Talk:Sociocultural evolution

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Remove non-encyclopedic note about Cultural Transmission[edit]

I recently noted a note at the early paragraphs of the article, reproduced here:

"(Note, this article focusses on that use of the term 'socio-cultural evolution' to refer to work that is not in line with contemporary understandings of the word 'evolution'. There is a separate body of academic work which uses the term 'cultural evolution' using a more consensus Darwinian understanding of the term 'evolution'. For a description of this work, based in the foundational work of DT Campbell in the 1960s and followed up by Boyd, Richerson, Cvalli-Sforza, and Feldman in the 1980s, go to Cultural evolution or Dual inheritance theory.)"

Sentences such as "Is not in line with contemporary understandings of the word evolution" or "using a more consensus Darwinian understanding of the term evolution" are a matter of opinion, and not a criteria about which topic deserves the title (besides, the usage represented in the article is even older than Darwin's work).

I am for removing this note. I added a Broaden template, as I think these fields and others (such as HBE, and perhaps clyodinamics) should be added or discussed. Alternatives could be 1) Add a disambiguation page, or 2) Add those topics as contents of this article (perhaps correcting and expanding the section "sociobiology"). The latter would be my preferred option, yet, this "separate body of academic work" has historically ignored (or dismissed) the previous existence of a body of knowledge using that name for a long time, which was very influential in the work of Darwin himself (and yet, they are supposed to be the "consensus Darwinian" body of knowledge). As far as I know, Stephen K. Sanderson is the only person who has attempted some discussion between both fields. The encyclopaedic article should not address this lack of discussion, but describe them as separated bodies of knowledge. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Moved from Talk:Evolution of societies[edit]

While fixing the redirects, I realised that this page has been made into a redirect in 2003, but the talk page remained. I am moving it here, as it should have been merged into Talk:Cultural evolution back then. As chronologically this is the oldest related talk, I am adding it at the top of this talk page. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 15:50, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Shortened the first paragraph:

A society is a group of individuals belonging to the same species, and it doesn´t care for the happiness of the individuum but for the reproduction of common information (which is genes and culture). During the history of mankind, societies have been struggling against each other, using weapons, economic power and ideology, and have often influenced each other or merged. See social_dynamics.

For example the American societies cares to set the guidelines that an individual may persue it's happiness.

It would be nice to have some more information about the easter island case.

And before having an article on Evolution of societies which is not an easy topic we should have some definition(s) of society first.


In revising the article I deleted much of the previous version, because I found it unhelpful and poorly written. I know others may disagree and want to reincorporate parts of it back into the article, so here it is (SR):

During the history of mankind, societies have been struggling against each other, using weapons, economic power and ideology, and have often influenced each other or merged. See social_dynamics.
Societies have been developed by life, further enlarging information and stability, but after a while a society can turn against its origin: For a society can´t reproduct itself, it has no other option than to strive to live on for forever. In the end it could push the envelope until 5 past 12, still waiting for the wonder to come which would prevent its death and teleport it out of the dead end. Such catastrophes have often occured, see Hitler´s "total war", or the ancient societies of Malta, Kreta and the easter islands.

I see the mistakes I made, but I would like to see you correcting them rather than just cutting it all. You have cut out all content, it is absolutly dead now.

There might be persons who would enhance my texts, but they won´t find them likely buried in /talk. I think you miss the right balance - this encyclopedia is in progress, and mistakes are made all the time anywhere. Your rigidness kills it.

Sorry, the previous article was DOA. I couldn't "correct" them because I simply do not understand what the previous version was trying to say. "Societies have been struggling against each other?" Well, yes, many societies are often at war or in competition with other socieites, but this begs the question of what a social system is; also, societies have many ways of relating to one another. Also, I do not see how this process accounts for the evolution of societies. Do societies "enlarge their information and stability?" Maybe, in some sense, but what that sense is is highly variable, and it cetrtainly is not a "law" of societies or a trend. "After a while a societiy can turn against its origin" suggests a linear model of social development that was rejected as both bad science and dangerous Western myth by the 1920s.
Do you want to just vent your personal opinions about life? Join a list-serve. But if you want to contribute to an encyclopedia, an article has to be about something outside of yourself, something that you have researched. I am not being rigid, I am expressing what I believe are reasonable and still very flexible standards of Wikipedia.
The revised article at least educates readers about important discussions that serious and informed people have been having. I am sure that my revision has left out a lot, and I hope you will add to it. But I simply could not see anything in the earlier version that said anything clear or meaningful to include in the article. SR

I didn't see anything here about societies deliberately started by individuals or pioneering groups. The premise seems to be that societies simply coalesce out of chaos. I'd like to see some other theories. User:Ed Poor

obviously this is still going to need work, including edition for style. I made two changes for now.

