From: John Wilkins (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 02 Feb 2006 - 23:39:53 GMT
On 03/02/2006, at 5:13 AM, Keith Henson wrote:
> At 02:23 PM 2/2/2006 +0000, Chris Taylor wrote:
>> Mutualism/commensalism versus parasitism; evolution of symbioses.
>> I'd argue that memes obey the same rule as most other infectious
>> diseases of changing over time to be less of a fitness burden on
>> the host. This could be studied; how adapted is the meme pool to
>> take account of some of the needs of the human-mind-mosaic
> Been making this point about the evolution of memes, particularly
> religious ones, becoming less harmful as they age for 20 years
> now. I would love to hear your thoughts about how it could be
This is a Well-Known Fact that is not true. *Some* parasites become
commensual, others don't. Sometimes parasites and pathogens drive a
species to extinction.
As Paul Ewald's seminal book showed, for pathogens to become
commensuals, their genetic interests have to more or less coincide
with the host's - that is, when the host reproduces, so do they. But
if a pathogen reproduces and spreads to new hosts independently of
the host's reproductive lineage, then selection is between variants
that can outreproduce others, and virulence will be increased,
perhaps causing an arms race that drives hosts extinct.
Religion is less virulent when passed on vertically (Boyd and
Richerson's "unbiased" transmission) from parent to child, because
then the religion must adapt to the hosts' needs to reproduce. It is
more virulent when it is laterally ("biasedly") transmitted because
then the meme-complex (religion is *not* a meme - it's a memome or
something similar. A meme-complex of coadapted memes) has different
"interests" to the hosts.
Of course, religious evolution is somewhat faster than biological
evolution, so there is considerable slop, but overall if a religion
is vertically transmitted, it will tend to be more benign.
>> Inclusive fitness is an important one when discounting suicide
>> bombers etc.; maybe we could see the rise in payments to the
>> family appearing, to mitigate the obvious downside for the
>> individual making it almost a mutualism?
>> Tragic the way Hamilton passed away -- I was gonna try for a
>> postdoc with him once upon a time as he and I got on quite well at
>> a conference not long before he died).
> Oh man, tragic indeed! I think inclusive fitness is way
> underestimated in how much it has shaped the psychological traits
> of humans.
> 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
-- John S. Wilkins, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biohumanities Project University of Queensland - Blog: evolvethought.blogspot.com "Darwin's theory has no more to do with philosophy than any other hypothesis in natural science." Tractatus 4.1122 =============================================================== 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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