RE: question about memes

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Thu Mar 14 2002 - 14:11:17 GMT

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    Subject: RE: question about memes
    Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 09:11:17 -0500
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    Greetings to all,
    The imputation was that because she believed her children were 'bad' and
    would end up in 'Hell', it was better to kill them now. Her defense was
    insanity, which seems to say it all, unless we open up a thread on memes and
    'insanity'. The jury didn't buy the defense, but it would be interesting
    whether they didn't want to let her off the hook because of her defense, or
    despite it.


    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: []On Behalf
    > Of Vincent Campbell
    > Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2002 8:54 AM
    > To: ''
    > Subject: RE: question about memes
    > <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.]
    > Vincent
    > --
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    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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