First, I got rid of "most intelligent" since there is a danger of ethnocentric or even species-centric notions of intelligence. I also got rid of the phrase "in the wild" for hominidae, since the very notion of "wild" is probelmatic when talking about genus Homo, it reflects tha nature/culture myth of the European enlightenment which is not scientific, SR

Try "cognitive" for under-four-year-old children and Great Apes, "sentient" for anything with a theory of mind, and avoid "intelligent" if you can at all.

Considering the turgid history of this page, the importance of Marx's theory to history, and the constant censorship of material about ecoregional democracy or alternative lifestyles, I consider my approach to this topic to be well-balanced. I'm glad we're talking about it.

It's very tough to address the various types of evolution, how individual and social evolution differ - the page when I found it failed to describe what anyone did about this before or after Spencer.

The idea of evolution of societies is not going away. Nor is the controversy. We gain more from a thoughtful hack at the stuff than we do from bouncing it.

I appreciate giving this the attention it deserves.

About "wild" humans - the term 'feral' is scientifically defined, but more important, it refers to a "natural point of view" as opposed to a "neutral point of view", that being defined primarily by one's body and surrounding ecology. I tried to add this to the NPOV article but someone without a body who is not breathing air may have removed it for not being 'neutral'.  ;-)

I did some backup definition work on Gaians and Greens which may be helpful - and worked it in with the postmodernists and critical theorists to make a nice ironic paragraph. I also differentiated Gaia Hypothesis (which already had a good entry) from Gaia Theory (which didn't), and the environmental and conservation movements which is always controversial when you try to split them off from ecology or peace. Whatever. Had to be done.

This article now reads quite well, and structurally starts to make some sense.


- instead listening to political ecologists - Greens or Gaians.

The troublem is that political ecologists is defined on its link to be Gaians. So you have Gaians listening to Gaians.


While there is little consensus on desirable evolution of societies, there is remarkably little dispute on what is undesirable: crowding, conflict, dogma, war, disregard for the arts and a stifling of spiritual life. Fictional Dystopias may thus be the best guide to social evolution, e.g. continental trading blocs as forseen by George Orwell.

This just isn't true. There are a number of ideologies which view crowding, conflict, dogma, war, disregard for the arts, and a stifling of spiritual life as desirable.

I'm trying to rework the article in a chronological basis starting with pre-industrial society. Going to Rosseau, Darwin, Marx, and Spencer --- Don't worry, my edits preserved yours. I left all your text and put everything snipped out into serious rewrite into hopefully useful form.

I get your objection about the un/desirability - I toned it down. But the point of that paragraph is that Fictional Dystopias are probably more reliable than science as a why to mark out "what we don't want" - they've had a huge influence on the Western World where "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is more read than the Bible. The fact that we got continental trading blocs and military alliances *anyway* probably means they're inevitable. And certainly we see dictionary hacking all the time. ;-)

Your objection applied perfectly to the new tribalists but poorly to an Ecoregional Democracy, so I split the two out to differentiate somewhat - ED or Bioregional Democracy has nothing really to do with tribalism as such...

I agree with a chronological focus but also with differentiating indigenous, Chinese and Judeo-Christian views. Islam also plays a huge role in this - there's explicit support for evolution of society's social rules in Islam (the ijtihaad) at least until the Ottomans.

Another thing which I realized updating this is that the Greens, Gaians and scientific ecologists take three starkly different views on this subject...!

Gaians are like Marxists and see an evolution to stricter cooperation and deep integration. Ecologists want empirical evidence to build the entire explanation from the bottom up - how ecology guides and constrains behavior, conditions us, etc.. Greens are cognitive and democratic and wish these various visions and ideologies to be forced to work together to consensus.

In fact, that may well be the best way to differentiate the three views...


OK, I dealt with that, I think, but it reads a little clunkier. Gaians show up in four places now: as the inheritors of Spencer re: competition within societies, as the elite the critical theorists don't like, as the inheritors of Marx re: integration and cooperation among societies, and as one way to turn ecology into utopia.

I'd apologize for that, but in 1993-2001 the United Nations University did a comprehensive study of future scenarios, coming up with two too awful to live in, and one "Ecotopia" that was livable. Gaians are the dominant thread "at the top"... but i don't want to mention that as I'll probably get "undone".

IT's nice to end on the Popper quote, since it really says it all...

