Monkey Shows Man How To Crush Leaves

170px-Tokyo_monkey_statue There is something fascinating about this video where a monkey seems to be teaching a human (or at least uses a human) to crush leaves. The man should watch closely. We previously saw how monkeys have a much more efficient way to peel bananas.


The monkey could be playing or using the human for the task. Either way, it is rather riveting.

There is growing evidence of various species using tools – a task once thought to distinguish humans from the rest of the animal kingdom.

91 thoughts on “Monkey Shows Man How To Crush Leaves

  1. I think if we saw a two-year old human doing that, we wouldn’t hesitate to characterize it as “teaching” behavior or “command” behavior (crush these leaves! No, that’s a crappy job, do it right!).

    Pre-conceived and false assumptions about the mental capabilities of conscious, thinking, self-aware animals is a form of propaganda that helps perpetuate cruel mistreatment of them, on the grounds they aren’t like us when it comes to fear, pain, depression, anxiety, or happiness, friendship, caring and love of others.

  2. There is growing evidence of various species using tools – a task once thought to distinguish humans from the rest of the animal kingdom.” – JT

    Indeed, even at the microbe level where at some point in some contexts it is difficult to tell plant from animal.

    An interesting paper came out recently explaining how a team had discovered that pathogens and parasites, the ones that cause disease and/or death, convert from that lifestyle into symbiotic, mutualistic lifestyle that helps their host in various ways.

    Like Tony C said, a lot of our understanding about the world is in need of repair when it comes to destroying them because of our lingering ignorance or our fears.

    Microbial scientists are using the words “molecular machine” to describe a lot of things we once thought were “alive”, like DNA and “organelles” which are now called, as I said machines.

    So even the smallest life forms use “tools” but that is not to say there is any sort of “consciousness” involved.

    About 98% of human cognition is unconscious, 2% is conscious (Dr. George Lakoff, et. al.), so we might be accurate to say the smallest life forms have “cognition” but not conscious cognition:, in the sense that the use “molecular machines” to do genetic processing, etc: 

    The ribosome … is a large and complex molecular machine, found within all living cells, that serves as the primary site of biological protein synthesis (translation).

    “We took this approach because so many RNAs are rapidly destroyed soon after they are made, and this makes them hard to detect,” Pugh said. “So rather than look for the RNA product of transcription we looked for the ‘initiation machine‘ that makes the RNA. This machine assembles RNA polymerase, which goes on to make RNA, which goes on to make a protein.” Pugh added that he and Venters were stunned to find 160,000 of these “initiation machines,” because humans only have about 30,000 genes. “This finding is even more remarkable, given that fewer than 10,000 of these machines actually were found right at the site of genes. Since most genes are turned off in cells, it is understandable why they are typically devoid of the initiation machinery.”

    The remaining 150,000 initiation machines — those Pugh and Venters did not find right at genes — remained somewhat mysterious.

    Dr Clarke said: “There are a lot of fundamental questions about the origins of life and many people think they are questions about biology. But for life to have evolved, you have to have a moment when non-living things become livingeverything up to that point is chemistry.”

    “Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial.” Professor Lithgow said.

    Many cellular processes are carried out by molecular ‘machines’ — assemblies of multiple differentiated proteins that physically interact to execute biological functions … Our experiments show that increased complexity in an essential molecular machine evolved because of simple, high-probability evolutionary processes, without the apparent evolution of novel functions. They point to a plausible mechanism for the evolution of complexity in other multi-paralogue protein complexes.

    The most complex molecular machines are found within cells.

    Writing in the journal PLoS Pathogens, the team from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences show how they studied the molecular machine known as the ‘type II bacterial secretion system’, which is responsible for delivering potent toxins from bacteria such as enterotoxigenic E. coli and Vibrio cholerae into an infected individual.

    Professor Richard Pickersgill, who led the research, said: “Bacterial secretion systems deliver disease causing toxins into host tissue. If we can understand how these machines work, then we can work out how it they might be stopped.”

    (Putting A Face On Machine Mutation – 4). Very interesting stuff.

  3. Dredd says: Like Tony C said, a lot of our understanding about the world is in need of repair when it comes to destroying them because of our lingering ignorance or our fears.

    Do not misrepresent what I have said; I have no qualms whatsoever with killing microbes or any single celled animals, mechanisms or anything else.

    100% of our cognition is neuron based, and microbes have none. Zero cognition. They have, at best, randomized responses to stimuli that, like evolution itself (also zero cognition), can stumble into solutions of problems, which are not recognized as problems, but are just a lack of resources (like food) that are mechanically converted into stimuli.

    I was talking about conscious, thinking, self-aware animals. Microbes do not qualify. Even ants, fleas, flies, and cockroaches do not qualify. There is no moral imperative in my book to not kill such things, and in fact a moral imperative to kill some of them before they cause harm — to a conscious, thinking, self-aware animal.

  4. Some microbes change from pathogenic/parasitic lifestyles into symbiotic, mutualistic lifestyles:

    Like pretty much all multi-cellular organisms, humans enjoy the benefits of helpful bacteria. (As you may have heard, there are more bacteria in the human body than cells.) These mutualistic microbes live within the body of a larger organism, and, like any good long-term houseguest, help out their hosts, while making a successful life for themselves. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

    Scientists still don’t understand exactly how these relationships began, however. To find out, a team of researchers from the University of California, Riverside, used protein markers to create a detailed phylogenic tree of life for 405 taxa from the Proteobacteria phylum—a diverse group that includes pathogens such as salmonella as well as both mutualistic and free-living species.

    Those analyses revealed that mutualism in Proteobacteria independently evolved between 34 to 39 times, the researchers report in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.The team was a bit surprised to find that this happened so frequently, inferring that evolution apparently views this lifestyle quite favorably.

    Their results also show that mutualism most often arises in species that were originally parasites and pathogens.

    (Microbial Languages: Rehabilitation of the Unseen–2). A very recent paper indicates this is something “that evolution apparently views this lifestyle quite favorably.”

    Why wouldn’t such cognition be favorable to evolution?

    They are not anti-science, ant-machine Luddites after all like way too many humans on board:

    I propose to consider the question, “Can machines think?” This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms “machine” and “think.” The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous, If the meaning of the words “machine” and “think” are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to the question, “Can machines think?” is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words.

    (Turing, A.M. (1950). “Computing Machinery and Intelligence“, Mind, 59, 433-460). Dr. Bassler and her team have shown that microbes communicate with their own species, as well as with other microbial species.

    Communication, as with the monkey->man, man->monkey, shows cognition.

    As Turing said that it “is absurd” to answer questions about cognition as if humanity was the only species to look for in determining whether machines (or anything else) can “think.”

    It is not yet known whether the molecular machines within microbes think independently, or whether it requires a networking arrangement to do so.

    But it is so.

  5. Dredd: Communication implies understanding, and there is no evidence of whatsoever of “understanding” in microbes. Microbes secrete chemicals in response to stimuli; without intent; and no different than a human secreting sweat in response to a warm temperature. Other microbes detect the secretion and involuntary, without cognition, respond like machines to that stimuli.

