Jesse S. Cook III (jcook@AWOD.COM)
Fri, 26 Jul 1996 15:52:04 -0400

On 25 July 1996, Ronald Kephart wrote:

"For me 'coincidence' implies a relationship of some sort, perhaps not
causal...Any behavior...that is found in both humans and other mammals is

The phrase "relationship of some sort" is not very helpful, Ron. If not
causal, what kind of relationship? How is the behavior related?

"What else could it be? Otherwise, the fact that humans and other mammals
have four legs/arms and body hair would also have to be coincidental."

Behavioral "relationship" is one thing, physical relationship is something
else. Besides, that all living things are related *physically* is trivial,
unless one happens to be a creationist. We are all related: "connected or
associated as by origin or kind", as my dictionary says.

"I would insist that the behaviors I mentioned...all represent chimps' ways
of creating the environment in which they operate."

Ron, stop and think a minute. A chimp's act of picking up off of the ground
or tearing from a bush or low lying tree a twig, sticking it in a termite
mound, pulling it out, and then licking off whatever termites cling thereto,
is living off the land; it is not creating an environment.

"Of course, it's true that the Trump Tower has little surface resemblance to
a chimp's nest, but I think we owe the deep structure to our common ancestor."

Some say there is such a thing as a "nesting instinct". Is this what you
had in mind?

Of course, all animals that sleep or hibernate need a safe place to do it
in, but not all animals sleep or hibernate; and, therefore, not all animals
make nests. I daresay that our ancestors, after the split between our line
and that of the apes five to eight million years ago, made nests pretty much
in the same fashion as chimps do today; so, I suppose you could say that
they are related, but so what? Any similarity between them and our "nests"
today is purely coincidental.

I asked: "Can you cite any evidence...", and you replied:

"The fact that chimps do not perform these behaviors unless they have been
acquired socially."

That's not citing evidence, Ron; that's just adding another statement to the
first one.

Jesse S. Cook III E-Mail: jcook@awod.com
Post Office Box 40984 or
Charleston, SC 29485 USA 201-9573@mcimail.com

"Our attitude toward others is not determined by who *they* are;
it is determined by who *we* are."