I have made a major revision. Almost all of my changes involve reorganization; I have tried to place developments in chronomlogical and logical order, and have tried to keep almost everything.

I have made some cuts, but I have sincerely tried to be fair to all points of view. I believe that all of my cuts fall under four categories

1) sentences that were completely unclear

2) sentences that were redundant

3) sentences that have nothing to do with "socal evolution."

4) sections that read like exchanges between opposing views (i.e. more like a conversation between opponents than an NPOV review of different positions)

For example, I cut the Popper quote. personally I love the Popper quote, but it is inappropriate for this article -- it is at best editorializing. I believe that much of what I removed might be appropriate for a list-serve, but not an encyclopedia article. I really hope that what I left does justice to the different points of view.


It's pretty good. It does the job. Which is saying a lot on this topic.

Actually it may be the best current introduction to this topic anywhere - I don't think the various eco-types see themselves in the context of Spencer, Marx, etc., although they clearly fit into this category of advocates and theorists in many ways.

I don't really agree about the Popper quote, but I'll stand by your judgement since you already knew how much I liked it.  ;-)

It seems to me to suggest that "evolution" and "intelligence" are closely related processes, intelligence being a form of accelerated evolution - and thus considering bad societies and rejecting them is a part of evolution proper, in an intelligent species. That choice is part of the game, that it's not something that acts *on* us but rather something we are *part of*.

It would certainly be fair to include in this article the fact that some proponents of theories of social evolution equate this with increased intelligence. BUT if you were to add this, you would also have to add that many people, both social theorists and biologists, reject this view. They do so for two reasons. First, they believe it is bad sociology because it implies that some societies are more intelligent than others when in fact they believe that intelligence is culturally relative. Second, they believe it is bad natural science because they equate evolution with change but NOY with progress, thus, more evolution is not an improvement in the same way that more intelligence would be an improvement.
beyond that I am very glad (and relieved ) that you do not have any strong objections about my changes. Yes, too bad about the Popper quote. If it isn't in the article on Popper, why not include it so people can see it? SR

If you agree, you may wish to add something like that.

The "West" Garden of Eden versus "East" Sage-King views is really interesting. In some ways the Gaians are combining those two models with ecology & science.

Yet another angle...

There has been much discussion about both what the ideal society would be, and what is wrong with contemporary society – such as crowding, conflict, dogma, war, disregard for the arts and a stifling of spiritual life. Fictional Dystopias documenting these in advance may thus be the most effective form of discourse, e.g. anticipating continental trading blocs as forseen by George Orwell in "Nineteen Eighty Four", 1948, or a media-and-drug-addled society as forseen by Aldous Huxley in "Brave New World", 1932. Certain features of an emerging society may be unavoidable, but creative social critics may alert us to them in time to avoid their more profound discomforts

I still object on NPOV and relevance grounds. The notion that dystopian fiction is an effective form of discourse and that social criticism may help prevent dystopia is a point of view, since it perfectly possible for a reasonable person to believe that dystopian fiction is ineffective and social criticism is useless or counterproductive. If that statement is added, it needs to be identified whose point of view that is. Also I don't quite understand the relevance of any of this to evolution of society.

Fair enough. Relevance: all processes of evolution test and discard what fails. If social creatures test and discard societies themselves, then it is reasonable to consider a fictional society as considered, and then rejected... leaving a society which is redefined by rejecting that choice.

NPOV: Agreed, to say that the dystopias drive social evolution is to say that social evolution exists. That can be made clear, as a counterpoint to those who say that it does not, or that it is purely a propaganda question.

It's hard to defeat the argument that the incredible popularity of books like Nineteen Eighty Four, Brave New World, Atlas Shrugged, We, Dune, Plato's Republic, More's Utopia, Swift's Gulliver's Travels is due to their social impacts. There are very few books over 300 years old that we still read for pleasure and education... suggesting that they are driving a form of social evolution.

If there *is* social evolution, then Popper's paradigm applies, and a Dystopia counts as a "bad idea" (for organizing society) that our intelligence considers and discards.

Personally I prefer the exact concepts ecological, sexual, ethical and moral evolution. It's pretty easy to define what those are. Social evolution seems to be a fuzzy combination of them all, and it often fails because it tries to predict the moral (aesthetic choice) component.

I mean, a Gaian may be able to tell me exactly how the evolutionary pressures mount, and what I have to do, but he can't tell me to like it or whether to pray for it to end or not.

Personally I think the article is terribly confusing.

