SOCIETIES evolve also
June 16, 2007 at 8:56 pm #7832
Ever notice that our biological evolution has produce nothing notable since we emerged as a species almost 200,000 years ago? What has enabled us to build this emmense cultural heritage and technology we have since then acquired.
Was it "God"? Or was it that "we pulled our selves up by our bootstraps" or can we credit it to "great men" or changes in weather, plagues, agriculture, urban development or "the economic imperative"?
Sad to say, the concensus theory or "explanation" now is apprently Marxist’s DM-economic "theory", and the "meme" theory. Does anyone really think they explain it?
I built up the explanation based upon SOCIAL evolution. It goes like this:
we evolved as social primates instinctively adapted to small group living. We grew in numbers until we had to develop larger groups. The only way to do that was to use language to create common belief systems to bond us into these larger groups. The system is non-instinctive, however and is imperfect. The very progress a society makes because of its religion enables the society to outgrow it and hence weaken. Eventually, the society is too decrepit to function well and is replaced by a new religion and its society.
Any thoughts on this?
June 16, 2007 at 9:44 pm #73886canalonParticipant
Read Richard Dawkins and his theory of "meme" evolution.
Nihil nove sub sole.
EDIT: My bad, I read too fast and skipped the line about explanations given by marxist and meme theorist. But my reaction was that I did not see the fundamental difference between your point and some versoin of the meme theory. Would you care to develop for me?
June 16, 2007 at 10:44 pm #73888JDavidEParticipant
You suggest that meme theory doesn’t explain it, but your explanation falls into meme theory. For example, our social structure causes us to smile as a disarmament tool. In other primates, baring the teeth is an agressive posture.
Somehow, these social attributes are as heritible as our physical attributes. And that’s what the meme theorists are proposing.
However, personally, I am drifting into that group of evolutionists who believe that we are also harbouring a time-clock in our genetic make-up that suddenly, when the time is ripe, like the flowering of bamboo, causes the entire shift to a new species, wherever that species is in the world.
That theory neatly accounts for the apparent sudden extinctions and sudden bursts of new species that aren’t paralleled in the fossil record.
June 17, 2007 at 5:58 pm #73912
My understanding of the meme theory is that our ideas, preferences, jokes, songs, etc. replicate themselves like attached viruses distinct from us, ourselves. It has a crazy uniqness to it but to me it is utterly useless in explaing the processes of life and human society.
I am not familiar with the concept of us having a time clock! My belief is that no evolution is "sudden" and that what seems to is only so by comparison to some of the slower evolutionary changes. Anyway, biological evolution is not my expertise.
My point in reference to it is that we evolved as hunter/gathers and hence are social animals best adapted to small group living. We have a set of social instincts that are similar to those of the chimp. In order to build civilizations we have to live in huge societies. To manage that, we had to have common world-view-ways-of-thinking ("religions"). They give us a unity that enables us to feel "one" with the society and hence to belong. When society gets as divided as it is now, the ideological system fails to bond us into the group (society) adequately and people are subjected to a lot of stress. The stress takes a toll on their health and brings out hostitlity and depression.
We have apparently experienced no significant physical evolutionary change in the some 200,000 years since we appeared. All our evolution occurred before then. Since then it has only been social evolution. In it, societies form as a religious bond, grow powerful, progress, then their progress outstrips their old religious doctrines and they regress. Finally, each is or will be replaced with a new and more advanced world-view and way of thinking. It is a sort of life cycle process, the life cycle of the social organism.
June 19, 2007 at 10:37 pm #73992robertkernodleParticipant
Yes,… societies evolve.
Note the advanced social behavior displayed on TV shows like Jerry Springer.
Yeah boy,… we’ve come a long way, baby.
June 20, 2007 at 4:31 pm #74040
That is my whole point. Societies evolve but human nature is instinctive and never changes. Societies have belief systems that help focus human nature in collective, constructive ways, but religions grow old and become ineffective. Our religious/secular humanist world view and way of thinking is in decline. That explains why J. Springer crudity and vulgarity is being catered to now. It also explains why the world is not being run satisfactorily.
June 20, 2007 at 4:38 pm #74042sachinParticipant
Evolution of society is what we study in History.
and it is good union of science and history.
June 20, 2007 at 5:01 pm #74047quote sachin:
World history is a vital social science data-collecting field. It is a chronological accounting of the changes in nations and empires. Historians are people who are trained to a special skill in meticulously analyzing old documents. A thesis by a history student might involve, let us say, the office notes of the Glendale California Chamber of Commerce for the months of June and July in 1934. Any interpreting of their data is suspect to them and theories of history are "cosmology" and something that they abhor and have no training in.
To understand social evolution, it is necessary to define societies and then treat them as single entities. The patterns they follow and why they rise and fall is theory and not what historians are trained to do or what they are best at. No historian has yet been able to explain social evolution. There has been no viable theory at all by any social scientist. "God" does not cause it, we do not "lift ourselves up by our bootstraps," the economic imperative explains nothing, so does DM, great men don’t explain it nor does climate, plagues, or city life.
