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Note that THIS IS REALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE FIRST TYPE OF CULTURAL EVOLUTION. For example, gay sex may be lots of fun – and as people figure this out and tell their friends, it will be positively selected through the first type of cultural evolution.But it might weaken a culture’s Moral Fabric – in which case it will be negatively selected through the second type of cultural evolution.How much advantage can an individual cultural trait confer? Compare Judeo-Christian attitudes about sex to Greco-Roman attitudes about sex.One might argue that the Judeo-Christian attitudes are superior, since Christianity did eventually take over Rome.Societies with alternative conceptions of marriage seem to have died out.That suggests that this conception contains something useful; even if we can’t see it we should be wary of interfering with it, in the same way we are wary to disrupt our body’s metabolic balance or alter genes willy-nilly.This is also unsurprising from a population biology perspective.
For example, in his commentary on Ross Douthat’s article on gay marriage, Tumblr user severnayazemlya writes: What Douthat is saying is that there was some system that existed sometime in the past that was more human-shaped than Marcotte’s vision for the future. The conservative argument is that the cultural inheritance that the past hands down to the present is more human-shaped than most reforms proposed in the present – because there were reformers in the past, and, absent major breaks in the continuity, past reforms have had time to be tested for their fit: those that worked were kept, and those that didn’t were discarded.
Without any deliberate effort, the Inuit ended out with a remarkably effective set of survival techniques.
Something like this seems so obviously true as to not require further discussion.
It took about three hundred years for Christianity to replace paganism in Rome; Enlightenment values have been replacing Christianity for three hundred years already and aren’t nearly done.
Any sort of evolutionary process that involves waiting for Rome to fall is a process that will take way longer than human history to come to any sort of conclusion.