Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id EAA14625 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Tue, 27 Nov 2001 04:23:24 GMT X-Originating-IP: [220.127.116.11] From: "Scott Chase" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: RE: Definition please Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 23:18:18 -0500 Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed Message-ID: <F166Kw5ZmrylLGP6i4w0000a9bb@hotmail.com> X-OriginalArrivalTime: 27 Nov 2001 04:18:18.0463 (UTC) FILETIME=[8ABD06F0:01C176FA] Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
>From: Ray Recchia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: RE: Definition please
>Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 21:03:13 -0500
>On 11/26/01 07:25, Ray Recchia said this-
> >>Are the branches memes? If not, why not?
> >Were these chimps observed without prior human contact? I have to know
> >about the protocol of this observation to give it credence.
>I seriously doubt that a chimpanzee gripping branches in its prehensile
>toes and using them to protect its feet was something that it learned from
>a human. Unless it was a very special human.
>In any case the observations were made by a primatologist named Rosalind
>Alp and were reported in 'American Journal of Primatology' 41, 45-52
>(1997). I haven't read the original. I quoting it as an excerpt from
>'Wild Minds' (2000) page 21 by Marc Hauser, a professor at Harvard.
> >Likewise for the other example. But, I won't go out on a limb and say
> >there _aren't_ memes there- I'm just not convinced we have an unbiased or
> >untampered set of observations- or just like the hundreth monkey- a hoax.
> >(Or Sheldrake, but that's another issue... or is it?)
>The other example I got comes from 'The Ape and the Sushi Master' (2001) by
>Frans de Waal. I am not particularly familiar with who is and is not a
>credible primatologist but his biography claims that he works at Emory
>University, runs a center for primatology, and is regarded as one of the
>leading authorities on the subject. Blurbs on the back are from
>individuals at Stanford and George Mason University. His bibliography
>lists a few other books and publications in 'Science' and 'Nature'.
>Apparently recorded observations of the nut cracking behavior go back to
>the 1600's and have been made by a few modern primatologists. (pp.
>239-242). He also notes that "According to field workers, their expertise
>(chimpanzees) far exceeds that of any human who tries it for the first
>time." p. 227. People attempting it found that the 1kg stones used by the
>chimpanzees in one case were too heavy for humans to use effectively, while
>another study indicates that at times 10kg stones were used. pp. 239-240.
>Now quoting from another post of yours.
> >> My point was that, though you only use the wheel, they don't
> >> reinvent it,
> >> but imitate it.
> >Ah. But they use it too- and they mutate it via their use.
> >Otherwise, all memetics would be is cloning, and it ain't.
> >- Wade
>There are villagers nearby who use a very similar technique to crack their
>nuts. However, the stones they use are considerably smaller. 'Id.' at
>239. De Waal admits that it is unclear whether the chimps acquired the
>technique from humans
>, the humans acquired the technique from the chimps, or they arose
>independently. It does appear though that they have been doing it for at
>least 300 years and if they acquired it from humans, they have mutated it
>to their use by using larger tools.
> >>No artifacts are required to produce a 'B' that is capable of producing
> >>more fit 'C'.
> >But, hey- that ain't true with memes. Or memetics. Or culture. Artifacts
> >are absolutely required to make a better B.
> >I ain't disagreeing with -
> >>acquisition of characteristics. Reproduction, variation, and selection
> >>producing greater fitness. Pattern at state 'A' produces offspring,
> >>offspring are selected for and a state 'B' survives and reproduces.
>If you can get to 'The Star Spangled Banner' without artifacts but it
>requires input from other humans then we have met those criteria and it has
>to be seen as an evolutionary phenomenon. You are left with a definition of
>memetics that excludes a whole class of evolutionary phenomena.
> >- at all. But I am asking that the mechanism of memetic offspring be
> >explained, and the only way _I_ can do it, and involve memes _at all_
> >(rather than throw them out entirely), is have them be cultural
> >artifacts, and only cultural artifacts, and to involve some analog of
> >sexual contact, since I really don't think there is any evidence to show
> >sheer mutation as the only operative, as Joe pointed out.
> >And, I did try to choose the inside meme, and the shared meme, as a
> >mechanism, but, the inside meme depends way too much on things we simply
> >don't know yet- that region between perception and behavior is just too
> >unknown. And the shared meme requires a leap into illogic that remains
> >impossible for me.
>Let me start answering this one by going back to de Waal and the work done
>by primatologists. Their work involves a much larger leap into the unknown
>in the assumptions that are made about the inner workings of the mind of
>animals. Primatologists regularly attach human emotions and motivations to
>the behavior of primates. Chapter 1 of 'The Ape and the Sushi Master' is
>devoted to explaining the value and necessity of this methodology and I
>would advise reading it in its totality as rather the snippets I will offer
>here can't quite capture the argument as effectively. In justifying this
>scientifically de Waal argues that "The human hunter anticipates the moves
>of his prey by attributing intentions and taking an anthropomorphic stance
>when it comes to what animals think, feel, or want. Somehow, this stance
>is highly effective in getting to know and predict animals." pp.
>63-64. "Isn't it far more economical to assume that if two closely related
>species act in a similar way, the underlying mental processes are similar
>too?" p. 70. "In the same way that parents learn to see through their
>children's eyes, the empathic observer learns what is important to his or
>her animals, what frightens them, under which circumstances they feel at
>ease, and so on." p. 76. Of course these assumptions get modified it is
>learned that a smile doesn't signify happiness to a primate.
Have you read the part of _The Ape and the Sushi Master_ where de Waal talks
about memes? Would you say he casts memetics in a favorable light overall?
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