Re: Words and memes

From: Francesca S. Alcorn (
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 04:44:08 GMT

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    Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 23:44:08 -0500
    From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    Subject: Re: Words and memes
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    >> > Yes, but there is more and more research out there which suggests
    >> > that religious belief can have a positive impact on health (fitness
    >> > increments).
    >> >
    >> >
    >Again interesting article Frankie. It seems that religion
    >still is useful in maintaing good health. The psychological
    >basis stinks a little bit however, and should be replaced.

    What do you mean? Are you trying to say that they should have
    restated it in neuroscientific terms rather than psych? Or that you
    disagree with the psych conclusions that they draw?

    I see the combination of psychology and memetics as being potentially
    very productive. Psychology is not as empirically based as some
    might wish, but neuroscience is too much in it's infancy to map out
    the territory covered by psych. It's very exciting to see
    neuroscience able to explain more and more. The two are almost like
    opposite sides of a bridge spanning a chasm, and at some point they
    will meet. What psychology has to offer is that it has tried to
    systematically describe the subjective experiences that neuroscience
    describes chemically and biologically.

    I see a link between this article and the other one about dopamine
    and social status that I (honestly) didn't see when I first posted
    them. Let's say that god really is the "big alpha male in the sky" -
    then by "affiliating" with him, one could actually achieve the
    neurochemical changes discussed in the other article - with dopamine
    and decreased drug addiction. That might explain some of the health
    benefits described in this article. Which raises the question if
    "believing" a meme might not possibly produce quantifiable changes in

    Would it be ethical to identify a population which has a high level
    of conversion (prison for example?) and measure the D2 receptors
    levels to establish a baseline and then do a followup a year or two
    later with a matched group of convert/nonconverts?


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