Re: Group Selection

Nick Rose (
Wed, 17 Feb 1999 10:50:32 -0500 (EST)

From: Nick Rose <>
To: JOM-EMIT Discussion List <>
Subject: Re: Group Selection
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 10:50:32 -0500 (EST)

Aaron wrote,

>Hi Nick.
>I actually take up the article by Wilson and Sober in my
>JoM paper section 13 - Massively Cooperative Propagation.
>(There is also a Hutterite section in TC that I wrote
>before the BBS article.) Hutterites exemplify a kind of
>meme group selection rather than gene group selection.
>Massively cooperative propagation is to some extent the
>opposite of centralized communication: a large number of
>memetically similar individuals cooperate in spreading the
>meme to new individuals--children in the case of
>the Hutterites.

My point was that the reverse explanation appears simpler.
e.g. ...a large number of genetically similar individuals
cooperate in spreading the gene to new individuals
--children in the case of the Hutterites. I don't find
switching gene (in wilson and sober) for meme (in your
post) at all convincing. [but I've said this before]

IMO You need to justify using a memetic argument here -
otherwise it looks like you're trying to rewrite
sociobiology. Are you saying that all cultural behaviour
which promotes having children is memetic? Or do you
accept that biology can underlie some of these behaviours?
If the latter where do you 'cut the joint' between
sociobiological and memetic behaviours?

If Hutterite culture can be explained in sociobiological
terms (even if that requires new Group Selection) doesn't
it precisely undermine Hutterite culture as an example of

Nick Rose
"University of the West of England"

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)