Monday, 7 January 2013

Phylomemetic inertia

Phylogenetic inertia refers to the way genetic traits tend to stay the same, lagging behind environmental changes.

Phylomemetic inertia is the same concept - but applied to memetic traits.

So, for an example of phylogenetic inertia, the human rib cage made structural sense when spines were hung horizontally between four limbs, but not when the vertebrae are balanced on top of each other.

Phylomemetic inertia can be seen in the way in which Abrahamic religions persist into the 21st century - despite the fact that the world has moved on and made them no longer appropriate.

In both cases, it is challenging to distinguish inertia from stabilizing selection.

Between them, phylomemetic inertia and stabilizing selection are two of the most plausible explanations for cultural stasis.

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