    Your premise is drivel; there is no “cognition” without neurons. Microbes cannot anticipate the future and make a choice or a bet on outcomes. They do not see or understand each other.

    Dredd says: As Turing said that it “is absurd” to answer questions about cognition as if humanity was the only species to look for in determining whether machines (or anything else) can “think.”

    Turing is right, it would be absurd to consider humans the only thing capable of cognition. But your invocation of Turing “proves too much,” using your logic one could conclude that a rock can think; and that is also absurd, and not Turing’s intent.

    Cognition depends upon brains and neurons. Microbes don’t have them. Microbes don’t think.

  6. Tony C. 1, December 6, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Dredd: Communication implies understanding, and there is no evidence of whatsoever of “understanding” in microbes.

    =============================
    “Communication implies understanding …” oh if you say so.

    Do you always make things up as you go along, kicking over the traces of the case, the experiment, the text, and the reality?

    Don’t misrepresent what Turing said or what I said.

    Your word “understanding” is nowhere in my text or his.

    It is absurd for you to engage in denialist fabrication because you are wrong on an issue.

    Machine intelligence, machine communication, machine language, and machine hermeneutics come to mind.

    As does artificial intelligence.

    Your “understanding” is lacking.

  7. My only use of understanding applied to “our understanding”, which is as far as I can tell, a reference to humans, not anything else.

    Unless you are a Turning machine that is.

  8. Dredd says: Your word “understanding” is nowhere in my text or his.

    Look at your post of 7:01 pm; the fourth to last paragraph:

    Communication, as with the monkey->man, man->monkey, shows cognition.

    As Turing said that it “is absurd” to answer questions about cognition as if humanity was the only species to look for in determining whether machines (or anything else) can “think.”

    My response was to explain to you that communication, that does appear in your post as an implication of “cognition,” requires understanding which is a function of some advanced cognition, which in turn requires neurons.

    Earlier in that post you say: “that evolution apparently views this lifestyle quite favorably.” Why wouldn’t such cognition be favorable to evolution?

    By which you are purposely implying that “mutualism” is some form of cognition, which it is NOT. Mutualism arises from mindless evolutionary processes as a more survivable lifestyle than predatory parasitism. I happen to know some of it can arise from adaptations to secretions. It does not arise from communications and is not a form of cognition.

  9. Dredd: A Turning machine?

    Sounds like a new AI project for me. “Hello, I am your lathe. Shall we turn something today?”

  10. Tony C. 1, December 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Dredd: A Turning machine?

    Sounds like a new AI project for me. “Hello, I am your lathe. Shall we turn something today?”
    ========================
    Tony C wins by a typo.

    Another avoidance.

    Pity those who refuse to understand because of their insecurity.

  11. Machine Intelligence Research Institute

    In The Court of Pubic Opinion
    =================================
    Tony C.

    vs.

    All Scientists
    Who Deign to
    Disagree With
    My Science
    =================================

    COMES NOW Tony C, a.k.a. Tonie Da Tigah, and alleges and avers as follows:

    1) Modern Scientists are beginning to disagree with my august and sovereign opinion about intelligence, understanding, communication, and other things related to the cognition, understanding, and thinking of non-human entities.

    2) I am superior to them because I believe with my whole heart.

    3) They are violating what I learned in TBSOE (the best schools on Earth).

    4) Wherefore, I beg PRAY like no body’s business as follows:

    a) The court grant me a much needed victory,
    b) the court sanction scientists who disagree with my sacred opinion,
    c) the court make them stop calling me opinionated.

    PRAYERFULLY submitted this EVERYDAY, EVERYMONTH, 1602.

    TTT (Tonie Thee Tig)

    /s/
    ———————————–
    TTT

  12. Dredd: I believe in machine intelligence; I’ve actually done work in that arena, and have more in progress. I have done University presentations to groups of medical researchers and neurologists on the use of genetic algorithms.

    But you have to be careful about words here; the definitions are still loose, but there is a valid distinction between “intelligence,” “consciousness”, “understanding,” and even “thought.”

    Generalized learning algorithms can find patterns in empirical data, and make better-than-chance predictions on outcomes and much other stuff. Heck, they can invent new stuff that works. But intelligence is not “consciousness,” and it is hard to describe what they do as “thought” or “understanding.”

    Not to say they couldn’t have “thought” or “understanding” or be conscious; I just do not think such algorithms have been devised that are worthy of those designations. It isn’t, thus far, cognition, in my view. And bacteria are not even close.

  13. Anyone else want to join the plaintiff Tony C?

    You have to add your name and sign, not wimp out by talking to the ethos.

    The Defendant Modern Scientists are preparing their Answer.

    It will be composed of, among other things, research science such as:

    We then propose that by acting together, bacteria can perform this most elementary cognitive function more efficiently as can be illustrated by their cooperative behavior (colonial or inter-cellular self-organization). As a member of a complex superorganism — the colony — each unit (bacteria) must possess the ability to sense and communicate with the other units comprising the collective and perform its task within a distribution of tasks. Bacterial communication thus entails collective sensing and cooperativity. The fundamental (primitive) elements of cognition in such systems include interpretation of (chemical) messages, distinction between internal and external information, and some self vs., non-self distinction (peers and cheaters).

    (Seeking the foundations of cognition in bacteria, emphasis added). These guys (Eshel Ben Jacoba,b,c,Ã, Yoash Shapiraa, Alfred I. Tauberd, School of Physics and Astronomy, Raymond & Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel Max-Planck-Institute fur, Physik Komplexer Systema, Nothenitzer Strase 38, Dresden 01187, Germany The Center for Theoretical and Biological Physics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA, Center for Philosophy and History of Science, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA) will fully respond to accusations of their lack of reading comprehension, etc.

    Step up or sit down, don’t monkey around.

    Any genes attempting to worm in will be litigated in motion practice.

  14. Hey TTT, more stuff for the Word Press tards:

    In light of these novel findings and their plausible interpretation, Schrodinger’s ontogenetic dilemma is revisited. We propose that, unlike the widely accepted view, the current dogma in biology does not provide a satisfactory answer to the ontogenetic dilemma. The rapid progress in the micro-level studies in biology seems to lead to the false perception that a comprehensive understanding of genomic function is available and that only minor details are missing. But from the perspective of physics, basic genomic principles seem missing. Biology lacks a theory of non-equilibrium, which might explain self-organization in open systems. Indeed, contemporary physics calculates the efficiency of a thermodynamic machine if it functions infinitely slowly, but not when it operates at a given finite rate. But we have no idea even how to describe the dynamics of an open system whose composition changes according to internal information, let alone the underlying principles involved.

