposed inventively, cooperatively intelligent mechanism situated in the cells/cell communities (that may have been created by your God) and the mechanism you are proposing.
DAVID: I'll accept it as long as you recognize that cells, themselves, alone or in groups have very little power, are generally very automatic, and we have no idea whether an inventive mechanism takes charge when it has to to answer challenges in nature, or the cells respond to the challenge by asking the inventive mechanism to take charge. Cell comunities without such a mechanism are not capable of doing much. To create a kidney requires planning.

Of course cells can't invent anything unless they have an inventive mechanism! The hypothesis is based on the possibility that they have! Your other point is fair comment, though. Maybe it's the equivalent of our not knowing the extent to which our human consciousness is controlled by or in control of our chemicals. It's all interaction anyway, so you can't separate the inventive mechanism (brain) from the rest of the cell (body).

dhw: Of course an individual cell is not as “intelligent” as a community of cells, and the more combinations you have, the greater the variety of intelligences.
DAVID: You can pile cells upon cells, look at completed organisms, and you cannot find the intelligence you want, except as provided in inventive planning from the beginning.

Same equivocation as above. The inventive planning would lie in the creation of a mechanism that enables organisms to adapt and innovate by themselves. Once more, no, cells cannot adapt or innovate without such a mechanism, and my hypothesis is that they have it. And once more yes, it must have been there from the beginning, or there would have been no evolution.

dhw: Theistic evolution, as I see it, therefore means God created a mechanism which enables cells/cell communities to do their own inventing, adjusting to or exploiting changes in the environment, without God interfering or preplanning.

DAVID: The cells don't do their own inventing. And the inventive mchanism implies pre-planning.

Yet again you are trying to separate the cells from the inventive mechanism, although you have admitted that the inventive mechanism is “implanted within the cells”. It's like saying humans don't invent anything. It's their brains that invent. Concerning your preplanning equivocation, see above.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Monday, August 25, 2014, 16:05 (1821 days ago) @ dhw


dhw:Of course the inventive mechanism must have existed in the first living cells. Otherwise there would never have been evolution. The “equivalent to preplanning” is an equivocation. WHAT was “planned”?

I can't expect you to remember all of the thoughts I have had as we discuss this. Remember that I think there is a built-in purposeful drive to create humans. That means an inventive mechanism must contain certain directional instructions. No equivocation.

dhw: Until a week ago, your version of preplanning was that every innovation and Nature's Wonder was the result of dabbling, or was preprogrammed in the first living cells. By “an inventive mechanism that follows intelligent plans”, do you mean it implements its own plans (= invention) or it follows plans laid down by your God (= preprogramming, not invention, and back to square one)?

I would presume that the inventive mechanism is a mixture of all your above suggestions, that is, there is some freedom of design, with a general directionality as noted. Natures wonders diversity implies a vast background of intelligent designs either created by implicit instruction or a series of intelligent information guidelines leading to the inventiveness life shows. It has to be one, the other, or both.

dhw: This hypothesis (which I have called “the intelligent cell”, but call it “the inventive cell” if it makes you happier) fits in with and explains complexity, the Cambrian, and the variety, comings and goings of evolution.

Described by my thoughts above for the inventive mechanism (IM), yes.

dhw: It's all interaction anyway, so you can't separate the inventive mechanism (brain) from the rest of the cell (body).

Agreed.


dhw: The inventive planning would lie in the creation of a mechanism that enables organisms to adapt and innovate by themselves. Once more, no, cells cannot adapt or innovate without such a mechanism, and my hypothesis is that they have it. And once more yes, it must have been there from the beginning, or there would have been no evolution.

Agreed


dhw: Yet again you are trying to separate the cells from the inventive mechanism, although you have admitted that the inventive mechanism is “implanted within the cells”. It's like saying humans don't invent anything. It's their brains that invent.

Agreed, cells without an IM can't change much of anything. Neither can humans invent much without huge brains. And where did the IM and human brains comes from, an intent of God. Cells did not invent their own IM. It came with life, itself a miraculous event.

Natures wonders: DNA programming

by David Turell @, Monday, August 25, 2014, 19:29 (1821 days ago) @ David Turell

DNA contains programs for organs. The thymus is a simple organ just to make T cells for the immune system. This research describes this reality:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140825100049.htm

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 22:13 (1820 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Of course the inventive mechanism must have existed in the first living cells. Otherwise there would never have been evolution. The “equivalent to preplanning” is an equivocation. WHAT was “planned”?
DAVID: I can't expect you to remember all of the thoughts I have had as we discuss this. Remember that I think there is a built-in purposeful drive to create humans. That means an inventive mechanism must contain certain directional instructions. No equivocation.

That is part of your faith, but it doesn't explain what was planned. Nor does the rest of your post. Let me put it to you straight. Which of these seems most likely to you: 1) Your God planted instructions in the very first cells to make spiders and for spiders to make silk billions of years later? 2) Your God dabbled to make spiders and spider silk? 3) The inventive mechanism that your God put there in the beginning came up with the spider and the spider's silk on its own initiative (no preprogramming, no dabbling) from within other earlier organisms?

dhw: Yet again you are trying to separate the cells from the inventive mechanism, although you have admitted that the inventive mechanism is “implanted within the cells”. It's like saying humans don't invent anything. It's their brains that invent.
.
DAVID: Agreed, cells without an IM can't change much of anything. Neither can humans invent much without huge brains. And where did the IM and human brains comes from, an intent of God. Cells did not invent their own IM. It came with life, itself a miraculous event.

There are three phases: 1) Life 2) Reproduction 3) Evolution. As I have stressed over and over again, my hypothesis only covers 3). I am trying to find a logical explanation for the innovations that have led from bacteria to humans. A few days ago, you acknowledged that you had serious doubts about all the innovations and wonders being preplanned from the beginning, and also about your God dabbling. That leaves us with an inventive mechanism within the cells, of which all organisms are made. Once you start faffing around with “a general directionality”, “implicit instruction”, “intelligent information guidelines”, you are removing the inventiveness and reverting to preprogramming. Perhaps your answer to my question about the spider and its silk will clear up some of the confusion.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 22:32 (1820 days ago) @ dhw


dhw; Which of these seems most likely to you: 1) Your God planted instructions in the very first cells to make spiders and for spiders to make silk billions of years later? 2) Your God dabbled to make spiders and spider silk? 3) The inventive mechanism that your God put there in the beginning came up with the spider and the spider's silk on its own initiative (no preprogramming, no dabbling) from within other earlier organisms?

I've admitted I don't know and no one knows. All three are possible, butI'm inclined to favor 3.

dhw: I am trying to find a logical explanation for the innovations that have led from bacteria to humans. A few days ago, you acknowledged that you had serious doubts about all the innovations and wonders being preplanned from the beginning, and also about your God dabbling. That leaves us with an inventive mechanism within the cells, of which all organisms are made.

To me the logical explanation is guidance by God. I just don't know which mechanism, we have been discussing, he used, and I am sure He infused life with intelligent information to work with. And to repeat once again, the cells alone cannot make any changes in phenoptype. The entire organism has to follow informational plans, which may well be in an inventive mechanism, yet to be discovered.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Thursday, August 28, 2014, 11:38 (1818 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw; Which of these seems most likely to you: 1) Your God planted instructions in the very first cells to make spiders and for spiders to make silk billions of years later? 2) Your God dabbled to make spiders and spider silk? 3) The inventive mechanism that your God put there in the beginning came up with the spider and the spider's silk on its own initiative (no preprogramming, no dabbling) from within other earlier organisms?
DAVID: I've admitted I don't know and no one knows. All three are possible, butI'm inclined to favor 3.

I agree that no one knows. Thank you for answering the question directly.

dhw: I am trying to find a logical explanation for the innovations that have led from bacteria to humans. A few days ago, you acknowledged that you had serious doubts about all the innovations and wonders being preplanned from the beginning, and also about your God dabbling. That leaves us with an inventive mechanism within the cells, of which all organisms are made.
DAVID: To me the logical explanation is guidance by God. I just don't know which mechanism, we have been discussing, he used, and I am sure He infused life with intelligent information to work with.

If you favour the hypothesis that God endowed the first living cells with a mechanism capable of inventing new organs and modes of behaviour, then the creation of that mechanism is all that is required to explain evolution. Your vague references to “general directionality”, “implicit instruction”, “intelligent information guidelines” (previous post), “guidance by God”, “infused life with intelligent information” (above) boil down to preprogramming and run counter to inventiveness. Either the inventive mechanism is inventive or it is not.

DAVID: And to repeat once again, the cells alone cannot make any changes in phenoptype. The entire organism has to follow informational plans, which may well be in an inventive mechanism, yet to be discovered.

And to repeat once again, the entire organism consists of cells, and if changes are to be successful, all the cell communities within the organism must cooperate. And if the undiscovered mechanism that is contained within the cells/cell communities is inventive, the plans are not “in” it but are made by it.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 28, 2014, 15:37 (1818 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: If you favour the hypothesis that God endowed the first living cells with a mechanism capable of inventing new organs and modes of behaviour, then the creation of that mechanism is all that is required to explain evolution..... Either the inventive mechanism is inventive or it is not.

It can be inventive and directed at the same time. Whole organism epigenetics can maker adaptations in response to challenges, but does not explain the sudden appearance of whole new organisms in the fossil record


dhw: And to repeat once again, the entire organism consists of cells, and if changes are to be successful, all the cell communities within the organism must cooperate. And if the undiscovered mechanism that is contained within the cells/cell communities is inventive, the plans are not “in” it but are made by it.

All cell communities are under control of their DNA, which they can modify, as shown by epigentic research to make variants. Full blown new species require information and planning.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Monday, August 25, 2014, 21:32 (1821 days ago) @ dhw

DHW: The basis of this discussion, though, is that David and I believe evolution happened - i.e. that all living forms descended from earlier living forms. The enormous complexity of all organs and Nature's Wonders is not, in our view, explicable by Darwin's random mutations. If your God did not preprogramme every single one from the word go and did not create them separately, the mechanism for invention has to be present in the cells. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago under “Cell Memories"(before David's conversion from preprogramming and dabbling: “the theist can then argue that only God could have designed such an inventively, cooperatively intelligent mechanism, and the atheist can argue that it came about by chance.” Perhaps, David, you would explain the difference, in terms of how evolution works, between my proposed inventively, cooperatively intelligent mechanism situated in the cells/cell communities (that may have been created by your God) and the mechanism you are proposing.

Your argument, Tony, that single-celled organisms must then be more intelligent than humans misses the point that we ourselves, with all our intelligence, are a mass of cell communities, each one of which (if you believe evolution happened) is the result of billions of years of development, with each cell community the result of earlier developments in cell communities. Of course an individual cell is not as “intelligent” as a community of cells, and the more combinations you have, the greater the variety of intelligences.

I have not missed your point at all. I am well aware that we are a a mass of individual cells, as I am aware that each organ is actually a community of different types of cells each performing a specific function. In some ways, our bodies are models of the earth(being comprised of all of the elements in appropriate proportions) as well as humanity (where each different type of cell represents a different race or culture of humanity).

DHW: Perhaps ours is the culmination of this process. The whole point of my hypothesis is that the intelligent, inventive, cooperative mechanism within cells/cell communities can account not only for the complexity but also for the variety, the Cambrian, and the higglepiggledy comings and goings in the history of evolution. Theistic evolution, as I see it, therefore means God created a mechanism which enables cells/cell communities to do their own inventing, adjusting to or exploiting changes in the environment, without God interfering or preplanning. (Much more entertaining for him I'd have thought). Perhaps you would let us know your alternative explanation.

And my point is that, if the "culmination of this process", our intelligence, is not capable of reproducing, copying, or even understanding the full extent of even the simplest element of the system, a single cell, then there is no way that the simplest element can be capable of creating the most complex elements from scratch.

I'm easy with my explanation. God did it. I just want to understand why and how so that I can better appreciate the qualities of my creator. Did God create them as adaptive creatures, I certainly think so, but I think that he did so with constraints to prevent them from straying too far beyond their pre-defined range. Hence the reason we don't have a plethora of new creatures popping up every time we turn around. A dog is still a dog is still a dog, no matter what kind of dog it is. Wolves did not become whales and whales did not become wolves, and we did not come from furry poop-flingers.

Further, being a Christian, I don't think he did it for pure entertainment. Colossians 1:16 (NLT) "for through him(Christ) God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see--such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world(Laws of Physics, perhaps). Everything was created through him(Christ) and for him(Christ)." It wasn't as entertainment, it was a beautiful gift of love to his Son.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 22:30 (1820 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Dhw: Theistic evolution, as I see it, therefore means God created a mechanism which enables cells/cell communities to do their own inventing, adjusting to or exploiting changes in the environment, without God interfering or preplanning. (Much more entertaining for him I'd have thought). Perhaps you would let us know your alternative explanation.

TONY: And my point is that, if the "culmination of this process", our intelligence, is not capable of reproducing, copying, or even understanding the full extent of even the simplest element of the system, a single cell, then there is no way that the simplest element can be capable of creating the most complex elements from scratch.
I'm easy with my explanation. God did it. I just want to understand why and how so that I can better appreciate the qualities of my creator.

My hypothesis is only concerned with how. New organs can only be formed through new combinations of cells. We don't know how it happens. So let me ask you, as I have asked David, whether you think your God preplanned every single innovation and “wonder” right from the beginning, or created each one separately as he went along. The alternative I have offered (theistic version) is that your God created a mechanism within the cells which enabled them to combine and create new organs and modes of behaviour (the “wonders”) as the changing environment demanded or allowed. You are absolutely right that we cannot reproduce or understand this mechanism, but that is beside the point. If your God exists, he is clearly capable of making it. Would you then grant the possibility that your God created this inventive mechanism, which would explain innovation, the Cambrian, and the vast variety of species that have come and gone?

TONY: Did God create them as adaptive creatures, I certainly think so, but I think that he did so with constraints to prevent them from straying too far beyond their pre-defined range. Hence the reason we don't have a plethora of new creatures popping up every time we turn around. A dog is still a dog is still a dog, no matter what kind of dog it is. Wolves did not become whales and whales did not become wolves, and we did not come from furry poop-flingers.

Once an organism is successful, there is no need for it to change. However, in the course of evolution obviously some have changed, which is why it's important to include what the environment allows as well as what it demands. My point here is that an inventive mechanism can experiment. Single-celled organisms have always been successful, but at some time in the past, some of them must have combined to create multicellularity. Whenever conditions changed (e.g. in the Cambrian), the opportunity as well as the necessity arose for some cell communities within existing organs to innovate: invention through an internal mechanism responding to outside circumstances. Once more, we know that cell communities have formed all the organs, and for those of us who believe evolution happened, that means billions of generations of cell communities have built on the acquired knowledge of earlier generations to come up with increasingly complex combinations. Hence the variety.

TONY: Further, being a Christian, I don't think he did it for pure entertainment. Colossians 1:16 (NLT) "for through him(Christ) God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see--such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world(Laws of Physics, perhaps). Everything was created through him(Christ) and for him(Christ)." It wasn't as entertainment, it was a beautiful gift of love to his Son.

If God exists, we can only speculate on his motives, and I have high respect for your faith in your own speculations.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 02:29 (1820 days ago) @ dhw

DHW: My hypothesis is only concerned with how. ... So let me ask you, as I have asked David, whether you think your God preplanned every single innovation and “wonder” right from the beginning, or created each one separately as he went along. .... You are absolutely right that we cannot reproduce or understand this mechanism, but that is beside the point. If your God exists, he is clearly capable of making it. Would you then grant the possibility that your God created this inventive mechanism, which would explain innovation, the Cambrian, and the vast variety of species that have come and gone?

The answer to your question was in my previous post:

TONY: Did God create them as adaptive creatures, I certainly think so, but I think that he did so with constraints to prevent them from straying too far beyond their pre-defined range. Hence the reason we don't have a plethora of new creatures popping up every time we turn around....

Remember that a lot of what we call different species are actually varieties of the same "type" or "kind" of creatures. A dog is a dog is a dog, even though there are hundreds of "species" of dog.


Once an organism is successful, there is no need for it to change. However, in the course of evolution obviously some have changed, which is why it's important to include what the environment allows as well as what it demands.

Yes, there have been some changes, but the extent of those changes is largely speculation considering that the vast majority of "species" remain largely UNCHANGED since the Cambrian.

DHW: My point here is that an inventive mechanism can experiment. Single-celled organisms have always been successful, but at some time in the past, some of them must have combined to create multi-cellularity.

Do you have evidence of experimentation? (i.e. Failed experiments? You know, the same ones missing from the fossil record that mainstream evolutionist say should exist.)

DHW: Whenever conditions changed (e.g. in the Cambrian), the opportunity as well as the necessity arose for some cell communities within existing organs to innovate: invention through an internal mechanism responding to outside circumstances.

Innovation is different in kind than invention. One builds upon what already exists, the other creates something new from wholecloth.

Once more, we know that cell communities have formed all the organs, and for those of us who believe evolution happened, that means billions of generations of cell communities have built on the acquired knowledge of earlier generations to come up with increasingly complex combinations. Hence the variety.

If you assume a designer, then the jump to multi-celularity does not require some tricksy magic that we have never witnessed in repeated experiments. That is not to say the possibility is not worth examining and experimenting to determine if it happened, but rather, multi-cellular organisms from single celled organisms has never been observed. So you are assuming that it happened without evidence. Your own brand of faith.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by dhw, Thursday, August 28, 2014, 12:06 (1818 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: So let me ask you, as I have asked David, whether you think your God preplanned every single innovation and “wonder” right from the beginning, or created each one separately as he went along. .... Would you then grant the possibility that your God created this inventive mechanism, which would explain innovation, the Cambrian, and the vast variety of species that have come and gone?

TONY: The answer to your question was in my previous post:
Did God create them as adaptive creatures, I certainly think so, but I think that he did so with constraints to prevent them from straying too far beyond their pre-defined range.....

Just making sure: are you saying that God created each innovation and “wonder” separately as he went along?

TONY: Remember that a lot of what we call different species are actually varieties of the same "type" or "kind" of creatures. A dog is a dog is a dog, even though there are hundreds of "species" of dog.

Again, to make sure: does this mean God created “the dog”, but dogs created their own variations? Might this have been done through an inventive mechanism within doggy cell communities? Let me note in passing that every individual dog - like every individual human - has its own individual sets of cell communities resulting in different characteristics. Since every innovation, according to evolution, must have taken place in existing organisms, this may explain why some cell communities (organisms) remained as they were, while others experimented.

Dhw: Once an organism is successful, there is no need for it to change. However, in the course of evolution obviously some have changed, which is why it's important to include what the environment allows as well as what it demands.
TONY: Yes, there have been some changes, but the extent of those changes is largely speculation considering that the vast majority of "species" remain largely UNCHANGED since the Cambrian.

I agree that we can only speculate, as we cannot observe the arrival of eyes, kidneys etc. However, adaptation is an observable fact, and it's not unreasonable to suppose that since cell communities can change themselves to cope with environmental threats, there is an internal mechanism for change. The question then becomes how inventive that mechanism might be. Perhaps there has been no major environmental change since the Cambrian that would allow for creative experiments, and so evolution has undergone a long period of comparative stasis as regards new “species” (in the broadest sense).

DHW: My point here is that an inventive mechanism can experiment. Single-celled organisms have always been successful, but at some time in the past, some of them must have combined to create multi-cellularity.
TONY: Do you have evidence of experimentation? (i.e. Failed experiments? You know, the same ones missing from the fossil record that mainstream evolutionist say should exist.)

I don't know how a fossil could be identified as a failed experiment. Mainstream evolutionists look for missing links, but “punctuated equilibrium” allows for the jumps Darwin thought impossible, and my hypothesis can explain the jumps.

Dhw: Once more, we know that cell communities have formed all the organs, and for those of us who believe evolution happened, that means billions of generations of cell communities have built on the acquired knowledge of earlier generations to come up with increasingly complex combinations. Hence the variety.
TONY: If you assume a designer, then the jump to multi-celularity does not require some tricksy magic that we have never witnessed in repeated experiments. That is not to say the possibility is not worth examining and experimenting to determine if it happened, but rather, multi-cellular organisms from single celled organisms has never been observed. So you are assuming that it happened without evidence. Your own brand of faith.

Bacteria have been observed to combine, communicate, and act like a single organism. I am not assuming anything, however. It's a hypothesis, and I've offered you a theistic “designer” version: namely, that your God created the inventive mechanism within cells that enabled single cells to combine and form multicellular organisms. Why does this require “tricksy magic”, whereas God creating multi-cellular organisms separately from single celled organisms does not?

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, August 28, 2014, 21:20 (1818 days ago) @ dhw

Just making sure: are you saying that God created each innovation and “wonder” separately as he went along?

Again, to make sure: does this mean God created “the dog”, but dogs created their own variations? Might this have been done through an inventive mechanism within doggy cell communities? Let me note in passing that every individual dog - like every individual human - has its own individual sets of cell communities resulting in different characteristics. Since every innovation, according to evolution, must have taken place in existing organisms, this may explain why some cell communities (organisms) remained as they were, while others experimented.


No. Let me try to illustrate. Let's assume that you come up with the design for hair. It can vary in length, thickness, color, density, sheen/oiliness, etc. From a programmers point of view, let each of these values fall between 0 - 1 (except color).

Dog A might have: (A dog with short, thick, slightly bristled dull brown hair)
Length = .1
thickness per strand = .26
color = Brown
density = .5
sheen = .025

Dog B might have:(A with long, soft, thick, glossy, white hair)
Length = .75
thickness = .15
color = white
density = .75
sheen = .5

Just from the slight changes here, one would be better "adapted" for surviving in cold winter climates(dog b) and the other for warmer Savannah style climates(dog A). Extrapolate this across each variable of a dog, bone length, muzzle length, etc, and you will be able to explain ever single "species" of dog with the same exact set of variables and the same set of constraints. There is no "invention" happening, only slight variation of constrained variables. The program can neither create nor destroy the variables. It can switch them off, set them to 0, switch them on, and alter them, but it can not create new ones.

What this also means is that the process of creating the "great bush of life" is not as monumental as it would appear at first glance, though it is still mind-boggling. It reduces the needed programs dramatically by reusing elements that have already been programmed. In computer program, the analog to this are called classes and functions(methods). The class is a blueprint, and the method are the individual instructions for manipulating that blueprint to achieve different results. A strong measure of the programmers success is the ability for that class to be used repeatedly, in wildly different scenarios, with few if any errors. When we look at the code that God has written, that is precisely what it has done.


DHW I agree that we can only speculate, as we cannot observe the arrival of eyes, kidneys etc. However, adaptation is an observable fact, and it's not unreasonable to suppose that since cell communities can change themselves to cope with environmental threats, there is an internal mechanism for change. The question then becomes how inventive that mechanism might be.


Limited adaptation. That is the keyword that seems to be missing from most statements when we discuss this. See the analogy above.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Friday, August 29, 2014, 04:54 (1818 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


Tony: What this also means is that the process of creating the "great bush of life" is not as monumental as it would appear at first glance, though it is still mind-boggling. It reduces the needed programs dramatically by reusing elements that have already been programmed. ..... A strong measure of the programmers success is the ability for that class to be used repeatedly, in wildly different scenarios, with few if any errors. When we look at the code that God has written, that is precisely what it has done.

If I may enter the conversation, your wonderful analogy just covers a tiny measure of variation among dogs, all of whom are one species, and are a subspecies with wolves with whom they breed with no problem.

What is significant is your further comments about a further class of programs which allows the code to be used over and over again. What is being found in genomes all over the animal kingdom is a repeated use to the same genomic mechanisms in a large variety of species and families. I think this implies that there is strong evidence for theistic evolution as the proper theory. Why should the genome be that way unless planned to cover the inventive needs of life as it advances from single cells to us? To avoid that thought, dhw has invented intelligent cells, but cannot tell us where the intelligence came from. He has forsaken chance as a mechanism. He wants to create whole new phenotypes by having them cooperate, and won't tell us where the plans come from that they must cooperatively follow. That dosn't answer the huge fossil gaps I have pointed out. Either use trial and error (Darwin), of which we see no evidence or create a plan, or follow a plan. There are no other possibilities. The idea of cells cooperating into planning a new body form de nova, fully functional in all organs is beyond belief. They have to be given a plan. That is why I raised the issue of a God-given inventive mechanism.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, August 29, 2014, 06:36 (1818 days ago) @ David Turell


Tony: What this also means is that the process of creating the "great bush of life" is not as monumental as it would appear at first glance, though it is still mind-boggling. It reduces the needed programs dramatically by reusing elements that have already been programmed. ..... A strong measure of the programmers success is the ability for that class to be used repeatedly, in wildly different scenarios, with few if any errors. When we look at the code that God has written, that is precisely what it has done.


David:If I may enter the conversation, your wonderful analogy just covers a tiny measure of variation among dogs, all of whom are one species, and are a subspecies with wolves with whom they breed with no problem.

What is significant is your further comments about a further class of programs which allows the code to be used over and over again. What is being found in genomes all over the animal kingdom is a repeated use to the same genomic mechanisms in a large variety of species and families. I think this implies that there is strong evidence for theistic evolution as the proper theory. Why should the genome be that way unless planned to cover the inventive needs of life as it advances from single cells to us? ...They have to be given a plan. That is why I raised the issue of a God-given inventive mechanism.

