Monday, January 25, 2010

The Intelligence of Dolphins

The atomic scientist Leo Szilard wrote an interesting collection of short stories, The Voice of the Dolphins, in which humans looked to a group of dolphins for the solutions to their endless problems of being unable to live together in harmony.

The dolphins were a stand-in for rational, scientific thinking, but chosen for a reason. And here's a very good indication of it -- an astonishing example of a group of dolphins clearly showing the ability to develop a solution to a problem:

If you were stranded on a deserted island with no materials, would you have the smarts to devise such a strategy? I'm not sure I would.

Someone on a blog somewhere made a point that has stuck with me: if we found evidence of a group of beings on another planet that were as intelligent as dolphins (or pigs, or dogs, or just about any animal), or just these animals themselves, we would be astonished, and revere and protect them. But given the same organisms here on earth, we abuse them in every way imaginable. That's really made me think.

1 comment:

Dano said...

If they were on another planet, we couldn't exploit and abuse them for profit. Here, dolphins are merely bycatch and since we can't make mioney off of dolphins, they are in the way.