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In short, not really. Intelligence is a poorly developed concept that tends to morph in meaning depending on what someone wants it to mean. So as an attempt to not make this into a completely semantic argument, what do you mean when you say intelligence?

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IQ just means intelligence quotient, it's a score from a quiz that is supposed to measure general intelligence. If animals took it they would probably get a zero because they can't read.

 

[edit] What I was getting at is that you are defining intelligence by using the term intelligence, it doesn't make sense.[/edit]

Edited by Ringer
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Can we measure the intelligence of animals very accurately? If so, do we do so and what kind of results do we get?

 

 

We can measure behaviors of animals and some of these behaviors appear to be intelligent to us. There are so many variables it's difficult to compare one humans intelligence against another via methods like IQ much less an animals intelligence. .

 

We often use tests like, letting a chimp watch another chimp solve a problem and seeing if the chimp that watches gets the test right faster than chimps that did not see the problem solved.

 

I think it's interesting to note that while chimps require many years to learn behaviors from other chimps and are hard wired to do so due to the group mentality some animals can learn directly from others and not only do not socialize with other members of their species they only live a couple years at most to accumulate experiences and yet score very high on intelligence tests. The common octopus is an example of this, in some ways it would be like a human with no knowledge of other humans or technology of any type discovering fire independently...

 

Intelligence is one of those things that is hard to measure but we seem to know it when we see it...

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Intelligence is one of those things that is hard to measure but we seem to know it when we see it...

 

Sure. Almost everyone will agree that we build giant air conditioned cities and have agriculture because we're geniuses but termites who do the same thing have no real intelligence; just ask them. Man transforms large areas to make more habitat for himself and this is evidence of huge intelligence but when a beaver does it, it's mere instinct.

 

We only see things things that look like human intelligence and we mistake technology and other manifestations of language for that intelligence. I might agree humans were pretty smart to get a complicated language to pass learning down through time but this was probably just a fortuitous mutation. I might agree that having an opposable thumb to make language valuable was pretty smart but this is the way nature plays around with species and language would be of highly limited value to worms.

 

How are we supposed to recognize true intelligence in other species if we don't understand them? I'd wager most individual animals exposed to humans believe we are more like a force of nature than intelligent beings. We exhibit almost no bird intelligence of any sort so they consider us rather stupid (though they may be jealous of our ability to build nests). They probably consider this nest building little more than instinct. Obviously birds don't spend a lot of time "considering" too much of anything because they have more presssing things on their minds (like trying to avoid flying into our nest windows)(they're hard ya' know).

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Sure. Almost everyone will agree that we build giant air conditioned cities and have agriculture because we're geniuses but termites who do the same thing have no real intelligence; just ask them. Man transforms large areas to make more habitat for himself and this is evidence of huge intelligence but when a beaver does it, it's mere instinct.

 

This is a false analogy, take a beaver embryo raise it away from any other beavers, let it loose in a creek and it will build a damn, they do not have to learn to build damns, termites are the same way, they do it with no contact with other termites and their behaviors are limited to what they are born with.

 

We only see things things that look like human intelligence and we mistake technology and other manifestations of language for that intelligence. I might agree humans were pretty smart to get a complicated language to pass learning down through time but this was probably just a fortuitous mutation. I might agree that having an opposable thumb to make language valuable was pretty smart but this is the way nature plays around with species and language would be of highly limited value to worms.

 

This makes no sense, a human raised in the total absence of other humans would not be intelligent by your system and could not naturally do much more than throw rocks. Whales have huge complex brains, a complex social system, and they pass down culture. Would you deny them their intelligence? They have no use for technology any more than a worm does...

 

How are we supposed to recognize true intelligence in other species if we don't understand them? I'd wager most individual animals exposed to humans believe we are more like a force of nature than intelligent beings. We exhibit almost no bird intelligence of any sort so they consider us rather stupid (though they may be jealous of our ability to build nests). They probably consider this nest building little more than instinct. Obviously birds don't spend a lot of time "considering" too much of anything because they have more presssing things on their minds (like trying to avoid flying into our nest windows)(they're hard ya' know).

 

 

Some birds use tools, have language and pass down both knowledge and culture to their off spring, your statement is trivially falsified...

Edited by Moontanman
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Well at least for mammals we can get some kind of accurate sense by seeing how fast they accomplish a task or what they can remember and how much they can keep track of, this works partly for other animal kingdoms as well but they have different enough brains where we can't get accurate results, but I know we can measure some non-mammal animal counting abilities. Birds for instance can have an emotional capacity comparable to teenage humans, however the only math we can really see them doing is keeping track of how many twigs they use to build a nest or figuring out which flight paths to take or ect, which we still haven't nailed down exactly.

