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Author Topic:   Spiders are intelligent
molbiogirl
Member (Idle past 985 days)
Posts: 1909
From: MO
Joined: 06-06-2007


Message 121 of 147 (446999)
01-07-2008 6:17 PM
Reply to: Message 118 by nwr
01-07-2008 3:44 PM


Re: A bit OT, but ...
If you are really interested, a TED speaker gave a brilliant talk on cognition.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/125

Jeff Hawkins. Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience in Berkeley, California.

Sure. But it is mostly not the kind of data that would help us understand cognition.

I disagree. Strongly. But it is OT.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 118 by nwr, posted 01-07-2008 3:44 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 124 by nwr, posted 01-07-2008 7:15 PM molbiogirl has responded

  
molbiogirl
Member (Idle past 985 days)
Posts: 1909
From: MO
Joined: 06-06-2007


Message 122 of 147 (447000)
01-07-2008 6:26 PM
Reply to: Message 119 by sinequanon
01-07-2008 3:48 PM


It is pointless to try to debate against dishonesty.

No. It is pointless to try and debate a coward who won't define terms used in his OP.

Message 107.

You could also use fuzzy logic and neural networks to model movement of people in an airport.

You compared modeling crowds in an airport to spiders.

Blatant misquote:
molbiogirl writes:

It's a far cry from "We know nothing." which is Sin's stance.

It wasn't a quote. If I quote you, I will use a quote box. I used quotation marks. I also used quotations marks to indicate what a spider "thinks". Do you think I misquoted the spider?

From Message 107.

Sin writes:

Nobody knows how cognition works let alone any method of quantifying it.

From Message 109.

Sin writes:

Nobody knows how cognition works let alone any method of quantifying it.

Sounds an awful lot like "We don't know anything about gravity." to me.

Nothing to say about your mangled house analogy, huh?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 119 by sinequanon, posted 01-07-2008 3:48 PM sinequanon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 126 by sinequanon, posted 01-08-2008 7:04 AM molbiogirl has responded

  
molbiogirl
Member (Idle past 985 days)
Posts: 1909
From: MO
Joined: 06-06-2007


Message 123 of 147 (447007)
01-07-2008 6:50 PM
Reply to: Message 120 by bluegenes
01-07-2008 6:12 PM


Plus "assess degree of damage, and decide whether repairs worth while." Plus "fix gap or tighten other thread to compensate, decide".

What evidence have you of "assess degree of damage"?

What evidence have you of "fix gap or tighten other thread to compensate"?

Two anecdotal accounts from a spider nut do not count.

I'll go for that. Fuzzy logical spiders = fuzzily intelligent spiders.

Then you think computers are intelligent.

If they're automatons, why aren't we just far more complex automatons, and please don't say that we've got souls.

I am still holding out on the definition. Fingers crossed for an Admin.

I will provide a definition tomorrow if no one steps in.

And, Blue. Puh lease. A soul? Perish the thought. That's the sort of malarkey Juggs slings.

I don't think that someone who thinks that the capacity for logic isn't a form of intelligence is in a position to lecture to others, frankly, but thanks again for the search tips.

Again, computers use logic. Computers are automatons, not intelligent silicon-based creatures.

I have spent a fair amount of time researching intelligence and neuroscience (it's an interest of mine).

I have no problem with logic ≠ intelligence.

You seem to be using a layman's definition of logic. I am using a more precise definition (Boolean, etc.).

Digital computers are used to make logic decisions about matters that can be decided logically. Some examples are when to perform an operation, what operation to perform, and which of several methods to follow. Digital computers never apply reason and think out an answer. They operate entirely on instructions prepared by someone who has done the thinking and reduced the problem to a point where logical decisions can deliver the correct answer.

Perhaps if you think of the spider's "web program" in this light, you can more easily see that repairing a web isn't a big deal.

Computers troubleshoot their networks, you know.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 120 by bluegenes, posted 01-07-2008 6:12 PM bluegenes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 129 by bluegenes, posted 01-08-2008 10:14 AM molbiogirl has responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5587
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 124 of 147 (447015)
01-07-2008 7:15 PM
Reply to: Message 121 by molbiogirl
01-07-2008 6:17 PM


Re: A bit OT, but ...
If you are really interested, a TED speaker gave a brilliant talk on cognition.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/125


Thanks. Yes, totally brilliant. No doubt we will have a breakthrough in two or three years.

Oops, wait. That was filmed 5 years ago. Where is the break through.

Sorry, but this is just another wild goose chase (of which there are many in cognitive science).


