[ExI] Really? and EP

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Apr 22 12:25:07 UTC 2009

2009/4/22 Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com>:

> Natural behaviors are observed only in organisms.  These organisms
> exist because of genes which are the elements of heredity.  Underlying
> meme based behavior is a genetic layer for learning (being infected
> with) memes.  Basic evolutionary principles lead to the conclusion
> that resistance to damaging or genetically fatal memes will evolve.
> For example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakers#Communal_spiritual_family
> "The Shakers did not believe in procreation . . . "
> I would be most interested in examples of behaviors that don't have a
> heritable basis.

In a sense all behaviour has a heritable basis since all behaviour is
generated by the brain and the brain is generated by the genetic code.
However, it may be that particular behaviours are not differentially
heritable in a way that natural selection can act on. For example, it
is sometimes speculated that homosexuality may have been preserved in
human populations because homosexual individuals make good aunts and
uncles, preserving some of their genes in the nieces and nephews cared
for. But it could just be that homosexuality is a side-effect of
having the sort of complex brain that we do, and even though it is
maladaptive it was easier for evolution to leave it alone and take a
loss than to try to redesign the brain from scratch.

Stathis Papaioannou

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