Re: draft abstract Sex, Drugs and Cults

Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 05:10:06 GMT

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    In a message dated 2/15/2002 7:19:03 PM Central Standard Time, Keith Henson
    <> writes:

    > 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.
    > Keith

    Hi Keith.

    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]

    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 <>
    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
    hard cover.

    --Aaron Lynch

    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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