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announcement of a new discipline--paleo-bio-socio-psychology

Howard Bloom howlbloom at aol.com
Sun May 25 19:32:29 EST 1997


We have started a new
discipline--paleo-bio-socio-psychology or paleopsychology for
short.  The enclosed manifesto was written at the request of the
Journal of the Across Species Comparisons and Psychopathology
Society.  We hope you find it of some interest.
                                      ------------------------
            MANIFESTO FOR A NEW PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE
                               by
                          Howard Bloom
       (member: New York Academy of Sciences, American Association
     for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological 
             Society, Academy of Political Science, 
         Human Behavior and Evolution Society, European
                     Sociobiological Society)


My collaborators and I propose the establishment of a new
discipline: paleo-bio-socio-psychology or "paleopsychology" for
short.  Each of us has already taken initial steps toward creating
a corpus of paleopsychological knowledge.  We welcome those who
would like to join us.

Standard paleontology has done a magnificent job of recreating the
morphology of creatures ranging from the first life forms 3.85
billion years ago to the early humans of comparatively recent
times.  In the case of the majority of pre-historic species,
however, paleontology has left us with a considerable problem.  How
did these creatures behave?  What, if any, were their social
patterns?  What cognitive and problem-solving abilities did they
possess?  What was the bio-evolutionary sequence which led to
learning, imitation, herding, information sharing, and to what John
Tyler Bonner has called animal culture?

Primate fossil evidence has often been looked at with an eye to
inferring the origins of campsites, tools, migratory patterns,
"mental modules," and some of the subject matter of which
paleopsychology is made.  Similarly, dinosaur remains have been
scrutinized for signs of maternal nurturance and other indicators
of social attachment and of the ability to tell one conspecific
from another.  But what of the social interactions and reactive
powers of the earliest bacteria, the first eukaryotes, the
recently-discovered Precambrian clams, and the Cambrian profusion
of phyletic representatives--from trilobites to eurypterids?  

What about the first insects of 350 mya--were they initially
solitary, as E.O. Wilson and numerous others assume, or were they
social, as one of us suspects?  Was individuality or sociality the
original state of living beings?  If the latter, how did the
anomaly of solitary existence emerge?  If the former, where does
sociality begin in the fossil record, and why?

The tools with which these questions can be probed are few today,
but will surely expand as more minds join the quest.  Mass-
behavior-specialist Howard Bloom has used data on bacterial social
behavior along with fossil evidence to postulate that the
cyanobacteria of 3.5 billion years ago were not only
extraordinarily social, but that their colonies exhibited what
physicist-turned-microbiologist Eshel ben Jacob calls a collective
"creative" intelligence.  Extrapolating from the work of Sorin
Sonea and Maurice Panisset (1983), Bloom has gone on to make the
case that the Pre-cambrian system of prokaryotic information
exchange was literally worldwide.  In addition, Bloom has penned
four papers for Germany's Telepolis tracing the history of the
cooperative impulse and of cognitive development from the first
10(-32) second of the Big Bang to 35 million b.p.  Combined with
the data of Ben Jacob and of the University of Chicago's James
Shapiro, Bloom's published views call into question fundamental
axioms of neo-Darwinist evolutionary theory.

Invertebrate zoologist Kerry B. Clark, creator of the definitive
teaching CD-ROM Metazoa, has applied the rules of his field to the
fossil record, tentatively recreating Cambrian social behavior. 
Among other things, he hypothesizes that Anomalocaris canadensis
swam in feeding herds. "The largest animals in most ecosystems are
typically herding herbivores," he notes, "and I see nothing about
Anomalocaris that precludes this."

Paleontologist Kevin Brett, who spent five years working at the
Burgess Shale for the Royal Ontario Museum under the sponsorship of
National Geographic Magazine, disagrees about Anomalocaris, but
cites evidence that trilobites may well have been sexually
dimorphic, and that many trilobites were, in his words, "quite
ornate." Brett also points to the well-known observation that,
"Trilobites are often found in mass associations of mono-specific
gatherings of complete individuals. This suggests mating and/or
moulting gatherings such as those observed in modern marine
arthropods such as Limulus (Horseshoe crabs). Evidence has been
found for multispecific gatherings as well as physical processes
such as wave and current transport."  From this and the positioning
of trilobites in fossil beds, he proposes that trilobite sexual
gatherings may not have been entirely promiscuous.  Modern "toads,"
he points out, "will mate with just about anything--so they don't
necessarily recognize members of even their own species."  Brett
suspects that Cambrian arthropods were more discerning. 

