Daniel Dennett and Michael Levin ask us to imagine that a model car has arrived and must be assembled according to instructions:
But then you spot a slip of paper that instructs you to put all the parts into a large kettle of water on the stove, heat the water to a low boil, and stir. You do this, and to your amazement the parts begin to join together into small and then larger assemblies, with tabs finding their slots, bolts finding their holes, and nuts spinning onto those bolts, all propelled by the random roiling of the boiling water. In a few hours, your model car is assembled and, when you dry it off, it runs smoothly. A preposterous fantasy, of course, but it echoes the ‘miracle’ of life that takes a DNA parts list and instruction book and, without any intelligent assembler’s help, composes a new organism with millions of moving parts, all correctly attached to each other.Daniel C. Dennett and Michael Levin, “Cognition all the way down” at Aeon
If even cars don’t get started by chance, why should we believe that life does?
The problem isn’t with their believing that cells feature lots of intelligence but with their effort to equate human and cellular intelligence. Human intelligence is something quite different.