the liver and the brain

dan michaels feedbackdroids at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 6 11:42:26 EST 2004

Wolf Kirchmeir <wwolfkir at sympatico.ca> wrote in message news:<aJO_c.2789$Nd6.125809 at news20.bellglobal.com>...
> r norman wrote:

> >>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.
> > 
> > 
> > The history of human behavioral genetics and sociobiology ala Jensen
> > and Herrnstein is a sorry story filled with abuse of scientific
> > notions for very partisan political objectives.  Racism, or at least
> > racial overtones, hangs heavy over the topic. No doubt some of the
> > newsgroups involved in this exchange, like comp.ai.philosophy, have
> > had rather extensive discussions of these issues
> > 

"... LIKE comp.ai.philosophy ...". Wrong.

Actually, many of us on c.a.p. - ie, those who are actually interested
in [what by gosh and by golly] actual **AI**, rather than endless
arguments about the "correct" psychological stance - try to ignore the
extremist viewpoints. Those should not even be argued on c.a.p. - but
it never ends, does it.

There should be another forum for arguing extremist viewpoints of
psychology - especially when the proponents engage in continual
name-calling - and not on c.a.p. Those of us brought up in the church
can recognize dogma a mile away.

> > However, from  my perspective as a biologist on bionet.neuroscience,
> > there is a valid scientific study of the natural behavior of a wide
> > variety of animals living in their natural environment, a field
> > usually termed ethology.  The role of genetic "predetermination" in
> > structuring the nervous system as a whole, in producing specific cells
> > and circuits between cells, and in producing behavior is established
> > for many animals beyond any question.  In the roundworm,
> > Caenorhabditis elegans, for example, every cell division from the
> > fertilized egg is absolutely determined so that every adult individual
> > of that species, barring mutation, has exactly the same number of
> > cells (959 to be specific, with 300 neurons and 81 muscle cells).
> > Humans, of course,  show a different course of development.  Still,
> > understanding just how genetic and environmental aspects interact in
> > producing mammalian nervous systems is something that is actively
> > being investigated.  I agree that many popular accounts of
> > "evolutionary psychology" seem rather strained, to say the least.
> > Still, genes undeniably have a strong impact on cells.
> >

Many of us "moderates" view the ideas of EP as also being equally

Why doesn't someone start a forum named "sci.psych.epvsbeh" for the
extremist arguments to take place on. People interested in AI on
c.a.p. can always go "over there" to listen, if they want to, that is.

> Yes, I just love C. elegans. Especially the fact that it needs 300 
> neurons but only 81 muscle cells. Lovely! Brain over brawn very time, 
> eh? :-)
> Question: Are there any environmental factors whose presence or absence 
> disrupt or divert development? Any non-lethal ones? Are there any 
> environmental factors whose presence/absence affects the timing of 
> development? I suspect there are, but I would like to know one way or 
> the other. I'm not asking about the obvious ones, such as water, without 
> which the creature will die. Anther way of asking the question is, 
> What's the range of, e.g., pH, etc in a normal environment for this 
> worm? Any differences at either extreme? Etc.

Wouldn't it be the case that, even C.ele would have a homeostatic
mechanism regulating internal pH, in order to deal with environment
pressures, and if it were pushed it outside its limits, then the
system breaks down?

This is a general question, because even a simple organism must have
*many* internal self-regulating mechanisms. To a large extent, these
are probably very important to the species as a whole, in order that
the environment doesn't drive the offspring to be radically different
from the parents. After all, who can tell a rat one from another, let
alone 2 worms - so internal regulation must be very strong.

Actually, Ross Ashby talked about this. He said that biological
organisms must be not only stable, but "ultra-stable". They have to be
only "loosely-coupled" to their environments, and need secondary
feedback loops internally, otherwise any environmental distress would
immediately kill them.

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net