June 20, 2007 at 5:07 pm #74049sachinParticipant
You are very right "charles brough". I have just said that in short.
June 20, 2007 at 8:48 pm #74060
There is no easy way to tell if the inner societal nature of humans is changing – how would one separate the subtle genetic / biological shifts and the memetic ones?
But humans do continue to evolve, in subtle ways, such as lactose tolerance, and less subtle, such as development of racial differences.
June 20, 2007 at 10:14 pm #74064quote Darby:
There is no indication the instinctive behavioral pattern of the human species has changed in the almost 200,000 years we have been here. What has changed is the changing of the belief systems which modifies or conditions the instincts in the ways characteristic of each different society. And belief systems, religions or what you call them do change in an up and down, rise and fall, cycle that is visible in any study of world history.
In my website download, I take a good look at the human instinctive repertoire. The best insight comes from a study of chimpanzee group
behavior. There is a wealth of material available on the subject.
June 22, 2007 at 2:38 am #74100
Chimp behavior can give some insight into the nature of human ancestors, but to think that it is akin to ancient human nature seems a weak assumption. On top of that, we have no way at present of knowing how much of chimp nature is biological and how much is memetic.
June 22, 2007 at 11:43 am #74112quote Darby:
It is a matter of figuring it out. You see that they live in similar size groups, the males are similarly a little larger than the females. There is a dominant male and a sub-dominant cohort or two. The omega males do not challenge threats but rally behind the dominants. The dominants consider the troop to be theirs and run it like it is. They pick up fallen infants and the females are happy to present to him. He does allow the other males to mate however. The male juveniles are kept from the center of the troop and are afraid of the alphas. The female juveniles are closely guarded but escape anyway sometime, to another troop, get pregnant and return. I could go on and on. These are behavioral factors that our religious systems ("cultures") mold and influence. From this one can build up (and I do) a whole picture. For example, the male hunting/war party, is so instinctive that we turn them into teams and they provide our sports. They even chase leather encased balls substituting for "game" in the game. We can find out from this why when monogamy was instituted some five thousand years ago in Sumer and Egypt, it transformed society. The rationing of women that way enabled each man to be the alpha in his hunting-gathering group substitute home. Etc.
This is just a taste of what we can piece together from all the ample material now available on the chimp. The profession is too hesistant. No one likes to step foreward and risk offense to the "creationists" by even inferring we are like "monkeys." People are so timorous because they are worried about tenure. And then, they rally in its defense because they are a chimp troop and want to be alphas defending it.
June 22, 2007 at 4:29 pm #74118
But it’s all speculation, with virtually no fossil support, and since the main thrust of our split with chimplike ancestors was spurred by an adaptation to more open spaces and a much more migratory existence, the inference that we stayed chimplike in societal structure just doesn’t seem to hold up. I’m all for guessing, but on the foundation available, that’s pretty much what it is.
My guess would be for monogamy to be considerably older than human civilization, if only to support a hunting process that required a decent number of males invested in the group’s welfare. But that’s definitely just a guess, based upon some still-existing subsistence hunter-gatherer societies and the logic of group dynamics.
June 23, 2007 at 9:15 pm #74141
but it seems like you are saying that monogamy evolved in us. If that were the case, it would not be necessary for us to have monogamous religions to adapt us to monogamy. Also, there is about the same gender dimorphism with us as with the chimps. If we had evolved into an monogamous species, both males and females would be the same size.
June 23, 2007 at 9:28 pm #74142quote canalon:
Sociobiologists (the "meme theory") teach that some things such as altruism can be made more genetic by cultural influence (if I am not mistaken). But that does not happen. In almost 200,000 years here as our own species, we have had no significant biologicial or behavioral change that we know of. It is all cultural.
So, what I say is that it is RELIGIONS that are subject to natural selection. I say that their evolutionary function has been to bind us into societies larger than the hunting-gathering groups we evolve to live in, so they have to evolve in order that we can and have been able to live in larger and larger societies. Some societies are now some 2 billion people size. We are not evolved to feel secure and content in massive groups like that! Only a common world-view and way of thinking can enable us to even think of living in such over-crowded conditions.
July 6, 2007 at 1:10 pm #74398quote Darby:
It seems to me the most likely and direct way to determine our basic instinctive nature is to look at what we evolved from first! The chimp is evolved to live in groups about the size of the hunting/gathering groups we used to live in and which we evolved to live in. They are gender dimorphically about the same as we. They form Alpha male cabals, are not totally either monogamous or polygamas but inbetween like we. The list goes on and on. . .
How much of chimp behavior is "memetic"? Strange question . . . Behavior from one chimp group to another is insignificant. So, it would seem that "memetics" is insignificant. With us, however, the cultural differences are widespread and only made similar at all due to the spread of Secular Humanism.
So, we get insight into our un-culturally modified human nature not from studying "cultures" of people but from studying chimp behavior.
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