From: Ray Recchia (email@example.com)
Date: Sat 24 Jan 2004 - 00:30:23 GMT
At 05:07 PM 1/23/2004, Ted wrote:
> > From: M Lissack <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > where is the question in this question?
> > all you have said is that racism exists and has existed
> > how has it "propogated'? what is the mechanism of that propogation?
> > is your explanation of mechanism testable? or even disprovable?
> > f you have no mechanism or if your mechanism is not disprovable then all
>you > have is tautology
>The mechanism of cultural evolution is exactly the same as natural
>evolution. The environment of the meme, which in this case is the human
>mind, selects some memes over others. Those that survive do so because they
>are more adaptable to changing environmental conditions.
>Memetics is a historical science. This means that testing of ideas is not
>necessarily carried out in current experiments. The same is true of any
>evolutionary theory. For instance, our theories of how galaxies form are
>tested by looking out into space and viewing galxies at various levels of
>development. The theory of biological evolution is entirely dependent on
>our studies of geological strata and past-preserving genes. Even before
>gene studies emerged, we knew species evolved simply on the basis of what we
>found in the earth's strata. One species existed at a certain era and a
>"new and improved" version existed at a later era. That's not to say
>Darwin's theory wasn't tested many times over. But the testing didn't occur
>in the form of laboratory experiments. Darwin's hypothesis was about events
>in the past and was tested by searching for signs that these events happened
>the way Darwin suggested. If we hadn't found signs of one species yielding
>to a more adapted form-- if instead we found that all the species were
>created in the present form at roughly the same time-- then the hypothesis
>would have failed the test.
>Indeed, this is exactly what we find in the historical record. We see a
>great many examples of cultural trends that take on a life of their own,
>that refuse to die even after the social context in which they once made
>sense have disappeared. Barbara Ehrenreich provides an excellent example of
>this phenomenon from the late Paleolithic. Up until the end of the last Ice
>Age, humans were commonly preyed upon by wild animals, especially the big
>cats. We developed weapons with which to fight and kill these beasts. But
>when their populations were decimated at the end of the Ice Age, along with
>the great herd populations they mostly fed on, instead of putting down our
>weapons, we began wielding them against each other. The battle mentality
>took on a life of its own. Ehrenreich's thesis can be tested against the
>historical record. Indeed, the evidence for warfare goes back about 12,000
>years, to the end of the Ice Age, where it abruptly leaves off. She
>describes war as a meme that was unleashed 12,000 years ago and has
>successfully adapted to changing conditions ever since.
This is the perfect example of how something can be disproved
historically. Barbara Ehrenreich's hypothesis - War is a meme that first
began propagating in humans 12,000 years ago.
The proof that this is incorrect: chimpanzee wars
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