Re: Dawkins' Mutation Test for Replicators

Bill Spight (
Tue, 31 Aug 1999 10:12:33 -0700

Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 10:12:33 -0700
From: Bill Spight <>
Subject: Re: Dawkins' Mutation Test for Replicators

Dear Chris,


At the fundamental level, our sensory systems are undifferentiated in infants, infants just respond as a whole to ANY stimulus; babies will turn all senses to the one stimulus.


Sources, please? I do not think that is borne out by neonatal research in humans or by in utero research on other animals.


see quotes


Many thanks for the references. Verrrry interesting! <s>

I see that I did not quite understand what you wrote.

Quoting from your page:

"There are observations that sound as well as visual objects evoke
spatially coordinated eye movements in neonates. . . .
These observations are not explainable by
mere arousal effects or traditional learning theories, and suggest a
prenatal link between vision and audition, at least in terms of
spatial relations." p14 (Stein and Meredith 1993)

This says less than "babies will turn all senses to the one stimulus."

I think this also argues *against* the idea that the senses are undifferentiated. Turning towards a sound seems to me to be something with obvious survival value. But that is because it is advantageous to see as well as hear. What is the advantage if seeing and hearing are undifferentiated?

Having raised this question, let me add that I lean towards the idea that the qualia of perception differentiate over time. After all, the brain takes many years to structure itself. Plasticity is the rule.



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