Theories of Everything with Curt Jaimungal

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

December 14, 2020

YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3fG96gvgLU

David Sloan Wilson is an American evolutionary biologist and a Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at Binghamton University. https://twitter.com/David_S_Wilson

Curt Jaimungal is directing / writing an imminent documentary Better Left Unsaid http://betterleftunsaidfilm.com 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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