Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id AAA08678 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Wed, 15 May 2002 00:27:56 +0100 X-Originating-IP: [188.8.131.52] From: "Scott Chase" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: pls direct me to a memetics list <eom> Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 19:21:37 -0400 Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed Message-ID: <F106BPDQDCbl1VpBRV5000058ce@hotmail.com> X-OriginalArrivalTime: 14 May 2002 23:21:38.0139 (UTC) FILETIME=[18BAE2B0:01C1FB9E] Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
>Subject: Re: pls direct me to a memetics list <eom>
>Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 13:57:31 -0400
> > 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.
>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.
>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.
And regaring de Waal, what's his views on memetics in _The Ape and the Sushi
Master_ again? Was he especially fond of memetics, burning with enthusiasm
to jump on the bandwagon?
>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.
I think the hot button issues are especiaaly important to discuss and I
could stand to learn tons more myself. I've always had a fascination for
conflict (would that make me a Marxist?) I'm drawn like a moth towards the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Northern Ireland troubles. Other
conflicts that involve "hot-button" isues are those like the animalrights
versus utilization and research conflict, the evolution/creation controversy
and such. I can't remember the details off the top of my head but back
around 1996 there was some big pro-animal event in Washington DC which
attracted luminaries such as Jane Goodall. It also attracted pro-research
activists fighting for AIDS related research (like ACT-UP IIRC). There were
some minor conflicts IIRC as opposing political viewpoints clashed. Animal
rights and AIDS research are important issues where PETA and ACT-UP might
not exactly see eye to eye.
The trouble arises when one cannot become objectively detached from the
>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.
Some of us are interested in seeing self-proclaimed memeticists becoming a
little less captivated by imagination and a little more self-critical. When
I see comparisons drawn between memetics "technology" and nuclear technology
as having similar magnitudes of importance, I get a little worked up into a
>better than being at alt.evolution where you can rehash the same old
>stuff with creationists for years if you want.
That's where you can study people with opposed mind sets going at it like
mad. What's so wrong with that?
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