Cultural dating practices
This is also unsurprising from a population biology perspective.Suppose that one of my children gets a mutation causing 1% less risk of infectious disease.[The Lost European Explorer] experiment has been repeated many times when European explorers were stranded in an unfamiliar habitat.Despite desperate efforts and ample learning time, these hardy men and women suffered or died because they lacked crucial information about how to adapt to the habitat.
The Central Inuit have lived around King William Island for at least 700 years. Nonetheless, the British explorers starved because they did not have the necessary local knowledge, and despite being endowed with the same cognitive abilities as the Inuit, and having two years to use these abilities, failed to learn the skills necessary to subsist in this habitat.
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.
However, recently “cultural evolution” has slipped, without much consideration, into a much stronger meaning.
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.