I’m prompted here by a cross-search, that hit on a three year old post of mine referring to Sean Gould. Like me he’s a western engineer, and of a similar age, living in the far-east, in his case Thailand, and unlike myself, it seems he’s been there continuously for several years – his domain remains “.th” anyway (he doesn’t give away too much other personal info.) I only mention that preamble, because when I first linked to him, I noted the same aspects – an “amateur academic” with interest in philosophy and evolution beyond his “professional practitioner” remit. I must have said a hundred times myself, that “evolutionary psychology” appears to the core subject in explaining the world as we can know it, and interesting to see noted here too (with my Pirsig hat on) that he can explain the secular evolution of morality.
I’ve discussed with Chris at Enlightened Caveman – the drawbacks to getting yourself taken seriously and published from outside an academic arena. Well Sean has managed to get one book published and has a second on its way, both relating to a New Model for Evolution. Amateur no more ?
Both look interesting – the former has some serious reviews at Amazon, the latter reads convincingly in draft, even if I can’t yet claim to understand more than 10% of it from a brief read. If I get his point, he’s suggesting genes face a trade off in quantity of replication, vs (say) a greater quantity at lower fidelity. He uses his argument to explain “cooperative strategies” that “anticipate” change and increase survival flexibility. Of course since Dawkins, intentional language has dogged understanding of true genetic behaviour, and it’s no different here – caveat metaphor – as Sean says “genes of course, are inanimate; they do not want with intent to do anything. These [metaphors and algorithms] are only rules that help model how evolution works.” Very important not to forget that, as we well know.
Didn’t notice any memetic references – but one aspect of criticism of memetic models is the general lack of hi-fidelity in the copying. I wonder.
Shows what can be done, and who knows maybe the content really is valid or even as novel and important as it seems. More additions to my reading list.