Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Sun Mar 17 2002 - 09:37:34 GMT

  • Next message: Kenneth Van Oost: "Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes"

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    From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <>
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    Subject: Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes
    Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 10:37:34 +0100
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Scott Chase <>
    > I'm not sure either Darwinian or so-called Lamarckian views apply to
    > cultural phenomenon. Humans and their brains are products of the
    > evolutionary process, where selection has played a major, though not
    > necessarily exclusive, role. Evolution is a fact. Evolution applies to
    > humans.


    I think Lamarckian views apply in the sense that the Darwinian natural
    selection system is outweighted by the technology nowadays used_ the
    survival of the fittest- concept doesn 't apply anymore_ we (can) keep
    people alive who would have died a few years ago. With the better
    technologies to prepare food, medical attention we grow older than
    50 yeas ago.

    > Both innovation and imitation may be important. There could be a social
    > heredity, but what form(s) does it take?

    << Individuality ' creates ' a social form which becomes, as seen by us,
    humans a cultural heridital system, based upon the notions by which the
    Darwinian natural selection works ( the fittest survives). All the
    forms taking together become our ' cultural ' heritage. The whole is
    greater than the parts and that is why we think Darwinian selection is at

    > Now human brains are indeed the product of evolution via selection (plus
    > perhaps some non-adaptive side-products or spandrels if you will). This is
    > not in doubt. The Darwinian view pretty much holds when looking at
    > of humans. The problem is when we carry the Darwinian view over into the
    > sphere of sociocultural phenomenon. Do these phenomena evolve according to
    the Darwinian (or even the Lamarckian) view?

    << IMO, again, the Lamarckian view is more approiate_ the notion of
    use and disuse for example of artefacts, habits, technologies, traits,... it
    is our intention to do so, otherwise there would be no ' progress ', no
    ' change ', no economical value. We would not go then forward if we
    hang onto a Darwinian view. Maybe it is just that... that the Darwinian
    option is just a hook, a metaphor to describe in humans terms progress,
    change, to improve. Maybe there is nothing like Darwinism and what
    we see exists only in our head...
    Anyway, the need to create is intentional for what ever technological/
    social/ political/ economical reason...the fecundity is maybe due to
    Darwinian peer/ kin environmental pressures, I agree.



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