Re: "friendly" humans?

From: Wei Dai (
Date: Fri Jan 02 2004 - 03:29:20 MST

On Thu, Jan 01, 2004 at 11:00:11PM -0500, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> I expect that memes are mostly transmitted between kin, but not
> necessarily between parents and children. I expect that the covariance
> between the differential reproductive fitness of type A meme-bearers, and
> the differential memetic susceptibility of children to memes from their
> parents specifically, is not significant compared to other determinants of
> memetic fitness, and specifically is not a significant enough advantage to
> beat memes that exploit their hosts as evangelists, mostly because I do
> not expect the differential reproductive fitness to be large (in the
> ancestral environment).

Given the above expectation, how would you explain the high frequency of
type A memes, especially in less developed societies?

> [...] not that, in the ancestral
> environment, there were memes that urged people philosophically to have
> children, so that people evolved to be susceptible to those memes instead
> of evolving stronger emotional desires for children, etc.

You must have misunderstood me because that's not what I'm saying either.
I'm suggesting that there must have been periodic epidemics of type B
memes urging people to devote their energies to goals other than mating
and child rearing, and that increased susceptibility to type A memes
evolved as a response to this threat. Strong emotional desires can be
bypassed or subverted pretty easily by the right meme, and therefore are
not good defenses against type B memes by themselves.

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