The Place of Reason in Botanical Life

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The Place of Reason in Botanical Life

Postby John » Fri 12 Feb 2016 4:33 pm

I think there is little cause to believe that only animal life can reason or that evolution is a principally chance phenomenon.

It is plain for example that life acts in response to chemical signals as well as intellectually perceived information. In plant life and primitive animal life, conscious intelligence is either absent or too limited to have an active role in spurring either action or evolution.

It is obvious that, leaving aside conscious reasoning, our bodies function largely in response to electrical and chemical signals to managing our systems. In thinking about this, it is apparent that as no consciously intelligent input is being made, these responses must be controlled and selected via some logical automatic chemical system.

Logic can only arise in response to 'What Actually Is'. In standard mathematics, the use of numbers only makes sense when they are applied with 'mathematical logic'. Each number, 0 - 9 has a fixed value where, for example 2 plus 2 equals precisely 4, neither more nor less. This discloses a fascinating logic where any one set of numbers added together can produce only one result. However, if other parameters are introduced, a multiplicity of results will arise! There is virtually no limit to the parameters that can be introduced. All these will obey similar mathematical logic.

Mathematics are an invention and results can be achieved that have no place in reality. This example is very useful as by analogy this particular logic can illustrate the reaction of any one chemical with another, but unlike mathematics, these reactions can only be 'real'.

This being so, the presence in nature of their differing qualities, creates in each instance an absolute logic controlling their behaviour and reactions, one to the other. The influence of 'outside' forces acting as parameters much as in the mathematical example, but only in physically possible ways.

Many botanists maintain that vegetable life has no real sense of 'awareness' and that evolutionary advances are the result of fortunate chance mutations developed over huge periods of time. As in the case of conscious life forms, I reject this conclusion. On the contrary, every life form develops an internal logic that controls its behaviour and its future capacity to change.

A particular life form exists and functions strictly according to its construction. It can neither do nor add anything that the construction doesn't presently allow. It may, probably does, accept a series of tiny mutations over time that actually extend its range of acceptability slightly, thus creating permission for a further range of mutations.

Every life form, beyond the most primitive initial construction, does by reason of its makeup, create automatically a 'logic' that absolutely controls what changes can or cannot come about. The working of this logic is the main force responsible for evolution. Some changes in genetic systems are responsible for deviations, sometimes of such major significance they generate species evolution, though this latter function seems to require a major change in DNA coding.

Such drastic remodelling of genes may not be possible by the accepted, simple slowly, slowly, model of evolution, which very slowness can explain why only peripheral changes are made over generations. Such major genetic changes are produced as a result of interference by forces unleashed in catastrophic natural events. At least one of these 'forces' actually moves the existing coding around and, if lucky, allows the emergence of a new species. If unlucky the offspring of affected creatures will be abnormal and die or never form. These events account for species changes in sometimes only one generation. See Professor Trevor Palmer, Catastrophism, Neocatastrophism and Evolution (1994) for a fuller and largely innovative discussion of this effect.

This also suggests that for these changed outcomes to be successful, their passage may be aided, guided even, by stored information detailing genetic changes( posited but unused) at an earlier time. Thus there is sufficient pre-existing information to allow the intricate changes and processes entailed in a genetic leap. Without the information necessary to facilitate those probably quite new and intricate changes being already available the change would probably not be successfully completed.

There may be thousands of these parcels of information that become available but are currently not quite suitable for use. There can, logically, be no doubt that a gene or genes could store this information, as they already do so in recreating the life form of a progenitor. On this point, it seems likely that only the tiniest bits of such information, by reason of chemically automatic logical extension, is needed. Thus a few grains of information may act automatically to invoke millions more in terms of growth and structure, drastically reducing the volume of information needing to be actually stored.

In accepting that these effectively blind natural processes can , at each and every stage, be only of a very simple nature and that there is no outside guiding intelligence involved, I can see no other way in which such astonishingly complex structures can be formed. Nature demonstrates, at every investigation. that all complex organic structure is the result of a constant flow of many new, simple organic steps. The inevitably random nature of the appearing of such potential additions and the time gap between their actual individual genetic acceptance accounts for the sometimes colossal, even geologic, periods that may elapse. On the other hand, with already advanced organisms the time gap may be almost nil!

Remember, the actions of the responsible physical agents are completely automatic, but not truly blind. They conform absolutely to individual logic patterns created purely as a result of their independent existence!

On perhaps a purely chemical level, they have a sort of consciousness that we have yet to recognise.

For example: a bee lands on the petal of a particular kind of flower. The flower petal detects its presence via some chemical sensor. The petal folds over trapping the bee amidst a volume of pollen. At some later point, when the bee has covered itself in pollen trying to escape, the petal in response to another signal, releases the bee. Stage one of the pollination process is complete. Stage two is the same bee visiting a similar plant and thus automatically completing the act of pollination. This simple scenario is a highly complex series of intelligent actions that I posit cannot have been generated by a fortunate (however extended) series of chance events. It is a play (of many Acts) where each scene causes the function of chemical intelligence to automatically seek (and to write) the next.

This 'performance' is chemically understood by the plant, in much the same way as in human sexual congress the presence of sperm is understood by the reproductive organs. The fact that another bee (or even the same bee) will pollinate the original plant will be understood as a logically concomitant certainty. No conscious thought is necessary. There are, of course a multitude of factors that are engaged in these examples but the point should, I hope, be clear.

All thought is prompted by some chemical reaction or another. Conscious thought - reasoning - is a major step up from chemical reaction, but the conscious thought is always second in line. Even in fight or flight, our chemical reaction to an adrenalin surge in the form of fear is a virtually instant chemical response. We are terrified and then start consciously thinking about how we can survive. The main difference between a vegetable awareness and animal awareness as such seems be emotional reactions.

Vegetation cannot emulate animal emotion. Emotion requires a cell structure unavailable in plant life. This same cell structure allows truly independent movement only by animal life.

Whilst it is hard for us to recognise that there are possibly different bases for the establishment of chemical reasoning, I believe that only some function of this kind can explain the otherwise miraculous processes of evolution. I firmly believe that everything in nature is guided purely by natural events and that there is no, can be no supernatural explanation. Pure, blind chance, cannot itself create sophisticated and complex entities. Chance does not entail reason or logic. It has no rules and may well repeat itself endlessly.

John Kalber
6-9-15 ((slightly revised wording 12-2-16)
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue 25 Sep 2012 9:03 am

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