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Well, do they? Is it your opinion or is there evidence to prove it's a fact?

an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior: he had a guilty conscience about his desires | Ben was suffering a pang of conscience.
 

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Bees do not have a brain, in the sense that we have a brain. They have two small collections of nerve cells located above and below their esophagus (Supraesophageal ganglia and subesophageal ganglia). These serve as information 'routing centers' - there is very little 'interpretation' of information.

The ganglia are positioned close to the structures that primarily collect information (eyes, antenna) and are most important for interacting with their environment (mandibles, tongue). There are smaller collections of ganglia at the base of the legs and wings, which function in the same way - coordination of movement.

Bees do not have emotions because bees do not produce the chemicals responsible for emotions - namely serotonin - nor do they have the brain structures required for interpreting emotions.

The best way to explain their behavior is that of a positive/negative feedback machine. Bees detect organic molecules, either produced by the queen, the brood, other bees, from products brought in from outside (nectar/pollen), etc. They are hardwired to respond, either in a positive (produce more of the behavior) or negative (reduce the behavior) way to particular levels of these chemicals. Chemical threshold levels vary by chemical and even by life stage of the bee.

For instance, workers do not 'decide' to not lay eggs when there is a queen present. The queen produces high levels of hormones and pheromones that are associated with the production of eggs. Workers detect these pheromones and hormones, which can physically enter their body by binding to their antenna and being actively transported to into their hemolymph. The presence of high levels of these hormones physiologically suppresses the development of the worker's reproductive organs and interferes with the production of eggs. In a sense, workers are 'physically' prevented from developing and laying eggs. This is negative feedback (increased levels of queen pheromones/hormones results in decreased levels of worker reproductive activity).

This is also why you can be queenless with open brood without developing laying workers - the brood pheromone suppresses reproductive development as well.

Conversely, when the queen is gone - pheromones drop. Workers don't 'decide' either individually or collectively to lay eggs - in the absence of physiological hormonal suppression, some workers who may be individually more sensitive to the pheromones detect their absence first. Without the pheromones to suppress the activation and development of their reproductive organs, their eggs develop and then they HAVE to lay eggs. Once they begin, they start producing the pheromones that suppress egg development and laying in other workers. This is why you usually get several laying workers in a hive.

There is no 'conscious' as we know it. Larry Connor has written several good articles on the coordination of behavior in the hive through chemical processes in the last few issues of Bee Culture. I think in one issue he wrote about the regulation of water collection - it is a classic example of positive feedback behavior regulation based upon how quickly a forager is unloaded at the hive entrance.
 

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No soul, no conscience.

This implies an inate sense of right and wrong, not trained or learned behavior. Conscience goes beyond natural instincts, genetic predisposition or learned behavior.
 

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Interesting.
The size of a brain probably does not matter (especially since no one even understands how the brain does what it does). Think of it. A mass of "nerves" and fluid that allows us to think, reason, speak, eat, breath, - everything - (*cough* could that be more evidence).

No bees do not have a conscience. In Job God says he withheld reasoning (understanding/wisdom) from other life.
 

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In Job God says he withheld reasoning (understanding/wisdom) from other life.
I have a Lhasa Apso who would strongly take issue with this quote. But then, they're supposed to be reincarnated Buddhist monks, so I suppose the point might still apply. ;)

Actually, there have been numerous studies indicating that higher mammals & some birds do indeed have the ability to think, analyze, and apply novel solutions to problems they have never encountered before. Most recently making the rounds is YouTube of rooks in England and a complex series of tasks.

But the bees, sadly no. While their's is a fascinating and complex society, it is primarily behavioral based.
 

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... Lhasa Apso... But then, they're supposed to be reincarnated Buddhist monks...
Actually, there have been numerous studies indicating that higher mammals & some birds do indeed have the ability to think, analyze, and apply novel solutions to problems they have never encountered before. Most recently making the rounds is YouTube of rooks in England and a complex series of tasks.
I think people (with a lot of pushing from "scientists") have greatly mistaken intelligence for memory (which is training for animals). Maybe it is because our standards for intelligence have fallen so low we now think animals are smart.
 

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Two words: Public Schools. They are now mostly teaching to take tests, not the development of critical thinking skills.

Of course the majority of animal intelligence is inferior to human, but take a look at those vids with the rooks. No one showed them a thing. And their cleverness is not new--ven Aesop wrote about them.

It is precisely because we are human that we lean toward anthropomorphic behavior ourselves.
 

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Bees do not have emotions because bees do not produce the chemicals responsible for emotions - namely serotonin - nor do they have the brain structures required for interpreting emotions.
Hmm. What about dopamine?


