RE: astrology-talk behaviour

Gatherer, D. (
Thu, 20 May 1999 15:08:06 +0200

Date: Thu, 20 May 1999 15:08:06 +0200
From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <>
Subject: RE: astrology-talk behaviour
To: "''" <>

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Marsden []
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 1999 12:46 PM
Subject: Re: astrology-talk behaviour

>But interpreting it as a strategy for enhancing inclusive fitness allows
>to view the verbal behaviour in game theoretic terms - no? Where one
>behaviour will be selected instead of another based on its resultant
>efficacy. In my genes' limited experience, astrology-talk beats meme-talk
>with potential mates anyday. ;-)

and perhaps both would beat no talk at all (that's where Dunbar's theories
come in). What I'm driving at is... to what extent can astrology-talk be
considered a meme? In order for it to spread horizontally by cultural
selection, it needs to have a certain 'unit-ness', it would have to be a
behavioural module. Otherwise, it would be subsumed in the general
selection for 'tendency to talk about something to a potential mate, as
opposed to merely attempting to mate' (which is almost certainly genetic).
'Talkativity' as such is surely a behavioural strategy module, and one which
has rich inclusive fitness rewards. 'Talk astrology' is cultural rather
than genetic, yes, but it would also have to have a modularity to it, in
order for selection (cultural in this case rather than natural) to get some
purchase on it.

In short, 'astrology talkers' would require to be more successful than 'any
subject talkers', and they'd have to be imitated.


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