Re: Au contraire mon frere

Thu, 3 Feb 1994 10:05:00 PST

Forstadt writes:

"The problem with the selectionist/Darwinian model itself, therefore, may lie
in its lack of an adequate theory concerning the cultural transmission of
behavior. Without such a theory, evolutionary ecology can no more serve as a
model to explain systemic change than can functionalism."

The Darwinian model, per se, cannot account for the cultural transmission of
behavior. Those who have been working with the Darwian model only use it for
genetic transmission (i.e. phenonmena at the level of the genotype) and not
for learned behavior (i.e., phenomena at thbe level of the phenotype).
What they are doing (e.g., Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman, Boyd and Richerson,
Durham and others) to one degree or another is using the Darwinian framework
as laying out the kind of theory that needs to be developed (transmission of
traits, fitness as a driving force for change in trait freqquency, etc.) and
then developing theory that accounts for the distribution of phenotypic
traits in a population. For example, Boyd and Richerson take culture to
refer to learned behaviors and have worked out mathematical models of the
transmission of phenotypic traits that are learned, as opposed to the
expression of the genotype. For those who are convinced that culture =
learned behavior, I would strongly urge that you look at the work these
researchers are doing as they are implementing a theory based on this
assumption and not just talking about it.

D. Read