Intelligent Design

Fruit flies “think” before they act. But so?

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fruit fly/Oxford

From ScienceDaily:

Fruit flies ‘think’ before they act, a study suggests. Neuroscientists showed that fruit flies take longer to make more difficult decisions. In experiments asking fruit flies to distinguish between ever closer concentrations of an odor, the researchers found that the flies don’t act instinctively or impulsively. Instead they appear to accumulate information before committing to a choice.

But so?

The flies were investigating smells. What model of animal intelligence would not have assumed that a more difficult decision would take longer? Unfortunately, words like “instinct”/“instinctive” have sometimes been used mystically, to imply that there is no process, that the life form somehow “knows” the answer.

Gathering information before making a decision has been considered a sign of higher intelligence, like that shown by primates and humans.

If so, it should not have been. It can be a fully automatic process, as we know from robots, or one rooted in part in a limited consciousness, in the sense of a deer deciding which shrub to graze. There is no reason to think it requires high intelligence, just a desire to find food or avoid danger, plus the sensory equipment to do so.

‘Freedom of action from automatic impulses is considered a hallmark of cognition or intelligence,’ says Professor Gero Miesenböck, in whose laboratory the new research was performed. ‘What our findings show is that fruit flies have a surprising mental capacity that has previously been unrecognised.’

Actually they don’t. The categories are wrong.

If we begin by thinking that animals use little information, we will end by thinking them geniuses just for living.

Incidentally, the gene under study is FoxP:

Professor Miesenböck adds: ‘FoxP is not a “language gene,” a “decision-making gene,” even a “temporal-processing” or “intelligence gene.” Any such description would in all likelihood be wrong. What FoxP does give us is a tool to understand the brain circuits involved in these processes. It has already led us to a site in the brain that is important in decision-making.’

It’s good to hear people starting to say this. “Gene-for” is mere pop science, not real science.

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4 Replies to “Fruit flies “think” before they act. But so?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note to fruit flies:

    “The brain of a small fruit fly uses energy in the micro-watts for complex flight control and visual information processing to find and fly to food. I don’t think a supercomputer could yet simulate what the fruit fly brain does even while using megawatts of energy. The difference of over ten orders of magnitude and the level of energy used is an indication of just how incredible biological systems are.
    Professor Keiichi Namba, Osaka University
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....48#t=1645s

    Study of complete RNA collection of fruit fly uncovers unprecedented complexity – March 17, 2014
    Excerpt: The paper shows that the Drosophila genome is far more complex than previously suspected and suggests that the same will be true of the genomes of other higher organisms. The paper also reports a number of novel, particular results:,,, “splicing factors” (proteins that control the maturation of RNAs by splicing) are themselves spliced in complex ways; and that the Drosophila transcriptome undergoes large and interesting changes in response to environmental stresses.,,,
    http://news.indiana.edu/releas.....ered.shtml

    TEDx Video: Flight of the Fruit Fly – October 8, 2013
    Excerpt: “Dickinson is a very intense guy himself, and gives a remarkable discussion of what makes the engineering that goes into fruit fly flight so amazing.” (4:50 minute mark of video lists several fascinating high tech ‘accessories’ of the fruit fly, such as a gyroscope)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....77641.html

    also of note: Richard Dawkins claimed that the FOXP2 gene was among ‘the most compelling evidences’ for establishing that humans evolved from monkeys, yet, as with all the other evidences offered up from Darwinists, once the FOXP2 gene was critically analyzed, it fell completely apart as proof for human evolution:

    Dawkins Best Evidence (FOXP2 gene) Refuted – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfFZ8lCn5uU

  2. 2
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Now, to really throw a fly in the ointment, how do you explain the conclusion from the following experiment:

    Planaria, the common flatworm, can be trained to turn left in a maze by placing a piece of food to the left of a T-junction. Even when food is not present, they will turn left. Nothing special here. Basic conditioning, right?

    But take this same flatworm and feed him to a non-conditioned flatworm. When you put this flatworm in the same maze, he/she/it will always turn left. So, what does that say about memory?

  3. 3
    ppolish says:

    AB, that there is proof that memories survive after death. And taste like chicken.

  4. 4
    Piotr says:

    Acartia_bogart:

    But take this same flatworm and feed him to a non-conditioned flatworm. When you put this flatworm in the same maze, he/she/it will always turn left. So, what does that say about memory?

    Observer bias?
    http://community.dur.ac.uk/rob.....2mem1.html

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