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From: rmey4892 (rmey4892@postoffice.uri.edu)
Date: Wed Feb 27 2002 - 00:31:17 GMT

  • Next message: Lawrence DeBivort: "RE: Rumsfeld Says He May Drop New Office of Influence"

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    Hi all,

    >I recently polled a few geneticists working in speciation. They said that
    >there is no obvious correlation between number of point mutations and other
    >mutations (duplications, inversions, etc) and the reproductive isolation of
    >sexual species.

    >What counts is the post hoc success at reproduction. The difference between
    >subspecific and varietial "races" and a full species is that the likelihood
    of >successful reproduction when sympatric (in the same locale) is
    approximately >equal to the inverse of the effective (ie, fertile) number of
    organisms in the >deme.

    offspring/year=(effective population)^-1 ????? is that the equation???

    sounds interesting. I wonder if I could find two memetic species that satisfy
    those criteria.

    >Do not make the mistake of thinking that all or even necessarily most of the
    >unique features of a species are due to selection. Many features (characters,
    >they are called in systematics; traits in morphology and anatomy) are in fact
    >brought to fixation or equilibrium by drift, and many are eliminated for the
    >same reason.

    but these also act in a predictable manner. what it boils down to is Gould's
    contingency (its a wonderful life, 1989). if you rewind the tape and evolution
    plays again any one of a number of random events can change the course of
    history. describe something that is random, in the sense of TRULY random.
    things appear to us to be random because their underlying cause or reality
    cannot be directly sensed by our sensory apparatus, and our scientific
    instruments take us only a little further in finding truth.Chaos theory has a
    bit to do with this too: unpredictable but not random.

     Suffice it to say I make no such mistake but only wished to reiterate an idea
    I had read somewhere that any organism could evolve into any other organism.
    Theoretically it has to be so, since it HAS already happened.

    >On the current model of speciation, most unique features of a species aare a
    >matter of contingency - the isolated population from which the new species
    >develops happens to have some unique set of frequencies of alternatives which
    >drift to form the novel species. Under this model, most mutations occurred
    >*before* isolation, in the ancestral species.

    d'accord ("I agree" en francais). I wonder if the same is true for memetic
    species? perhaps in memetic species both are possible and the decision of
    which one happens when is entirely a matter of "chance".

    >More than this. It is worth treating memes and genes as if they >are
    "decoupled", to use Stephen Toulmin's felicitous phrase. Most of tyhe time
    >they are, and then we have a baseline to attend to actual, rather than rashly
    >conjectured, cases in which a correlation between memes and genes occurs. It
    >is my opinion that not only do genes not force many memes (although they may
    >very well force the range of options memes can take), but that the >memetic
    "range" of variation *exceeds* the range of viable genetic options, so >that
    even if genes become less fit in bearers that adopt the memes (eg, of
    >celibacy), the memes will be fitter in some context and propagate anyway.

    I'll drink to that.

    >> Memetic species should be coherent collections of traditions(not just one
    >> as
    >> someone proposed). large collections of memeplexes that form a large
    >> coherent
    >> body of information (with some variation obviously mixed in for good
    >> measure)
    >> should be considered memetic species, so religion can have a part in it
    >> too,
    >> but not all of it. The point is moot anyway, since memetic species will
    >> soon
    >> disappear forever (until space exploration...Go Star Trek).

    >I'm not sure what you mean here. In the older scholastic, and prior to that
    >neo-Platonic, tradition of classification, a "species" was merely some
    >differentiable element of a genus, and the genus might itself be a >species
    ...under a wider genus. What we now call species are what the medievals >called
    infimae species (the lowest species). I am in some favour of returning >to
    this approach - a species is whatever can be differentiated out of some
    >larger genus (or, as Locke would put it, "sort"
    >). In culture, which is, after all, where this approach was formulated in the
    >first place, there would be some fractal complexity of species, and a
    cultural >species might be some larger civilisation, or some scientific
    discipline, or a >movement of musical performance techniques. All that counts
    is that there are >those who are, as memetic actors, "in" the species, and
    those who >are "out". .I'm not a scientist, and I am a westerner. At one time
    I was on >the fringes of being a guitarist. Where the traditions
    *self-*discriminate, >there are species (just as where organisms
    self-classify, there are biological >species).

    The category of memetic species will not disappear but can only be recogniuzed
    while there are memetic species to study, and maybe when they are gone can
    only be accessed by the ethnographic work that has been done on them. The
    memes representing these people will only exist in an incomplete fashion in
    our history books and anthropological literature, and perhaps in the artifacts
    their memetic species has left behind. extinct.

    one will be extant (albeit, a very diverse species, since not everyone
    receives small pox blankets, but some are invited into the mix and introduced
    to the world)

    as for self-discriminating, I have wondered a bit myself about that. It may be
    awhile before I reach a verdict on it, but I suppose I should agree with
    however it is in Darwin-land. It has been a faithful map to date.

    don't reduce the species concept in memetics to "guitarists, westerners, and
    scientists", because I can be all these things, just as I can have genes to
    make a human arm, leg, and foot. What matters is the whole, but you are
    unlikely to find any guitarwesternerscientsists, so it could be lonely to
    define yourself that way.So how about you stick to defining yourself as a
    member of the human species that regularly converses with other members around
    the world and rarely converses with different memetic species, the individuals
    comprising said memetic species, who in fact know very little about our
    memetic species, and perhaps are even unaware of our existence.

    See the problem here is isolated cultures barely exist anymore so the term is
    almost useless, except to explain the vestigial elemnts that we still view
    today and know as "culture" (like chinese culture, russian culture
    etc.)(here's an idea I was tossing around....if there is some maximum speed
    for cultural innovation and some maximum speed for communication and some
    number of people on the earth, can there ever be a uniform culture where
    everyone is the same? I doubt it very much, but it could perhaps come close,
    not that that is desireable. I'll have to try to work on that equation).


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    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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