The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Seeds of the Planet of the Apes?

Dr. Daniel Hanus, a researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leizig, Germany, discovered that chimps are smart - similar to the crow featured in a 2000 year-old Aesop fable. The fable told of the crow what wanted a worm at the bottom of a pitcher. The crow discovered that if it dropped stones into the pitcher, the water level rose and the worm could be retrieved. Hanus observed the chimp taking water into its mouth and then spitting it into a tube to float a peanut to the top. Hanus said his study chimps' ability to solve problems.

Which begs the question: "What is intelligence?"

I think the invention of the bow and arrow best illustrates the emergence of human intelligence. It required a recognition of a problem (how to more safely hunt), the properties of wood and string (euphemism for animal tendon), tool use, and the ability to combine these to create a new technology.

But today, I think we have lost sight of what intelligence is. Today, we seem to think knowledge is intelligence. Certainly they are related but they are not synonymous. I know many people with a lot of knowledge that I would not call very intelligent. And I have known many people that I considered intelligent even though they did not have a lot of knowledge.

Obviously, we are easily impressed by knowledge. We are also impressed by the appearance of knowledge and confuse that, too, with intelligence.

I would be impressed by Dr. Hanus' chimp only if I could be sure that the chimp was free of any assistance in learning that process. I can assume that was the case but I do not know it.

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