    The lac case simply serves to illustrate what we mean by internal information processing and to justify the notion of ‘‘sniffing’’ food as a cognitive act. A similar sniffing mechanism is used in other cases of bacterial taxis. For example, photosynthesizing bacteria ‘‘sniff’’ light and assess its level to perform phototaxis towards higher intensity. In short, bacteria continuously sense their milieu and store the relevant information and thus exhibit ‘‘cognition’’ by their ability to process information and responding accordingly. From those fundamental sensing faculties, bacterial information processing has evolved communication capabilities that allow the creation of cooperative structures among individuals to form super-organisms [4–15]. An illuminating example of collective sensing is provided by the Myxobacteria that can send foraging parties of advantageous bacteria who can move ahead of the colony. Upon detection of food source they send back the information to the colony, which then expands towards the newly detected food source [9,13].

    (ibid, E. Ben Jacob et al. / Physica A 359 (2006) 495–524). This heresy of these Defendants, as opined by the plaintiff Tony C in his complaint, could be easily countermanded if they would only accept the plaintiffs opinions.

  15. GBloggers,

    Have you read luckylarry’s most recent post? (@ 4:04) Free speech and all that, but now he is writing sex scenes. Please get this guy outta here.

  16. More on the cognition of microbes from the paper I cited up-thread:

    Collectively, bacteria can glean relevant latent information from the complex environment and from other organisms, interpret the information in an existential ‘‘meaningful’’ way, develop common knowledge, and learn from past experience.

    For that each bacterium has intricate intra-cellular signaling mechanisms involving signal transduction networks [27] and genetic language [28]. These mechanisms are part of the intra-cellular functional complexity which is used to generate intrinsic meaning for contextual interpretations of the chemical messages and for formulating appropriate complex responses.

    Biochemical messages are also used in bacterial cell–cell talk to exchange meaningful information across colonies of different species, and also with other organisms [38].

    This ability to form cooperative collectives is an evolutionary novelty: New functional features that support the foundation of cognition appear at every level of colonial self-organization—from the internal cellular gel to the growth of the colony as a whole—thus facilitating a high level of functional complexity. To form such multi-cellular super-organisms, the respective units (the individual bacteria) assume newly co-generated traits and faculties that are not explicitly stored in the genetic information of the individuals. For example, bacteria cannot genetically store all the relevant information required for creating the colonial patterns. In the new scenario, they need not, since the required contextual information is cooperatively generated by using internally stored information and information gleaned from the environment. Thus, the bacteria only require genetically stored information on how to produce perceptive faculties and how these capabilities along with the guidelines for using them may be employed to generate new knowledge as required. The bacteria use their intra-cellular flexibility, involving signal transduction networks and genomic plasticity, to collectively create the colony and maintain its integrity by sharing interpretations of chemical cues and exchanging meaning-bearing chemical messages. The ensuing dialogues are nothing less than meaning-based communication [4,7,13,39–46], which allows the colony purposeful alteration of structure and decision-making. These features represent primordial social intelligence and fundamental (primitive) elements of cognition [47–56].

    [pages 506-507]

    (Seeking the foundations of cognition in bacteria, E. Ben Jacob et al. / Physica A 359 (2006) 495–524).

  17. Word Press Censors are preventing me from communicating.

    You know, their lack of understanding.

    Someone use the force on them again.

    And thanks to the Jedi who freed the other messages up-thread for me.

  18. pdm 1, December 6, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    GBloggers,

    Have you read luckylarry’s most recent post? (@ 4:04) Free speech and all that, but now he is writing sex scenes.

    ==============================
    I have not read his comments, nor do I intend to.

    But be warned that if you are sensitive to microbial sex, the following is from the scientific paper I have been quoting from up-thread.

    It is only to show that Tony C is bereft of understanding modern science concerning microbial cognition, not to TTTitilate.

    The scientists use the word “conjugation” rather than you-know-what because their purpose, like me, is only to inform the uninformed:

    Frequently, such contextual information is directly transferred by conjugation following chemical courtship played by the potential partners: bacteria resistant to antibiotics emit chemical signals to announce this fact. Bacteria in need of that information, upon receiving the signal, emit pheromone-like peptides to declare their willingness to mate.

    Sometimes, the decision to mate is followed by exchange of competence factors (peptides). This pre-conjugation communication modifies the membrane of the partner cell into a penetrable state needed for conjugation.

    [page 507]

    (Seeking the foundations of cognition in bacteria, E. Ben Jacob et al. / Physica A 359 (2006) 495–524, emphasis added). There is little wonder that Tony C intimated that he had no qualms at all about destroying these microbes.

    They are so filthy with all that sex stuff they do … I mean they have arraigned marriages for heaven sake just to have sex.

    Nasty.

    Kill ’em all Tony is gonna get you mangy waskals.

  19. Word Press Censors are preventing me from communicating.

    You know, their lack of understanding.

    They accepted my message to pdm but one is still in the naughty folder.

    Someone use the force on them again.

    And thanks, once again, to the Jedi who freed the other messages up-thread for me.

  20. Tony C. 1, December 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Dredd: I believe in machine intelligence; … And bacteria are not even close.
    ==========================
    Can machines have sex and arranged marriages for sex like microbes (bacteria)?

    That is quite close isn’t it?

    Your belief in machine intelligence is noted … perhaps a machine religion is also evolving?

  21. One of my comment is still in the “You can’t say that” Word Press censor cue.

    Will post it again later if it is “lost” in the censor space.

  22. Where’s lucky Larry’s comment….. I seemed to have missed it….. Was it really that offensive? He’s said more…..stuff which is really offensive…. But I did think that he was funny on the antifreeze thread….

  23. Dredd: Your belief in machine intelligence is noted … perhaps a machine religion is also evolving?

    Well, that is why you need to distinguish between “intelligence” and other cognitive functions like “belief” in a false model of reality.

    Which of course you are too lazy to do, all your fun is in conflating all these cognitive functions as being equivalent and monolithic; e.g. if “communication” is present then “cognition” is present, if “intelligence” is present then “consciousness” is present or “religion” is possible, etc. I think you are resistant to rigor because laziness lets you can come to false conclusions to entertain yourself, and which you think entertain others but really do not. Ultimately you are just a lazy hack hungry for attention without having to do any real work or produce anything more than some opinions. Too bad for you, not many give a crap about your opinions, because they are always just lazy work, and that is a field with much too much competition to stand out.

  24. It is difficult for even microbes to carry on communications with censors disrupting the messaging:

    The term ‘‘cognition’’ usually refers to human mental functions associated with capacities such as the use of semantic and pragmatic levels of language, perceiving self vs. non-self, association with group identity and perceiving individual and group goals. It is now realized that bacteria facilitate surprising collective functions. They can develop collective memory, use and generate common knowledge, develop group chemical identity, distinguish the chemical identity of other colonies in their environment or even higher organisms, learn from experience to improve their collective state and more.

    These are the bacteria faculties we refer to when using the term fundamental elements of cognition. We emphasize that these features should not be confused with the unique, human level of symbolic cognition. We do not imply that bacteria possess human capabilities but that fundamental elements of cognition can also be found in bacteria. From a practical perspective, this realization can shed light on the evolution of cognition and on the most basic requirement for its facilitation in all organisms.

    (Seeking the foundations of cognition in bacteria, E. Ben Jacob et al. / Physica A 359 (2006) 495–524).

