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Does a Mind Really Need a Brain?
Does the Mind Really Need a Brain? The Beastly Echinoderm (sea urchin) thinks, but has no brain!
What are thoughts? In order to have a meaningful discussion about the application of the concept of mind to the brainless sea urchin, agreement must be reached as to the general meaning of two terms that are not the same, brain and mind. For this post I define ‘brain’ as the nervous system that consists of the soft, convoluted gray and white matter that controls and coordinates mental and physical activity. And further, in this writing, I define ‘thought’ as Descartes’s res cogitans, a process of thought, which is probably produced by the brain, not a physical object, i.e., thoughts and mental thoughts. We may wonder if there is any other way to explain the daily life of that little beast, this animal, which lives without even the appearance of the nerves we call a brain; he lives a life that requires smart (no brain) decisions to fulfill his dangerous undersea environment. To explain this paradox we can ask if there is an explanation other than gray and white matter. Furthermore, can these two methods, based on their different physics, be related to the problem of the body of a small animal, the urchin, having a mind?
I wonder, is impersonating a sea urchin anthropomorphic? Anthropomorphism! What a word! A few years ago it was a sin to say that human characteristics are inhuman things. Indeed, there was enough criticism even to say the word “animal mind.” But nowadays, people also mention the names of these books and words. What has been going on? To answer this question, a few years ago asking, “What do you think happens inside the animal brain?” scientists can be divided into two groups. Comparative psychologists, ethologists, and (mostly) sociologists would happily describe what is happening – as a 1950s movie machine. Another group of scientists – and in fact everyone, scientist or not – would answer: “Simple logic, I guess, but I don’t see how we can know.”
How did the experts determine their answers? They weren’t sure, of course, but they were strictly following the rule that science is supposed to follow: accept a simple hypothesis until there is strong evidence for something more complex. Since the evidence was limited, the automaton theory prevailed, thus committing the fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam, arguing that something is true because no one has proven it to be false.
Donald Griffin pitched the ball, which sparked today’s interest in animal psychology. In 1976 he wrote the book, “Animal Minds – Beyond Cognition to Consciousness,” and wrote about the behavior of animals that are not mature and stable, actions that seem suspiciously like ours, difficult readers to consider that not all animals are unconscious. Later, James and Carol Gould wrote, “The Animal Mind,” showing what seemed to be difficult for the automaton to cope with – animals performing tasks that seemed to work well.
In these articles I ask the reader to go further, and show that there are some animals that can do things that seem to refer to another part of the mind without the benefit of the brain. The brain is defined as the body, the part of the nervous system where the mind works.
Think of the sea urchin as an example; everything is made from a hard shell. The shell has five narrow layers, laid out like a star, pierced by what seems to be an infinite number of channels that pass through the organs of movement, called “ambulacra,” which are like appendages in the mammalian system. The creature stretches and retracts at will to move and roll under the sea.
This nectarine-shaped shell is covered with moving spines — green stripes — that protect it from the dangerous and dangerous jaws that roam the waves, hidden among the underwater shadows.
Sea urchins are excellent habitat for barnacles and seaweed and other aquatic life. But amazingly, these little creatures, the sea urchins, can clean themselves, and there are undoubtedly many marine insects that we would be happy to hide if they weren’t eaten by the sea urchins, but they still manage to fight off pathogens. the envy of every sailor. Between these spines are many small beaks that bend to break off anything stupid enough to fit on top of it.
The next time you find that you haven’t done anything on the back, don’t just crush every urchin you see, but gently lift one off the rocks and into a bowl, with enough water to cover it. Ask for or preferably steal a lens (a piece of jewelry is fine), and see the top of the sea urchin, it’s amazing. Even without a lens you should be able to see that there is more to the sea urchin than just a bunch of spines. Long, thin, snake-like feet spread between the back and stick to the glass or bottom of the plate. This is how seabirds attach themselves to rocks, and how they move. Each foot of the tube is filled with water, empty and expanded by pressure from the inside. It can be bent, and rocked back and forth until contact is made, when the end of the “foot” is pulled in to create a small suction cup that grips the rock as the foot grips and pulls. A drag of a few hundred feet can hold an urchin firmly on the rocks, even in strong currents.
The mouth of the sea urchin is low, directed downwards and has five protruding teeth, called “Aristotle’s Lamps,” which are used to cut meat, mollusks, or kelp branches, such as digging for shelter. under the sea.
The interesting problem of the sea urchin is that once it starts moving, it is how several hundred tubes can be connected, because animals do not have a brain. In fact, the network of nerves is a little more dense in the base of the five radii that define the urchin’s symmetry. The five radii converge on the nerve endings around the animal’s mouth. But that’s all. There are no ganglia, no central control center like we are used to finding with orthodox animals. So how does the connection work? How does an urchin decide which way to browse these days, let alone go home?
One can find mesmeric inkling some of its uses from simple experiments while another has a monster in a container. Touch the surface of the urchin gently, but repeatedly, with the tip of a toothpick. The lips are small and then the spines turn to the affected area. Continue and the effect spreads slowly, farther and farther above the sea urchin. This is a local phenomenon, it looks good, but wait … soon hundreds and hundreds of small legs will be started, and if the army will march the beast away from the source of the frustration. One could reasonably argue that there was some kind of brain in the mouth giving orders, but even a cursory look fails to reveal anything resembling a brain.
So… we can say that the ocean works like a democracy of reflexes (old books talk about a “republic of reflexes”), and it works! From this I also confirm that the actions of the sea urchin are controlled by the republic of the mind. The nature of the sea urchin’s response to events in its life shows the role of mind and consciousness. I know that my thoughts lead to problems and difficult questions. In this post I am just trying to expand a little on the meaning of the word “ideology,” and also suggest some questions that I will not attempt to answer.
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