Re: To be or not to be: memetics a science?

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Wed Apr 03 2002 - 19:58:08 BST

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    Subject: Re: To be or not to be: memetics a science?
    Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2002 09:58:08 -0900
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    > >To the best of my knowledge, memetics is founded on the recognition of a
    > >second replicator, the meme. Similar to replicators of the first kind:
    > >genes,
    > >memes are also necessarily subject to evolution. Memetics tries to
    > >this process of evolution in which this replicator thrives, which
    > >is
    > >human culture and may very well turn into an AI-kind of turf one day.
    > >
    > >Another perspective which may be considered typical for memetics
    > >is to take on the viewpoint from the meme itself: the meme's eyeview
    > >(possibly inspired after Dawkins' gene's eyeview expounded in The Selfish
    > >Gene).
    > >In this rather controversial interpretation of culture the focus is laid
    > >the meme which exploits its habitat of rendered robotic and slavelike
    > >in a
    > >metaphorically and perceived selfish way to achieve domination over
    > >memes.
    > >A disadvantage of this approach however is that it understates or even
    > >ignores
    > >the coercive force memes need to have in order to successfully persuade
    > >their
    > >potential hosts to adopt and propagate them.
    > >
    > >But that's a different story altogether. My point is that genetics has
    > >opportunities to
    > >test their theories regarding gene-dynamics. By symmetry, one might
    > >memetics
    > >to be able to do the same thing regarding meme-dynamics. And that's
    > >precisely the
    > >question I'm trying to address here.

    > The way I see the parallel between genetics and memetics starts with
    > who noticed that the regularities of basic features in certain plants were
    > governed by chance. Before that, the subject was based almost entirely on
    > taxonomy and the comparison of features, starting with Aristotle.
    > work provided a mathematical basis for observing those features that
    > taxonomy had catalogued. This led to Watson and Crick discovering a
    > physical basis for nature's regularity and Darwin's grand theory of
    > evolution (in the reverse order).

    Hi Grant, I've digged this up on the net:

    "Even Darwin, in the mid and late 1800's didn't know about the laws of
    and the chromosomal basis for genetics, in spite of the fact that Mendel had
    already made significant
    discoveries in genetics. Darwin was simply unaware of Mendel's results."

    It seems that the contemporaries Mendel and Darwin worked independently on
    theories (inheritance
    and evolution respectively) that would lay the foundation for modern


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