Re: DS syndrome

From: Ray Recchia (
Date: Thu 22 May 2003 - 18:23:21 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: DS syndrome"

    > > They also *may* have a primitive subsonic language. But is it an
    > > instinctual collection of calls, like dolphinsong, which never
    > changes, or
    > > can creativity be involved, like in whalesong, which does change?
    > That
    > > decides whether or not we may be able to consider it to be a
    > language;
    > > for now, the jury is still out.
    > Are you claiming no language, no memes?
    > Mentalist memetics would seem to claim the humans have a class of
    > neural
    > entities that other animals do not, namely memes. Neuroscientists
    > haven't
    > found any such things. They know we've got more neural tissue than
    > apes,
    > etc. But physically, the tissue is pretty much same old stuff. There
    > are
    > not little possible-meme-thingys in our heads that are missing in cats,
    > dogs
    > and apes. Or is it that animal brains are just stuffed full of memes
    > but
    > there's little or no way for them to get out?
    > I'm embarrassed to admit that this line of thinking didn't occur to me
    > when
    > I picked Aunger's neuromemetics apart.
    > --
    > William L. Benzon
    > 708 Jersey Avenue, Apt. 2A
    > Jersey City, NJ 07302
    > 201 217-1010
    > "You won't get a wild heroic ride to heaven on pretty little
    > sounds."--George Ives

    I'm a mentalist memetics and I claim that animals do have memes. There is a difference though between passing memes by observing behavior and passing them through referential symbolism. Animals form complex strategies and are capable of using abstractions like numbers and colors, but do not engage in the passage of complex referential symbols like humans do. I'm not going to jump into this messy argument again, but I think that a performance based meme runs into problems when dealing with complex referential symbols because those symbols can expressed in so many different forms. Those forms can only be connected by recognizing the common mental constructs behind them.

    Incidently, although I've said so many times before, primate studies absolutely rely on recognizing common internal thinking processes we share with the apes. This was Goodall's great breakthrough. She described her subjects as getting angry, feeling love, and having many other emotions that humans possess. All of those things are internal states that we can recognize in others sharing a common background with ourselves. Hunger is a real thing inside our heads that can be correlated to a feedback response from the neurons in our stomachs. We didn't need to know about the neurons to know about hunger though. We recognized it in ourselves and in others. And we still don't know how our conscious mind truly comes to recognize hunger in itself. Our mutual consciousness of our own ideas and thoughts is an internal awareness that we can be as sure of as hunger. Our ability to recognize a similarity between internal states is the absolute basis which language requires to function.

    Like I said we've really gone over this too many times. It just gets too damned old. I can understand how a molecular biologist like Derek Gatherer could be unhappy with the uncertainty associated with recognizing similar mental states but IMHO the whole argument is a waste of time.

    Ray Recchia

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