Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War

“There is relatively little respected academic work about a science of social prediction, but in the late 1940s to early 1950s science fiction authors Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov (who were often ahead of their time) wrote speculative stories about the concept, Heinlein referring to ‘social psychodynamics’ (Heinlein 1941, 1953) and Asimov calling it ‘Psychohistory’ (Asimov 1951, 1952, 1953). (‘Psychohistory’ has a more recent use that has nothing to do with social prediction.)

In ‘Memetics and the Modular Mind’ (Henson 1987) I wrote about memetics as a path to social prediction, but while memetics provided an epidemic model for the spread of memes (that is, elements of culture), it didn’t develop as a science of social prediction. In retrospect, the focus was too narrow. The scope had to be widened to include the evolved psychology of a meme’s host in order to predict–given particular environmental circumstances–which memes would flourish and which would die out.

The present article proposes an evolutionary psychology based model of social prediction, particularly for wars and related social disruption such as riots and suicide bombers.” (kuro5hin)