Theories of Everything with Curt Jaimungal

David Sloan Wilson interview on Group Selection, Memes, and Western Values

December 14, 2020

YouTube Video:

David Sloan Wilson is an American evolutionary biologist and a Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at Binghamton University.

Curt Jaimungal is directing / writing an imminent documentary Better Left Unsaid on the topic of "when does the left go too far?" Visit that site if you'd like to contribute to getting the film distributed (early-2021).

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00:00:00 Introduction
00:01:54 Is "the West" losing its values? What are those values?
00:05:24 Multi-level selection vs. Group Selection
00:11:10 The political right vs left in terms of level of evolutionary selection
00:12:51 Identity Politics framed in terms of group selection (plus a definition of Identity Politics)
00:15:04 Why can't a propitious argument made FOR Identity Politics?
00:20:05 How can we adopt a "whole Earth ethic" as a country, when others don't adopt it?
00:23:47 What do humans need to behave "selflessly" when animals get along with doing so?
00:28:16 Link between evolutionary theory and Buddhism
00:30:00 Humans are built to cooperate in small groups (not large)
00:32:49 We've selected ourselves for timidity
00:38:03 A synoptic view of "This View of Life" and the need for encompassing values
00:38:32 Classical economics (and some contemporary) is wrong and unadaptive
00:40:44 If we've been selected for altruism, why is it difficult?
00:44:54 Carl Jung and selfish acts being unselfish (because they harm you in the long-run)
00:50:24 A $1000 suit isn't to look good, but to look BETTER than the guy with a $500 suit
00:53:00 How good is altruism as a motivational agent for behavior? 
00:55:54 Tribalism is the answer, not the problem
00:57:05 Problems with Social Constructionism
00:59:18 Postmodernism and David Sloan Wilson's issues with it
01:03:28 Women's studies / LGBTQ studies / etc. utilizing "tribal circuitry"
01:06:53 The "Ultimatum Game" in evolutionary psychology
01:09:55 On this "tribal circuitry" again
01:17:40 On the Nordic countries and the "homogeneity" argument
01:23:58 Is communism more adaptive than capitalism?
01:28:31 "Tight and loose" compared to totalitarian systems (existential security)
01:31:38 Which memes are prius to liberalism?
01:36:28 Are the Inuit less adapted than the White Europeans who invented centralized heating?
01:42:37 Is virtue as "honesty / forthrightness / generosity" a human universal given most studies are done on Westerners?
01:45:10 Is David Sloan Wilson a moral relativist?
01:47:38 The effects of arcane disciplines in Universities spreading outward to the culture
01:49:47 Evolutionary theory as a unifying language for the disparate fields of science
01:54:05 "When does the left go too far?"
01:56:18 Memes that last so long they affect our evolution
01:57:26 Dawkin's concept of "gene" was problematic, and thus so is "meme"
02:00:06 Jordan Peterson vs Susan Blackmore on memes and Jung
02:02:10 Chomskyan grammar and Pinker's language instinct is wrong
02:04:06 On Victor Huang's "innovation oasis"
02:08:58 Applying Victor's Huang's concept to Curt's non-profit indiefilmTO
02:14:46 Is there such a thing as biological sex?
02:16:08 What's the definition of "adaptiveness" in evolution?
02:17:54 David Sloan Wilson's thoughts on free will
02:18:39 The "Theory of Everything" being encompassed by evolutionary theory
02:20:21 His thoughts on Donald Hoffman's ideas
02:24:43 Extra: On Daniel Dennett's 2nd endosymbiotic revolution
02:26:57 Extra: Is history an example of humans "externalizing" their code? Computers? (via memes)

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