9 Short Texts

TRUE  OR  FALSE  No. 4

The Flavr Savr tomato was the first whole food to be genetically engineered and brought to market.
True or false?

There are approximately 10 to the 18 (one followed by 18 zeroes) number of insects on the Planet Earth.
True or False?

*  A highly stressful or emotional event will activate adrenaline hormones which help to preserve memories of that event.
True or False?

There are several planets orbiting the nearby star Beta Pictoris.
True or False?

Infants as young as two months begin to babble with a rhythmic and acoustic structure that corresponds to speech.
True or False?

*  Human females have a comparatively small pelvis in relation to infant brain size. This evolved as a trade-off to walking upright.
True or False?

*  The insemination of important ideas within a society is as an effective method of human advancement as passing on healthy genes.                                                                      True or False?

Human infants are helpless because they are born twelve months prematurely due to the infant’s large brain size and the mother’s comparatively small pelvis.
True or False?

Four-and-a-half-month old infants recognize their own names.
True or False?

 

CONCEPTUAL  DARWINISM

1.

The struggle for survival has created an evolutionary process of natural selection and variation, caused by environmental pressures.

It follows that all living matter and its by-products, including human behavior, are similarly evolving.

Perhaps ideas and concepts are subject to Darwinian laws of natural selection.

An organism or species which adapts to its environment will reproduce, thus perpetuating its kind.

When a genetic mutation occurs in an individual within a species, and the change is beneficial, the individual has a greater chance of surviving, and thus passing on genes to the next generation.

Ideas or concepts are adaptable to the needs of a particular society or culture. Certain ideas are useful or fill a particular niche. Other ideas may be resisted, or ignored altogether.

Surviving ideas are passed on from generation to generation through written and spoken language, and through artistic and practical application. Ideas which are ultimately of no value to individuals or societies may not survive.

Ideas which were once functional may become obsolete under changing conditions, and disappear completely. Other ideas may change, or be replaced by a better idea.

Under certain conditions, an idea may expand to a more diverse and varied state. While under different conditions, the same idea or concept may become highly specialized.

Concepts or ideas which have long-term survivability have been labeled memes by the English biologist Richard Dawkins.

In general, concepts and ideas will survive or not, based on how well they adapt to the changing needs of the culture.

2.

A scientific, religious, philosophical, or ideological concept may evolve in accordance with the rules of natural selection.

For example, a new medical discovery, such as immunization, may emerge suddenly at a strategic moment in the cultural evolution of the species, brought on by cultural pressures. Variations in the structure or form of the idea may generate new or more specialized versions. Or the idea may prove to be short lived.

If the idea survives, it will quickly spread to different places throughout the world, finally settling into a long period of stability.

All forms of cultural and social behavior, including music and art, follow these same Darwinian rules.

Certain forms of expression are adopted by different societies, based on their mythologies and cultural values.

Overall, cultures may resist or deny various rituals or trends as inappropriate for their particular society, while others may embrace them as constructive. Some forms of cultural expression may become more specialized, while others are more diverse. Still others may wither and die.

And the same may be true for entire cultures or societies.

3.

However, the flow of cultural ideas is not always consistent with Darwinism.

For example, false or impenetrable ideas are routinely preserved and circulated in libraries around the world. And they may remain unchallenged for centuries.

Some ideas such as alchemy or prohibition may remain active within a society for generations before they are abandoned. While other ideas such as atonal music are ignored initially, then revived when they are later recognized for their worth. Still other ideas tend to reappear in cycles, such as trends in fashion design or financial investment.

A new species arises when a group of organisms splits off from the others, caused by genetic mutation, a sudden change in the environment, or by geographical separation. Until recently, this was the only known way a species could originate. We have all evolved from the same ancestor. Excluding recent developments in genetic engineering, each of the 30 million species in the world today have formed in this way.

New ideas or concepts may follow a similar pattern of splitting off from old ideas, caused by significant cultural changes. Although, unlike the origin of a species, new ideas may emerge unpredictably in different places and times, and in different places at the same time.

4.

Throughout history, most individuals have died before they could reproduce. Only a comparatively small number of individuals have survived, passing on their genes to the next generation.

Similarly, it is probable that most ideas have not found their way into the minds of individuals, or into the deep patterns of human culture.

Today, most humans who survive the first few weeks of infancy live long enough to reproduce. And because of the increased capacity in processing and distribution of information, most ideas are available to anybody who has access to a library, newsprint, radio, television, or computer.

