Re: FW: [evol-psych] Critique of Memetics

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Thu 17 Oct 2002 - 12:29:26 GMT

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    Many people still don't get it. There is no 'us' - just a meme ecology; there is no god, just self-organising life. Governments emerge from societies - the are not written in. All the same thing.

    >>The human brain is extremely costly to maintain, requiring a goodly
    >>fraction of our caloric intake, and its size required a reorganization of the
    >>human birth canal and an extended infancy. The brain must have served some
    >>important evolutionary purpose, and could not simply be the repository for

    Duh. Of course it's a meme repository - my old supervisor modelled a society where people blindly learned memes (equal prob good or bad) and showed the existence of a selective force to increase meme learning power, because the good ideas always became associated with learning genes (same as classical linkage disequilibrium), so more learning equals more good memes (given enough time). Just look at the world (not us we're too complex to study easily although I would posit that we're no different) - the chimps learning to termite fish etc etc etc etc.

    Your pejorative use of the word repository implies we're doing memes a favour by providing meadows for them to frolic in. Nope. That's like saying I exist to grow bacteria - I undoubtedly do support many bacteria in/on my body, some are bad, most are good (surface defence, vitamin garnering and so on). It's a complex relationship but I am not just some magnanimous host. You're right the brain is bloody expensive, but it is not 'just a repository' it is the organ that allows the most beneficial mutualistic relationship between replicating pattern entities on the planet (into orbit - beat that).

    >>Memes are for the most part chosen by people

    THERE IS NO 'US'. Get used to it Descartes-fan. Let go and savour the garden of memes growing wild in your head while you contemplate the illusion of self. The 'choice' is that made by an ecosystem which
    (blindly) favours some additions and resists others (and not just because of direct niche competition).

    I am unashamedly a meme absolutist. I don't know what 'I' am and I don't know why 'it' feels like this, but I don't see my lack of understanding as a reason to throw these ideas out in favour of some para-Cartesian dualistic guy-in-my-head-looking-out-and-pulling-levers nonsense.

      Chris Taylor ( »people»chris

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