h a l f b a k e r y
If you can read this you are not following too closely.
add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random
news, help, about, links, report a problem
or get an account
For a long time, people have banged on about how smart
whales and dolphins are. "Oh they're so smart - if only
simple humans could learn to understand them", they
Personally, I think whales and dolphins are pretty thick,
and that this is the barrier to communication.
The answer is simple. First, we find the thickest person
we can find. I will leave it to [8th] to suggest that this
person could be drawn from the ranks of politicians. No
matter - what we need is a person so thick that they
qualify as having human intelligence.
Next, we put them in a box. With them, in the box, we
have about a dozen buttons which, when pressed,
a variety of whoops, whistles and clicks; the sounds are
relayed to a speaker outside the box, which is otherwise
soundproof. An observer, outside the box, has a similar
of buttons driving a speaker inside the box. Hence, the
only available means of communication is a series of
whoops, whistles and clicks.
The observer now tries to establish communication with
This will be very difficult for the thicko, but I would be
willing to wager that within a few days they will work
way to say "I need food!"
In this way, we can satisfy ourselves that even a
intelligent human can learn how to communicate with
another human using dolphin-speak. We will then have
choice but to accept that actual dolphins - who have
for years to accomplish this - are just irredeemably
||This could also be framed as a Turing/Dolphin test, where a person has to determine whether the box contains a person or a dolphin
||That's easy. The one with the dolphin emits squeaks; the one with the human emits thumps, bubbling noises and the sound of desperate struggling, followed by silence.
||What if the dolphin turned out to be dead?
||Then there would be no response whatsoever, and tester would report that they were interacting with a Microshit software package ...
||One would need to be certain that it is dead, but how certain could one be?
||Only if you open the box ...
||This Idea is failing to take into account that much of the
sounds that dolphins make is ultrasonic and cannot be heard
by human ears. Do you suppose you could learn a foreign
language if you never heard every 3rd syllable?
||The elephant in the room in the box that might be
dead because theres a cat in there as well as a
dolphin is that how do you know you havent got a
totally bonkers and quite barkingly insane dolphin,
with no real grasp of dolphinian language at all,
because it is mentally defective.
||Well, clearly, you ask for references from other
||//Well, clearly, you ask for references from other dolphins//
Maybe we should check with the calves first. More mentally plastic.
||A language always needs another line of information transfer to set up the language.