Re: Object lesson in email bloat (Modified by John Wilkins)

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Wed 27 Apr 2005 - 22:35:31 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "RE: Christianity Redux?"

    --- Chris Taylor <> wrote:

    > Okay now I look multiply daft :)
    > > Tsk, a biologist should be able to identify an ape
    > :-)
    > Uh-huh. Monkey sounded funnier though? (how weak is
    > that defence...)
    > > I am familiar with Otte and Endler, and most of
    > the later stuff (not
    > > speciation, although I'm remedying that now - I
    > tend to be a pluralist,
    > > allowing for sympatric as well as allopatric
    > speciation). I also know
    > > White's karyotypic (stasipatric) account.
    > Stasipatric -- that was it... And certainly
    > sympatric works just fine;
    > but it is at the end of the day just one form of a
    > general mode of which
    > allopatric is another. Whether the division is due
    > to a mountain range
    > or results from host fidelity affecting mating, or
    > allochrony or
    > variation in call or whatever, the restricted gene
    > flow is a must. None
    > of our modelling could produce speciation with high
    > gene flow, and
    > certainly not with panmixis; all we could get was a
    > population that bled
    > F2 breakdown hybrids (which is just incipient
    > speciation essentially);
    > sadly I had little time to follow through on the
    > development of
    > assortative mating in response to an environment
    > that pulls a population
    > in two directions at once, but it works as we and
    > others found (and as
    > is fairly plain to see in reality anyway).
    I wonder how Mayrian peripatry would apply to cultural evolution in small cultural isolates at the periphery
    (we call them "cliques").
    > > I have a history - a memetic study you might say -
    > of species concepts
    > > from Aristotle, through the late classical,
    > medieval, renaissance, and
    > > later periods as well as the beginnings of natural
    > history from
    > > Cesalpino on. It's being revised for publication
    > now. I hope to have it
    > > ready by October or so.
    > I'd love to read that -- will you post a notice to
    > the group?
    > > I am not familiar with an "inclusive species
    > concept" unless you mean
    > > Templeton's *cohesion* concept.
    > Prolly was that; I most likely promoted a word from
    > the definition to
    > the title in my rather patchy recollection (a quick
    > googling seems to
    > support that conclusion).
    > A decade would seem sufficient to render most of the
    > content of my head
    > worthless. Ah well, thank god I'm just a general
    > BSer these days...
    There's stuff I used to "own" so to speak that I can't even cue up very well anymore. Use it or lose it. Ironic I'm fascinated by the topic of memory because I...just forgot what I was going to say.

    Like today when going back over one of Lashley's works where he refers to Hans Driesch's concept of equipotentiality and how it corresponds to where he was taking his idea of functional equivalence and reduplication of parts. I was thinking, man I better brush up on that sea urchin embryology stuff if I'm gonna even have a clue a what he's saying. Nice comparison though between sea urchin embryology (which Lashley didn't specifically refer to but implied by mention of Driesch's concept of equipotentiality) and the redundant distribution of the memory trace through the cortex, especially given how Driesch explored regulation in sea urchin development. Lashley even made a vague comparison between the way the memory trace is reduplicated and how the chomosomal mechanisms in the cells of the body are equivalent across cells. That's as close to a genetic analogy for memory as I could find in Lashley, but no cigar. It was too vague. He also refers to the reverberatory circuit closed loop cortical thingies that Hebb was so smitten with (Lorente de No's concept) as resonators. Ted might like that one, but alas the resonance Lashley was getting at was confined to the intracranial kind and not the intercranial kind. So maybe neural tuning forks get in synchrony a al Lashley at very minor distances within the noggin, but long distance 100th monkey synchrony ain't where it's at. Lashley was making blind stabs in the dark with resonance, just like he did with the analogy to wave motion (volleys of excitation and refractory periods) and interference on the surface of a lake and also Drieschian equipotentiality. Lashley refuted the field principle of the Gestaltists as he envisioned it using gold foil on the cortex of a monkey, but not sure if that quite did the trick. That Lashley was doing psychologically relevant experimental work and had a clue what Driesch's work entailed is a testament to his broad background, but his personal foibles wrt racism that Orbach talks about in his book are detestable and cast a dark shadow over him IMO.

    He must have had enough biological background and knowledge of previous memory work to have known who Semon was.

    Aunger should have looked more into Lashley's work before he dismissed him, since his view on memory redundancy and distribution parallel Lashley's conclusions from the ablation work he did. I'm not saying reduplication has validity as a neuroscientific concept, but it does seem to imply a sort of replication within the noggin and it's something that Aunger or any neuromemeticist should acknowledge. Did Calvin say anything about reduplication in his work? I'm pretty sure he was keen on Hebb's cell assembly stuff, but Orbach points to parallels between that and Lashley's nerve net stuff which is exapnded in the Vanuxem lectures published in Orbach's book. IIRC Lashley even took a pot shot at any AI type neural modelling that assumes artificial neural units are comparable to the variable neural units in biological wetware.

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