RE: Homosexuality taboo-gene interaction hypothesis, etc.

From: Aaron Lynch (
Date: Tue Jun 12 2001 - 19:27:14 BST

  • Next message: Vincent Campbell: "RE: Homosexuality taboo-gene interaction hypothesis, etc."

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    Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 13:27:14 -0500
    From: Aaron Lynch <>
    Subject: RE: Homosexuality taboo-gene interaction hypothesis, etc.
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    At 02:26 PM 6/11/2001 +0100, Vincent Campbell wrote:
    >Hi Aaron,
    >Long time no see. It might be nice if you sometimes joined in outwith of
    >stuff related to comments about your book.
    >Interesting consideration of pre-cursors to Dawkins, though.

    Hi Vincent.

    I don't mean to neglect all those other topics, or to devalue discussion.
    Rather, I am staying focused further research, elaboration, and writing
    about the earlier topics as I also work on new topics. It's just hard to
    keep so many things going all at once and maintain discussion at the same
    time. Some researchers don't have any time at all for listservers, and some
    find they must limit the number of people who know their email addresses.

    --Aaron Lynch

    > > ----------
    > > From: Aaron Lynch
    > > Reply To:
    > > Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2001 5:53 pm
    > > To:
    > > Subject: Homosexuality taboo-gene interaction hypothesis, etc.
    > >
    > > I was recently asked to comment on a paper that appears to address one of
    > > the many hypotheses I advanced in my 1996 book Thought Contagion: How
    > > Belief Spreads Through Society (Basic Books). This was the hypothesis
    > > about propagating homosexuality taboos causing increases in
    > > homosexuality-inclining genotype frequencies, and of the increasing gene
    > > frequencies subsequently favoring the spread of ideas that reverse the
    > > taboos.
    > >
    > > My present communication will not comment on the paper for which I was
    > > asked to comment, nor make a new attempt at discourse with its author.
    > > Rather, I will point out just a few basic facts about my hypothesis.
    > >
    > > 1. The hypothesis was advanced in the 1996 book Thought Contagion, and was
    > > only lightly summarised in my contribution to Journal of Artifical
    > > Societies and Social Simulation, volume 2.
    > >
    > > 2. There is no discussion in any of my work about these taboos having an
    > > inverse proportionality to frequencies of homosexuality. Nor did I intend
    > > any implicit suggestion to that effect. (To the contrary, if tendencies
    > > toward homosexuality were uniformly zero in 100% of the population, I
    > > would not even expect the taboos to evolve in the first place.)
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > None of this is to say that the 1996 book was offered as the ultimate or
    > > perfect work in evolutionary cultural replicator theory. In particular,
    > > the book misattributes the theoretical paradigm of evolutionary cultural
    > > replicator theory to Richard Dawkins's 1976 book The Selfish Gene (Oxford
    > > University Press). The Selfish Gene actually cites the work of F.T. Cloak
    > > modest 1975 paper "Is a Cultural Ethology Possible?," [Human Ecology 3(3):
    > > p. 161-181], but that paper in turn cites Cloak's much more elaborated
    > > 1973 paper "Elementary self-replicating instructions and their works:
    > > Toward a radical reconstruction of general anthropology through a general
    > > theory of natural selection" presented at the Ninth International Congress
    > > of Anthropological and Ethnological Studies. I have had a copy of that
    > > paper since 1979, but had forgotten its publication preceded the
    > > publication of Dawkins's 1976 book by 3 years. A scanned copy of the paper
    > > is now online at Cloak had
    > > also done extensive empirical work on cultural evolution, such as the
    > > field work that led to his 1966 dissertation "A Natural Order of Cultural
    > > Adoption and Loss in Trinidad," done at the University of Wisconsin at
    > > Madison. As evolutionists, we often ask people to accept that complex life
    > > forms are descended from simpler ones, and that complex cultures are
    > > descended from simpler ones, rather than being divinely created or
    > > intentionally handed down to earth from the heavens. In the case of
    > > evolutionary cultural replicator theory itself, it turns out that the
    > > theoretical paradigm had what some would consider "humble" origins, as
    > > distinct from being handed down from the heights of the academic prestige
    > > system. In any case, the 1973 Cloak paper receives proper credit in a
    > > recent book contribution, "Evolutionary Contagion in Mental Software" in
    > > Robert J. Sternberg and James C. Kaufman (eds.) The Evolution of
    > > Intelligence (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates), due out this month. Some
    > > further comments on the early history of Cloak's work and the word "meme"
    > > are in the first two sections and first two footnotes of "Units, Events,
    > > and Dynamics in the Evolutionary Epidemiology of Ideas" at
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > --Aaron Lynch
    > >

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