Re: Replicator article

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Mon 17 May 2004 - 09:03:28 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Replicator article"

    > Memes interacted with the human line, making those hominids who could
    > learn the memes more likely to reproduce and to obtain the high energy
    > foods needed to support the energy hungry hardware of a large brain. A
    > computer model going back to the origins of culture would have to
    > include two levels of evolution where both memes *and* genes for better
    > meme capacity would be influencing each others reproduction.

    Like this'un (fyi): The mimetic transition: a simulation study of the evolution of learning by imitation. Higgs PG. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2000 Jul 7; 267(1450): 1355-61

    > As some of you are aware, my interest has largely switched from memes to
    > a larger problem; the brain's gene based switches that change biases in
    > human behavior, particularly in the propagation of memes. There is an
    > observed coupling between hard economic times and the spread of
    > xenophobic memes. The logic of how that mechanism came to be selected
    > and its current day application is profoundly disturbing. There are
    > days when I feel like someone who (by some strange flash of insight) has
    > discovered physics *after* seeing people who are completely unaware fall
    > off a cliff.

    I just don't get why this has to be genetically wired-in. I can see how some mid-brain fear centre might become overactive in hard times, but I don't see how this mechanism would stay selected-for when the pure-memetic version suffices to explain everything IMHO (when times are hard you're generally more tight-fisted, but tend to be less so with family, familiar people, and even your pets perhaps...).

    Cheers, Chris.

      Chris Taylor (
      HUPO PSI: GPS --

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