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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New Book: Hindu entry into intelligent design stakes - Nature's IQ

A new book, Nature's IQ: Extraordinary Animal Behaviors That Defy Evolution, by Hungarian Hindus, demonstrates the resonance of design in nature among the world's cultures.

I'll have more to say about the book when I finish reading it, but one point they stress - that is often neglected in the West - is this: Intricate physical adaptations among animals are useless without adaptations in behaviour. How does the animal know that it has a skill? I mean "know" not so much in a philosophical sense, but just "know" how to do it? I think they are right to stress that behaviour is key to adaptation.

I well remember the day that a kitten rushed off the staircase while chasing a house fly. She propelled herself about two metres straight forward - and fell about 3.5 metres, a straight drop.
She picked herself up and went on with the hunt, but she never tried walking on air again. Of course, a fledged young bird, faced with similar circumstances, would have discovered that it could fly.

So far, my favourite thing about the book is the golden ant on the cover, carrying what looks like a computer chip (or something similar) in its mandibles.

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