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Octopus intellect - Comments

potteryshard's Avatar Comment 1 by potteryshard

Thou shalt not ink in the presence of God.

They really would be religious suckers, wouldn't they?

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:30:00 UTC | #913938

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 2 by Starcrash

This would be a great question to pose to PZ Myers. If anyone has already considered this subject, it would be him.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:32:32 UTC | #913940

78rpm's Avatar Comment 3 by 78rpm

An octopus marriage is between one male and one female, and they walk down the aisle arm in arm in arm in arm in arm....

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:35:22 UTC | #913942

Lapithes's Avatar Comment 4 by Lapithes

Obviously OctoGod made the zeven seas in eight days, one sea for each arm except that one down-left 'cause that's the tentacle with which Adampus and Evepus did eatest the forbidden seafruit––"lest ye dye"––so the eighth he rested with one eye open.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:59:07 UTC | #913955

HardNosedSkeptic's Avatar Comment 5 by HardNosedSkeptic

I wouldn’t like to make fun of the octopus myself. Any sea creature that can slip out of its tank, crawl across the floor of the aquarium, prey on the unfortunate inhabitants of another tank and then find its way back home again has earned my respect.

As for what Octopus Theology might be like? I don’t think it would ever exist. I think they would be far too intelligent to invent religion in the first place.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:24:56 UTC | #913968

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 6 by susanlatimer

I recently watched a brilliant documentary concerning octopus intelligence, their problem-solving abilities and how they can learn quickly by observation.

This got me wondering how long it would be before the octopus creates religion.

Why would intelligence, problem-solving abilities and learning by observation lead to religion?

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:35:16 UTC | #913974

Sample's Avatar Comment 7 by Sample

Mollusca 8:10: And lo, the squids rebelled. And while they retained a semblance of the glorious image of their brethren, they henceforth bore the curse of additional paired tentacles. And so it was that they forever and ever, and ever, and ever, were cursed to slap themselves silly with said paired tentacles lest the Watcher in the Water be dishonored.

Meh, not my best. :-j


Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:56:40 UTC | #913988

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 8 by Jos Gibbons

You mean like this?

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 20:07:58 UTC | #913996

SheilaC's Avatar Comment 9 by SheilaC

Spend you life bringing tasty morsels to the Holypus, and after you die you'll be rewarded with 64 sexy female octopuses and endless, toothless sharks to hunt. Fail to feed the Holypus and you'll be endlessly chewed in the mouth of The Shark.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 20:40:16 UTC | #914012

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 10 by Alan4discussion

The tentacles of religion must be spreading! - One sucker at a time!

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 22:54:07 UTC | #914078

The Jersey Devil's Avatar Comment 11 by The Jersey Devil

According to Wikipedia:

Young octopuses learn almost no behaviors from their parents, with whom they have very little contact.

Now what kind of religion could exist without childhood indoctrinatin?

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 22:56:07 UTC | #914080

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 12 by QuestioningKat

I was snorkeling while vacationing in Maui, when I unexpectedly saw a small purple octopus as I turned in the clear water. I was surprised. My body jumped and I quickly swam away. The octopus saw me. It was surprised. Its body jumped and it quickly swam away. Our reactions mirrored each other. I don't think I could ever eat one ever again.

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 00:23:44 UTC | #914110

cynicaloptimistrealist's Avatar Comment 13 by cynicaloptimistrealist

The original 8 Octohamic commandments

And the Lord spake onto them all these words saying,

1: I am the lord thy God, which have brought thee out or the acquarium of Wagamama, away from the bowl of wasabi, thou shalt have no other cephalopods before me.

