Re: Shotgun wedding for evolution and culture

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Sun Mar 10 2002 - 19:56:44 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Shotgun wedding for evolution and culture
    Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002 20:56:44 +0100
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Steve Drew <>
    > In my reading, i have not come across any reference to Spencer as a close
    > friend of Darwin. As far as i am aware Darwin was not too keen on
    > views, partly i suspect, because he still retained some of his childhood
    > beliefs in god. this is despite his disavowal of god during the wasp saga.
    > And possibly because Spencer still clung to residues of Lamarkism
    > >
    > > "The problem of course is that you can fit this logic into any framework
    > > you like," said Jones. "There seems to be a remarkable willingness to
    > > accept Darwinian explanations for uniquely human attributes," he noted.
    > > But evolution is no good at explaining things that are unique, he said,
    > > because it is a comparative science.

    Hi Steve,

    You are trespassing my kind of turf here, so to speak!
    My point which I defend upon this list, more then often, is just what is
    written above_ that Darwinism is no good explanation for understanding
    It is my conviction, from day 1, that indeed Darwinism can 't fully ex-
    plain my unique, individual attributes to the culture I live in.
    IMO, Darwinism works, likes Boltzmann used to say, better on the
    level of groups, not so on the level of individuals.
    Of course, like the article points out, there is a certain willingness to
    explain everything with and in Darwinistic terms and probably right
    so, but science and the people in it are equal willingly to forget those
    viewpoints which contradict their theory.

    I am somewhat a Lamarck- adept and IMO, on a personal than
    individual level, Lamarckism works better to explain my position in
    the culture I live in.
    Lawrence and I had in the past a few discussions how that came
    about, briefly put, my personal life conducted me to the position to
    take my life in my own hands and fight for what I was worth.
    Lamarckism, the goal- intented- notion of it was something I couldn 't
    do without.
    Probably, all of this can be easily explained in more Darwinistic terms,
    but I am not that sure that natural selection prompted the life I had to
    live after my parents died. Memetic engineering and The Self- Building-
    Project- via- Memes concept of which I am still the only experiment
    has nothing to do with Darwinism... IMO !

    That now, in a sense, scientists are ready to question Darwin and his
    theory stems me convinced for the future. Of course, John Wilkins
    will contradict everything about the notion that Lamarckism pops up
    in the ways that culture develops and evolves, but IMO that is perfectly
    natural_ being a scientist as he is, he will be probably be raised in the
    Darwinistic school of things, memes are already fixed and in the light
    of the natural selection by which evolution is conducted he will be fo-
    cused upon the group- aspect not on the inividualistic mode.

    Having said this, it is also my conviction, that in memetics ( which in
    turn has Darwinistic explanations attached to it) the viewpoint that
    cultural traits are collective, is wrong. The unique things that each
    human behavior is, every single aspect of behavior, is Lamarckian,
    not Darwinian, that due to the underlying standard of individuality,
    which is, and I repeat, Lamarckian.

    Every single aspect of human behavior begins on a Lamarckian level,
    our brain makes the connections, makes new thoughts and brings
    along new ideas and viewpoints_ it is just that many others are in
    the same boat ( feeling insecure for example) and that the result of
    such a behavior is transferred into, for example, in racism, what can
    be seen on a more collective level. That everything is done, apparantly
    along Darwinistic lineages is just another way of looking at things.
    Lamarckism is just the spark which Darwinism and therefor culture
    needs to evolve.

    Dawinism in memetics can 't explain why many of us ran to the streets
    after a princess died, and probably you will argue it can ( of which I
    am aware and I understand and comprehend the viewpoints which
    lead us to it), but keeping Lamarckism in mind ( being a component
    of individuality) the issue is raised that perhaps we must adjust that
    point of view.
    Wade said once, and I personalize his words here, I assert some
    degree of randomness on an individual level for each individual mem-
    ber of the set/ culture which can 't be explained/ can 't be comprehend
    by/ with Darwinistic explanations/ terms and therefor the view we have
    about culture is incomplete, inaccurate,... not fully " collective " and
    therefor, in some sense, not fully Darwinian !!



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