sexual selection and memes

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Jun 18 2001 - 14:33:40 BST

  • Next message: Chris Taylor: "Re: sexual selection and memes"

    Received: by id OAA02618 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Mon, 18 Jun 2001 14:43:19 +0100
    Message-ID: <>
    From: Vincent Campbell <>
    To: "''" <>
    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]
    Precedence: bulk

    Hiya everyone,

    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?

    The University of Stirling is a university established in Scotland by
    charter at Stirling, FK9 4LA.  Privileged/Confidential Information may
    be contained in this message.  If you are not the addressee indicated
    in this message (or responsible for delivery of the message to such
    person), you may not disclose, copy or deliver this message to anyone
    and any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is
    prohibited and may be unlawful.  In such case, you should destroy this
    message and kindly notify the sender by reply email.  Please advise
    immediately if you or your employer do not consent to Internet email
    for messages of this kind.  Opinions, conclusions and other
    information in this message that do not relate to the official
    business of the University of Stirling shall be understood as neither
    given nor endorsed by it.

    =============================================================== 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:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jun 18 2001 - 14:47:09 BST