Natures wonders: Crocodile tools (Introduction)

by dhw, Monday, December 09, 2013, 18:37 (2110 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You love to juggle with "that word information".
DAVID: Yes I do, because you seem to have a reluctance to view what is in the ant genome is information, and you can't or won't give me a source for it.

No-one knows the source of the information in the human genome either. You like to juggle with the word because it enables you to switch the focus from behaviour indicative of independent intelligence to the unknown source of ALL intelligence.

dhw: Here is my interpretation of the research. Ants learn either from experience or from their fellow ants how to trace food sources, and they pass this information on to other ants by teaching them. We humans do the same. No luck, no instinct, no copy-catting, no species consciousness, but simply the deliberate passing of information from one organism to another, which many of us would regard as a sign of intelligence.
DAVID: I'll accept your statement if you will accept mine that they operate from information in their genome in their brains. I do think that most of it is instinct, but I admit they can do some simple teaching guided by instinct.

We ALL operate from information in the genome in the brain, but we regard our human capacity for processing and using information, communicating it to others, cooperating with others, taking decisions etc. as an indication of independent intelligence. "Most of it" is not "all of it", and it's the non-instinctive part that constitutes intelligence.

dhw: If your question concerning the source of the "initial slug of information" relates to the mechanisms which give the ant its intelligence, the answer may possibly be your God [...] You readily accept observation and specialist research which shows crows, rats and dogs to be intelligent. Why do you unreservedly reject observation and specialist research that shows formic intelligence? As with birds, so with ants: "This means that bird brains can show us an alternative solution out of how intelligent behavior is produced with a different anatomy." (Lena Veit)
DAVID: Because I think it is mostly instinct just as bees dance to show where the pollen is hiding. Did they invent the dance or was it given to them? This is where I must say I don't know. God lets life figure it out or dabble?

"Mostly" again. So what is the rest? Life only exists in the form of living organisms, and so your last sentence should read: "God lets the living organisms figure it out or he dabbles?" (I'm glad you've omitted your other theory that the ants' teaching or the bees' dance was just one of the zillions of programmes God planted in the first living cells). "Figuring it out" demands intelligence.

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