Re: Hello, can anyone help?

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sat 15 Feb 2003 - 04:44:52 GMT

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    At 10:57 AM 14/02/03 -0500, you wrote:

    >> --- Martha Granger <> wrote: >
    >> > He told me that he would read 10
    >> > books of my choosing

    1. Selfish Gene. It was written before Dawkins became so exasperated with creationists. Have him read the Second Ed.

    "Selfish Gene" Dawkins gives 16,500 hits in Google.

    2. Evolution of Cooperation by Axelrod is a requirement if you want to engage in useful discussion in this area. Small book, very well done, and not at all dated in close to 20 years. Basic Books

    "Evolution of Cooperation" (using the quotes) in Google offers up 12,000 links.

    3. The Ascent of Mind: Ice Age Climates and the Evolution of Intelligence by William H. Calvin

    "William Calvin" gets 10,200 Google hits.

    4. The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation by Matt Ridley

    "Matt Ridley" evolution gets 4120 links.

    5. The Moral Animal, by Robert Wright. Why We Are the Way We Are : The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology. 1995 Gives an excellent overview of evolutionary psychology in layman's terms. His new book Non-Zero has a lot of memetic implications.

    " Moral Animal" "Robert Wright" gives 2850 links

    6. The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating David Buss's 1995 book

    "David Buss" gets about 2100 links in Google. There is a really good interview here:

    7. The Social Brain by Michael Gazzaniga (1985). New York: Basic Books. Michael lays out the evidence of the modular nature of our brains and how the modules, while doing the best they can, still make errors.

    "Michael Gazzaniga" gets 1490 Google hits.

    8. Sperm wars by Robin Baker "Most of the book is about heterosexual sex, and a lot of it is about female instinctual programming ..."
    [I remember being kind of horrified when reading this book--but it was impossible to dismiss knowing what I did about evolution.]

    "Sperm wars" in Google gives 1180 links.

    I only put in one per author, though some of these authors have done a number of other interesting books, Dawkins, of course, Calvin, Ridley (Red Queen in particular) and Gazzaniga. Calvin's more recent book, The Cerebral Code: Thinking a Thought in the Mosaics of the Mind, invokes evolution on a time scale of milliseconds to minutes as we evolve noise through a number of grammar and meaning selection cycles into speech.

    "Evolution as an on-the-fly Brain Process I tend to think that the fancier mental processes (language, planning, music, logic) utilize a form of Darwinian process that operates in milliseconds to minutes."

    I could think of a dozen more that are less closely related to evolution, but support it in various ways. Minsky's Society of Mind supports Gazzaniga and Calvin. (Marvin Minsky in Google, 19200) Born To Rebel, Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives by Frank J. Sulloway (Born to Rebel, 1570 links)

    My particular views on memetics and the evolution of ideas are not exactly represented by any of the better known memetics books.

    [THOUGHT CONTAGION How Belief Spreads Through Society by Aaron Lynch. "Aaron Lynch" 3260 links in Google

    Virus of the Mind, by Richard Brodie "Virus of the Mind" Brodie 2340 links,

    The Meme Machine, Susan Blackmore (3160 links)]

    Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel Dennett might be the closest, but he does not spend a lot of ink on the subject. There is a fairly good review here:

    "darwin's dangerous idea" 6570 links

    "darwin's dangerous idea" memetics 606 links

    It is perhaps a bit pretentious for me to suggest the article you can find with "sex drugs cults henson" in Google. For what it is worth, the author's name in Google and "Cryonics OR Nanotechnology OR meme OR memetics OR scientology" (to try to weed out the jazz player, gay porn star, and NASA guys of the same name) gives 19000 links.

    Keith Henson

    PS, the article should be the last thing he reads, not the first. :-)

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