RE: question about memes

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Thu Mar 14 2002 - 13:53:54 GMT

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: question about memes
    Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 13:53:54 -0000
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            <I was pondering about memes while listening to the Andrea Yates
    story on
    > the radio. Remember, she is the woman who drowned her 5 children in the
    > bathtub, because she wanted to save them from Satan.>
            Hi, this story was initially reported in the UK, but hasn't been
    followed on that much, so I wasn't aware of this "reason" for her actions.
    For my money it's about time we stopped tolerating religious fundamentalism
    as beng somehow legitimate, and recognised it for what it is- a kind of
    psychological disorder, when can and often does lead to damaging behaviour
    like this.

            <At one level it might be argued that a meme was "working" here. But
    I was
    > wondering, if she would not have killed the children anyway even if she
    > did
    > not believe in Satan. Then she just might have replaced the religious meme
    > with another one.
    > The meme might have made it easier to kill the children, but there must
    > have been a constant annoyance working within her which might have been
    > the
    > real cause of her action.
    > A similar argument then might be made for example for the twin tower
    > tragedy.
    > The consequence might be that memes are actually not so powerful as
    > sometimes discussed here. The memes might just give form to what actually
    > works on a more emotional level.>
    As you migh expect, I don't really see the 'protecting them from satan'
    reason as a meme per se. Even if one accepted ideas as memes, as many do,
    where did it come from? Are their biblical precedents for drowning kids to
    protect them from evil? Was someone influencing here in this way? If not,
    then we're looking at an individual's disorder which religion may have
    masked others from recognising (extreme and prejudicial beliefs are
    legitimised within most societies by being associated with religion). I
    suppose, though, that's not unlike what you're saying about memes as names
    for deeper factors.

    [An aside: Asked about the creationist school in the House of Commons
    yesterday, the Prime Minister simply stated that the school had a good pass
    rate, so I think we have a closet creationist as Prime Minister in the UK.]


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