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James Gould talking about bees (through a guest post at Olivia Judson‘s (did i mention that she is so hot in the last 15 minutes?)):

When a human decides whether to recommend a restaurant, taking into account its menus, the tastes of the friend being advised, the cost of the food, the distance to the establishment, the ambience of the dining room, the ease of parking and all the other factors that enter into such a decision, we have little hesitation in attributing conscious decision-making to the calculation. When a small frenetic creature enclosed in an exoskeleton and sprouting supernumerary legs and a sting performs an analogous integration of factors, however, our biases spur us to look for another explanation, different in kind.

Is it just me, or you can turn the same argument on it’s tail? Like, “there’s nothing more sophisticated in so-called conscious thought than there is in bee’s foraging”. I mean, not that bees can’t be awesome and stuff, but the comparison is double-edged.

And i also think it is a good point: we are not so clever. Sometimes we are clever, but 90% of our cleverness is more like display-of-cleverness (mainly for mating purposes, at that). Or in the old adage (no time to look up who said this) that there’s more difference between an average 19th century guy and Nietzsche than between the same average guy and a bee — maybe, but i am guessing the original saying was about a caveman.


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