RE: Group Selection

Gatherer, D. (
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 09:08:57 +0100

Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 09:08:57 +0100
From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <>
Subject: RE: Group Selection
To: "''" <>

I think that where the effect of a meme is to preserve the life or
enhance the reproductive capacity of an individual, we can say that the
level of selection in that case is the individual organism. This of
course means that such organisms will also make a larger _genetic_
contribution to the next generation than those who do not exhibit the
learned memetic behaviour.

but..... the genetic effect will only be manifested as a change in
allele frequencies if the population exhibiting the meme is in some way
genetically different to the rest of the population. If the
meme-behaving sub-population is a truly random sample of the whole
population, the beneficial effects of the meme may not necessarily have
any effect on the allele frequencies of the population.

however..... often those sub-groups who manifest new or different memes
are actually genetically different to the rest of the population (Jews,
Hutterites). On the other hand, there are some well established cases
where they are not (for instance Lynn Jorde's/Liz O'Neill's work has
established that Mormons are genetically indistinguishable from your
average Northern Europeans)


>Yes, but surely a more parsimonious explanation for
non-rational (genetic
>fitness enhancing) behaviour simply derives fromn the fact that
>for appropriating learned (memetic) behaviours may not reslt in
>(genetic) fitness enhancement?

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