  25. The term ‘‘cognition’’ usually refers to human mental functions associated with capacities such as the use of semantic and pragmatic levels of language, perceiving self vs. non-self, association with group identity and perceiving individual and group goals. It is now realized that bacteria facilitate surprising collective functions. They can develop collective memory, use and generate common knowledge, develop group chemical identity, distinguish the chemical identity of other colonies in their environment or even higher organisms, learn from experience to improve their collective state and more.

    These are the bacteria faculties we refer to when using the term fundamental elements of cognition. We emphasize that these features should not be confused with the unique, human level of symbolic cognition. We do not imply that bacteria possess human capabilities but that fundamental elements of cognition can also be found in bacteria. From a practical perspective, this realization can shed light on the evolution of cognition and on the most basic requirement for its facilitation in all organisms.

    –E. Ben Jacob et al. / Physica A 359 (2006) 495–524.

  26. The term ‘cognition’ usually refers to human mental functions associated with capacities such as the use of semantic and pragmatic levels of language, perceiving self vs. non-self, association with group identity and perceiving individual and group goals. It is now realized that bacteria facilitate surprising collective functions. They can develop collective memory, use and generate common knowledge, develop group chemical identity, distinguish the chemical identity of other colonies in their environment or even higher organisms, learn from experience to improve their collective state and more.

    These are the bacteria faculties we refer to when using the term fundamental elements of cognition. We emphasize that these features should not be confused with the unique, human level of symbolic cognition. We do not imply that bacteria possess human capabilities but that fundamental elements of cognition can also be found in bacteria. From a practical perspective, this realization can shed light on the evolution of cognition and on the most basic requirement for its facilitation in all organisms.

  27. Dredd: You are paranoid. Try posting in pieces; with “(to be continued)” at the end, to find the offending paragraph.

  28. Or you could realize that the spam filter has no cognition, Dredd, and that while one of us will check the filter from time to time it’s not as if we hover over it. It is not uncommon to find posts in the spam filter that say “Cleared by Askimet” either. The algorithms it uses to identify potentially new sources of spam and flag them are far from perfect or even being an expert system much less conscious.

  29. Good Jedi, nice midtrick, I will send a bottle of Mead.

    And repost the missing post for Tony C, and let the others go.

    Do you send a post to your homie and have them approve it so it does not get lost?

    I posted the lost one again just now.

    Two bottles of Mead filled with midichloreans for the first Jedi who works up the courage to unleash it from the blog of fears.

  30. Tony C. 1, December 7, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Dredd: You are paranoid. Try posting in pieces; with “(to be continued)” at the end, to find the offending paragraph.
    ========================
    That presumes there is an offending paragraph.

    There isn’t.

    There is just your presumption pretending it is science.

  31. cog·ni·tion [kog-nish-uhn]

    1375–1425; late Middle English cognicioun < Latin cognitiōn- (stem of cognitiō ), equivalent to cognit ( us ), past participle of cognōscere ( co- co- + gni-, variant stem of gnōscere, nōscere, to learn (see know1 ) + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion

    Grandpa’s dictionary is not quite up to the new stuff.

    That means these scientists hate grandpa.

  32. Dredd,

    I released everything you had stuck in the filter. If you lost something else, it was eaten by the Sarlac, er, WordPress Vortex of Doom.

  33. Dredd: That presumes there is an offending paragraph.

    Yes, and there is. The fact that we can post other things makes it true that some arrangement of words in your post is causing WordPress to flag your entire post as Spam. But, experience tells me, that the WP span of attention, like yours, is relatively short. Or to be more specific and less anthropomorphic, its range of analysis, in letters or words, is fairly small, and typically if one tries a short number of sentences at a time, what I loosely called a “paragraph,” they will pass and the locus of offending language will be found relatively quickly. It does not necessarily have to be offensive to humans; just to WP.

  34. E. Ben Jacob, via Dredd: We do not imply that bacteria possess human capabilities but that fundamental elements of cognition can also be found in bacteria

    I think Jacob, et al, are stretching it beyond the breaking point. Does evolution “learn by experience?” Yes, it does, the experience of dying before reproduction filters out certain genetically determined capabilities (or lack thereof) that “discourage” those genetic configurations.

    And it “learns” by the experience of highly successful reproduction that certain genetic sequences are “favored.”

    But to suggest evolution has “cognition” because we can recast some of the ramifications of evolution as similar to ramifications of cognition does not make evolution “cognition.” It does not mean the roots of “cognition” are in evolution, somehow.

    In peer review of this paper I would reject this statement as overblown rhetoric. Two routes to the same outcome do not imply the same underlying mechanism is at work.

    Undoubtedly it is true that neural organization bears similarities to other collections of single-cell organizations, and will exhibit similarities to networks as well, but neural organization is not anything like the ad hoc organization of bacteria. The most glaring difference there is that in the neural network every neuron is specialized with a unique shape and relatively permanent (organically grown) connections to specific other neurons, and has customized itself specifically to process those and only those inputs from specific other neurons. Bacterium are not specialists, they are all essentially physically identical (or have a small collection of types), and their “connections” are diffuse, literally, by diffusion of chemical signals.

    The cognition of humans and anything that looks like the cognition of bacterial colonies are so different it is misleading to try and call them the same thing; it is like calling tuberculosis and lung cancer two manifestations of the same “lung disease.”

    What Jacobs, et al should have said is, “In bacterial colonies, nature has found an alternate route to address several fundamental issues we might previously had thought required cognition…”

    Which is what I would have told them had I reviewed their claim, as one of my points under the heading of “Recommend against publication without addressing the following corrections or issues:”

    TC

  35. Tony C. 1, December 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    E. Ben Jacob, via Dredd: We do not imply that bacteria possess human capabilities but that fundamental elements of cognition can also be found in bacteria

    I think Jacob, et al, are stretching it beyond the breaking point. Does evolution “learn by experience?” Yes, it does, the experience of dying before reproduction filters out certain genetically determined capabilities (or lack thereof) that “discourage” those genetic configurations.

    And it “learns” by the experience of highly successful reproduction that certain genetic sequences are “favored.”

    But to suggest evolution has “cognition” because we can recast some of the ramifications of evolution as similar to ramifications of cognition does not make evolution “cognition.” It does not mean the roots of “cognition” are in evolution, somehow.

    ===============================
    You seem to be saying that cognition did not evolve.

    They are saying it did evolve.

    It is not that “evolution has “cognition” as you put it, it is that if cognition evolves rather than magically appears in a relative instant, then there will be signs of it all along the way.

    To give these experts their due, rather than puff our own opinion, what they see is the obvious: “fundamental elements of cognition can also be found in bacteria. From a practical perspective, this realization can shed light on the evolution of cognition and on the most basic requirement for its facilitation in all organisms.”

    That seems to me to be so basic as to be something that belongs in Evolution 101.

  36. In The Court of Pubic Opinion
    =================================
    Tony C.

    vs.

    All Scientists
    Who Deign to
    Disagree With
    My Science
    =================================

    ANSWER of THE DEFENDANT SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS

    COMES NOW the defendants and answer plaintiff Tony C’s complaint as follows:

    1) DENY.

