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Reply to David Sloan Wilson's Post at Social Evolution Forum

This reply is to David Sloan Wilson's blog entry 'Human Cultures are Primarily Adaptive at the Group Level'. Below I will make remarks to some quotes from the text. The whole text is worth reading though.

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… the unit(s) of adaptation, which might be individuals, groups, or the cultural traits themselves.

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The units of adaptation are actually fauceirs. The terms individual group and culture are not useful when studying adaptation as they suggest similarities that actually don't exist and and differences that don't exist either. In fact, adaptive behavior of an individual in a small group may resemble the adaptive behavior of a large political party, cheating, lying, fawning—you probably know what I mean ;-).

Also, it is better to call them fauceirs as they change behavior in a regular fashion. For instance, individuals are not static entities they may change significantly depending on the group they belong to, even within minutes. Also groups behave differently depending on the surrounding culture, for instance Christians as a group in Arab countries are different from Christians living in countries whose culture is dominated by Christianity. Finally, culture is adopting according economic requirements.

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… Biological Species are Primarily Adapted to Their Environments

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Biological species are a specific subset of biological fauceirs. Fauceirs in general are adapted to their environment which is nothing else but the set of surrounding fauceirs. As with social fauceirs in the previous paragraph, species also differ widely. They differ by

  • internal structure
    • their content of sub-fauceirs that can adapt
  • environment
    • surrounding or master fauceirs that define the direction of adaptation.

Therefore when studying biological adaptation it is better to avoid the term species at all as there is so much variety among the different strategies of adaptation. Many evolutionary biologists associate with species an adaptation system that consists solely of genes, the only sub-fauceirs to adapt, and physical factors, the only environment to set the stage. (Probably because of Darwin's 'Origin of Species' :-)) Such a restricted view is only applicable to viruses at most as bacteria already posses a more complex subset of sub-fauceirs and begin to build their own environment by niche construction and communication.

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Or is it a neutral trait that drifted into the population without having any effect on survival and reproduction?

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There is a fauceir rule about the so called neutral evolution. It states that the more a fauceir is governed by a heap of masters the more its changes are likely compensated by masters which means they are neutral. Neutral changes are those sub-fauceir changes that a master fauceir has evolved to adapt to.

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… the fact that the level(s) of selection for any particular trait must be determined on a case-by-case basis for any given species.

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That's the correct approach. But using this case-by-case basis generates an indefinitely large amount of quite redundant data, so it becomes necessary to develop abstractions and abstract rules. This is when Fauceir Theory enters the stage. (That's fauceir evolution of knowledge.)

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Other species are primarily adaptive at the group level, notably eusocial insect species such as wasps, ants, bees, and termites.

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In fauceir terms the group is the environment that enslaves the individual while the group itself competes in a biotope as in other species individuals do. There is however a continuum between these extremes. This continuum can be described by the degree of group enslavement. We humans are most enslaved, sorry to break the news. :-(

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Yet, these are only two items in a long list that is required to survive and reproduce in the arctic; others include building a shelter, hunting and gathering techniques, navigating long distances, social conventions within the group, and conduct toward other groups.

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All these are fauceirs that evolve with social evolution. It is nothing unusual that a fauceir evolves tools to improve survival. Also biological fauceirs do this though their faucers are more 'primitive' chemical compounds and signaling pathways, for instance. Among human societies such sub-fauceirs that evolve are language, laws, religions, ideologies, computers and … The list is nearly endless.

By the way, did you realize the difference between the fauceir definition of adaption used above and evolution used now? Evolution roughly is the generation of new fauceirs to improve adaptation.

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The competition might be direct, as in warfare, or indirect, as in producing more offspring that emigrate to other groups or form new groups.

… making between-group selection the dominant evolutionary force.

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The major selection always happens among the top level fauceirs. As enslavement of sub-fauceirs generally is an important factor in that competition, human societies strive to better enslave their members, they want to become better competitors. This fact is most impressive in training soldiers.

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There is a nearly infinite variety of imaginary worlds ...

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… as exists theories to explain evolution. :-)

The imaginary world, you are talking about, is not as flat as among hunter-gatherers any more it is hierarchically structured and nested. Some ideas are sub fauceirs to higher order ones that we use to call ideologies. Again, as with other fauceirs ideologies form the environment in which ideas use to adapt. Some ideas will never adapt if ideology is not changed.

By the way, I hope you have the proper ideology to adapt Fauceir Theory.

By the way, the genome is not flat either as many biologists use to believe. It is similarly structured in master fauceirs and sub-fauceirs.

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evolutionary psychology pays scant attention to transmitted culture

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Not surprising when we take into account that psychology is only a sub-fauceir that links the biological individual to the society.

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Why a Consensus Matters

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I fully agree that in the future scientific discoveries as well as theories are developed in groups, with Einstein's theory probably the last single person theory in human history. There are many reasons for that. One are ideological prejudices, and last but not least this is consistent with Fauceir Theory's predictions itself.


Tags: Adaptation Anthropology Core theory Evolution Ideology Society Theory


Categories: Evolutionary Biology Sociology

 
   

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