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qvrjueconJune 11, 2021

Also, "The Selfish Gene". Super fun read. Also, there are a bunch of really interesting videos made to demonstrate concepts like the evolution of altruism on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goePYJ74Ydg

turbletyonMar 20, 2021

You know, meme was originally coined [1] by Richard Dawkins, an academic scientist, in his book The Selfish Gene.

1. https://books.google.com/books?id=WkHO9HI7koEC&pg=PA192

shevisonApr 10, 2021

Richard Dawkins coined the term in his 1976 book titled The Selfish Gene. It was added to the dictionary by Merriam-Webster in 1998.

nickpponMar 22, 2021

There is no such thing as altruism, at the species level. It's all selfishness (of the genes) all the way down. Read Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" to better understand human behaviour as shaped by millions of years of evolutionary forces.

skadamouonApr 16, 2021

If you found this interesting but don't want to dive into reading Darwin's works (as the author seems to imply we should) I highly recommend Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene". I haven't read "On the Origin of Species" but I'd bet "The Selfish Gene" will probably be a more efficacious read for most people

xtiansimononMar 21, 2021

"The Selfish Gene is a popular text ... among a certain subculture but which isn't mainstream as far as I can tell."

"broad academic or even intellectual credibility"

I see what you did there.

I don't see a problem with memetics being non-mainstream in the way it's described here. Sure. If you want a job doing something called _memetics_. If you want to gain clout and respectability among your peers for illuminating some dark corner of the worlds problems with your writing, memetics is not going to impress anyone.

I say, More ideas the better!

uniqueidonApr 21, 2021

It's been a while since I read the The God Delusion but I'm pretty sure he criticized Islam in it. Since then he veered into social media territory, delivering cringe-worthy 'burns' and 'hot-takes' on all sorts of clickbait news items. It's hard for me to reconcile that the same man who wrote The Selfish Gene, which I love, is the guy ranting on Twitter like a drunk FB grandpa.

jfengelonApr 16, 2021

It's practically impossible to link behavior to genes. We know that there must be a connections, but those connections are mediated by so many feedback loops that it's next to impossible to make any predictions.

Practically every explanation linking some human behavior to genetics is a fable, devoid of serious evidence, and usually confirming somebody's cultural bias. For example, arranged marriage is far too recent a phenomenon to have a significant genetic basis.

"The Selfish Gene" is a very important book with a lot of interesting ideas, but like a lot of pop science it gives people a misleading idea of just how much they understand about a field. Evolutionary psychology is an incredibly primitive field at best, and at worst acts more like a pseudoscience (especially as practiced by non-scientists). Be incredibly suspicious about extrapolating any of it to human behavior.

jkhdigitalonJune 5, 2021

Pretty sure I encountered a similar idea when reading Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene which was written 45 years ago.

In fact, Dawkins coined the word meme in that book, referring to a unit of culture which propagates through imitation and repetition. He clearly recognized the tremendous influence memes can have on the behavior of descendants outside of any genetic factors:

“But if you contribute to the world's culture, if you have a good idea...it may live on, intact, long after your genes have dissolved in the common pool. Socrates may or may not have a gene or two alive in the world today, as G.C. Williams has remarked, but who cares? The meme-complexes of Socrates, Leonardo, Copernicus and Marconi are still going strong.”

fsckboyonAug 2, 2021

the answer you are suggesting has higher deadweight losses to the economy and will make the poor (and everybody else) worse off, full stop. In exchange for which you claim a hypothesized benefit to pigs which I don't believe and also don't believe you have a basis for believing, and which sits on a very shaky foundation, see Dawkins's "The Selfish Gene"

p1mrxonMay 4, 2021

If a species produces an excessive number of males, then it becomes advantageous to produce more females to mate with them, so evolution is always nudging them back to a 50:50 ratio:


So I guess the idea behind genetic engineering is to destabilize the ratio and wipe out the species faster than natural evolution can respond.

I would suggest reading "The Selfish Gene", which covers a lot of topics like this.

joe_the_useronMar 20, 2021

The Selfish Gene is a popular text by an academic articulating a very specific view of evolution, one that's caught on among a certain subculture but which isn't mainstream as far as I can tell.

Plenty of terms originally coined by academics lack broad academic or even intellectual credibility. I'd agree with the OP that the use of "Meme" is one. I'd also agree that this is because the term provides no clarity - ideas aren't like genes. Genes reproduce by a set mechanism, ideas can be stretched and modified any way you want. Genes are interpreted and realized by a fairly set mechanism. Ideas can be realized any old way. The "Meme" concept is one person's bad analogy imo.

jkhdigitalonMar 30, 2021

One of my big takeaways from reading GEB was that while higher-level semantics can emerge from any low-level symbolic substrate, the details of how that semantics emerges are not at all simple or obvious or “likely to happen by random chance”.

Dawkins’ book The Selfish Gene, published just a few years earlier, is the clearest exposition that I have read of how this process probably played out in terrestrial life: the “semantics” encoded by amino acid sequences correspond to a molecule/cell/organism’s likelihood of surviving and replicating. For all but the simplest and most ephemeral replicators, this generally means accurately predicting environmental conditions. General intelligence, then, would conceivably arise simply due to selection pressures pushing organisms to live in the broadest range of environments.

In some sense, this process does sound more like an engineering problem, as the embodiment which “contains” the intelligence is probably not an optional component.

heresie-dabordonMay 25, 2021

> Greg Bears theories on how germs and viruses actually control the overall operations of humans in a bid for self survival

Perhaps you have read the Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. [0]

It is important to understand science, history, and human behaviour. The tendencies are clear. But biological reductionism has limited application for explaining complex systems. All you can really say is that people seek to maintain power and support favourable power structures. Whether this is because their microbiome "wants" this or it's simply better to be in control than to be a slave, I leave for other microbiomes to debate.

Woman remains a slave even in much of the modern world for reasons that have not changed. [1]

There is a political power structure allied with an economic power structure, and, in this case, an Abrahamic religion to blind the population and enforce conformity. If anything is capable of weakening the ideological power structure, it is the wealth generated by economic activity.

[0] _ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene

[1] _ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman_Is_the_Nigger_of_the_Wor...

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