> In article <[email protected]>, Dr.
> Desertphile <[email protected]> writes
> >Are insects REALLY smarter than humans, or is Wickramasinghe suffering
> >from Scientology or other mental illness?
> I'd withhold judgement until I'd seen the context. (There being at least
> a third possibility - that in context the phrase does not mean the same
> as in isolation.)
I'm not sure of the context of this thread but here is some context on the intelligent insect thing.
Source: Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, _Evolution from Space_ (1981) Chap. 8 _Insects from space?_ pp. 127- 128
******* The situation points clearly to one of two possibilities. Either we are dealing with an overt plan invented by an intelligence considerably higher than our own, an intelligence which has foreseen all our chemicals and flamethrowers, or the insects have already experienced selection Pressure against intelligences of at least our level in many other environments elsewhere in the universe.
There is a curious variant of the first possibility. Could the insects themselves be the intelligence much higher than our own? We are so conditioned to thinking that the intelligence of a species can be exemplified by an individual member that it is hard to assess a situation in which each individual might show little intelligence, but in which the combined aggregate of individuals might show much. Yet it is so in our own brains, where no individual neuron can be said to display intelligence but in which the aggregate of neurons constitutes exactly what we understand by intelligence.
The static nature of insect societies goes against this thinking. If an enormous intelligence inhabits the beehives of the world, we might expect more evidence of its presence. But this may again be to endow an opponent with our own restless characteristics. Perhaps concealment is an essential tactic. Perhaps the intelligence is static because it understands the dictum of sagacious lawyers: 'When your case is going well, say nothing'.
The insect case is indeed going well. Along with the chemicals and the flamethrowers, there are nuclear bombs also. Insects are highly resistant to X-rays and other forms of ionizing radiation. Insects can frequent dumps of radioactive waste without harm. Nor are the plants on which insects feed harmed at all by radioactivity. This sets the scene for the future. From nuclear war only one creature will profit hugely, the insect. Insects may be close to inheriting the Earth without a struggle. It may well seem that man arrived in a brief moment, and then disappeared even more swiftly than he came. *******