Re: Coincidentally...

Jesse S. Cook III (jcook@AWOD.COM)
Thu, 25 Jul 1996 10:14:15 -0400

On 24 July 1996, Ronald Kephart replied:

>Jesse S. Cook III wrote:
>> Any resemblance between what animals do to create their own environment and
>> what "man" does is purely coincidental.
>This can only be true if you deny any connection whatever between humans and
>(other) animals, which, of course, is preposterous.

I'm sorry; I don't understand your reasoning here. The point at issue is
not a "connection" but a causal relationship. That's what "coincidence"
means (in part): an event "suggesting, but lacking, a causal relationship".

>Chimps do things to create their own environment, things like selecting and
>modifying grass blades for termite "fishing", chewing leaves into a pulp
for use
>as sponges, building nests in trees to sleep in at night, etc.

Only the last-mentioned item constitutes "creating their own environment"
according to my way of thinking. And, of course, many animals make nests,
but any resemblance between these nests and our skyscrapers is, again,
purely coincidental.

>None of these
>particular behaviors is transmitted genetically; they are transmitted socially.

Can you cite any evidence for this statement?

>What makes them different from similar human behaviors is that, among humans,
>they can be transmitted symbolically. Unlike humans, chimps can't sit around
>and discuss termite fishing; they "just do it" and the young chimps learn by
>watching, imitating, and practicing. Humans, by the way, are also capable of
>learning in this way; is that too a coincidence?

I have no doubt that the first humans, 2.5 million years ago, did learn that

Jesse S. Cook III E-Mail:
Post Office Box 40984 or
Charleston, SC 29485 USA

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