Cultural Group Selection in Phase Transition

Made a comment on Peter Turchin’s blog post about cultural group selection. I think he has done some fascinating work, and I am quite envious of the people at the Frankfurt meeting (some of whom are my friends) who got to meet him!

Social Evolution Forum

I am writing this in Frankfurt, where we have just concluded a week-long meeting on cultural evolution. I was hoping to write about it earlier, but this meeting has been so intense that I literally could not find a couple of hours to put my impressions on paper (or computer screen). The meeting was organized by Strüngmann Forum. There are no talks. Instead some participants write position papers that serve as a basis for discussions (mine was on the evolutionary transition from small-scale to large-scale societies, naturally). During a typical conference there are always talks that are less interesting, and that gives one the opportunity to write something, but not in this one.

Most discussions were within four subgroups, meeting separately, although there also was plenty of opportunity to attend other groups. My group focused on the evolution of small-scale and large-scale societies in humans. We had a developmental psychologist…

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2 Responses to Cultural Group Selection in Phase Transition

  1. twaring says:

    Hi Gordon! Nice to virtually meet you. I agree Peter Turchin is great. I’ve met him a few times. He’s not only extremely well read, clear thinking and concise, he’s also just a really nice guy. He is also serving a really useful leadership role right now on the long term evolution of cultural patterns. Nice to see your blog here! Best, Tim

    • Gordon says:

      Thanks, Tim! I’m still pretty new to this whole blogging lark, but I look forward to reading your blog too. As well as being an evolutionary psychologist, I am an active member of the Green Party member here in Bristol. So I am very interested in how we can use our knowledge of how evolution has shaped the human mind to inform the creation of more ecologically sustainable societies. In fact, this was what got me into anthropology/psychology in the first place! Will be nice to chat further about these issues.

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