Jul 19 2008

Susan Blackmore and Universal Darwinism

Published by under Meetings

Our next meeting is  on Friday 25 July. Bob Geddes will lead discussion on the topic of evolutionary theory applied to culture (memes and all that). He has submitted the following introduction and questions:

Cultural evolution is based on the same principles as genetic evolution involving Darwin`s evolutionary theorem (based on evidence from all round the world) namely
– Variation
– Selection   and
– Heredity                If these occur you MUST get evolution
Or Design out of Chaos without the aid
Of Mind.
Replicators-  Have to do with information that is copied regardless of the consequences
Our genes is one example
Also another kind observable is the process of
Information that is copied from person to person by
Imitation, information that is copied with
VARIATION and SELECTION and shows a design
process going on.
Name given to this  — MEME (a non-genetic passing
on of information by imitation.)
A meme is “selfish” information that gets copied if it
 Second Replicator.     
Humans alone of earth life are both gene and meme “machines”.
Meme evolutionary necessity brought about big brain species evolution (genetic) humans only, better able to copy and transmit information, seen in the development of language etc.
Technology has brought a new type of meme- given the name “technomeme”
Third Replicator will have arrived when there are machines that are able to build copies of themselves.

Applying Universal Darwinism to the Total Universe

If there is other life in the Universe don’t think intelligence, think replicators. (Life evolving the ability to communicate beyond itself.)
Evolution necessarily a dangerous process for all life.
The Second Replicator brought danger to human life- we have made survival adaptions.
The Third Replicator Challenge
Two Options – Humans merging with technology, implants, enhancements of many kinds.
Or machines replicating themselves
Both are issues about the survival of the human race.

1. Are there any credible alternatives to Universal Darwinism?
2.  What interest are any alternatives of planetary life development to us?
3. Is Blackmore`s thesis of Cultural evolution as part and parcel of Darwinism and genetic evolution verifiable and scientificily accepted?
4. How real are the dangers do we think of third replicator development – technology`s threat to life on earth?
5. Will life in other places in the Universe come about by evolutionary means?

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