Also, it seems from your comments that you are doing something a lot of Green activists do that personally annoys me. When I wrote the statement about the Sage-Kings I was thinking in terms of the 18th century Evidental school which was a bitter anti-Buddhist school. I wrote about five words on this, and you are talking about Gaians combining Eastern and Western models of thinking. The problem with this is that you really know nothing at all about the people that I am referring to other than the fact that they thought that society was in decline and that we ought to return to a pre-decline society. You don't know why they thought society was in decline, what they proposed to do about it, or anything else about them, yet even without knowing any of this, you assert that Gaians share their beliefs without having much of a clue as to what their beliefs were.

What you are doing is projecting your own beliefs on them rather than examining what their beliefs were. People do this all of the time, and its not necessarily a bad thing if you realize that you are doing it. It can lead to all sorts of problems if you aren't.

The opening statement uses the word allegedly in an odd fashion:

Evolution of societies refers to the concept that a society allegedly moves through stages with each stage generally being considered better than the previous one.

I'd rather see an exposition of the various schools of thought which advocate the concept. Even better would be an explanation of what forces cause this evolution. User:Ed Poor

Incredibly popular where?

One pet peeve of mine is Eurocentricism where statements about Europe or the West are assumed to be universally valid. There may be a strong tradition of dystopian literature as a form of social commentary in the West, but there isn't a similarly strong tradition in Chinese literature (where most social commentary comes in the form of satire or historical allusions).

--- I agree, actually - the fictional-dystopia approach seems to be part and parcel of the "proof by attempting counter-example" dualism of the West. BUt we removed that part.

I tried to deal with "allegedly", "better" and Eurocentricism a bit by adding some stuff on foundation ontology and how it varies across cultures... and maybe-controversially defining the particle physics foundation ontology as just one among many... no matter how good at weapons its proponents are... there's always more to learn.

" you assert that Gaians share their beliefs without having much of a clue as to what their beliefs were." - sorry, you're right, I overstated, I should have said only that there was a common thread of desiring trust in hierarchy.

I better defined Gaians in its own entry so that others can challenge it and relate it if they like. Better to say that Gaians *CLAIM* to have a unity of East and West assumptions in an energy-based foundation ontology. But that's going too far for an encyclopedia. I don't think Gaians would accept that... or even universally accept Fuller or Margulis or Meadows as their own gurus...

Gaians are just one of many groups claiing that societies evolve for purposes. In this article, there's nothing special about them.

Greens, though, are a different beast, operating by bottom-up consensus... in fact the commitment to democracy and consensus makes Greens really *NOT* Gaian. A Green will agree with you and try to put foundations under what he says to get on some common ground - a Gaian is likely to invoke "what is" in a top-down sense, generalizing from physical theory that happens to be current.

But even to say that is to get into generalizations more than we should...

I cut the following because it doesn't make sense and is not relevant:

Conflict between such views, and the inherent conflict of both with nationalism and religion, seems to have defined much of 20th century history. Today most political science focuses on the expression of these theories on a finite planet of humans prone to ethnic and ethical disputes.

1) I do not think that the conflict between Spencer and Marx's theories of cultural evolution had much to do with the history of the 20th century. If someone believes that any significant number of historians believe so, explain it in an article on 20th century histyr

2) I am not sure that there is an inherent conflict between nationalism and religion, although I am sure there is a complex relationship -- again, this needs to be explored in an article on religion and an article on nationalism

3) I do not believe that most of political science today is working within the framework of Spencer or Marx's notions of evolution.

This article is a mess[edit]

I'm sorry, but either it tries to pack too much in, or needs to be streamlined. A lot of detail is juvenile, with declarations of this or that truth, lacking justification.

In the postmodern section, it's asserted that no serious sociologist believes theory can predict the future. What foolishness! While some may take this view, relevance is testable. Words do not reality make. Prediction is a very viable approach, indeed its the most productive one.

The Auguste Comte section presents his three-stage theory as a universal. Not really. It describes 16th to 19th century France.

Given how absurd 19th and most 20th century sociological theories appear now, either we're messed up, or sociological theory has a short half-life.

