Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Crucial climate talks in Paris take place in a socially repressive environment

Posted 30 Nov 2015 / 0

At Paris, two equally-nihilistic cultures clash, but where do the people get a seat at the table? Today crucial climate talks are under way in Paris, France amid massive police presence and an atmosphere of social repression. The message is to “stay off the streets” as the leaders of world (and a few monarchs and businesspeople) meet Read More

A Major Post, Activism, Anthropogenic Change, Belief, Climate Change, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Environmental Justice, History, Memetic Fitness, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, Sustainability, Sustainable Energy

Did the population bombers drive China into cultural crisis?

Posted 05 Nov 2015 / 0

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons The Los Angeles Times “China drops its ‘one-child’ policy, now let’s ban the ‘population bomb’” Great op-ed that makes it really clear that impact is a function of not just the number of people on the earth but also the resources those people consume (affluence) and technologies used to produce Read More

A Minor Post, Activism, Belief, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Carrying Capacity, Cultural Evolution, Memetic Fitness, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Population Growth, Population Pressure, Prediction, Public Policy, Web

Polygyny: the culture we dislike might not be the culture that is evolutionarily disfavored

Posted 02 Nov 2015 / 0

There’s a new paper out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by David W. Lawson and colleagues that looks at whether the cultural practice of polygyny is disadvantageous. It’s a question that should be fascinating to anyone who is interested in sexual conflict or cultural evolution. At first glance, polygyny appears to be Read More

A Major Post, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Evolution, Mating systems, Memetic Fitness, Reproductive Fitness, Sex and Reproduction, Sexual Conflict

Does the ability to accumulate wealth make us value the future more?

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

PLoS ONE “Future Discounting in Congo Basin Hunter-Gatherers Declines with Socio-Economic Transitions” These findings are really fascinating, because they suggest that some degree of “building towards the future” is inspired by the ability to accumulate wealth. There’s a lot in these findings to explain why small-scale societies stay small and how larger-scale societies evolve from smaller-scale Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Nature, Memetic Fitness, Phenotypic Plasticity, Psychological Adaptation, Social Norms

The most fundamental way in which culture pushes against biology

Posted 26 Aug 2015 / 0

National Public Radio “For Prospective Moms, Biology and Culture Clash” Seven years later, I need to check and see how these American demographic trends have developed. Are even more women having babies later in life? Interesting thing here is how big a tension there is between our cultural choices and our biological realities. If fertility peaks Read More

A Minor Post, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Evolution, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Memetic Fitness, Radio & Podcasts, Reproductive Fitness, Senescence, Sex and Reproduction, Social Norms

The forces of cultural evolution push hard on political humor

Posted 07 Jan 2015 / 0 A Major Post, Belief, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Memetic Fitness, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Reputation, Social Norms

Was Teilhard de Chardin the real inventor of an evolutionary approach to culture?

Posted 26 Jan 2014 / 0

On Being “Teilhard de Chardin on The “Planetary Mind” and Our Spiritual Evolution” We often give credit to Richard Dawkins — who is undeniably the inventor of the term “memetics” — for introducing an evolutionary approach to cultural change. But as this piece makes clear, de Chardin was already thinking on far more large scales about Read More

A Minor Post, Biography, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ecosystem Ecology, Evolution, Geology, Homo species, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Memetic Fitness, Radio & Podcasts, Religion, The WmD Project

Money Talking about Janet Yellen and multilevel selection

Posted 10 Jan 2014 / 0

WNYC Money Talking “Helping Ordinary Americans Focus Of Fed Under Janet Yellen” Should the economy serve the society as a whole, or only some individuals in that society? Wow is it refreshing to hear a radio segment ask that question!

A Minor Post, Cultural Evolution, Memetic Fitness, Multilevel Selection, Radio & Podcasts

“Brainchildren” — another way to conceptualize our devotion to cultural fitness

Posted 25 Oct 2013 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Bringing up brainchildren” This is such a fun and insightful essay on the relationship between our pursuits that yield — alternatively — genetic and memetic fitness. It effectively captures the wish of the intellectual producer to leave behind a legacy of ideas, to affect the cultural idea pool in some Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cultural Evolution, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Memetic Fitness

New evidence that economic cooperation existed between Vikings and Inuit

Posted 24 Nov 2012 / 0

The November 2012 issue of National Geographic features an interesting article entitles “Vikings and Native Americans” that suggests that Viking settlers and Native Americans enjoyed a cooperative relationship. Archaeological evidence suggests that Europeans were depicted positively in Native American artifacts, and the pattern of settlements uncovered in recent digs reveals that Viking and Native American settlements were in close Read More

A Minor Post, Archaeology, Articles, Cooperation, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Human Evolution, Memetic Fitness