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

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