RE: Coordinated behavior among birds, fish, and insects

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue Aug 28 2001 - 16:31:18 BST

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    Subject: RE: Coordinated behavior among birds, fish, and insects
    Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 16:31:18 +0100
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            <Slime moulds really are simple to explain (as someone has more or
    > done in a recent post). Fish are easier than birds, because they have
    > the 'lateral line' organs either side of their body (practically all
    > fish - look halfway down the flank paralleling the body axis - line of
    > tiny dots - each a pit with a tiny sensory hair - and a fast nerve line
    > to fast twitch white muscle as well as upstairs). Mass movement in fish
    > is therefore piss easy to explain, because you're looking at a
    > combination of speed of sound in water (pretty fast) and very short
    > reaction times in the fish.>
            Good stuff.

    >> <Ultimately, memetics will sink or swim with morphics.>
    >> Yeah, that's what's beginning to worry me...

            <My god I hope not, that's like linking astronomy to astrology.>

            I don't think memetics and MR are linked, but when one looks at
    other theories of cultural evolution and critiques of memetics, they tend to
    have the same kind of rhetoric that critics of MR on this list have, namely
    the argument of why do you need theory 'X' to explain phenomena already
    (arguably) explainable by other, empirically established theories. Now,
    before everyone jumps down my throat, I don't think memetics is on anywhere
    near as shaky ground as MR, but there are those who make this kind of
    argument (e.g. evolutionary psychology people who reckon they've got culture
    sussed etc.). I think proponents of memetics have more potential in the
    long run to counter those kind of criticisms than the MR crowd (not least
    because first, unlike MR, it proposes a mechanism which is in principle
    empirically testable, and second it doesn't refute established bodies of
    empirical data).


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