How smart are insects?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Xmo1, Apr 29, 2017.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    But that would not be a equivocation, even though we use the term half-life for inert objects.
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    What does the evolution of complex behavior have to do with anything?

    That's kind my point. The thread is about intelligence.

    No, we don't.

    You're confusing two unrelated things again.
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    The gradual refinement of survival techniques
    Correct, but the specific focus was on the development of technology
    Now you are deflecting. You are playing semantics with the term "inert".

    OK, I'll modify that statement.
    If you can assign the word half-life as a metaphor for a probabilistic decay measurement of non-living objects, I can use the term bio-technology as a metaphor for the acquired functional abilities of a living organism.

    As I said, it is a matter of perspective.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    No, I am using it correctly. You are mangling it.

    Inert does not mean radioactive, and it does not mean it has a half-life. It means the opposite.

    You're bordering on word salad here - the mere mention of a word such as 'inert', causes you to experience a cascade of associations: inert > matter > elements > heavy elements > radioactive > half-life.

    Here's another one:
    white > yellow > green > blue > black
    I've just shown that - from the right perspective - white is actually black.

    That's word salad.

    If you want to have a conversation about the fluidity of words, be my guest, but it is not furthering this thread. The goal here is to clarify, by getting particular about words and meanings, not to obfuscate by mashing up definitions and associations.

    Again, your free interpretation of the term 'technology', if accepted, would likely lead to a false positive sign of intelligence in this thread. Exactly what we don't want.
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Oh, you can invent any terms you want. Who's to stop you? But it will interfere having meaningful conversations, since the people you talk to already know what technology means. Inventing new definitions for existing words is counter-productive.

    And meaningful conversations need to agree on a topic. This topic is about intelligence.

    The "acquired functional abilities" of living organisms such as cuttlefish are unrelated to intelligence, but are instead, derived from evolution.

    So, you're having a very different conversation than the rest of us. Rules require you to start your own thread, rather than derail an existing one.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    No it is not. It is about being smart. The rules require the OP question to be posited clearly and unambiguously .
    But the OP title is; how "smart" are insects. You are using the most obscure definition of the many definitions of smart, as if it were clearly defined as "being intelligent"
    Having survived a few hundred million years, one can say that insects meet many of the definitions of being "smart".
    Perhaps you should start a new thread; are insects intelligent?

    The simple answer to that is; NO
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Why don't you offer the definition that suits you, then you are perfectly free to substitute smart for intelligent in all posts. It changes nothing.

    Cuttlefish camouflage is not smart or intelligent; it is simply evolutionary selection for survival.
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    First, how do you know that? They are able to solve complex problems and learn from experience. By any standard, that qualifies as a form of intelligence, given it's environment in which it evolved.
    Second, is the development of the hominid (and many other animals) brain an evolutionary selection for survival?

    I believe you said that you don't have access to extended presentations by scientists. On what basis do you conclude cuttlefish are not intelligent or smart. Take your pick.

    Note: that I do agree that insects are not intelligent individually, however hive insects display many behaviors, which may be considered as "consensus decisions" , such as deciding in which direction and distance a food source may be found., i.e. an internal sharing of information with the hive.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Because every single cuttlefish has the biological ability to do this. Not one single cuttlefish used its brain to figure out how to manipulate its colours.

    You are conflating two unrelated things we've been discussing: problem-solving with camouflage.

    A good question - one which I have pondered too. But has nothing to do with the topic.

    I made no statement about whether or not cuttlefish are intelligent (or smart).

    I stated that their camouflage is not itself intelligence. Their camouflage is a biological ability - they did not "figure it out".

    They can no more "decide" (let alone agree) that red stripes means "I like your tentacles" than humans can decide that loss of bladder control means "I like being around you."
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Obviously you have not watched the mating behavior of cuttlefish, where the female often selects the cleverest male, rather than the most impressive.
    And where the male circling the female switches colors of half its body, always displaying the "friendly" (non-threatening) colors side to the female and the "warning colors" to the outside from where other males try to get access to the female. Just like humans do.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    You speak cuttlefish? How do you know which is the "cleverest", or why she selects that one? You are anthropomorphising.

    Mating behaviors in all complex animals are highly ritualized and specific. And highly instinctual. They select for traits in mates because that is the evolutionary driver. With few exceptions, they all select the same way. It does not involve intelligence.

    Every cuttlefish is capable of this exact behavior. i.e. it is inherent, not something any cuttlefish has "figured out".

    Their ancestors have been doing it for millions of years; it is key to their survival. i.e. every cuttlefish is doing exactly what its ancestors, for generations, has done. They can't do otherwise. Not intelligence.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I have watched the behaviors on film. Have you?

    Just like people.
    Just like people.
    Just like people.
    Seems you are an advocate of human "Free Will" ?
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I have seen what are probably the same TV shows on cuttlefish as you, yes.

    TV shows are a big risk for anthropomorphism. No context except your eyes. Very easy to read intelligence into things if you're not careful.
    You start to think you know what an animal is doing and even why - when in fact, you are inadvertently imbuing them with human-like traits.

