Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id UAA06506 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Tue, 7 Aug 2001 20:32:06 +0100 Message-ID: <002101c11f77$62cc25c0$f188b2d1@teddace> From: "Dace" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com> References: <3B6ECBC0.14995.5A4B18@localhost> Subject: MR Evidence Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2001 12:30:13 -0700 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit X-Priority: 3 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.50.4133.2400 X-MIMEOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.50.4133.2400 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
> > From: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > > > Genes determine eye color. This is a well-established fact.
> > > > What's *not* established is that they determine the structure and
> > > > functions of the eye. In neo-Darwinian biology, genes play very
> > > > much the same role as the ether in Newtonian astronomy. Rather
> > > > than accept the existence of action-at-a-distance, astronomers
> > > > posited an ether across which waves of gravity could propagate
> > > > like waves on the ocean. Now the same thing has happened in
> > > > biology. We have trouble accepting the possibility that
> > > > influences are exerted over a distance (in this case across time
> > > > instead of space). So we invent a germ-plasm which mechanically
> > > > induces the formation of the body. While genes do indeed play an
> > > > important role in the activities of the organism, the genetic
> > > > program is as mythical as the lumineferous ether.
> > > >
> > > Actually, the mythical thing is the idea that there is a cold
> > > morphic resonential wind blowing through the halls of history that
> > > contains the shape of things to come. The argument ad ignorantium
> > > (we haven't proven the exact linkage of genes with ocular structure
> > > in every particular yet, so it must be due to something else someone
> > > dreamed up) was listed as a logical fallacy by the greeks 2500 years
> > > ago, and the passage of time has not led to any successful
> > > re-evaluation of its status as a logical error.
> > It's not just that the "exact linkage of genes with ocular structure"
> > hasn't yet been worked out but that no linkage whatsoever has been
> > worked out. Nobody has the slightest idea how genes could produce eyes
> > or any other organic structure all the way down to protein.
> > That's not to say that the argument for resonance-based memory is
> > based entirely on a critique of gene-based memory.
> Actually, since there is no evidence that one can present that
> unequivocally corroborates MR, its proponents have been reduced
> to impotently attacking all other alternatives, especially those for
> which reams of corroborative evidence exists.
Let's begin with the rats.
In 1920 William McDougall of Harvard began training rats to learn to escape
from a water maze by choosing the correct exit. While the brightly lit exit
would give them an electric shock, when they picked the dimly-lit exit, they
got out undisturbed. McDougall found that the first generation of rats had
to endure 165 shocks before getting the message. But by the 30th
generation, only 20 transgressions were necessary to persuade the rats of
the error in their way. (McDougall, 1938. British Journal of Psychology
McDougall assumed the rats were passing on acquired characteristics.
Wishing to disprove this "Lamarckian" (and Darwinian) interpretation of the
data, F. A. E. Crew replicated the experiment in Edinburgh. Right from the
get-go, Crew's rats needed only 25 errors to learn their lesson, as if
picking up where the Harvard rats had left off. (Crew, 1936. Journal of
In Melbourne, W. E. Agar found the same effect. His trials went on for over
twenty years, and even when he tested control subjects that weren't
descended from trained rats, they still showed improvement over the
performance of previous generations. So it couldn't have been coming from
their parents. (Agar, 1954. Journal of Experimental Biology 31:307-321.)
Acquired traits have often been observed to pass
throughout a species with no known means of direct transfer from individual
to individual. For instance, in England in the 20s a small bird known as
the blue tit learned to open milk bottles at doorsteps. When one bird
learned the trick, others in the area learned it by simple imitation. But
the blue tit doesn't fly more than a few miles, and this habit spread to
several widely disparate areas in England by 1935 and continued popping up
in faraway places throughout the forties, including Scandinavia and Holland.
The habit appeared independently at least 89 times in the British Isles, and
the spread of the habit accelerated as time went on. (Fisher and Hinde,
1949. British Birds 42:347-357.) Milk bottles practically disappeared in
Holland during the war, and by the time they returned all the birds that had
been opening them before the war could not have survived to see their
return. Yet the habit rapidly returned when the bottles were re-introduced
in 1947. According to Sheldrake's model, the more a new trait is practiced
by the members of a given species, the more likely other individuals will
pick it up through resonance.
Arden Mahlberg, a psychologist, carried out a test of the ability to learn
Morse Code. He had one group of subjects learn actual Morse Code, while
another had to learn a newly-invented code that closely resembled it. He
found that subjects were able to learn the actual code far more rapidly than
the alternative, and he interpreted this as evidence that the subjects were
resonating with the millions of people who had already learned Morse code.
Each time he replicated the experiment, he found that the difference in
learning time between Morse code and the new one progressively decreased.
This might mean that the initial results were false. But the fact that the
decrease was progressive suggests that the morphic resonance of the new code
was becoming progressively stronger as more and more students learned it.
(Mahlberg, 1987. Journal of Analytical Psychology 32:23-34.)
Countless people have learned to type on the QWERTY keyboard. If morphic
resonance is real, we should expect people to learn this layout more readily
than random layouts. This is indeed the case. Even the alphabetical
layout, which should be easier to learn, is often harder to learn, though in
a few experiments it was equally easy to learn as the QWERTY layout.
(Norman and Fisher, 1982. Human Factors 24:509-519.) (Hirsch, 1970. Journal
of Applied Psychology 54:484-490.)
This is just a small sampling. There's a lot more, including an experiment
Sheldrake conducted recently demonstrating that crossword puzzles are easier
to solve when lots of other people have already solved them. Many more
experiments on the drawing board could easily be carried out with a little
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