Animal minds Intelligent Design Mathematics

At Mind Matters News: Claim: Honeybees, “like humans” can tell odd vs. even numbers

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Ants, fruit flies, and even plants can also calculate but it does not follow that they are conscious of what they are doing:


Our results showed the miniature brains of honeybees were able to understand the concepts of odd and even. So a large and complex human brain consisting of 86 billion neurons, and a miniature insect brain with about 960,000 neurons, could both categorize numbers by parity.

Scarlett Howard, Adrian Dyer, Andrew Greentree and Jair Garcia, “Honeybees join humans as the only known animals that can tell the difference between odd and even numbers” at Phys.org (April 29, 2022) The paper is open access.

That should, of course, be a hint that it’s not the same process.

Bees would be useful for this sort of research because, as the researchers point out, “Studies have shown honeybees can learn to order quantities, perform simple addition and subtraction, match symbols with quantities and relate size and number concepts.”

Nature is founded on mathematics and it is hardly surprising that some life forms take advantage of that. In other examples…

News, “Claim: Honeybees, “like humans” can tell odd vs. even numbers” at Mind Matters News

Takehome: Bees are not six-legged humans. They are incorporating the mathematical structure of the universe into their survival strategies. The researchers mainly demonstrated that we can use operant conditioning on bees.

You may also wish to read: Pigeons can solve the Monty Hall problem. But can you? The dilemma pits human folk intuition against actual probability theory, with surprising results. In one 2010 study, pigeons outperformed humans in the three-doors test but in a second 2012 study, they only beat preschoolers, not college kids.

4 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Claim: Honeybees, “like humans” can tell odd vs. even numbers

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Odd vs even in a visual sense is important to bees. Bilateral flowers like snapdragons are literal honeytraps. A snapdragon slaps the bee down into the nectar chamber. Radial flowers are less nasty.

    But the patterns in the movie are NOT radial vs symmetrical, so they represent a higher level of thinking.

  2. 2
    dogdoc says:

    Ants, fruit flies, and even plants can also calculate but it does not follow that they are conscious of what they are doing

    This is a good point. Nobody knows the necessary or sufficient conditions for conscious awareness, although there is a mountain of evidence that very complex functioning brains have something to do with it.

    Whatever the cause of biological systems is, it can – like humans – produce complex form and function. But it does not follow that it is conscious of what it is doing.
    An equally good point.

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    Another interesting fact about bees is that their oxygen consumption during flight is about 30 times greater than elite human athletes per gram of body mass.

    From Denton’s new book.

  4. 4
    dogdoc says:

    Hmm, perhaps nobody took my point. I’ll reiterate:

    Just as it does not follow that bees are conscious just because they can perform mental tasks that humans perform, the Designer posited by ID theory may be of such a different type of “intelligence” that other aspects of human mentality – including consciousness – cannot be said to apply.

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