Re: Aunger speaks, London 11th November

From: Dace (
Date: Sat 09 Nov 2002 - 00:04:38 GMT

  • Next message: Grant Callaghan: "memes evolving?"

    > From: Wade Smith <>
    > On Thursday, November 7, 2002, at 02:38 , Dace wrote:
    > > our desire to understand life with the same exactitude with which we
    > > understand our own technology.
    > The nice thing about any working technology is our ability to use it
    > without understanding it in the least.

    We understand computers a lot better than we understand ourselves.

    > From: "Scott Chase" <>
    > >From: "Dace" <>
    > >
    > > > From: "Othman Mohamed/CUSM/Reg06/SSSS"
    > > > <>
    > > >
    > > > I also find it bizar that he was
    > > > not sure whetehr Dawkins consider memes as replicators. If I remember
    > > > words correctly, he said" Does Dawkins himself consider memes as
    > > > replicator? Although it is not clear from his writing, it seems that
    he does".
    > > > C'mon, Dawkins was very cleare in difining memes as replicators from
    > > > the very first time he mentioned the idea of memes in the 1967 edition
    > > > the selfish gene. In fact that is how he came about the meme idea
    > > > he was looking for other replicators apart from genes.
    > > >
    > > > Othman
    > >
    > >The question is whether memes actively replicate or are passively
    > >replicated. Clearly Dawkins intended the former, and this is what
    > >memetics against standard theories of transmission of cultural patterns
    > >time. How did we get to the point where so many memetics enthusiasts
    > >the defining feature of memes? To frame the question in terms of
    > >what is the basis of the meme responsible for the belief that memes don't
    > >propagate themselves?
    > >
    > >The answer can be found in our obsession with mechanistic metaphors of
    > >life. We like to think of the brain as a kind of organic computer. But
    > >information in a computer doesn't self-replicate. Even if it does get
    > >copied, the information remains entirely passive during the process. In
    > >the mechanistic view, nothing is really "alive" or self-propelling, just
    > >passively reacting to physical and chemical forces. Given the hold that
    > >mechanism has over our thinking, we just don't feel comfortable with the
    > >idea of something that lives and promotes itself. The drift away from
    > >memes as replicators results from the mechanism meme, which exploits our
    > >desire to understand life with the same exactitude with which we
    understand our
    > >own technology.
    > Is it possible for you to go a post or two *without* railing against the
    > mechanistic worldview and all the evils it has wrought?

    Do you disagree with my assessment, and if so, why?

    > From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    > The mind is a process of the brain but
    > not every animal with a brain has a mind. It seems unique to human

    That's the Thomistic/Cartesian view. Descartes considered himself a good Catholic who was only applying his mechanistic analysis to Christian teaching.

    > without a brain, there is no mind. Without a mind there are no concepts.
    > Without concepts there are no memes to transfer. But where can you put
    > finger on any of these things outside of the brain to prove that they

    How can you prove that concepts exist inside of the brain? All I see is neurons and synapses. Concepts are abstract. Neurons and synapses are concrete. It would seem that concepts cannot logically exist in brains.


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