RE: Watches & Necklaces

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri 30 May 2003 - 02:55:59 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Polichak on memetics"

    At 07:59 AM 29/05/03 -0700, you wrote:
    >This discussion actually hits on a fascinating aspect of Darwinism. Plotkin,
    >in his book "Darwin Machines" (I believe there was a different title in the
    >UK unfortunately), theorizes that the genetic-fitness advantage of big
    >brains is in fact flexibility. A big-brained species can adapt to ecological
    >changes much quicker than one that depends upon genetic evolution to adapt.

    William Calvin makes this argument as well as his argument that human brains were run up in size by the need for precise projectile hunting.

    >The unforeseen spandrel of this adaptation was the memetic big bang. With
    >the advent of language, big brains filled up with memes that were not
    >necessarily related to genetic fitness. Genetic adaptation is working slowly
    >in the background to counter this tendency but right now college education
    >is lowering the genetic fitness of the lineages that are fortunate enough to

    True till the next crunch comes along. Then wealth will again be a large factor in who survives.

    >As you say, Chris, we hope that should a catastrophe occur the flexibility
    >and capability afforded us by big brains will allow us to survive. But we
    >might all be too busy watching the Scott Peterson trial on CNN. Vonnegut's
    >(Darwin's) blue-footed boobies might have the last laugh.


    Keith Henson

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