Let's end the political smears

This message is a reply to:
 Message 121 by molbiogirl, posted 01-07-2008 6:17 PM molbiogirl has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 125 by molbiogirl, posted 01-07-2008 7:22 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
molbiogirl
Member (Idle past 985 days)
Posts: 1909
From: MO
Joined: 06-06-2007


Message 125 of 147 (447018)
01-07-2008 7:22 PM
Reply to: Message 124 by nwr
01-07-2008 7:15 PM


Re: A bit OT, but ...
Hey, snippybritches, you might want to take a look here before passing judgment:

http://redwood.berkeley.edu/wiki/Publications


This message is a reply to:
 Message 124 by nwr, posted 01-07-2008 7:15 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
sinequanon
Member (Idle past 1208 days)
Posts: 331
Joined: 12-17-2007


Message 126 of 147 (447126)
01-08-2008 7:04 AM
Reply to: Message 122 by molbiogirl
01-07-2008 6:26 PM


Blatant misquote:
molbiogirl writes:

It's a far cry from "We know nothing." which is Sin's stance.

It wasn't a quote. If I quote you, I will use a quote box. I used quotation marks. I also used quotations marks to indicate what a spider "thinks". Do you think I misquoted the spider?

From Message 107.

Sin writes:

Nobody knows how cognition works let alone any method of quantifying it.

From Message 109.

Sin writes:

Nobody knows how cognition works let alone any method of quantifying it.

Sounds an awful lot like "We don't know anything about gravity." to me.

We can leave people to assess your level of understanding and integrity from the above.

molbiogirl writes:

Nothing to say about your mangled house analogy, huh?

Don't get Molbiogirl to build your house or even a wall. She probably doesn't know what a plumbline or spirit level is and your house won't be oriented using gravity! Message 116

molbiogirl writes:

We do not use gravity to orient our houses. We have gravity. We build houses. Spiders use gravity as an orientation tool because they move in 3D. We move in 2D. Yes, I know. Houses are in 3D space. But they are not built using gravity to orient themselves within that space.

Oh, and by the way, where is your evidence that spiders use gravity to orient themselves when building a web? Link?

Edited by sinequanon, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 122 by molbiogirl, posted 01-07-2008 6:26 PM molbiogirl has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 133 by molbiogirl, posted 01-08-2008 3:29 PM sinequanon has responded

  
sinequanon
Member (Idle past 1208 days)
Posts: 331
Joined: 12-17-2007


Message 127 of 147 (447129)
01-08-2008 7:45 AM
Reply to: Message 111 by nwr
01-07-2008 8:39 AM


Unpredictability
Relatively simple automated procedures can construct apparently complex structures, yet what is constructed would vary with the physical conditions. So unpredictability does not demonstrate that this is not done by a relatively simple stimulus-response system.

But the physical conditions were similar. Put a spider in a box. Why doesn't it build exactly the same web twice?

Clearly the spider is able to find solutions to one problem that differ in some respects.

However, in the repair case Message 117, Molbiogirl insists the damage must be the same not just similar.

But, if the spider is able to distinguish between the 'similar' webs in the repair case, it is unreasonable to assume that it cannot distinguish between the 'similar' solutions for a web in the box. It is more reasonable to say it has found distinct solutions there as well. Molbiogirl is being inconsistent.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 111 by nwr, posted 01-07-2008 8:39 AM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 128 by nwr, posted 01-08-2008 9:31 AM sinequanon has responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5587
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 128 of 147 (447146)
01-08-2008 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 127 by sinequanon
01-08-2008 7:45 AM


Re: Unpredictability
But the physical conditions were similar. Put a spider in a box. Why doesn't it build exactly the same web twice?

When you drive down the street twice, why don't the car wheels go in exactly the same place each time?

If you or I wanted to build a web, we would look at the space where the web is to go, come up with some sort of design, and then build the web to that design. If we did it twice, we might well get similar results each time.

It is very unlikely that the spider is doing it that way. More likely, it is following local rules. There might be rules such as "move 3 body lengths, then turn left". There can be such local rules that have the effect of generating a geometric pattern for the whole web, but the spider need not have any overall concept of that pattern. If built by following local rules, the effects of small variations in detail will be amplified, so that in similar circumstances you can get two very different webs.

Clearly the spider is able to find solutions to one problem that differ in some respects.

The problem the spider is solving might be very different from the problem that you think the spider is solving.

Part of the difficulty with this discussion (the entire thread), is that we don't have a clear enough idea as to what we mean by "intelligence". The term "intelligence" comes mostly from our use in human affairs. When we apply it to other creatures, we are anthropomorphizing. This anthropomorphizing works tolerably well with mammals. But the further we get from our own species, the more unreliable it gets.

