Dear Reader CCBC disagrees with me regarding cultural evolution. Here’s my thinking, briefly.
- Cultures are different from each other and change over time.
- New cultural traits seldom arise for well-thought-out adaptive reasons: most are just made up capriciously.
- Not all cultural traits are adaptive, i.e. conducive to the long-term survival of a culture in a recognisable form. Most traits are adaptively irrelevant, but some are counteradaptive.
- Cultures that accumulate enough counteradaptive traits will either dwindle and disappear, or change dramatically. In either case, the original culture will no longer be extant.
- The disappearance of a culture needn’t mean the death of all its human carriers. They may instead become dispersed and assimilated into other cultures, or stay in place and change their habits.