RE: sexual selection and memes

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Jun 25 2001 - 13:26:50 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: sexual selection and memes
    Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 13:26:50 +0100
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    Ah, but the environmental context of teenagers in most developed nations is
    highly conducive to widespread sex and reproduction. The parental
    investment of any particular person is not that important given a economic
    and social structure that largely supports young and single parents in ways
    in which our ancestors couldn't have done.

    In Britain, which has very high teenage pregnacy rates compared to most
    parts of Europe, there was a moral panic a few years back about teenage
    girls getting pregnant just to get their own council flat, which was
    massively overblown (despite their undoubtedly being some who did do just
    that). In conditions where the state supports the pregnant poor, there's
    little incentive for people to be choosy.

    Interestingly, there's that issue though of low birth rates in developed
    nations overall- how come given the material resources available to most
    people in rich countries we don't have more kids? And how come the richest
    people tend to have the fewest number of kids? Some say it's to do with the
    massive social investment that it takes to become rich, and spreading those
    resources between lots of kids threatens all of their chances (e.g. paying
    for their educations etc. etc.). So whilst genetic factors suggest that the
    adaptive strategy is to have lots of kids when you have lots of resources,
    the cultural "survival" strategy supresses this.

    Perhaps this is why teenage pregnancy is both a major taboo, and something
    that happens a fair bit. In the first case this is because older people
    recognise the problems of achieving the desired social status (for both
    young parent and offspring) which gets you the resource awards when you have
    a kid or two in tow, and because recognising that takes knowledge that only
    comes with extensive learning and experience which teenagers don't have.


    > ----------
    > From: Kenneth Van Oost
    > Reply To:
    > Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2001 8:49 pm
    > To:
    > Subject: Re: sexual selection and memes
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: Chris Taylor <>
    > To: <>
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2001 5:35 PM
    > Subject: Re: sexual selection and memes
    > What this amounts to is 'good memes'
    > sexual selection. This is a version of the classic 'good genes' reason
    > for sexual selection (my bright orange arse indicates I'm carrying high
    > fitness alleles); but in this case, the badge indicates that the
    > potential father has experienced extensive paternal care as a young
    > bird, and will therefore repeat this learned behaviour when it is itself
    > a parent. However apart from the ability to display this phenotypic
    > plasticity, no actual genes are being selected for here, even though
    > this is undeniably sexual selection.
    > Hi Chris,
    > Just in addition to what I posted yesterday and to what you have written
    > above,
    > IMO it could work the other way round too.
    > If for example, a boy and a girl meet, both with no parental investment
    > whatsoever in getting them a sexual education, the results are quit
    > frightening at the least.
    > ' Good genes ' for sexual selection are overpowered by the ' prime
    > instinct
    > '
    > of several other genes and behaviors.
    > The results of such a " dis- ability " are extensive over- reactions and
    > sometimes violent behavior.
    > In a practical way, we had to ' cool ' down the boy and had to give both
    > the prime directives about sexual behavior between man and woman.
    > On some of the other points raised,
    > In cases like above you see how strong cultural transmissions can be.
    > In Belgium, here, still sexual education and sexuality per se are some
    > kind of taboos. The results of not persuing horizontal transmission, that
    > is widespread education and information about the subjects, are keeping
    > alive IMO deadly vertical transmissions, whereby not only young lives
    > are getting destroyed but whereby memetic routes of transmission are
    > frozen in time.
    > Behaviors are here selected where they ought to be not.
    > Not to mention the judicial problems if anything goes really wrong,....
    > Best,
    > Kenneth
    > ===============================================================
    > 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:

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

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