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At Mind Matters News: Neuroscientist: Even viruses are intelligent in some sense

Feeling & Knowing by Antonio Damasio

Antonio Damasio says, in the excerpt from his new book, that — based on the evidence — we cannot deny viruses “some fraction” of intelligence:

Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio says that some sort of intelligence can also we credited to viruses, in an excerpt from his recent book, Feeling & Knowing (Penguin Random House, 2021):

News, “Neuroscientist: Even viruses are intelligent in some sense” at Mind Matters News

For what it is worth, people who study and work with viruses can compare their behavior to that of insects and animals. Here’s a sample from the last twenty-five years:

1998: Coronaviruses attract attention for their “intelligence:” “Researcher teases out secrets from surprisingly ‘intelligent’ viruses”: …

2021: We are told that “Adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 virus to the immune system not purely random”:

Research shows that the emergence of mutations in SARS-CoV-2 are not purely random. Rather, the virus has repair and adaptation mechanisms in its genome that can accelerate the occurrence of particularly dangerous mutations. In the light of these findings, it appears that the most effective strategies to combat the pandemic are those that aim to achieve the lowest possible incidence rates… Systems capable of solving problems with a higher rate of success than might be expected with random processes, can indeed be called ‘intelligent’, even if the virus is not actually ‘thinking’ or ‘planning’.

News, “Coronavirus: “intelligent” mutants” at Test Biotech (25 February 2021)

So… the problem-solving systems of the virus that causes COVID can be called “intelligent” even though the virus itself is not doing any thinking? That points to an intelligence underlying or within nature that the viruses did not themselves create…

Takehome: Researchers who study viruses, including the one that causes COVID, note similarities between viral strategies and those of insects and animals.

Panpsychism is not theism (the universe was created by God). At the same time, it is not materialism, which seeks to show either that consciousness does not really exist or that it is a state of matter. The implausibility of materialism has caused many scientists to lean more toward panpsychism.

The clash between panpsychism and materialism will make for an interesting watch.

You may also wish to read:

Neuroscientist: Nervous systems alone do not cause consciousness. Antonio Damasio, author of Feeling & Knowing (2021), points to the whole body as involved in consciousness. One-celled intelligence aside, it’s unclear how Antonio Damasio’s ladder of consciousness, built on self-balancing and death avoidance, gets us the human mind.

University of Chicago biochemist: All living cells are cognitive. James Shapiro’s recent paper points out, with examples, that bacteria meet the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of “cognitive.” Future debates over origins of intelligence, consciousness, etc., may mainly feature panpsychists vs. theists rather than materialists vs. theists.


Why do many scientists see cells as intelligent? Bacteria appear to show intelligent behavior. But what about individual cells in our bodies?

Seeds and fruits are also quasi-intelligent in the same way. They aren't independent living things and don't use or excrete energy, but they are constantly sensing their environment and waiting for the right conditions to ripen or sprout. Maybe intelligence, like energy, can be divided into potential and kinetic. polistra

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