Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The inverted J-shaped curve of meme adoption

Memes, on average helped our ancestors. Our enlarged crainum and adaptations for speaking illustrate that, for our ancestors, more memes were better. However, in the west, the average effect of most memes on the DNA of their human hosts seems to be negative. The more educated you are, the fewer children you produce. The more memes you have, the fewer children you produce. This phenmomenon, widely recognised under the name of the demographic transition goes beyond r/K selection, and produces results that are positively maladaptive for human DNA. There's no way that the sub-replacement fertility levels in Japan are adaptive to the DNA of the human hosts there. The excess of memes in the developed world are simply bad for human DNA.

In memetics, the reason for this is fairly straightforwards - memes act to divert reproductive resources away from host DNA and towards meme production. The greater exposure to memes you have, the greater the chance of you becoming a victim of memetic hijacking.

Many of the interesting implications of this fact lie in the future. As rise of culture continues, we should not necessarily expect human DNA to be doing well in its new environment.

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