Re: Rights and Morality: The Primethic Decision

Eric Watt Forste (
Wed, 01 Oct 1997 12:38:40 -0700

Gary <> writes:
> Actually, morality seems to favor species survival rather than
> individual survival,

I don't understand how you can use "rather" here, since you
can't have one of these things without the other. If you're
favoring one, then you're favoring the other. Unless you think
of the death of an individual conspecific as *not* being an
injury to the species. But I do think morality is far and away
more a memetic phenomenon than a genetic one, although it's true
that these two domains are messily intertwingled with one

Genetic selection certainly happens at the individual level, not
the species or gene level... it is not actual genes that get weeded
out by natural selection, but individual zygotes, particular
combinations of genes. It's only the additive effect of natural
selection upon us zygotes that results in modifications to the gene
pool. That's why biological evolution is so much slower than
cultural evolution.

At the memetic level, on the other hand, conscious selection can
be as fine-grained as we like. I can consciously decide that X is
a bad idea, and discard it. If I have trouble discarding it, then
I can start making fun of it, and encouraging my friends to joke
about it, and that often drives the demon out.

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++ expectation foils percpeption -pcd