We really cannot decide questions such as whether insect or spider activity is intelligent, until we have a clear definition of "intelligence." And it needs to be a clear enough definition, that we can apply that definition to other creatures.

We are currently in the situation where we measure the IQ of people, and IQ is often defined as "that which is measured by an IQ test." There is no agreement on whether IQ is the same as intelligence. So we are a long way from being able to settle questions such as whether spiders are intelligent.

But, if the spider is able to distinguish between the 'similar' webs in the repair case, it is unreasonable to assume that it cannot distinguish between the 'similar' solutions for a web in the box.

The question presupposes that the spider has a concept of the web as a whole, and is able to compare webs. But it may be that it is only able to conceptualize very local parts of the structure of a web, and maybe it is repairing the web based on tensions in the web fibers rather than on the geometric structure.


Let's end the political smears

This message is a reply to:
 Message 127 by sinequanon, posted 01-08-2008 7:45 AM sinequanon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 130 by sinequanon, posted 01-08-2008 12:13 PM nwr has responded

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 821 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 129 of 147 (447156)
01-08-2008 10:14 AM
Reply to: Message 123 by molbiogirl
01-07-2008 6:50 PM


molbiogirl writes:

What evidence have you of "assess degree of damage"?

Why don't you use your own complex combinations of neurological "programs" to figure that out? Do they always repair damaged nets? Would the degree of damage effect the decision? Can they make decisions? Obviously, unless they always attempt repair, and the ones in my garden don't, and can easily be observed assessing damage. Anecdotal, I know, but also true.

What evidence have you of "fix gap or tighten other thread to compensate"?

Only from the spider man, but it's easily within their capabilities, so I've no reason to doubt it. If you need peer reviewed papers, then find one that shows me wrong.

Two anecdotal accounts from a spider nut do not count.

Not for much, I agree. But it's better than the absolute zero we have so far that spiders do not have any intelligence, isn't it? I confidently predict that you won't be able to demonstrate that spiders are biological robots, without also demonstrating that we are as well.

Then you think computers are intelligent.

I certainly do not. Computers are tools that merely reflect the biological intelligence of their makers/programmers. Spiders do not require programmers, and the "programs" in their brains are part of them, and part of their intelligence if they have it.

I am still holding out on the definition. Fingers crossed for an Admin.

I will provide a definition tomorrow if no one steps in.

It'll be interesting to see how many animals we can fit into it. It'll have to be very tight to conclusively exclude that little spider hunting jumping spider in the link Larni provided.

And, Blue. Puh lease. A soul? Perish the thought. That's the sort of malarkey Juggs slings.

There was a smile and a wink on that one, as I knew very well you wouldn't say that, but I put it in for a reason. Relate it to my comment above about demonstrating that spiders are biological robots without also demonstrating that we are, and perhaps you'll see what I'm getting at.

Again, computers use logic. Computers are automatons, not intelligent silicon-based creatures.

I have spent a fair amount of time researching intelligence and neuroscience (it's an interest of mine).

My father used to research the brain and the evolution of the nervous system. I remember, as a kid around 1970, asking him how much was really known about the brain. He said "lots" and described loads of things that were known, and then finished "all in all, perhaps nearly 1% of what there is to know."

That's nearly forty years ago, and enormous strides have been made, but the human brain still has a long way to go before fully understanding itself, I'm sure.

Which brings me back to my earlier comment that I haven't yet found anything to tell us one way or another whether spiders are intelligent or not, simply because it seems that, like my Dad's comment on human brains, there's more that isn't known about their brains than is.

In the article that Larni linked to, they haven't got around to counting the neurones of that clever spider yet, let alone discovering the details of how its brain works.

I have no problem with logic ≠ intelligence.

You seem to be using a layman's definition of logic. I am using a more precise definition (Boolean, etc.).

I am a layman, so probably, yes. You don't mean that spiders do fuzzy algebra do you?:)

quote:
Digital computers are used to make logic decisions about matters that can be decided logically. Some examples are when to perform an operation, what operation to perform, and which of several methods to follow. Digital computers never apply reason and think out an answer. They operate entirely on instructions prepared by someone who has done the thinking and reduced the problem to a point where logical decisions can deliver the correct answer.

And spiders don't have anyone else to do the thinking for them, do they? Computer logic is a product of our intelligence, and spider logic is a product of theirs. What we're loosely describing as their neurological "programs" are part of them, just as ours are part of us.

