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From: rmey4892 (rmey4892@postoffice.uri.edu)
Date: Tue Feb 26 2002 - 23:46:16 GMT

  • Next message: John Wilkins: "Re: Words and memes--Cattle Killing"

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    >I am very ignorant regarding biology, but i thought speciation occured when
    >two creatures could no longer 'get it together' ie the offspring of the
    >union either is sterile or spontaneously aborts. With memetics, this
    >division is far more fluid, and doesn't necessarily represent the true
    >picture when cultures and languages interact.

    The biological species concept is what you speak of and it is very useful for
    genetics. It is utterly worthless for memetics, except only when you want to
    see the effects of memes on genes. I prefer to focus on the memes themselves
    and forget about the genes since they are both seperate and independent
    information systems with only minimal overlap.

    >If we push the biological analogy, which i am not always too keen on, then
    >if we had memetic species then there would be no point of contact except as
    >hunter , prey, or indifference (ie neither food nor hunter).

    not sure I understood the second part of that answer? but as for the biology
    analogy I think it is a perfect one, and far superior to the virus analogy.
    Point of contact? tribes communicate with each other....but if it is below
    some threshold and they differ significantly in their memetic composition (my
    kingdom for a memetic code to prove me right!!!!!! Somebody Watson and Crick
    me!!!) then they are memetic species. as for hunter and prey there are some
    interesting readings out there about the Maoris of New Zealand and other
    cannabalistic tribes. I think I read it in Jared Diamonds "Guns Germs and
    Steel" that it was generally a pacific Islander response to protein deficient
    diets???? anyone can corrwect me on that if you like.

    >Except of course that we don't because for us they weren't too useful, or we

    If every selection pressure that ever occured on any living organism were
    reversed then time would in essence move backwards reducing us all to
    primordial slime. you with me? In fact it would remove us all from this earth
    living only the common progenitor of all living things. This progenitor would
    then be subject to some "forward" evolution with an endpoint of some of his
    ancestors having prehensile tails or long necks. In fact it can be said, if
    you don't mind me saying that your mother is primordial ooze, that we all have
    close cousins that have prehensile tails and long necks, and they find very
    good uses for them.(I'm sorry I dragged your mother and cousins into
    this....I'll refrain in the future)

    >If you wished to live in times of scarcity you would let some one else try
    >first. When you are very hungry the temptation is eat! Memetically you would
    >copy someone else. Let them take the risk. Of course with scarce resource if
    >they scoff first there may be nothing left for you.

    If I saw something that appeared to be food I am sure I would try it using all
    my senses and reason to ascertain if it was safe, or even desirable. If I knew
    it was food and i was hungry I would of course eat, and probably try to beat
    the other guy to it.

    >A said earlier, if you want to use biological terms, what would be the
    >equivalent for things that can still interact but are not seperate species.

    let me tell you a little story about two birds that live in the northern
    hemisphere. One bird is black, the other white. they cannot interbreed. but
    the white bird has various neighbors it breeds with that are an off-white,
    egg-shell, or gray (I can't recall specifics, just know that it is a gradation
    of color). It is very interesting that if you follow these interbreeding
    populations around the Artic circle you finally arrive at the black bird. now,
    the black and white bird are considered seperate species but they do a fair
    amount of "interacting". as for humans, if two humans who are not members of
    seperate memetic species interact (sexually, socially, economically,
    memetically (communication that is),politically, etc.) then thay, by
    definition are the same species, since memetic differentiation has not
    isolated them.

    this is interesting if you've ever played the Kevin Bacon game. It also has
    the effect of uniting almost the entire extant population of humans into one
    memetic species, save those isolated tribes like the Inuit or Yanomamo. So how
    useful is the term memetic species? not very, except to describe the current
    state of the world as a fusion of ideas that were derived in memetic isolation
    and the wars in the world less about genetic proliferation and more about
    memetic domination (interesting side note here: George Bush has decided to
    extinguish memes in a two-fold way. 1 destroy biological organisms that carry
    said memes. 2 innundate the world with memes that show disdain for destruction
    of biological organisms. methinks I smell circular reasoning.But I guess its
    OK if I get to watch it all on TV (thinly veiled sarcasm....If I were G.W. I
    would have taken the moral high ground))



    P.S. oh yeah war is also about resource utilization. This is to ensure the
    continued increase in a population of memetically homogenized individuals, all
    striving to remove the barriers that memetic speciation created. In essence
    hybridization is the new "name of the game".

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit

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