Can people’s behavior be explained in terms of genetic evolution?

BO: You ended our last conversation saying that people are too dumb to comprehend. What about your idea that people’s behavior is almost exactly consistent with what one would expect if the only thing that mattered was genetic evolution by means of natural selection?

FH: People’s behavior is remarkably consistent with what they should do if genetic evolution mattered. They’re always trying to climb up the social ladder, so they’re always in the best possible position to find the best mates and provide the optimal condition for raising a family. If something doesn’t present them with an opportunity to climb up the social ladder, they’re not interested. That’s why despite the huge readership I had with some of my websites over the past decade, none of my ideas ever catch people’s interest for long. They’re interested in what gets them ahead in life whether it’s building up a network of social support (friendships) or pursuing a career, or some hobby. If they see it won’t get them recognition, they lose all interest. That’s why I’m so confident that all of today’s morality is pure bullshit, and they’d support all the opposite ideals, if only it helped them get ahead in life.

BO: Yet many people nowadays choose not to have children. Are you sure that their behavior is as consistent and predictable as you make it sound?

FH: I imagine that if they were consciously aware of how perfectly their behavior matches up with trying to ensure the best possible future for the genes, there might be more of a willingness to rebel against it. As for children, evolutionary biologists like to point out that if it wasn’t for contraception, we’d be making plenty of children, and the choice of having children wouldn’t be there.

BO: But aren’t there lots of crackpot philosophers and the like who hold on to unsuccessful ideas, even though it doesn’t work in their favor (from the perspective of genetic evolution)?

FH: I agree that only the average person succeeds in living their lives for the sake of their genes. Everybody else is still a hopeless conformist. Every crackpot philosopher always defends conventional morality and memes with strong market representation at a fundamental level.

BO: Aren’t you defending memes with strong market representation at a fundamental level because you insist on logical reasoning, which is precisely that?

FH: Even those who are against logical reasoning use arguments to back up their point of view, so presumably they believe those arguments to be logical. (This meme has market representation because Robert Nozick mentions it in “The Nature of Rationality”.)

BO: Is people’s inability to go beyond memes that have market representation indicative of a fundamental shortcoming in their intellect?

FH: No, there are plenty who understand evolution quite well. After understanding evolution, I would expect them to be unable to accept a society that still clings to the paradigm of genetic evolution.

BO: What’s the alternative?

FH: Memetic evolution.

BO: Why is this so hard to accept?

FH: In genetic evolution, you have sophisticated mechanisms in place. Genes don’t compete individually. They are organized and compete in units called organisms. When genes are killed, powerful emotions kick in (pain, grief, etc). Memes are disorganized and have no emotions that evolved to defend them.

Proponents of memetic evolution have to create the missing organization and channel emotions to defend memes.


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