RE: New Scientist this week

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue May 21 2002 - 12:59:30 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: New Scientist this week
    Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 12:59:30 +0100
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    >> There's another way of thinking about altruistic sacrifice-
    >> status for offspring and relatives. A martyr (or a celibate
    monk, say), may
    >> die, but family members may gain in social status as a result and
    >> subsequently will do better in terms of survival and mate choice
    etc. Such
    >> an argument works better in social insects where they share more
    genes with
    >> each other, but when you add in cultural capital, if you like,
    that might be
    >> a strong factor in humans also. This could work as well for
    women as for
    >> men. The sisters of a female suicide bomber might have their
    mate chances
    >> improved by association.

            <Yes I have come across these explanations before, but am still very
    wary of
    > them. Although I am not aware of one , a lone female with no siblings or
    > cousins etc would tend to disprove it. Anyone hear of one? IMHO this is a
    > case of memes over genes. That of a tribal identity that is not based on
    > kinship.>
            One of the tangential problems of suicide bombings is that, here in
    the UK anyway, who these people are, what their family circumstances are
    etc. are rarely if ever given. So I don't know. I personally do think some
    people do such things out of highly irrational though-processes, but I'm
    still not convinced its memes at work.

            <Is the Adams book the one finished by his wife? Read all the rest,
    > obviously! Were the Kricket Wars too UK? :-)>
            It's a mixture of articles, short stories, and the first half dozen
    chapters from a Dirk Gently book he was writing (for the past decade or so
    apparently!). I dunno how the third hitchhiker book went down in the
    States, given it's very British themes, in one piece in this book, he does
    comment on Americans absolute inability to make a proper cup of tea
    (elsewhere, he gives instructions for his perfect cuppa, where I discovered
    he's a milk first person like myself).


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