of Memetics -
Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
With the first few issues of the Journal in publication, we see a great diversity of fascinating research in its papers. In addition to the formally published articles, many of us have held intense and productive scientific discussions on our discussion list. Our aim has been one of advancing the science of memetics first and foremost, rather than striving to build the world's flashiest web site. This work progresses, and is generating interest across many disciplines.
With the start of a new journal in any field comes an outlet and a stimulant for new science. After many months of preparation, JOM-EMIT is now showing just such positive results. Yet when the journal and the field of research are both new, there arises the possibility of readers overlooking older journals and concluding that in just one volume they have found the only sources for refereed articles in the field. The situation becomes worse when a prior journal has folded, as that can make the science look far less established than it really is, especially to outsiders. It potentially even obscures view of earlier works that gave technical definition to the very concepts now used. Such a discontinuity has happened in memetics journals, as the earlier paper-bound Journal of Ideas folded in 1991.
Important work was published in the pages of that memetics and information evolution journal, whose publication ended for reasons unrelated to the aims of the journal or the merits of its contributions. Elan Moritz published a general introduction to memetics and explored its background. Aaron Lynch gave the term meme a technical definition for symbolic and quantitative analysis. Francis Heylighen, Cliff Joslyn, and Valentin Turchin published an introduction to the Principia Cybernetica Project. John Tyler Bonner memetically analyzed the evolution of culture in animals. Keith Henson and Arel Lucas investigated the memetics of creationism. Francis Heylighen analyzed the memetic evolution of cooperation. And the list goes on.
Significant memetics articles are of course published in other science journals as well. But these journals remain in print and indexed in the data bases that scholars use to find articles by title, author, keyword, and so forth. Therefore we take time to call special attention to the four issues of that earlier memetics publication, the Journal of Ideas. We do so in part to answer those critics who may have missed what they wanted to find in the world's most recent memetics papers. But we also do this to make a wealth of science more visible to new memeticists engaged in research for future publication. We expect our current contributions to help stimulate and strengthen many new lines of investigation, which in turn will bring further papers into publication at JOM-EMIT. Likewise, we welcome the prospect of publishing still more results from investigations stimulated or strengthened by papers available in other sources for serious memetics and evolution works, including the Journal of Ideas.
Back to Issue 2
Bruce Edmonds, Centre for Policy Modelling, Jan-1998 © JoM-EMIT 1998