General Comment on new additions[edit]

Hello Piotr! Thank you for the additions. It is nice to have the extra details, although I am concerned about the organization and clarity of the article. I propose changing the top of the article to quickly define the topic/history/critique; with the in-depth details provided in the main body. This gives the reader the option of quickly scanning the article, and reading further if interested. I don't have time to write up the proposed changes immediately, but will do so within the week.--Pariah 05:05, Jun 27, 2005 (UTC)


I begun it erroneusly on the Social Darwinism page. I have now realised that social evolutionism is the right article for this, and moved most of the material I added there here. I will continue with expantion in the sections I sketched, with description of theories by the linked sociologists and anthropologists. I'd appreciate any comments. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 19:41, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)


I think this should be merged with cultural evolutionism. Works which I read so far have little distinctoon between socilogical/social/cultural evolutionism, and cite both sociologists and anthropologist. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 19:41, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

From a historical standpoint, Social Evolutionism warrants a separate article. Linear social evolution was and remains a prevailing "folk" theory of social development, even though modern scientific theory (cultural evolution) has rejected it. The article is intended to clarify this distinction.--Pariah 05:05, Jun 27, 2005 (UTC)
I am done with the rewritte from my paper sources. Now it is time to compare those articles again. Even if merger is inadvised, we should fix the redirects/ilinks, because quite often from the context they could refer to any two of those articles. See Talk:Cultural evolution for my detailed explanation why, what and when merge. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 15:48, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Note that Britannica has article on sociocultural evolution. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 20:18, 19 July 2005 (UTC)


I removed part of the cirique, beacuse it looked like a political correctness rant. Feel free to disagree and/or rewrite/reinstert:--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 19:41, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The reasoning, language, and ethnic & intellectual bias of social evolutionism persist into the 21st century. Words like primitive, civilized, advanced, evolved and developed, and the implied value judgements, are still quite common, embedded in the media, entertainment, politics, academia, and everyday speech. Examples include international relations (esp. post-9/11), ongoing debates between ideologies (such as science vs. religion), in video games such as Age of Empires and Civilizations, and in many works of fiction. Even efforts aimed at ending conflict and inequality, such as the United Nations, or works of utopian fiction such as Star Trek, often employ language that places societies along a roughly linear scale of social, political, and economic advancement. While this is generally harmless on the surface, extreme forms of social evolutionary thinking put a psuedo-scientific gloss on ethnic & intellectual biases that in the past justified social agendas ranging from colonialism to slavery and the Nazi holocaust.

I concede that the tone of this section is not NPOV and should be overhauled. However, the main point (linear social evolutionary thinking persists in modern culture) is a relevant point to the article and should still be included. The issue transcends political correctness and is more an issue of prevailing social fact.--Pariah 05:05, Jun 27, 2005 (UTC)

Moved from Talk:Cultural evolution after merge[edit]


Could we have a hand with this please? Dunc_Harris| 12:14, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Do you mean you want people interested in cultural evolution to work on the evolutionism page, or that you want help expanding the cultural evolution page? Rex 14:43, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Shouldn't this be merged with Social evolutionism - aren't both articles talking about the same thing under different names? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 16:52, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I agree that some sort of more general article on this topic would be good. Rex 19:44, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

My impression has been that the Cultural Evolution article defines modern anthropological theory (i.e. actual science) in detail, while the Social Evolutionism article was mainly intended for historical interest, to quickly summarize an archaic view of linear progress which persists today as a "folk" theory of social development. The contrast between the two ideas seems to be the important feature.--Pariah 05:37, Jun 27, 2005 (UTC)
I am done with the rewritte of 'Social evolutionism' from my paper sources. Now it is time to compare those articles again. Even if merger is inadvised, we should fix the redirects/ilinks, because quite often from the context they could refer to any two of those articles. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 15:49, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

This article states that: Today anthropologists distinguish between "unilinear cultural evolution" (or "social evolutionism") and "multilinear cultural evolution." . I would agree that "unilinear cultural evolution" is a good description of the classical social evolutionism. But the book (Piotr Sztompka, Socjologia, Znak, 2002, ISBN 8324002189) I based my rewritten article on goes on to talk about White, Steward, Service, neoevolutionism, sociobiology and even post-industrial societies. This can be the result of the difference between Polish and English terminology, or some more general confusion. Nonetheless the fact remains that the content of 'social evolution' and 'cultural evolution' articles is very, very close, and thus they deserve a merger (perhaps under a socio-cultural evolutionism)? Specifically, this articles sections: 'The historical context of theories of cultural evolution' and 'Unilineal Evolution' are almost identical with s.e. sections 'The birth of Social Evolutionism' and 'Era of classical evolutionism'. They definetly should be merged and a subarticle copied to unilinear cultural evolution and classical social evolutionism (one of which should redirect into another). Then this article's 'Multilineal evolution' needs to be merged with 'Neo-evolutionism' section of s.e. article (I have already created a subarticle on Neoevolutionism. 'Sociobiological theories of cultural evolution' section, which is now nothing more then a stub-section, needs to be merged into 'Sociobiology' section in s.e. (Sociobiology article existed prior to my rewriting). 'Contemporary moral and political debates over cultural evolution' section is the only one which has no clear partner in the s.e. article and thus can remain more or less unchanged, same as the 'Theory of modernisation' and 'Theory of post-industrial society' sections from s.e. article. Would you agree? If there are no objections, I will begun merging those articles as specified above in a day or two, but I'd appreciate your help. On the bright side, I feel that after a merge this may represent a FAC material. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 16:02, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

