"memetic realm"

From: Keith Henson (hkhenson@rogers.com)
Date: Wed 29 Dec 2004 - 05:46:32 GMT

  • Next message: John: "Re: "memetic realm""

    While looking for good quote to put in my memes EP and war article, I came up this:


    Confessions of a Closet Sociobiologist: Personal Perspectives on the Darwinian Movement in Psychology

    Irwin Silverman, Psychology Department, York University, Toronto

    "I realized also that I had retreated at least part way back into the closet before SHEACC came into my life, as had most of us in the field. The reader may have noted that my course was called Evolutionary Psychology rather than Sociobiology, the standard label for its subject matter at the time of its inception in 1984. This was not based on happenstance. I had realistic doubts about whether a course with sociobiology in the title would have been approved by the necessary academic committees.


    "Was discretion the better part of valor? In his Presidential Address to the first HBES meeting in 1989, William Hamilton declared to the 200 or so present that we were a deme, striving to survive in a hostile surround. Taking Hamilton's analogy further, a deme must reproduce quickly and effectively in order to survive, and reproduction in the memetic realm of ideas requires placing students in academic positions. Given the extent to which sociobiology had been besmirched by its detractors, that goal would have been exceedingly difficult without a change in label. Camouflage is a commonly used means of predator avoidance.

    "The new label was evolutionary psychology (EP).


    "My contention, simply put, is that the evolutionary approach is the only approach in the social and behavioural sciences that deals with why, in an ultimate sense, people behave as they do. As such, it often unmasks the universal hypocrisies of our species, peering behind self-serving notions about our moral and social values to reveal the darker side of human nature. Thus, evolutionary based studies of molar human behavior may readily be disquieting to those who tend, themselves, toward self-deception, or who believe that mass deception can and should function as a palliative for societal ills.


    "Encouraging also was the observation by Silverman and Fisher that the evolutionary material in introductory texts encompassed a wide range of topical areas, including learning, language, cognition, personality, emotion, sexual attraction, and familial and social processes.

    "In all, it appears that the deme is surviving well."

    Keith Henson

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