Here is the audio from the Unnatural Selection seminar.
It was wonderful to see so many people there, and I am enormously grateful to all those who attended.
Many many thanks to Samir Okasha (Bristol University) and Clive Cazeaux (Cardiff Met), for speaking at the event.
Many thanks to the Arts Council of Wales for funding the whole project, and of course many thanks to milkwood for hosting the exhibition and this event.
As is typical I found myself awake at 3am the night after thinking I wish I had asked that…
So, here also is a little post seminar discussion…
One of the things that I wish I had asked Samir was what made a cultural practice sucessful? Is it the benefits it infers on a biological group, making cultural evolution secondary to biological evolution or is it simply the speed and reliability with which a cultural practice can be copied from person to person? In the later case, cultural practices are capable of evolving independently of biological evolution. So, although, the origins of the practices may lie in our behaviour we can not directly effect them. This of course has implications for free will.
Below is Samir’s e-mail response…
“I think that the early versions of cultural evolution (memes etc.) tended to present memes almost as if they were ‘alive’, and ‘parasitising’ the mind, but this idea has been quietly abandoned in the more recent discussions. I think the state of the art on cultural evolution is found in Boyd and Richerson’s book ‘Not by Genes Alone’, which I highly recommend.
Once again many thanks Samir.