Sunday, October 4, 2009


There was an article in TIME last week, and a related story on NPR's RADIO LAB this weekend about experiments done with foxes in Russia over the last sixty years and more recent studies done with various dogs.

The Russian experiment (originally Soviet) separated foxes into two groups: those that backed off and showed fear or aggression (snapped their teeth etc.) when scientists walked up to their cages and put a hand on the bars and those who approached the scientists.

They bred the ones who didn't slink off and snap. Meanwhile they raised another group of foxes that they let breed randomly. Forty generations of these foxes later the foxes bred specifically for the less fearful and aggressive traits have developed into doglike foxes who will run up to people and wag their tails. The others remain more feral and wild fox like.

Meanwhile studies with dogs seem to prove that they are the only animal other than humans who can follow a pointing finger or even a toe or foot. Even puppies close to newborn can follow where a human's finger is pointing, and now the specifically bred foxes can too, while the regular foxes, like all other animals cannot.

I put that together with some recent studies of the brains of "liberals" and "conservatives" and their "fear" reactions (as you might expect, the thought of global warming had the "liberal" brains lighting up the fear centers of the brain while the conservatives' brains remained unmoved, and vice versa for other expected concepts).

The idea, as some scientists see it, is that humans, like dogs, as they became more domesticated, could more easily cooperate and build communities or relationships based on mutual interests, whereas more primitive humans (as the fossil record show, we once had much bigger sharper teeth etc.) would find females wanting to mate with the biggest and strongest who could secure more food than weaker males, eventually the smaller males could band together and through cooperation and community building create something even more sustaining foodwise and force the bigger aggressive male into exile or capital punishment, so the females started looking for the community builders, etc.

So my thought is, it's no accident FOX news is named that, and the reason so many followers of that network fall for it's outright lies and misdirection and misinformation is because it reinforces their particular set of fears, and when "liberals" try to use logic and POINT OUT or even POINT TO the reasons why these people, especially the working folks among them, have more in common with "liberal" aspirations for government and community and will reap greater benefits from it, they can't follow the pointing finger!

Just a theory, based on some real science that maybe hasn't caught up to my theory yet. But keep watching.


JIm said...

You have a lovely theory. Like many liberal theories, there is a Grimms Brothers feel to it. You mention Fox Network's lies, misdirection and misinformation. Not surprisingly, you are non specific. If you are going to make such an accusation, a minimum level of honesty requires specificity. Would you care to give us those specifics?

Jamie Rose said...

Egads Jim, read through his posts!

Jamie Rose said...

Oh and nice post on fully evolved foxes vs fearful snappy ones (a certain Fox News pundit with the initials GB comes to mind) posted by a sweet, sometimes tail-wagging (I've danced with you brother) fully evolved silver fox.

JIm said...

I believe that the New York Times is often anti American and also actively works for the triumph of the Democratic Party on its front page. To work for the Democrats on the opinion page is honest journalism. To do so on the front page is not. There have been many examples, but I will just offer these, as proof for my statements;

1-The publishing of the secret and highly successful tracking of terrorists funds through off shore banks which had lead to successful counter terrorist action. The publishing resulted in the end of this program and very likely to the deaths of US military personnel and US and non US civilians around the world.

2- In February of 2008 the Times attempted to damage candidate McCain by reporting on a bogus tryst between candidate McCain and a blond lobbyist on the front page.

Michael Lally accuses the Fox News Channel of lying, misdirection and misinformation. As proof, he offers a cute story of foxes. Mike is a PhD. So lack of education can not be an excuse. That leaves willful deception.

tom said...

Jlm - you can google fox lies and find enough info to fill several blogs - why should Mike have to do that for you.

JIm said...

I think it would be more credible to have at least one demonstrated. Do you think it would involve ACORN, Van Jones, Wright, co-authorship of "Dreams of my Father with Bill Ayers, Farrakham,Obama's advocacy of a civilian army in Colorado Springs (spring 08), Obama and many of his advisers and czars advocating socialistic take over of various parts of the economy.