2: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours prey

3: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours rock

4: Thou shalt not wrap thine tenticles around thy neighbours mate

5: Remember the low tide, keep it holy

6: Thou shalt not use thine hectocotylus on any other but thine own mate

7: Thou shalt not eateth thy neighbours young

8: Honour thy parents, for they laid you

After a schism, a new sect form around the teachings of Jepus and simplify the 8 into 2

1: Thou shalt love thy god with all thy heart, for he is a loving cephalopod 2: Love thy neighbour as thyself, squirteth not on his face, his mate, his eggs or his rock

A little while later another more zealous sect are formed by the prophet Mohammopus (peace and blessings be upon him). He mixes the teachings Octoham and Jepus with new revelations.

1: Cover up thine mate, for her tenticles are oft enticing and verily your neighbour shall not have control over his hectocotylus

2: Disagreeth not with Allusc or his prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) for those who disagree are the infidels who will lead thee to the bowl of wasabi and soy, those who disagreeth are to be enticed to repent (for Allusc is oft merciful), if they repenteth not they shalt be cast to the dry land where they shall burneth for all eternity

Then as Octopus theology advances into the modern age, the followers of Octoham and Mohammopus remain true to their original ideals but the followers of Jepus split into many distinct groups, the most vocal being the following:

The Cathopods who sum up their existence as a test - God has given you one hectocotylus and 8 dexterous limbs as a test, those who do what is natural or logical shall fry in the pans of Wagamama until they are consumed with wasabi and soy

The Fundamentapods who challenge enlightened Octopuses with - If we came from molluscs how come we don't have shells? Why don't other molluscs have tenticles? God made us from sand in his own 8 limbed image!!

And verily, Professor Dawkopus wept at the ignorance of his fellow cephalopods!

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 01:08:21 UTC | #914116

78rpm's Avatar Comment 14 by 78rpm

There needs to be something about attacking the Calamarites and destroying them utterly and coating them with rice flour and frying them in the oil of the Mount of Olives and offering them as a sacrifice. Or something. C'mon, somebody help with this....

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 02:43:21 UTC | #914129

abminara's Avatar Comment 15 by abminara

Religious jokes aside, this was an awesome video (google the name, it's in full on dailymotion)


"According to Wikipedia: Young octopuses learn almost no behaviors from their parents, with whom they have very little contact. Now what kind of religion could exist without childhood indoctrinatin?"

The entire last part of the film is actually about adult-child learning in them :)

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 03:28:53 UTC | #914133

ccw95005's Avatar Comment 16 by ccw95005

A more serious question is, if somewhere down the road we communicated with intelligent life on another planet, what is the likelihood that it will have religion?

I suspect our almost universal tendency to believe in God will turn out to be unusual. Intelligence alone will not lead a species to religion, of course.

Why do most of us believe in God? I think it's a combination of several factors. We evolved to be curious and question why things are as they are, and it's hard to imagine how we and all the flora and fauna could be here, especially prior to Darwin. Plus we have fear of death and various other fears which make heaven and someone watching over us very attractive. Plus we have a model for God in our parents, who seem to be omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent when we are infants. Plus we are social and can communicate our theories easily to one another.

So an intelligent species on another planet, or a hyperintelligent octopus, would be unlikely to develop religion unless it had most of the same characteristics.

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 04:03:16 UTC | #914137

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 17 by Bobwundaye

They'll probably come up with an eight-fold path to free themselves from suffering.

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 04:10:50 UTC | #914140

davidlagrasa's Avatar Comment 18 by davidlagrasa

Their holy scriptures will start with the law, the eight sacred books that were dictated to mostopus.

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 05:13:43 UTC | #914142

Quetzalcoatlus's Avatar Comment 19 by Quetzalcoatlus

For comment 13. of Cynicaloptimistrealist

Do you mind I translate it in Spanish and send it to my friends? It is very funny!

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 08:42:54 UTC | #914160

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Comment 20 by Helga Vieirch

Trying to contribute to this discussion is impossible for me because it it is too hilarious. And sad, you know to saddle the poor octopus with something like that… I'm sure they are all sensible atheists. I thought you said they were intelligent?