I give you Polymorphism. To me, this concept is what bridges the gaps between all of these discussions. It is where adaptation, variation, epigenetics, and to a limited extent, evolution meet. Let me pose a question. What if all life didn't evolve from a common ancestor, but instead was created from the same source code? Note, this differs from Darwinian evolution in that individual programs still have to be written individually, but they are all built upon the same framework until you get down to a level of abstraction that can handle all of the variants without further modification.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Friday, August 29, 2014, 14:39 (1817 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


Tony: I give you Polymorphism. To me, this concept is what bridges the gaps between all of these discussions. It is where adaptation, variation, epigenetics, and to a limited extent, evolution meet. Let me pose a question. What if all life didn't evolve from a common ancestor, but instead was created from the same source code? Note, this differs from Darwinian evolution in that individual programs still have to be written individually, but they are all built upon the same framework until you get down to a level of abstraction that can handle all of the variants without further modification.

Wow, this fits what I have been looking for, a code at the beginning of life that leads to a bush of life, not a tree. That could be the 'inventive mechanism'. I wish I knew more about programming, but it is obvious to me the genome is the most sophisticated program ever written, and we will take many more years picking it apart to understand it. At that point atheism will have little to support it.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, August 29, 2014, 22:44 (1817 days ago) @ David Turell


Tony: I give you Polymorphism. To me, this concept is what bridges the gaps between all of these discussions. It is where adaptation, variation, epigenetics, and to a limited extent, evolution meet. Let me pose a question. What if all life didn't evolve from a common ancestor, but instead was created from the same source code? Note, this differs from Darwinian evolution in that individual programs still have to be written individually, but they are all built upon the same framework until you get down to a level of abstraction that can handle all of the variants without further modification.


David: Wow, this fits what I have been looking for, a code at the beginning of life that leads to a bush of life, not a tree. That could be the 'inventive mechanism'. I wish I knew more about programming, but it is obvious to me the genome is the most sophisticated program ever written, and we will take many more years picking it apart to understand it. At that point atheism will have little to support it.

Just be aware that this still requires "dabbling", as DHW is fond of saying. Each sub-class that inherits from a predecessor has to define it's own implementation. In terms of the genome, each creatures genetic blueprint would have to define how it would implement the structures. It does not happen completely automatically. What it DOES do is explain all the commonalities and similarities in the code between all living creatures, as well as giving context to the different implementations.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 30, 2014, 01:01 (1817 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


Tony: Just be aware that this still requires "dabbling", as DHW is fond of saying. Each sub-class that inherits from a predecessor has to define it's own implementation. In terms of the genome, each creatures genetic blueprint would have to define how it would implement the structures. It does not happen completely automatically. What it DOES do is explain all the commonalities and similarities in the code between all living creatures, as well as giving context to the different implementations.


Dabbling means God is adjusting the controls from without. You seem to imply it is within the organism's genome.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, August 30, 2014, 04:56 (1817 days ago) @ David Turell

It would have to be from within. My point was that polymorphism doesn't mean that a subclass creates its own implementation of a method. That implementation still has to be 'written', as it were, by the programmer before it is implemented.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 30, 2014, 05:12 (1817 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: It would have to be from within. My point was that polymorphism doesn't mean that a subclass creates its own implementation of a method. That implementation still has to be 'written', as it were, by the programmer before it is implemented.

Your version then of the 'inventive mechanism' would be written into the genome at the beginning of life? That would equate to pre-planning with built-in dabbling.

Natures wonders: making spider silk

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, August 30, 2014, 08:15 (1817 days ago) @ David Turell

Tony: It would have to be from within. My point was that polymorphism doesn't mean that a subclass creates its own implementation of a method. That implementation still has to be 'written', as it were, by the programmer before it is implemented.


Your version then of the 'inventive mechanism' would be written into the genome at the beginning of life? That would equate to pre-planning with built-in dabbling.

Yes, precisely. And that actually lines up with the biblical account.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: hiding in plain sight

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 15:15 (1827 days ago) @ David Turell

Ocean creatures use transparancy and mirrors as ways to elude predators:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/19/science/a-world-of-creatures-that-hide-in-the-open.ht...

Natures wonders: ant bridge design

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 25, 2015, 02:23 (1365 days ago) @ David Turell

Using army ants it was found that the design of bridges with worker's bodies is very cost effective:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151124143516.htm

"Ants of E. hamatum automatically form living bridges without any oversight from a "lead" ant, the researchers report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences. The action of each individual coalesces into a group unit that can adapt to the terrain and also operates by a clear cost-benefit ratio. The ants will create a path over an open space up to the point when too many workers are being diverted from collecting food and prey.

"'These ants are performing a collective computation. At the level of the entire colony, they're saying they can afford this many ants locked up in this bridge, but no more than that," said co-first author Matthew Lutz, a graduate student in Princeton's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

"'There's no single ant overseeing the decision, they're making that calculation as a colony," Lutz said. "Thinking about this cost-benefit framework might be a new insight that can be applied to other animal structures that people haven't thought of before."

***

"Previous studies have shown that single creatures use "rules of thumb" to weigh cost-and-benefit, said Couzin, who also is Lutz's graduate adviser. This new work shows that in large groups these same individual guidelines can eventually coordinate group-wide, he said -- the ants acted as a unit although each ant only knew its immediate circumstances.

"'They don't know how many other ants are in the bridge, or what the overall traffic situation is. They only know about their local connections to others, and the sense of ants moving over their bodies," Couzin said. "Yet, they have evolved simple rules that allow them to keep reconfiguring until, collectively, they have made a structure of an appropriate size for the prevailing conditions.

***

"Previously, scientists thought that ant bridges were static structures -- their appearance over large gaps that ants clearly could not cross in midair was somewhat of a mystery, Reid said. The researchers found, however, that the ants, when confronted with an open space, start from the narrowest point of the expanse and work toward the widest point, expanding the bridge as they go to shorten the distance their compatriots must travel to get around the expanse.

"'The amazing thing is that a very elegant solution to a colony-level problem arises from the individual interactions of a swarm of simple worker ants, each with only local information," Reid said."

Comment: Group instinctive intelligence. Same old issue: how was it developed?

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 14:38 (1309 days ago) @ David Turell

Pheromones play a role in guiding ants as they build their nests:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160118184948.htm

"Ants collectively build nests whose size can reach several thousand times that of individual ants and whose architecture is sometimes highly complex. However, their ability to coordinate several thousand individuals when building their nests remains a mystery. To understand the mechanisms involved in this process, researchers from CNRS, Université Toulouse III -- Paul Sabatier and Université de Nantes[1] combined behavioral analysis, 3D imaging and computational modeling techniques. Their work shows that ants self-organize by interacting with the structures they build thanks to the addition of a pheromone to their building material. This chemical signal controls their building activity locally and determines the shape of the nest. Its breakdown over time and due to environmental conditions also enables the ants to adapt the shape of their nests.

***

"The nest of black garden ants, Lasius niger, consists of an underground part made up of a network of galleries, and a mound of earth composed of a large number of bubble-shaped chambers closely interconnected with each other.

***

"In the part located above ground, the insects pile up their building materials forming pillars that encircle the chambers. The ants preferentially deposit their soil pellets in areas where other clusters of pellets have already been created. They add a pheromone to their material, which stimulates the other ants to build on the same spot, leading to the formation of regularly spaced pillars. When the columns reach a height equal to the average body-length of an ant, the workers build caps on top of the pillars. They use their body size as a template to determine when they should stop building vertically and begin to deposit pellets laterally. The ants thus use two types of indirect interactions in order to build complex architectures.

"In addition, the pheromone breaks down over time at a rate that depends on climate conditions, which enables construction to adapt to the environment. For instance, in a dry environment the amount of pheromone rapidly decreases and so fewer pillars are built. The chambers are therefore larger, which enables the ants to cluster there in order to preserve what little humidity there is. On the other hand, in a humid environment, the pheromone persists for a longer time, which leads to a greater number of pillars and to smaller chambers.

"The researchers then developed a 3D mathematical model of nest construction, obtained by analyzing the individual behavior of the ants. The model shows that the two types of indirect interactions used by the ants to coordinate their activity faithfully reproduce the construction dynamics and the structures built during the experiments. It also highlights the key role played by the building pheromone in the growth dynamics and shapes of the nests."

Comment: The use of pheromones indicates automaticity. The ants are programmed to the same thing over and over. We are back to the usual debate. Did the original ant planners do this on their own or where they guided?

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by dhw, Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 13:52 (1308 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Pheromones play a role in guiding ants as they build their nests:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160118184948.htm
David's comment: The use of pheromones indicates automaticity. The ants are programmed to the same thing over and over. We are back to the usual debate. Did the original ant planners do this on their own or were they guided?

The use of pheromones indicates communication. Like every other organism, ants use whatever means of communication are available to them. Different kinds of ants build different kinds of nests, and even if their nests follow a certain pattern, they still vary individually: “This chemical signal controls their building activity locally and determines the shape of the nest. Its breakdown over time and due to environmental conditions also enables the ants to adapt the shape of their nests.” (My bold) I would argue that the pheromone is not part of a computer programme, but an instrument integral to their autonomous, cooperative, ant-designed nest-building: “They add a pheromone to their material, which stimulates the other ants to build on the same spot, leading to the formation of regularly spaced pillars.”

I know you hate to think of ants having any sort of mind, and you love the idea of God preprogramming or personally guiding each species of ant to build a special nest so that it can balance nature, but I would suggest that ants worked it out all by themselves. And whenever they come up against problems, they work out the solutions all by themselves, rather than relying on God's intervention or a computer programme he devised 3.8 billion years ago to cover every eventuality. The same, of course, applies to the weaverbird (under “Animal minds”):

dhw: We have always agreed on the design issue. Where we disagree is on your insistence that only God and humans can design things, though “could have helped” suggests a slight softening in your approach! “No, no, not on the left,” said God to the weaverbird. “Put it on the right, or you'll upset the balance of nature."

DAVID: Planned designs require a mind. There is purpose. Weaver birds must have tried this and that over eons of time to achieve their current nest. Hunt and peck is not likely.

Yes, these designs require a mind, and yes there is a purpose. But why do you assume that ants and weaverbirds do NOT have minds, and are incapable of fulfilling their own purposes without your God's intervention? “Large organisms chauvinism”, as Shapiro would say.

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 15:04 (1308 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I would argue that the pheromone is not part of a computer programme, but an instrument integral to their autonomous, cooperative, ant-designed nest-building: “They add a pheromone to their material, which stimulates the other ants to build on the same spot, leading to the formation of regularly spaced pillars.”

But you have a chicken/egg problem. Pheromones first before nests, or did they have simple nests first and then developed pheromones? Full blown ants with pheromones first smells of purposeful design to start with. Pheromones are attractants that all animals have, and they indicate purpose in design to me.


dhw: but I would suggest that ants worked it out all by themselves. And whenever they come up against problems, they work out the solutions all by themselves,

Did then invent their own pheromones? No. They were a given by advanced planning.


dhw: We have always agreed on the design issue. Where we disagree is on your insistence that only God and humans can design things,

DAVID: Planned designs require a mind. There is purpose. Weaver birds must have tried this and that over eons of time to achieve their current nest. Hunt and peck is not likely.

dhw: Yes, these designs require a mind, and yes there is a purpose. But why do you assume that ants and weaverbirds do NOT have minds, and are incapable of fulfilling their own purposes without your God's intervention? “Large organisms chauvinism”, as Shapiro would say.

I think it takes a complex mind to do advanced planning. Shapiro is referring to simple epigenetic effects in comparison which do occur at those simple effects by a series of molecular reactions.

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by dhw, Thursday, January 21, 2016, 18:17 (1307 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I would argue that the pheromone is not part of a computer programme, but an instrument integral to their autonomous, cooperative, ant-designed nest-building: “They add a pheromone to their material, which stimulates the other ants to build on the same spot, leading to the formation of regularly spaced pillars.”
DAVID: But you have a chicken/egg problem. Pheromones first before nests, or did they have simple nests first and then developed pheromones? Full blown ants with pheromones first smells of purposeful design to start with. Pheromones are attractants that all animals have, and they indicate purpose in design to me.

The chicken/egg problem applies to virtually every aspect of life you can think of, prior to human history. Nobody knows where the first of anything came from (which includes your God and his sourceless consciousness), and that is why there is so much theorizing.

dhw: ...but I would suggest that ants worked it out all by themselves. And whenever they come up against problems, they work out the solutions all by themselves...
DAVID: Did then invent their own pheromones? No. They were a given by advanced planning.

As above. Nobody knows the origin of life or of species (Darwin's title was highly misleading) or of the billions of lifestyles and natural wonders. “God did it” raises as many questions as it answers, as is evident from our many discussions and disagreements on these matters.

dhw: We have always agreed on the design issue. Where we disagree is on your insistence that only God and humans can design things,
DAVID: Planned designs require a mind. There is purpose. Weaver birds must have tried this and that over eons of time to achieve their current nest. Hunt and peck is not likely.
dhw: Yes, these designs require a mind, and yes there is a purpose. But why do you assume that ants and weaverbirds do NOT have minds, and are incapable of fulfilling their own purposes without your God's intervention? “Large organisms chauvinism”, as Shapiro would say.
DAVID: I think it takes a complex mind to do advanced planning. Shapiro is referring to simple epigenetic effects in comparison which do occur at those simple effects by a series of molecular reactions.

The quote was as follows:
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.

Link that to Shapiro's statement: “Living cells and organisms are cognitive (sentient) entities that act and interact purposefully to ensure survival, growth and proliferation. They possess corresponding sensory, communication, information-processing, and decision-making abilities.” I'm not asking you to agree with him, but I really don't see how you can avoid acknowledging that he believes cells and organisms have minds of their own.

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 21, 2016, 19:56 (1307 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I think it takes a complex mind to do advanced planning. Shapiro is referring to simple epigenetic effects in comparison which do occur at those simple effects by a series of molecular reactions.

dhw: The quote was as follows:
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.

Link that to Shapiro's statement: “Living cells and organisms are cognitive (sentient) entities that act and interact purposefully to ensure survival, growth and proliferation. They possess corresponding sensory, communication, information-processing, and decision-making abilities.” I'm not asking you to agree with him, but I really don't see how you can avoid acknowledging that he believes cells and organisms have minds of their own.

Same answer: They can be DNA programmed so it looks like they have minds of their own. Those abilities of theirs do exist, but how it works can be in two ways, yours and mine.

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by dhw, Friday, January 22, 2016, 18:19 (1306 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Shapiro is referring to simple epigenetic effects in comparison which do occur at those simple effects by a series of molecular reactions.

dhw: The quote was as follows:
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.

Link that to Shapiro's statement: “Living cells and organisms are cognitive (sentient) entities that act and interact purposefully to ensure survival, growth and proliferation. They possess corresponding sensory, communication, information-processing, and decision-making abilities.” I'm not asking you to agree with him, but I really don't see how you can avoid acknowledging that he believes cells and organisms have minds of their own.

DAVID: Same answer: They can be DNA programmed so it looks like they have minds of their own. Those abilities of theirs do exist, but how it works can be in two ways, yours and mine.

I was pointing out that Shapiro seems to be on my side rather than yours. However, this is a fair acknowledgement which should end once and for all the dogmatic statements that these organisms are automatons. They only might be.

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by David Turell @, Monday, January 25, 2016, 01:44 (1304 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Same answer: They can be DNA programmed so it looks like they have minds of their own. Those abilities of theirs do exist, but how it works can be in two ways, yours and mine.

dhw: I was pointing out that Shapiro seems to be on my side rather than yours. However, this is a fair acknowledgement which should end once and for all the dogmatic statements that these organisms are automatons. They only might be.

I'm as dogmatic as ever. Yours or mine, I'll pick mine.

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by dhw, Monday, January 25, 2016, 21:59 (1303 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Same answer: They can be DNA programmed so it looks like they have minds of their own. Those abilities of theirs do exist, but how it works can be in two ways, yours and mine.

dhw: I was pointing out that Shapiro seems to be on my side rather than yours. However, this is a fair acknowledgement which should end once and for all the dogmatic statements that these organisms are automatons. They only might be.

DAVID: I'm as dogmatic as ever. Yours or mine, I'll pick mine.

Ah well, you can't teach an old dogmatist new tricks.

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 01:25 (1303 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Ah well, you can't teach an old dogmatist new tricks.

And it is very difficult to pry an agnostic off his fence even when he is exposed to new tricks of nature found by science.

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by dhw, Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 18:23 (1302 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Ah well, you can't teach an old dogmatist new tricks.

DAVID: And it is very difficult to pry an agnostic off his fence even when he is exposed to new tricks of nature found by science.

Perhaps the old agnostick-in-the-mud should let sleeping dogmatists lie.

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 00:31 (1302 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: And it is very difficult to pry an agnostic off his fence even when he is exposed to new tricks of nature found by science.

dhw: Perhaps the old agnostick-in-the-mud should let sleeping dogmatists lie.

Not when we dogmatists tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth and swear to God it is true.

Natures wonders: ant nest building

by dhw, Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 18:18 (1301 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Ah well, you can't teach an old dogmatist new tricks.

DAVID: And it is very difficult to pry an agnostic off his fence even when he is exposed to new tricks of nature found by science.

dhw: Perhaps the old agnostick-in-the-mud should let sleeping dogmatists lie.

DAVID: Not when we dogmatists tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth and swear to God it is true.

Not the meaning of “lie” that was intended! However, let us remember the lessons we have learned from epistemology: you theistic dogmatists tell what you think is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and you swear to the God you subjectively believe in that you believe your subjective beliefs are true. Atheists also tell what they subjectively think is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but they subjectively believe there is no God to swear to. Truly it's a dogmatist eat dogmatist world out there.

Natures wonders: ant rafts have set crews!

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 00:01 (1219 days ago) @ David Turell

It seems the same ones occupy the same positions when the raft is formed:

"The team of scientists, including Jessica Purcell, an assistant professor of entomology at The University of California, Riverside, focused on Formica selysi, an ant species found in floodplains in central and southern Europe.

"A team of scientists has found that a species of ant that clusters together to form rafts to survive floods exhibits memory and repeatedly occupies the same position during raft formation, according to a just published paper.

"The research shows that, like humans, ants work together to enhance their response to emergency situations with different members of the group carrying out different tasks.

"By working together, social insects, such as ants, achieve tasks that are beyond the reach of single individuals. A striking example is "self-assembly," a process in which ants link their bodies to form structures such as chains, ladders, walls or rafts.

***

"In a lab, they subjected groups of Formica selysi workers to two consecutive floods and monitored the position of individuals in rafts. Workers showed specialization in their positions when rafting, with the same individuals consistently occupying the top, middle, base or side position in the raft.

"In addition, they found the presence of brood, or immature members of the ant society, modified workers' position and raft shape. Surprisingly, they found workers' experience in the first rafting trial with brood influenced their behavior and raft shape in the subsequent trial without brood.

"They believe this is the first time memory has been demonstrated in so-called self-assemblages."

Comment: If they all know where to place themselves, it smells like instinct to me. It makes no sense they practiced their positions in advance of getting hit with a flood. By living in a flood prone area, I'm sure the instinct developed by necesity.

Natures wonders: ant rafts have set crews!

by dhw, Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 13:36 (1218 days ago) @ David Turell

Thank you for another wonderful post in this always illuminating series.

QUOTE: "By working together, social insects, such as ants, achieve tasks that are beyond the reach of single individuals. A striking example is "self-assembly," a process in which ants link their bodies to form structures such as chains, ladders, walls or rafts."

I would suggest that this is not only a sign of remarkable intelligence, but may also echo the way intelligent cell communities cooperate to create new structures.
***
QUOTE: "In addition, they found the presence of brood, or immature members of the ant society, modified workers' position and raft shape. Surprisingly, they found workers' experience in the first rafting trial with brood influenced their behavior and raft shape in the subsequent trial without brood.
"They believe this is the first time memory has been demonstrated in so-called self-assemblages
."

Clearly, then, the learners learn and at the same time the mature workers make adjustments - rather like the interchange between receptive teachers and receptive students. These assemblages are not fixed, even though the basic structure remains the same.
***

David's comment: If they all know where to place themselves, it smells like instinct to me. It makes no sense they practiced their positions in advance of getting hit with a flood. By living in a flood prone area, I'm sure the instinct developed by necessity.

The practice would certainly have originated and developed by necessity, but there must have been a first time, just as there must have been a first chain, ladder, wall etc., and unless you wish to tell us that your God gave lessons to the originators of each structure and also pops in to tell them how to make adjustments (in order to provide the energy to produce and/or feed humans), I would suggest that the whole technology is much akin to the manner in which humans make and modify such structures - by using their intelligence.

Natures wonders: ant rafts have set crews!

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 16:33 (1218 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: QUOTE: "In addition, they found the presence of brood, or immature members of the ant society, modified workers' position and raft shape. Surprisingly, they found workers' experience in the first rafting trial with brood influenced their behavior and raft shape in the subsequent trial without brood.
"They believe this is the first time memory has been demonstrated in so-called self-assemblages
."

Clearly, then, the learners learn and at the same time the mature workers make adjustments - rather like the interchange between receptive teachers and receptive students. These assemblages are not fixed, even though the basic structure remains the same.

Of course they had to adjust for passengers, but they still kept their same basic positions, which means they have some adaptation ability to reorganize.

***

David's comment: If they all know where to place themselves, it smells like instinct to me. It makes no sense they practiced their positions in advance of getting hit with a flood. By living in a flood prone area, I'm sure the instinct developed by necessity.

dhw: The practice would certainly have originated and developed by necessity, but there must have been a first time, just as there must have been a first chain, ladder, wall etc., and unless you wish to tell us that your God gave lessons to the originators of each structure.....I would suggest that the whole technology is much akin to the manner in which humans make and modify such structures - by using their intelligence.

I'm sure there was a first time and instinct developed with a degree of adaptability for the size of a crowd of brood passengers, since saving the brood is a necessity. I suspect the development of instinct is a God-given property.

Natures wonders: ant rafts have set crews!

by dhw, Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 12:54 (1217 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Clearly, then, the learners learn and at the same time the mature workers make adjustments - rather like the interchange between receptive teachers and receptive students. These assemblages are not fixed, even though the basic structure remains the same.
DAVID: Of course they had to adjust for passengers, but they still kept their same basic positions, which means they have some adaptation ability to reorganize.

I would regard their ability to adapt and reorganize their assemblage as a clear sign of intelligence.

David's comment: If they all know where to place themselves, it smells like instinct to me. It makes no sense they practiced their positions in advance of getting hit with a flood. By living in a flood prone area, I'm sure the instinct developed by necessity.
dhw: The practice would certainly have originated and developed by necessity, but there must have been a first time, just as there must have been a first chain, ladder, wall etc., and unless you wish to tell us that your God gave lessons to the originators of each structure.....I would suggest that the whole technology is much akin to the manner in which humans make and modify such structures - by using their intelligence.
DAVID: I'm sure there was a first time and instinct developed with a degree of adaptability for the size of a crowd of brood passengers, since saving the brood is a necessity. I suspect the development of instinct is a God-given property.

I am also sure there was a first time, and I suspect that the first time was an act of intelligence, just like subsequent adaptations and reorganizations. The wonderful post on slime mold (many thanks again) suggests a very early stage of such intelligence.
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/slime-molds-are-smarter-than-you-think...
QUOTE: "Even more amazing, when they sexually reproduce they break into individual amoeba-like cells and organize themselves into beautiful stalks and knobby spore-containing tops; the spores live but stalk cells altruistically sacrifice themselves."

Not human type intelligence, but rudimentary awareness to the point of taking decisions. Similarly, under “Animal consciousness”:

David's comment: No question animals have to be aware of their environment and are consciously aware, but they do not have the introspection of humans, the ability to conceptualize. It is a vast difference.

I am glad there is no question now, and so when you talk about ants and even about bacteria, perhaps you could drop talk of “instinct” and “automaticity” and recognize that all organisms have a degree of conscious awareness. How else could they take decisions? And decision-taking awareness suggests to me a form of intelligence. (For further comment re bacteria, please see “Cambrian Explosion”.)

Natures wonders: ant rafts have set crews!

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 19:25 (1217 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I'm sure there was a first time and instinct developed with a degree of adaptability for the size of a crowd of brood passengers, since saving the brood is a necessity. I suspect the development of instinct is a God-given property.

dhw: I am also sure there was a first time, and I suspect that the first time was an act of intelligence, just like subsequent adaptations and reorganizations. The wonderful post on slime mold (many thanks again) suggests a very early stage of such intelligence.

I don't know if any intelligence is involved with slime mold. They solve the maze by checking every passage and then automatically pick the shortest route which can be done by feed back loop chemistry.

dhw: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/slime-molds-are-smarter-than-you-think...
QUOTE: "Even more amazing, when they sexually reproduce they break into individual amoeba-like cells and organize themselves into beautiful stalks and knobby spore-containing tops; the spores live but stalk cells altruistically sacrifice themselves."

dhw: Not human type intelligence, but rudimentary awareness to the point of taking decisions.

Again, it can all be automatic as in bacteria.

