Re: Instincts and bioprograms

Jesse S. Cook III (jcook@AWOD.COM)
Sun, 28 Jul 1996 16:41:13 -0400

On 28 July 1996 Ronald Kephart replied:

> Jesse S. Cook III writes:
>> Apparently, you didn't take the hints put out by Robert Snower and Ralph
>> Holloway.
>Humans are not mice.

An auspicious beginning?

>Humans (and other hominoids?) may well share with mice
>(and perhaps all mammals?) a gene for something like a "maternal instinct."

So what's all the argument about?

>But the fact is that hominoids, as social animals, have shifted many
behaviors of
>this sort from the straight expression of genetic programming to an acquisition
>process which must occur within an appropriate social context.

Lots of animals are "social animals" but show no sign of
"shifting,,,behaviors...from the straight expression of genetic programming..."

>Mice, as far as I know, do not need a social context to become mice; humans
>and other hominoids, on the other hand, do need such a context.

That depends on how you define "human". Culturally, yes; physically, no.
Mice do not have, and therefore do not need, culture. Humans have, and
therefore need, culture.

>This is the difference between instinctive behavior and bioprogrammed behavior
>(I borrowed the term "bioprogram" from Derek Bickerton's work on language).
I'm glad to know where you got it.

>If for example language were "instinctive" people should acquire language
under all
>conditions, including the lack of any social input whatsoever. We know that
>this does not happen. People acquire language in all sorts of varying social
>contexts, but the social aspect has to be there. Given the evidence,

What evidence?

>I think mothering behavior in humans has to be similarly acquired, even if
there is a
>gene that programs us for it.
>Ron Kephart

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."