Edited by SamBridge
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This is a false analogy, take a beaver embryo raise it away from any other beavers, let it loose in a creek and it will build a damn, they do not have to learn to build damns, termites are the same way, they do it with no contact with other termites and their behaviors are limited to what they are born with.

 

I'm apparently failing miserably at what I'm trying to say. Let me try one last time.

 

You can't measure a beaver's intelligence by letting him sharpen a #2 pencil and see how he scores on the SAT.

 

In order to measure the intelligence of any animal you have to have to understand that specie's metaphysics. You have to be fluent in its language just to differentiate instinct from intelligence. You have to determine if isolated populations are representative of that species.

 

We can't do any of this. Most animals can learn more words in English than a human can learn of its language. How can we even guess at its metaphysics without a near total understanding of its diet, "child" rearing, predators, etc, etc, etc.

 

I'd wager one of the reasons we don't understand animal languages is that we don't realize they are natural languages like computer code. I'd wager most individual animals familiar with humans doubt we are intelligent. They know we communicate but they can't see much intelligence otherwise.

 

Humans are in the habit of ascribing all animal behavior to instinct. Perhaps deducing the best place to find early worms in birds is primarily intelligence in a metaphysics we don't comprehend. We can't measure intelligence in people for many of these same reasons; we're all different. No one is more different to other people than your average robin.

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I'm apparently failing miserably at what I'm trying to say. Let me try one last time.

 

You can't measure a beaver's intelligence by letting him sharpen a #2 pencil and see how he scores on the SAT.

 

I never suggested you could...

 

In order to measure the intelligence of any animal you have to have to understand that specie's metaphysics. You have to be fluent in its language just to differentiate instinct from intelligence. You have to determine if isolated populations are representative of that species.

 

Metaphysics?

 

We can't do any of this. Most animals can learn more words in English than a human can learn of its language. How can we even guess at its metaphysics without a near total understanding of its diet, "child" rearing, predators, etc, etc, etc.

 

Again, metaphysics?

 

I'd wager one of the reasons we don't understand animal languages is that we don't realize they are natural languages like computer code. I'd wager most individual animals familiar with humans doubt we are intelligent. They know we communicate but they can't see much intelligence otherwise.

 

I'm not sure what you are getting at here, but Dolphins realize we can manipulates objects enough to actually come to divers for help when tangled in nets... My dog come to me with help when he has a bone stuck in his mouth.

 

 

 

 

Humans are in the habit of ascribing all animal behavior to instinct. Perhaps deducing the best place to find early worms in birds is primarily intelligence in a metaphysics we don't comprehend. We can't measure intelligence in people for many of these same reasons; we're all different. No one is more different to other people than your average robin.

 

I agree that we define intelligence and our definition cannot really be used to describe intelligence in non human animals but the metaphysics part puzzles me...

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You can't measure a beaver's intelligence by letting him sharpen a #2 pencil and see how he scores on the SAT.

 

In order to measure the intelligence of any animal you have to have to understand that specie's metaphysics. You have to be fluent in its language just to differentiate instinct from intelligence. You have to determine if isolated populations are representative of that species.

Other species don't have language as we define it. They communicate but languages have a strict definition. You also can't say that language = intelligence because people with damage to Broca and Wernicke's areas still have problem solving abilities independent of language.

We can't do any of this. Most animals can learn more words in English than a human can learn of its language. How can we even guess at its metaphysics without a near total understanding of its diet, "child" rearing, predators, etc, etc, etc.

Give one example animals learning more words than a human in their language.

I'd wager one of the reasons we don't understand animal languages is that we don't realize they are natural languages like computer code. I'd wager most individual animals familiar with humans doubt we are intelligent. They know we communicate but they can't see much intelligence otherwise.

Computer code is not a black box. People solve codes and crypts all the time, that's not the problem. Intelligence isn't dependent on language, unless you define intelligence as linguistic ability.

Humans are in the habit of ascribing all animal behavior to instinct. Perhaps deducing the best place to find early worms in birds is primarily intelligence in a metaphysics we don't comprehend. We can't measure intelligence in people for many of these same reasons; we're all different. No one is more different to other people than your average robin.

This is a science forum so what most people do isn't really relevant. We know that many animals have a vast array of learning abilities as well as concepts of self vs. others. They can plan ahead, the can play tricks, lie, cheat, etc.

 

This all goes back to a need to clearly define intelligence before a meaningful discussion can begin.

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I agree that we define intelligence and our definition cannot really be used to describe intelligence in non human animals but the metaphysics part puzzles me...

 

In order to understand animal intelligence we have to know how the species and the specific individual organizes knowledge. We'd have to know how it understands its knowledge and acquires that knowledge. Intelligence is the alacrity with which we manipulate knowledge and the organization and acquisition of knowledge is metaphysics.

