Curiosity is more fundamental than rivalry

John New jnew at
Mon Apr 17 15:05:15 EST 1995

Poor Richard writes (anonymously):

>Poor Richard contends that IRRITABILITY represents a primitive form of

	This is a statement that is difficult to justify by any means. 
Irritability represents the response of a living system to a particular
environmental event. Such a response does not require consciousness, or
even necessarily a central nervous system. Curiosity is a motivational
state of consciousness directing certain active behaviors by an organism. 
Curiosity is a human trait, that may be shared by other animals as well,
but the dangers of anthropomorphizing should be obvious here. Are apes
curious? Dogs? Fish? Insects? Sponges? PLANTS? (Yes, they demonstrate
irritability, but I doubt very much whether plants are very curious at
all). I think the imputation of the development of curiosity specifically
to irritability because all living organisms demonstrate irritability is
making a very large jump of reasoning that doesn't stand up to close
scrutiny. You might as well argue that respiration or reproduction are
primitive forms of curiosity. 

	If you are going to attempt to build any sort of arguement upon a 
foundation of premises that are this shaky, than I shall sit back and 
await the edifice to come crashing down about you. Or simply add you to 
the kill file.

	John G. New, Ph.D.	   ||	 "Life is the art of drawing 
	Department of Biology      ||	 sufficient conclusions from
	Loyola University Chicago  ||    insufficient premises"
	Chicago, IL 60626	   ||		-Samuel Butler
        jnew at	   ||	

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