Quinlan's last and future post(s)

Mike Lieber (U28550@UICVM.BITNET)
Sun, 11 Dec 1994 13:12:32 CST

In Rob's last post, he continues to use the rhetorical ploy that identifies
critiques of sociobiology with attacks on biosocial approaches--if you don't
buy sociobiology, then you reject biosocial approaches to human activity.
There's no use in dumping on Ron for using this ploy, as it seems to be
standard-issue in the sociobiologists' arsenal of one-liners. So let me make
another suggestion that might be more constructive, not to speak of more

Rob, in an off-line note, mentioned a concept called "learning bias" current
among evoltuinary psychologists. It seemed to resonate with some work I have
seen coming out of Cold Harbor in the 1970s, so I asked him to expand a bit.
>From his brief answer, it seems to be a concept that has some explanatory power
to account for differences in what various species are prepared to learn (or
differences in how various species select properties of their environments to
which they are ready to attend). If the construct is anything like I think it
is (or should be), it would be a major step away from reducing behavior to gene
action and toward connecting polygenic ordering with nerve net structure. But
I'm just projecting my own thinking on what might be a very different framework
of explanation of variability.

I would like to see Rob, Lee Cronk, Jerome Barkow, Mark Flinn, or anyone else
knowledgeable in this area post an account of learning bias--what it is, what
it can do, how it organizes research, and some relevant bibliography that the
rest of us can read. What do you say , guys?
Mike Lieber