Entomologist Christine Nalepa cites an understudied source of data,
trace fossils.  From fecal remains in chambers carved in dead
Carboniferous tree ferns, she infers that the earliest proto-
cockroaches (Cryptocercidae-like insects) may have shown active
social behavior 300 million years ago--over 160 million years
before even the most extreme dates hypothesized for the emergence
of eusociality.

As Brett points out, "All animals are social.  We have the
opportunity to trace the degrees of sociality in the fossil record
using burrow and hive traces, mass associations, nests, etc."  Adds
Clark, "The chemical transmitters in the most advanced organisms
have their precursors in the simple biochemically-mediated
behavioral responses of bacteria and protists, indicating a
continuity of mechanisms between these extremes.     

"The basic organizational features of the most advanced nervous
systems -- ganglionation, condensation of diffuse sensors into
discrete organs, and interneuronal processing -- that we associate
with intelligent behavior, are expressed in all but the simplest
animals, and it is reasonable to look for, and expect, some
expression of intelligent behaviors in 'lower' animals. Social
behaviors, by assembling superorganisms, facilitate 'emergent
properties' that can assemble intelligent behaviors not found in
solitary forms, optimizing exploitation of their environments, and
may or may not be associated with fossil evidence of the
superorganism. The two prime correlates of intelligence, organism
size and complexity, can arise both in big, complex individuals and
in smaller organisms that communally form large, complex units of
biomass.  Our knowledge and recognition of such social interactions
is still at an early stage."

Bloom, Clark, Brett and Nalepa are all members of our group.  But
we have illustrious forebears. Charles Darwin hinted at a
psychology of the creatures which preceded us in his Expression of
Emotions in Man and Animals (1872).  With Darwin's blessings,
George Romanes took the query a step further in his 1884 Mental
Evolution In Animals.  Lynn Margulis has done a masterful job of
reconstructing the lives of what she calls "microbial communities
in the Archean and Proterozoic Eons."  Margulis credits as other
predecessors Schimper (in his work of 1833), Famintzyn (1891),
Mereschkovsky (1909), Portier (1918) and Wallin (1927)--all
concerned, as is Margulis, with evolutionary cell biology.  In
addition, B. Moore has worked recently on reconstructing the
evolution of imitative learning.

Yet the area explored by these pioneers has often been forgotten
once the researchers responsible have gone.  It is time to end this
periodic amnesia.  The tools exist.  The evidence exists.  And the
need to know is there.  The evolution of behavior, sociality, and
the physiology of proto-mentation finally deserve a discipline of
their own.

If you wish more information on paleopsychology,  or would like to
join us in our quest, please e-mail or phone: 

Howard Bloom
705 President Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
phone 718 622 2278
fax 718 398 2551
e-mail howlbloom at aol.com

For further data on the participants and a taste of their
accomplishments, see: www.bookworld.com/lucifer (re Howard Bloom);
http://users.aol.com/kbclark/cambrian and
http://users.aol.com/kbclark/metahome (Dr. Kerry B. Clark);
www.ualberta.ca/~kbrett/Trilobites.html and
www.ualberta.ca/~kbrett/index.html (re Kevin Brett); and Nalepa,
Christine (1994), "Nourishment and the Origin of Termite
Eusociality," in Nourishment and Evolution in Insect Societies,
edited by James H. Hunt and Christine A. Nalepa, 1994, Boulder,
Colorado: Westview Press: 57-96.
--------------------------------------------
Things are moving so rapidly that despite a month of 7
AM to 4:30 AM workdays, I am having trouble keeping up with them.

1) Telepolis Magazine, a german web publication from the Heise
publishing house, has offered to do two things.  It is already
printing the chapters of my book outlining twelve billion years of
paleopsychology, and will do so until that book's completion.  It
has also made available to our group--now called The International
Paleopsychology Project--an "open forum" in which members may
advance their ideas.  These will be targeted essays by major
scientists (of which we have many--there are roughly 40 of us now),
each adding a piece to a twelve-billion-year mosaic.

