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RE: <eyebeam><blast> Ant consciousness

Eve's mention of ants in particular and the general drift of this thread 
makes me think of the biologist Edward O. Wilson, who has written 
extensively on ants and is currently trying to solve exactly the kind of 
connections between biology and consciousness Brian is discussing. I'm 
reading his latest book, "Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge" right now 
for review purposes; it's published on March 27th. Anyway, to be brief 
and not nearly detailed enough, his solution to the problem of 
connecting genetics, neuroscience, and consciousness as we experience it 
is through a concept--which he claims will be proven 
scientifically--called 'epigenetic rules.' By which he means a 
combination of science and culture: he claims that epigenetic rules 
(example: incest taboos) are forms of genetically hardwired cultural 
predispositions to do things a certain way. This is not determinism, 
because he stresses that epigenetic rules do not proscribe WHAT we do, 
but rather HOW we tend to do it; he also allows for cultural variance by 
situating these rules at varying points along a spectrum that runs from 
hard genetics at one hand to soft culture at the other. Presumably the 
'strength' of a rule would depend upon how far it lies towards the 
genetics end of the spectrum.

Needless to say, there are criticisms to be made of this idea, and it 
remains in the germinal stage (I don't think he's written about it 
before) but nevertheless I find the idea of epigenetic rules an 
interesting and potentially fruitful way to think about the interaction 
between biology and consciouness without reducing one to the other.
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