Brain-Mind: Know Thyself!

Richard Norman rsnorman at mediaone.net
Mon Jun 25 13:13:32 EST 2001

"RoyBoy" <aphycho at usa.net> wrote in message
news:1BKZ6.115819$r7.15513690 at news1.busy1.on.home.com...
> maxwell:
> ***
> Quickly though, just one easy one from the page:
> "Are such protozoa more intelligent than neurons?
> Unquestionably-- *neurons* are not very intelligent. ;~)
> ***
> Well in one way I understand that...and another
> way I disagree.  I mean, a neuron is large collection
> of stuff...not sure on the processing power though.
> But on the other hand, a protozoon has complex
> behavior and is much bigger overall...I think, and is an
> all in one system. :')
> After all, a neuron is very small...and requires
> to be part of a system to do much.
> What is the size comparison between neuron
> and a small protozoon?
> However, a neuron is specialized...and is as
> dumb and useless by itself, as a single cog
> in a clock.

First, there really is no such thing as a "protozoan".  The
word describes a tremendously diverse subgroup of protists
that really don't have much in common including evolutionary
relatedness.  Do you mean a Plasmodium (malaria parasite)
or a radiolarian (these don't have much complex behavior) or
do you mean an Amoeba or a Paramecium (these do)?  Looking
at ribosomal RNA, there is far far more variability between
different protists than there is in all the animals plus all the
plants plus all the fungi combined.

Second, both protists and neurons can vary tremendously
in size with broad overlap.  The soma of either a neuron or
a protist can vary from a few micrometers to a hundred or
so micrometers -- perhaps five or six orders of magnitude
range in volume. The complexity in structure and activity
of each can also vary enormously, as do their capabilities
in reacting and responding to their environment (or their inputs).

Third, which is more intelligent -- your kidney or a cucumber?
Just because a group of words obeys the rules of syntax and
ends with a question mark, does it deserve an answer?

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