    2) DENY.

    3) DENY.

    4) Wherefore, defendants pray that plaintiff take nothing.

    5) By way of further response to plaintiff Tony C, defendants set forth the following affirmative defense:

    The term ‘cognition’ usually refers to human mental functions associated with capacities such as the use of semantic and pragmatic levels of language, perceiving self vs. non-self, association with group identity and perceiving individual and group goals. It is now realized that bacteria facilitate surprising collective functions. They can develop collective memory, use and generate common knowledge, develop group chemical identity, distinguish the chemical identity of other colonies in their environment or even higher organisms, learn from experience to improve their collective state and more.

    These are the bacteria faculties we refer to when using the term fundamental elements of cognition. We emphasize that these features should not be confused with the unique, human level of symbolic cognition. We do not imply that bacteria possess human capabilities but that fundamental elements of cognition can also be found in bacteria. From a practical perspective, this realization can shed light on the evolution of cognition and on the most basic requirement for its facilitation in all organisms.

    (Seeking the foundations of cognition in bacteria, E. Ben Jacob et al. / Physica A 359 (2006) 495–524).

  37. I just posted two more comments to Tony C.

    After sending to him for approval, please release them so the others reading this post can view them.

    Thanks Word Mess.

  38. Tony C. 1, December 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Dredd: That presumes there is an offending paragraph.

    Yes, and there is. The fact that we can post other things makes it true that some arrangement of words in your post is causing WordPress to flag your entire post as Spam. But, experience tells me, that the WP span of attention, like yours, is relatively short. Or to be more specific and less anthropomorphic, its range of analysis, in letters or words, is fairly small, and typically if one tries a short number of sentences at a time, what I loosely called a “paragraph,” they will pass and the locus of offending language will be found relatively quickly. It does not necessarily have to be offensive to humans; just to WP.
    ==================
    I don’t doubt that that is your experience.

    It is just that you do not learn from it.

  39. Gene H. 1, December 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Dredd,

    I released everything you had stuck in the filter. If you lost something else, it was eaten by the Sarlac, er, WordPress Vortex of Doom.
    ================================
    The “offending paragraphs” which Tony C said is what caused Word Mess to reject my comments all day were Tony C imaginations.

    All the comments I made are out of the sinking Word Mess Censor Ship now and are visible.

    Thus, they were not, as you put it, eaten by the “Vortex of Doom”, nor as Tony C put it “offending paragraphs” to the doctrine and dogma of the Word Messiness Censorium.

    They just offended Tony C, as I said all along.

    The two bottles of Mead will be sent to the appropriate anti-Word Mess admin.

    Once that Jedi identifies herself, himself, or itself (in case of artificial intelligence).

    Mead is good for Scholarly Viking Warriors and Jedi Knights alike.

    At least that is what it says in the Runes of the Midichlorians.

  40. Dredd,

    You really need to learn how to read for comprehension. The reason your comments are out is I released them from the spam filter. If that was the total of your comments? Well then good for you, you ol’ microbe worshipper you. You avoided the Vortex.

    You can keep the mead though.

    It causes drain bamage.

  41. Dredd: You seem to be saying that cognition did not evolve. They are saying it did evolve.

    That is a false characterization. Cognition evolved, certainly. After neurons evolved as a specialization in multi-cellular animals. Cognition did not evolve in bacteria, and if that is their claim, they are making an overblown claim I would reject as a peer reviewer (which I am, as a professional academician).

    Dredd says: it is that if cognition evolves rather than magically appears in a relative instant, then there will be signs of it all along the way.

    If you had bothered to read what I said, I already said that. Neurons evolved. In ants and other tiny brained animals, they do not seem to be engaged much in cognition, but seem to be “hard-coded” reactions to sensory patterns.

    Dredd says: To give these experts their due, rather than puff our own opinion, what they see is the obvious: “fundamental elements of cognition can also be found in bacteria.

    Nothing is “due” them or any other scientist, and I am a scientist and feel no particularly compelling reason to give any scientist, anywhere, deference for being “an expert.” Every formal claim a scientist makes should be judged on its content alone, regardless of their credentials or fame or status of publication; the last of which is supposed to be a garbage filter, and is, but all professional scientists are fully aware it can let through some seriously flawed crap.

    Cognition evolved; cognition bears some resemblance to networks, to multi-cellular chemical signaling, etc. Because cognition evolved from neurons, and they are a collection of entities that also are organized, and also signal each other, but uniquely adapt, permanently, to specialist roles. Unlike computers in a network, or bacteria in a colony. Cognition requires that permanent specialization; and requires neurons. Bacterial colonies have evolved a response to certain environmental stimuli that resembles a cognitive decision without being one.

    My statement about evolution is that it does the same thing; and people make the mistake (particularly religious people) of asserting some sort of intelligence MUST be behind what they anthropomorphically call “clever” designs or “genius” biological solutions produced by natural selection pressures. But there is no intelligence, or cognition, behind evolution. The physics of reproduction cause reproductively advantageous changes to be preserved, and reproductively disadvantageous changes to be destroyed, so that reproductively advantageous changes tend to accumulate.

    To some, those billions (or maybe trillions) of little changes appear to be the result of an astonishing, awe-inspiring level of cognitive design, but they are not, evolution is not cognitive.

    Evolution was my example to you of the error you are committing, and the error I believe Jacobs, et al also committed. Not everything that appears to be the result of cognition is a “fundamental element of cognition.” Particularly when evolution itself is involved, as it is in the operation of a bacterial colony!

  42. The scientific paper I have cited to concerning the evolution of cognition, was published in Physica:

    Physica is a Dutch series of peer-reviewed, scientific journals of physics by Elsevier. It was founded in 1934 as a single journal entitled Physica and was split in a three-part series in 1975 (Physica A, Physica B, Physica C). Physica D was created in 1980, and Physica E in 1998. It was published in Utrecht until 2007, and is now published in Amsterdam by Elsevier.

    (Wikipedia, “Physica Journal”). The main author Eshel Ben-Jacob, is an advisor to the NASA Ames Microbes Mind Forum.

    Here is a lecture he gave:

  43. Here is a link to the Microbes-Mind Forum … where Dr. Eshel Ben-Jacob is an advisor.

    Tony C can contact him there to inform him of his errors.

    I may send him and some other microbiologists I communicate with Tony C’s remarks for their edification.

    Or I may not.

