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Chippewa
SFN Regular

USA
1496 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2006 :  16:39:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Chippewa's Homepage Send Chippewa a Private Message
Two things I found annoying:
The narration sounds like it was written by a 12 year old. (Apologies to savvy 12 year olds - if you are one, you're in a minority,) and it was also stated that "keepers" - (a quaint term, as in kindly old zoo keepers,) "stayed up" to see why sharks were being killed. Well duh. Are they that uneducated? Octopuses can defend themselves. i.e. We put an octopus in the tank, now we have dead sharks. What's crushing them?

Diversity, independence, innovation and imagination are progressive concepts ultimately alien to the conservative mind.

"TAX AND SPEND" IS GOOD! (TAX: Wealthy corporations who won't go poor even after taxes. SPEND: On public works programs, education, the environment, improvements.)
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2006 :  17:03:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Chippewa
...it was also stated that "keepers" - (a quaint term, as in kindly old zoo keepers,) "stayed up" to see why sharks were being killed. Well duh. Are they that uneducated? Octopuses can defend themselves. i.e. We put an octopus in the tank, now we have dead sharks. What's crushing them?

I would think the suction cup marks on the dead shark would have been a tip off.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 08/30/2006 17:05:03
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2006 :  23:56:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
Half said:
quote:
the whole question of comparative animal intelligence and animal cognition is up in the air.



As a science yes. These things are difficult to quantify and measure.

But so is human intelligence.

There are now dozens of examples of animals passing on learned behaviors to their offspring. Even killer whales spend time teaching their young how to hunt.

Many animals can solve simple problems, beyond mimicry. How to open a latch, for example. I have seen an octopus, newly captured, work out how to open a fairly complex latch and escape back into the water.

Still, we should be wary of our tendency to anthropomorphise. (can I turn that word into a verb, and did I spell it right? hehe)


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2006 :  01:18:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
B. and Dude, you are both right. I don't deny anything about animal intelligence, except that it is (yet) measurable in any manner that can be quanitatively compared with other animals or humans. Clearly, as I pointed out, we all "know" some animals are smarter that others. But scientifically we are nowhere near able to measure these intelligences in any meaningful way. Especially since we cannot do so reliably for human intelligence (as you pointed out, Dude), the kind we think we know best. We're so ignorant that there may even be unsuspected animals more intelligent than ourselves sharing this planet, and the ones we now think of as intelligent may turn out to be the Forrest Gumps of nature. Essentially, I'm just saying that it's going to take some breakthroughs to make this field scientific.

I agree with B. that it appears that few of the traits early human had made us uniquely "intelligent." Language, tool-using, a theory of self, planning, all these seem to exist in other creatures. Perhaps it is more developed forms of each that separate us from the other animals? Language that can make rhythmic or rhyming tales to pass information through the generations. Quality stone tools that are multi-generation assets, that can outlive individuals, that and be copied. An ability (still not always used) to employ the theory of self to understand the needs and desires of other tribes, and to use these insights for diplomatic purposes. Planning ahead by leaving food and water caches along trails in times of plenty for future emergencies.

The very confluence in early humans of several of the "intelligent" traits (that we see separately in different animals) may have had a synergistic effect. But I'm just guessing, of course, something which is safer for a layman to do than it is for a scientist.

The wonderful part of all of this is that we will probably understand most of this eventually.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2006 :  12:18:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
That isn't how I see it HM. Quite a number of tasks have been recognized as being on a hierarchy of intelligence. For example, recognizing you are the person in the mirror. Low down on the scale but testable. Looking where an item was hidden. Looking where an item was hidden with different but comparable objects. So in one case the subject watches the item being put under a bucket. The next task is to find an item under a box that wasn't observed being hidden and so on.

How many words or numbers can be managed is another measure. There are many ways we can quantify intelligence. Teaching tasks to another was mentioned.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2006 :  15:01:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
It is certainly possible to take a measure of an animal's ability to perform certain tasks, to measure their problem solving capability (if any), and to measure how much they can learn via mimicry.

But there is no accepted heirarchy or list of tasks that we would agree on, that would determine intelligence based on the animal's ability to perform them.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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