Re: Memetic vulnerability: was: Faking It

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri Jul 20 2001 - 16:13:36 BST

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: Memetic vulnerability: was: Faking It
    Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001 11:13:36 -0400
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    >From: Chris Taylor <>
    >Subject: Re: Memetic vulnerability: was: Faking It
    >Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 13:01:12 +0100
    > > [is that what they call convergent evolution?]
    >Yup. Bang on.
    > > "flightless" memes
    >What a great phrase - lol as they say.
    >The point of resident's advantage is that you are in an environment you
    >know, and have fine-tuned to (become ensconced as Lawrence succinctly
    >put it), in a way that a new invader cannot have done (for an animal,
    >knowing your environment well, for any organism, being closely adapted
    >to local conditions etc.). So that gives the resident the advantage when
    >all other things are equal. If the invader is a lot better it will win
    >usually (NZ with cats etc. is a bad example because there was no
    >equivalent resident predator before, just an 'empty' niche).
    >I have to tell this story now, just to show that whenever you think
    >you've found a rule, in biology anyway, you'll almost always find an
    >exception. The rule is 'resident always wins' (implicitly - all other
    >things being more or less equal). In Mexico (I think) there is a species
    >of spider where the resident *always* loses. These little guys live in
    >clusters of small single-spider burrows, and if one gets displaced for
    >whatever reason, it runs into a neighbour's burrow, the neighbour is
    >displaced and runs into another neighbour's burrow, who is displaced,
    >and so on until someone finally goes into the burrow of the spider who
    >started it all. Bizarre and apparently totally maladaptive - I have no
    >idea why they do it.
    >In truth, residents usually win because if you assume the system to be
    >in equilibrium, the biggest will already have acquired the good stuff,
    >and, being the biggest, will tend to keep it. Resident's advantage is
    >only really significant when the protagonists are otherwise well
    Well if 'system in equilibrium' includes the regime of checks and balances
    that the resident must deal with you may need to rethink the above. What if
    a native or resident species has homegrown predators and parasites to deal
    with and the invader species comes in on a ship sans parasites from homeland
    and enters the resident species' turf sans the invader species normal array
    of predators? What will hold the invader in check as it competes within the
    niche that it shares to whatver degree with the resident? What if the
    invader carries a parasite or pathogen that it has become immune to over the
    course of many generations in its homeland and this parasite/pathogen can
    spread to the resident species or population without immunity or any means
    of defense? If a resident species has a tenuous grip on its niche and is
    just scaping by and an invader has the means to outcompete "hitting the
    ground running" with more efficient strategies and an explosive reproductive
    potential it could wipe out or seriously displace the resident species.

    I do not have much for actual evidence to support the above hypothetical
    situations, but the logic alone is possibly damaging to the resident always
    wins argument.

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