I have begun mergin this article into social evolutionism. When I am done, I will redirect this, fix double redirects and move talk. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 18:43, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

feature article candidacy[edit]

This article is the result of a merge of two articles. It is an important topic, and the article contains much important information. I think it is a plausible candidate for featured article status, but I think it still needs some editing after the merge, both to sort out what social and cultural theories have in common, and what distinguishes them, Slrubenstein | Talk 12:39, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

I would oppose featured article status based on the ridiculously long introduction, the excessively lengthy paragraphs, and the unwillingness of the article "owner" to allow others to correct his stylistic errors. It's nearly unreadable. --goethean 14:38, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Uh, who is the "owner?" I'm not arguing with you that it can't be improved on (thus, my recent edits — which I acknowledge by no means are definitive or sufficient), the question is, why can't we improve this? Can you point to some specific stylistic errors, and ideas you have for shortening paragraphs/continue editing it? Slrubenstein | Talk 14:50, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

I am glad to see discussion here, after a few uneventful days at FAC. See my comments at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Sociocultural evolution if you haven't yet. If we can shorten the lead, that would be great, nonetheless, this is an important and COMPLEX theory, and we must be careful what is removed - the lead should be comprehensive SUMMARY of the article (see guidelines for Wikipedia 1.0. Also, MoS recommends that wherever possible, lead should be no more then 3 paragraphs. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 17:02, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

If Intelligent Design can be summarized in 2 short paragraphs, there is no reason why sociocultural evolution can't. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that more text in the intro is better. Actually, the opposite is closer to the truth. --goethean 17:11, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
Well then, show us your better shorter lead. For now, the 5-para seems to improve little compared to my 3-para version - it mostly splits the 3 paras into 5 and changes the order of few sentences. In addition it does not contain several important ilinks (to social progress, social change and social development concepts). I think my version is easier to understand: it defines the theory in first para, comprares uni and multi in the second one, and gives historical overview in the third. I will wait with restoring my lead for now - perhaos you could explain to me why the new version is bettr? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 17:23, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

I am responsible for the current intro. I think it is much simpler and just as effective. I take issue with two of Piotrus's points. First, there is no single theory of cultural or social evolution, even today (I am responding to this clause: "this is an important and COMPLEX theory" which refers to "a theory," singular). Second, I don't see the logic of his/her organization (defining "the theory" — note again the singular; comparing two different theories (suddenly plural). It is important to make this contrast, and I have tried to do so in a smoother style. But this second paragraph reveals the problem with the first: to try to formulate out of two different theories (when by the way there are others, it isn't even just two) a definition of a "single" theory can only lead to an overwrought and awkward first paragraph. Finally, I do not see why the third paragraph then gives an historical overview. The historical overview necessarily repeats material in the previous two paragraphs, making the intro unnecessarily long and wordy. I am open to critical comments, but I think my recent edits leave us with a shorter, tighter intro that scrifices no important element. And remember, details ought to go in the body. My five paragraphs can easily be combined -- the issue isn't the number of paragraphs, it is the logic of the order of paragraphs and the economy of language that is at issueSlrubenstein | Talk 18:38, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

I find the five paragraphs to be much more readable than the three long ones. --goethean 18:59, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Uh, thanks. I just combined them into three, in any event. It is still shorter and I think more direct. But, Goethean, if you think splitting them up more or differently would work, go ahead. Piotrus, if you think I have left anything out, let's discuss it here -- a discussion that may also lead us to a better organization of the body of the article, Slrubenstein | Talk 19:24, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

After careful rereading, I do think you managed to shorten the lead without sacrificing much, which does improve the lead. You are also right that there was some confusion with single or plural theories. I did some changes to restore few ilinks/concepts I think must be mentioned in the lead, and I do think we need boled -(ism)s added - just check google for them, both have many thousands of hits. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 10:53, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Piotrus. I am sure we can work together to make this a much stronger article. Let's think about the body of the article, and what the most efficient and clear way would be to present that information. Slrubenstein | Talk 03:16, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

i would like to point out that cicvisation is material culture, i

How could an article with so many unreferenced sections with nothing but propositions be a candidate for featured article status? It seems more like original research by group consensus. An interested outsider (like myself) doesn't find much to rely on. DCDuring 15:49, 6 September 2007 (UTC)


