Re: Coincidentally...

Ronald Kephart (rkephart@OSPREY.UNF.EDU)
Thu, 25 Jul 1996 15:22:04 -0400

In message <> Jesse S. Cook III writes:

> 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".

For me "coincidence" implies a relationship of some sort, perhaps not causal
(although my dictionary too uses that term). Any behavior (or, for that matter,
any feature), including modification of the environment, that is found in both
humans and other animals is "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.

> Only the last-mentioned item [building nests in trees] 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.

I would insist that the behaviors I mentionedQ modification of grass stems for
termiting, chewing up leaves to use as sponges, and nest buildingQ all represent
chimps' ways of creating the environment in which the they operate. 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.

> Can you cite any evidence for this statement [that "none of these
> particular behaviors is transmitted genetically; they are transmitted
> socially]?

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

Ron Kephart