Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id QAA02689 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Fri, 20 Jul 2001 16:59:01 +0100 Message-ID: <3B5854A9.firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001 16:56:25 +0100 From: Chris Taylor <Christopher.Taylor@man.ac.uk> Organization: University of Manchester X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.77 [en] (Windows NT 5.0; U) X-Accept-Language: en To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Memetic vulnerability: was: Faking It References: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745FBA@inchna.stir.ac.uk> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
> Perhaps kin selection in nature, should be replaced by peer
> selection in culture?
Peer selection - mots justes(?)! You really are Mr Neat Phrase today
> Kin selection in nature doesn't require awareness on the part of the
> organism of the relationship (does it?), but what about peer selection in
> culture? Is this why youth subcultures invariably develop very distinct
> modes of dress, musical tastes, patterns of speech etc., so identification
> of people in the same peer group is easy?
Actually mice can smell how related they are to each other to avoid
inbreeding - not kin selection as such I know, just a well characterised
similar(ish) thing; however most of the kin selection stuff has a big
pheremonal component. In insects (where most of the eusocial [=truly
social] stuff occurs) pheremones are all powerful. In naked mole rats
(!), the best mammal one I know, most of the control (including the
queen surpressing other females from breeding) is pheremonal. In other
'big' animals the recognition is usually a mix of smell, appearance and
Excluding cheaters is the main problem for the social types. Again this
isn't a direct example of this but I think it's interesting: Female
ostriches lacking a good nest site will often lay in other mothers'
nests, exploiting brooding behaviour (as I say, not an altruistic or
social behaviour); the other mothers push these eggs to the boundary of
the nest (they can smell the foreign ones), so they still get incubated,
but egg predators (usually small grab-it-and-run types) take
preferentially from the edge of the brood. Does this constitute some
sort of social contract too?
I also agree completely about the subcultural identifiers - not just
analogous but homologous?
> Going back to Kenneth's idea, surely this too suggests that memes must have
> at least periods of fixity so that people can recognise their own, and
> opposing subcultural groups. That's not to say they can't be fluid, as with
> the original punk/NF skinhead haircut being appropriated, first by the gay
> community in the UK, and currently it's become a mainstream look as well.
Deffo. We're into Gould and Eldredge's punctuated equilibrium here...
Chris Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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