David's comment: No question animals have to be aware of their environment and are consciously aware, but they do not have the introspection of humans, the ability to conceptualize. It is a vast difference.

dhw: I am glad there is no question now, and so when you talk about ants and even about bacteria, perhaps you could drop talk of “instinct” and “automaticity” and recognize that all organisms have a degree of conscious awareness.

Still a question re bacteria. It can all be automatic and I'll stick with that.

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by dhw, Thursday, April 21, 2016, 13:54 (1216 days ago) @ David Turell

I am telescoping three threads, as they all deal with the same subject.

DAVID (re ant rafts): I'm sure there was a first time and instinct developed with a degree of adaptability for the size of a crowd of brood passengers, since saving the brood is a necessity. I suspect the development of instinct is a God-given property.
dhw: I am also sure there was a first time, and I suspect that the first time was an act of intelligence, just like subsequent adaptations and reorganizations. The wonderful post on slime mold (many thanks again) suggests a very early stage of such intelligence.
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/slime-molds-are-smarter-than-you-think...
DAVID: I don't know if any intelligence is involved with slime mold. They solve the maze by checking every passage and then automatically pick the shortest route which can be done by feed back loop chemistry.

If you insert the word “automatically”, of course you preclude intelligence. I would have thought that checking information required awareness and finding a solution required intelligent decision-making.

QUOTE: "Even more amazing, when they sexually reproduce they break into individual amoeba-like cells and organize themselves into beautiful stalks and knobby spore-containing tops; the spores live but stalk cells altruistically sacrifice themselves."
dhw: Not human type intelligence, but rudimentary awareness to the point of taking decisions.
DAVID: Again, it can all be automatic as in bacteria.

It can all be automatic, as in your interpretation of the behaviour of bacteria, or it can all be intelligence, as in the findings of the eminent scientists you disagree with, though you admit that their conclusions are “equally possible”. That is an admission that you might be wrong, which is good enough for me.

Dhw (re bacteria): QUOTE: " […]This communication alters gene expression and allows bacteria to mount coordinated responses to their environments, in a manner that is comparable to behavior and signaling in higher organisms. […]

If you wish to argue that their behaviour (e.g. decision-making) is automatic because the chemical processes involved in acquiring and communicating information are automatic, then you may as well say the same of all “higher organisms”, including humans.

DAVID: …Quorum sensing may simply be an interpretation of the concentration of molecules produced by the bacteria's receptors. As for human automaticity, when did you run your every day bodily functions such urine production, poop production, remembering to breath, pumping your blood, sweating, etc.? You don't control the process of seeing, hearing, smelling, but you can independently think about what you are observing and create concepts about them.

You are repeating my own argument! You only focus on the chemical processes involved in acquiring and communicating information, and you ignore the “behaviour”. Here you have deliberately brought in the additional levels of consciousness that distinguish humans from less “intelligent” organisms, though you know perfectly well that the “intelligence” proposed by McClintock, Margulis, Shapiro, Bühler et al relates to decision-making and does not extend to concept-making.

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by David Turell @, Friday, April 22, 2016, 05:12 (1216 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I don't know if any intelligence is involved with slime mold. They solve the maze by checking every passage and then automatically pick the shortest route which can be done by feed back loop chemistry.

dhw: If you insert the word “automatically”, of course you preclude intelligence. I would have thought that checking information required awareness and finding a solution required intelligent decision-making.

In nature the slime mold must find food. So it/they move round to find it. It/they are obviously programmed to find the closest food as it requires the least energy to reach. The maze shows this probability. No intellect required.

dhw: It can all be automatic, as in your interpretation of the behaviour of bacteria, or it can all be intelligence, as in the findings of the eminent scientists you disagree with, though you admit that their conclusions are “equally possible”. That is an admission that you might be wrong, which is good enough for me.

I have my interpretation, you have yours.


Dhw (re bacteria): QUOTE: " […]This communication alters gene expression and allows bacteria to mount coordinated responses to their environments, in a manner that is comparable to behavior and signaling in higher organisms. […]

If you wish to argue that their behaviour (e.g. decision-making) is automatic because the chemical processes involved in acquiring and communicating information are automatic, then you may as well say the same of all “higher organisms”, including humans.

I've pointed out that most of your bodily functions except thinking are automatic.

dhw: You are repeating my own argument! You only focus on the chemical processes involved in acquiring and communicating information, and you ignore the “behaviour”. Here you have deliberately brought in the additional levels of consciousness that distinguish humans from less “intelligent” organisms, though you know perfectly well that the “intelligence” proposed by McClintock, Margulis, Shapiro, Bühler et al relates to decision-making and does not extend to concept-making.

And that 'decision making' can simply be chemical responses to chemical stimuli.

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by dhw, Friday, April 22, 2016, 15:12 (1215 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I don't know if any intelligence is involved with slime mold. They solve the maze by checking every passage and then automatically pick the shortest route which can be done by feed back loop chemistry.
dhw: If you insert the word “automatically”, of course you preclude intelligence. I would have thought that checking information required awareness and finding a solution required intelligent decision-making.
DAVID: In nature the slime mold must find food. So it/they move round to find it. It/they are obviously programmed to find the closest food as it requires the least energy to reach. The maze shows this probability. No intellect required.

I would say that it is natural (even without God specifically having to preprogramme slime mold) for any organism to try to find the simplest solution to a problem (Ockham would agree), i.e. the shortest route to food. The intelligence is needed to find the solution. Here are some quotes from the video you recommended:
These studies are “redefining what is it to be intelligent.” They “challenge what we think of as intelligence.” “It's not that nature lacks intelligence, but our own concepts do”. Not quite the same as “no intellect required”.

Dhw (re bacteria): QUOTE: " […]This communication alters gene expression and allows bacteria to mount coordinated responses to their environments, in a manner that is comparable to behavior and signaling in higher organisms. […]
If you wish to argue that their behaviour (e.g. decision-making) is automatic because the chemical processes involved in acquiring and communicating information are automatic, then you may as well say the same of all “higher organisms”, including humans.

DAVID: I've pointed out that most of your bodily functions except thinking are automatic.

I had already replied to this as follows:
dhw: You are repeating my own argument! You only focus on the chemical processes involved in acquiring and communicating information, and you ignore the “behaviour”. Here you have deliberately brought in the additional levels of consciousness that distinguish humans from less “intelligent” organisms, though you know perfectly well that the “intelligence” proposed by McClintock, Margulis, Shapiro, Bühler et al relates to decision-making and does not extend to concept-making.
DAVID: And that 'decision making' can simply be chemical responses to chemical stimuli.

But please do not focus on chemical processes of acquiring or communicating information as if they explained decision-making, and do not focus on human concept-making as if its absence in bacteria denoted absence of intelligence. Your view that bacteria are not intelligent is a purely personal opinion, to which of course you are perfectly entitled, but the scientific (chemical processes) and philosophical (no concept-making) evidence you have cited is irrelevant.

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by David Turell @, Friday, April 22, 2016, 19:42 (1215 days ago) @ dhw


dhw; Here are some quotes from the video you recommended:
These studies are “redefining what is it to be intelligent.” They “challenge what we think of as intelligence.” “It's not that nature lacks intelligence, but our own concepts do”. Not quite the same as “no intellect required”.

Resident intellect is not required if the organisms is programmed as I have describe. The quote presumes no God/mind planning the organism.


dhw: But please do not focus on chemical processes of acquiring or communicating information as if they explained decision-making, and do not focus on human concept-making as if its absence in bacteria denoted absence of intelligence. Your view that bacteria are not intelligent is a purely personal opinion, to which of course you are perfectly entitled, but the scientific (chemical processes) and philosophical (no concept-making) evidence you have cited is irrelevant.

The evidence is not irrelevant. My interpretation simply differs from the one you prefer

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by dhw, Saturday, April 23, 2016, 13:17 (1214 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw; Here are some quotes from the video you recommended:

"These studies are “redefining what is it to be intelligent.” They “challenge what we think of as intelligence.” “It's not that nature lacks intelligence, but our own concepts do”. Not quite the same as “no intellect required”.

DAVID: Resident intellect is not required if the organisms is programmed as I have describe. The quote presumes no God/mind planning the organism.

Of course intelligence is not required if the organisms are preprogrammed. You are simply saying that if the organism is not intelligent, it is not intelligent! The research has nothing whatsoever to do with God: the experts in this particular field merely tell us that the organisms are intelligent. A theist can go on to argue that it was God who created the intelligence in the first place. But of course you have every right to believe that these experts are wrong.

dhw: But please do not focus on chemical processes of acquiring or communicating information as if they explained decision-making, and do not focus on human concept-making as if its absence in bacteria denoted absence of intelligence. Your view that bacteria are not intelligent is a purely personal opinion, to which of course you are perfectly entitled, but the scientific (chemical processes) and philosophical (no concept-making) evidence you have cited is irrelevant.

DAVID: The evidence is not irrelevant. My interpretation simply differs from the one you prefer.

You drew the distinction yourself: “Most of your bodily functions except thinking are automatic”. Solving puzzles and making decisions are not bodily functions. They are the products of thinking. The references to bodily functions are therefore irrelevant to your belief that what looks like thought is in fact divine preprogramming. Similarly, your references to human concept-making are irrelevant to the possibility that bacteria have a less complex form of intelligence.

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 23, 2016, 16:10 (1214 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Of course intelligence is not required if the organisms are preprogrammed. You are simply saying that if the organism is not intelligent, it is not intelligent! The research has nothing whatsoever to do with God: the experts in this particular field merely tell us that the organisms are intelligent. A theist can go on to argue that it was God who created the intelligence in the first place. But of course you have every right to believe that these experts are wrong.

I'll repeat: if a bacterium receives a stimulus, it is clear it can recognize it through chemical reactions and it can automatically use chemical reactions to respond. All intelligently programmed.


dhw: You drew the distinction yourself: “Most of your bodily functions except thinking are automatic”. Solving puzzles and making decisions are not bodily functions. They are the products of thinking. The references to bodily functions are therefore irrelevant to your belief that what looks like thought is in fact divine preprogramming. Similarly, your references to human concept-making are irrelevant to the possibility that bacteria have a less complex form of intelligence.

Human bodily functions are as preprogrammed as bacterial bodily functions. A cell is a cell is a cell ( apologies to Gertrude). We are still based on the very first cell. Bacteria do not have a 'less complex form of intelligence' any more than my automatic cells have. They are intelligently preprogrammed.

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by dhw, Sunday, April 24, 2016, 13:04 (1213 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Of course intelligence is not required if the organisms are preprogrammed. You are simply saying that if the organism is not intelligent, it is not intelligent! The research has nothing whatsoever to do with God: the experts in this particular field merely tell us that the organisms are intelligent. A theist can go on to argue that it was God who created the intelligence in the first place. But of course you have every right to believe that these experts are wrong.

DAVID: I'll repeat: if a bacterium receives a stimulus, it is clear it can recognize it through chemical reactions and it can automatically use chemical reactions to respond. All intelligently programmed.

No need to repeat it. I know your opinion, and will simply hold onto your sporadic acknowledgement that the two theories (preprogramming versus autonomous intelligence) are equally possible.

dhw: You drew the distinction yourself: “Most of your bodily functions except thinking are automatic”. Solving puzzles and making decisions are not bodily functions. They are the products of thinking. The references to bodily functions are therefore irrelevant to your belief that what looks like thought is in fact divine preprogramming. Similarly, your references to human concept-making are irrelevant to the possibility that bacteria have a less complex form of intelligence.

DAVID: Human bodily functions are as preprogrammed as bacterial bodily functions. A cell is a cell is a cell ( apologies to Gertrude). We are still based on the very first cell. Bacteria do not have a 'less complex form of intelligence' any more than my automatic cells have. They are intelligently preprogrammed.

As above, you are entitled to your opinion - though you sometimes state it as fact - and so are experts such as McClintock, Margulis, Shapiro, Buehler, Lipton, and our slime-molders.

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 24, 2016, 15:11 (1213 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Human bodily functions are as preprogrammed as bacterial bodily functions. A cell is a cell is a cell ( apologies to Gertrude). We are still based on the very first cell. Bacteria do not have a 'less complex form of intelligence' any more than my automatic cells have. They are intelligently preprogrammed.

dhw: As above, you are entitled to your opinion - though you sometimes state it as fact - and so are experts such as McClintock, Margulis, Shapiro, Buehler, Lipton, and our slime-molders.

The original cells of life are the basic mold for all the future cells now present. I'm simply working backward from what I see in the human body. Your experts, presented by me, are research biologists, and have a different viewpoint as they study bacterial function. I fully agree with what they find, not their interpretation.

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 15:34 (1210 days ago) @ David Turell

More on slime mold which can habituate/learn to put up with noxious agents that are harmless, but has no memory for that habituation:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160427081533.htm

For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that an organism devoid of a nervous system is capable of learning. A team from the Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale (CNRS/Université Toulouse III -- Paul Sabatier) has succeeded in showing that a single-celled organism, the protist Physarum polycephalum, is capable of a type of learning called habituation. This discovery throws light on the origins of learning ability during evolution, even before the appearance of a nervous system and brain.

***

A team of biologists thus sought to find proof that a single-celled organism could learn. They chose to study the protist, or slime mold, Physarum polycephalum, a giant cell that inhabits shady, cool areas[1] and has proved to be endowed with some astonishing abilities, such as solving a maze, avoiding traps or optimizing its nutrition[2]. But until now very little was known about its ability to learn.

During a nine-day experiment, the scientists thus challenged different groups of this mold with bitter but harmless substances that they needed to pass through in order to reach a food source. Two groups were confronted either by a "bridge" impregnated with quinine, or with caffeine, while the control group only needed to cross a non-impregnated bridge. Initially reluctant to travel through the bitter substances, the molds gradually realized that they were harmless, and crossed them increasingly rapidly -- behaving after six days in the same way as the control group. The cell thus learned not to fear a harmless substance after being confronted with it on several occasions, a phenomenon that the scientists refer to as habituation. After two days without contact with the bitter substance, the mold returned to its initial behavior of distrust. Furthermore, a protist habituated to caffeine displayed distrustful behavior towards quinine, and vice versa. Habituation was therefore clearly specific to a given substance.

Habituation is a form of rudimentary learning, which has been characterized in Aplysia (an invertebrate also called sea hare)[3]. This form of learning exists in all animals, but had never previously been observed in a non-neural organism. This discovery in a slime mold, a distant cousin of plants, fungi and animals that appeared on Earth some 500 million years before humans, improves existing understanding of the origins of learning, which markedly preceded those of nervous systems.

Comment: Fascinating. The authors have no opinion as to how this works. Without nerves it all has to be chemical reactions, as there is no fixed memory from the experience.

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by dhw, Thursday, April 28, 2016, 11:48 (1209 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: More on slime mold which can habituate/learn to put up with noxious agents that are harmless, but has no memory for that habituation:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160427081533.htm

QUOTE: For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that an organism devoid of a nervous system is capable of learning. A team from the Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale (CNRS/Université Toulouse III -- Paul Sabatier) has succeeded in showing that a single-celled organism, the protist Physarum polycephalum, is capable of a type of learning called habituation. This discovery throws light on the origins of learning ability during evolution, even before the appearance of a nervous system and brain.

***

QUOTE: Initially reluctant to travel through the bitter substances, the molds gradually realized that they were harmless, and crossed them increasingly rapidly -- behaving after six days in the same way as the control group. The cell thus learned not to fear a harmless substance after being confronted with it on several occasions, a phenomenon that the scientists refer to as habituation. After two days without contact with the bitter substance, the mold returned to its initial behavior of distrust. Furthermore, a protist habituated to caffeine displayed distrustful behavior towards quinine, and vice versa. Habituation was therefore clearly specific to a given substance.

David's comment: Fascinating. The authors have no opinion as to how this works. Without nerves it all has to be chemical reactions, as there is no fixed memory from the experience.

I always feel a little guilty when you produce these wonderful articles and I then disagree with your conclusions! If an organism changes its behaviour over a period of six days, but then reverts after a two day gap, it has what I would call short-term memory. It is impossible to learn anything if you have no memory at all. If an organism can remember not only what it learned a couple of days ago, but also what it liked and didn't like - even if it's only for a week - I would suggest that learning and memory (albeit short-term) appear to be possible without a nervous system. It was already known that slime mold had abilities “such as solving a maze, avoiding traps or optimizing its nutrition”, and if you now add learning and memory - no matter how rudimentary - I would say you have the beginnings of autonomous intelligence (not to be confused with human self-awareness, of course). What other attributes does an organism need before you acknowledge that it is intelligent? Or are you going to tell us that God has preprogrammed or personally “guides” every individual slime mold to cope with every individual problem that life and/or humans throw at it?

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by David Turell @, Friday, April 29, 2016, 01:55 (1209 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I always feel a little guilty when you produce these wonderful articles and I then disagree with your conclusions! If an organism changes its behaviour over a period of six days, but then reverts after a two day gap, it has what I would call short-term memory. It is impossible to learn anything if you have no memory at all. .....and if you now add learning and memory - no matter how rudimentary - I would say you have the beginnings of autonomous intelligence (not to be confused with human self-awareness, of course). What other attributes does an organism need before you acknowledge that it is intelligent? Or are you going to tell us that God has preprogrammed or personally “guides” every individual slime mold to cope with every individual problem that life and/or humans throw at it?

Thanks, and I expect you to disagree! I can imagine a molecular response to the noxious stimulus that lasts two days and fades away. The response may be God provided. As for this response like other cellular responses, we are looking in from the out side and making interpretations that may well not be correct..

Ants, slime mold & bacteria

by dhw, Friday, April 29, 2016, 16:23 (1208 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I always feel a little guilty when you produce these wonderful articles and I then disagree with your conclusions! If an organism changes its behaviour over a period of six days, but then reverts after a two day gap, it has what I would call short-term memory. It is impossible to learn anything if you have no memory at all. .....and if you now add learning and memory - no matter how rudimentary - I would say you have the beginnings of autonomous intelligence (not to be confused with human self-awareness, of course). What other attributes does an organism need before you acknowledge that it is intelligent? Or are you going to tell us that God has preprogrammed or personally “guides” every individual slime mold to cope with every individual problem that life and/or humans throw at it?

DAVID: Thanks, and I expect you to disagree! I can imagine a molecular response to the noxious stimulus that lasts two days and fades away. The response may be God provided. As for this response like other cellular responses, we are looking in from the out side and making interpretations that may well not be correct.

“God provided”? 3.8 billion years ago, God did provide for a 21st-century slime mold to tolerate caffeine but not quinine, and ordained that a few days later it would forget what it did like and what it did dislike. Or in 2016 God did see the slime mold and the caffeine and the quinine, and on the first day did say unto the slime mold, “Thou shalt tolerate the caffeine but not the quinine, and then in six days thou shalt forget what I have taught thee.” I don't believe it, but perhaps you can tell us another way God might have “guided” the slime mold, and why he would have gone to such trouble when all he wants is us humans.

slime mold decisions

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 08, 2016, 17:48 (1168 days ago) @ dhw

this is a new study that gave slime mold two food direction choices and the mld picked the one with the most food:

http://phys.org/news/2016-06-slime-mold-insight-intelligence-neuron-less.html

"How do organisms without brains make decisions? Most of life is brainless and the vast majority of organisms on Earth lack neurons altogether. Plants, fungi and bacteria must all cope with the same problem as humans - to make the best choices in a complex and ever-changing world or risk dying - without the help of a simple nervous system in many cases.

***

"This giant cell, which typically lives in shady, cool and moist areas of temperate forests, spreads out to search its environment like an amoeba, extending oozy tendrils along the forest floor in search of its prey of fungi, bacteria and decaying vegetable matter.

"Neither plant, animal nor fungus, P. polycephalum has become an unlikely candidate for studies of cognition, due to its spectacular problem-solving abilities. In recent studies, Physarum has been shown to solve labyrinth mazes, make complicated trade-offs, anticipate periodic events, remember where it has been, construct transport networks that have similar efficiency to those designed by human engineers and even make irrational decisions - a capability that has long been viewed as a by-product of brain circuitry.

***

"The researchers adapted the two-armed bandit test for slime mold by giving the organism the choice to explore two opposite directions. In each direction, the slime mold encountered discrete patches of food, more or less regularly distributed. One direction would contain more of these patches than the other. They then observed how far in each direction the slime mold would explore before switching to the exploitation of one of the two directions only. The results of these experiments demonstrate that slime mold compares the relative qualities of multiple options, most often choosing the direction with the higher overall concentration of food. It was able to sum up the number of food patches encountered in each direction, as well as the quantity of food present at each patch to make correct and adaptive decisions as to the direction it should move next.

"The slime mold's decision-making algorithm can be mathematically described as a tendency to exploit environments in proportion to their reward experienced through past sampling. The algorithm is intermediate in computational complexity between simple, reactionary heuristics and calculation-intensive optimal performance algorithms, yet it has very good relative performance.

"'Working with Physarum constantly challenges our preconceived notions of the minimum biological hardware that is required for sophisticated behavior," says Simon Garnier, an assistant professor of biology at NJIT and the principal investigator of the study."

Comment: I presented this study because it contains the key to our debate over 'intelligence' vs. intelligently planned molecular reactions in unicellular organisms. If the biologic hardware can be found it will tell us how concentrations are read. I suspect it is in molecular feedback loops which are automatically operating and support me. If the 'intelligence' is something else, dhw is supported. 'Intelligence' in quotes to signify a different quality than the human form.

slime mold decisions

by dhw, Thursday, June 09, 2016, 10:43 (1167 days ago) @ David Turell

David's comment: I presented this study because it contains the key to our debate over 'intelligence' vs. intelligently planned molecular reactions in unicellular organisms. If the biologic hardware can be found it will tell us how concentrations are read. I suspect it is in molecular feedback loops which are automatically operating and support me. If the 'intelligence' is something else, dhw is supported. 'Intelligence' in quotes to signify a different quality than the human form.

Brilliant! Slime mold (mould to us Brits) is fascinating, and your comment really does sum up the essence of our debate over cellular intelligence. Molecular feedback loops are part of all behaviours, and the question is how they are triggered and controlled. I see a strange dichotomy in your reasoning: you accept that organisms with a brain have some degree of “intelligence”, culminating in the superintelligence (by comparison) of humans. You believe in dualism: i.e. that you have an intelligence which is independent of your brain and controls it. You accept that the same may well apply - to an ever decreasing extent - to other organisms, let's say all the way down from chimps/dogs/dolphins/crows to my good friends the ants. But for you the brain is the key: organisms can only have “intelligence” if they have a brain, although it is the “intelligence” that controls the brain. We have defined “intelligence” as a combination of sentience, cognition, information- processing, problem-solving, decision-making etc., all of which are to be observed in the behaviour of unicellular organisms. As Shapiro, Talbott and others have pointed out, if organisms seem to behave intelligently, maybe that is because they ARE intelligent! And so the question to you has to be: if “intelligence” is separate from the brain, why do you consider it impossible for intelligently behaving organisms without a brain to be “intelligent”?

There is one further aspect to all this, quite apart from that of the source. If I and my fellow agnostics argue on the side of brainless unicellular intelligence, does that commit us to belief in dualism? It will be very interesting to see how Talbott copes with this problem in the next two essays. Meanwhile, three hearty cheers for the slime mould, and thank you, David, for the article and the scrupulously fair comment.

slime mold decisions

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 09, 2016, 19:35 (1167 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: And so the question to you has to be: if “intelligence” is separate from the brain, why do you consider it impossible for intelligently behaving organisms without a brain to be “intelligent”?

I think they are not capable of being intelligent, because the only intelligence we can understand by our own experience, because we have it, is connected to a neuron network. I've said over and over, intelligently planned molecular responses, as shown in existing living organ systems, gives exactly the same appearance, and is just as explanatory. Since such automatic systems exist and work, why look for nebulous autonomous cellular 'intelligence'

slime mold decisions

by dhw, Friday, June 10, 2016, 12:38 (1166 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: And so the question to you has to be: if “intelligence” is separate from the brain, why do you consider it impossible for intelligently behaving organisms without a brain to be “intelligent”?

DAVID: I think they are not capable of being intelligent, because the only intelligence we can understand by our own experience, because we have it, is connected to a neuron network. I've said over and over, intelligently planned molecular responses, as shown in existing living organ systems, gives exactly the same appearance, and is just as explanatory. Since such automatic systems exist and work, why look for nebulous autonomous cellular 'intelligence'?

I assume you think the planning was done by your God. If so, the “intelligently planned molecular responses” (without an autonomous guiding intelligence within the cell itself) would have had to incorporate solutions to every single new situation confronting unicellular organisms throughout the history of life. Alternatively, your God would have had to intervene personally in order to instruct the bacterium in ways of resisting antibiotics, or to shove the slime mould in the right direction.

When scientists set these organisms new problems, it is to test their ability to find solutions. You accept such tests as signs of intelligence when they are applied to organisms with brains, but because you have had no personal experience of any form of intelligence not linked to a brain, you resort to what Talbott calls “a rather odd urgency” which makes you insist that “while organisms certainly look as if they possessed intelligent agency, we should not be so foolish as to be compelled by the evidence of our own eyes.

