Re: Standard definition

From: derek gatherer (
Date: Thu 31 Oct 2002 - 08:47:47 GMT

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    Aaron: Fortunately, I never expected use of the word "idea" or the technical definition of the term "thought contagion" or the term "belief," etc. to solve our complicated disagreements on matters of data collection and quantitative analysis of ideas, behaviors, artifacts, and so forth.

    Derek: No, we don't have a "disagreement" on matters of data collection and analysis. I do it and you don't. Your recent articles are really just opinion pieces. There's never a model with any numerical prediction, never a chunk of data from the real world (other than the odd single statistic from someone else's work), never a simulation showing how your 20-year old mathematical work actually relates to the real world.

    The reason for this is that you are trapped by your own theoretical framework - you're in a kind of data-free vacuum where all that's left is to dream up thought contagionist explanations for various things that appear in the newspapers. I'd really like to see you give us an extensive paper where your equations get a real parametric work-out, and some real-world data is tackled (if it can be - that's what I doubt). All this soundbite artist stuff is all very well, I mean there's nothing wrong with being a media personality, I'm not saying that it's morally reprehensible to be a popularizer - quite the contrary
    - but you'll always be a one-man band unless you can persuade the real hard-core scientists to adopt your theoretical framework, and that requires you to get your sleeves rolled up and do some work that goes beyond your usual "X is a thought contagion, and here's a few paragraphs containing arguments of varying degrees of plausibility" stuff. I want to see an article with some figures, some tables, some graphs, give me some software to download! You know what I mean. There's a community of memeticists and social simulators out here. Why not join us? But the price of entry is to marry theorizing with data.

    Oh yes and another thing. What's all this nonsense about changing the name of the journal? Since you claim not to be a memeticist any more why are you so bothered what the main memetics journal is called? Start a "Journal of Thought Contagion Theory".

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