Re: virus: Abortion, etc.

Ken Kittlitz (
Mon, 18 Mar 1996 05:32:46 +0000

Reply to: RE>>virus: Abortion, etc.

John Steele writes:
>Humans have a more highly evolved intellect than cuckoos, and
>are able to contemplate such matters a bit more. But we are still
>locked within the parameters of the basic survival strategy that
>being human means. We may think lofty thoughts, but unless they
>have a material benefit to the process of human DNA-replication
>they will remain just that, lofty thoughts and nothing more.

Wrong. Thoughts, lofty or otherwise, are the replicators that
are usurping DNA as the driving force behind human evolution.
In this case the evolution produces societies, mores, cultures etc.
rather than physical bodies, but it is evolution nonetheless. I'm
not arguing against Dawkins's theory of selfish replicators, merely
stating that DNA is no longer the most powerful such replicator.
In fact it is Dawkins himself who argues this, in the last chapter
of _The Selfish Gene_.

I'm also not suggesting that DNA is not responsible for much of
our behaviour; obviously it is. And I agree that thoughts *originally*
evolved for the benefit of our DNA. However, just as DNA may have
superceded earlier replicators that nurtured it, thoughts (memes) are
wresting control from DNA.

So when you write:
>I am in this alone, allied with a small group of people who share my
>broad aims, and I compete against the rest of the world.

I think you are limiting your choices. You can choose to support another
type of replicator, the meme, which is at least as responsible for the
thing we call "personality" as human DNA is. Even though your
intelligence may have evolved for your DNA's benefit, your memes allow
you to use it for their ("your") own purposes...

Finally, even if you still believe that you should act in your DNA's best
interest, I recomment Howard Bloom's _The Lucifer Principle_, which
argues that, at least for social animals like humans, DNA's selfish
interests are often better served by thinking in terms of the group =
than the individual.