We willingly accept the idea of intelligence in a life-form only if the intelligence displayed is on the same evolutionary wavelength as our own. Technology automatically indicates intelligence. An absence of technology translates into an absence of intelligence.Dolphins and whales do not display intelligence in a fashion recognizable to this conditioned perception of what intelligence is, and thus for the most part, we are blind to a broader definition of what intelligence can be.Evolution molds our projection of intelligence. Humans evolved as tool-makers, obsessed with danger and group aggression. This makes it very difficult for us to comprehend intelligent non-manipulative beings whose evolutionary history featured ample food supplies and an absence of fear from external dangers. – Paul Watson
Again it is important to recognize how this attitude has not only been applied to animals, but also to indigenous people historically. How we define intelligence is restricted to our definition of intelligence. Are we willing to broaden our definition of intelligence?
Intelligence can also be measured by the ability to live within the bounds of the laws of ecology — to live in harmony with one’s own ecology and to recognize the limitations placed on each species by the needs of an ecosystem. Is the species that dwells peacefully within its habitat with respect for the rights of other species the one that is inferior? Or is it the species that wages a holy war against its habitat, destroying all species that irritate it? What can be said of a species that reproduces beyond the ability of its habitat to support it? What do we make of a species that destroys the diversity that sustains the ecosystem that nourishes it? How is a species to be judged that fouls its water and poisons its own food? On the other hand, how is a species that has lived harmoniously within the boundaries of its ecology to be judged? – Paul Watson
Watson gets very in-depth and cites the research which compares cranial capacity, and brain complexity between humans and sea mammals. At the very least this information is humbling. Paul Watson has given us a lot to think about, but probably the greatest gift in his essay can be summarized by this quote:
It’s not enough to understand the natural world, the point is to defend and preserve it. – Edward Abbey
Watson is not merely a philosopher, he puts his words and beliefs into action. For 35 years, Captain Paul Watson has been at the helm of the world’s most active marine non-profit organization – the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I highly recommend reading the entire essay which is available here.