Re: Study shows brain can learn without really trying

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri Nov 23 2001 - 08:42:03 GMT

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: Study shows brain can learn without really trying
    Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001 03:42:03 -0500
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    >From: "Wade T.Smith" <>
    >To: "Memetics Discussion List" <>
    >Subject: Re: Study shows brain can learn without really trying
    >Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2001 11:55:07 -0500
    >Hi Robin Faichney -
    > >All that's
    > >required to validate the most basic memetic model is imitation.
    >Or commonality.
    >Similar environments populated by similar species produce similar
    >behaviors. No imitation of any sort is required.
    >Imitation itself in such models is an illusion.
    Would this behavioral similarity stem from common ancestry (ie- would it
    reflect a deep seated homology) or would the similarity merely result from
    convergence or parallelism due to a common environmental constraint or
    problem, such as sharks and dolphins sharing superficially similar fusiform
    bodies for an adaptive streamlining which cuts through water or vertebrates
    and octopuses sharing similar eye designs for reception of images? If the
    former (ie- homology), there might just be something archetypal or
    primordial about this behavioral similarity. Otherwise the theme arises from
    convergence and homology is illusory.

    One would think that the level of similarity between humans and chimps might
    mean there are some homologies in behavior. What about tool usage? Does this
    apparent similarity stem from common ancestry or merely from convergence due
    to similar adaptive problems? Either way, when do "memes" enter the picture?
    Are they, as collective representations so to speak, resultant from
    variations in the development of a "primordial image" (however Burckhardt
    may have actually used this term). Are they the superficial cultural chaff
    around the mnemic kernel or a very thin layer of varnish anyway?

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