Re: DS syndrome

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri 23 May 2003 - 01:37:22 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Definition of meme"

    At 01:51 PM 22/05/03 -0400, William L. Benzon wrote:
    >on 5/22/03 1:05 PM, at wrote:
    > > 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?

    Not me!

    >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?

    Cats are classic for being able to learn to do complicated tasks by watching another cat do the task.

    My writing has mentioned learned bird songs as memes, as well as termite-ing behavior that is learned by chimps. One of the classic meme example was shown by the birds that learned (from watching other birds) to peck open milk bottles and drink the cream. Another would be the New Zealand parrots that learned--ultimately from an inventive bird--how to sit on the backs of sheep and eat out their kidneys. Still another would be potato washing by Japanese monkeys. If information, usually behavior modifying information, is being transferred from one brain to another by observation or any other means, that's an example of meme replication.


    Keith Henson

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