During the embryonic development of an organism, genetic material is copied from cell to cell. During this process, a mistake in copying may occur. This copying error, known as a mutation, results in a genetic change in the organism from the previous generation, depending on which gene is affected.

Mutations are the primary way in which genetic changes occur in an individual. And they account for most of the biological diversity among species, and within a given species.

Similarly, the storing and processing of an idea in the brain, or the transfer of an idea from one person to another, may cause the idea to be modified just enough to enhance or diminish its survivability.

Like genes, small ideas related to everyday considerations such as family, work, or recreation tend to be exchanged and circulated within a small population, mixing and combining with other ideas to create conceptual diversity.

Like species, big ideas or concepts such as those related to politics, art, law, science, and religion evolve on the scale of society and culture. These ideas

tend to originate suddenly, stabilize for long periods in which they may become specialized, then split off to form new concepts, or die out altogether.

Ultimately, concepts and ideas must survive the test of time. And those which are able to adapt, both to the natural guidelines which define a society and

its individuals, and to conditions of change within the society, are the ideas which will ultimately endure.

 

TRUE  OR  FALSE  No. 5

There are between five and six thousand different languages spoken in the world today. True or False?

The human species has more scent-producing glands than any other primate.
True or False?

Infants have little ability to think symbolically or conceptually until they acquire language.
True or False?

Significant social and cultural change is currently measured in decades, rather than centuries or half-centuries.
True or False?

Agricultural field systems first appeared in New Guinea, near Australia, over ten thousand years ago.
True or False?

Like genes, languages evolve because they accumulate mutations.
True or False?

On a sunny day, the temperature near the ground surface can be as much as 20 degrees hotter than only a couple of feet away from the Earth.
True or False?

In American and British middle-class society, about one birth in twenty reveals a false paternity.
True or False?

 

STATEMENTS  ON  LANGUAGE,  SPEECH,  AND  MUSIC

1.

Cro Magnons were the first humans to speak a language containing a universal grammar, or syntax.

Syntax, the basic set of rules for the structure of language, is genetically encoded in humans.

The structure of language is composed of sentences, phrases, and words.

Sentences, phrases, and words are combined in different ways, which are organized according to the rules of language.

While words and their meanings must be acquired, the rules of language are ‘hard-wired’ in the brain.

2.

Spoken language evolved prior to written language.

Spoken language is acquired spontaneously. While writing and reading must be learned.

The structure of spoken language has evolved as a function of the vocal apparatus. And it is likely that the structure of linguistic thought has also been influenced by the physiological characteristics of the voice.

Much of our thinking involves the use of words, and relies on the innate rules of language.

3.

The language of music contains a set of rules, or syntax, similar to written and spoken language.

Musical language evolved from spoken language. Or perhaps both originated at the same time.

Music is composed of tones, intervals, and phrases. And when combined in different ways, conveys meaning.

Pitch intervals, like words, are associated with specific meanings, which must be learned. While musical syntax is ‘hard wired’ in the brain.

When the brain listens to music, it uses many of the same pitch detectors that are used to decode spoken language.

At the lower level of the brain, speech and music share the same auditory circuits.

In the cortex, language, speech, and music share similar methods of processing information.

 

TRUE  OR  FALSE  No. 6

Both parents of legendary folk music pioneer Woody Guthrie taught at the Julliard School of Music in New York City.
True or False?

Wine was invented before beer.
True or False?

More DNA is used to code for human females than for males.
True or False?

Electrically charged batteries, used to anesthetize patients, were invented in Baghdad, around two thousand years ago.
True or False?

*  A person suffering from a particular brain defect may easily recognize
human-made tools, but not natural objects, such as an animal or plant.
True or False?

In science and art, similar discoveries and ideas are often uncovered independently, at the same time. This is due to:

1) unpredictable forces
2) natural laws which influence one another
3) synchronicity
4) fate

There are about 100 hunter-gatherer tribes scattered throughout the world.
True or False?

Maleness is defined by a single gene in which there is a short DNA sequence of 240 chemical bases, beginning GAT AGA GTG AAG CGA, which is traceable to a single distant ancestor that originated millions of years before the beginning of the human species.
True or False?

 

A. I. MODEL No. 8

The Musical Brain

1.

Nalaxone is a chemical that when delivered to the brain can block the natural endorphins which are responsible for the ecstatic responses experienced while listening to music.

If certain chemicals can inhibit musical perception, then other chemicals must stimulate them.

Imagine that you could experience a complete musical composition by simply taking a pill.