Why look for cellular intelligence? Because if organisms have an autonomous inventive or complexification mechanism, it can ONLY be run by the intelligence of the cell communities! And so if unicellular organisms are shown to be intelligent, this would add powerful support to the AIM hypothesis.

slime mold decisions

by David Turell @, Friday, June 10, 2016, 18:45 (1166 days ago) @ dhw


dhw; I assume you think the planning was done by your God. If so, the “intelligently planned molecular responses” (without an autonomous guiding intelligence within the cell itself) would have had to incorporate solutions to every single new situation confronting unicellular organisms throughout the history of life. Alternatively, your God would have had to intervene personally in order to instruct the bacterium in ways of resisting antibiotics, or to shove the slime mould in the right direction.

You do not remember my description of what very simple organisms are capable of doing: Quorum sensing a group, sensing food, sensing noxious or dangerous substances or dangerous enemies, dumping their garbage. Finding a simple pathway by the strength of a signal chemical explains the slime mold in a maze. We just haven't had the research yet to follow the molecular reactions. God is not needed currently.


dhw: Why look for cellular intelligence? Because if organisms have an autonomous inventive or complexification mechanism, it can ONLY be run by the intelligence of the cell communities! And so if unicellular organisms are shown to be intelligent, this would add powerful support to the AIM hypothesis.

The mechanisms don't need intelligence to run them. They are not driving an automobile but sitting in a driverless automobile.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 25, 2016, 15:46 (968 days ago) @ David Turell

Slime molds can solve mazes and now are shown to transfer what they learn to another mold it becomes joined to:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161221090246.htm


"It isn't an animal, a plant, or a fungus. The slime mold (Physarum polycephalum) is a strange, creeping, bloblike organism made up of one giant cell. Though it has no brain, it can learn from experience, as biologists have demonstrated. Now the same team of scientists has gone a step further, proving that a slime mold can transmit what it has learned to a fellow slime mold when the two combine.

***

"They now reveal that a slime mold that has learned to ignore salt can transmit this acquired behavior to another simply by fusing with it.

"To achieve this, the researchers taught more than 2,000 slime molds that salt posed no threat. In order to reach their food, these slime molds had to cross a bridge covered with salt. This experience made them habituated slime molds. Meanwhile, another 2,000 slime molds had to cross a bridge bare of any substance. They made up the group of naive slime molds. After this training period, the scientists grouped slime molds into habituated, naive, and mixed pairs. Paired slime molds fused together where they came into contact. The new, fused slime molds then had to cross salt-covered bridges. To the researchers' surprise, the mixed slime molds moved just as fast as habituated pairs, and much faster than naive ones, suggesting that knowledge of the harmless nature of salt had been shared. This held true for slime molds formed from 3 or 4 individuals. No matter how many fused, only 1 habituated slime mold was needed to transfer the information.

"To check that transfer had indeed taken place, the scientists separated the slime molds 1 hour and 3 hours after fusion and repeated the bridge experiment. Only naive slime molds that had been fused with habituated slime molds for 3 hours ignored the salt; all others were repulsed by it. This was proof of learning. When viewing the slime molds through a microscope, the scientists noticed that, after 3 hours, a vein formed at the point of fusion. This vein is undoubtedly the channel through which information is shared. The next challenges facing the researchers are to elucidate the form this information takes, and to test whether more than one behavior can be transmitted simultaneously. If Slime Mold A learns how to ignore quinine and Slime Mold B to ignore salt, the biologists wonder whether both behaviors can be transmitted and retained through fusion."

Comment: dhw and I will have the same battle when he returns from his Christmas fun. Is this process a series of automatic chemical reactions which a taught mold teaches to a naïve mold or is here some sort of nebulous 'intelligence' at work here, with no evidence apparent in the cellular chemistry.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by dhw, Tuesday, December 27, 2016, 13:13 (966 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Slime molds can solve mazes and now are shown to transfer what they learn to another mold it becomes joined to:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161221090246.htm

QUOTE: "It isn't an animal, a plant, or a fungus. The slime mold (Physarum polycephalum) is a strange, creeping, bloblike organism made up of one giant cell. Though it has no brain, it can learn from experience, as biologists have demonstrated. Now the same team of scientists has gone a step further, proving that a slime mold can transmit what it has learned to a fellow slime mold when the two combine.

David’s comment: dhw and I will have the same battle when he returns from his Christmas fun. Is this process a series of automatic chemical reactions which a taught mold teaches to a naïve mold or is here some sort of nebulous 'intelligence' at work here, with no evidence apparent in the cellular chemistry.

Yes indeed, the battle continues, but thank you again for your integrity in presenting yet another example of cellular intelligence and how it can be tested. Cellular chemistry will not reveal intelligence. Only by setting new problems and observing the response can scientists establish whether there is or is not “intelligence”. Even in your own comment you cannot avoid the obvious fact that if one mold is naïve and the other has learned a new trick, the very fact that one can teach and the other can learn indicates the desire and ability to communicate, and an increase in knowledge first by the teacher and then by the pupil – all attributes of what we call intelligence, though not to be equated with human intelligence.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 27, 2016, 18:25 (966 days ago) @ dhw

David’s comment: dhw and I will have the same battle when he returns from his Christmas fun. Is this process a series of automatic chemical reactions which a taught mold teaches to a naïve mold or is here some sort of nebulous 'intelligence' at work here, with no evidence apparent in the cellular chemistry.

Yes indeed, the battle continues, but thank you again for your integrity in presenting yet another example of cellular intelligence and how it can be tested. Cellular chemistry will not reveal intelligence. Only by setting new problems and observing the response can scientists establish whether there is or is not “intelligence”. Even in your own comment you cannot avoid the obvious fact that if one mold is naïve and the other has learned a new trick, the very fact that one can teach and the other can learn indicates the desire and ability to communicate, and an increase in knowledge first by the teacher and then by the pupil – all attributes of what we call intelligence, though not to be equated with human intelligence.

The communication is chemical since they are semi-attached. The teacher contains chemical knowledge, not neuronal knowledge. The pupil is taught chemically as the new molecules fill the gaps in the pupil's chemistry.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by dhw, Wednesday, December 28, 2016, 12:49 (965 days ago) @ David Turell

David’s comment: dhw and I will have the same battle when he returns from his Christmas fun. Is this process a series of automatic chemical reactions which a taught mold teaches to a naïve mold or is here some sort of nebulous 'intelligence' at work here, with no evidence apparent in the cellular chemistry.
Yes indeed, the battle continues, but thank you again for your integrity in presenting yet another example of cellular intelligence and how it can be tested.

Cellular chemistry will not reveal intelligence. Only by setting new problems and observing the response can scientists establish whether there is or is not “intelligence”. Even in your own comment you cannot avoid the obvious fact that if one mold is naïve and the other has learned a new trick, the very fact that one can teach and the other can learn indicates the desire and ability to communicate, and an increase in knowledge first by the teacher and then by the pupil – all attributes of what we call intelligence, though not to be equated with human intelligence.

DAVID: The communication is chemical since they are semi-attached. The teacher contains chemical knowledge, not neuronal knowledge. The pupil is taught chemically as the new molecules fill the gaps in the pupil's chemistry.

"Neuronal knowledge" takes us back to the question of whether intelligence is only possible in organisms that have brains. The answer according to some scientists is that it IS possible. How can we tell? Not by examining chemical processes, because even in humans the chemical processes cannot reveal the intelligence that drives them. The only way is by testing, but first we must define what we mean by intelligence, and in doing so we should bear in mind the distinction between natural and artificial intelligence, and the fact that there are different degrees of intelligence, with human self-awareness marking the highest degree that we know of. And so by intelligence I mean the autonomous ability to absorb and process information, learn, communicate, cooperate, and take decisions based on the information absorbed, processed and learned. By my definition, slime mold and bacteria are intelligent. Perhaps we can end this discussion once and for all if you give us your own definition.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 28, 2016, 19:31 (965 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: "Neuronal knowledge" takes us back to the question of whether intelligence is only possible in organisms that have brains. The answer according to some scientists is that it IS possible. How can we tell? Not by examining chemical processes, because even in humans the chemical processes cannot reveal the intelligence that drives them. The only way is by testing, but first we must define what we mean by intelligence, and in doing so we should bear in mind the distinction between natural and artificial intelligence, and the fact that there are different degrees of intelligence, with human self-awareness marking the highest degree that we know of. And so by intelligence I mean the autonomous ability to absorb and process information, learn, communicate, cooperate, and take decisions based on the information absorbed, processed and learned. By my definition, slime mold and bacteria are intelligent. Perhaps we can end this discussion once and for all if you give us your own definition.

We can end this discussion by returning to my inside/outside comment. From the outside of the organisms you listed, they act as if intelligent by your definition. True observation, but there remains the two possibilities. Either they are actually acting intelligently by your definition or they are acting through intelligent operative information they have been given to make their responses. It is my 100% belief they act through the latter possibility.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by dhw, Thursday, December 29, 2016, 13:34 (964 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: "Neuronal knowledge" takes us back to the question of whether intelligence is only possible in organisms that have brains. The answer according to some scientists is that it IS possible. How can we tell? Not by examining chemical processes, because even in humans the chemical processes cannot reveal the intelligence that drives them. The only way is by testing, but first we must define what we mean by intelligence, and in doing so we should bear in mind the distinction between natural and artificial intelligence, and the fact that there are different degrees of intelligence, with human self-awareness marking the highest degree that we know of. And so by intelligence I mean the autonomous ability to absorb and process information, learn, communicate, cooperate, and take decisions based on the information absorbed, processed and learned. By my definition, slime mold and bacteria are intelligent. Perhaps we can end this discussion once and for all if you give us your own definition.

DAVID: We can end this discussion by returning to my inside/outside comment. From the outside of the organisms you listed, they act as if intelligent by your definition.

It’s a pity you are not willing to give us your own definition.

DAVID: True observation, but there remains the two possibilities. Either they are actually acting intelligently by your definition or they are acting through intelligent operative information they have been given to make their responses. It is my 100% belief they act through the latter possibility.

Yes, I know your 100% belief. It runs parallel to the belief of determinists that there is no such thing as free will. Looked at from the outside, we act as if we are intelligent, but determinists say that on the inside we act according to causes entirely beyond our own control (information we have been given to make our responses). While I admire the self-confidence of those who have 100% beliefs of any kind, I can’t help feeling they may be missing something.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 29, 2016, 19:06 (964 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Perhaps we can end this discussion once and for all if you give us your own definition.[/i]

DAVID: We can end this discussion by returning to my inside/outside comment. From the outside of the organisms you listed, they act as if intelligent by your definition.

dhw:It’s a pity you are not willing to give us your own definition.

My definition of organismal 'intelligence', in this case the slime mold, is always the same: the mold runs on intelligent information in its genome it has received. The mold is not innately intelligent just as bacteria are not independently intelligent, but run on received intelligently crafted information.


DAVID: True observation, but there remains the two possibilities. Either they are actually acting intelligently by your definition or they are acting through intelligent operative information they have been given to make their responses. It is my 100% belief they act through the latter possibility.

dhw: Yes, I know your 100% belief. It runs parallel to the belief of determinists that there is no such thing as free will. Looked at from the outside, we act as if we are intelligent, but determinists say that on the inside we act according to causes entirely beyond our own control (information we have been given to make our responses). While I admire the self-confidence of those who have 100% beliefs of any kind, I can’t help feeling they may be missing something.

Can you explain 'that something'. I like my feeling of free will which I think is a correct interpretation of the free choices I make all the time. I know the brain takes shortcuts for us all the time. So what! It is only to help us respond quickly as the article on human complexity shows. And the brain modifies itself to keep up with our intellectual habits. How clever an arrangement! I view that a gift from God.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by dhw, Friday, December 30, 2016, 13:09 (963 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Perhaps we can end this discussion once and for all if you give us your own definition.
DAVID: We can end this discussion by returning to my inside/outside comment. From the outside of the organisms you listed, they act as if intelligent by your definition.
dhw:It’s a pity you are not willing to give us your own definition.

DAVID: My definition of organismal 'intelligence', in this case the slime mold, is always the same: the mold runs on intelligent information in its genome it has received. The mold is not innately intelligent just as bacteria are not independently intelligent, but run on received intelligently crafted information.

I have attempted to define intelligence as “the autonomous ability to absorb and process information, learn, communicate, cooperate, and take decisions based on the information absorbed, processed and learned.” According to my definition, the mold and bacteria are intelligent. The statement that they are not intelligent does not constitute an alternative definition of intelligence. If you accept my definition, please explain how “intelligent” information processes information, learns, communicates and takes decisions.

DAVID: True observation, but there remains the two possibilities. Either they are actually acting intelligently by your definition or they are acting through intelligent operative information they have been given to make their responses. It is my 100% belief they act through the latter possibility.
dhw: Yes, I know your 100% belief. It runs parallel to the belief of determinists that there is no such thing as free will. Looked at from the outside, we act as if we are intelligent, but determinists say that on the inside we act according to causes entirely beyond our own control (information we have been given to make our responses). While I admire the self-confidence of those who have 100% beliefs of any kind, I can’t help feeling they may be missing something.
DAVID: Can you explain 'that something'. I like my feeling of free will which I think is a correct interpretation of the free choices I make all the time. I know the brain takes shortcuts for us all the time. So what! It is only to help us respond quickly as the article on human complexity shows. And the brain modifies itself to keep up with our intellectual habits. How clever an arrangement! I view that a gift from God.

Of course you like your own opinions. The ‘something’ you are missing with your 100% belief in the automaticity of bacteria – quite apart from the unlikelihood of your God preprogramming the first cells to pass on every solution to every possible problem for the rest of time (along with all the undabbled innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders in life’s history) – is the perfectly rational observation that intelligent behaviour might be a sign of intelligence. You even acknowledge 50/50, and yet insist on 100!

slime mold intelligence transfers

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 31, 2016, 01:13 (963 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: My definition of organismal 'intelligence', in this case the slime mold, is always the same: the mold runs on intelligent information in its genome it has received. The mold is not innately intelligent just as bacteria are not independently intelligent, but run on received intelligently crafted information.

dhw: I have attempted to define intelligence as “the autonomous ability to absorb and process information, learn, communicate, cooperate, and take decisions based on the information absorbed, processed and learned.” According to my definition, the mold and bacteria are intelligent. The statement that they are not intelligent does not constitute an alternative definition of intelligence. If you accept my definition, please explain how “intelligent” information processes information, learns, communicates and takes decisions.

I know you do not like the concept of 'information' as the basis of the genomic controls of life, but there are research scientists who study Shannon information theory and other forms of information theory as directly related to the information the genome carries. The process is entirely automatic in its use of the original information. All of the articles I present in the thread of genetic complexity shows this.


dhw: The ‘something’ you are missing with your 100% belief in the automaticity of bacteria – .... – is the perfectly rational observation that intelligent behaviour might be a sign of intelligence. You even acknowledge 50/50, and yet insist on 100!

You are perfectly correct. From the outside it is either/or, 50/50%. But that does not tell us what is truly happening on the inside. I have pointed out over and over that all that is ever found is molecular reactions when looking inside. Those reactions are guided by information in all the layers of the genome, only a portion of which are fully understood so far. My opinion of 100% is my prediction for the endpoint of full understanding of how living cells work.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by dhw, Saturday, December 31, 2016, 13:05 (962 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My definition of organismal 'intelligence', in this case the slime mold, is always the same: the mold runs on intelligent information in its genome it has received. The mold is not innately intelligent just as bacteria are not independently intelligent, but run on received intelligently crafted information.
dhw: I have attempted to define intelligence as “the autonomous ability to absorb and process information, learn, communicate, cooperate, and take decisions based on the information absorbed, processed and learned.” According to my definition, the mold and bacteria are intelligent. The statement that they are not intelligent does not constitute an alternative definition of intelligence. If you accept my definition, please explain how “intelligent” information processes information, learns, communicates and takes decisions.

DAVID: I know you do not like the concept of 'information' as the basis of the genomic controls of life, but there are research scientists who study Shannon information theory and other forms of information theory as directly related to the information the genome carries.

I have no problem with the concept of 'information', but I do not like the conflation of information with whatever it is that controls the use of the information, as epitomized by your next comment and the one that follows, concerning molecular reactions:

DAVID: The process is entirely automatic in its use of the original information. All of the articles I present in the thread of genetic complexity shows this.

Once again, you refuse to define intelligence, and simply repeat your conviction that all cellular processes are automatic (and therefore can only have originated through divine programming or intervention). Of course many of the processes are now automatic, but there are research scientists who study cellular behaviour by setting problems devised in order to test these microorganisms. Some have concluded that cells are intelligent beings according to the definition of intelligence that they and I have proposed. 50/50 is the best I can offer you.

DAVID: You are perfectly correct. From the outside it is either/or, 50/50%. But that does not tell us what is truly happening on the inside. I have pointed out over and over that all that is ever found is molecular reactions when looking inside. Those reactions are guided by information in all the layers of the genome, only a portion of which are fully understood so far. My opinion of 100% is my prediction for the endpoint of full understanding of how living cells work.

And I have pointed out over and over again that scientists can ONLY study molecular reactions, even in their attempts to understand the source of human intelligence. I don’t have a problem with your prediction that your unproven prejudices will be confirmed. Dawkins has the same approach to science. My objection is to his and your dismissal of alternative unproven explanations that do not fit in with his/your prejudices.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 31, 2016, 16:11 (962 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I have no problem with the concept of 'information', but I do not like the conflation of information with whatever it is that controls the use of the information, as epitomized by your next comment and the one that follows, concerning molecular reactions:

DAVID: The process is entirely automatic in its use of the original information. All of the articles I present in the thread of genetic complexity shows this.

dhw: Once again, you refuse to define intelligence, and simply repeat your conviction that all cellular processes are automatic (and therefore can only have originated through divine programming or intervention). Of course many of the processes are now automatic, but there are research scientists who study cellular behaviour by setting problems devised in order to test these microorganisms. Some have concluded that cells are intelligent beings according to the definition of intelligence that they and I have proposed. 50/50 is the best I can offer you.

I fully understand your definition of intelligence and it fits the function of single-celled animals. I use the same definition as you, and your acceptance of the 50/50 observation I use, in an indirect way admits that I might be right 50/50.


DAVID: You are perfectly correct. From the outside it is either/or, 50/50%. But that does not tell us what is truly happening on the inside. I have pointed out over and over that all that is ever found is molecular reactions when looking inside. Those reactions are guided by information in all the layers of the genome, only a portion of which are fully understood so far. My opinion of 100% is my prediction for the endpoint of full understanding of how living cells work.

dhw: And I have pointed out over and over again that scientists can ONLY study molecular reactions, even in their attempts to understand the source of human intelligence. I don’t have a problem with your prediction that your unproven prejudices will be confirmed. Dawkins has the same approach to science. My objection is to his and your dismissal of alternative unproven explanations that do not fit in with his/your prejudices.

'Alternative unproven explanations' are nebulous propositions. They may fit your logical review of factual material, but they do not fit my logical interpretations. We will remain apart.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by dhw, Sunday, January 01, 2017, 11:47 (961 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I fully understand your definition of intelligence and it fits the function of single-celled animals. I use the same definition as you, and your acceptance of the 50/50 observation I use, in an indirect way admits that I might be right 50/50.

No problem, so long as you acknowledge that I too might be right.

DAVID: I have pointed out over and over that all that is ever found is molecular reactions when looking inside. Those reactions are guided by information in all the layers of the genome, only a portion of which are fully understood so far. My opinion of 100% is my prediction for the endpoint of full understanding of how living cells work.

dhw: And I have pointed out over and over again that scientists can ONLY study molecular reactions, even in their attempts to understand the source of human intelligence. I don’t have a problem with your prediction that your unproven prejudices will be confirmed. Dawkins has the same approach to science. My objection is to his and your dismissal of alternative unproven explanations that do not fit in with his/your prejudices.

DAVID: 'Alternative unproven explanations' are nebulous propositions. They may fit your logical review of factual material, but they do not fit my logical interpretations. We will remain apart.

There is nothing nebulous about my hypothetical explanation (cellular intelligence), just as there is nothing nebulous about your prejudice (cells are all automatons). My objection is to the fact that you constantly state your own unproven prejudices as if they were facts, and you refuse to acknowledge that unproven alternatives are possible. However, the comments above are somewhat more moderate in tone - particularly the reference to the logic of my hypothesis. Thank you.

slime mold intelligence transfers

by David Turell @, Sunday, January 01, 2017, 21:14 (961 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I fully understand your definition of intelligence and it fits the function of single-celled animals. I use the same definition as you, and your acceptance of the 50/50 observation I use, in an indirect way admits that I might be right 50/50.

dhw: No problem, so long as you acknowledge that I too might be right.

Can't do that. I sincerely believe you are wrong.


DAVID: I have pointed out over and over that all that is ever found is molecular reactions when looking inside. Those reactions are guided by information in all the layers of the genome, only a portion of which are fully understood so far. My opinion of 100% is my prediction for the endpoint of full understanding of how living cells work.

DAVID: 'Alternative unproven explanations' are nebulous propositions. They may fit your logical review of factual material, but they do not fit my logical interpretations. We will remain apart.

dhw: There is nothing nebulous about my hypothetical explanation (cellular intelligence), just as there is nothing nebulous about your prejudice (cells are all automatons). My objection is to the fact that you constantly state your own unproven prejudices as if they were facts, and you refuse to acknowledge that unproven alternatives are possible. However, the comments above are somewhat more moderate in tone - particularly the reference to the logic of my hypothesis. Thank you.

I'm afraid I do not consider any cells capable of what you propose. I continue to present living biochemistry that is too complex for cells to develop or invent on their own. You are counting on comments by Shapiro on his research that show simple responses to stimuli or alterations of DNA by single-celled organisms to make small adjustments. This cannot translate to having cell communities design the changes in gaps of the whale series as one of the best examples of complex evolution.

slime mold decisions: following light

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 30, 2017, 15:47 (873 days ago) @ David Turell

A new study with light and darkness:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/slime-molds-see-the-light?utm_source=Today+in+Cosmos...

"Flashing light seems to sharpen the decision-making abilities of slime mold, according to new research from Australia.

"Slime molds (Physarum polycephalum) comprise a large collection of amoeba-like single-cell organisms all joined together and functioning as a self-organised colony. The colonies exhibit the ability to act in a coordinated manner towards a single end – navigating a course towards food, for instance.

"In the wild, slime molds prefer dark places, and move away from sunlight, a process that can only happen slowly. A study conducted Bernd Meyer and colleagues from Monash University in Melbourne sought to replicate real world conditions for the molds by exposing them to the sort of intermittent light bursts they would normally encounter during the day.

"Given two pathways to food sources – one dark and stable, the other intermittently illuminated – the slime molds reached their goals more efficiently when using the partially lit route.

"To Meyer, the flashing light represented ‘noise’, or disruption, to the mold’s collective operating system. The result “reveals that noise in self-organised decision making is a fundamental driver for the ability to flexibly adapt behavior in changing environments,” he says.

"In the study, published in the journal PLOS One, he notes that although more research is needed, results so far fit mathematical models designed to describe the decision-making abilities of other self-organised systems, such as ant nests, bacterial colonies, and humans."

Comment: They are strange, but represent a path to multicellularity, which is still unexplained.

slime mold decisions:habituation

by David Turell @, Friday, July 13, 2018, 22:41 (403 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by David Turell, Friday, July 13, 2018, 22:49

Has been demonstrated in that they can learn to ignore substances they generally avoid:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/slime-molds-remember-but-do-they-learn-20180709/

" Audrey Dussutour, [is] a biologist at France’s National Center for Scientific Research in Toulouse. Her group not only taught slime molds to ignore noxious substances that they would normally avoid, but demonstrated that the organisms could remember this behavior after a year of physiologically disruptive enforced sleep. But do these results prove that slime molds — and perhaps a wide range of other organisms that lack brains — can exhibit a form of primitive cognition?

***

"slime molds can be taught new tricks; depending on the species, they may not like caffeine, salt or strong light, but they can learn that no-go areas marked with these are not as bad as they seem, a process known as habituation.

“'By classical definitions of habituation, this primitive unicellular organism is learning, just as animals with brains do,” said Chris Reid, a behavioral biologist at Macquarie University in Australia. “As slime molds don’t have any neurons, the mechanisms of the learning process must be completely different; however, the outcome and functional significance are the same.”

***

"research by Dussutour and others suggests that slime molds can transfer their acquired memories from cell to cell, said František Baluška, a plant cell biologist at the University of Bonn. “This is extremely exciting for our understanding of much larger organisms such as animals, humans and plants.”

**

"To reach the oatmeal, the slime molds had to grow across gelatin bridges laced with either caffeine or quinine, harmless but bitter chemicals that the organisms are known to avoid.
“In the first experiment, the slime molds took 10 hours to cross the bridge and they really tried not to touch it,” Dussutour said. After two days, the slime molds began to ignore the bitter substance, and after six days each group stopped responding to the deterrent.

"The habituation that the slime molds had learned was specific to the substance: Slime molds that had habituated to caffeine were still reluctant to cross a bridge containing quinine, and vice versa. This showed that the organisms had learned to recognize a particular stimulus and to adjust their response to it, and not to push across bridges indiscriminately.

