Sunday, August 31, 2014

Trying To Think Like A Bacterium Is Less Problematic Than Saying They Are Not Conscious

Life under the microscope
I wonder how those critters cope,
One minute you're flippin' your flagella,
The next you're devoured by a vorticella,
From their size I must look as big as a whale
I don't think I'd like life at their scale
Ignorance is bliss but the fact remains,
They're too tiny to have brains

John Acorn "The Nature Nut"

Someone objected to me using the phototaxis in bacteria as a possible specimen of behavior indicating consciousness due to the fact that they don't have brains.

Well, I don't know.  I hadn't thought of it until reading that objection but  the fact is those bacteria that alter the movement of their flagella are responding to light in order to move towards it,  clearly reacting in an intentional manner to definite external stimulation.  There is something happening "in" the bacteria.  You would have to explain that on some other basis than consciousness of their environment. You have an even bigger problem dismissing observable behavior in the act of one-celled animals consuming others that they find in their environment as being possible with a lack of consciousness.

You merely point out that the thing "in" the bacteria that you hold would needed for consciousness - AND ACCORDING TO WILSON'S ARTICLE THE "THING" HE PROPOSES WAS THE PHYSICAL LOCUS OF THE "EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS" and so an essential component of it, isn't there.

Perhaps this shows in a manner far more concrete than the materialists have produced that you don't need a brain for consciousness to exist and, if you can't locate a physical locus of bacterial consciousness, in the one and only cell you'd need to find it in, that consciousness isn't the product of the physical body.  

Unfortunately, we can't ask bacteria what they think about that idea anymore than we can ask a tunicate or a  bonobo or our Homo habilis ancestors about their experience of consciousness, either.  Though we can pretend that we can know that if we want to push an agenda outside of rigorous scientific practice.

Note:  Yeah, I broke Sabbath by going back to fiddle with  the third part of this series when I unintentionally published it instead of pressing the "Save" button.  You'll notice I hadn't even come up with a title yet.  Obviously it needs more work but I'll leave that up.  

I noticed I'd already done that when I came back to work on this, which I'd intended to post Tuesday.   As penance I'll post it now and I'll have to work harder to write the rest of this series to post daily

1 comment:

  1. What about plants that follow the sun?

    Or open and close in response to sunlight?

    Consciousness? Why, or why not? Maybe we need to define "consciousness." And here come those pesky philosophers again.....