Let's think at the scale of species evolution and survival, instead of being mired in memetic myopism, where our conversation uses toxic religious memes to counter them.
I don't understand why memetically sophisticated atheists are still entranced with the positive aspects of evolution, instead of paying attention to its lethal shortcomings.
Darwinian selection hinders our ability to deal with extinction threats such as climate destabilization and relaxed selection, the gradual accumulation of deleterious genes because we've limited human predation and disease. While this issue is not immediately recognizable as a theism/atheism issue, it represents a wider critical perspective that subsumes that conflict.
Sooner or later any system driven by Universal Darwinism will run into limiting factors, because evolution is unaware, reactive, and automatic. No awareness of future possibilities exists in Darwinian selection. Our bodies, our neural anatomy, our memosphere, all were sculpted by mechanical Darwinian selection. Mind viruses are no more planners than measles, despite memeplexes containing such "planning" claims. In sum, two "forces" are behind our inability to cope with climate destabilization: natural selection and memetic selection. Every fiber of our being strains to cope with extinction threats such as climate destabilization as if it were the same kind of challenge the genes and memes that program us have always faced.
The bottom line is that we must take charge of our "selves" in a new way, recognizing how natural selection and memetic selection prevent us from planning for our collective future. This is the case we need to make to the infected.
I'm not getting your point.
Evolution.....is. How we handle our future doesn't seem related to evolution. What "positive aspects of evolution" do you think people are "entranced by"?
"No awareness of future possibilities exists in Darwinian selection."
True.....but so what? That doesn't make it natural selection or evolution any less true. Are you actually suggesting a course of action....or just bemoaning our doomed future??
I agree, if one does not have self control, one does not have control at all.
Taking charge of our own destiny is our only chance for survival, frightening as the prospect maybe, at present our fate is subject to the winds.
Pamela said, " How we handle our future doesn't seem related to evolution." George Marshall said, "... we do not feel threatened by climate change because it is almost
perfectly constructed to bypass our innate capacity to evaluate risk." A whole suite of genetic traits and response patterns, that worked fine when we faced predators on the savannah, are maladaptive for facing slowly unfolding large scale risks such as climate destabilization. We don't respond to a distant threats, to slowly unfolding threats. We don't respond to threat signals when other members of our group ignore them. Etc.
Yes, I think we do have a course of action available. It begins with taking account of our genetic and memetic shackles. Only by facing the truth of ourselves can we begin to build a practical strategy for future survival.
Pamela, you asked, "What 'positive aspects of evolution' do you think people are 'entranced by'?"
I was impressed by Susan Blackmore's enthusiasm for the word "must" in her lecture Memes and Temes. She's not alone. Many atheists strongly embrace the inevitability Darwinian evolution, as a counter to religious denial no doubt. Meanwhile, the fact that evolution doesn't plan evades mention. Here we are facing extinction because our adaptions are driven by a mechanism devoid of planning. Those adaptations make it extraordinarily difficult for us to comprehend and cope with climate destabilization. That fact excites me, not the inevitability of natural selection.
Susan, I never suggested we couldn't plan. I'm saying we labor under an entire suite of constraints on our capacity to plan, so that we're not likely to respond to climate destabilization in the short window we have. For example, we are not good at understanding threats which are most easily seen with charts, graphs, and models. We understand a predator snarling in our face. We didn't evolve to react to danger that is far away or slow moving. We evolved to wait to react until the rest of our group reacts, when we sense danger that's not immanent.
I was in a gym when a fire alarm went off. There was no visible smoke, no smell of smoke, no crackle of flame, from where I was in the basement, but I evacuated calmly. Everybody I passed continued to exercise on their machines, or walk about oblivious. If three people had started screaming and running toward the door, others would have roused themselves. Our herd instincts do not serve us well when the entire planet is gradually changing.
Our only responses to danger are fight or flight (freezing being a type of flight response). We have no instinct to organize, to plan a course of action, to plan a lengthy project. We have no instinct to negotiate in the face of danger.
We are adapted only to perceive and respond to dangers our stone aged ancestors faced.
Don't worry...be happy. We may all die in a collision with a rogue planet. Who knows. The evolution of Homo sapiens is out of our hands.
And I don't believe in memes! Someone show me one.
Are memes something like counterfactuals – none actual realities?
I'm getting loster and loster. There is no single definition of memes. They are what you decide they are. "None actual realities" is probably as clear a definition as I have heard.
(None actual realities, none actual realities - man, I can really screw up peoples minds with that.)
A meme ( //) is a unit of social information. It is a relatively newly coined term and identifies ideas or beliefs that are transmitted from one person or group of people to another. The concept comes from an analogy: as genes transmit biological information, memes can be said to transmit idea and belief information.
A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes, in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.
The word "meme" is a shortening (modeled on "gene") of mimeme (from Ancient Greek μίμημα Greek pronunciation: [míːmɛːma] mimēma, "something imitated", from μιμεῖσθαι mimeisthai, "to imitate", from μῖμος mimos "mime") and it was coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976) as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catch-phrases, fashion, and the technology of building arches.
Advocates of the meme idea say that memes may evolve by natural selection, in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance, each of which influencing a meme's reproductive success.
Memes spread through the behaviors that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Memes that replicate the most effectively spread best. Some memes may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.
A field of study called memetics arose in the 1990s to explore the concepts and transmission of memes in terms of an evolutionary model. Criticism from a variety of fronts has challenged the notion that scholarship can examine memes empirically. Some commentators[who?] question the idea that one can meaningfully categorize culture in terms of discrete units.
The definition of memes is the reason I choose not to recognize its legitimacy, despite the fact that it has been so closely tied to genetics -and, in fact, because it is compared to genetics. Borrowing Darwinian terminology does not make the transmission of information a science, and how do you quantify a philosophical concept? I love Dawkins, but seriously folks...