Re: Re[7]: Memetic Parasitism

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri 29 Jul 2005 - 03:46:38 GMT

  • Next message: Richard Brodie: "RE: Re[7]: Memetic Parasitism"

    At 07:36 PM 28/07/05 -0700, Scott Chase wrote:


    >Seriously, to understand the controversy over Potter I
    >think an exploration of recent history holds the key.
    >EP might provide *a* basis in primordial psychological
    >motivations, but not *the* overarching answer.

    EP is an abstraction level over biology and under (human) behavior just like biology is an abstraction level over chemistry and below EP. If there is such a thing as an overarching understanding of everything, it extends from quarks right up to abstract paintings.

    As far as using EP to account for the Potter controversy, perhaps it could be done. I have invoked capture-bonding to understand army basic training, hazing, SM, and battered wife syndrome. But I have no clear idea of what drives cultural shifts. I can't account for the sudden (over 2-3 years) shift where kids (in Northern California) just quit reading books by Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke in the early 70s.

    Nor can I account for the 20 year difference in the takeoff of life insurance between the UK and the US or the 60 year delay for life insurance to become accepted in France or the sudden (and damned lucky) drop in the birth rate in Northern Ireland back some 35 years ago.

    I have proposed that the more stressed a population is, that is the more people see the future as bleak, the more it is subject to xenophobic meme amplification. This makes sense as an evolved psychological trait and it
    *does* account for the rise in suicide terrorists.

    >need to get over themselves already. They tend to
    >revert to the kneejerk adaptationist stance no matter
    >how many times nonaptive byproducts are acknowledged
    >then quickly forgotten.

    It is certainly true that EP advocates say that human psychological traits such as we have are the result of selection pressures in the stone age. But if you were going after me, please note that I have written extensively about such matters as vulnerability to drug addiction being a nonadaptive byproduct of psychological traits that were essential for reproduction when out ancestors lived in hunter gatherer bands..

    Keith Henson

    PS *Are* there any EP advocates on this list besides me?

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