***

"But Dussutour wanted to push further and see whether that habituating memory could be recalled in the long term. So she and her team put the blobs to sleep for a year by drying them up in a controlled manner. In March, they woke up the blobs — which found themselves surrounded by salt. The non-habituated slime molds died, perhaps from osmotic shock because they could not cope with how rapidly moisture leaked out of their cells. “We lost a lot of slime molds like that,” Dussutour said. “But habituated ones survived.” They also quickly started extending out across their salty surroundings to hunt for food.

"What that means, according to Dussutour, who described this unpublished work at a scientific meeting in April at the University of Bremen in Germany, is that a slime mold can learn — and it can keep that knowledge during dormancy,

***

"More fundamentally, she said, this result also means that there is such a thing as “primitive cognition,” a form of cognition that is not restricted to organisms with a brain.

"Scientists have no idea what mechanism underpins this kind of cognition. Baluška thinks that a number of processes and molecules might be involved, and that they may vary among simple organisms. In the case of slime molds, their cytoskeleton may form smart, complex networks able to process sensory information. “They feed this information up to the nuclei,” he said.

***

“'Most neuroscientists I have talked to about slime mold intelligence are quite happy to accept that the experiments are valid and show similar functional outcomes to the same experiments performed on animals with brains,” Reid said. What they seem to take issue with is the use of terms traditionally reserved for psychology and neuroscience and almost universally associated with brains, such as learning, memory and intelligence. “Slime mold researchers insist that functionally equivalent behavior observed in the slime mold should use the same descriptive terms as for brained animals, while classical neuroscientists insist that the very definition of learning and intelligence requires a neuron-based architecture,” he said."

Comment: It is obvious primitive life can habituate. How the process works is unknown, but not neural in any sense. It is evidence for some form of panosychism which dhw will appreciate.

slime mold decisions:habituation

by dhw, Saturday, July 14, 2018, 12:12 (402 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: It is obvious primitive life can habituate. How the process works is unknown, but not neural in any sense. It is evidence for some form of panpsychism which dhw will appreciate.

Yes, it is evidence that brainless organisms have their own form of intelligence. Thank you.

slime mold decisions:habituation

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 14, 2018, 19:09 (402 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: It is obvious primitive life can habituate. How the process works is unknown, but not neural in any sense. It is evidence for some form of panpsychism which dhw will appreciate.

dhw: Yes, it is evidence that brainless organisms have their own form of intelligence. Thank you.

Not on your side, but will always cover all the bases.

slime mold decisions: planning for stress

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 04, 2018, 22:22 (381 days ago) @ David Turell

Slime mold sensing stressful environmental problems pack food for later survival:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-slime-mold-near-death-packs-bacteria-feed-next-...

"In the final frenzy of reproduction and death, social amoebas secrete proteins that help preserve a starter kit of food for its offspring.

"Dictyostelium discoideum, a type of slime mold in soil, eats bacteria. Some wild forms of this species essentially farm the microbes, passing them along in spore cases that give the next generation of amoebas the beginnings of a fine local patch of prey. Tests find that the trick to keeping the parental immune system from killing this starter crop of bacteria is a surge of proteins called lectins, researchers say in the July 27 Science.

"Lectins create a different way for the amoebas to treat bacteria: as actual symbionts inside cells, instead of as prey or infections, says study coauthor Adam Kuspa, a molecular cell biologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. In a lab test of this ability, coating other bacteria with lectin derived from a plant allowed bacteria to slip inside cells from mice and survive as symbiotic residents.

"The findings mark another chapter in a story that has been upending decades of what people thought they knew about social amoebas eating bacteria. The basic, almost alien, scenario is still true: D. discoideum amoebas, nicknamed Dicty, start life as single cells. When food dwindles, cells come together into a much bigger, multicellular slug-shaped creature with eight to 10 types of cells and the power to crawl. It then develops into something more like a fungus with a stalk holding up a case of spores, which start the next generation of amoebas.

***

"Then in 2011, researchers discovered that some Dicty strains are “farmers,” routinely packing live bacteria into spore cases, and jump-starting new bacterial livestock with each generation (SN: 2/12/11, p. 11). “That was a shock,” Kuspa says.

"Researchers also discovered that the Dicty animal-like slug phase forms an immune system that kills bacteria, even as evidence grew that some bacteria had uses beyond food, such as providing defense chemistry. But how the slug avoided killing its own helpful bacteria was a mystery.

"Comparing secretions of Dicty strains carrying bacteria versus strains that don’t showed a “dead-obvious” difference, Kuspa says: more lectins called discoidin A and discoidin C in the carrier forms. A series of tests supplying and withholding the proteins showed big effects on the fates of bacteria. The researchers found that the lectins raise the chances that bacteria can slip inside an amoeba cell and live hidden from immune-system sentinels that purge free-living intruders. That gives the bacteria a chance to end up in the spore case.

"Lectins’ powers help make sense of how the startling discovery of bacterial farming fits with the revelation of social amoebas’ bacteria-killing immune systems. “Outstanding" work, says Debra Brock of Washington University in St. Louis, who studies both phenomena. “I love mechanisms.'”

Comment: We knew special groups of amoeba could make spores for survival, but supplying food is amazing. Chance or design?

Ants and use of tools

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 04, 2017, 01:18 (959 days ago) @ dhw

Ants can choose materials to use as tools:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2116641-ants-craft-tiny-sponges-to-dip-into-honey-...

István Maák at the University of Szeged in Hungary and his team offered two species of funnel ants liquids containing water and honey along with a range of tools that might help them carry this food to their nests.

"The ants experimented with the tools and chose those that were easiest to handle and could soak up plenty of liquid, such as bits of sponge or paper, despite them not being found in the insects’ natural environment..

"This suggests that ants can take into account the properties of both the tool and the liquid they are transporting. It also indicates they can learn to use new tools – even without big brains.

"'Some ant species are known to use tools, such as mud or sand grains, to collect and transport liquid to their nests. But this is the first time they are shown to select the most suitable ones, says team member Patrizia d’Ettorre from the University of Paris-North, France.

"To investigate this behaviour, the team offered Aphaenogaster subterranea and A. senilis ants various possible tools, both natural, such as twigs, pine needles and soil grains, and artificial.

"The ants experimented with the tools and eventually showed preference for certain tools – even unfamiliar ones. The ants would drop the tool into the liquid, pick it up and then carry it to the workers back in the nest to drink from.

"Subterranea workers preferred small soil grains to transfer diluted honey, and sponge for pure honey. Most of them even tore the sponge into smaller bits, presumably for better handling.

"Senilis started off using all the tools equally, but then focused on pieces of paper and sponge, which could soak up most of the diluted honey they were offered. This indicates that they can learn as they go along.

"Factors such as the weight of the tools could also have influenced the ants’ choice, but the researchers believe the tools’ absorbency and ease of handling mattered the most.

"Aphaenogaster ants possibly developed such tool use because, unlike many other ants, they can’t expand their stomach, says d’Ettorre. “They had to find a way to exploit the valuable resource of liquid food.”

"This way, when ants come across a fallen fruit or a dead insect in the wild, their fluids can be transferred to the nest for the rest of the colony.
As ants live in a highly competitive environment, natural selection may favour using such tools to help feed the colony, says Valerie S. Banschbach at Roanoke College, Virginia.

"And these ants may have been happy to try novel materials because which particular tools are available in their natural habitat varies according to the season.

“'Many other accomplishments of these small-brained creatures rival those of humans or even surpass them, such as farming fungi species or using ‘dead reckoning’, a sophisticated navigation to find their way back to the nest,” says Banschbach. “The size of brain needed for specific cognitive tasks is not clear.”

“'Tool use in insects is largely genetically controlled and evolved from selection of advantageous genetic mutations,” says Gavin R. Hunt at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. This is unlike most tool use in birds or primates, which begins as novel behaviour and can sometimes be enhanced through genetic changes, he says."

Comment: I think the last paragraph is most interesting, suggesting insect tool use instinct is genetic. But these ants do make logical choices, not genetically.

Natures wonders: ant rafts have set crews!

by David Turell @, Friday, April 22, 2016, 14:20 (1215 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: ants plant tough seeds for food

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 14, 2017, 01:04 (949 days ago) @ David Turell

Ants store big tough seeds, can't crack them open, so they are planted and the softer seedling provides food:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2117953-harvester-ants-farm-by-planting-seeds-to-e...

"They’ve cracked it. Small ants carry home large seeds to eat all the time, but no one knew exactly how they managed to break through the seeds’ tough exterior.
It turns out that Florida harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex badius, have developed a clever farming strategy to do so – they plant seeds, wait for them to germinate and then eat the soft spoils.

"Some 18 genera of ants harvest seeds, and colonies of some species can store more than 300,000 seeds in their underground granaries..

"So far, scientists thought that ants must be able to break the seeds open and just ate them as they were. “The reality is a lot more interesting,” says Walter R. Tschinkel at the Florida State University.

“'There are many studies of seed choice by forager harvester ants, but none of the authors asked the question of whether the ants can open the seeds,” says Tschinkel. “This may be in part because most of these studies were done on western harvester ants whose deep nests are in hard soil, so the seed chambers are not easily excavated.”

"With his team, Tschinkel excavated and studied approximately 200 P. badius nests and found that the ants mostly open and consume small seeds, which are easier to crack. Foragers collect seeds of all sizes, so this leads to the accumulation of larger seeds, which end up forming 70 per cent of stored seeds by weight.

"In a series of lab and field experiments Tschinkel and colleagues showed that P. badius doesn’t seem to be able to open the large seeds unless they have germinated first. Even the caste of ants with large heads and mandibles thought to be specialised for seed opening can’t crack the big seeds.

"Germination, on the other hand, splits the tough husk, making the seed contents available as food for the ants. A single large seed may have nutritional value of 15 smaller seeds, so it makes sense to collect it and wait for it to crack open. Seeds from various species germinate at different times, which may give the ants a steady supply of their “crop”.

"This is the first example of ants relying on germination to consume large seeds, although some worms seem to do it, too. The only other example of ants farming plants for food is of the Fijian ant Philidris nagasau, which grows Squamellaria plants and harvests their fruit."

Comment: I think it is very probably that the ants figured this out for themselves. I imagine they brought some big seeds home, couldn't crack them, but didn't drag them out of the nest and were pleasantly surprised when the softer seedling popped up. The simply accepted it as a useful pattern of behaviour.

Natures wonders: ants plant tough seeds for food

by David Turell @, Monday, January 23, 2017, 00:22 (940 days ago) @ David Turell

Ants can navigate home backwards:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170119125404.htm

"An international team including researchers at the university of Edinburgh and Antoine Wystrach of the Research Centre on Animal Cognition ... has shown that ants can get their bearings whatever the orientation of their body. Their brains may be smaller than the head of a pin, but ants are excellent navigators that use celestial and terrestrial cues to memorize their paths. To do so, they use several regions of the brain simultaneously, proving once again that the brain of insects is more complex than thought.

***

: the researchers studied Cataglyphis velox, an Andalusian desert ant known for its solo navigation ability. First they let the insects familiarize themselves with a route that included a 90° turn. After a day of training, ants that received a cookie crumb light enough to carry while walking forward handled the turn without the slightest difficulty. However, those given large cookie crumbs had to move backward, and unlike the others, they maintained their bearing instead of turning.

"They also exhibited unexpected behavior: After walking backward a bit, they would occasionally drop their crumb, turn around, observe the scenery while pointing their bodies in the right direction, return to the crumb, and resume towing it backward -- but this time in the correct direction. For these ants, body alignment thus seems necessary for recognition of scenery perceived by their retinas, but they are then able to memorize the new bearing and follow it backward. This behavior also shows that they can recall the existence of the dropped cookie crumb, and its location, in order to return to it after updating their bearing. These observations imply that at least 3 kinds of memory are working in unison: the visual memory of the route, the memory of the new direction to follow, and the memory of the crumb to retrieve.

"Through another experiment using a mirror to reflect the sun1, the team demonstrated that the ants used celestial cues to maintain their bearing while walking backwards. Furthermore, ants were able to move in straight paths, whether walking forward, backward, or sideways. Once a bearing is memorized, they stay on it no matter how their bodies are oriented. Together these observations suggest that ants register direction using an external -- or allocentric -- frame of reference.

"These new findings show that the ants' spatial orientation relies on multiple mental representations and memories woven together through a flow of information between several areas of their brain. This offers a whole new perspective on the world of insects, which is much more complex than previously believed."

Comment: I'm not surprised. Forager ants should be able to act this way.

Natures wonders: ants plant tough seeds for food

by dhw, Monday, January 23, 2017, 16:28 (939 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE (under “tits”): "We often assume that only animals who are closely related to us will share our cognitive abilities. The new research suggests that very different species can evolve impressive learning skills that suit their particular environmental niche. Great Tits—like honeybees, humpbacks and humans—are sophisticated foragers who learn to adapt to new environments. The young American graduate student and the young Great Tit at her door both learned to become masters of the British bottle."

David’s comment: Not so much instinct as learning what they see and passing it on. The issue is whether it gets encoded into DNA, or whether surviving adults show the youngsters the trick. Humpbacks in the middle of the century taught themselves in Alaska how to bubble feed: a circle of them blow a circle of bubbles and surface within the circle eating everything there. They have done it ever since.

QUOTE: "These new findings show that the ants' spatial orientation relies on multiple mental representations and memories woven together through a flow of information between several areas of their brain. This offers a whole new perspective on the world of insects, which is much more complex than previously believed."

David's comment: I'm not surprised. Forager ants should be able to act this way.

I’m not surprised either. Thank you for yet more examples illustrating that our fellow creatures – even those most unlike ourselves - possess levels of intelligence (plus abilities to learn and pass on their knowledge) that certain humans, for reasons best summarized by Shapiro as “large organisms chauvinism”, would prefer to think they didn’t have!

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 01:11 (770 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by David Turell, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 01:22

It is npw sdttled. research has shown that ant rafts and towers are due to automatic activities on the part of each ant:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2140354-ants-build-living-towers-that-flow-to-figh...

"The fire ants (Solenopsis invicta), which are found in wetlands, link together to build living rafts to keep the colony afloat during floods. When the water recedes, they cling to exposed plants and form a tower as a temporary shelter until they have a chance to build an underground nest.

"Craig Tovey of Georgia Tech and colleagues set up a camera to study how the ants build such a tower, and accidentally left it rolling for an hour after it was built. Since the tower appeared to be static once built, they thought the footage would be worthless.

"But when a PhD student watched it back at 10 times normal speed, he noticed that the middle of the tower was slowly sinking. “When you speed it up, the ants on the surface are a blur and underneath the blur you can see the slow sinking movement of the tower,” says Tovey.

"After further experiments, they realised that the sinking was due to ants at the bottom moving outwards under the weight of the ants on top. Meanwhile, ants on the outside were perpetually rebuilding the tower by moving towards the top. “The rest of the tower is gradually sinking, while the ants at the top keep building it higher and higher,” says Tovey. “It’s kind of hilarious.”

"The team’s previous research on ant rafts showed how, although no one is in charge and no ant can see the big picture, simple behavioural rules can lead to the creation of a resilient structure. The same rules guide the construction of the tower, with the added limitation of how much weight an ant can support." ( my bold)

Comment: that seems to settle the issue. Individual ant responses due to instinctual individual behaviour builds the structures

Further info:

https://phys.org/news/2017-07-ants-eiffel-towers.html

"But vertical is a relative term. The ants don't position themselves straight up and down like a skyscraper. Instead, the tower gets wider as it grows taller, gradually becoming the same shape as Paris' iconic landmark. The weight of the tower is supported by a wider cross-section at its base, which allows the ants to better distribute their weight.

"'We found that ants can withstand 750 times their body weight without injury, but they seem to be most comfortable supporting three ants on their backs," said Craig Tovey, a co-author of the study and professor in Georgia Tech's Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering. "Any more than three and they'll simply give up, break their holds and walk away."

"Even though the ants evenly distribute their weight as a group, the tower is in constant motion. The column sinks as the insects work, as if the bottom is being melted like butter. The ants slide down, then exit out of tunnels buried in the base. The tower's movement is similar to a slow-motion chocolate fountain in reverse.

"The sinking was confirmed by X-ray videography. The researchers fed some of the ants radioactive food, then threw the colony in an X-ray machine across campus in Professor Dan Goldman's physics lab. Cameras again recorded the critters building a tower. Using time-lapse photography, they watched the radioactive insects walk up the sides, gradually sink to the tower's depths, leave the pile, then continually repeat the process for hours."

Comment: A very solid study. The colony is not one giant brain.

Natures wonders: sea spider guts move blood

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 14:30 (769 days ago) @ David Turell

The strong peristaltic waves of its guts pushes its blood around, since its heart is weak beating:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/weak-hearted-sea-spiders-use-guts-to-pump-blood

"Most animals use the strong, steady beating of their hearts to move blood around their bodies and keep up the supplies of oxygen to the tissue that needs it. Not sea spiders: they pump their guts instead.

"While the underwater arthropods do have hearts, they beat only weakly. This discovery, made by H. Arthur Woods of the University of Montana after spending “a lot of time just watching blood and gut flows in sea spiders” while stationed at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, led Woods to realise that the heart was only circulating blood in the small inner section of the creatures’ legs.

"He had also noticed that the guts of the sea spider, which are complex and many-branched, extending down to the end of each leg, underwent frequent waves of peristaltic contraction much stronger than digestion would require.

"After conducting a series of experiments and observations in 12 sea spider species, which involved video microscopy of tracers in the animals' hemolymph and guts together with experimental manipulation of the guts' ability to contract, Woods and his colleagues were able to confirm that the guts were in fact doing the heavy lifting of moving the blood around.

"Strange as it may seem, the finding highlights how evolution often finds multiple ways to solve the same problem."

Comment: Lobsters have no heart, and muscle movement sloshes around the whitish fluid that is their substitute for blood.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, July 13, 2017, 05:56 (769 days ago) @ David Turell

..
"The sinking was confirmed by X-ray videography. The researchers fed some of the ants radioactive food, then threw the colony in an X-ray machine across campus in Professor Dan Goldman's physics lab. Cameras again recorded the critters building a tower. Using time-lapse photography, they watched the radioactive insects walk up the sides, gradually sink to the tower's depths, leave the pile, then continually repeat the process for hours."

Comment: A very solid study. The colony is not one giant brain.

Perhaps more importantly, does this mechanism allow for a sort of shift work cycle that allows ants to rest. They start at the top, taking little strain, building up to taking their share of the distributed weight of the full tower, then get a break as they exit into the tunnels, probably grab a bite to eat, and then go back for another shift.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 13, 2017, 15:22 (768 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

..
"The sinking was confirmed by X-ray videography. The researchers fed some of the ants radioactive food, then threw the colony in an X-ray machine across campus in Professor Dan Goldman's physics lab. Cameras again recorded the critters building a tower. Using time-lapse photography, they watched the radioactive insects walk up the sides, gradually sink to the tower's depths, leave the pile, then continually repeat the process for hours."

David Comment: A very solid study. The colony is not one giant brain.


Tony: Perhaps more importantly, does this mechanism allow for a sort of shift work cycle that allows ants to rest. They start at the top, taking little strain, building up to taking their share of the distributed weight of the full tower, then get a break as they exit into the tunnels, probably grab a bite to eat, and then go back for another shift.

Good point. Hadn't thought of it but it makes complete sense.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by dhw, Monday, July 17, 2017, 08:55 (765 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "The team’s previous research on ant rafts showed how, although no one is in charge and no ant can see the big picture, simple behavioural rules can lead to the creation of a resilient structure. The same rules guide the construction of the tower, with the added limitation of how much weight an ant can support." ( David’s bold)
David’s comment: that seems to settle the issue. Individual ant responses due to instinctual individual behaviour builds the structures.

QUOTE: The sinking was confirmed by X-ray videography. The researchers fed some of the ants radioactive food, then threw the colony in an X-ray machine across campus in Professor Dan Goldman's physics lab. Cameras again recorded the critters building a tower. Using time-lapse photography, they watched the radioactive insects walk up the sides, gradually sink to the tower's depths, leave the pile, then continually repeat the process for hours."
David’s comment: A very solid study. The colony is not one giant brain.

TONY: Perhaps more importantly, does this mechanism allow for a sort of shift work cycle that allows ants to rest. They start at the top, taking little strain, building up to taking their share of the distributed weight of the full tower, then get a break as they exit into the tunnels, probably grab a bite to eat, and then go back for another shift.
DAVID: Good point. Hadn't thought of it but it makes complete sense.

It does indeed make complete sense. What doesn’t make sense is the idea that these organisms don’t know what they’re doing (“instinctual behaviour”…”not one giant brain”). How did these marvellous feats of engineering originate? Do you think your God gave the first raft/tower builders personal lessons, or preprogrammed the first cells to pass on instructions to the first ants a few thousand million years later? I suggest that cooperating ants provide an analogy to cooperating cells: by pooling their intelligence they devise solutions which they would be incapable of finding on their own. The colony may not BE one giant brain, but the product of their cooperation is the same as that of a giant brain, and the brain itself is also a mass of cooperating individual units. Over and over again your natural wonders demonstrate the intelligent, inventive behaviour of the respective organisms, but you can never bring yourself to accept that this might have ORIGINATED through their own inventive (perhaps God-given) intelligence.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by David Turell @, Monday, July 17, 2017, 19:16 (764 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "The team’s previous research on ant rafts showed how, although no one is in charge and no ant can see the big picture, simple behavioural rules can lead to the creation of a resilient structure. The same rules guide the construction of the tower, with the added limitation of how much weight an ant can support." ( David’s bold)
David’s comment: that seems to settle the issue. Individual ant responses due to instinctual individual behaviour builds the structures.

QUOTE: The sinking was confirmed by X-ray videography. The researchers fed some of the ants radioactive food, then threw the colony in an X-ray machine across campus in Professor Dan Goldman's physics lab. Cameras again recorded the critters building a tower. Using time-lapse photography, they watched the radioactive insects walk up the sides, gradually sink to the tower's depths, leave the pile, then continually repeat the process for hours."
David’s comment: A very solid study. The colony is not one giant brain.

TONY: Perhaps more importantly, does this mechanism allow for a sort of shift work cycle that allows ants to rest. They start at the top, taking little strain, building up to taking their share of the distributed weight of the full tower, then get a break as they exit into the tunnels, probably grab a bite to eat, and then go back for another shift.
DAVID: Good point. Hadn't thought of it but it makes complete sense.

dhw: It does indeed make complete sense. What doesn’t make sense is the idea that these organisms don’t know what they’re doing (“instinctual behaviour”…”not one giant brain”). How did these marvellous feats of engineering originate? Do you think your God gave the first raft/tower builders personal lessons, or preprogrammed the first cells to pass on instructions to the first ants a few thousand million years later? I suggest that cooperating ants provide an analogy to cooperating cells: by pooling their intelligence they devise solutions which they would be incapable of finding on their own. The colony may not BE one giant brain, but the product of their cooperation is the same as that of a giant brain, and the brain itself is also a mass of cooperating individual units. Over and over again your natural wonders demonstrate the intelligent, inventive behaviour of the respective organisms, but you can never bring yourself to accept that this might have ORIGINATED through their own inventive (perhaps God-given) intelligence.

The study is quite clear, but not to you. The authors specifically state each ant does its own thing. It can carry just so much weight, and responds accordingly. Your analogy is the usual stretch. They build nests by instinct. the rafts and towers are not that. Individual cells are complex factories, operating automatically following intelligent instructions thy have been given.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by dhw, Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 08:43 (764 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: It does indeed make complete sense. What doesn’t make sense is the idea that these organisms don’t know what they’re doing (“instinctual behaviour”…”not one giant brain”). How did these marvellous feats of engineering originate? Do you think your God gave the first raft/tower builders personal lessons, or preprogrammed the first cells to pass on instructions to the first ants a few thousand million years later? I suggest that cooperating ants provide an analogy to cooperating cells: by pooling their intelligence they devise solutions which they would be incapable of finding on their own. The colony may not BE one giant brain, but the product of their cooperation is the same as that of a giant brain, and the brain itself is also a mass of cooperating individual units. Over and over again your natural wonders demonstrate the intelligent, inventive behaviour of the respective organisms, but you can never bring yourself to accept that this might have ORIGINATED through their own inventive (perhaps God-given) intelligence.

DAVID: The study is quite clear, but not to you. The authors specifically state each ant does its own thing. It can carry just so much weight, and responds accordingly. Your analogy is the usual stretch. They build nests by instinct. the rafts and towers are not that. Individual cells are complex factories, operating automatically following intelligent instructions thy have been given.

Individual ants are communities of cells and are also complex factories, and their astonishing architectural achievements can only be the product of intelligence. You have not responded to my question whether you think your God preprogrammed the first raft/tower-building ants or gave them lessons. I accept that in many cases cells operate automatically following instructions they have been given, but I am suggesting that those instructions come from the (possibly God-given) intelligence of the cell communities themselves - just like the instructions for raft and tower-building coming from the intelligence of the ant community - and not from a divine 3.8 billion-year-old computer programme for every natural wonder in the history of life, or from your God giving private lessons.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 01:33 (763 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: It does indeed make complete sense. What doesn’t make sense is the idea that these organisms don’t know what they’re doing (“instinctual behaviour”…”not one giant brain”). How did these marvellous feats of engineering originate? Do you think your God gave the first raft/tower builders personal lessons, or preprogrammed the first cells to pass on instructions to the first ants a few thousand million years later? I suggest that cooperating ants provide an analogy to cooperating cells: by pooling their intelligence they devise solutions which they would be incapable of finding on their own. The colony may not BE one giant brain, but the product of their cooperation is the same as that of a giant brain, and the brain itself is also a mass of cooperating individual units. Over and over again your natural wonders demonstrate the intelligent, inventive behaviour of the respective organisms, but you can never bring yourself to accept that this might have ORIGINATED through their own inventive (perhaps God-given) intelligence.

