[ExI] a little essay on anger and respect

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Thu Apr 27 16:19:37 UTC 2023

On Wed, Apr 26, 2023 at 2:00 PM spike jones via extropy-chat
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [ExI] a little essay on anger and respect
> On Wed, Apr 26, 2023 at 10:41 AM spike jones via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> snip
> >>... I will tread some dangerous ground here, for when I suggested the following twenty years ago, I was soundly scolded by Eliezer, who insisted that evolution does not operate at the group level.
> >...It logically cannot exist in humans.  Eliezer, Richard Dawkins, and many others are right on this point...
> So I am told, early and often.
> >...I am not sure why the idea is so attractive that it comes up again and again among people who should know better...
> Perhaps I should clarify, this selection process is primarily memetic rather than genetic.  In light of that, consider...
> >...Assume that some group accumulated a bunch of favorable genes.  Humans practice exogamy, marrying outside the group, so shortly the favorable genes are spread to other groups...
> Agreed.  Now replace genes with memes in the above, and ask yourself about English culture becoming more peaceful, and how English culture has long dominated North America.

There is no doubt that memes do something similar to genes in terms of
changing over time and waxing and waning in influence.  Look at the
spread of Islam for an obvious example.  But "group selection" is the
wrong term as "selection" in an evolutionary context implies changes
in the frequency of genes.

The displacement of North American Natives by Europeans (particularly
British) is no more unusual or unexpected than the Bantu expansion in
Africa that happened 1000 years earlier.  It was a combination of
relatively more advanced technology (memes) and a population that had
been viciously selected for a list of traits per Gregory Cark's

> >... Clark makes the case that the whole UK population became less violent over 400 years of selection mostly for wealth.  Keith
> Within a peaceful culture, there is a strong sense of personal ownership, relatively low risk of harm or death from the neighbors, etc.  These are memes that cause a group to expand, primarily memetically but also perhaps genetically.

Clark's stable agrarian society.  But keep in mind that while there
was intense selection, the overall UK population did not expand.  (It
was up against the ecological limit for the farming technology of the
day.)  What got selected was the drive for wealth and the
psychological traits that facilitated gaining wealth.  (The wealthy
could feed their children through the frequent famines and the
children of the poor died.)

> Example: it was European genotypes and memetics which populated the Americas rather than Native American genotypes and memetics which populated Europe in the second millennium.

There were many complicating factors, but true.


> spike
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