2)  My agent, Richard Curtis, president of the Association of
Author's Representatives, wants our key members each to conceive a
book for the mass audience, a work along the lines of "The Selfish
Gene" or "The Lives of a Cell"--presenting important new ideas but
in a manner any intelligent person can understand and even relish. 
I will act as executive editor.  Each work must not only surprise
with its insights, but must contribute to the mosaic we are
creating,  one based on a very new scientific worldview.  Some
members may simply add to the paleopsychology timeline.  Others are
activists in a secondary goal for which I've been gathering
researchers from around the world these last two years--the
proposal of a post-neo-Darwinian paradigm, one which does for
current evolutionary theory what Relativity did for Newtonianism. 
 The goal is not to negate the highly productive concepts of the
past, but to demonstrate the sphere within which they belong, then
stretch out to encompass the universe of empirical data which the
old ideas cannot embrace.  Our first book is likely to be from
Eshel Ben Jacob, whose papers in Nature, Physica A, Contemporary
Physics and others over the last seven years have given both the
evidence and theory for a leap the physicist/microbiologist calls
"orthogonal to Darwinism."  My own book offering a post
neo-Darwinian vision will also be a part of the series.  And
proposals are now flowing in from other group members.  Please
increase the rate of that flow if you can.  Our agent is chomping
at the bit to take a complete package of book proposals to the top
execs at the major publishing houses.

3)  There is talk--just talk, but serious talk indeed--of an
International Paleopsychology Project gathering.  We shall see if
this comes to fruition.  Could anyone who might be able to
contribute to the creation of such a thing contact me, and I will
put him in touch with the person who is crafting this effort.

4) One of our computer scientists, Alexander Chislenko, is on the
verge of doing an independent project at MIT under the aegis of
Marvin Minsky which will parallel Howard Bloom's exploration of the
history of information pooling, but do so in terms of information
theory.  Chislenko will then extrapolate from the past and project
future possibilities of the collective intelligence through the
growth of symbiotic forms of wide-scale human/machine cooperation
models and distributed artificial intelligence.  The technological
part of the project will involve designing cooperative knowledge
sharing network as an active intelligent extension to today's World
Wide Web. Information on Chislenko's writings and projects is
available on-line at 

5) Our present e-mail center will gradually become a laboratory for
virtual collaboration, more project than chat oriented.  But this
will take time.  Even the best of labs cease their productivity
when their lunchrooms are shuttered and informal conversation ends. 
So we must achieve a balance.

I hope this gives you at least an idea of our momentum since we
first went public with four scientists on April 18th.

As of Sunday April 27 at 4:00 PM, the group organized around
paleopsychology consisted of the following members (in the ensuing
weeks, 26 more have joined, some of them illustrious in the world
of science; they will be announced in further correspondence):

The work of Tel-Aviv University's Eshel ben Jacob--a
physicist-turned-microbiologist--on bacterial "creative webs" is
paradigm breaking.  In a paper to be published momentarily by
Physica A, "Bacterial Wisdom, Godel's Theorem and Creative Genomic
Webs," Dr. Ben Jacob challenges the roots of current neo-Darwinism.

Ben Jacob's studies of bacterial colony formation have appeared
with great regularity in Contemporary Physics, Nature, Fractals,
Physical Review Letters, Physical Review E, etc.  In addition he is
co-editor of "The Physics of Biological Systems: from molecules to
species," Berlin, Springer, 1997.  His contribution to this book is
entitled "Smart Bacterial Colonies."  Ben-Jacob's "Cooperative
formation of bacterial colonies" appears in "Bacteria as
Multicellular Organisms," edited by J.A. Shapiro and M. Dwarkin,
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Howard Bloom is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences,
American Association for the Advancement of Science, American
Psychological Society, Academy of Political Science, Human Behavior
and Evolution Society, European Sociobiological Society, and has
lectured at Wesleyan University, Georgia State University, CUNY,
and New York University.  As a mass-behavior-specialist, Bloom has
used data on bacterial social behavior along with fossil evidence
to postulate that the cyanobacteria of 3.5 billion years ago were
not only social, but that their colonies exhibited what
Eshel ben Jacob calls a collective "creative" intelligence.  In
addition, Bloom has penned four papers for Germany's Telepolis
tracing the history of the cooperative
impulse and of cognitive and proto-memetic development from the
first 10(-32) second of the Big Bang to 35 mya.  Bloom's work calls
into question fundamental axioms of neo-Darwinist evolutionary
theory. All this is the culmination of a research agenda Mr. Bloom
undertook in 1956. Bloom has been aiming at a post-neo-Darwinian
synthesis since 1981. More recently, Bloom was the only scientist
asked to organize a panel at the 1996 Annual Meeting of the
European Sociobiological Society. He has been featured in every
edition of "Who's Who in Science and Engineering" since the
publication's inception. In 1995, Bloom founded an informal
academic circle called "the group selection squad," whose efforts
helped re-legitimate the discussion of group selection within the
evolutionary community.  Mr. Bloom's book, "The Lucifer Principle:
a scientific expedition into the forces of history" (New York:
Atlantic Monthly Press, 1995) has been called "A revolutionary
vision of the relationship between psychology and history"
(Elizabeth F. Loftus, Professor of Psychology, University of
Washington, author of Memory and Eyewitness Testimony); "a long
step forward in the human effort to understand human biology" (Dr.
Richard Bergland, M.D., researcher on brain endocrinology, founder
of the department of neurosurgery, Sloan/Kettering, author of "The
Fabric of Mind"); and "a freshly viable theory of human social
evolution"  (The Washington Times).