For example, a musical composition might be encoded chemically into the molecular structure of the grains contained in a time-released capsule. The musical information encoded in the capsule would be sent to the brain, sequentially, through the bloodstream. The molecules encoding the music would trigger various nerve cells, gradually releasing the neurotransmitters that communicate with associated neurons in the auditory regions of the brain.

Ultimately, the music would be processed in the brain, as it would normally, exciting a wide range of emotional, intellectual, or physical responses, depending on the nature of the musical composition.

2.

The brain can produce spontaneous musical perceptions without the need for external auditory stimulation. It does this by directly stimulating musical perceptions, such as in a dream state.

Dreams are creative. Our brain creates as we dream. The brain retrieves bits and pieces of memory spontaneously, and combines them to form new images. And the brain alone is capable of creating other sensory experiences, including completely new sounds, as well as entire musical events.

The fidelity of these sounds is increased in comparison to normal listening, due to the electrical environment of the brain.

The tones of the musical scale, noises, most speech sounds, and thousands of musical patterns are all stored in the human brain during the course of a lifetime.

During REM dreaming, auditory memories are combined spontaneously to form firing patterns which result in new sounds, or new musical sequences. Familiar sounds are re-created from existing memories, and incorporated into the dream scenario.

Dreams have been reported in which original musical compositions, ranging from popular songs to complex orchestral music, occur  spontaneously within the brain.

Perhaps a set of electrical probes could be implanted in a control center of the brain, such as the thalamus. Given a signal in the form of a thought command, the probes could stimulate the auditory cortex, similar to the dream process, creating a sequence of musical perceptions strictly controlled within the brain.

3.

Finally, consider the variety of sounds which propagate in various media including gas, liquids, organic and inorganic solids, and plasmas. Many of these sound patterns occur outside the threshold of human hearing. They range from tiny microacoustic sounds in a plasma, to macroacoustic waves, including ocean waves, seismic waves, global waves, solar waves, and galactic waves. They are propagated in the Earth’s air, water, and land, as well as on or near other planetary bodies and satellites, in stars and galaxies, in the solar wind, and in interstellar and intergalactic clouds.

An auditory implant device could be inserted in the brain in order to detect these sounds. The frequencies would have to be transposed up or down many octaves. And the amplitudes would require adjustment. The octave displacements and amplitude range would be tuned to the spectrum of human hearing, and could be stored and processed in the brain as auditory perceptions.

We would be able to hear, for the very first time, the continuum of interactive sound events which occur throughout the universe at various orders of magnitude and scale.

 

THE  EYE  OF  THE  LOBSTER

(read slowly)

The lens of the modern telescope

Was patterned after the eye

Of the lobster,

And other deep water crustacea,

Whose vision was designed

For looking up

From the ocean bottom

Into the deep black water

Above.

 

TRUE  OR  FALSE  No. 7

Moveable type first appeared in China in the eleventh century.
True or False?

 Human behavior is based on genetic and cultural codes, both of which follow            laws of self-organization and natural selection.
True or False?

Since human ears are made mostly of cartilage, they tend to get bigger with age.
True or False?

Humans visualize when they listen to music probably because the auditory cortex was modeled after the visual cortex.
True or False?

Singing and speech evolved independently.
True or False?

Writing and speech evolved independently.
True or False?

*  Music and Art are related to functional descriptions of the brain as much as to social and cultural patterns.
True or False?

*  By definition, anything which is organic involves the process of self-replication and mutation.
True or False?

The first person to chart the Atlantic Gulf Stream was Benjamin Franklin.
True or False?

 

TRUE  OR  FALSE  No. 8

Bell-shaped objects, made of clay, were used in ancient Roman theaters to improve the acoustics.
True or False?

*  The evolution of human nature perpetuates the emotional state of sexual jealousy to insure family bonding.
True or False?

Today, freshman college students know more physics than Isaac Newton did.
True or False?

There are only 45 letter changes in a particular molecule in the DNA code which separate humans from yeast.
True or False?

When strong emotions are expressed in common speech, musical cadences
and rhythms are instinctively used.
True or false?

The boomerang first appeared in Poland hundreds of thousands of years ago before it migrated to Australia.
True or False?

South America has the most diverse climate of any continent, with                            temperatures ranging from extreme cold and dry in the mountains, to hot and
humid in the jungle.
True or False?

Music touches the most passionate, sublime, and heroic emotions, and rarely,
if ever, the emotions of anger, rage, and fear.
True or False?

 

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