Re: USA Today - interview with Gugatkin and de Waal on animal culture

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri Jun 08 2001 - 15:23:21 BST

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: USA Today - interview with Gugatkin and de Waal on animal culture
    Date: Fri, 08 Jun 2001 10:23:21 -0400
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    >From: "Wade T.Smith" <>
    >To: "memetics list" <>
    >Subject: Re: USA Today - interview with Gugatkin and de Waal on animal
    >Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 09:37:05 -0400
    >On 06/08/01 09:12, Scott Chase said this-
    > >The big problem would not be
    > >in using the word "culture", but employing this term in a way that
    > >anthropocentrically places humans within a charmed circle, removed from
    > >"lowly" animals.
    >Granted, but, that anthropocentricity is where the meaning of 'culture'
    >_came_ from, not the realms of behaviorism or biology. (Well, 'culture'
    >in biology means something quite different, although, yeah, the
    >Backstreet Boys and MTV are sorts of germs, in their own way....)
    Well, I'm grappling with this word "culture" and trying to see it in
    different lights, thinking WAY outside the box and trying to clip the
    pro-human biased roots. I could forgive you for mentioning behaviorism, but
    I could have done without another exposure to the "Backstreet Boys" virus
    this early in the morning.
    >Culture can easily become 'artistic behavior', 'social behavior', 'tribal
    >behavior', etc, with no harm to its roots, its expression, or its
    Maybe sticking with the baseline of "non-genetic behavioral transmission"
    would be the better option and then working from there one might consider
    all the possible variations on this theme, "memes" included.

    Culture does have some deep seated human connotations when applied to
    I dunno. I'll see what develops on this thread and go from there.
    >Shouldn't we leave culture in its petri dish?
    Well there's a difference between microbial populations living in cultural
    media (maybe we should leave media to the microbiologists too?...sorry
    Vincent) and the phenomenon of "non-genetic behavioral transmission" or the
    more typical charmed circle of "accumulated knowledge, customs, beliefs,
    arts, and other human products that are socially transmitted over the
    generations" (from page 756 of the Campbell, Mitchell, and Reece's _Biology:
    Concepts & Connections_. 1997. Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. New York). This
    comes from an introductory biology text.

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