Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id OAA02618 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Mon, 18 Jun 2001 14:43:19 +0100 Message-ID: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745F16@inchna.stir.ac.uk> From: Vincent Campbell <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: sexual selection and memes Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 14:33:40 +0100 X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2650.21) Content-Type: text/plain X-Filter-Info: UoS MailScan 0.1 [D 1] Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
I got all excited today as my Copies of Dugatkin, and De Waal arrived
eariler than expected. I delved first into the other book I got at the same
time the Dunbar et al edited 'The Evolution of Culture'. Jumping into the
middle of the book, as I usualy do, I read a piece by Geoffrey Miller called
'Sexual Selection for Cultural Displays'. The basic argument here is that
cultural behaviours that appear to make no sense in survival terms can be
explained in terms of sexual selection. Basically every cultural behaviour,
at its root, is about courtship displays of fitness for potential mates.
Miller offers some initial data relating the productivity of a range of
cultural behaviours (e.g. writing books, producing paintings, recording
albums) to age and gender, finding peak productivity in these categories
relating strongly to gender (men produce significantly more than women in
these areas) and to age (biggest increases go from adolesence to a peak
around 30 before tailing off). He suggests this is evidence of the
underlying sexual selection origins of cultural behaviour.
Essentially it's rejecting alternative, unique processes to cultural
evolution, saying it's perfectly explainable in conventional Darwinian
terms, but in terms of sexual selection rather than in terms of survival.
Any views on this?
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