Re: Dawkins' Mutation Test for Replicators

Chris Lofting (
Tue, 31 Aug 1999 14:59:04 +1000

From: "Chris Lofting" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Dawkins' Mutation Test for Replicators
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 14:59:04 +1000

-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Rhodes <>
To: <>
Date: Tuesday, 31 August 1999 3:30
Subject: Re: Dawkins' Mutation Test for Replicators

>Dearest Chris,
>I went through your 'template', but I hit a snag early on:
>>(1) We have adapted to our environment by internalising information
>>processing characteristics.
>>(2) These characteristics include the development of sets of specialised
>>sensory systems where in humans thee is a strong emphasis on audition and
>>(3) These sensory systems share neural networks 'in here' and from this
>>emerged an abstract categorisation system based on the 'what'/'where'
>>dichotomy aka the distinction of objects from relationships.
>>(differentiation of the senses in infants determines the degree of
>>seperation of vision from audition. Synesthesia is common in infants but
>>rare in adults).
>I've done quite a bit of reading on Synesthesia and have never seen
>to indicate that it is "common" in infants. Where are you getting that
>from? Could you cite your source?

There are a number of sources reviewed in the "Merging of the Senses" ref I
gave you. Combine those with the banding work.

>And on a related point, I also noticed your reading list covered the well
>worn and over-rated right/left brain dichotomy,

It is not overrated just misunderstood. As I pointed out in an earlier post,
take the brain out of its casing and what you 'see' is a trunk with
branches. This architecture seems to follow complexity development; which
would explain MacLean's 'three' brains model. you find a hirerarchy at
work, we move from the raw to the refined and high degrees of feedback do
produce 'emergences' such that you do get distinct 'brains'. You can look at
the neocortex alone and suggest that the anterior areas forward of the
motor-cortex are a refinement of the posterior areas. Thus the sensory
cortex is an abstraction of the posterior primary auditory and visual
cortices and the frontal cortex areas are abstractions of the motor cortex;
same general format, different scales of refinement.

If you go down to the brain stem the inital 'split' seems to be rooted
there. the RAF (or RAS) is raw in design, behaviorally very EITHER/OR,
stimulus/response, but there are two 'sides' to the RAS if you can call them
that. The limbic system has a more distinct seperation with a 'left' bias to
preservation of the self and a 'right' bias to preservation of the species.
The neocortex is much more defined and refined.

If you study the biochemistry you see the duality in the form of
aminergic/cholinergic modulator pathways steming from the 'old' brain.
dopaminergic seems to be a 'refinement' on noradrenaline and has its storage
areas more in the limbic system. Neuropeptides are a further refinement and
seem to have emerged with the neocortex development.

These 'splits' are like branches of a tree; bifurcations aka
dichotomisations (as used in botony) with each split leading to a refinement
on previous architecture -- one common theme seems to be 'if it works,
repeat it and refine it'.

When you get to the neocortex so you see the same bifurcations at work in
that posterior regions are general and as you move forward so things get
more particular. As a result, the left/right distinctions are BIASES in that
within each you find 'threads' of the other:

left hemi --right hemi

LRLRLR--LRLRLR anterior regions (see Goldman-Rakic's work on frontal lobe
LLLLLL--RRRRRR posterior regions

As I pointed out in an earlier post, the object biased areas in temporal
lobes seem to reflect this 'interdigitation' where object sensitive groups
of neurons seem to be surrounded by more aspects-oriented neurons. Look at
the brain as made-up of the weaving of two threads, one thread is 'object'
sensitive and the other 'relationships' sensitive. If you want to work in a
pure wave environment then one thread is high frequency sensitive and the
other low frequency sensitive. High frequency sensitivity favours the
concept of 'intensity' and that can be interpreted as identifying a 'point'
aka object.

Go and do some more reading Tim rather than write things off so easily. Just
because something is not trendy does not mean it is not valid.

> but was sparse on the (much
>more profound) limbic/neo-cortex dichotomy. Why exactly is that?

The list was an abridged up-to-date list circa 97-99 of texts I have read.
If you want the limbic system material look at the website reference list I
gave you. You can start with the work of Paul MacLean and his Triune concept
of the brain (latest ref was 88). you can then read through a few papers in
"Emotions and the Dual Brain" dealing with amygdala etc (the fight/flight
dichotomy) 'old' but still valid. I am sure you are familar with the work of
Demasio as well as that of LeDoux, but if not let me know and I will send
you more refs ;-)

The development path seems to move from a very stimulus/response mechanism
in the Reptilian brain to a more refined stimulus/considered response in the
neocortical areas -- the emergence of feedback in realtime has enabled the
refinements in brain operations and so diversity in behaviour within the
lifespan of the individual. This allows for genetic processes to be more
general in characteristics with context eliciting firmware (hormones) or
sofware ('mind') changes to adapt.

My own reflections on the development path suggests that the neocortex is a
refinement of the limbic system and this includes the expression of two of
the primary mechanisms of the limbic system -- amygdala and hippocampus.
Combine these with the distinctions between audition and vision (audition
being far more precise that vision) and you get the behavioural biases we
observe in the left and right hemispheres where:

(a) The left is more biased to single context processing and is precision
oriented. you could even stretch it to the left being context insensitive
and emphasising self-interest only. The left's prime emphasis is on
identification and the strong emphasis of 'this' from 'that'. It is object
oriented which seems to originate in more hippocampal processes where we
'see' waypoint mapping at work "A to B to C" etc etc

(b) The right is more biased to multi context and is approximations oriented
(general rather than particular) except in the area of determining values
which are linked to refined emotional processes and so an amygdala link more
so than hippocampal.

In the sense of refinement, the left is refined hippocampus-like and
unrefined amygdala-like (negative emotions lack nuance -- they are all
expressed in a very 'intense' way) the right is more refined amygdala-like
and unrefined hippocampus-like.

All of this suggests that the right is more into RE-identification. Emotion
is concerned with bluff and the right favours illusions -- metaphors,
symbolisms, context sensitivity, feedback processes, likes to stick out or
blend in to the immediate context. Left cares little about context other
than the one it sets.

These distinctions are backed-up by specific psychology research into
language processing (audition) and visual processing which confirm the more
object oriented 'left' and the more relationships oriented 'right' (in most

Treat these left/right distinctions as threads and you start to get a good
model that links brain-mind into a dynamic, whole, complex, system.

>Your list also neglected Lakoff and Johnson's work [1], which takes many of
>the ideas you're toying with and fleshes them out, applying them where
>applicable and suggesting others where they are not. You should read
>them -- they paint with a much finer brush than you, and hence gain mastery
>over the details in a manner so much better than what you have show here.

JS has already pointed me in this direction, when I find them I will read
them (or better still I will today go out and ORDER them. How is that for
being 'proactive' rather than 'reactive' ;-)). In passing note that they
have done two books whereas I have had to explain things in a few emails and
a disorganised website, so I think some of your comments are unjustified. If
I had written two books and then you made the comparisons -- fair enough.

>In ignorance and with an obvious profound lack of understanding-

obviously. ;-) In all honesty Tim, read some more. If you dont like me or my
writing that is fine by me but I do think that what I am on about is of
value and if you read the other more 'acceptable' texts you may start to get
the idea.

best regards,


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