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Old 03-04-2006, 11:21 PM   #30
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ProveIt wrote
Quote: wrote
Cultural Evolution

(anthropology) A theory popular among Victorian anthropologists that human cultures could be ranked on an evolutionary scale, and even that every community was fated to pass through a fixed series of stages of cultural evolution. This view is now discredited, but the term is still used to describe the cultural adaptation of a particular community to its human and natural environment.

(emphasis mine on the last one)
Yes, 'cultural evolution' has it's place. It provides insight into many areas of knowledge and is a more 'quick' answer. But I am of the opinion that there are too many holes in it. How precise is it exactly? We can get much data, don't misunderstand what I'm thinking. It is easier to test outcomes for problems that some people demand to have answers to 'today'.
Okay, I realize this is between you and Rocketman, but come on, you're just being argumentative here. This definition of cultural evolution is completely errant; it has nothing to do with what Rocketman was likely bringing up (although granted, he was particularly unclear). I assume when he says "Cultural Evolution", he means Meme theory, which bears no resemblance to the idea defined above.

wiki wrote
Dawkins observed that cultures can evolve in much the same way that populations of organisms evolve. Various ideas pass from one generation to the next; such ideas may either enhance or detract from the survival of the people who obtain those ideas. This process affects which of those ideas will survive for passing on to future generations
ProveIt wrote
I see cultural evolution as the 'new drug' that is pushed by the medical field, that has extreamly positive feedback for the first 10-15 years. Then come to find out year 16 there is an amazingly destructive new cancer (or whatever ails you) out that had proper testing been done could have been avoided. Just because 'culture' accepts an idea into the mainstream does not necessarily make it 'effective'. Due to time restraints and a strict need for 'answers now' I see why this concept is still used. Do I think that that makes it superior to a 'natural' approach that biological evolution will work it all out on it's own? Over time. Time that, because an answer would not be provided in this generation (or longer), we simply don't think that we have.

Biological evolution is the constant, that, with or without our culture will continue.

This claim is why I put more stake in the idea that biological evolution is more 'important' than cultural evolution. The need for one, in todays society, does not mean that the need for the other ceases to exist. However, if there were no biological evolution -Would there be any possibility for culture. I think not, again, that's just me.
This whole argument is one huge mess. Jesus Christ. I can't even begin to understand what is going on here with the confusion of terms. Are you trying to make a statement on how human society as a whole is a kind of cancer? That the (clearly ethnocentric) Victorian idea you defined above is a cancer? I think you're looking a bit too deep for answers which are right in front of you.

Dammit, though, this "more important" business is complete crap. You can describe ideas and you can test ideas, but you can't attribute false concepts like "better" to them, especially in an argument, when it's clearly just an excuse to bite the other guy's head off.

If my concept and your concept got into a fight... my concept would kick your concept's ass.

Are you implying that a change in the genetic makeup of humans must accompany any change in culture, or do you take "biological evolution" to mean the wholistic state of human genetics?

nonsense wrote

Both biology and culture are aresult of dealing with the environment. THis includes the specific history of a species.

Yes, both biology and culture gain results from dealing with the environment as well as needing to draw specifics from history, individually.
WTF? "Includes the history"? " draw specifics from history, individually"? This doesn't make any sense at all.

nonsense wrote
Human beings are constrained by biological evolution.
Not constrained. We are biological evolution... in a process. We are not held back because of biological evolution... that just wouldn't make sense. Our knowledge of the future biolgical line of evolution is limited or possibley 'constrained' due to current knowledge, easiest attained by cultural evolution (quick results as you have mentioned).
"knowledge of future biological line of evolution"? The language you two are using is completely inappropriate for what you may or may not be arguing. Any future developments of "biological evolution" (which I take you mean to be genetics as a whole, and not the process of genetic change?) is not going to happen over human time scales, so I don't quite see what you mean. Are you now equating "cultural evolution" to philosophy and science?