Paleontologist Kevin Brett, of the Department of Earth and
Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Canada, spent five
years working at the Burgess Shale for the Royal Ontario Museum
under the sponsorship of National Geographic Magazine. Brett's
experience with trilobites and other Paleozoic fossils both in the
field and in the lab is extensive. He is currently engaged in Ph.D.
research on Devonian trilobites and maintains the leading trilobite
site on the WWW.  His fieldwork has covered nearly all of Canada,
most of the eastern USA, and Morocco.  Brett explains that his
"love and experience with trilobites started when I could crawl." 
He fails to mention that by the time he began his crawling, the
trilobites had ended theirs. 

Invertebrate zoologist Kerry B. Clark, creator of the definitive
teaching CD-ROM "Metazoa(tm)," has applied the rules of his field
to the fossil record, graphically recreating Paleozoic social
behavior.  One result has been the visually and informationally
stunning CD-Rom "Metazoa," designed for museum and educational use.
Dr. Clark is Professor of Biological Sciences at the Florida
Institute of Technology.  He says, "My  research interests include
all aspects of the biology of  opisthobranch gastropod molluscs
(sea slugs);  physiological and population ecology; conservation of
marine invertebrates; and computer applications in  biology."

NYU neurophysiologist Edgar E. Coons, leads a "laboratory devoted
to studying drive and hedonic mechanisms in the brain and how they
interact."  Dr. Coons is the discoverer of lateral hypothalamic
stimulation's ability to elicit feeding, ameliorate anxiety, and
lower pain in rats.  He has been published in Science, The Annals
of the New York Academy of Sciences, Brain Research, Behavioral
Neuroscience and the Journal of Comparative and Physiological
Psychology, among others.

The Director of  Palo Alto's Institute for the Study of Complex
Systems, Dr. Peter Corning is author of "The Synergism Hypothesis"
(New York: McGraw Hill, 1983) and the upcoming  "Holistic
Darwinism" -- now in press at the Journal of Social and
Evolutionary Systems. He writes, "I taught in the interdisciplinary
Human Biology Program at Stanford for seven years and held a
research appointment in Stanford's interdisciplinary
Engineering-Economic Systems Department. I also spent two years on
an NIMH post-doctoral research fellowship at the Institute for
Behavioral Genetics (University of Colorado) and published
laboratory experimental work on the genetics of aggression. More
recently, I was a fellow at the Collegium Budapest (Institute for
Advanced Study) in Hungary. I have also published three books (two
on synergy) and, frankly, an uncounted number of articles."

The University of Ghent's Koen DePryck is author of:"Knowledge,
evolution and paradox: the ontology of language," SUNY Press; of
the forthcoming "Possible evolutionary advantages of learning
difficulties"; and creator of a larger project called "the
archeology of mind".

Columbia University's Ralph Holloway, a Fellow of the New  York
Academy of Sciences and the AAAS, was involved in the landmark work
by Marion Diamond et. al. demonstrating the relationship of
dendritic branching to stimulus in rats.  His major areas of
concentration are sexual dimorphism in the human and chimpanzee
corpus callosum, and paleoneurology.  He says, "I've made many of
the brain endocasts of our fossil ancestors from Africa, and have
traveled there as well as Indonesia and Europe to endocast the
crania....I tend to believe that careful analyses of stone
toolmaking is our best bet for probing hominid cognition, a view
I've been too rigid to let go since my 1969 'Culture: A Human
Domain' paper in Current Anthropology. I also have an interest in
aggression, and even edited a book on it in 1974." 

David Smillie functioned as a developmental psychologist for forty
years and spent the last twenty five of those years as a professor
at New College, University of South Florida.  Since 1993 he has
been a visiting professor in the Department of Zoology at Duke
University where he has been pursuing a study, begun twenty five
years ago, of social evolution.  He has published articles on both
these fields in a variety of journals and books. 
--------------------------------------
to join or to obtain further information contact
Howard Bloom
(member: New York Academy of Sciences, American Association for the
Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, Academy of
Political Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, European
Sociobiological Society)

705 President Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
phone 718 622 2278
fax 718 398 2551
e-mail howlbloom at aol.com
for two chapters from 
The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of
History,
see www.bookworld.com/lucifer
The Lucifer Principle:a
scientific expedition into the forces of history



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