Spiders:

(a) Receive knowledge and act on it.

(b) Use fuzzy logic

(c) Make decisions

(d) Can learn from experience, so have memory

(e) Can carry out long term plans

Now ask me for evidence for my assertions, and I'll give it to you.

In fact, you'll get most if not all that from Larni's link.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1640513/posts

So will they be intelligent by your definition, I wonder?

Edited by bluegenes, : missing quote

Edited by bluegenes, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 123 by molbiogirl, posted 01-07-2008 6:50 PM molbiogirl has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 132 by molbiogirl, posted 01-08-2008 3:24 PM bluegenes has responded

  
sinequanon
Member (Idle past 1208 days)
Posts: 331
Joined: 12-17-2007


Message 130 of 147 (447168)
01-08-2008 12:13 PM
Reply to: Message 128 by nwr
01-08-2008 9:31 AM


Re: Unpredictability
When you drive down the street twice, why don't the car wheels go in exactly the same place each time?

If built by following local rules, the effects of small variations in detail will be amplified.

That is a one line answer Molbiogirl failed to give.

If you or I wanted to build a web, we would look at the space where the web is to go, come up with some sort of design, and then build the web to that design. If we did it twice, we might well get similar results each time.

It is very unlikely that the spider is doing it that way.

This is the issue. What evidence have you that "it is very unlikely"?

Perhaps your starting point is "all animal behaviour is intrinsically different unless shown to be similar", and mine is "all animal behaviour is intrinsically similar unless shown to be different".

We really cannot decide questions such as whether insect or spider activity is intelligent, until we have a clear definition of "intelligence." And it needs to be a clear enough definition, that we can apply that definition to other creatures.

It would be fair enough to argue that there is no notion of intelligence attributable to fundamentals of behaviour in animals. However, if such a notion exists, and there is no evidence of fundamental difference in human or spider behaviour, then spiders are intelligent if humans are.

The question presupposes that the spider has a concept of the web as a whole, and is able to compare webs. But it may be that it is only able to conceptualize very local parts of the structure of a web, and maybe it is repairing the web based on tensions in the web fibers rather than on the geometric structure.

(I know I can make a spider jump from quite a distance away)

All perception can be interpreted as local. Sight in humans can be interpreted as processing responses of the retina. You have to factor in capacity for memory and relating and predicting responses, to assess concept.

Sure, the tension of one fibre does not communicate the whole web in the same way as a glance may to a human. But even if tension really were the only factor it would not prevent a comprehensive concept of the web. Similarly, it is not unreasonable, to imagine a mole has a concept of its network of tunnels.

Edited by sinequanon, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 128 by nwr, posted 01-08-2008 9:31 AM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
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nwr
Member
Posts: 5587
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 131 of 147 (447175)
01-08-2008 12:52 PM
Reply to: Message 130 by sinequanon
01-08-2008 12:13 PM


Re: Unpredictability
This is the issue. What evidence have you that "it is very unlikely"?

I suppose I could call it an educated guess.

In order for the spider to be able to plan the design of the web as a whole, it would need to have a visual system that could see the web as a whole. I doubt that it has such a visual system. One could attempt to find out, by experimentally testing the visual capabilities of spiders.

When I watch squirrels be almost run over by cars, it becomes clear that squirrels don't have anything close to the visual capabilities of humans. I would expect spider vision to far worse than that of the squirrel.

Perhaps your starting point is "all animal behaviour is intrinsically different unless shown to be similar", and mine is "all animal behaviour is intrinsically similar unless shown to be different".

I think it evident from watching animals, that the further they are from humans the harder it is for us to comprehend their behavior. We do pretty well at understanding mammal behavior. It is considerably more difficult for us to comprehend bird behavior, and still harder to comprehend reptile and fish behavior. Our distance from spiders and insects is far greater.

It would be fair enough to argue that there is no notion of intelligence attributable to fundamentals of behaviour in animals.

Again, I think we can do better at attributing our notions of intelligence to other mammals than to attributing them to birds, etc.

All perception can be interpreted as local. Sight in humans can be interpreted as processing responses of the retina. You have to factor in capacity for memory and relating and predicting responses, to assess concept.

You can interpret it that way, but it might be a poor interpretation. What you suggest is roughly how most cognitive scientists look at it. For example, they tend to base their ideas of vision on Marr's theory of vision. It is, roughly, based on how an engineer might design a robot. For myself, I think that mistaken, and see Gibson's theory of vision and perception as a better candidate, though a harder theory to deal with from the engineering point of view.