Honey bee queens produce a sophisticated array of chemical signals (pheromones) that influence both the behavior and physiology of their nest mates.

Queen pheromone modulates brain dopamine function in worker honey bees
Kyle T. Beggs
 

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Actually, serotonin and other chemicals were detected in bee brains years ago:

Effects of stress, age, season, and source colony on levels of octopamine, dopamine and serotonin in the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) brain

JW Harris, J Woodring - Journal of Insect Physiology, 1992

The effects of environmental and genetic factors on levels of octopamine, dopamine and serotonin in brains from worker honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection
 

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I think people (with a lot of pushing from "scientists") have greatly mistaken intelligence for memory (which is training for animals). Maybe it is because our standards for intelligence have fallen so low we now think animals are smart.
MikeJ,

I, for one, am growing tired of your continued maligning of science and scientists. No one here maligns instrument tuning or faith, that I have read, and I have been here for some time.

Scientists don't push people to mistake intelligence for memory. I would know, I am not only a professional scientist, I also interact on a regular and personal basis with others in the field. By way of example, I refer you to my initial post on this very thread - no 'pushing' to mistake intelligence for memory there.

If people make that mistake - it is due to their misunderstanding of science, or generalizations made by those outlets that disseminate science to the public, not any actions undertaken by the vast majority of scientists. For instance, I no longer speak with the press because I have been misquoted and the information I am trying to relay, misrepresented so many times. There are, of course, exceptions where scientists are motivated by agendas - but they are hardly the rule.

You might also consider that your current standard of living has been provided to you by God, through science. Medicine, electricity, internal combustion, central heat and air, etc. All of these (and many more) products and processes, God revealed and made usable to man through science.

I remind you that this is a beekeeping forum, dedicated primarily to the dissemination of information relating to art and practice of beekeeping and for the purposes of helping others become better beekeepers. I would appreciate if you would keep any proselytizing and rhetoric confined to Tailgator or another, more appropriate forum.

As Carl Sagan has said, "My deeply held belief is that if a (G)od of anything like the traditional sort exists, our curiosity and intelligence are provided by such a (G)od. We would be unappreciative of those gifts . . . if we suppressed our passion to explore the universe and ourselves. On the other hand, if such a traditional (G)od does not exist, our curiosity and our intelligence are the essential tools for managing our survival. In either case, the enterprise of knowledge is consistent with both science and religion, and is essential for the welfare of the human species."

Respectfully,

Mike S
NDnewbeek
 

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Hmm. What about dopamine?
Peter,

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter - its main function (as is my understanding) is the smoothing of neural signals to muscles - but we are starting to get outside of my main area of expertise.

Yes, serotonin is present in bees, but, again, my understanding is that 1. it is not produced in levels high enough to produce what we identify as 'emotions' and 2. bees lack the organs responsible for interpreting emotions (through serotonin levels) - I believe it is the hippocampus of the brain.

Mike
 

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People have done experiments with mammals showing ethical behavior, if that's what you are getting at when you say "conscience."

Do bees experience "right and wrong" and make choices based on that sense?

I think even if we set up an experiment and demonstrated a sense of right and wrong in behavior, either between bees in a colony, bees between colonies, or community colony interaction, there would be the criticism that it isn't a conscious choice, but rather just "programming."
 

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Dopamine (DA) is involved in a large variety of physiological and behavioural processes in animals ranging from mollusk to mammals. [It] plays a critical role in cognition and emotion, and the last decade has seen a large increase in the experimental evidence for a role in both synaptic plasticity and memory processes … invertebrate DA receptors, AmDOP1 from Apis mellifera (Mustard et al. 2003) and DOP-1 from Caenorhabditis elegans (Sanyal et al. 2004) possess strong constitutive activity.

An aplysia dopamine1-like receptor: molecular and functional characterization
Demian Barbas. Journal of Neurochemistry, 2006, 96, 414–427
See my article in the current American Bee Journal. It is going to run for three consecutive issues and deals with the chemical communication that regulates hive behavior.
 

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Well put Mike S. As you can tell from my profile, I'm a Believer. But as many times as I've been "around the block," I am confident that God is going to do what God is going to do (or wants to do) irrespective of the position of various believers, who frequently contradict each other anyway.

So, do bees have a conscience? Are we talking about that which is encased in the grey matter called the brain, or that which takes place in the synapses and electrical impulses? We cannot quantify and identify a soul. Although some have weighed a human body immediately before death, and immediately after death, and found a difference in the amount of ounces, proclaiming those ounces represent the departed soul. Or was it the conscience that departed?

Is it conscience, or consciousness, that separates animals, including humans, from plants? While I readily affirm that humans have a conscience and a soul, I am not so readily to affirm that animals, including honey bees, do not have a consciousness about them. Conscience implies an ability to discern between right and wrong, to make value judgments. If a bee colony is a superorganism, is its conscience found in the individual, or in the group?