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Ibn Khaldun?!?[edit]

I deleted the claim that some people consider him the father of sociology because thats just not true. I'm uncertain whether any reference to Ibn Khaldun is appropriate. If he does deserve a mention then the text certainly needs to be improved. (first lines of the Development subsection). --RedHouse18 02:56, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

I have not quite understood the point - are there any doubts indeed that "some people consider him the father of sociology"? I am just one of them. And 95% of my Arab-speaking colleages belong to them. And I am not an Arab, but I could easiely find 10 non-Arab scholars supporting this point - these could be definitely qualified as "some people" - so please believe me that "some people" do "consider him the father of sociology"! Phanerozoic 16:05, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

The point is worth some further discussion. Clearly some of the content of his thought was sociological in that it is at a higher level of abstraction than much historical discussion and the units of analysis are comparable to what prevails in some sociology. Clearly his work is early. I don't know whether anyone could find an earlier author who had written some significant sociological analysis. All of this says that he COULD have been the father of sociology (potent, old enough). The final question is "What is the influence of his thought on subsequent sociology?" This is tantamount to doing a paternity test or a DNA test for ancestry. Which sociologists (or, more likely, precursors to sociology) did his writings influence? DCDuring 16:31, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Separate category for Sociocultural evolution[edit]

Yesterday, this article got a category of its own, linking well over fifty pages together. I'm not sure I'm convinced this is a good thing. Especially some of the more abstract articles ('globalization', 'creative destruction') but also some topics that belong to a specific line of thought ('class struggle') would be well covered with a direct link to this article somewhere in or around their defining introduction, or an indirect link via the paradigms they fall in. Classical geographer 20:51, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Isn't Evolution a Misnomer in This Context ?[edit]

This article seems so vague. If one did a global replace of the terms "Change", "History", or "Development" for the term "Evolution" (and eliminated references to biological evolution) would any of the meaning actually change ? Are we just trying to appropriate the patina of a successful science (biology) without actually working to develop (NOT evolve) a theory of the evolution of anything specific.

Evolution, it seems to me, is necessarily about change in a population of enttties. It is not about change in individual entities. Change in indvidual entities of a population is "learning" or "development".

Furthermore, to mean something specific, evolution should refer to change processes in populations that involve replication, variation, and selection.

This kind of thinking could certainly be applied cultural artifacts, cultural practices, words, proverbs, songs, myths, social groupings. It seems hard to apply it to populations of societies or of nation states because the "life" of the constituent entities is so long and the entities are so large.

I appreciate that the way the term is being used here has a long history. I am just not so sure that it has had a sufficiently fruitful history to have earned the right to use the word "evolution" in a way that is so different from the meaning of the term in biology. DCDuring 01:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Evolution is used in this context in many academic publications. I do agree that much of it is just semantics, but we should stick with a term that's used in relevant publications.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  20:16, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

A small push in the right direction, I hope[edit]

I'm new to Wikipedia and I don't know much about social evolutionism, but I did notice quite a few grammatical errors in this article. I've taken the liberty of fixing these errors.Hunttthetroll 20:29, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Rethink Unified Field Theory And Evolution[edit]

Please glance at the following four brief essays and then re-read this note.

I humbly suggest that the underlying, essential thought, of these essays deserves your attention:

- Earth's life is an up-phased matter of the inanimate matter, all matter being essentially a format of constrained energy.

- The cosmos is an evolving energy affair consisting of endless intertwined evolutions.

- Culture is a ubiquitous trait of all matter, the driver of Evolution, of all evolutions. This is an extension of Darwin's and Broken Symmetry concepts.

- The further comprehension of Culture and Evolution is the essence of the quest for a Unified Field Theory.

