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I think Scott was the last to post in this thread
All right it's time to go out on a limb. I seem to recall in ecology class
that no two species could occupy the same niche. In the case of memes and
genes what we have are not two competing species but two competing systems
by which niches are filled. We can expect the faster system to start
filling niches now that it has begun to emerge from its predecessor. I look
at the changes we causing to the environment as part of a natural process
of succession where a slower more inefficient evolutionary system is being
replaced by a faster one.
This is not to say that the new system won't use tools that the old one
built, but that evolution of those tools will ultimately be controlled by
the new system. As an example a couple of years ago I remember that
Monsanto was selling a new form of one generation genetically engineered
grain. You could buy one years supply of seeds but as a method of
preserving its product Monsanto's grain would not produce another
generation of plants.
There is also an issue of attaining a self-sustaining climax
system. Simple bacteria in a petrie dish quickly deplete the nutrients
available for them and then in response to stress produce spores to survive
in the wasteland their own reproduction has created. By contrast forests
recycle their resources, using their own waste products to enhance their
environment. They are limited in their growth by the constant rate of
energy influx from the sun and by constraints of space occupation. Whether
this new system will be capable of achieving a self-renewable state is the
big question for the next century.
Understanding and preserving the old system will be essential to the near
future survival. Memes are currently highly dependent upon the environment
generated by the genetic system and will continue to be so for some
time. Each species and ecosystem destroyed causes further erosion of that
And there you have it. Now beam me up Scotty.
At 06:10 PM 2/6/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>>From: "Grant Callaghan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>Subject: Re: Selfish meme?
>>Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2002 11:25:45 -0800
>>>Subject: Re: Selfish meme?
>>>Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 12:49:37 -0500
>>>On Wednesday, February 6, 2002, at 10:02 , Grant Callaghan wrote:
>>>>The savages were more eco-balanced because there weren't so
>>>>many of them.
>>>I think that's the main reason any society might be described
>>>(however erroneously) as eco-balanced.
>>>Don't answer the question, of course, as to _why_ there are so
>>>damn many of us now, royally messing things up and not giving a
>>>fetid pair of dingo's kidneys about it....
>>Some might say because we are a cancer upon the earth that learned how to
>>propagate beyond our natural resources. One of these days somebody is going
>>to cut off our telomeres. ;-)>
>There's a certain danger in comparing us to a cancer. Those are the sorts
>of sentiments that can lead human history down dark paths, especially if
>one group is deemed inferior to another and is referred to as a cancer and
>calls for eugenic excision leaving the so-called "cream of the crop" start
>being championed and carried out.
>I try to be as conservation minded as I can. I've worked intimately with
>endangered and threatened species in the past and would like to see a
>better situation where human impact on non-human life is minimized, but
>I'm as scared about what some people might consider solutions to our
>ecological problems as I am about the problems themselves. I'm opposed to
>putting the human species on a pedestal, but going the other way and
>nihilstically dismissing our species as a wasteful cancer ain't a better
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