  44. From Micrbes-Mind Forum:

    Eshel Ben-Jacob is a theoretical and experimental physicist at Tel Aviv University, holder of the Maguy-Glass Chair in Physics of Complex Systems, and Fellow of the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP) at the University of California San Diego. In the field of Systems Neuroscience he has focused first on investigations of living neural networks outside the brain and later on analysis of actual brain activity. In 2007, Scientific American selected Ben-Jacob’s invention, the first hybrid NeuroMemory Chip, as one of the 50 most important achievements in all fields of science and technology for that year. The NeuroMemory Chip entails imprinting multiple memories, based upon development of a novel, system-level analysis of neural network activity (developed from concepts in statistical physics and quantum mechanics), ideas about distributed information processing (developed from his research on collective behaviors of bacteria) and new experimental methods based on nanotechnology (carbon nanotubes). During the 1980s he became an international leader in the theory of self-organization and pattern formation in open systems, later extended this to adaptive complex systems and biocomplexity. His specialization in self organization of complex systems yielded the breakthrough of solving the long standing (since Kepler) snowflake problem. In the late 1980s, he turned to study of bacterial self-organization, believing that bacteria hold the key to understanding larger biological systems. He developed new pattern forming bacteria species, became a pioneer in the study of social behaviors of bacteria, and has been influential in establishing the now rapidly evolving Physics of Life (Biological Physics and Physical Biology) disciplines. He maintains that the essence of cognition is rooted in the ability of bacteria to gather, measure, and process information, and to adapt in response. Prof. Ben-Jacob received his PhD in physics (1982) at Tel Aviv University, Israel, served as Vice President of the Israel Physical Society (1999-2002), then as President of the Israel Physical Society (2002-2005), initiating the online magazine PhysicaPlus, the only Hebrew-English bilingual science magazine.

    (Link in my comment above).

  45. From Micrbes-Mind Forum:
    Eshel Ben-Jacob is a theoretical and experimental physicist at Tel Aviv University, holder of the Maguy-Glass Chair in Physics of Complex Systems, and Fellow of the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP) at the University of California San Diego. In the field of Systems Neuroscience he has focused first on investigations of living neural networks outside the brain and later on analysis of actual brain activity. In 2007, Scientific American selected Ben-Jacob’s invention, the first hybrid NeuroMemory Chip, as one of the 50 most important achievements in all fields of science and technology for that year. The NeuroMemory Chip entails imprinting multiple memories, based upon development of a novel, system-level analysis of neural network activity (developed from concepts in statistical physics and quantum mechanics), ideas about distributed information processing (developed from his research on collective behaviors of bacteria) and new experimental methods based on nanotechnology (carbon nanotubes). During the 1980s he became an international leader in the theory of self-organization and pattern formation in open systems, later extended this to adaptive complex systems and biocomplexity. His specialization in self organization of complex systems yielded the breakthrough of solving the long standing (since Kepler) snowflake problem. In the late 1980s, he turned to study of bacterial self-organization, believing that bacteria hold the key to understanding larger biological systems. He developed new pattern forming bacteria species, became a pioneer in the study of social behaviors of bacteria, and has been influential in establishing the now rapidly evolving Physics of Life (Biological Physics and Physical Biology) disciplines. He maintains that the essence of cognition is rooted in the ability of bacteria to gather, measure, and process information, and to adapt in response. Prof. Ben-Jacob received his PhD in physics (1982) at Tel Aviv University, Israel, served as Vice President of the Israel Physical Society (1999-2002), then as President of the Israel Physical Society (2002-2005), initiating the online magazine PhysicaPlus, the only Hebrew-English bilingual science magazine.

  46. Gene H. 1, December 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Dredd,

    You really need to learn how to read for comprehension. The reason your comments are out is I released them from the spam filter. If that was the total of your comments? Well then good for you, you ol’ microbe worshipper you. You avoided the Vortex.

    You can keep the mead though.

    It causes drain bamage.
    ============================
    You liked my “dain bramage” phrase of a while back.

    Anyway, I have one more in the Word Mess cue (two but the one about Dr. Ben-Jacob with block quotes is the first and preferred one.

    I posted it without blockquotes but it was consumed by the dain bramaged Mess that is far dumber than bacteria.

    As Dr. Ben-Jacob sas, like some professionals.

  47. Dredd says: was published in Physica:

    So? Unlike you, I am a professional scientist that has read more peer-reviewed scientific articles than I can count. Unlike you, I am not in reverent awe of anything just because it happens to be in a good journal. Unlike you, I am part of the process of peer review and I (on occasion) decide what gets into a journal. Unlike you, I have published many articles in prestigious peer-reviewed journals and venues. Unlike you, I know what I am talking about, and I think Jacobs, et al, overstepped their boundaries and made an error; which happens in peer-reviewed journals; even the best of them. Getting published is not some religious consecration granting infallibility; it is the vote of a very small jury; typically an editor and two or three anonymous peers, that what has been submitted is (with their caveats, corrections, and sometimes suggestions) original and worthy of dissemination to the scientific community at large. Like all juries, that judgment may be a mistake, or the editor may have overrode a reviewer’s recommendation and decided to overlook an envelope-pushing claim because it was not an absolute claim (as this one was not) and the rest of the paper contained important contributions.

    I don’t care where it was published. I think their claim, despite the caveats (possibly forced on them by the editor agreeing with peer reviewers) is overblown and you are misinterpreting it.

  48. P.S. And feel free to forward my comments to Jacobs if you like, it is essentially what I would have told him had I been one of his anonymous reviewers.

  49. Tony C. 1, December 9, 2013 at 11:05 am

    P.S. And feel free to forward my comments to Jacobs if you like, it is essentially what I would have told him had I been one of his anonymous reviewers.
    ======================
    Ok.

    You have not commented on his video presentation nor that he is an advisor to NASA on microbes.

    Or that he is a professor at various universities.

    He is one of many hundreds of renowned experts who hold a different opinion than you on this issue.

    The difference is that they have done these experiments in labs and you only have your blather.

    They cite so many papers before them that came to the same conclusion they did, papers published in major journals.

    I only quoted them, I did not come to any conclusion other than theirs.

    You are stilted like some many who form sacred opinions rather than valid scientific conclusions.

    I detect a lot of religious bias in you.

  50. Dredd,

    Sorry, but I didn’t get anything nearly as useful from you as “drain bamage”. Or anything useful at all from you for that matter. I did, however, get a lot of amusement in that you think you understand microbiology when you really really don’t. Throw in a tinge of sadness at how poor your education must have been for you to fundamentally misunderstand science in the way that you do. That purposeful malapropism? Is as old as comedy in the English language. In fact, the first time I recall hearing it used was by Robin Williams in about 1978.

    BTW, you still need to work on that whole “reading/comprehension” nexus, Otto.

  51. Gene H,

    Your are wrong about Mead, microbes, reading comprehension, and anything else that requires intellectual honesty.

    The professiors I quote read quite well, and comprehend quite well.

    You and Tony C will never be able to get out of the 18th century.

    That’s ok.

    I like living history in action, and it is not as difficult as cloning a dinosaur to see what things used to be like.

    Meadlichlorian muley.

  52. My. How petulantly predictable. And how, exactly, am I wrong about me not wanting mead? I think I’d be an expert on what I like to drink or not and, having had mead, know that wouldn’t be mead. I’m considered the world’s leading, if not only, expert on matters of what I like.

  53. Oh, and I do apologize to only to Gene H and Tony C for not being able to comprehend their comments.

    Most everyone else’s are comprehendable.

    It is no doubt the intellectual dishonesty and clingy personalities developed in defective environments.

