Re: book suggestion

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Wed Sep 26 2001 - 22:09:38 BST

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: book suggestion
    Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 17:09:38 -0400
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    >From: Vincent Campbell <>
    >To: "''" <>
    >Subject: book suggestion
    >Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 15:55:11 +0100
    >Hiya everyone,
    >Just received a copy of Lee Cronk's 'That Complex Whole: Culture and the
    >Evolution of Human Behaviour' (1999, Westview Press, ISBN 0813337054)
    >Cronk appears to be a cultural anthropologist not aversed to views about
    >origin of culture stemming from evolutionary theory, and is also pro-memes.
    >Flicking through his bit about memes just now he seems to partly offer a
    >cultural traits line, partly a mind virus line, partly a sexual selection
    >line. I'll need to read it more closely to work out his position.
    >Linking to the discussion about the cultural/natural position o f war, he
    >does have a couple of interesting things to say about war (p80). In
    >reference to the relationship between reproductive success and conformity
    >cultural practices, he refers to the apparent nature of reproductive
    >for male Yanomamo being related not to wealth or hunting skill (as it is
    >some other tribes), but from fighting prowess- particularly if they've
    >killed others. He stresses that this doesn't make it a universal principle
    >for reproductive success, though.
    >I'm waiting on another book, that I think someone on the list recommended.
    >More on that when it arrives.
    I've been reading Gary Cziko's _The Things We Do_ (2000. MIT Press.
    Cambridge, Massachusetts, ISBN 0-262-03277-5). He talks about circular
    causation and physiological homeostasis where effects supposedly feedback to
    causes, a view less simplistic than the standard unidirection linear cause
    leads to effect view. Not too bad of a book so far, but I could not pass up
    this particular quote (p. 178-9):

    (bq) "The human immune system's primary function is to protect our bodies
    from microscopic pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and chemical toxins
    that are collectively known as *antigens*. It does this by producing cells
    called *antibodies* that are able to recognize invading antigens and bind
    with them so that other cells produced by the immune system can find and
    neutralize or destroy them." (eq)

    There's something not quite right with this passage considering that
    antibodies are proteins and that cells known as B-lymphocytes produce
    antibodies. I'm not sure you can equate pathogens with antigens. If I'm not
    mistaken, antigens are molecules and as such could be contained by a
    pathogen. A given pathogen could contain more than one antigen.

    This gaffe aside the larger point in this part of Cziko's book of
    intraselection operating within an organism over its lifetime was not lost.

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