Re: Pay for Learning LO1454
Wed, 31 May 1995 08:10:37 -0700

Jim Michmerhuizen, in LO1441, suggested that "clearly, there's something
that we humans do better than any of our fellow creatures. Let's call
that activity 'learning.'"

In the grand scheme of things, this is probably a side issue: but I would
have to challenge Jim's comment. Having just returned from some pretty
wild parts of Australia, I have vividly in my mind some rather
extraordinary examples of adaptation, or of "learning," if you will: viz.,
echidnas, which are spikey-backed anteaters that manage to look like
spinafex grass, as they burrow into the ground avoiding predators. Some
of this is no doubt genetic, some of this is no doubt learned.

For my own part, I do think humans have one major facility that
distinguishes the species from other animals -- the ability to create and
detect irony.

Ron Mallis
12 Chestnut Street
Boston, MA 02108