the liver and the brain

David Longley David at longley.demon.co.uk
Sun Sep 5 17:47:08 EST 2004

In article <8d8494cf.0409051127.32b66d14 at posting.google.com>, dan 
michaels <feedbackdroids at yahoo.com> writes
>This N.v.N thing is obviously a spectrum, with a lot of animals down
>on the nature/instinct end, and a general trend towards greater
>importance of nurture on the other end. If you look at it this way, it
>seems a waste of time to argue absolutes of "nature vs nurture",
>rather it seems more fruitful to figure out about where on the
>spectrum various animals would lie. In addition, you probably need
>several such spectrums, or scales, in order to cover different
>attributes ... motor, perceptual, etc ... as there is no doubt some
>differential placement regards each.
>Back to perception, it's actually not too hard to hypothesize the
>existence of neural circuitry for distinquishing predators from prey
>[or self-same species]. Frogs already have the basis of this in their
>class 3 and 4 retinal cells. One imagines precocial animals rely on
>something similar, albeit more sophisticated.

If anyone is sincerely interested in learning how to approach these 
(highly sensitive & 'political') issues within science, they'd be wise 
to do a search on "behavioural genetics". Although we're soon likely to 
see interval or ratio measures of behaviour replacing the classical 
ordinal measures (upon which the factors comprising "intelligence" ('g') 
were classically derived using IQ tests), the current and future focus 
is likely to be on extensional measures such as chromosome 6 genes and 
how these may relate to individual differences in parameters of 
behaviour related to 'g' but measured at the interval or ratio levels of 
measurement (cf. RT or IT at the msec level etc).

Anyone interested should have a look at 
http://www.robertplomin.com/index.html and related links, paying 
attention to what people like Jensen have had to say over the years. 
After a little Herrnstein along the way, it may become clearer why the 
priority of behaviour analysis has been emphasised so much in c.a.p, and 
why the indeterminacies so characteristic of what's done at the other 
end of the measurement scale (so favoured by mentalists) has been 
denigrated as no more than muddled folk psychological rhetoric.
David Longley

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