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!
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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