DAVID: The study is quite clear, but not to you. The authors specifically state each ant does its own thing. It can carry just so much weight, and responds accordingly. Your analogy is the usual stretch. They build nests by instinct. the rafts and towers are not that. Individual cells are complex factories, operating automatically following intelligent instructions thy have been given.

dhw Individual ants are communities of cells and are also complex factories, and their astonishing architectural achievements can only be the product of intelligence. You have not responded to my question whether you think your God preprogrammed the first raft/tower-building ants or gave them lessons.

Re-read the article. Each ant does what it can do under the circumstances automatically.

dhw: I accept that in many cases cells operate automatically following instructions they have been given, but I am suggesting that those instructions come from the (possibly God-given) intelligence of the cell communities themselves - just like the instructions for raft and tower-building coming from the intelligence of the ant community - and not from a divine 3.8 billion-year-old computer programme for every natural wonder in the history of life, or from your God giving private lessons.

You have again repeated what the study does not say about towers and rafts. Which is why I noted that their nests are instinctual (in contrast) and you note possibly God instructed.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by dhw, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 08:38 (763 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw Individual ants are communities of cells and are also complex factories, and their astonishing architectural achievements can only be the product of intelligence. You have not responded to my question whether you think your God preprogrammed the first raft/tower-building ants or gave them lessons.

DAVID: Re-read the article. Each ant does what it can do under the circumstances automatically.

That is what I am (partly) disputing! The question is how such astonishing architectural feats originated, and I suggest that the source was the intelligence of ant communities and not a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme or God giving ants private lessons. Once the pattern has been established, it may well be that there is a degree of automaticity in the work, although their collective intelligence will still need to make decisions according to the circumstances of the moment. Factory workers (before automation) would have done the same, but would have had to use their intelligence if things went wrong.

dhw: I accept that in many cases cells operate automatically following instructions they have been given, but I am suggesting that those instructions come from the (possibly God-given) intelligence of the cell communities themselves - just like the instructions for raft and tower-building coming from the intelligence of the ant community - and not from a divine 3.8 billion-year-old computer programme for every natural wonder in the history of life, or from your God giving private lessons.

DAVID: You have again repeated what the study does not say about towers and rafts. Which is why I noted that their nests are instinctual (in contrast) and you note possibly God instructed.

I am (partly) disagreeing with the authors’ interpretation, and I didn’t/don’t know why you mentioned nests. Ants’ nests can be astonishingly complex, and once again I see them as manifestations of ant intelligence, not as part of your God’s great plan to produce human beings by preprogramming or dabbling ants’ nests.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 16:37 (762 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Re-read the article. Each ant does what it can do under the circumstances automatically.

dhw: That is what I am (partly) disputing! The question is how such astonishing architectural feats originated, and I suggest that the source was the intelligence of ant communities and not a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme or God giving ants private lessons. Once the pattern has been established, it may well be that there is a degree of automaticity in the work, although their collective intelligence will still need to make decisions according to the circumstances of the moment. Factory workers (before automation) would have done the same, but would have had to use their intelligence if things went wrong.

dhw: I accept that in many cases cells operate automatically following instructions they have been given, but I am suggesting that those instructions come from the (possibly God-given) intelligence of the cell communities themselves - just like the instructions for raft and tower-building coming from the intelligence of the ant community - and not from a divine 3.8 billion-year-old computer programme for every natural wonder in the history of life, or from your God giving private lessons.

DAVID: You have again repeated what the study does not say about towers and rafts. Which is why I noted that their nests are instinctual (in contrast) and you note possibly God instructed.

dhw: I am (partly) disagreeing with the authors’ interpretation, and I didn’t/don’t know why you mentioned nests. Ants’ nests can be astonishingly complex, and once again I see them as manifestations of ant intelligence, not as part of your God’s great plan to produce human beings by preprogramming or dabbling ants’ nests.

Ah, now you do what I do, re-interpret the results of studies. But I do it when the conclusions of the authors taken from the data appear to differ from what the data might mean. The authors here presented very specific observations of ant participation in the construction of the structures. You are presenting an unproven back story in which God did not have to give any instructions according to the authors. Don't you see your overreach?

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by dhw, Thursday, July 20, 2017, 11:27 (761 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I am (partly) disagreeing with the authors’ interpretation, and I didn’t/don’t know why you mentioned nests. Ants’ nests can be astonishingly complex, and once again I see them as manifestations of ant intelligence, not as part of your God’s great plan to produce human beings by preprogramming or dabbling ants’ nests.

DAVID: Ah, now you do what I do, re-interpret the results of studies. But I do it when the conclusions of the authors taken from the data appear to differ from what the data might mean. The authors here presented very specific observations of ant participation in the construction of the structures. You are presenting an unproven back story in which God did not have to give any instructions according to the authors. Don't you see your overreach?

I see ants building structures (rafts, towers, nests) which seem to me to require intelligence. I propose that individual ants cooperated intelligently as a community to design these structures. The authors propose that they build them “automatically”. You presumably propose that God gave them instructions. All of us extrapolate our conclusions from “what the data might mean”. None of us can prove our proposals.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 20, 2017, 16:53 (761 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I am (partly) disagreeing with the authors’ interpretation, and I didn’t/don’t know why you mentioned nests. Ants’ nests can be astonishingly complex, and once again I see them as manifestations of ant intelligence, not as part of your God’s great plan to produce human beings by preprogramming or dabbling ants’ nests.

DAVID: Ah, now you do what I do, re-interpret the results of studies. But I do it when the conclusions of the authors taken from the data appear to differ from what the data might mean. The authors here presented very specific observations of ant participation in the construction of the structures. You are presenting an unproven back story in which God did not have to give any instructions according to the authors. Don't you see your overreach?

dhw: I see ants building structures (rafts, towers, nests) which seem to me to require intelligence. I propose that individual ants cooperated intelligently as a community to design these structures. The authors propose that they build them “automatically”. You presumably propose that God gave them instructions. All of us extrapolate our conclusions from “what the data might mean”. None of us can prove our proposals.

I did not presume God gave them instructions for rafts or towers. Again, your overreach.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by dhw, Friday, July 21, 2017, 11:26 (760 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I see ants building structures (rafts, towers, nests) which seem to me to require intelligence. I propose that individual ants cooperated intelligently as a community to design these structures. The authors propose that they build them “automatically”. You presumably propose that God gave them instructions. All of us extrapolate our conclusions from “what the data might mean”. None of us can prove our proposals.

DAVID: I did not presume God gave them instructions for rafts or towers. Again, your overreach.

Apologies for the misunderstanding, but in that case I can only assume you agree with me that the ORIGINAL rafts and towers were the product of ant intelligence, so what are we disagreeing about?

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by David Turell @, Friday, July 21, 2017, 16:13 (760 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I see ants building structures (rafts, towers, nests) which seem to me to require intelligence. I propose that individual ants cooperated intelligently as a community to design these structures. The authors propose that they build them “automatically”. You presumably propose that God gave them instructions. All of us extrapolate our conclusions from “what the data might mean”. None of us can prove our proposals.

DAVID: I did not presume God gave them instructions for rafts or towers. Again, your overreach.

dhw: Apologies for the misunderstanding, but in that case I can only assume you agree with me that the ORIGINAL rafts and towers were the product of ant intelligence, so what are we disagreeing about?

My objection originally was to your interpretation denying the author's results that individual ants acted automatically. I still agree with their interpretation, God not needed.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by dhw, Saturday, July 22, 2017, 10:05 (760 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I see ants building structures (rafts, towers, nests) which seem to me to require intelligence. I propose that individual ants cooperated intelligently as a community to design these structures. The authors propose that they build them “automatically”. You presumably propose that God gave them instructions. All of us extrapolate our conclusions from “what the data might mean”. None of us can prove our proposals.

DAVID: I did not presume God gave them instructions for rafts or towers. Again, your overreach.

dhw: Apologies for the misunderstanding, but in that case I can only assume you agree with me that the ORIGINAL rafts and towers were the product of ant intelligence, so what are we disagreeing about?

DAVID: My objection originally was to your interpretation denying the author's results that individual ants acted automatically. I still agree with their interpretation, God not needed.

I am, of course, delighted that you do not think your God was needed to design these extraordinary feats of engineering, but bearing in mind that there must have been a first raft and a first tower, I don’t understand what you or the authors mean by “automatically”. Do you really think those first raft and tower builders didn’t know what they were doing?

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 22, 2017, 15:01 (759 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: My objection originally was to your interpretation denying the author's results that individual ants acted automatically. I still agree with their interpretation, God not needed.

dhw: I am, of course, delighted that you do not think your God was needed to design these extraordinary feats of engineering, but bearing in mind that there must have been a first raft and a first tower, I don’t understand what you or the authors mean by “automatically”. Do you really think those first raft and tower builders didn’t know what they were doing?

Each individual ant knew what he was naturally doing, the point of the article, resulting in the group acting together.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by dhw, Sunday, July 23, 2017, 09:23 (759 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My objection originally was to your interpretation denying the author's results that individual ants acted automatically. I still agree with their interpretation, God not needed.

dhw: I am, of course, delighted that you do not think your God was needed to design these extraordinary feats of engineering, but bearing in mind that there must have been a first raft and a first tower, I don’t understand what you or the authors mean by “automatically”. Do you really think those first raft and tower builders didn’t know what they were doing?

DAVID: Each individual ant knew what he was naturally doing, the point of the article, resulting in the group acting together.

One would not expect any organisms (other than humans!) to act unnaturally, and one would expect social organisms to act together. I don’t see that as meaning that the ants act “automatically” as opposed to intelligently. You constantly point to complexity as evidence of intelligent design. Ant rafts and towers are complex feats of engineering, and so if your God was not needed, they are clear evidence of ant intelligence.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, July 23, 2017, 19:29 (758 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: My objection originally was to your interpretation denying the author's results that individual ants acted automatically. I still agree with their interpretation, God not needed.

dhw: I am, of course, delighted that you do not think your God was needed to design these extraordinary feats of engineering, but bearing in mind that there must have been a first raft and a first tower, I don’t understand what you or the authors mean by “automatically”. Do you really think those first raft and tower builders didn’t know what they were doing?

DAVID: Each individual ant knew what he was naturally doing, the point of the article, resulting in the group acting together.

dhw: One would not expect any organisms (other than humans!) to act unnaturally, and one would expect social organisms to act together. I don’t see that as meaning that the ants act “automatically” as opposed to intelligently. You constantly point to complexity as evidence of intelligent design. Ant rafts and towers are complex feats of engineering, and so if your God was not needed, they are clear evidence of ant intelligence.

Intelligent design of intelligent creatures of with varying degrees of intelligence. I do not see these as mutually exclusive. Though, they all kind of blow random chance right out of the water. However, with all the intelligence DHW continually talks about, where are the more complex signs of intelligence. I don't mean climbing up your buddies back not to drown, or floating while linked up(which is what sea survival training teaches you to do). Where are the signs of higher intelligence? If cells are intelligent, and that intelligence grows when in a community (multicellular life) why are humans they only creatures that exhibit our degree of intelligence? Surely brain mass alone can not account for it, and neither can size, as ants lack both and perform some impressive feats. Where is expression that we should be seeing in larger life forms if DHW's theory of cellular intelligence is correct?

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by dhw, Monday, July 24, 2017, 13:14 (757 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: Intelligent design of intelligent creatures of with varying degrees of intelligence. I do not see these as mutually exclusive.

Nor do I. I keep repeating that we do not know the source of (hypothetical) cellular intelligence, but your God is one possibility.

TONY: Though, they all kind of blow random chance right out of the water.

They blow chance out of the window as the driving force behind evolution, but the problem is the original source of the intelligence. Other possible sources I have mentioned are indeed random chance and some form of panpsychism (see “Understanding the ribosome”). I find all three hypotheses equally difficult to believe in.

TONY: However, with all the intelligence DHW continually talks about, where are the more complex signs of intelligence. I don't mean climbing up your buddies back not to drown, or floating while linked up(which is what sea survival training teaches you to do). Where are the signs of higher intelligence? If cells are intelligent, and that intelligence grows when in a community (multicellular life) why are humans they only creatures that exhibit our degree of intelligence? Surely brain mass alone can not account for it, and neither can size, as ants lack both and perform some impressive feats. Where is expression that we should be seeing in larger life forms if DHW's theory of cellular intelligence is correct?

I don’t understand your final question, unless you are asking why all life forms haven’t evolved into highly intelligent humans, to which the answer is below. Your comment on brain mass and size ties in with our discussion on dualism versus materialism. If materialism is wrong, then organisms must have some kind of “soul” that is in charge, and you then need a material mechanism to enable the soul to direct the physical being - a brain (or in single cells the equivalent of a brain). Materialism argues that the brain or the brain equivalent generates the intelligence. Why different degrees? Why so many different species? Why do some cope with environmental change while others become extinct? Why didn’t all cell communities become humans? The pattern seems to be that cell communities (organisms) work out their own paths to survival and/or improvement. If the path is successful, the organism or improvement survives. New conditions then provide a new threat or a new opportunity for improvement, and so the cycle goes on. Highly intelligent humans are one product of this long history of survival/improvement, as are dogs with their heightened sense of smell, fish with their ability to live in water, birds with their ability to fly, ants with their ability to build rafts, towers and cities. According to my hypothesis, they are all the result of different cell communities working out their own paths, through different degrees and also different forms of intelligence. An ant thinks like an ant and not like an eagle or a human, though all are composed of cell communities that have taken on different forms. This idea does not in any way exclude the existence of your God as the source of cellular intelligence, just as Darwin’s theory allows for the existence of God as the inventor of the whole process of evolution.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 06:54 (757 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: Intelligent design of intelligent creatures of with varying degrees of intelligence. I do not see these as mutually exclusive.

Nor do I. I keep repeating that we do not know the source of (hypothetical) cellular intelligence, but your God is one possibility.

TONY: Though, they all kind of blow random chance right out of the water.

They blow chance out of the window as the driving force behind evolution, but the problem is the original source of the intelligence. Other possible sources I have mentioned are indeed random chance and some form of panpsychism (see “Understanding the ribosome”). I find all three hypotheses equally difficult to believe in.

TONY: However, with all the intelligence DHW continually talks about, where are the more complex signs of intelligence. I don't mean climbing up your buddies back not to drown, or floating while linked up(which is what sea survival training teaches you to do). Where are the signs of higher intelligence? If cells are intelligent, and that intelligence grows when in a community (multicellular life) why are humans they only creatures that exhibit our degree of intelligence? Surely brain mass alone can not account for it, and neither can size, as ants lack both and perform some impressive feats. Where is expression that we should be seeing in larger life forms if DHW's theory of cellular intelligence is correct?

DHW: I don’t understand your final question, unless you are asking why all life forms haven’t evolved into highly intelligent humans, to which the answer is below. Your comment on brain mass and size ties in with our discussion on dualism versus materialism. If materialism is wrong, then organisms must have some kind of “soul” that is in charge, and you then need a material mechanism to enable the soul to direct the physical being - a brain (or in single cells the equivalent of a brain).

And of course, this is 'unscientific' for now, at least, because it is an unprovable claim with modern technology.

DHW: Materialism argues that the brain or the brain equivalent generates the intelligence. Why different degrees? Why so many different species? Why do some cope with environmental change while others become extinct? Why didn’t all cell communities become humans? The pattern seems to be that cell communities (organisms) work out their own paths to survival and/or improvement. If the path is successful, the organism or improvement survives. New conditions then provide a new threat or a new opportunity for improvement, and so the cycle goes on. Highly intelligent humans are one product of this long history of survival/improvement, as are dogs with their heightened sense of smell, fish with their ability to live in water, birds with their ability to fly, ants with their ability to build rafts, towers and cities. According to my hypothesis, they are all the result of different cell communities working out their own paths, through different degrees and also different forms of intelligence. An ant thinks like an ant and not like an eagle or a human, though all are composed of cell communities that have taken on different forms. This idea does not in any way exclude the existence of your God as the source of cellular intelligence, just as Darwin’s theory allows for the existence of God as the inventor of the whole process of evolution.

This, of course, is also unprovable. Where are the failed experiments? Where are the failed attempts at increased complexity that should be in the record? And, for the record, I am referring to non-anatomical complexity. Crude attempts at art? A slow but steady progression from simpler tools to more complex? A slow progression of hunting techniques for apex predators that show their intelligence has 'evolved' over time. This is just Darwinism repackaged and sold as a psychological argument.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by dhw, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 13:43 (756 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

dhw: According to my hypothesis, they [humans, dogs, fish, birds, ants] are all the result of different cell communities working out their own paths, through different degrees and also different forms of intelligence. An ant thinks like an ant and not like an eagle or a human, though all are composed of cell communities that have taken on different forms. This idea does not in any way exclude the existence of your God as the source of cellular intelligence, just as Darwin’s theory allows for the existence of God as the inventor of the whole process of evolution.

TONY: This, of course, is also unprovable. Where are the failed experiments? Where are the failed attempts at increased complexity that should be in the record? And, for the record, I am referring to non-anatomical complexity. Crude attempts at art? A slow but steady progression from simpler tools to more complex? A slow progression of hunting techniques for apex predators that show their intelligence has 'evolved' over time. This is just Darwinism repackaged and sold as a psychological argument.

Yes, all hypotheses concerning origins are unprovable, but increased complexity is very much on the record, unless you think that bacteria, trilobites and humans came into existence at the same time. Crude attempts at art and progression from simpler tools to more complex are also on the record (though “slow but steady” is a bit misleading: one would not expect to find half a non-painting or half a non-functioning spear). Hunting techniques have clearly progressed from spears to bows and arrows to rifles. Or are you asking why our fellow animals did not come up with these ideas? I can only repeat that there are different forms and different degrees of intelligence, but many predators have been around far longer than we have, and their hunting techniques have worked perfectly well. No need for improvement, and in any case they don’t have the intelligence to imagine weaponry beyond the most rudimentary of tools. I accept that humans, with their enhanced intelligence, are vastly different from all other organisms, but I’m struggling to understand what point you are trying to make here. I know you don’t believe in evolution, though many theists do, but I don’t understand how it’s disproved by the argument that we have not found evidence of failed non-anatomical experiments. I believe in Darwin’s theory of common descent, but not in his random mutations or gradualism, which is why I offer cellular intelligence as the driving force behind life’s great variety. Again I’m struggling to understand what you mean by this being “a psychological argument” (and why that matters). I’m sure we both agree that the complexities of living forms seem to provide evidence of intelligent design, so why is the intelligence of cells more “psychological” than the intelligence of your God (who may have designed the intelligence of cells)? My apologies if I’m missing something obvious, but I’m sure you will explain what that is.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 19:43 (756 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I believe in Darwin’s theory of common descent, but not in his random mutations or gradualism, which is why I offer cellular intelligence as the driving force behind life’s great variety. Again I’m struggling to understand what you mean by this being “a psychological argument” (and why that matters). I’m sure we both agree that the complexities of living forms seem to provide evidence of intelligent design, so why is the intelligence of cells more “psychological” than the intelligence of your God (who may have designed the intelligence of cells)? My apologies if I’m missing something obvious, but I’m sure you will explain what that is.

I think Tony's point is God did not give cells supreme design intelligence ability to jump the fossil gaps in design of new animal forms. That is a form of God-lite which doesn't compute. I've commented in the past that your thinking seems to still be very influenced by your original readings of Origins, so some of your very stretched theories smell like Darwin-lite, rather than understanding current biological complexity such as research is showing us. That is where Tony's 'psychological argument' comes from. Perhaps Tony will confirm. The complexity is a very compelling argument for God.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by dhw, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 10:03 (756 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I think Tony's point is God did not give cells supreme design intelligence ability to jump the fossil gaps in design of new animal forms. That is a form of God-lite which doesn't compute. I've commented in the past that your thinking seems to still be very influenced by your original readings of Origins, so some of your very stretched theories smell like Darwin-lite, rather than understanding current biological complexity such as research is showing us. That is where Tony's 'psychological argument' comes from. Perhaps Tony will confirm. The complexity is a very compelling argument for God.

I am indeed influenced by Darwin’s theory of common descent but I reject his random mutations and gradualism, and my hypothesis (theistic version) is that your God may have given cells the intelligence to produce saltatory innovations, which I regard as being a less stretched theory than your God preprogramming or dabbling every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder for the sake of producing humans. I am fully aware of biological complexity (please believe me, I am not THAT stupid or ignorant) and I keep repeating that this complexity is a major reason why I cannot embrace atheism. There are very different reasons why I cannot embrace theism either. But I’ll look forward to Tony’s clarification of the point he is trying to make.

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 17:09 (755 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I think Tony's point is God did not give cells supreme design intelligence ability to jump the fossil gaps in design of new animal forms. That is a form of God-lite which doesn't compute. I've commented in the past that your thinking seems to still be very influenced by your original readings of Origins, so some of your very stretched theories smell like Darwin-lite, rather than understanding current biological complexity such as research is showing us. That is where Tony's 'psychological argument' comes from. Perhaps Tony will confirm. The complexity is a very compelling argument for God.

dhw: I am indeed influenced by Darwin’s theory of common descent but I reject his random mutations and gradualism, and my hypothesis (theistic version) is that your God may have given cells the intelligence to produce saltatory innovations, which I regard as being a less stretched theory than your God preprogramming or dabbling every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder for the sake of producing humans. I am fully aware of biological complexity (please believe me, I am not THAT stupid or ignorant) and I keep repeating that this complexity is a major reason why I cannot embrace atheism. There are very different reasons why I cannot embrace theism either. But I’ll look forward to Tony’s clarification of the point he is trying to make.

Life's complexity demands a planning mind as the source. I also wait for Tony's response.

Natures wonders: ant colony work arrangements

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 09, 2017, 01:21 (711 days ago) @ David Turell

The colonies have inactive ants who act as replacement for lost workers:

https://phys.org/news/2017-09-lazy-ants-unexpected-ways.html

"If the first thing that comes to mind when you think about ants is "industrious," you might be in for a surprise. In 2015, biologists at the University of Arizona reported that a sizable chunk of the "workers" that make up an ant colony spent the vast majority of their day engaging in one task: doing absolutely nothing.

"'They really just sit there," says Daniel Charbonneau, who dedicated his Ph.D. thesis to studying the behavior (or lack thereof) of these lazy ants. "And whenever they're doing anything other than doing nothing, they do chores around the nest, like a bit of brood care here or grooming another worker there."

"In a new paper, published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, authors Charbonneau, Takao Sasaki of the University of Oxford and Dornhaus show for the first time that inactive ants can act as a reserve labor force. When they removed the top 20 percent of most active workers, they found that within a week, they were replaced mostly by individuals belonging to the "lazy" demographic, which stepped up and increased their activity levels to match those of the lost workers.

"'This suggests that the colony responds to the loss of highly active workers by replacing them with inactive ones," Charbonneau says.

***

"Analyzing the video recordings revealed that a colony breaks down into four main demographics, according to Charbonneau: inactive, lazy ants; so-called walkers that spend most of their time just wandering around the nest; foragers that take care of outside tasks such as foraging and building protective walls from tiny rocks; and nurses in charge of rearing the brood.

"Charbonneau observed that the lazy ants tend to have more distended abdomens, hinting at the possibility that they could serve as "living pantries." Published in another recent paper, this observation awaits further testing to determine whether their larger circumference is a cause or a consequence of the lazier workers' lifestyle.

"To see what would happen if the colony lost sizable amounts of inactive members, Charbonneau and Dornhaus did a separate experiment in which they removed the least active 20 percent. They found that those ants, unlike their top-performing peers, were not replaced.

"'This suggests that workers are not switching from other task groups to replace the removed 'inactive' workers," the authors conclude, noting that the problem of adjusting supply to demand is not unique to social insects.

***

"'My speculation is this: Since young workers start out as the most vulnerable members of the colony, it makes sense for them to lay low and be inactive," Charbonneau says. "And because their ovaries are the most active, they produce eggs, and while they're doing that, they might as well store food. When the colony loses workers, it makes sense to replace them with those ants that are not already busy pursuing other tasks.'"

Comment: Makes good organizational sense. Certainly doing it by instinct at this point. Originally guided by God?

Natures wonders: ant colony work arrangements

by dhw, Saturday, September 09, 2017, 10:44 (710 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "'My speculation is this: Since young workers start out as the most vulnerable members of the colony, it makes sense for them to lay low and be inactive," Charbonneau says. "And because their ovaries are the most active, they produce eggs, and while they're doing that, they might as well store food. When the colony loses workers, it makes sense to replace them with those ants that are not already busy pursuing other tasks.'"

DAVID’S comment: Makes good organizational sense. Certainly doing it by instinct at this point. Originally guided by God?

