The story-telling ape (was virus: Logic)

Reed Konsler (
Thu, 16 Oct 1997 10:48:47 -0400 (EDT)

>Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 09:47:20 -0600
>From: David McFadzean <>

>Humans can be (usefully) understood as the story-telling ape. This is
>shorthand for saying that we are all the ongoing product of two types
>of replicators, memes and genes, which act in symbiosis through this
>one species.
>Whenever we wonder why we exhibit some particular behavior or trait,
>a good explanation will involve showing how it is in the best interest
>of some meme or gene that we do.[1] This is the level of logic: this
>trait will propagate if and only if it is in the best interest of
>these replicators which have influence over the production of said
>[1] Please insert standard disclaimers about how genes and memes don't
>really have interests, and how there might be any number of useful ways
>to view humans and explain their traits and behaviors.
>[2] This entire post is open to rational criticism, including the truth
>of all premises and methods of inference.

Sure, this is the implict Darwinian model introduced by Dawkins. I think
it's a useful way of thinking about things. What do you mean when you
say "genes and memes don't really have interests".

If I argued that "genes" and "memes" sound like amoral angels and devils
what would be your counterargument?

But, it's a good start.


Reed Konsler