Note: I’ll be taking over “conversations” during Peter’s travels -- Cardozo
How smart are we humans? The answer obviously depends on how one wants to define the word “smart.” For example:
1) Peter’s Oxford English Dictionary suggests “clever, capable, and adept…quick at learning.”
2) The OED has an alternative definition as well: “To be a source of sharp pain; to be acutely painful.” As in, “That whip sure is smart!”
These competing definitions nicely encapsulate the conundrum of assessing human intelligence. The daily news offers up countless examples of apparent human brilliance, yet these examples nearly always go hand-in-hand with some measure of suffering. The inventors of the automobile were surely “smart,” were they not? Yet when I add into the equation the numbers of mangled bodies and decapitated families resulting from the invention over the years, I begin to question its ultimate wisdom. Ditto with airplanes, computers, and even less tangible innovations such as have emerged through psychology, archeology, etc. Are we, in fact, more successful as a species as a result of our brain power? Or, by letting our brains run amok (causing seemingly endless cycles of war, destitution, and environmental devastation) have we proven to be rather weak-minded, in the end?
I’m not saying that cars, plans, computers, psychoanalysis, and other examples of human achievement are bad, or reflective of a sub-par intelligence relative to the rest of the animal kingdom. I’m only throwing out the question. Please follow the links to other relevant conversations happening around the web, and leave your thoughts about this question in the "comments" section. "Conversations" doesn't work without your input.
Integral Options Café – The success of the crow
A link to some remarkable video about the ability of crows to adapt to the presence of humans.
Dharma Bums & This is This
If we’re so smart, why do we put so much weird stuff in our food, some of which apparently causes cancer?
One of our species’ brightest stars, widely respected for his imposition of a globally-relevant moral ethic onto the practical application of science.
After perusing the above, I conclude that human beings have the potential to be the smartest animals on Earth, but we’ve got some more evolving to do first. For now, I’m voting for the crow.