Amazing Nature

Stonkeringly cool or intense finds from the amazing world.



Ok, we need to talk about this. This is a spider setting up a cozy little home.

Essential steps and the abilities they require (require of Something, not necessarily of this exact spider)

  • What made him do this, “I need a place to sleep.”? (Executive function: I better get this done)
  • What makes him choose this one shell out of many? Did he check it out for size? (Critical thinking: This one will work better than those)
  • Did he set up that block and tackle lifting system ahead of time? (Foresight: I’ll need this in a few minutes)
  • How did he know “That’s about enough” after wrapping the shell for lifting? (Predicting outcomes: This is enough to haul it up without falling)
  • Do spiders have imagination and logic? (Creative thinking: Hey…those things would make good houses!)

Most people would say “It’s instinct, it’s just instinctive behavior” putting the issue to rest. Here’s the definition of instinct “An innate typically fixed pattern of behavior in animals in response to certain stimuli”.

Instinct sounds meaningful but it isn’t. “Instinct” is a tautology, circling the question. Semantically it says “Yes, that behavior is a thing.” or “I don’t know why or how, but they all do that” or even “That’s what it is, but we don’t talk about that”. The word instinct is a placeholder description, not a real answer. Saying Instinct shuts off questioning without providing answers, it is an empty box labeled “behavioral presets”. The classic Darwinian answer to “But how, why?” would be “Spiders that behaved this way were better at surviving and reproducing. That is why the behavior was retained”. Continue reading