Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id JAA21651 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Mon, 13 Aug 2001 09:50:11 +0100 From: Philip Jonkers <P.A.E.Jonkers@phys.rug.nl> X-Authentication-Warning: rugth1.phys.rug.nl: www-data set sender to jonkers@localhost using -f To: email@example.com Subject: Gene-Meme Co-evolution in Reverse? Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2001 23:35:15 +0200 (CEST) References: <3B748479.1169.151ED0B@localhost> In-Reply-To: <3B748479.1169.151ED0B@localhost> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit User-Agent: IMP/PHP IMAP webmail program 2.2.5 X-Originating-IP: 184.108.40.206 Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gene-Meme Co-evolution in Reverse?
According to Susan Blackmore in `The Meme-Machine', the human brain owes its
present big size to gene-meme co-evolutionary pressures. It's hardly exaggerated
when claiming that culture has gained a firm grip on human life indeed. In fact,
culture might overrule humans' original reproductive role to such an extent that
it poses a serious threat to further cultural evolution in the sense of
inducing a reduction in human brain size. Allow me to explain.
People with culturally very demanding jobs such as scientists,
professors and businessmen, devote the bulk of their time and energy
to memetic evolution. Little or no time is left in raising possible
offspring. Today's increasing divorce rates among this risk group
indicate further that these people fail to serve the reproductive purpose
of their genes. Ergo, genes suffer and memes flourish for these
`cultural people'. Given the fact that feeding our culture gave us our
present day brain size, it seems reasonable to assume that cultural
people generally have high intelligence levels.
In contrast, people with less culturally engaged occupations, such as
manual workers and 9-5 employees, generally have more time to spend
on upbringing their offspring. Opposing the cultural people,
`biological people' tend to show lower intelligence.
Based on the previous conjectures it follows that cultural people
will decrease in numbers while biological people increase in numbers.
If latter group becomes dominant then the average big size of the
brain would become superfluous. Indeed, biologically speaking,
humans would be better off with a less `metabolically greedy organ' (Pinker?).
Since the culture necessary to sustain a predominantly biologically
oriented population is of a less sophistication than their cultural
counterparts, it may be expected that biology strikes back by forcing
through a reduction in human brain size on average. Due to the richness of our
present day culture, with falling birthrates from intellectual marriages,
it may be that this reverse gene-meme co-evolution has already set in.
This may be reflected in overall decreasing IQs.
I know IQ tests are not the perfect absolute measures for
intelligence but as an overall indication they may be significant.
They were used in the past too, so in a relative sense they might be
As this hypothesis rests on Blackmore's, confirmation
of the former serves as supporting evidence for the latter too.
Anyone, any comments?
ps. Let the record show that I have no interest in supporting malevolent
ideologies which disrespect human life. Therefore, do not dare to suspect
any eugenic motives or sentiments behind me posting this,
I'm on an inspirational high that's all...
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