RE: virus: Genes vs. Memes: The War Heats Up

Robin Faichney (
Sat, 7 Jun 1997 11:16:00 +0100

Grant wrote:
>If you go back and read the old messages you will find that Robin has
>been been reading a lot more into my messages than I have been saying.
>When I say genes cause bad behavior someone reads "genes are bad."

My point is simply that by talking about genetics here,
you're introducing what is in effect a distraction. Of
course, the genes are not absolutely irrelevant -- given
what they are, they have to have *some* relevance to
almost (absolutely?) any issue re human behaviour.
But, as an environmentalist myself, I don't think it is
useful to view genetics as the main cause of
environmental abuse.

I say that, even though I agree that the fundamental
pattern is a species expanding its numbers, overusing
its resources to point where they can't sufficiently
renew, and suffering a population collapse in
consequence. (Though in fact there are many cases
where a species will limit its population growth before
the point of catastrophe is reached.) But we are
relatively intelligent, and so our behaviour is controlled
by our genes to a much, much lesser extent than in
any other species. That's what "intelligent" means!
The real problem lies not with our genes, but with the
memes that "point in the same direction" as those
genes. For instance, those of the "wise use"
movement, who basically seem to see rape of the
earth as wise. And all those political/economic
ideologues who say the same kind of thing. The
battle of the memes is with them, not with our