Re: playing at suicide

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Wed Jan 09 2002 - 15:47:42 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: Re: playing at suicide
    Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2002 07:47:42 -0800
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    >On 01/08/02 23:14, Grant Callaghan said this-
    > >When a baby cries, mommy sticks a nipple in
    > >its mough. The need is satisfied. That was a meme he used
    >If that is true- if you think that those instinctive reactions, the
    >baby's and the mother's- are memetic, than I have to announce my
    >separation from your tribe.
    >Although I'm sitting on a fence, I lean over at almost all times to the
    >side that places memetic activity in at least another level than
    >instinctive behavioral activity. The propagation mechanisms of birdsong
    >(imitation, behavioral algoritms), may be involved in memetic activity in
    >humans, but birdsong itself is not memetic, from my side of the fence.
    >And if environmental behaviors like birdsong are not memetic, than
    >reactive instinctual infant behaviors like crying when hungry, ain't
    >- Wade

    There are many things a baby can do when hungry and he usually runs through
    a full range of them. Among other things, he smiles, gurgles, coos, pouts,
    and tries to make language sounds. The ones that get him what he wants are
    kept and the less successful discarded. Even in a bird, when the song is
    used to attract a mate or mark a territory, it is a meme. Many birds have a
    wide range of songs they use for different purposes. It's the use of things
    for a purpose that makes them memes. In Dawkins' classic example of the
    bird that learned to open milk bottles, landing on a milk bottle and pecking
    at the top had no significance until the behavior was rewarded with a meal
    and it became a tool for getting food.

    A birdsong does not appear full-blown in a bird's life. At some point it is
    created by interaction with the environment. God does not design the song
    for them and hand it down like the ten commandments. I suspect that a bird
    sings the song it does for the same reason that a baby born to
    English-speaking parents grows up speaking English. On the one hand, that
    song was inherited from the parents but on the other hand it is learned
    behavior. What evidence do yo have that the birdsong was not fixed in the
    bird's mind in the same way?


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