View previous topic | View next topic

Drake's equation

Page 6 of 9
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9  Next

Tas
50924.  Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:13 pm Reply with quote

Tell you what, Dr B, we'll put you under water, in flippers and stuff, and see if YOU can avoid tuna nets.

:p

:-)

Tas

 
QI Individual
50943.  Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:49 pm Reply with quote

Considering what people manage to walk, run or drive into I wouldn't be pointing the finger at dolphins for not being able to avoid all obstacles.

 
dr.bob
51032.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:11 am Reply with quote

So you're saying that the dolphins that get caught up in tuna nets are only the ones who aren't paying enough attention to where they're going?

So, in fact, we're doing them a service. We're helping evolution by weeding out the stupid ones :)

<runs off to Tesco to buy a tin of tuna with added dolphin>

 
Tas
51038.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:35 am Reply with quote

Apparently Dolphin tastes awful. So, enjoy your tuna Dr B!

:-)

Tas

 
Gray
51040.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 7:24 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Gray wrote:
Dolphins can't possibly evolve intelligence like ours


They have obviously evolved intelligence considerably superior to ours.

Do they need to worry about clothing? Do they need to worry about shelter? Do they need to do anything other than swim about in the sea catching fish and mating? No to all of these.

And we think we're the smart ones!

You only need clothing if you're in an environment that you aren't pre-adapted to, i.e. non-tropical.

Likewise shelter.

Do we need to do anything other than wander the land eating fruit and chasing animals and mating? Not really.

But we can do other things, and that's the measure of our intelligence - we can survive in absolutely any environment - even space. We've designed underwater breathing aparatus that allows us to swim with dolphins. I don't see them doing very well on land.

Intelligence is about being able to adapt to the environment and various novel situations within your own lifetime, rather than letting evolution take millions of years to do it for 'you'.

It's be nice if intelligence were all about contentment, although I expect dolphins have their bad days as well...

 
QI Individual
51051.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:00 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
It's be nice if intelligence were all about contentment, although I expect dolphins have their bad days as well...

Like when you are unsuspectingly swimming along with your mates and were just saying "hey look at the hot tail on that cute little bottlenose...." and suddenly you find yourself entangled in this stupid net that some idiot left hanging about.....

That's what you get for not keeping your eyes where they should be.

 
QI Individual
51084.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:44 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
But we can do other things, and that's the measure of our intelligence - we can survive in absolutely any environment - even space. We've designed underwater breathing aparatus that allows us to swim with dolphins. I don't see them doing very well on land.

Intelligence is about being able to adapt to the environment and various novel situations within your own lifetime, rather than letting evolution take millions of years to do it for 'you'.

But we can only do that because evolution not only provided us with the intelligence but also with the instruments i.e. hands to allow us to do so. We wouldn't be able to adapt our environment to the degree we have without them. You only have to look at people who have lost the use of their hands (or even one of them) to understand how much more difficult it would be to do so without hands. So if intelligence would evolve first in some alien evolution before (something like) hands would have been evolved it's interesting to speculate how they would use that intelligence without the means to develop a human-like technological society or any other heavily adapted environment.

You could even argue that intelligence might not have evolved to the point it has in humans if we wouldn't have had hands already. The evolutionary benefit of our level of intelligence in a four-legged animal could well be overkill and such an animal might not have a significantly better chance of survival than other individuals of it's species with a much lower level of intelligence. Maybe a significantly greater level of intelligence has evolved before in the evolutionary process on earth but has disappeared again because the animals couldn't put it to sufficient use to make a significant difference in survival. After all it would have come at a price. It would need a bigger brain which uses more energy and might have come in a skull that provided less protection than the preceding one. Only when intelligence emerged in an animal with hands it offered an advantage that could be used to it's full potential. In that situation an ever increasing intelligence would give an ever increasing chance of survival and so intelligence evolved to the level it did.

Interesting thought.

If it would have happened this way would we be able to find (fossil) evidence of it?

