Re: pls direct me to a memetics list <eom>

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Tue May 14 2002 - 22:17:28 BST

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    Subject: Re: pls direct me to a memetics list <eom>
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    Hi Ray

    > Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 13:57:31 -0400
    > From: <>
    > Subject: Re: pls direct me to a memetics list <eom>
    >> I would like to know what the forum here considers valid to
    >> leave out of studies of culture (and memetics- which is a
    >> proposed mechanism of culture, after all....)
    >> Personally, I'd like to leave out any and all references or
    >> studies of chain letters- but that's a bias of mine.
    >> - Wade
    > Since Dawkins and my former professor Oliver Goodenough published a
    > letter to Nature on chain letters and memetics I suspect that they are a
    > valid area of study.
    > Memetics is an evolutionary process and involves patterns that are
    > replicated with variation and then selected for. I think that good
    > discussions are ones which focus on these elements. Of course we've
    > beaten 'the pattern' issue to death.
    > Replication and selection are most often talked about here and are
    > probably the most easily studied. At the individual level we ask how
    > ideas get transmitted and what causes a person to choose to adopt them.
    > At larger population level we can look at differing modes of mass
    > transmission and the effectiveness of meme transmission. I think that
    > chain letters fit under that sub heading.

    I agree.
    > Variation is a good topic. A discussion of the different ways that
    > variation is introduced in memetic systems would be interesting. Pure
    > random variation is not even seen in genetics, but memes seem to get
    > varied using a number of different mechanisms.

    I thought that the calculations for the 'Eve theory' were based upon the
    idea that there was some random variation in the mitochondrial DNA?
    Secondly, what part does radiation play if not random variation.?
    > Discussions of computer and mathematical models like those in the most
    > recent articles of the Journal of Memetics are good. I liked the article
    > by Castro and Toro. It fit in neatly with game theory studies from
    > Scientific American we were discussing a few months ago.
    > I have expressed on numerous occassions my interest in 'memetic'
    > transmission in animals in works by de Waal, Dugatkin, and Pepperberg.
    > In a broad sense everything cultural is memetic and thus anything
    > cultural can be discussed. Personally I believe that we are better off
    > avoiding hot button topics like current events because different
    > cultures, political perspectives, and religious beliefs can lead to
    > different conclusions which is unlikely to lead a broadly accepted theory
    > of memetics. I don't get particularly upset when I see diversions into
    > discussion of these areas because I think that it is something that
    > happens as a result of the open nature of this list. I'd rather not see
    > it happen but I don't die when it does.

    Like I said earlier, even when things stray, there is often something new to
    learn (for me at any rate)
    > Of course what I don't like is when people who aren't really interested
    > in memetics at all try to shove the list into other areas. Still it's
    > better than being at alt.evolution where you can rehash the same old
    > stuff with creationists for years if you want.

    Glad I missed that one :-)
    > Ray Recchia



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