>How do you distinguish between instinct and intelligent behaviour?
>Humans learn instinctively; they do not consciously decide that they
>will be capable of learning something today, they just do it. My point
anything as a motivation. Humans sometimes consciously make
the attempt to learn for the sake of learning. It doesn't always work
all that well though.
>upon its situation; an ant will learn where to find a food source
>through scent and if the scent trail fades it will still know how to
>find its way there again,
Ants act almost purely instinctively, with pheromone based communication
and navigation. If an ant looses a trail it isn't likely to "remember" it
at all. It may re-discover the route by instinctive searching.
Your email address is at the University of Bristol. While I don't think
that your University has a formal Entomology department, you do have
more than one member on staff that has expertise in that area. I think the
name is Richard Wall. Ask him about ants learning dead reckoning navigation
a human might learn something more complex
but the principle is the same as are many of the motivations and actions
>rage on this group in response to that comment. :-) Learning is not
>necessarily a sign of intelligence; the animal in question must be
>rational (ie capable of applying acquired knowledge to its situation in
>reality) and this is a faculty all animals possess in order to survive;
>> intelligence, differences in intelligence are as real as differences in size.
>> A very small elephant is still much larger than a very large mouse. By the same
>> token, a very stupid human is much brighter than a very smart turtle.
>This last is certainly disputable; there are cases of stupid humans
>who appear incapable of learning or rational actions whereas most
>turtles are not.
learning that are not clinically profoundly retarded. I am not referring
to any organism that is deemed mentally defective.
>differing levels in different species; something is not 'intelligent'
>above some watermark and 'arational' below. Rather intelligence is a
>gradual development which, like other evolutionary adaptions, arises in
>response to a certain environment.
>To use your example of size, a large
>mouse is large and a large elephant is large, but they are not equal in
>size, and you cannot directly compare the two using a single 'size'
>large mouse may be every bit as large as a large elephant although in
>human terms a large elephant is big and a large mouse is small; this is
>merely superimposing a standard on those creatures which is of no
>relevance to them and in the same way judging other species by our
>particular type of intelligence is somewhat blinkered; note that this is
Actually, there is nothing anthropomorphic about applying an evaluation
to an organism's problem solving abilities.
>would indeed be a particular point on some imaginary scale, but there is
>no such scale by which intelligence can be measured. It can be thought
>of in evolutionary terms; an animal which evolved millions of years ago
>and has remined relatively unchanged due to its highly effective
>adaptions to its environment is more efficiently evolved than a species which
>evolved much later but has not adapted as well to its environment,
>although many people would contest that the newer species is more
>'highly' evolved, this is an arbitrary human distinction based on age
>(thinking that younger = better because humans evolved recently, for
>example; after all, originally we were all nice, compact single-celled
>things, and nowadays many more cells are required to store the
>information to run one living organism, which also requires energy
>gathered from sources external to itself; perhaps evolution is simply
>entropy and the earliest forms of life were in fact the pinnacle of a
>process which has been falling further into decay ever since - not
>that I believe it). Similarly, a creature with a very high intelligence
>of a particular type might seem to a human to have a fairly low
>intelligence because the type of intelligence it possesses is not
>recognised by humans and a comparison between two species based upoin
>one of those species' interpretation of inrtelligence is misleading in
Come on, is this your freshman debate project?
>> By the same token some instinctual behaviors are so strong that they cause
>> something to display an act that seems incredibly stupid under some
>> individual circumstance, but the law of averages makes the behavior
>> successful on a species wide basis. There are striking examples of this
>> even among humans.
>That is because, in this case, we are back to 'levels' rather than
>types; humans can all be assumed to possess the same type of
>intelligence, and so attributing a scale pf intelligence to them is
I've taken the Mensa exam, and the test is for intelligence in several
types of problem solving, not merely memory, analytical, or any other.
Any test of raw intelligence isn't going to focus on some narrow type or
style of problem solving.
>in accordance with different evolutionary situations. As with the size
>example, a human can be tall or short for a human, but using the word
>'tall' to describe both a human and a giraffe would be misleading.
I should say this.
I don't think that you should let me or anyone else interpret the evidence for you,
You sound capable of interpreting it yourself. You also may have the resources to
Forget what I have said.
Forget what anyone else has said.
Forget what you have read (conclusions that is).
Find the research done on the problem solving skills of human and non-human species.
A good researcher will differentiate between conditioned learning, learning by discovery,
and insightful actions.
I am guessing that you will find that some species, or to simplify, some phyla
will display consistently better results than others on just about all tests.
You wont find that any group of say, lobster test more intelligent than any
group of orangutans.
Cite 5 studies and prove me wrong.
Just remember, compared to turtles snakes is dumb as rocks.