Thursday, May 31, 2007

Intelligent until proven otherwise.


Did you know there are different cultures in the Killer Whale species? They are genetically the same species but don't interbreed. The killer whales like Shamu at Sea World are from a fish eating culture; they would not even think of eating mammals. That is why it is perfectly safe for humans to swim along side of them. There are other cultures who are mammal eaters and hunt sea lions, porpoise, whales and probably would take a bite out of you . Their eating habits are not all that differ between the cultures. Their travel and recreational habits vary as do their proclivity to vocalize.

One is certainly on shaky ground when trying to draw conclusions from the behavior of animals. Its too easy to draw anthropomorphic conclusions about behavior that can be explained along simpler lines. However, I just watched a film showing a pack of killer whales hunt a gray whale calf. It took six hours to kill it. When they finally succeeded the whales barely ate the calf but seemed to celebrate the successful hunt. It was clearly a training exercise.

Many scientists and religious leaders alike refuse to attribute intelligence let alone consciousness or intentionality to anything non-human. I believe this philosophical stance is a hindrance to truly understanding these phenomenon. Rather, I propose we give every organism with a highly developed nervous system the benefit of the doubt and grant them intelligence (and dare I say a degree of consciousness) until proved otherwise.

2 comments:

Doug said...

It'd be great if you added links to think like anthropomorphic.
Plus add an RSS feed.

Doug said...

Let's try the link again anthropomorphic