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SOCIETIES evolve also

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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SOCIETIES evolve also

Postby charles brough » Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:56 pm

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?

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Postby canalon » Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:44 pm

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?
Last edited by canalon on Sun Jun 17, 2007 2:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JDavidE » Sat Jun 16, 2007 10:44 pm

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.
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Postby charles brough » Sun Jun 17, 2007 5:58 pm

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.

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Postby robertkernodle » Tue Jun 19, 2007 10:37 pm

.
Yes,... societies evolve.

Note the advanced social behavior displayed on TV shows like Jerry Springer.

Yeah boy,... we've come a long way, baby.

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Postby charles brough » Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:31 pm

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.

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Postby sachin » Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:38 pm

Evolution of society is what we study in History.

and it is good union of science and history.
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Postby charles brough » Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:01 pm

sachin wrote:Evolution of society is what we study in History.

and it is good union of science and history.


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.

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Postby sachin » Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:07 pm

You are very right "charles brough". I have just said that in short.
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Postby Darby » Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:48 pm

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.
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Postby charles brough » Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:14 pm

Darby wrote: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.


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.

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Postby Darby » Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:38 am

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.
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