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Dolphin brain, language, and intelligence

Ivo Kwee kwee at medphys.ucl.ac.uk
Tue Feb 2 06:42:00 EST 1999


Tim Tillman wrote:
> 
> << .....cut out ... >>>
>
> > Also, are you saying that communication is a
> >prerequisite to your definition of intellegence?
> 
> No.  Development of language may be indicative of intelligence.  It would be
> difficult to describe an individual human born without the necessary brain
> anatomy to utilize language in some fashion as intelligent.  Communication
> is a valuable ability.  But, I did not equate communication with language.
> 
> Microorganisms can communicate by chemical signals.  The pressence of these
> signals will induce the population to act in a certain way.   Inducing
> biolumenescence pathways and aggregation of slime mold individuals into
> reproductive structures come to mind.  This form of communication is not
> considered a language.  Languages are vocal or symbolic in some form, and
> allow the transfer of complex ideas.  Languages are not chemical.  Many
> animals communicate vocally.  Do we assign the vicious growling of a dog to
> language?  I think not.  Its communication goal is purely instinctive.  The
> dance of the honey bee can communicate the location of nectar.  But, this is
> not language.  This is the communication of a concrete fact, not complex
> ideas.  Great apes and humans can communicate complex ideas.
> 
> Tim

Maybe ultimately it _is_ the prime objective for "general communication"
to establish a link between brains. The most _direct_ way in chemical or
electrically such as in micro-organims. But chemical diffusion or
electrical conductivity is low in air, so animals "developed" sound and
language as a link between brains. 

This means that it is no good to say "having a language" is intelligent.
Micro-organisms don't need vocal language because they have better.
Language is prone to misinterpretation while chemical and electrical
signals (in some sense ...) are not.

Ivo



-- 
Ivo Kwee,
Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering,
University College London.

Office: 0171 - 209 6415		Fax:    0171 - 209 6269
Home:   0171 - 794 5243		E-mail: kwee at medphys.ucl.ac.uk




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