Are They “Intelligent”?
THE heron goes fishing with a lure in the tip of its bill. Sighting a fish in the stream, it drops the lure, a feather. As the fish comes up for the bait, swish, the heron has its dinner—lure fishing by a professional angler.
Is this evidence of intelligence? According to one report, scientists feel that intelligence is the “quality of being aware of oneself as an entity in one’s environment, and of being able to acquire and retain knowledge, to learn and understand from experience, to solve problems and to respond successfully to constantly changing situations.”
Apparently, the heron learned from experience and solved a problem. Therefore, by this definition, some would say it is “intelligent.” And other examples may be cited.
The honeybee is another creature that seems to be “intelligent.” In order to test its “intelligence,” Dr. James Gould, a researcher of honeybee behavior at Princeton University, placed food for the bees but moved the food each time the bees flew back to the hive. Each movement of the food was one-and-a-quarter times the previous distance from the hive. Soon the bees outwitted the researcher. They were found circling around the spot where the food was next expected to be.
Dr. Gould believes, however, that most of the evidences of animal intelligence are instinctive. If so, can he explain how the bees came to a conclusion based on past events? “I can’t,” he replied, adding, “I wish they’d never done it!”
Whether animals act by “intelligence” or by instinct, the question remains: What is the source of their wisdom? Even though Dr. Gould admits he cannot explain it, his basic stand in this field is: “Evolution can program very complex behavior into very tiny brains.” But would it not be more logical to conclude that such “intelligent” behavior must be the result of intelligent design rather than blind evolution? The Bible links the behavior of the winged creatures to the Creator and says: “Ask, please, the domestic animals, and they will instruct you; also the winged creatures of the heavens, and they will tell you. Who among all these does not well know that the hand of Jehovah itself has done this?”—Job 12:7, 9; see also Proverbs 30:24-28.
What will these creatures tell you? If they had the ability to speak, they would say: ‘The Creator can program very complex behavior into very tiny brains.’ While evolutionists may “wish they’d never done” such intriguing things, the Bible attributes the wisdom—whether learned or instinctive—of such creatures to their Maker, Jehovah God.—Genesis 1:20-22; Romans 1:20.