Let's end the political smears

This message is a reply to:
 Message 130 by sinequanon, posted 01-08-2008 12:13 PM sinequanon has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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molbiogirl
Member (Idle past 985 days)
Posts: 1909
From: MO
Joined: 06-06-2007


Message 132 of 147 (447218)
01-08-2008 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 129 by bluegenes
01-08-2008 10:14 AM


Why don't you use your own complex combinations of neurological "programs" to figure that out?

That's not evidence. Please answer my question.

Only from the spider man, but it's easily within their capabilities, so I've no reason to doubt it.

That's not evidence. Please answer my question.

If you need peer reviewed papers, then find one that shows me wrong.

Oh. I see. You don't want to do any work. You want me to do all the work.

As you very well know, this is a science forum. You are obligated to provide support for your bare assertions.

If you don't want to, then stop posting.

In the article that Larni linked to, they haven't got around to counting the neurones of that clever spider yet, let alone discovering the details of how its brain works.

There is plenty of work out there. You just haven't bothered to look for it.

Ionic Selectivity of Mechanically Activated Channels in Spider Mechanoreceptor Neurons
The Journal of Neurophysiology Vol. 78 No. 4 October 1997, pp. 2079-2085

There are over 11,000 papers.

In fact, you'll get most if not all that from Larni's link.

I read the link when you first posted it. I was unimpressed, to say the least.

Now ask me for evidence for my assertions, and I'll give it to you.

Fine.

Remember. I read the paper. I know all about the hangers and mazes.

While you're at it, why don't you provide evidence for the rest of the list?

And add to that list your unsupported contentions from this post?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 129 by bluegenes, posted 01-08-2008 10:14 AM bluegenes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 136 by bluegenes, posted 01-08-2008 4:57 PM molbiogirl has responded

  
molbiogirl
Member (Idle past 985 days)
Posts: 1909
From: MO
Joined: 06-06-2007


Message 133 of 147 (447220)
01-08-2008 3:29 PM
Reply to: Message 126 by sinequanon
01-08-2008 7:04 AM


Oh, and by the way, where is your evidence that spiders use gravity to orient themselves when building a web? Link?

Gravity as an orientation guide during web-construction in the orb spiderAraneus diadematus (Araneae, Araneidae)
Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Volume 159, Number 2 / March, 1986

She probably doesn't know what a plumbline or spirit level is and your house won't be oriented using gravity!

There's a big difference in using a plumb line and a spider using gravity to orient itself in midair.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 126 by sinequanon, posted 01-08-2008 7:04 AM sinequanon has responded

Replies to this message:
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sinequanon
Member (Idle past 1208 days)
Posts: 331
Joined: 12-17-2007


Message 134 of 147 (447225)
01-08-2008 3:43 PM
Reply to: Message 133 by molbiogirl
01-08-2008 3:29 PM


Could you please quote the relevant bit of the conclusion from your source.

(I'm glad you now know that houses are oriented using gravity :))


This message is a reply to:
 Message 133 by molbiogirl, posted 01-08-2008 3:29 PM molbiogirl has not yet responded

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 821 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 135 of 147 (447234)
01-08-2008 3:56 PM
Reply to: Message 131 by nwr
01-08-2008 12:52 PM


Re: Unpredictability
nwr writes:

I think it evident from watching animals, that the further they are from humans the harder it is for us to comprehend their behavior. We do pretty well at understanding mammal behavior. It is considerably more difficult for us to comprehend bird behavior, and still harder to comprehend reptile and fish behavior. Our distance from spiders and insects is far greater.

I agree entirely, and it's important for us to keep our own subjectivity in mind. Spiders may be able to achieve results we can recognize, but by very different mental processes to the ones we would use for the same objective.

If you read the account of the Portia spider stalking, it can plan out a complex strategy of attack, which we, as hunters, can appreciate. But the suggestions in that article as to how they might do it reminded me of the kind of autism that produces idiot savants.

There's an autistic guy in London who, if taken on a helicopter ride over the city, can draw lots of the buildings he's flown over in incredible detail, so we describe him as having a photographic memory, and the Portia kind of reminded me of that. Its tiny brain may be able to deal very well with a very small amount of information at a time, whereas our brains, surveying the same scene, would look at the overall picture, and be flooded with information.

But it figures out a result that we can understand as being clever.

One interesting thing is that word "memory", because it definitely has it, and also learning (will concentrate more on a type of prey once having had success) and the planning and execution of a unique attack over several hours, which I'd only describe as instinctive behaviour in the sense that the hunting and gathering methods of our own species relate to instinct.


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 Message 131 by nwr, posted 01-08-2008 12:52 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
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