Greetings All,

I am an evolutionary biologist with particular interest in communication and
behavior, so I approach the notion of intelligence from a different
perspective than I have seen so far in this discussion.  A recurrent theme
in many of the FIS posts has been "what, if anything, is information?" (is
it real or merely an heuristic concept), and I think this kind of ambiguity
is much more expansive when considering "what, if anything, is
intelligence?".  I generally take intelligence to be about information
processing by a system (e.g., the neurological system of a vertebrate).  Of
course, information processing (inputs leading to dynamical cascades within
the system) can be utterly disconnected from the "smart" aspect of
intelligence.  In other words, information processing might not ultimately
affect "knowledge" or global system behavior (e.g., animal behavior), or it
might even lead to a "dumb" (the opposite of "smart", rather than a low
level of smartness) response to the input information.  This suggests to me
that there is an inherently subjective aspect to assessing the quality of
response to informational input in the measure of intelligence.  I do not
mean to raise the IQ debate; rather, I am arguing that intelligence per se
does not really exist, even as a quality, unless we are willing to attach a
clear and objective criterion for measurement.  [Note that it has been my
position that information does exist independent of our ability to detect or
measure it.]  One possibility, for example, could be the influence of
information processing on evolutionary fitness.  I don't actually recommend
this criterion, because fitness is notoriously difficult to define and
measure itself.  However, if we can't agree on an objective criterion for
measuring intelligence first, I am skeptical that we can have a cogent
discussion about it or the relationship between information and


Guy Hoelzer

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