Monday, August 21, 2006

Israelis Are Dolphins

I've been thinking about this for about 13 hours, while driving from Ohio back home--so please bear with me.

According to The Globe and Mail:
”Goldfish can solve problems that dolphins can't. When a goldfish jumps out of its bowl, it's thinking past its immediate environment. Dolphins don't have the cognitive leap,” Mr. Manger [from Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand] said in a telephone interview Thursday.

”Dolphins can do some things, but they have to be trained to do them. That's more of a reflection of low-intelligence.”
Is this for real?

1. How does Mr. Manger know what is going through a goldfish's mind?
2. Actually, when a goldfish jumps out of its bowl, do we need Mr. Manger to imagine what it is thinking
3. If a goldfish is so smart, why is he jumping out of the bowl to begin with?
4. If training is a sign of low-intelligence, what should we make of Mr. Manger's university degree?

But then there is Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard.
Wading into the debate Thursday, Dr. Barrett said the highly social networks of dolphins indicated they had strong social intelligence.

"A dolphin could have a brain the size of a walnut and it wouldn't affect the observations they live very complex and social lives," Dr. Barrett-Lennard said. "They keep account of who their friends are, with very complicated hierarchies and allegiances. The other thing is they have spatial maps. They know exactly where to go when they need to look for certain food."

Dolphins have a strong social intelligence, know who their friends are, have complicated hierarchies and allegiances, and have well developed spatial maps for finding things [like missile launchers?].

Goldfish have a tendency to jump out of their fishbowls, losing what they have gained in a single moment of carelessness.

How about this:

Men are from Mars.
Women are from Venus.
Israelis are dolphins.
Palestinians are goldfish.

OK, so maybe dolphins are better than Israelis at knowing who their real friends are.

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