RE: Breath Mints: A Hot War for America's Cool Mouths

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Wed Feb 27 2002 - 06:35:10 GMT

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    Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 01:35:10 -0500
    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: RE: Breath Mints: A Hot War for America's Cool Mouths
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    At 09:15 AM 26/02/02 -0500, you wrote:
    >I do believe that we should deride any efforts by marketers to 'pitch' their
    >memetic capabilities, if any are so doing. Are any, that we know of? In
    >addition, I think that we should continue to assert and recognize that
    >memetic engineering cannot be done, or is ineffective. My opinion.
    > > I still think marketing people claiming to use memetics, or
    > > memeticists offering their expertise to marketing people is
    > > premature and a
    > > bit specious. Behavioural change is the key, and I don't think marketing
    > > achieves that (instead perhaps influencing brand awareness and
    > > identification), and certainly don't see how anyone could claim
    > > to have the
    > > required knowledge of memes to engineer them. but I know we've been done
    > > that route before.
    > >
    > > Vincent

    I think by analogy plant and animal breeders practiced their trade for
    millennia before enough was understood to do genetic engineering. In fact,
    for a long time after the basis of genetics was understood the breeders had
    more control over what they were doing than the people who were up on the
    esoteric aspects of theory.

    Memetics is mostly descriptive and limited prediction. I agree that we are
    not quite at the point of "designer memes." But that point is rapidly
    approaching, with the application of evolutionary psychology to understand
    the reward pathways that meme propagation can exploit.

    That being the case, I would at least examine the claims as they are put
    forth. While any particular one may not be effective, I would expect
    effective memetic engineering to emerge within at most a decade of two.

    Keith Henson

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