    Or perhaps they do have the genetic makeup that they say they do, rendering them helpless and hapless.

    Sad to see.

    But without coherent comments from them I will continue to stick with the scientific evidence that it is an epigenetic behavioral problem, not a genetic problem.

  54. It’s not your reading comprehension here that is so troublesome, Dredd.

    It’s you total lack of integrating and understanding everything else you read and then transcribe to your ridiculous microbial gospels.

    As for your “epigenetic assertions”, apparently one of the things you don’t understand is the use of the word “environment” as it relates to biology either. Only a fool discounts one half of the genes/environment equation. And that’s what makes you a both a fringer and a fool. In biology, people who really understand the subject and how natural selection impacts behaviors understand that genes and environment work in tandem. It’s a “AND” relationship. Not an “OR” relationship.

    Carry on.

  55. You have yet to address one scientist … you think it is me.

    Read up on block quote in HTML, the little thingy one uses when quoting another.

    The computer scientists don’t call it block quote for nothing.

    Tony C and the Gene H get down.

    What they really think science is:

  56. I understand when someone is quoting a scientist and when one is quoting Gene H or Tony C.

    It is unmistakable.

    But I can’t respond to Gene H and Tony C except to quote well known scientists repeatedly.

    Tony C did mention that he would not approve of what one of them said, no matter what peer reviewed Journal published their papers.

    He does not believe them.

    His explanation for why was incoherent.

    Baby blue Gene is so incoherent that I am not sure what he thinks of scientists … unless he thinks I am the world renowned scientist who advises NASA on microbes.

    I am not I just quote them and he blathers and mumbles something about reading comprehension.

    I agree that mule headed and cognition are not the same like grandpa’s dictionary says, but like I said that is not a coherent part of the discussion.

    So, I post for the benefit of the other people reading the blog who can read what scientists write.

    Pay no attention to Gene Blue Gene, he is a crock.

  57. What do I think? I think neither of you understand natural selection very well if you insist that environment trumps genetics. See, I don’t need to appeal to authority, Dredd. I understand the underlying concepts well enough that I’m capable of not only evaluating the matter on the merits but doing so using principle driven reasoning instead of pop-sci speculation turned into a religious dogma. Genes matter. Whether you or Dr. NASA like it or not. So does environment. If you understood natural selection, you’d understand this. But you don’t. So you make the same mistake that fringers of both the “genetic determinism” and “epigentic influence is everything” camps. You mistake one of the two inputs in to natural selection as mutually exclusive and/or dominant when they work in tandem to varying degrees depending upon any given situation. I even understand what causes this irrational divide in the minority of the biological sciences community: the competitive quest for funding causes both sides to “sexy up” their assertions to the point of ridiculous overstatements. That you’ve bought in to some of these overstatements as being gospel is simply your personal misfortune, Dredd. It is like most positions adopted in ignorance of basic principles, a self-inflicted wound.

  58. Dredd:

    so what you are saying, I think, is that living entities can create connections that enable them to do things which might mimic consciousness?

    Such as ant colony when it goes in search of food, the random actions, when looked at in toto, gives the appearance of a single conscious entity.

    Is that right?

    You come up with some interesting stuff, I am still fascinated by the fact that the bacteria in a cuttlefish know when to light up.

  59. “BlockQUOTE” (HTML) does this:

    THIS IS USED TO EMPHASIZE A QUOTING someone else.

    . You have very, very severe comprehension problems (or a controlling gene) if you think that quote is like what you do … quote only yourself.

    I am quoting someone.else, who happens to be a great scientist, one of three in a paper.

    Point out like Tony C where you think they are wrong.

    Tony C says they overdid “cognition” … after he had already dogmatically said bacteria / microbes absolutely cannot do cognition.

    You, on the other had, use intellectual dishonesty and juvenile denial and aversion to say I can’t comprehend what they are saying.

    In other words, you do not like what they say, but blame it on me.

    Tony C does not like what they say, but he is intellectually honest enough to blame what he does not like about what they say on them.

    He at least does not shoot the messenger.

    He is overly egotistical to think what he does, but not intellectually dishonest.

    You, on the other hand, are over the top egotistical and a laughingstock to use the argument you do.

    That is just the way it is.

    Cognition in some of those microbes / bacterium is more reliable than yours.

    Since you never quote anyone, it does not surprise me that you do not know what it is useful for.

    Your opinion within your distorted intellectually dishonest gene controlled environment within you cranium is all that is loud and clear to you.

    It is quite obvious.

    Tony C at least has the huevos to say he does not like what the scientist says.

    You don’t.

    You avoid it by alleging it is me who is saying it rather that quoting it.

    I wonder if your brat gene made you a brat early on.

    The tantrums do not change reality.

    You ain’t got game, all you have is lame.

  60. Bron 1, December 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Dredd:

    so what you are saying, I think, is that living entities can create connections that enable them to do things which might mimic consciousness?

    Such as ant colony when it goes in search of food, the random actions, when looked at in toto, gives the appearance of a single conscious entity.

    Is that right?

    You come up with some interesting stuff, I am still fascinated by the fact that the bacteria in a cuttlefish know when to light up.
    =====================================
    It isn’t me saying it, it is three scientists.

    I wish it was me, but they are far more the scientist than I am.

    I am only the messenger.

    But, that said.

    What I hear (there is a video with movies of bacteria / microbes that will blow you away.

    I mean since you, liike me, are amazed that they can communicate (know when to turn off and on the lights) and that the fish and the microbes have a working relationship … how does the fish know to “hire” those doods to be its light source? etc.)

    I am just blown away by all of it.

    The video I posted at 7:44 am is a lecture by a professor who counsels NASA on microbes, etc.

    He is Hebrew so his english is a bit ragged … but there is additional English at the bottom of the screen.

    They do a million times more than turn lights on and off … the whole community (“more than the population of all people on earth”) work like a brain … they work together.

    But, no, this is not about consciousness in the way we think of it.

    Focus on cognition … in the sense of them detecting the world around them, responding to it in ways that are “surprising.”

    Like the ones working with the fish, only far more astounding.

  61. Blah blah blah, Dredd.

    I’m arguing from a firm understanding of what natural selection is and how it works, i.e. principle based reasoning. You’re the one playing ego games. My ego is not impacted by you being factually wrong one way or another. Midichlorianism isn’t my religion. I have no investment in it. I prefer science.

    Speaking of quotes though, I’m still waiting for the one where I asserted DNA was alive.

  62. Bron 1, December 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Dredd:

    so what you are saying, I think, is that living entities can create connections that enable them to do things which might mimic consciousness?

    ==========================
    The paper cited does not use the word “consciousness” nor the word “conscious” in the body of the text.

    It is incidentally used in footnote 96.

    The general consensus of cognitive science is that 98% of “reasoning” is subconscious:

    Probably 98 percent of your reasoning is unconscious – what your brain is doing behind the scenes. Reason is inherently emotional. You can’t even choose a goal, much less form a plan and carry it out, without a sense that it will satisfy you, not dis­gust you. Fear and anxiety will affect your plans and your ac­tions. You act differently, and plan differently, out of hope and joy than out of fear and anxiety.