Wonderful article! Thank you. I think ants probably hold the key to many aspects of evolution. Originally guided by God? My speculation would be originally guided by their own intelligence. God may come into it when we ask where their intelligence came from.

Natures wonders: ant colony work arrangements

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 09, 2017, 14:48 (710 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "'My speculation is this: Since young workers start out as the most vulnerable members of the colony, it makes sense for them to lay low and be inactive," Charbonneau says. "And because their ovaries are the most active, they produce eggs, and while they're doing that, they might as well store food. When the colony loses workers, it makes sense to replace them with those ants that are not already busy pursuing other tasks.'"

DAVID’S comment: Makes good organizational sense. Certainly doing it by instinct at this point. Originally guided by God?

dhw: Wonderful article! Thank you. I think ants probably hold the key to many aspects of evolution. Originally guided by God? My speculation would be originally guided by their own intelligence. God may come into it when we ask where their intelligence came from.

The other issue is the origin of the different classes of ants to set up their societal arrangement. God again?

Natures wonders: ant colony work arrangements

by dhw, Sunday, September 10, 2017, 14:04 (709 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’S comment: Makes good organizational sense. Certainly doing it by instinct at this point. Originally guided by God?

dhw: Wonderful article! Thank you. I think ants probably hold the key to many aspects of evolution. Originally guided by God? My speculation would be originally guided by their own intelligence. God may come into it when we ask where their intelligence came from.

DAVID: The other issue is the origin of the different classes of ants to set up their societal arrangement. God again?

Amazing how your God creates all these variations when his prime purpose is to produce the brain of homo sapiens. I would suggest ant intelligence again. Different species and different classes of species work out their own social arrangements – a talent inherited by us humans.

Natures wonders: ant colony work arrangements

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 10, 2017, 15:31 (709 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’S comment: Makes good organizational sense. Certainly doing it by instinct at this point. Originally guided by God?

dhw: Wonderful article! Thank you. I think ants probably hold the key to many aspects of evolution. Originally guided by God? My speculation would be originally guided by their own intelligence. God may come into it when we ask where their intelligence came from.

DAVID: The other issue is the origin of the different classes of ants to set up their societal arrangement. God again?

dhw: Amazing how your God creates all these variations when his prime purpose is to produce the brain of homo sapiens. I would suggest ant intelligence again. Different species and different classes of species work out their own social arrangements – a talent inherited by us humans.

Did the ants invent their own classes of societal level?

Natures wonders: ant rafts and towers

by David Turell @, Sunday, July 23, 2017, 22:40 (758 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: One would not expect any organisms (other than humans!) to act unnaturally, and one would expect social organisms to act together. I don’t see that as meaning that the ants act “automatically” as opposed to intelligently. You constantly point to complexity as evidence of intelligent design. Ant rafts and towers are complex feats of engineering, and so if your God was not needed, they are clear evidence of ant intelligence.

Let's drop it. I agree with the authors interpretation and you don't.

Natures wonders: Clever corvids

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 02:13 (2003 days ago) @ David Turell

007, a clever corvid. How much of this is prior traning and how much is thinking:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2556662/Bird-brained-This-crows-genius-A...

Natures wonders: More about Clever corvids

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 02:53 (1849 days ago) @ David Turell

They understand water volumes and dropping stones a la' Aesop's fable:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723180824.htm

Seven year old children get this but younger ones do not.

Natures wonders: Fine Tuned Clocks

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, December 15, 2013, 06:40 (2075 days ago) @ David Turell

Fine Tuned Clocks in Plants

The researchers found that both population mortality rates and population birth rates of all plant species scale as the ...1/4 power of plant mass. In other words, the smaller a plant, the higher its mortality and birth rates, meaning the shorter its lifespan. Hence, plant lifespan scales as almost exactly the 1/4 power of plant mass.


Evidence of pre-planning and design is everywhere. :)

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Into the Deep

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, December 15, 2013, 07:14 (2075 days ago) @ David Turell

Into the Deep

Extremophiles turn geophysics on its head.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Tick mouth

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 04, 2014, 02:19 (2055 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Salmon Migration

by David Turell @, Friday, February 07, 2014, 01:18 (2021 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Crazy ants

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 13, 2014, 19:47 (2014 days ago) @ David Turell

Defeat fire ant venom:

http://www.livescience.com/43366-crazy-ants-taking-over-south-secret-weapon.html

"All over the southern United States, miniature foes are engaging in fierce battle. Invasive "crazy ants" have been displacing fire ants, and a curious defensive strategy may be behind the crazy ants' bold takeover.

"Fire ants pack potent venom that kills most ants that come into contact with it. But when crazy ants get stung, they secrete a substance and rub it all over themselves to neutralize the venom, new research finds.

"This detoxifying behavior — the first example of an insect capable of detoxifying another's venom — may be the reason crazy ants have been able to compete with the venomous fire ants, according to the study detailed online today (Feb. 13) in the journal Science. [See Photos of Crazy Ants & Video of Crazy Ants Neutralizing Venom]"

Natures wonders: Owl wings

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 20, 2014, 01:16 (2008 days ago) @ David Turell

Are being studied to improve wind turbines and airplane wings. Owls hunt silently on large wings, eagles and hawks rely on speed:

http://www4.lehigh.edu/news/newsarticle.aspx?Channel=/Channels/News+2013&WorkflowIt...

Natures wonders: Blocking antibiotics

by David Turell @, Friday, February 21, 2014, 22:22 (2006 days ago) @ David Turell

Bacteria produce antibiotics to fight enemies, but block the effect on themselves:
http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/39237/title/How-a-Microbe-Resist...

Natures wonders: Bird Migration

by David Turell @, Friday, March 07, 2014, 15:21 (1992 days ago) @ David Turell

European robins do it by quantum mechanics to follow the magnetic fields to the south in winter:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jepgOQEvWT0

Natures wonders:Sea turtle migration

by David Turell @, Monday, March 10, 2014, 20:05 (1989 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Camouflage

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 00:39 (1989 days ago) @ David Turell

How do imitators mutate to a perfect copy?:


http://phys.org/news/2014-03-impersonating-poisonous-prey.html

Somehow they do.

Natures wonders: Ants as bodyguards

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 15:12 (1987 days ago) @ David Turell

Jumping spiders utilize ants as protectors, even if the ants are enemies:


"The spitting spider can immobilize its prey by spitting on it from a distance. In the Philippines, it lives on the same large waxy leaves as the jumping spider. It normally spins its web right over the nest of the jumping spider, to make hunting just a little bit easier. However, the researchers found that a spitting spider does not come near a jumping spider when the latter positions its own nest near that of weaver ants. This is because the spitting spider is repelled by the specific airborne olfactory compounds that these ants release.

"The researchers found that jumping spiders choose nesting sites based on whether they can see active living ants, if they detect ant odor or can see mounts made from dead weaver ants. However, it's not yet plain sailing for the jumping spider, as it is also a favorite snack of its savior, the weaver ant. Therefore jumping spiders build dense ant-proof nests of an unusually tough and dense weave that are difficult for the insects to tear open. The nest's hinged flaps of silk at each end function as swinging doors. The spider quickly raises these when it enters or leaves the nest, before any ants can follow, too."


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140311100612.htm

Natures wonders: Plant defence

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 20, 2014, 16:49 (1979 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: How sea snakes drink

by David Turell @, Friday, March 28, 2014, 19:14 (1971 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Biomimetics

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 03, 2014, 15:16 (1965 days ago) @ David Turell

Using nature's designs to aid in human inventions. we constantly copy natural designs, Velcro anyone?:

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/04/engineers_flatt_1083801.html

Natures wonders: Nematode detox

by David Turell @, Friday, April 04, 2014, 16:28 (1964 days ago) @ David Turell

"Plants defend themselves against infectious bacteria and fungi by releasing a storm of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which kill the invaders. But for the sugarbeet nematode (Heterodera schachtii), this defensive attack is actually the key to its success.

"Shahid Siddique and Christiane Matera from the University of Bonn in Germany have found that the nematode switches on plant genes that produce ROS. Without these molecules, the parasite cannot properly grow within its host. Their results are published today (April 3) in Science Signaling."


http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/39628/title/Worm-Subverts-Plant-...

Natures wonders: Making plants zombies

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 09, 2014, 01:56 (1960 days ago) @ David Turell

It is quite a trick:

"The beauty of the paper is that the bacteria control both plant and insect at the same time with the same protein," said Hughes. "That's stunning."


http://www.nature.com/news/bacterial-tricks-for-turning-plants-into-zombies-1.15011

Natures wonders: photosynthesis

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 15:14 (1953 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: carnivorous sponges

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 19, 2014, 15:20 (1949 days ago) @ David Turell

Evolution ever very inventive. Meat eating sponges. 120 species around the world:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/science/spongebob-the-carnivore.html?_r=0

Natures wonders: fungal antibiotics

by David Turell @, Monday, April 21, 2014, 19:07 (1947 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: carnivorous plant trick

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 24, 2014, 14:41 (1944 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: bioluminescent squid

by David Turell @, Monday, May 19, 2014, 14:55 (1919 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Ant baby sits butterfly larva

by David Turell @, Monday, May 19, 2014, 22:51 (1919 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Brainy animals

by David Turell @, Monday, May 19, 2014, 22:56 (1919 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: The Eyes have it

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 15:42 (1917 days ago) @ David Turell

Larva with 12 eyes and 28 retinas, some with bifocal lenses:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25601-zoologger-larval-hunter-uses-bifocals-to-ca...

The ultimate in convergence.

Natures wonders: Ant colony food finding

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 14:33 (1911 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Ant colony food finding

by dhw, Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 17:11 (1910 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Somewhat chaotic but it works:

http://phys.org/news/2014-05-chaos-ants-optimize-food.html

Thank you for this. As you know, I am a great ant fan. There's nothing new about this discovery, but a couple of comments seem to me yet again to highlight the parallels between these extraordinary creatures and the phenomenon of "emergence" in relation to our own cell communities in particular, and cell communities generally.

QUOTE: "Importantly, the researchers found that the experience of individual ants contributes to their foraging success ... something also neglected in previous research. Older ants have a better knowledge of the nests surroundings. The foraging of younger ants is a learning process rather than an effective contribution to scout food, according to the study."

The process of adaptation and innovation through cooperation between cells and cell communities has to entail a pooling of knowledge through communication. Maybe the ants' foraging can be seen as parallel to experimentation by cell communities (just as the cells of our individual organs must work out how best to deal with whatever changes our bodies are subjected to).

QUOTE: "A highly efficient complex network"
"While the single ant is certainly not smart, the collective acts in a way that I'm tempted to call intelligent," says co-author Jürgen Kurths who leads PIK's research domain Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods."

And while the individual brain cell may not be "smart", put it together with a few billion others and between them they can produce a Shakespeare, a Beethoven, an Einstein. Of course, each brain is different, and some are "smarter" than others. Ditto ants, and ditto the cell communities that innovate.

Natures wonders: Ant colony food finding

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 17:46 (1910 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: The process of adaptation and innovation through cooperation between cells and cell communities has to entail a pooling of knowledge through communication. Maybe the ants' foraging can be seen as parallel to experimentation by cell communities (just as the cells of our individual organs must work out how best to deal with whatever changes our bodies are subjected to).

Again to the kidney. Those cells evolved to do complex work, but their sudden appearance in the Cambrian denies your cooperation theory. They suddenly worked together. Where was the time for negotiation and testing cooperation?


dhw: And while the individual brain cell may not be "smart", put it together with a few billion others and between them they can produce a Shakespeare, a Beethoven, an Einstein. Of course, each brain is different, and some are "smarter" than others. Ditto ants, and ditto the cell communities that innovate.

First part of your comment is right on. Brain cells are so pliable they can produce. Cell commmunities, no. They are automatically in tight control of their productive capacities. They are production-line factories.

Natures wonders: Ant colony food finding

by dhw, Thursday, May 29, 2014, 17:11 (1909 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The process of adaptation and innovation through cooperation between cells and cell communities has to entail a pooling of knowledge through communication. Maybe the ants' foraging can be seen as parallel to experimentation by cell communities (just as the cells of our individual organs must work out how best to deal with whatever changes our bodies are subjected to).

DAVID: Again to the kidney. Those cells evolved to do complex work, but their sudden appearance in the Cambrian denies your cooperation theory. They suddenly worked together. Where was the time for negotiation and testing cooperation?

If innovations don't work, they won't survive. "Punctuated equilibrium" suggests sudden bursts of activity, and clearly the Cambrian Explosion was one ... but "sudden" is a relative term. The period lasted for about 50 million years, which allows for quite a few generations! Either the cell communities cooperated to invent these new organs within the given time frame, or you are going to have reject evolution and revert to special creation, or to your God pre-programming every single innovation in the first few forms of life, to be passed down through billions of generations of billions of species.

dhw: And while the individual brain cell may not be "smart", put it together with a few billion others and between them they can produce a Shakespeare, a Beethoven, an Einstein. Of course, each brain is different, and some are "smarter" than others. Ditto ants, and ditto the cell communities that innovate.

DAVID: First part of your comment is right on. Brain cells are so pliable they can produce. Cell commmunities, no. They are automatically in tight control of their productive capacities. They are production-line factories.

Once the organ has been invented, the cells will certainly follow the established patterns, just as ants do, but I have specified the cell communities that innovate. This takes us back to my comment above. Are you arguing for special creation, or for the very first forms of life being preprogrammed with billions of innovations to be passed down etc.?

Natures wonders: Ant colony food finding

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 29, 2014, 19:01 (1909 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: If innovations don't work, they won't survive. "Punctuated equilibrium" suggests sudden bursts of activity, and clearly the Cambrian Explosion was one ... but "sudden" is a relative term. The period lasted for about 50 million years, which allows for quite a few generations!

But you are ignoring the abrupt appearance of whole animals with whole previously absent organ systems. Yes these appearances covered 50 million years, but with no anticedents for any of them!


dhw: Once the organ has been invented, the cells will certainly follow the established patterns, just as ants do, but I have specified the cell communities that innovate. This takes us back to my comment above. Are you arguing for special creation, or for the very first forms of life being preprogrammed with billions of innovations to be passed down etc.?

Your specification is not God's. I have no idea how God did it. I just know the simple fact that evolution produced us with no obvious natural reason for that invention..

Natures wonders: Ant colony food finding

by GateKeeper @, Friday, May 30, 2014, 12:36 (1908 days ago) @ David Turell

Did you ever wonder what a "brain" would do without a body? Ants!

Why are human so "stupid" when born? The size of the opening in the pelvis.

The "non-believer" has to explain to me were a bird learned to be a bird. I am having great trouble answering this without the notion the information was there (or at least very possible) before the bird.

Ignore what "god" they told you had to be. Listen first to the "information" that speaks between your thoughts. Then ask a friend what they think of it. And after you curse them ask them "what you say again?"

Natures wonders: Ant colony food finding

by David Turell @, Friday, May 30, 2014, 15:38 (1908 days ago) @ GateKeeper

GK:The "non-believer" has to explain to me were a bird learned to be a bird. I am having great trouble answering this without the notion the information was there (or at least very possible) before the bird.

Ignore what "god" they told you had to be. Listen first to the "information" that speaks between your thoughts.

Everything is based on information that we discover. the information is not a human invention. It was there first. This is a major key issue to consider, as you do. Information does not arise by chance.

Natures wonders: Ant colony food finding

by GateKeeper @, Friday, May 30, 2014, 17:51 (1908 days ago) @ David Turell

yep,

Why couldn't "god" has started by "chance"? I mean "it" is with us now, that's clear enough. And maybe we weren't "by chance"?. But first the universe/god then humans seems ok to me.

I love ants. A brain running about with no "body". Can you imagine when we don't need hadrons and a lepton? how cool.

Natures wonders: Ant colony food finding

by David Turell @, Friday, May 30, 2014, 18:02 (1908 days ago) @ GateKeeper

GK:yep,

Why couldn't "god" has started by "chance"? I mean "it" is with us now, that's clear enough. And maybe we weren't "by chance"?. But first the universe/god then humans seems ok to me.

The cannot be something from an absolute true 'nothing' total void. thre has always been something

Natures wonders: Ant colony food finding

by GateKeeper @, Friday, May 30, 2014, 20:39 (1908 days ago) @ David Turell

that may very well be true. In fact, I am a "something" before this universe guy too. But those things are not test table yet. What we do have is "now" and what we know now. "probability" works. we don't know why. we don't know about before. We don't know a lot. But we see that probability seems to work for us.

So why couldn't the "god" you believe in right now, with us now, not have been created from "what was before "it"? "born", Like everything else we see around us? Exactly like DNA is "you before now", but you are "now" and DNA will be "after you". DNA is everything.

Did I say I love ants?
One ant asked another "whats your proof the colony has a purpose".
A third ant said "stfu and get that queen her food, then carry that egg down stairs!!!"

Natures wonders: smart slime

by David Turell @, Monday, June 02, 2014, 14:57 (1905 days ago) @ GateKeeper

Food sensors lead the way to smart solutions of a maze:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/944790.stm

Natures wonders: smart viruses

by David Turell @, Monday, June 02, 2014, 15:34 (1905 days ago) @ David Turell

Plaant viruses can disable plant anti-viral antibodies:

http://phys.org/news/2014-06-virus-rounds-enzymes.html

Natures wonders: smart slime

by dhw, Wednesday, June 04, 2014, 11:34 (1903 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Food sensors lead the way to smart solutions of a maze:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/944790.stm

As always, thank you for this constant stream of highly educational articles. I found this one particularly interesting because of the following:

QUOTE: "This remarkable process of cellular computation implies that cellular materials can show a primitive intelligence," the team writes in Nature.

Their discovery clearly reinforces the concept of the "intelligent cell", which we have discussed at length as being the basis of evolutionary change ... as opposed to Darwin's random mutations and gradualism.

Natures wonders: more biomimetics

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 05, 2014, 21:33 (1902 days ago) @ dhw

Natures wonders: using pH

by David Turell @, Monday, June 09, 2014, 16:29 (1898 days ago) @ David Turell

Cat fish fish by following a more acid pH to get the worm:

"they found that the fish respond most strongly to slight variations in the acidity of seawater. This is measured on the pH scale: 0 is completely acidic, 7 is neutral and 14 is completely alkaline. Seawater normally varies between 8.1 and 8.2, but Caprio found that a drop of just 0.1 ... a slight increase in acidity ... was enough to get the fish hunting.

"It's quite dramatic," says Caprio. "The fish is like a swimming pH meter."

"Like all animals, the worms breathe out carbon dioxide, and this reacts with water to form carbonic acid, slightly acidifying it. Caprio found this was enough to temporarily acidify the water at the mouth of a worm's tunnel, reducing pH by around 0.1. He covered the tunnel exits with netting to stop the worms being sucked out, and found the catfish repeatedly targeted the occupied tunnels and mostly ignored empty ones."

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25679-zoologger-acid-for-breath-helps-catfish-fin...

Natures wonders: male spider sex trick

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 16:02 (1896 days ago) @ David Turell

Using a plug as birth control to block other spiders from impregnating their lady.:

http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/40185/title/Spiders-Try-to-Ensur...

Natures wonders: Plants abilities

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 14, 2014, 14:52 (1893 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: more biomimetics

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 19, 2014, 15:46 (1888 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: cyanide protection

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 00:12 (1884 days ago) @ David Turell

Some plants release cyanide when bitten. Great self-protection. The article actually discusses evolutionary constraints.:

http://phys.org/news/2014-06-evolutionary-history.html

Natures wonders: bacterial antibiotic tolerance

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 29, 2014, 16:16 (1878 days ago) @ David Turell

This new study shows how bacteria do this. What the article does not mention is that antibiotic resistance is natural in nature and the original antibiotics came from soil molds:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/40348/title/Evolving-Antibiotic-T...

All nature is at war.

Natures wonders: amazing shrimp eyes

by David Turell @, Monday, July 07, 2014, 21:04 (1870 days ago) @ David Turell

Most of the vision wirk is done in the eyes, while in humans, our eyes are simpler and the work is done in the brain.

http://www.livescience.com/46675-sunscreen-gives-mantis-shrimp-uv-vision.html?cmpid=557891

Natures wonders: ant corpses

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 09, 2014, 02:02 (1869 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: electron-eating bacteria

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 19, 2014, 00:49 (1859 days ago) @ David Turell

Living only on energy:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25894-meet-the-electric-life-forms-that-live-on-p...

"Over at the University of Minnesota in St Paul, Daniel Bond and his colleagues have published experiments showing that they could grow a type of bacteria that harvested electrons from an iron electrode (mBio, doi.org/tqg). That research, says Jangir's supervisor Moh El-Naggar, may be the most convincing example we have so far of electricity eaters grown on a supply of electrons with no added food.

"But Nealson says there is much more to come. His PhD student Annette Rowe has identified up to eight different kinds of bacteria that consume electricity. Those results are being submitted for publication.

"Nealson is particularly excited that Rowe has found so many types of electric bacteria, all very different to one another, and none of them anything like Shewanella or Geobacter. "This is huge. What it means is that there's a whole part of the microbial world that we don't know about."

"Discovering this hidden biosphere is precisely why Jangir and El-Naggar want to cultivate electric bacteria. "We're using electrodes to mimic their interactions," says El-Naggar. "Culturing the 'unculturables', if you will." The researchers plan to install a battery inside a gold mine in South Dakota to see what they can find living down there."

Natures wonders: cold-blooded corrections

by David Turell @, Monday, July 21, 2014, 14:30 (1856 days ago) @ David Turell

Fruit flies, when cold, alter protein production as an adaptation:

http://phys.org/news/2014-07-temperatures-cold-newly-discovered-fruit-flies.html

Natures wonders: orchid pheromones

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 15:17 (1847 days ago) @ David Turell

Fooling a wasp into fertilizing an orchid. How in the world did the plant learn to do that?

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/40612/title/Image-of-the-Day--Flo...

Natures wonders: more biomimetics

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 16, 2014, 19:42 (1769 days ago) @ David Turell

Slick surface coating from pitcher plaats stops blood clotting on tubes. Even stops a gecko from climbing:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/carnivorous-plant-inspires-anticlotti...

Natures wonders: more biomimetics

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 15:40 (1735 days ago) @ David Turell

Climbing a vertical wall like a gecko:

"To climb, a person reaches up, places a pad against the wall (causing the step on that side to rise an equal distance) places a foot on the step and pushes themselves higher using leg force. The process is repeated alternating between the left and right hands/feet as the person climbs higher.

"Currently, the pads only work on clean smooth surfaces, but the team hopes to improve on that by making self cleaning pads, similar to the approach used by geckos. Applications range from window washing to satellite retrieval systems.


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-11-gecko-pads-climb-glass-wall.html#jCp

Natures wonders: more biomimetics

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 23:46 (1714 days ago) @ David Turell

Spiders leg slit sensors for vibrations now made into an electronic sensor:

http://www.livescience.com/49083-spider-inspired-vibration-sensor.html?cmpid=558757

"Spiders have an organ called the "slit sensilla" near their leg joints that detects tiny vibrations in their environment. By mimicking the design of this organ, researchers produced a sensor that is extremely sensitive and flexible, and could be used in wearable electronics.

"The slit sensilla in spiders consists of parallel slits of different lengths embedded in their exoskeleton, resembling the strings of a harp, which senses movement by opening and closing in response to forces exerted on it. The slits are connected to nerves that relay information about the vibrations to the spiders' brains."

Natures wonders: more biomimetics

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 18, 2014, 15:11 (1706 days ago) @ David Turell

Using spider venom as pesticide. Great progress in this field. Products are coming to market:

http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/41498/title/Along-Came-a-Spider/

"As expected, the toxin effectively killed pests: ingestion of either the purified peptide or the leaves of the Hvt-transgenic plants had fatal effects on the African cotton leafworm (Spodoptera littoralis) and the tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens). More importantly, the purified toxin peptide did not harm any of four beneficial nontarget species: the common green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea), the aphid parasitoid (Aphidius colemani), the seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)—three aphid predators used for biological control—or the western honey bee (Apis mellifera) (J Appl Entomol, doi:10.1111/jen.12156, 2014). “We tested the nontarget [insects] with the same concentration [of toxin peptide that killed the pests], and it did not affect them in any way,” Ullah says.

"The results confirm research published this June in Proceedings of the Royal Society B (281:20140619, 2014), in which a group of UK researchers demonstrated that Hvt, linked to a carrier molecule called GNA from the common snowdrop plant (Galanthus nivalis), did not reduce honey bee survival or rates of learning and memory. “They did a whole range of studies that show that it has absolutely no effect at all,” says King. “All of the data is looking very, very strong.”"

Natures wonders: more biomimetics; snake skin

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 01, 2015, 00:30 (1512 days ago) @ David Turell

Snake skin is slick, 40% reduction in friction:

http://phys.org/news/2015-06-snake-skin-surfaces-percent-friction.html

"Snake skin inspired surfaces smash records, providing an astonishing 40% friction reduction in tests of high performance materials.

"These new surfaces could improve the reliability of mechanical components in machines such as high performance cars and add grist to the mill of engineers designing a new generation of space exploration robots.

"The skin of many snakes and lizards has been studied by biologists and has long been known to provide friction reduction to the animal as it moves. It is also resistant to wear, particularly in environments that are dry and dusty or sandy.

