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  1. Subscriber FMF
    Main Poster
    12 Feb '09 04:20
    Do ants ever fear for their lives? Are any ants misfits? How does an ant tell its colleagues that my coffee cup is next to my computer and the time is ripe? To what extent does wisdom hold the sway as ants age?
  2. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    12 Feb '09 07:29
    Originally posted by FMF
    Do ants ever fear for their lives? Are any ants misfits? How does an ant tell its colleagues that my coffee cup is next to my computer and the time is ripe? To what extent does wisdom hold the sway as ants age?
    The answers you so yearn for are presented in the film 'Antz'. Now there's a knock-me-down Heideggerian barn-dance for you.
  3. Subscriber FMF
    Main Poster
    12 Feb '09 07:54
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    The answers you so yearn for are presented in the film 'Antz'. Now there's a knock-me-down Heideggerian barn-dance for you.
    My five year old calls it "the one where the ants can talk", which suggests that there's no point me asking him "Do ants ever fear for their lives? Are any ants misfits?" and so on, seeing as the answer will be "but of course they do, daddy...".

    Of course, bringing up children in "Indo what? where? No shi-t?", rather than in "The West", might have me pegged in certain circles as a bad daddy. By choice I live in a dreadful Asian anthill. But I try my best, get older, and wiser, and try to improve myself.

    That's why I want to know: "To what extent does wisdom hold the sway as ants age?"
  4. 12 Feb '09 08:41
    Originally posted by FMF
    Do ants ever fear for their lives?
    Fear is one of those words whose definition has gray edges. Ants are in those gray edges. I am sure an ant reacts negatively to the threat of death - most ants run or try to fight back when threatened. Whether such a reaction or the mental processes that cause them can be called 'fear' is another matter.

    Are any ants misfits?
    Yes.

    How does an ant tell its colleagues that my coffee cup is next to my computer and the time is ripe?
    Ants mostly communicate by smell.

    To what extent does wisdom hold the sway as ants age?
    I don't think ants have much learning capacity, so no.
  5. 15 Feb '09 14:03
    The apparent intelligence of ants and other animals with sterile "workers" stems from the fact that they are sterile. Because they are sterile, the best they can do is not look after themselves but care for their kin and the kin-making machine (the queen). Therefore sophisticated cooperative behaviour can evolve quickly and efficiently.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplodiploid_sex-determination_system
  6. Standard member ChronicLeaky
    Don't Fear Me
    15 Feb '09 15:49
    Originally posted by FMF
    Do ants ever fear for their lives?
    I doubt it, if consciousness is a necessary condition for fear, but there are thoe who would claim that the ant colony as a whole does .
  7. Standard member Thequ1ck
    Fast above
    15 Feb '09 16:22
    Originally posted by ChronicLeaky
    I doubt it, if consciousness is a necessary condition for fear, but there are thoe who would claim that the ant colony as a whole does .
    You've obviously never owned a magnifying glass then.
  8. 18 Feb '09 05:38
    an episode of Hollywood Squares from the 70s (I think) posited that there only 6 to 8 things on earth that are dumber than an ant, so I vote with an earlier poster--they're likely too stupid to formulate emotion at all.

    *The answer George Gobel gave on the show was "That's true, and I voted for five of 'em."
  9. 19 Feb '09 04:54
    Originally posted by ChronicLeaky
    I doubt it, if consciousness is a necessary condition for fear, but there are thoe who would claim that the ant colony as a whole does .
    I think you are onto something here.

    The ants have a collective consciousness, that is how they all know where the candy bar is and they all travel right to it. They don't have to talk.

    Only humans, with our individual consciousness, have to communicate with words and grunts.
  10. 19 Feb '09 12:17
    Originally posted by mlprior
    I think you are onto something here.

    The ants have a collective consciousness, that is how they all know where the candy bar is and they all travel right to it. They don't have to talk.

    Only humans, with our individual consciousness, have to communicate with words and grunts.
    No, ants have no consciousness, "collective" or not. Ants no more have a collective consciousness than the atoms in my arm who "cooperate" to bring a mug of coffee to my mouth.
  11. 19 Feb '09 16:55
    Originally posted by FMF
    Do ants ever fear for their lives? Are any ants misfits? How does an ant tell its colleagues that my coffee cup is next to my computer and the time is ripe? To what extent does wisdom hold the sway as ants age?
    Well I called my Aunt up the other day and asked her. She only denied being a misfit.
  12. 20 Feb '09 04:53
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    No, ants have no consciousness, "collective" or not. Ants no more have a collective consciousness than the atoms in my arm who "cooperate" to bring a mug of coffee to my mouth.
    Are you so sure of this?

    Maybe you are not conscious enough to see it.
  13. 20 Feb '09 19:09
    Originally posted by mlprior
    Are you so sure of this?

    Maybe you are not conscious enough to see it.
    Well, not one hundred percent sure, it just seems unlikely to me that incests have a consciousness, considering mammals need quite a large brain for it in comparison. Also, the behaviour of insects and similar creatures is much like how aritificial intelligence functions (though the whole concept of consciousness is pretty vague and one could argue computers have a consciousness, but that's a whole different story).
  14. 21 Feb '09 04:54
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Well, not one hundred percent sure, it just seems unlikely to me that incests have a consciousness, considering mammals need quite a large brain for it in comparison. Also, the behaviour of insects and similar creatures is much like how aritificial intelligence functions (though the whole concept of consciousness is pretty vague and one could argue computers have a consciousness, but that's a whole different story).
    Ants would have a small brain...if they have one at all, I don't actually know.

    But they still know that they have to eat, reproduce, take care of their young, and all the other things that they seem to know (where my pop can is sitting).

    I guess what I'm saying, maybe their consciousness (or maybe there is a better word for it) is not physically inside their head like we would consider ours to be. If they have an external "collective consciousness" that would explain why they act as one unit, all follow in the same line, all swarm when there is an invader.

    I don't know...I'm just saying it is possible.
  15. 21 Feb '09 10:55
    Originally posted by mlprior
    Ants would have a small brain...if they have one at all, I don't actually know.

    But they still know that they have to eat, reproduce, take care of their young, and all the other things that they seem to know (where my pop can is sitting).

    I guess what I'm saying, maybe their consciousness (or maybe there is a better word for it) is not physically insid ...[text shortened]... ine, all swarm when there is an invader.

    I don't know...I'm just saying it is possible.
    Well, the apparent collective consciousness stems from the fact that evolution has programmed the individual actions of ants to result in complex behaviour on a large scale. This is due to the reproductive system for ants and similar creatures.