RE: virus: Strange attractors and meta-religions (was God and Level-3)

sean laraway (
Tue, 08 Apr 1997 21:13:15 -0500

From: "Wright, James 7929" <>
Date: Mon, 07 Apr 1997 12:22:00 -0400 (EDT)

>Martz wrote:
>>Don't forget to bear the family circumstance in mind before you decide
>>how to group the behaviour. A bird with three young may let the weakest
>>die of starvation if food is short in order to improve the chances of
>>survival for the others. Is this negligent parentage?<
>> In times of plenty the same bird would feed *all* her chicks. Same
>bird, different
>>circumstance. It's more difficult to make these comparisons in humans as
>>our nurturing periods are so much longer but can you say that the
>>examples of negligence that you have in mind are not normal reactions to
>>the situation that parent finds themselves in?<
>Sort of a "Sophie's Choice" forced on people in their daily lives?
> Please consider the post I sent to Tony. I would suspect that the best
>examples of parental neglect I can devise are not a result of extreme
>circumstances, but of individual deviant behavior. Were parental neglect
>a normal occurrence, the race itself would be in danger of dying out
>through low birthrate.
> The existence of parental neglect is not proof that "care for your
>young" is not hard-wired; but since human sexuality is a learned
>behavior, as is language and most other human social behavior, I would
>contend that "care for your young" is also a learned behavior. We border
>on a discussion of "instinct versus learned behavior", which I lean
>heavily on the "most behavior is learned in humans" side of.
>What do you think?

pardon my interjection, but it seems fairly reasonable to assume that much
human behavior is "learned." however, the whole "nature vs. nurture" issue
appears to oversimplify things. i think it is may be more productive to
look at animal behavior (including human) as an interaction between genetic
hard-wiring, genetic "soft-wiring" (i.e., the genes allow for certain
events to occur within preset limits, but don't rigidly prescribe these
activities), and environmental inputs (i.e., "learning"). following this
view (or a modification, thereof), it is still possible to conceptualize
individual deviant behavior as a result of circumstances, extreme or
otherwise. this is obviously a deterministic position, which may not be
acceptable to some people, but i think that it can have some utility.
thanks for your time.


"in order to climb into the depths one does not need to travel very far;
no, for that you do not need to abandon your immediate and accustomed
--ludwig wittgenstein