    I'm not sure if you think you're making a point by comparing these to people, but it's fallacious logic.

    The comparison regards one trait has nothing to do with implying some other trait.
    Cuttlefish have blood flowing through their veins ... just like people.
    Cuttlefish swim in the ocean. Just like people.

    What you're saying is tantamount to:

    Cuttlefish have complex mating behavior.
    Humans have complex mating behavior.
    Humans are intelligent.
    Therefore cuttlefish are intelligent.

    (Of course, the opposite can apply can't it?
    Cuttlefish are predators, just like jellyfish.
    Cuttlefish swim in the oceans, just like jellyfish.
    Therefore, by the associative logic of W4U, Cuttlefish are as dumb as jellyfish)

    Here's another syllogism comparable to yours:
    This ball and this block are both red. They are comparable. That means that the ball should have pointy corners too.

    This is absolutely dreadfully flawed thinking, and for your own safety I forbid you to keep thinking this way.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I am careful.
    No I don't. For one, humans cannot shape-shift at will.
    I never compared their intelligence to human intelligence, because that would be fallacious logic.
    But not red blood.
    And just like jelly fish (see below)
    Having evolved from slugs, oh yes, they are extraordinarily intelligent (smart).
    See above. Now you are losing it completely.

    Humans are not predatory? Moreover, whereas cuttlefish have completely adapted to their environment, humans are an invasive species destroying or altering the natural state of their environment, destroying the ecosystem and it's flora and fauna. Are you saying that is a smart (intelligent) thing to do?
    Now that is pure nonsense. I expect better from you.
    C'mon Dave, nowhere have I made any of the claims you attribute to me. In fact I specifically qualified my answer, placing then in a completely different environment than surface dwellers, such as humans. Of course they don't think like humans. They do not employ flawed thinking like you just did. Cuttlefish learn from their experience, a thing humans seem to be incapable of.

    But, relatively speaking, cuttlefish have the largest brain compared to body size than all other animals. They need this to in order to control their extraordinary neural network. That should at least qualify as being "smart".

    But you left the most important question unanswered: Do people have Free Will?
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Still missing the point. Watching instinctive cuttlefish behavior and thinking it's intelligence is anthropomorphism.

    We know its instinctive because it is species-wide. Every cuttlefish does the same thing. There aren't individual cuttlefish that decide "red means I like you". They all automatically flash red as a warning. They have done no problem-solving. No intelligence.

    You're seeing complex behavior and drawing conclusions that complex means intelligent.

    1] No, they did not. Jellyfish and slugs are not even the same phylum (slugs are phylum mollusca, jellyfish are phylum Cnidaria medusozoa). They are no more closely related to slugs than they are to butterflies.

    It would probably help you to start with getting mere facts about a subject straight before deigning to draw conclusions about said subject.

    Jellyfish are one of the least intelligent macrofauna on the planet. They are less intelligent than slugs.

    OK, so now you are questioning whether humans are intelligent. Stay on topic.

    Indeed it is. That was my point. That is what you were doing, in your non sequitur comparison of humans and cuttlefish when you kept saying "just like people". And you agree it's nonsense.

    Go back to your post 132 and examine why, when I point out some behavior as not intelligent, you respond with "just like people".

    It's as if your logic is:
    If cuttlefish do instinctive things that don't require intelligence.
    And Humans do instinctive things that don't require intelligence.
    Whereas humans are intelligent, it follows that cuttlefish must be too.

    If that is not your logic in post 132, then correct me.

    This is a complete non sequitur. Please stay on topic.

    I am mirroring your logic. And I concur, it's flawed. So my examples have served their purpose.

    You're getting lost.

    Let's be clear here, because you're kind of all over the map.

    The discussion was not whether cuttlefish are - in general - intelligent creatures. The discussion was whether the inherent biological ability to change their skin patterns was an intelligent act.

    Tell you what, if we ever hear of cuttlefish inventing new patterns with custom meanings, I'll concede that as a sign that the ability is intelligent.

    Start a new thread.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I am all over the map? None of what I posted is "tantamount" to the dreadfully flawed garbage you posted and then assigned to me.
    Nowhere did I introduce the jellyfish into the conversation, you did.

    I forbid you to do my thinking for me!
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    p.s. Dave said,
    This is a false compound quote constructed by you. I could file a complaint against you for this.

    I am done with this kind of Trumpian duplicity.

    I'll leave you with this information.

    Be well.
  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I see the problem. You're right; it was a false compound, but not by me.

    You are short-circuiting the quote feature, and the software is displaying it differently than your post. When I reply and quote your messages, this is what I get:

    Can you see how it has dropped the blocks that you're using, and concatenated all the text?

    Don't short circuit the quote process.

    This is what you should be doing:
    Not this:

    I'll take partial responsibility for not realizing that the software has corrupted what you wrote.
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Actually, 'taking responsibility' includes an apology.

    I apologize for incorrectly stating that you didn't know your Mollusca from your Medusozoa.

    I see that you did not mean that at all (you were comparing slugs to cuttlefish, not jellyfish).

    Hm. Makes me wonder how many other conversations went awry because of software corruption....

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  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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