Respectfully yours,

Dov Henis (A DH Comment From The 22nd Century)

(1) On Complexity

(2) "Broken Symmetry" Is Physics' Term Of Biology's "Evolution"

(3) More On Forces-Matter-Life Unified Theory

(4) Why 'Life' In Forces-Matter-Life Unified Theory (talk) 05:56, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Adapted previous comment to wikipedia layout because it was hardly readable. --Cyfal (talk) 09:01, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

removing graph PPTCountdowntoSingularityLog.jpg[edit]

I am removing the graph titled "PPTCountdowntoSingularityLog.jpg" from this page and all pages from which it is linked because it is mathematically trivial, as I have demonstrated in File_talk:PPTCountdowntoSingularityLog.jpg. I recommend all future graphs of the "technological singularity" be subject to same scrutiny, as anyone with a year of calculus under their belt can make a similar analysis. If you don't believe me, I encourage you to make a graph with the same axes, but instead of choosing significant "events" as data, choose random dates. You should get identical results. SamuelRiv (talk) 22:47, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Let's concentrate this discussion at Talk:Technological singularity#Removing graph PPTCountdowntoSingularityLinear.jpg. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 20:37, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Historical discussion is incomplete[edit]

This article does not consider contemporary cultural evolution within archaeology, an important and active area of research and publishing. Some of the following literature should be discussed:

�Adams, Robert McC. (2001) Complexity in Archaic States. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 20:345-360.

�Drennan, Robert D. and Christian E. Peterson (2006) Patterned Variation in Prehistoric Chiefdoms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103:3960-3967.

�Earle, Timothy (2002) Bronze Age Economics: The Beginnings of Political Economies. Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

�Feinman, Gary M. and Linda Manzanilla (editors) (2000) Cultural Evolution: Contemporary Viewpoints. Kluwer, New York.

�Johnson, Allen W. and Timothy K. Earle (2000) The Evolution of Human Societies: From Foraging Group to Agrarian State. 2nd ed. Stanford University Press, Stanford.

�Marcus, Joyce (2008) The Archaeological Evidence for Social Evolution. Annual Review of Anthropology 37:251-266.

�Trigger, Bruce G. (1998) Sociocultural Evolution: Calculation and Contingency. Blackwell, Oxford.

Michael E. Smith (talk) 18:00, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

SocioBiology Section has two entries on Dual Inheritance but needs only the second one[edit]

I hesitate to save a copy in which a repetitious and poorly written section is entirely removed... so i will leave that up to more invested individuals. There exist 2 places where the basic definition of Dual Inheritance Theory is introduced, both under the Sociobiology section. The first one is vague and less well written and contains relatively no additional information and should be removed. The second section cites specific proponents and authors on the topic and addresses its relative uses etc. and should stay. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:01, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

"Organic society" citations needed and alternative view[edit]

I am really unpleased with the section on "Organic society." First of all, there are no citations. Second of all, there are other points of view relating Christianity and the Age of Enlightenment. Some say that Christianity actually went AGAINST the "society as eternal decline from paradisaical past" meta-narrative in favor of "society as infinite progression to paradisaical future." If this were the case, then the latter might have taken up its optimism from the former. However, I am not an expert and I do not remember the sources of this alternative view. In any case, someone please provide citations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wiikee345 (talkcontribs) 00:59, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Cultural evolution should have its own article[edit]

It is pretty bad that "cultural evolution" redirects here. Note that "culture" and "society" are quite different things. Ants have society without culture. Social evolution is one concept and cultural evolution is a different concept with a different meaning. There is already an article on Social_evolution. Surely there should also be an article on cultural evolution. Indeed there used to be an article on cultural evolution - but it got deleted (and merged with this one) in 2005. No, the article on memetics doesn't cover it - evolution and genetics are different topics.

In a search duel, "cultural evolution" beats "sociocultural evolution" by about 20 to 1. Wikipedia is foolishly fighting a strong tide here. Why should Wikipedia mislead everyone about the actual fields involved, one wonders. TylerTim (talk) 17:28, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Start a cultural evolution page with RSs that call it cultural evolution. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 18:17, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

dual-inheritance theory[edit]

Is there a competing, contemporary account of sociocultural change? The other theories listed are all from an earlier era. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 18:24, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

first sentence[edit]

"Sociocultural evolution, sociocultural evolutionism or cultural evolution are theories of cultural and social evolution "

Are we really saying that "...cultural evolution [is a] theor[y] of cultural and social evolution"? Is anyone watching this page? It needs help. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 18:38, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

Intellectual Paternity ?[edit]

Auguste Comte is identified in the entry as the "father" of Sociology. There is no demand for a footnote identifying the source. Later, Lester Frank Ward is identified as the "father" of American Sociology and there is a demand for a citation in support of the assertion. It would seem that if Ward's paternity requires proving so too Comte must be backed by an appropriate source. Now if Comte's intellectual paternity is acknowledged as universally known within the field and so citation is waived then Ward's intellectual paternity is just as well known, at least in American sociology. LAWinans (talk) 03:42, 1 January 2016 (UTC)