Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work

From: Philip A.E. Jonkers (
Date: Wed Nov 21 2001 - 02:18:40 GMT

  • Next message: Philip A.E. Jonkers: "Re: Feral children,"

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    From: "Philip A.E. Jonkers" <>
    Organization: UC Berkeley
    Subject: Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work
    Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 18:18:40 -0800
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    > << I did read the reference, impressive, but I think I will stick to my
    > comment.
    > Well because,
    > I agree that feral children are reduced to the level of animals if they
    > lack everything what would make them human, but that would not take away
    > the consideration of the existence of a ( human) memetic or other
    > isomorphism. There are fundamental building blocks of one character in the
    > feral child, it is just that those did not have the chance to express
    > themselves.
    > Susan Greenfield explains,
    > If you were getting blind on one eye, the visual cortex don 't develops any
    > visual connection for that eye. But because, inside your brain, the notion
    > of the fittest ( there is a Darwinian competition for connections) still
    > works,
    > other parts of your brain will take over the empty space_ in a sense it
    > will be taking over by those connections of the other eye.
    > But if you were completely blind, your brain would not have made any
    > connection, in a way the cortex keeps it flexibility if, after surgery, you
    > could see again.
    > And in a way, the same thing happened with those children.
    > Their human fundaments were grown over by those of the jungle.
    > They could not speak ! Of course not ! They only could learn to speak
    > after severe practice and than again, of course, all what was needed to
    > speak was grown over by other abilities. They treated the sound of the
    > human voice as background noise, of course, it had no meaning.
    > IMO, these children are not that different from what happened to the eye
    > in the paragraph above.
    > At a early age, you need models, socialisation if you wish, if you lack,
    > for whatever reason that opportunity, your brain already made connections
    > which in a sense can be undone.
    > Speak, hearing, sight, walking upright, memory, self- awareness,... all are
    > sitting in the same boat, without the proper fundamental connections in
    > your brain you will get nowhere_ others will take over. To reverse the
    > process, if possible, you will need years.
    > We are not born into this world with minds as blank as a sheet of white
    > paper, but and I agree we have to rely on society to clothe us as humans.
    > And I do insist on that last word.
    > Personal note, like I said many times before on this list, loosing your
    > parents
    > at a young age, is maby a disavantage, but it gives you a hell of an
    > opportunity
    > to build yourself via memes.
    > Maybe I lost the years of puberty and its memes of speech, sight,... but it
    > did
    > strenghten me in my notion of self- awareness, and well because I could
    > rely on human fundamentals of survival.
    > If I lived than on that age in the jungle, I would have died.
    > By the way, I am not opset Philip,

    I never intended Kenneth. I wonder how many intellectual or higher
    cognitive functions (consciousness, emphathy, reasoning) are
    truly intrinsic. You are right when you imply that the phenomenon
    of feral children don't really answer that question. For all we know their
    `civilized' human properties have been supplanted by more animal-like ones.
    However, this view is rather hard to maitain if we consider the fact
    that humans really have to learn most mental activities from
    scratch (including perceptual, let alone something as complex as
    consciousness), i.e. no stimulus no learning, no neurological wiring.
    We are very apt students indeed, but we have to learn nonetheless.
    Giving that paradigm it seems more natural to assume that the human
    higher order mental software has not been programmed on birth but needs
    to come from exposure to and interaction with human culture and its society.

    (I agree, of course, that we already have the most of the proper hardware
    soon after birth. After all, it's what defines us as humans anatomically.)



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