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In a message dated 2/15/2002 7:19:03 PM Central Standard Time, Keith Henson
> That's true, and the correlation may be causal, but it could also be that
> education is causally linked to wealth. Of course, the really interesting
> thing is why people of high wealth don't spend it all on having a dozen
> children. At one time they did, and in some cultures, particularly
> they still do.
There is some novel analysis of why the rich do not have large
families in my chapter "Evolutionary Contagion in Mental Software,"
[in The Evolution of Intelligence, edited by Robert J. Sternberg and
James C. Kaufman, 2001 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, and
online as http://www.thoughtcontagion.com/evintel12.htm.]
Here is an excerpt:
"... In a mixture of socioeconomic and ideological evolution,
those whose beliefs lead to small family sizes tend to subdivide
their wealth less often over the generations. This allows their
small-family mores to disproportionately accumulate at higher
socioeconomic strata. In other words, parentally transmitted
mores that cause large family size may thereby also reduce
the average host wealth by subdivision, leading to a negative
wealth to family size correlation. (Remember the adage that
correlation does not imply causation.) Additionally, strong
beliefs in college education can reduce family sizes by delaying
parenthood, while simultaneously causing higher per capita
income for those who hold strong procollege ideas. Overall,
multiple ideas leading to small families can cause wealth
concentration, rather than wealth concentration directly causing
smaller family size. Hence, there is no inherent inconsistency
between a negative wealth to family size correlation and the
hypothesis that increasing the earning power of a randomly
(or nonrandomly) chosen subpopulation can lead to more
children for that subpopulation. ..." [p. 312]
I also recommend reading the material on how the spread of
astrological dating beliefs can cause a genetic evolution of rising
intelligence and how the spread of racial supremacy beliefs can
cause genetic evolution toward lower intelligence. (These
are best conveyed by reading the whole chapter.)
Since you were not subscribed to this list back when I announced
the new book in August, I paste a copy of the announcement
Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 15:21:19 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <email@example.com>
Subject: The Evolution of Intelligence (new book)
The book The Evolution of Intelligence, edited by Robert J. Sternberg
and James C. Kaufman has finally been published. The book has 20
authors in all, and is 390 pages long. It is available for $79.95 from t
he publisher Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
or from bookstores.
1. R.J. Sternberg, The Search for Criteria: Why Study the Evolution of
2. J.B. Grossman, J.C. Kaufman, Evolutionary Psychology: Promise and Perils.
3. D.F. Bjorklund, K. Kipp, Social Cognition, Inhibition, and Theory of Mind:
The Evolution of Human Intelligence.
4. J.L. Bradshaw, The Evolution of Intellect: Cognitive, Neurological, and
Primatological Aspects and Hominid Culture.
5. R.W. Byrne, The Primate Origins of Human Intelligence.
6. W.H. Calvin, Pumping Up Intelligence: Abrupt Climate Jumps and the
Evolution of Higher Intellectual Functions During the Ice Ages.
7. M.C. Corballis, Evolution of the Generative Mind.
8. L. Cosmides, J. Tooby, Unraveling the Enigma of Human Intelligence:
Evolutionary Psychology and the Multimodular Mind.
9. O. Flanagan, V.G. Hardcastle, E. Nahmias, Is Human Intelligence an
Adaptation? Cautionary Observations From the Philosophy of Biology.
10. P. Godfrey-Smith, Environmental Complexity and the Evolution of
11. H.J. Jerison, On Theory in Comparative Psychology.
12. A. Lynch, Evolutionary Contagion in Mental Software.
13. I.M. Pepperberg, Evolution of Avian Intelligence, With an Emphasis on
Grey Parrots ( Psittacus erithacus).
14. H. Plotkin, Intelligence as Predisposed Skeptical Induction Engines.
15. P. Bloom, Get Smart.
My own contribution, "Evolutionary Contagion in Mental Software."
includes topics of astrological dating, belief in psychic powers,
popularity of the hypothesis that women have an innate partner
wealth preference, the rise of Nazism and neo-Nazism, US slavery
and racism, the belief in corporal punishment of children, the role of
accelerating evolution in rising IQ test averages, the possible (ironic)
effect of neo-Nazi and other racist ideologies in diminishing genetic
and environmental components of individual and population intelligence,
and the evolution of intelligence in the presence of mind-enhancing
technologies. The chapter might help to remind some readers that
evolutionary cultural replicator theory does not depend upon the terms
"meme," "ideavirus," "culturegen," etc. or the definition disputes. Henry
Plotkin's chapter has a section making some general comments on work
done using the word "meme." I do not believe he read my chapter in
advance, nor did I read his chapter until receiving the whole book in
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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