RE: Gene-Meme Co-evolution in Reverse?

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue Aug 14 2001 - 15:04:19 BST

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    Subject: RE: Gene-Meme Co-evolution in Reverse?
    Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 15:04:19 +0100
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    Interesting stuff, Philip. A bit Wellsian for me though.

    Certainly, professional classes have fewere children. As has been mentioned
    before on the list, one idea is that the demands on ensuring that offspring
    are able to maintain the social status of their parents requires so many
    resources (e.g. putting kids through university say), that it precludes lots
    of children. Recent UK survey evidence suggests that children from 2 child
    families do best at school (particularly the second child), followed by only
    children, with children from families of 3 or more kids doing worst at
    school overall. so, resources isn't a simple measure (sibling interaction
    may foster better learning potential than the isolated experience of an only
    child in early development). Cultural success then does impact on genes.

    One spanner, in the works- I thought IQs were generally increasing not


    > ----------
    > From: Philip Jonkers
    > Reply To:
    > Sent: Sunday, August 12, 2001 9:01 pm
    > To:
    > Subject: Gene-Meme Co-evolution in Reverse?
    > Gene-Meme Co-evolution in Reverse?
    > According to Susan Blackmore, the human brain owes its present big size
    > to gene-meme co-evolutionary pressures. Culture has gained
    > a firm grip on human life indeed. In fact, culture might absorb
    > human reproductive resources to such an extent that it becomes a threat to
    > biological evolution. 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
    > appropriate.
    > As this hypothesis rests on Blackmore's, confirmation
    > of the former serves as supporting evidence for the latter too.
    > Anyone, any comments?
    > ps. I have no interest in supporting ideologies disrespecting 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...
    > Philip Jonkers.
    > ===============================================================
    > 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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