From: Chris Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon 17 May 2004 - 13:03:40 GMT
It's not that I am saying it definitely isn't a thing (it'll be a long
time before we can point at stuff and say there it is/isn't), I just
can't distinguish between fully genetic, and behavioural (learned or
learned-emergent) with an option on some midbrain stuff. For me, it's
not about logical flaws (pity cos that's a lot simpler), it's about
valid alternate explanations.
I'd have to see mutants (with sequence, and experimental evidence
showing altered proteins/RNA) to believe in a fully genetic version.
Otherwise we're just swapping stories again (which, admittedly, is the
main activity of most biologists so I shouldn't grumble).
Keith Henson wrote:
> At 10:03 AM 17/05/04 +0100, you wrote:
>>> 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
> Yes. Thank you for this pointer.
>>> 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...).
> Ever since the human line discovered the high tech life (chipped rocks,
> later fire) they have over-populated and over-exploited their
> environment with period of about a generation. At 2.5 million years
> since chipped rock and 25 years a generation, this happened 100,000
> times to our ancestors. Also, weather glitches would suddenly drops
> the carrying capacity of the human ecologic niche on an irregular
> basis. I am not talking about modern times--when this happened the
> entire tribe would die of starvation unless they moved into new
> territory (normally impossible) or attacked and took over the resources
> of a nearby tribe.
> We know that we have conditional psychological traits that switch on in
> certain circumstances. Stockholm Syndrome or capture-bonding is one of
> them. I recently recognized that the "trait to induce capture bonding"
> (TTICB) is *another.* It is switched on by the mere presence of
> captives. This is a tight and simple way to account for Zimbardo's
> famous prison experiment results. http://www.prisonexp.org/ and a lot
> of current news stories. (Google TTICB.)
> I claim that the response to "looming privation" of attacking neighbors
> is genetically wired in rather than a meme. The spread of xenophobic
> memes is part of the causal chain that leads a tribe to attack its
> neighbor, but it is a conditional genetic mechanism like the Stockholm
> Syndrome that turns up the "gain" on xenophobic memes.
> Genes do what is good for them. (Over the long term surviving genes are
> 100% rational--without, of course, being able to think at all.) In good
> times it is not good for your genes to attack neighbors (not counting
> raiding for wives). It is better for your genes to spend your time
> hunting and raising children rather than fighting with dangerous
> neighbors where you and the personal copy of your genes may both come to
> an untimely end.
> But it is a different matter when your tribe is facing starvation. Our
> genes have seen this enough times to have evolved a conditional
> strategy. Even the *worse* outcome of fighting with a neighboring
> tribe, where every single male of your tribe is killed is usually better
> for genes than starving. Reason (see bible accounts of the tribal era.)
> is that the wining tribe normally takes the losers young women as
> booty. They become wives of the winners and mothers of the next
> generation. Rough on the loosing males, but note that the copies of
> their genes in their female children march on, satisfying Hamilton's
> inclusive fitness criteria that such a trait should evolve.
> Hard economic times start up the ancient mechanisms to go to war with
> neighbors we evolved when we lived in little hunter gatherer tribes.
> The solution is lowering population growth, which requires empowering
> women and providing access to birth control measures *and* takes upwards
> of 20 years to take effect. Fundamentalist Islamics and the current
> fundamentalist US administration agree on the undesireability of
> empowered ("uppity") women and the full range of birth control methods.
> I have said this a dozen different ways here and on other lists over the
> past year, citing Easter Island and the evidence of what happened in the
> American Southwest after 1250 CE as examples, and the confirming example
> of the troubles fading out in Northern Ireland due to slowed population
> growth and rising income per capita. Try "xenophobic memes" and related
> terms in Google for more discussion.
> If you can find a hole in the logic of this argument, please do. It
> accounts for many known events of human history such as the Rwanda
> genocide, and (roughly) predicts where we are going to have problems in
> the future. Still, I find it profoundly disturbing and wish someone
> could provide a convincing argument that it is not true.
> Keith Henson
> This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
-- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chris Taylor (email@example.com) HUPO PSI: GPS -- psidev.sf.net ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
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