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 09:03:02 UTC | #914163

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 21 by susanlatimer

comment 13 by cynicaloptimistrealist

Nicely done. :-)

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 09:12:11 UTC | #914164

Sample's Avatar Comment 22 by Sample

Octopus Oracles:

1.Paul the Octopus

2.Inesta & Iker

3.Octopus Paul II

It was expected that Paul the Octopus would die before the UEFA Euro 2012, as common octopuses live on average no more than two years. On 26 October 2010, Paul died in his aquarium in Germany. His remains were cremated and he was given a small burial plot within the grounds of the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre. A modest permanent shrine was erected. Paul's agent, Chris Davies, said "It's a sad day, Paul was rather special, but we managed to film [him] before he left this mortal Earth."

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 09:43:50 UTC | #914166

TaniaOK's Avatar Comment 23 by TaniaOK

I am sure that we are underestimating their intelligence while they plot to kill us all and take over the world. Maybe we should see if any of them would like to purchase gold passes for Celebration of Reason in April?

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 11:11:16 UTC | #914174

potteryshard's Avatar Comment 24 by potteryshard

I suspect our almost universal tendency to believe in God will turn out to be unusual. Intelligence alone will not lead a species to religion, of course.

I think you're right in that any intelligent species we meet will have no religion. I would suspect that it will have religion in it's history, however. I would tend to think that religion may prove to be a natural outgrowth of any senitent species childhood development process as an element of wondering 'why'.

By the time that we meet them, or they meet us however, religion will probably of neccessity have become only a historical abberation. It would seem almost inevitable that different peoples, whether human or not would be unlikely to be able to concentrate, strive, and cooperate enough to possess the level of technology and focus needed to be able to make contact.

I would suspect that kicking off the traces of religion will eventually be seen as a necessary adolescent rite-of-passage in the maturation and growth of a species or a civilization.

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 13:36:35 UTC | #914189

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 25 by SaganTheCat

octopus intelligence, their problem-solving abilities and how they can learn quickly by observation.

sounds like they've already got past the religion phase in their evolution

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 14:26:37 UTC | #914196

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 26 by Mr DArcy

Thou shalt eat only shellfish for all other food is an abomination.

Thou shalt disguise thyself better than the Christian God, for He is an abomination.

Thou shalt not worship false cuttlefish, or golden lobsters, for they are abominations.

Thou shalt not allow a squid to live.

Dammned be the nautilus, for they drifteth free, and be not holy bottom dwellers.

Thou shalt build thy house within the rock.

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 14:57:54 UTC | #914201

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 27 by Schrodinger's Cat

And behold, the OctoCenturians did say " stuff this for a lark.....we can't figure out how to crucify an octopus'

Thus did Octianity not get off to a good start.

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 15:16:46 UTC | #914206

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 28 by Alan4discussion

There is a theory that you have to be a real Muppet to go for this religious stuff!
However, here is a genuine octopus hymn about the garden of creation! You will see this religion is already spreading to other species!

Muppet Show. Kermit and Robin - Octopus' Garden -

"Octopus' Garden," is Beatles song by Ringo Starr. Performed by Robin the Frog, Kermit the Frog, and Miss Piggy on episode 312 of The Muppet Show

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 16:26:02 UTC | #914212

danconquer's Avatar Comment 29 by danconquer

I always find that any story specifically on the question of intelligence in other animals lead, inevitably, me to question the morality of assumed homo sapien dominion over them. Just how intelligent would an animal need to be before we considered the killing and exploitation of it immoral? Perhaps emotional displays are more compelling. The octopus may be more intelligent than many mammals, but unlike some mammals, it shows little or no recognisable emotions - especially the ones like fear and sadness that will easily trigger empathy in ourselves.

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 16:30:03 UTC | #914213

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 30 by Mr DArcy

Thou shalt have no pods before me.

Verily I say unto thee, beware false prophets parting the seas, for they are the enemy of the watery ones.

If thine tentacle offend offend thee, cut it off.

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 18:13:28 UTC | #914240