 
Tas
51093.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:02 am Reply with quote

It does not have to be dependent on hands. I think it is a definite advantage to creatures with manipulatory organs. Octopi are pretty smart. They can unscrew jars containing food, and other assorted experiments have shown their intelligence, too...or am I perpetuating another urban myth?

*Awaits Klaxons*

:-)

Tas

 
QI Individual
51103.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:21 am Reply with quote

From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Octopuses are highly intelligent, probably the most intelligent of any of the invertebrates, with their intelligence supposedly comparable to that of the average housecat. Maze and problem-solving experiments show that they have both short- and long-term memory, although their short lifespans limit the amount they can ultimately learn.

An octopus has a highly complex nervous system, only part of which is localized in its brain. Two-thirds of an octopus's neurons are found in the nerve cords of its arms, which have a remarkable amount of autonomy. Octopus arms show a wide variety of complex reflex actions arising on at least three different levels of the nervous system. Some octopuses, such as the mimic octopus, will move their arms in ways that emulate the movements of other sea creatures.

In laboratory experiments, octopuses can be readily trained to distinguish between different shapes and patterns. They are able to open jars after learning from observation.[1] Octopuses have also been observed in what may be described as play; repeatedly releasing bottles or toys into a circular current in their aquariums and then catching them. Octopuses often break out of their aquariums and sometimes into others in search of food. They have even boarded fishing ships and opened holds to eat crabs.

In many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, octopuses are on the list of experimental animals on which surgery may not be performed without anesthesia.

 
dr.bob
51105.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:29 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
It's be nice if intelligence were all about contentment, although I expect dolphins have their bad days as well...


Even if intelligence is about contentment, I think I'm a lot more content in my centrally heated house with double glazing, running hot and cold water, and a range of electronic entertainment devices than I would be living in a cave with a big fire to try and keep away the wild carnivores.

Intelligence is such a vague concept it's very hard to measure, so it tends to nark me when people claim that dolphins are "as intelligent as humans, it's just that they don't feel the need to develop silly things like technology". It sounds about as daft as the anthropomorphism of other animals such as dogs and cats ("yes, I swear he can understand every word I say")

 
QI Individual
51109.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:35 am Reply with quote

Wikipedia has a nice little article on Animal Intelligence.

 
Tas
51132.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:15 am Reply with quote

Quote:
It sounds about as daft as the anthropomorphism of other animals such as dogs and cats ("yes, I swear he can understand every word I say")


But Georgie (The cat that owns Mrs Tas and I) does....he tells me so!

:-)

Tas

 
Quaintly Ignorant
51183.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 11:56 am Reply with quote

It's fine if your cat listens to you but if you begin to hear it replying it becomes a problem.

Having said that, communication happens on several levels.

 
bobofel
51400.  Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:44 am Reply with quote

Quaintly Ignorant wrote:
It's fine if your cat listens to you but if you begin to hear it replying it becomes a problem.

Having said that, communication happens on several levels.


such as the classic claw to the leg meanin 'feed me/give me a drink/stroke me/let me out/let me in/let him in/play with me/anything else a cat does or soesn't want'

 
Gray
51446.  Wed Feb 15, 2006 10:38 am Reply with quote

Quote:
But we can only do that because evolution not only provided us with the intelligence but also with the instruments i.e. hands to allow us to do so. We wouldn't be able to adapt our environment to the degree we have without them.

No, that's exactly the wrong way around. The intelligence is the adaptation, and it was co-evolutionary with hands and tools. Just like domestication (a cultural trend) is co-evolutionary with our genetic mutation that allows us Northern races to digest cow's milk, hands and tools went (amusingly) hand in hand with intelligence.

When talking about intelligence, hands and tools, it's not as simple as saying that one caused the other, they are all mutually propagating in the total benefit they give to an organism. There are more replicators than genes kicking around in us...

A much more brilliant treatment of this than I can muster is given by Jared Diamond in two of his books: The Third Chimpanzee and Guns, Germs and Steel. Carl Sagan has a very enjoyable bash at it as well in The Dragons of Eden.

 

Page 6 of 9
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group