"Dr Greiner and his team used a laser to etch the surface of a steel pin so that it closely resembled the texture of snake skin. They then tested the friction created when the pin moved against another surface.

"In dry conditions, i.e. with no oil or other lubricant, the scale-like surface created far less friction—40% less—than its smooth counterpart."

Natures wonders: biomimetics; Mussel glue

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 19:44 (1491 days ago) @ David Turell

A glue that holds and heals without scarring. A great surgical advance:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150721111211.htm

"Inspired by nature's wonders, Korean scientists have developed new mussel-protein based adhesive hydrogel that is activated via a photochemical reaction when applied blue visible light. The innovative surgical protein glue, called LAMBA, not only closes an open wound on a wet bleeding site within less than 60 seconds but also effectively facilitates the healing process without inflammation or a scar. LAMBA's outstanding qualities such as compatibility with the human body, strong adhesiveness in wet conditions, and convenient handling point to the possibility of myriad medical applications including sutureless wound closures of delicate organs or tissues beyond surgeons' reach.

"The new product LAMBA, a focus of their recent publication in Biomaterials, is an upgrade version of previously known mussel-inspired adhesives that copy mussels' ability to fix their body under water. Instead of producing recombinant mussel adhesive proteins (MAPs) by modifying DOPA, a key element for the adhesive property, E.Y. Jeon et al., have created the new tissue adhesive via a photochemical reaction using blue visible light.

"E.Y. Jeon et al gained the idea for this more economic, facile, and reliable strategy from dityrosine crosslinks that are often found in dragonfly wings and insect cuticles. When visible light triggers a photo-oxidation reaction in MAPs plentiful of tyrosine, neighboring tyrosine residues are instantly coupled into dityrosine crosslinks, which in turn enhance structural stability and adhesive properties of the new MAPs in the form of hydrogel."

Natures wonders: biomimetics; a review

by David Turell @, Monday, August 03, 2015, 14:13 (1478 days ago) @ David Turell

This article describes several different advances:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/43625/title/Inspired-by-Nature/

"The jellyfish is far from the only intriguing organism to have served as a blueprint for scientists in the field of bioinspired medicine. Researchers have taken cues from the adhesive chemistry perfected by mussels and marine worms to create tissue glues that stick in wet and turbulent conditions; from red blood cell membranes to help drug-carrying nanoparticles avoid immune attack; and from the slippery slides that help carnivorous pitcher plants catch prey to produce novel antibacterial surfaces. (See “Bioinspired Antibacterial Surfaces.”) Nature, it seems, provides a compendium of biomedical solutions.

“'Nature has used the power of evolution by natural selection to develop the most efficient ways to solve all kinds of problems,” says Donald Ingber, founding director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in Boston. “We've uncovered so much about how nature works, builds, controls, and manufactures from the nanoscale up. Now we're starting to leverage those biological principles.'”

Natures wonders: biomimetics; medical uses

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 27, 2015, 13:40 (1454 days ago) @ David Turell

Another review article covering many of the new approaches in medical research. Not just glues to repair cuts, mechanical trapping of travelling cancer cells for tumor identification, smart delivery systems which fool the immune system to let materials pass by, etc:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/43625/title/Inspired-by-Nature/

Natures wonders: biomimetics; swan neck cameras

by David Turell @, Monday, August 31, 2015, 14:40 (1450 days ago) @ David Turell

Studying how swans and geese keep their heads steady while twisting and turning in the air has led to ways of keeping drone cameras steady:

http://phys.org/news/2015-08-secret-steady-drone-cameras-swan.html

"Swans and geese are the envy of aeronautical engineers. Even plump geese can perform remarkable aerial acrobatics - twisting their body and flapping their powerful wings while keeping their head completely still.

"They found that the neck functions much like how a car's suspension system provides a smooth ride over a bumpy road. The neck vertebrae and muscles respond with just the right stiffness and flexibility to passively keep the head steady during flapping flight, and even in mild gusts.

"'This simple mechanism is a remarkable finding considering the daunting complexity of avian neck morphology with about 20 vertebrae and more than 200 muscles on each side," said Lentink, the senior author on the study."

Natures wonders: biomimetics; avoiding interference

by David Turell @, Monday, December 21, 2015, 21:39 (1338 days ago) @ David Turell

A fish uses electrolocation to spot prey, and has a mechanisms to damp down interference.

http://phys.org/news/2015-12-fish-key-efficient-wireless-networks.html


An unlikely source—a small South American fish known as Eigenmannia that depends on electrolocation for survival—presents a potential solution, according to researchers in the University of Georgia College of Engineering.

"Eigenmannia (virescens) is a species of glass knifefish, and they locate objects by generating an electric field and detecting distortions in the field," assistant professor Mable Fok said. "They have a neural circuit that can effectively sense the frequency emitted by other fish, and they use this sense to regulate their own emitting frequency so they don't interfere with the others."

In other words, the fish have developed a natural system that prevents them from jamming each other's signals.

***

"'If we can borrow the JAR circuit from the Eigenmannia and replicate it in our communications frequency bands, then we can create a communications system that allows automated interference mitigation," Fok said.

"To simulate the theory, Fok and Toole designed an artificial neural model using photonics technology that mimics the way the JAR circuit behaves in the fish.

"Photonics is the science of generating, controlling and detecting photons, which are particles of light. Photonic technology is found in a wide range of applications, from consumer electronics—barcode scanners, DVD players and remote TV controls—to defense and security—infrared cameras and remote sensing equipment. The technology allows systems to complete complex, real-time categorization and decision-making tasks.

"In the researchers' computer simulation, photonic interconnections mimic the neural function in the fish's nervous system. The ultimate idea is to design a photonic nervous system that allows wireless devices to automatically seek an unused frequency when they detect interference from other devices.


Comment: It is amazing how much nature has invented that we can copy.

Natures wonders: biomimetics; bat wing design

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 18, 2016, 15:17 (1279 days ago) @ David Turell

For very small aircraft, a batwing design:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160218062248.htm

"Researchers from the University of Southampton have designed innovative membrane wings inspired by bats, paving the way for a new breed of unmanned Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) that have improved aerodynamic properties, can fly over long distances and are more economical to run.


"The wings work like artificial muscles, changing shape in response to the forces they experience and have no mechanical parts, making MAVs incorporating them easier to maintain.

"The unique design of the wings incorporates electro-active polymers that makes the wings stiffen and relax in response to an applied voltage and further enhances their performance.

By changing the voltage input, the shape of the electroactive membrane and therefore aerodynamic characteristics can be altered during flight. The proof of concept wing will eventually enable flight over much longer distances than currently possible.

***

"Sometimes as small as 15cm across, MAVs are increasingly used in a wide variety of civil and military applications, such as surveying remote and dangerous areas. One emerging trend among MAV developers is to draw inspiration from the natural world to design vehicles that can achieve better flight performance and that offer similar levels of controllability to small drones but use the efficiency provided by wings to fly much further.

"The Southampton-Imperial team have focused on mimicking the physiology of bats -- the only type of mammal naturally capable of genuine flight. To inform and speed up the design process, the Imperial team built innovative computational models and used them to aid the construction of a test MAV incorporating the pioneering 'bat wings'.

***

"Professor Bharath Ganapathisubramani of Southampton's Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Group, who has led the overall project, says: "We've successfully demonstrated the fundamental feasibility of MAVs incorporating wings that respond to their environment, just like those of the bats that have fuelled our thinking. We've also shown in laboratory trials that active wings can dramatically alter the performance. The combined computational and experimental approach that characterised the project is unique in the field of bio-inspired MAV design.'"

Comment: Nature knows best. All by chance?

Natures wonders: biomimetics;octopus suction cup mat

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 06, 2016, 23:49 (1140 days ago) @ David Turell

Coping the octopus suction cup has helped cerate a suction cup map using heat:

http://phys.org/news/2016-07-suction-cup-mat-based-octopus.html

"Building flexible sensors, the researchers note, is difficult and cumbersome—it requires moving nano- and/or microribbons of inorganic semiconductor materials onto rubber sheets. Making the process easier, the researchers thought, could be done by building a simple suction device that could hold onto the material and then let go without grabbing it. To build such a device, they turned to the octopus—it gets around, they noted by moving its tentacles to a new location and then holding on using suction cups. The suction cups work due to muscles around their edges that can be made thinner or thicker on demand, increasing or decreasing air pressure inside the cup, allowing for sucking and releasing as desired.

"To mimic the octopus suction cups, the researchers created a small rubber mat made out of polydimethylsiloxane (a type of silicon that has a rubbery texture) with small pits on one side. At room temperature, the walls of each pit sit in an 'open' state, but when the mat is heated to approximately 32°C, the walls contract, creating suction, allowing the entire mate to adhere to a material. To use the mat as a device to move materials, all the team needed to do was heat it, apply to the material, move to the new location, then allow the mat to cool, whereupon the material would be dropped into place.

"The team reports that the mat worked as envisioned—they made some indium gallium arsenide transistors that sat on a flexible substrate and also used it to move some nanomaterials to a different type of flexible material. They believe there might be a wide variety of applications that could benefit from such mats, such as Band-Aids or sensors that stick to the skin at normal body temperatures but fall off when rinsed under cold water."

Comment: Mother Nature is the best inventor, but who is the real inventor? If we have chance or design, who is the designer? If not God, who?

Natures wonders: Water fleas grow armor

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 07, 2016, 00:00 (1140 days ago) @ David Turell

Water fleas grow exoskeletons shaped to repel specific predators depending on which are present:

http://www.livescience.com/55297-how-water-fleas-grow-body-armor.html?utm_source=listra...

"Water fleas prepare for battle by growing armor that's customized to specific enemies, new research finds.

"Tiny Daphnia species develop impressive protective structures as they mature, including pointy tail spines and tough helmets. Now, researcher Linda Weiss of Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany and her colleagues have found the neurotransmitters that help water fleas customize their bodies in response to the chemical cues in their watery environments.

"'Dopamine, in particular, appears to code neuronal signals into endocrine [hormone] signals," Weiss said in a statement.

***

"When juvenile Daphnia molt and develop a mature exoskeleton, they mold their bodies based on the chemicals they encounter in the water. The water fleas use appendages called antennules to detect scents and chemicals left by predators (fish, for example, or the upside-down swimming insects called backswimmers). They then develop armor defenses in response to the threats they expect to face.

"'These defenses are speculated to act like an anti-lock key system, which means that they somehow interfere with the predator's feeding apparatus," Weiss said. "Many freshwater fish can only eat small prey. So, for example, Daphnia lumholtzi grows head and tail spines to make eating them more difficult."

***

"Weiss and her colleagues have found the intermediary steps that make this transformation occur. The antennules create brain signals when they detect chemical cues, which in turn cause the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine, in turn, cues the release of juvenile hormones that promote growth in particular body regions.

"The same juvenile hormones promote growth in many other arthropods, Weiss said, which suggests that this developmental pathway is a widely shared way for crustaceans and insects to respond to environmental conditions."

Comment: A complex mechanism involving nerve impulses and the release of dopamine. Saltation?

Natures wonders: biomimetics;low reflection screens

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 19:55 (755 days ago) @ David Turell

Moth eyes show us how. At night the moonlight does not reflect from their eyes, perhaps as a developed protection from being spotted by predators:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/learning-from-nature-moth-eyes-inspire-nonre...

"It is a summer night, and the moths are all aflutter. Despite being drenched in moonlight, their eyes do not reflect it—and soon the same principle could help you see your cell-phone screen in bright sunlight.

***

"When light moves from one medium to another, it bends and changes speed as the result of differences in a material property called refractive index. If the difference is sharp—as when light moving through air suddenly hits a pane of glass—much of the light is reflected. But a moth’s eye is coated with tiny, uniform bumps that gradually bend (or refract) incoming light. The light waves interfere with one another and cancel one another out, rendering the eyes dark.


"Wu and his colleagues at National Taiwan University created a silicon dioxide mold that resembles a moth’s eye surface and used it to produce a hard, dimpled coating on a flexible sheet. Although these dimples are concave rather than convex such as those on the moth’s eye, they prevent glare in the same way. In tests, the material resulted in less than 1 percent reflectance."

Comment: Nature is always smarter than we are. And these inventions all occurred by chance through evolution! No way!

Natures wonders: biomimetics; beetle bites resemble them

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 18:22 (539 days ago) @ David Turell

A very brief excerpt with a picture of the way the beetles look like the leaf injury from their bites:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2162276-beetles-hide-by-looking-like-the-bite-mark...

"Beetle or bite mark? Leaf beetles are disguising themselves as the holes and scrapes they make on leaves while eating. Although many insects trick predators by mimicking objects like twigs and leaves, this is the first instance of feeding damage being used as a decoy.
Fredric Vencl from Stony Brook University in New York and his colleagues had trouble picking out skeletonising leaf beetles on heavily-chewed leaves, and decided to investigate. They analysed photographs of 119 species alongside the size, shape and colour of their bite patterns. Most species resembled their own bite …" (paywall)

Comment: I'm too cheap to buy the article, but look at the picture to make the point. How does an evolutionary process do this? Not by chance.

Natures wonders: when photosynthesis started

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 15:04 (735 days ago) @ David Turell

Estimated at 2.1 billion years ago:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/study-dates-origin-of-photosynthesis-to-2-1-billion-...

Peer into a plant cell and you’ll find the engine at its heart is a stowaway. In size, shape, and the genes it carries it resembles a bacterium: a cyanobacterium, to be precise.

It’s a very valuable stowaway. Known as a chloroplast, this cyanobacteria-like interloper carries the machinery for photosynthesis, the process by which plants use sunlight to power the synthesis of sugar. As a side effect, photosynthesis also produces the oxygen that we breathe and require for cellular respiration.

The evolution of this stowaway is believed to have occurred by a process called endosymbiosis, whereby a cyanobacterium was engulfed by a larger single-celled eukaryote – a more complex kind of cell that contains discrete organelles surrounded by membranes. Eventually a symbiotic relationship formed between the two which led to the development of photosynthetic plant cells.

***

The study revealed that the chloroplast diverged from its closest relative, the cyanobacterium Gloeomargarita, around 2.1 billion years ago. It also showed that the divergence occurred in a freshwater environment, rather than in a marine environment as previously thought, and that it took another 200 million years for the first photosynthetic eukaryote to evolve.

Dr Geoff McFadden, a researcher at the University of Melbourne who was not involved in the study, says it’s a significant step forward in our understanding.

“This study has a lot of credence due the number of genetic sequences used,”says McFadden. “It has provided a lot of evidence for a time point which was not previously known.”

McFadden did question the large gap in time between the endosymbiosis event and the evolution of the photosynthetic eukaryotes, suggesting that it is an area that should be further explored.

Comment: the same theory applies to the mitochondria as being engulfed energy-active bacteria. Without photosynthesis we would not have 21% oxygen in our atmosphere.

Natures wonders: One sperm fertilizes an egg

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 17, 2014, 23:36 (1951 days ago) @ David Turell

How it is done biochemically. Too many sperm would spoil a zygote:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2014/04/16/how-do-sperm-recognize-eggs-mechan...

Natures wonders: Plant vibration response

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 03, 2014, 15:07 (1874 days ago) @ David Turell

If eating a plant leaf produces vibration, the plant produces mustard oil to drive the muncher away:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701183820.htm

For dhw: the plant is not thinking, just automatically reacting.

Natures wonders: majic fern

by David Turell @, Monday, July 14, 2014, 23:17 (1863 days ago) @ David Turell

Living in symbiosis with cyanobacteria, this fern sequesters CO2 like crazy and is anarctic fresh watger plant:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-scientists-uncovered-arctic-clues-to-a-pa...

Natures wonders: Bird Migration

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 31, 2014, 22:11 (1846 days ago) @ David Turell

Natures wonders: Bird Migration

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 16:44 (1161 days ago) @ David Turell

The connection with the magnetic field may be in the retina, not in the iron fund in some spots on the birds:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/06/09/why-dont-birds-ge...

"We think they are using quantum mechanics to navigate," said Daniel Kattnig, a researcher in the chemistry department at Oxford University. Kattnig works in a lab that studies radical pairs — a phenomenon in which atoms acquire extra electrons that are "entangled" with one another, each affecting the other's motion even though they're separated by space. It's a field of science that's difficult to understand under the best of circumstances; imagine trying to figure out it out with a bird brain.

"But according to an increasingly popular theory, birds and other animals use a radical pair-based compass to "see" the Earth's magnetic field, allowing them to undertake great migrations and daring rescues without getting lost. It's still unproven, but Kattnig and his colleagues just verified a key component: In a study in the New Journal of Physics on Thursday, they report that the timing of these subatomic interactions makes them a good candidate to explain avian navigation.

***

"Those results sent scientists on a frenzied search for animals' magneto-receptors. They discovered iron particles in the beaks of pigeons and hens, magnetite in the noses of trout, and other magnetic molecules in the ear hairs of birds.

"Subsequent research found that some of those iron molecules were in immune cells rather than sensory ones, shaking up the migration-by-magnetic-molecules theory. But animal navigation scholars already had another possible mechanism: the radical pairs that Kattnig studies.

***

"It's thought that light-sensitive proteins called cryptochromes — which have been found in the retinas of birds, butterflies, fruit flies, frogs and humans, among others — are at the center of the mystery. When light strikes the proteins, it creates radical pairs that begin to spin in synchrony; they're entangled.

"The chemical reaction lasts only for a few microseconds, but Kattnig's research shows that it's long enough for the Earth's magnetic field to modulate the quality and direction of the electrons' spin. He also found that the radical pairs become more sensitive to the magnetic field as they "relax" — that is, as they transition back to equilibrium — if you take into account outside factors like ambient temperature.

"This suggests to Kattnig and his colleagues that sensors in the bird's eyes survey the spin state of various radical pairs and then signal the results to the brain, allowing birds to more or less "see" the Earth's magnetic field as they fly through it.

"There's still years of work to be done, Kattnig acknowledged. "We need to locate the spot where the cryptochromes are responsive to magnetism," he said. "And then we need to find the interaction partners — the cascade of signals which is then following up and giving rise to the visual impression.'"

Comment: We do not naturally sense the magnetic field on Earth, nor can we tell how it is oriented without a magnetic compass, which had to be invented by humans. How did birds, coming out of dinosaurs, after learning to fly then discover this and migrate? I can't image cell communities knowing what to do if unaware! Saltation from God? Why not?

Natures wonders: Fig puncturing wasp

by David Turell @, Monday, August 11, 2014, 01:06 (1836 days ago) @ David Turell

Has a zinc tipped thin flexible syringe to deposit eggs in a larva in a fig!

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/found-the-first-metal-plated-syring...

Of course, intelligent cells invented this process.

Natures wonders: Fig puncturing wasp

by dhw, Monday, August 11, 2014, 23:04 (1835 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Has a zinc tipped thin flexible syringe to deposit eggs in a larva in a fig!

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/found-the-first-metal-plated-syring...

Of course, intelligent cells invented this process.

Do you really believe your God preprogrammed this wasp syringe into the very first living cells, to be passed down through billions of generations of zillions of organisms before finally becoming zinc-tipped reality billions of years later? Or - your less preferred version - do you think your God "stepped in" to specially create this wonderful mechanism? All these programmes in just a few first cells, or all this dabbling, when of course his real aim was to produce humans...Ugh, doesn't it beggar belief?

Natures wonders: Fig puncturing wasp

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 16:20 (1834 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Do you really believe your God preprogrammed this wasp syringe into the very first living cells, ........Or - your less preferred version - do you think your God "stepped in" to specially create this wonderful mechanism? All these programmes in just a few first cells, or all this dabbling, when of course his real aim was to produce humans...Ugh, doesn't it beggar belief?

The real problem is the Darwinists want us to believe it all came by a mindless chance evolving process. Doesn't the design of the syringe suggest an intelligent plan?

Natures wonders: Bladderwort suction

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 23, 2014, 16:11 (1823 days ago) @ David Turell

Lightning speed trap:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216110314.htm

"The bladders contain water which is pumped out by special glands, hence generating negative pressure und allowing elastic energy to be stored in the trap walls. A door with four protruding trigger hairs provides a watertight closure for the trap. When these hairs are touched by prey, the door opens and closes in a fraction of a second, and relaxation of the trap walls leads to the sucking of water and prey. This capture process takes less than a millisecond and therefore ranks among the fastest plant movements known so far.

"Prey animals are sucked in with an acceleration of up to 600 times that of gravity, leaving them no chance to escape. The door deformation involves a complete inversion of curvature which runs in several distinguishable intermediate steps. This ultra-fast, complex and at the same time precise and highly repetitive movement is enabled by certain functional-morphological adaptations."

Natures wonders: Dragonfly

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 16:50 (1819 days ago) @ David Turell

This insect is the wonder of flying insects, better than any helicopter we've invented. Flies forward and backward, high speed darting, even with a wing damaged. The most surprising part is that it appears in the fossil record, from 300 million years ago looking just like it does now, afer a 50 million year gap of no insects with wings ( shades of the Cambrian explosion). And we are told this was invented by a committee of intelligent insect cells which recognized it needed wings. It took 50 million years with no experimental intermediates produced, just 50 million years to devise a perfect plan for the body and wings and 'pow!' out it comes perfectly functional then, now shown frozen in stone to instruct us as to how evolution works. If it appears suddenly and rather perfect judging by its 300 million years of little change, how does evolution really work?

Conclusion: most species pop up completely functional. Huge gaps between precursor forms, also fully fuctional. No Darwinian tiny steps. Darwin was wrong!

http://books.google.com/books?id=9FVTkRgSSLwC&pg=PA741&lpg=PA741&dq=Precurs...

Natures wonders: Dragonfly

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 21:09 (1819 days ago) @ David Turell

David: ... It took 50 million years with no experimental intermediates produced, just 50 million years to devise a perfect plan for the body and wings and 'pow!' out it comes perfectly functional then, now shown frozen in stone to instruct us as to how evolution works. If it appears suddenly and rather perfect judging by its 300 million years of little change, how does evolution really work?

Conclusion: most species pop up completely functional. Huge gaps between precursor forms, also fully fuctional. No Darwinian tiny steps. Darwin was wrong!


I could not have put it better myself.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Natures wonders: Dragonfly

by dhw, Thursday, August 28, 2014, 12:15 (1818 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This insect is the wonder of flying insects, better than any helicopter we've invented. Flies forward and backward, high speed darting, even with a wing damaged. The most surprising part is that it appears in the fossil record, from 300 million years ago looking just like it does now, afer a 50 million year gap of no insects with wings ( shades of the Cambrian explosion). And we are told this was invented by a committee of intelligent insect cells which recognized it needed wings. It took 50 million years with no experimental intermediates produced, just 50 million years to devise a perfect plan for the body and wings and 'pow!' out it comes perfectly functional then, now shown frozen in stone to instruct us as to how evolution works. If it appears suddenly and rather perfect judging by its 300 million years of little change, how does evolution really work?

Conclusion: most species pop up completely functional. Huge gaps between precursor forms, also fully fuctional. No Darwinian tiny steps. Darwin was wrong!

http://books.google.com/books?id=9FVTkRgSSLwC&pg=PA741&lpg=PA741&dq=Precurs...

Aw shucks, David, how many more times? Even evolutionists have agreed that Darwin's gradualism was wrong (ever heard of punctuated equilibrium?)You and I agreed on that yonks ago, and have spent several years discussing how evolution "really works". One hypothesis is the "intelligent cell" possibly called the "inventive cell"? Remember?

Natures wonders: Dragonfly

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 28, 2014, 15:53 (1818 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Aw shucks, David, how many more times? Even evolutionists have agreed that Darwin's gradualism was wrong (ever heard of punctuated equilibrium?)You and I agreed on that yonks ago, and have spent several years discussing how evolution "really works". One hypothesis is the "intelligent cell" possibly called the "inventive cell"? Remember?

Not the point. We are discussing the arrival of new species. We are trying to explain the Cambrian gap. Does the appearance of the dragonfly with no precursors surprise you? Apparently not. Full-blown body plan, barely changed over 300 million years. Pray, tell me, how does a committee of intelligent cells conjure up such a perfect body plan de novo that remains almost unchanged to date? How about the plans we haven't discussed, the embryological plan to take the organism from egg to adult? Piling the parts of a building on a piece of land does not create a building. It requires thoughtful planning and then guided execution. You are totally blind to the complex biology behind all of this problem we are discussing. There is much too much complexity for chance. That you have accepted. Tell me how cooperating cells do it. Where did they get the plans and information? We see no tiny experimental steps, only huge jumps in fossils. That was the point I was making. Your only escape from this problem is if you recognize that an inventive mechanism in cells comes with full-blown plans.

Natures wonders: Dragonfly

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 28, 2014, 16:13 (1818 days ago) @ David Turell

David: Your only escape from this problem is if you recognize that an inventive mechanism in cells comes with full-blown plans.

Another example is the issue of sea to land transition of animals. We do have walking fish, and we have amphibians, but there is a huge fossil gap that does not explain the jump from sea to land:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140827131547.htm

"About 400 million years ago a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods -- today's amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. But just how these ancient fish used their fishy bodies and fins in a terrestrial environment and what evolutionary processes were at play remain scientific mysteries"

The jump happened, but is as much a problem as the dragonfly and the Cambrian.

Natures wonders: Archer fish

by David Turell @, Saturday, Sep