Re: memetics-digest V1 #1378

From: Malcolm Dean (
Date: Mon 02 Jun 2003 - 06:52:19 GMT

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    > No other animal has shown the capacity to recognize the
    > difference between what they know and what others should know.

    Every time - and it is far too often - I hear this kind of blanket appeal to establish the uniqueness and superiority of humans, I barf.

    There are tons and tons of anecdotal evidence of animals recognizing that another does not know of danger or disease. Why animals with senses highly attuned to the natural environment should perform a logical task while contained in a sterile, flourescent-lit room with no fresh air and the high-pitched whine of air conditioning, is beyond me. Even a roomful of some of the world's best cognitive scientists recently admitted in conversation that the reason monkeys fail on many cognitive tests is because they are often raised behind bars, without toys or parents, and without affection.

    There is something deeply suspicious of the repeated claims that This, no - uh - This, or maybe This, is what makes humans unique and superior. Why this desperate and persistent need to draw a sharp line in Nature, which has few, if any? My prejudice is that if researchers would concentrate on finding the same gradual evolution in cognition that they are so fond of seeing elsewhere, much would become clear to them.

    Malcolm Dean Los Angeles Home of Cognitive Manipulation

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