Other Alternate Realities

Reason and Reasoning

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Many animals have demonstrated the ability to reason. One of the most interesting of these is the octopus. When presented with food in a clear jar with a lid, an octopus can reason quickly how to remove the lid. The next time the same animal is presented with the same challenge, it quickly opens the lid demonstrating memory/learning as well as reasoning.

Strangely, our nearest relatives in the evolutionary tree have poor reasoning abilities. That is probably why there will never be a “Shakespeare” born from any of them. However, since we can identify many other reasoning animals of various species, it would appear that the ability to reason may well have been the first “human” ability to have branched away from other primates.

This one quality alone could well have been the turning point in evolution of humanity. I would point out that this is just speculation and has not, as yet, been backed up by research.

There is no known test for absolute reason and therefore it must always be suspect. Politicians, religious leaders and used car salesmen all make use of distorted reasoning known as sophistry. Since the development of language, the sophist has ruled over reason primarily because of the human need to have their own reality enforced over that of others.

Perhaps it may be a good idea to remember Jonathan Swift's satirical redefinition of 'man' as an animalcapax rationis” ('an animal capable of reason'). I tend to question our ability to reason in light of all of the evidence to the contrary.

This page was last modified:      Friday, January 07, 2011 at 8:57:58 PM