Last Friday (December 11th, 2015) I had the pleasure of speaking to students and faculty at Saint Francis College. I delivered a talk entitled “Highly-creative baby-breeding idea propagators: what human (re)productive choices mean for the future of our species” to an engaged and insightful audience; as this was the final week of classes, I really appreciated that many students from a variety of majors came out for the talk. There were a lot of great questions at the end of the talk, the kind of questions that will have me scurrying back to office to refine both the content and form of this talk.
This was my first shot at distilling the big ideas for my book-in-progress (Breeders, Propagators, & Creators) into an hour-long talk. Overall, I think that it went well, as I had aimed my presentation at an audience that might not have been familiar with cultural evolution. Due to time constraints I did not get to talk as much as I intended about the implications of a tradeoff between baby-making, culture-propagating, and new-idea-creating; future versions of this talk have to balance between framing the tradeoff and substantiating why the tradeoff matters. I may need to have very different versions of these talks, one about the tradeoff issue and one about the evidence for that tradeoff. Not surprisingly, an entire book’s worth of ideas do not fit into an hour-long talk.
A big part of my project involves exploring what we know about patterns of what I call “(re)production” in human populations: I want to know who is breeding, propagating, and creating… and more importantly in what relative proportions. Preparing for this talk and then delivering it made me realize that I need to dig a lot deeper into the literature on cultural transmission (propagation) and new idea innovation (creation) in order to present a broader, deeper understanding of what we know about who’s propagating and who’s creating.
I video-recorded my entire talk, so my hope is to edit it together with my slides and post it soon.
Thanks so much to Gregory F. Tague for supporting my visit to Saint Francis. I look forward to working with the Evolutionary Studies Collaborative at SFC in the future, and I hope to bring Dr. Tague to Pratt at some point in the near future.A Major Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Evolution, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Natural Selection, Population Growth, Public Outreach, Sex and Reproduction, Social Diversity