 

To understand an animal we would have to know what it means to be that animal, and that individual, though this second part is much "easier".

 

Other species don't have language as we define it. They communicate but languages have a strict definition. You also can't say that language = intelligence because people with damage to Broca and Wernicke's areas still have problem solving abilities independent of language.

 

I never said that intelligence and language is the same thing. I said people are mistaking language for intelligence.

 

 

Give one example animals learning more words than a human in their language.Computer code is not a black box. People solve codes and crypts all the time, that's not the problem.

 

Computer code is a black box if you don't know it's computer code

 

The software isn't really working at all for me any longer and I spend more time trying to defeat it thamn posting.

 

I might be a little scarce for a while.

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In order to understand animal intelligence we have to know how the species and the specific individual organizes knowledge. We'd have to know how it understands its knowledge and acquires that knowledge. Intelligence is the alacrity with which we manipulate knowledge and the organization and acquisition of knowledge is metaphysics.

What? How is that metaphysics? It's a branch of psychology and biology (also sometimes linguistics but that's more about lexical strategies), not metaphysics.

To understand an animal we would have to know what it means to be that animal, and that individual, though this second part is much "easier".

Why? What it 'means' to be any organism is irrelevant on explanations of their abilities.

I never said that intelligence and language is the same thing. I said people are mistaking language for intelligence.

You were saying that you had to understand the organisms language to understand its intelligence. That implies one has to have a language to have intelligence.

Computer code is a black box if you don't know it's computer code

It doesn't matter what kind of code it is, watch it used for long periods and it can be cracked/decrypted. You still didn't give me an example of your word learning animal.
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I don't get how we can associate language with intelligence. We belive that whales have got the most complex language. But english is comparatively a very easy language. I suppose that only proves humans' intelligence to communicate all the expressions they mean to with so simple a language.

 

As to the exact definition of intelligence, we can conclude intelligence for other animals by the size and density of their brain (if they have one). Please correct me if I am wrong.

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What? How is that metaphysics? It's a branch of psychology and biology (also sometimes linguistics but that's more about lexical strategies), not metaphysics.

Why? What it 'means' to be any organism is irrelevant on explanations of their abilities.You were saying that you had to understand the organisms language to understand its intelligence. That implies one has to have a language to have intelligence.It doesn't matter what kind of code it is, watch it used for long periods and it can be cracked/decrypted. You still didn't give me an example of your word learning animal.

 

You're assuming that there is only one way to think and gain knowledge. The very fact that each species is different and we can communicate with none of them precludes such an assumption. We don't understand the behaviors probably except in human terms. A goose that "grieves" over its mate might not be experiencing the same things a human does and it might not involve "emotions" per se. How are we supppoesd to ask it if we can'ty understand what it means to be a goose, much less a goose that has lost its mate.

 

Why do people assume everything is so simple and everything can be measured when simple opbservation shows this is never the case. If we can't measure or define intelligence in humans then doing it in animals is like trying to calculate how how "cheery" the day is.

 

I don't get how we can associate language with intelligence. We belive that whales have got the most complex language. But english is comparatively a very easy language. I suppose that only proves humans' intelligence to communicate all the expressions they mean to with so simple a language.

 

As to the exact definition of intelligence, we can conclude intelligence for other animals by the size and density of their brain (if they have one). Please correct me if I am wrong.

 

I don't believe "intelligence" exists within the brain. The brain can't even exist outside the body.

 

I do not agree with any of your premises stated or implied here.

 

In order to communicate we need terms that have referents in the real world. We need scaling reflextive of the real world. Intelligence must be defined such that those who behave in ways that are more adaptive or more productive in specific situations scoer higher than those who don't or can't. This involves a very wide range of abilities and acuities. What applies well to one individual will not apply quite so well to another due to the wide interpretations of behaviors and the incredibly complex array of behaviors that are possible.

 

No human standard can possibly apply to other species. Human standrads far and away come closer to being able to measure dog intelligence but we can't factor in many aspects of canine "beliefs" that will grossly skew the results and make them look less "intelligent" than they are. Most of us can see dogs are intelligent though they are not very intelligent in comparison to wolves.

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I notice that intelligence remains to be defined in a useful manner despite repeated requests. This consequently makes much of this discussion basically pointless.

 

I've mentioned numerous parameters. I've also mentioned that there are hundreds of (measureable) parameters.

 

What is intelligence in one person isn't exactly the same thing as in another. The simplest definition might be "the ability to manipulate knowledge" but this would leave some very highly intelligent people scoring very low on a test.

 

In the concrete world simple answers are elusive.

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