Let me try to put these two concepts into terms I can deal with, and both of you please tell me what you think. Natural Selection acting on genes can produce behaviors in many animals that in some sense mimic consciousness in organisms far too primitive to understand what they are doing. Genes tell the brains of ducks, for instance, to incubate anything smooth in or around their nest. They do not understand that this usually means an egg and that they intend on raising a chick from it and no one taught them how to do it; it is instinct. The same goes for cuckoo (European, not American) chicks. They are brood parasites, so their eggs are laid in the nest of surrogate parents from other species. The newborn chick will push any competitors out of the nest, without ever understanding that doing this is a good (if brutal) survival strategy. These (and most all) animal behaviors are like this; they are the result of genes programming for immutable logic circuits in the brain. This is a slow and inefficient way of adapting to an evironment, because it requires genetic mutations to occur and be selected for over whole lifetimes. Humans, on the other hand, have brains capable of complex and abstract thought. We can come up with adaptive strategies and spread them in the form of language. These ideas (memes) undergo selection in much the same way as genes, only much, much faster. It is this that gives humans the survival edge in nearly all environments in a time span that organisms relying on biological (genetic) evolution cannot touch.

nonsense wrote
Biological evolution produces behavioural adaptations along with morphological ones.
True. Cultural can also produce behavioural adaptations and physical changes, it's a stretch but I'll even go so far as to say predictible 'designed' morphing.
See above. ProveIt, what are you trying to get at? Why do you feel the need to create an ambiguous argument with no support?

nonsense wrote
Cultural evolution parallels biological evolution in that it is an adaptation that copes with environmental effects and like behavioural adaptaion allows for more active intervention with the environment. Sometimes it succeeds, sometimes it doesn't.
You are not hearing me on this one. AGREED. BUT, they do not necessarily come to the same conclusion. Therefore - NOT THE SAME.
I don't know how you can say 'allows for more active intervention with the environment' - Biological evolution IS the freakin environment. Are you saying that it is easier to interpret cultural evolution than it is to interpret biological? This is the part I think I'd like you to expand on the most... cause this is where your opinion is losing me.

Parallel, but with a grounded root in biology. They study the same thing... but are not the same....
The claim that the two are "the same thing", I think, comes from the fact that they both rely on the principles of Natural Selection. Your definition of "biological evolution" is again confused here. In this context, it probably means Natural Selection acting on genes, which is a long way from "the physical environment", or "ecosystem". You could argue that the results of this evolution is the habitat of memes (and thus this confused idea of cultural evolution), but, again, it would be imprecise language to put it the way you have.

ProveIt wrote
____Cultural evolution_______________________________
______________Biological evolution__(the constant)______________________________

We can have an effect on the biological aspect, it can have an effect on us (culture), but biology does not necessarily predict what culture will do. Culture predicts what biology will do. Which do you suspect is more advanced? My money is on biology. Anything that either doesn't give a shit about what culture is doing or has the balls to say, too bad, this is how it's gonna be... that gets my vote.
Jesus Fucking Christ. Is it written somewhere, hidden, that one of these concepts is more advanced? Can you place your bets, and then find the Evolution Gospels and look who's right?

Culture does not neccessarily predict what biology will do, and yes, biology does predict what culture will do. Just look at the cuckoo example above, and realize that memes are selected for based on how well they appeal to their hosts. A meme which makes us feel good because of the result of genetic selection will be selected for memetically.

ProveIt wrote
If you are attempting to debate which is easier to gain educated results from fastest I will agree that cultural evolution will provide you with a reasonably accurate basis to set up a hypothesis and a decent prediction to any outcome. But, I don't feel that this is what you are getting at. I am understanding you to say that cultural evolution provides as specific an answer to some very tough questions as biological evolution does. I must disagree on that.
*Sigh*. In this case, it might be helpful to look at memetics as all of human thought. Does it make sense to say that a process devoid of all thinking can give a better answer than one that is actually thought and answers (competing in a pool)? I still can't see quite where you're going with such words as "specific answers" or "tough questions".

I feel like I'm having a siezure here.
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