    Thought is physical. Learning requires a physical brain change: Receptors for neurotransmitters change at the synapses, which changes neural circuitry. Since thinking is the activation of such circuitry, somewhat different thinking re­quires a somewhat different brain. Brains change as you use them-even unconsciously. It’s as if your car changed as you drove it, say from a stick shift gradually to an automatic.

    (The Toxic Bridge To Everywhere, quoting “What Orwell Didn’t Know”, by Dr. George Lakoff). Ninety Eight percent is a lot of cognition, and that means with the 2% consciousness we can get a lot of good or a lot of bad done.

    One shudders to think what would happen if it was reversed.

  63. Gene H. 1, December 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Blah blah blah, Dredd.

    ==========================
    That is my understanding of your comments too.

    At least it keeps you in first comment place, a thingy you relish more than coherence.

  64. Not coincidentally, that’s your understanding of biology as well, Microbe Worshiper.

    Also, you are the current first place commenter with 50 more comments than second and more than twice as many as me. Tsk tsk tsk. Can’t even get your alleged insults factually correct. You using Grandpa’s Guide to Writing Insult Jokes again, Dredd?

  65. Gene, can you look and see if my last reply got WP blocked? That was last night.

    I’ll be writing a different reply next to Dredd/Bron in a minute…

  66. Dredd: [Tony’s] explanation for why was incoherent. No it wasn’t. If you cannot understand what I wrote purposely for a layman, no wonder you cannot understand anything.

    Suffice to say, there is an obvious difference between the illusion of cognition and actual cognition.

    Bron: I think Dredd is trying to imply that bacteria in colony are some sort of alien intelligence, that enough of them form a “brain” that is conscious, etc. I think he wants you to conclude that.

    He adopts the transparent “statement by question” and “confirm by deflection” narration of the “Ancient Aliens” series; one of my favorite comedy shows. For example,

    V/O Narrator: “Is it possible alien visitors to Earth taught human beings the Macarena in the ancient past? Some ancient aliens theorists believe they did.”

    Cut to crazy-hair Jon, seated in an armchair, overly excited.

    Crazy-Hair Jon: “Of course they did! There is no other explanation!”

  67. Gene: Oh well, I waited too long. Thanks for looking.

    Dredd: Okay, I will repeat.

    Dredd says: I detect a lot of religious bias in you.

    Don’t accuse me of the crime you commit. You are the one that insists upon seeing cognition, thought, intent or decisions where none exists.

    As I said before, and you acknowledged, evolution is not cognition. Evolution solves “problems” without ever comprehending any “problem” or any intent to solve one.

    It is a mistake when scientists say (as they sometimes do) that biological features or organs evolved to “solve” a problem, they did not.

    The skin does solve a problem, pupil dilation and contraction in the eye does not solve a problem, the curvature of the retina does not solve a problem, the entire eye itself does not solve a problem. The skeleton, hand, or lungs do not, either.

    The “problems” are only perceived by us, in retrospect, with our hindsight and value judgment of possible imaginary alternative outcomes. It is humans that see one arrangement works better than another, and deems a problem “solved.” But Evolution did not perceive a problem and invent a solution; what happened is an accident occurred and was automatically tested by reality and automatically retained by same; no understanding, intent, value judgment or decision was involved.

    Yet, the results of that random process, evolution, are frequently taken as evidence of actual cognition, intelligence and decision (by one or more supernatural beings).

    The same could be said for the universe; the existence of elements, compounds, stars and at least one planet that supports life. To the best of our knowledge it is the result of non-intelligent processes that self-organize and operate without any cognition or decision process whatsoever, yet many people (dare I say most people throughout human history) have fallen for the illusion that the complex and intricate universe and nature is the result of cognition, creative thought, intelligence and decision making where there has been none. The Book of Genesis is an example of this error; “let there be light” is a decision of an intelligence.

    Bacterial colonies are not cognitive. To prove they are to me, somebody will have to prove they make decisions and can make choices, that there is some evidence in their behavior of mental generalizations or models.

    Those actions do not require neurons, but they are different than just automatic responses to stimuli; and automatic responses to stimuli are all I think bacterial colonies can do.

    Like evolution, they do not “solve a problem”: The problem is perceived by a human, and humans tend to anthropomorphize: For example if they were in the situation of the bacteria and “wanted” to get to the next food source, what is the most efficient route? But bacteria don’t “want” that. They are stimulated into random movement by scarcity of nourishment, and the most successful are the ones that randomly choose the most efficient route. The fact that we see that as the solution to a problem, from our perspective, does not mean the bacterial colony ever perceived such a thing.

    A star (or large planet) is not a spherical construct because it is trying to solve a problem of minimizing the gravitational stress differentials involved in maintaining corners. It does not consider existing as a cube or cylinder before settling on the sphere. The star is not cognitively trying to solve any problem. Engineers and physicists might see sphericity or circularity as a “solution” to the problem of find a shape with the minimum surface area for a given density of matter, but that is their cognition, not the star’s.

    In my view, in order to solve a problem with cognition, one must

    A) perceive there is a “problem” in the form of an undesirable reality, which
    B) requires a perception of an alternative future reality (or multiple ones) that would be without the problem or undesirable feature,
    C) Understand some path from the current state to the future state;
    D) execute some sort of voluntary action, or series of them, intended to bring the current state into the future state, or at least put it on that imagined path; which is what we call
    E) “solving” the problem.

    There is no evidence that is happening in a bacterial colony.

    Jacobs, et al may be interpreting the actions of the colony as cognition, but I do not believe a bacterial colony is capable of perceiving a problem, or imagining a future without it, or planning voluntary acts, or even executing voluntary acts.

    I think a bacterial colony is as blind an operator as evolution itself, and any cognition or intelligence it has is just as much an illusion as believing the products of evolution or gravity are the works of an intelligent being. I think they are guilty of anthropomorphic projection, and haven’t proved anything.

    You say the bacteria in the cuttle-fish know when to light up. Do you think the bacteria have a choice? I have security lights all around my house that are tuned to light up if anything larger than a cat gets within twenty feet of my house. But they have no choice, and I do not consider that “cognition.”

    If there is no choice or intent to bring about a different future, whatever is happening (in evolution or stars or a bacterial colony) is not cognition or solving a problem. We solve problems by taking intentional and voluntary actions to bring our imagined and desired future states to pass.

    I do not believe a bacterial colony can do that, I do not think any choice is involved. Which makes it as mechanistic as a calculator or evolution itself; capable of producing the illusion of intelligent problem perception and problem solving without doing either.

  68. Gene: Thanks! (Hm, looks like I was typing pretty fast there…)

    Corrections: I meant the skin does NOT solve a problem.
    Bolding was just for voluntary, and later for illusion.

    Anything a bacterial colony does, that looks like intelligence or problem solving, is just as much an illusion of intelligence and problem solving as that generated by evolution or the physics behind the formation of galaxies, solar systems, our planet and other natural phenomena.

Comments are closed.