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Insect Environment Response Not 'Hard-wired'?

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posted on May, 13 2010 @ 12:28 PM
While this is interesting research i have questions about it that raise philosophic/intellectual points too.

Insects Not 'Hard-Wired': Young Male Crickets Grow Larger in the Presence of Abundant Male Song

ScienceDaily (May 12, 2010) -
. . .
n the lab, they exposed one set of juvenile male crickets to a silent environment (which mimicked a population without very many singing males) and a second set of young male crickets to a song-rich environment (mimicking a population that contained lots of singing males).

Comparing the two sets of data, they found that male crickets growing up in the presence of abundant male song tend to be larger than male crickets growing up in a silent environment, and invest nearly 10 percent more reproductive tissue mass in their testes.

The researchers also found that male crickets that do not hear song during rearing are more likely to act as 'satellites,' hanging out near singing males and intercepting females on their way for matings.

"Subtle modifications of behavior depending on the environment, not genes, means that even in insects, animals aren't 'programmed' or 'hard-wired' to do what they do," said Marlene Zuk, a professor of biology, whose lab conducted the research.

What about conditional programming/instinct/response? If-then, etc.

I am not completely convinced at this point. Maybe they are picking up on subtle non-metrically included perceptions, but i don't think they have made the clinical, mostly irrefutable case that is not simply more elaborate programming.

It could still be deterministic, just like a certain type of finch on one of the Galapagos varies between predominantly big beak or predominantly small beak, as certain regular weather/climate conditions alternate.

My more philosophic/intellectual question:

At what point of conditional programming does it start to bridge into 'free-will' &/or complete fabrication of response, almost out of whole cloth?

Inevitably we as well as all of evolution have a lot of pre-programming behaviors & beliefs & brain structures already performing seeming intended specific functions. Evolution clutter.

But as you get more & more even simply binary [multi-?]options at what point does it or even can it become non-deterministic?

Does it take more than a vast collection of discrete options?

Does it at some point become like some amorphous globular floating wad of feelings(?). And it reaches down cautiously testing, imagining & experimenting to decide [or not decide] to take a particular action/option? Like some octopus reaching down to some deterministic controls & 'playing' with them? To see what kind of feeling/sensory feedback/response it creates.

Time is sort of like that too. Where it is all the additional micro-fractional input that has potential to change the largely deterministic physics of simplistic [or perhaps not so simplistic] cause & effect.

It is right at that surface of non-determinism one can find 'oddity', strangeness.

Isn't free will some kind of evasion of or altering of cause & effect?
That there is some 'otherness' that potentially can & sometimes does change things from the simple basic cause & effect of base physics.

Sort of the ghost that sometimes pulls a few of the levers.
Randomness may sometimes try to synthesize this directive, where either pseudo-random number generation or asynchronous input creates a kind of Za [Zen] origination point.

Sort of finding a point of origination that is inherently not a part of the system, yet near enough to aggregate to or interact with it.
Ultimately i suppose it is trying to sustain some non-connected point of origin.

Without that a system has a very strong propensity to become static or at least potentially [in theory] predictable.

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