everything is biology. how we look. how we behave. how we think. how we feel. these characteristics are affected by our genomes (nature). they are also affected by the evironment (nurture, epigenetics).

humans are products of biology. we’re organisms existing in environments.

some people say that genes only code for proteins. yes, that’s true(-ish). but organisms are built of proteins, and those proteins (and the amounts and their arrangements) that you happen to be made of clearly must affect what you are like. therefore, genes affect what you are like (since they coded for the proteins).

human cultures are emergent properties of the characteristics of groups of humans. in other words, human cultures are also emergent properties of biology, since humans are biological organisms (are there any other kind?). however, there are also “accidental” aspects to cultures that are contingent upon the environments in which the groups exist as well as some goofy mechanisms like cultural exchange (which is really just an element of a group’s environment, isn’t it?).

note that there are feedback mechanisms in all directions here: genes affect human behavior may affect environment which may in turn affect genes again. or, genes affect human behavior affects culture may effect genes again.

update 10/27: see also boilerplate 2.0

(note: comments do not require an email. not even opposable thumbs.)


  1. “human cultures are also emergent properties of biology”

    And of physics, too, as far as that goes. It is not a very useful scale however. Better to think in human terms: ideas, motives, etc.. Renormalization as they call it in physics. You want an “effective” theory.


  2. @luke – “Better to think in human terms: ideas, motives, etc.. Renormalization as they call it in physics. You want an ‘effective’ theory.”

    i find it makes more sense to think of humans in terms of biology. motives, for instance. what motivates people? the drive to reproduce (their dna), mostly. the motives people say they have for doing the things that they do seem, to me, to be proximate explanations (if there is such a term).

    i’ve never understood humans until i started thinking about us as biological organisms. but maybe that’s just me.


  3. @luke – “But, tell me, what is your biological motivation for writing this blog?”

    heh. yeah, hard to tell ’cause such motivations are not really apparent to our conscious minds, are they?

    i guess i’d have to say that, being a fairly logical person (as far as that goes — more than the average person, anyway) who likes her reality to be real (i.e. based on the facts) — whatever combination of genes makes me be the way that i am drive me to push my ideas forward — in order to (hopefully, if possible) benefit genes like mine.

    same as everyone else, really.

    silly, i know. but that’s how it is.


  4. @luke – “But, tell me, what is your biological motivation for writing this blog?”

    oh, yes. and there are, no doubt, more personal, psychological reasons for me blogging. you know — desiring attention, wanting to be “seen.” but that’s, ultimately, mate attraction** stuff, which brings us back to biology again. (^_^)

    (**been there, done that. but, it’s hard to ignore biological drives.)


  5. @luke – well, if by hot you mean not very tall star wars geek with glasses and sensible shoes who reads steve sailer too much then, yeah, i’m smokin’! (~_^)


  6. Lord of the Rings geeks are sexier.

    But I used to be so proud to know everything about Star Wars, up to the Death Star radius… 8-)


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