I think we have moved from the scientific realm into the philosophical realm. And what we state or affirm are more matters of faith, or belief, rather than solid knowledge. I could be wrong, have been before, will be again. But personally I will affirm that any sentient being, insect, animal, or human, has a conscience, or at least a consciousness of its reality. Though it most certainly is not as well developed or defined as the human. And probably, not being human, operates on a different plane than human conscience or consciousness.
FWIW :popcorn:
Regards,
Steven
 

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See my article in the current American Bee Journal. It is going to run for three consecutive issues and deals with the chemical communication that regulates hive behavior.
Peter,

I will make sure to see the article. I was not aware that dopamine was that involved in emotion, but does that statement refer to humans only or all animals where dopamine is present?

Additionally, often structures and molecules that are present in different organisms do not always perform the same function or have the same effect. Is there information available that indicates the specific role that dopamine plays in honeybees. Also, is it secreted in proportionally significant amounts to even produce emotion?

Thanks in advance for the info.

mike
 

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I was not aware that dopamine was that involved in emotion, but does that statement refer to humans only or all animals where dopamine is present?
Well now, we don't know, do we?

The issue of emotions in animals is very thorny. Some folks view them as machines, black boxes. Others, especially animal lovers, assert that (mammals at least) have a rich emotional and imaginative life.

We tend to project our emotions onto animals, it's true. I think of my bees as angry, mean, contented, joyful, despondent, etc. These terms refer to states that I see the bees in. Of course, I don't know how they actually feel.

However, and this is a key point, we don't really know any of this about other people. Yet, we take cues from them and imagine their emotional state. Usually we are pretty good at this; not always.

So using those techniques we can imagine the emotional state of animals, knowing that it is guesswork -- but meaningful nonetheless.
 

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.

We tend to project our emotions onto animals, it's true. I think of my bees as angry, mean, contented, joyful, despondent, etc. These terms refer to states that I see the bees in. Of course, I don't know how they actually feel.
I agree that we as humans try to project our emotions onto animals...BUT.........what you are saying here, and i am clarifying, is that when i open my hive and that one bee, who seems unhappy for the moment, is trying to sting me that she has no "feelings" or no "ill-will" toward me at that moment? I would beg to differ if that is the case, because if she wasn't angry, she would not be trying to sting me. If is were "reactionary" instead of what we as humans describe as a thought, wouldn't the entire hive be following her singular footsteps at that particular point and time? Call it what you want, but i would consider that as some sort of an emotion, as we humans have defined it....but hey, thats just me...
 

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Well now, we don't know, do we?

The issue of emotions in animals is very thorny. Some folks view them as machines, black boxes. Others, especially animal lovers, assert that (mammals at least) have a rich emotional and imaginative life.

We tend to project our emotions onto animals, it's true. I think of my bees as angry, mean, contented, joyful, despondent, etc. These terms refer to states that I see the bees in. Of course, I don't know how they actually feel.

However, and this is a key point, we don't really know any of this about other people. Yet, we take cues from them and imagine their emotional state. Usually we are pretty good at this; not always.

So using those techniques we can imagine the emotional state of animals, knowing that it is guesswork -- but meaningful nonetheless.
Peter,

I think that the anthropomorphosis of animals is one of the primary issues that clouds general understanding.

You are also correct, in that, many of these hormones responsible for emotions in people are present in a wide variety of other animals. The sticking point for me is that most of these animals (with the exception of mammals - and then, only some mammals) lack the anatomical structures (either analogously or exactly) that we understand produce states such as 'emotion' and 'cogency'.

The physiological chemistry though, is generally understood as a Fixed Action Pattern feedback mechanism for invertebrates. Interestingly (and not meaning to open another whole can of worms), there are theories on the evolution of emotions.

Presumably (and theoretically), one theory states that emotions evolve more readily in organisms that produce fewer offspring and whose offspring require high levels of parental care. The thinking is that, the ability to form attachments to offspring increases the likelihood that the offspring survive (as both parents are more likely to remain with it and care for it if they are able to emotionally connect to it). Those offspring that are raised by 'emoting' parents, live longer, have that trait (through genetics) and pass that trait onto their offspring - thereby increasing the frequency of the trait in the population. Again though, this is only one theory.

There aren't many organisms that fit that criteria completely. Humans are one. So are many other primates, cetaceans (whales and dolphins), maybe a few of the medium sized dogs. Accordingly though, honeybees would satisfy at least one of those criteria as candidates for potentially possessing 'emotions' - in that, their offspring require a significant amount of care.

Mike
 
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