Re: evolution

Date: Tue 10 Dec 2002 - 02:19:38 GMT

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    > >>>
    > >>>On Monday, December 9, 2002, at 12:04 PM, Grant Callaghan wrote:
    > >>>
    > >>>>I think we have to define memetic evolution as Lamarkian for two
    > >>>>reasons: 1) the "seed" of an idea is broadcast to everyone withing
    > >>>> seeing or hearing distance rather than selectively passed to just
    > >>>>one individual, which these days means everyone watching TV, going
    > >>>>to school, reading the same book or reading this list, etc., etc.
    > >>>>and 2) the meme which is picked up by various members of the
    > >>>>public does not produce a faithful reproduction of the meme that
    > >>>>was spread in the broadcast. There is too much variation for it
    > >>>>to be a Darwinian type reproduction and evolution.
    > >>>
    > >>>Each performance is goal-oriented (aka lamarckian) (the performance
    > >>> itself, as far as the performer is concerned, is only a goal, but
    > >>>the performance itself is only half of the equation of culture),
    > >>>yes, but, each replication may only have the goal of replication
    > >>>itself, so, while lamarckianism might be a fair analyzation of some
    > >>>individuals' memetic processes, I don't think cultural evolution
    > >>>itself demands lamarckian mechanisms, at all.
    > >>>
    > >>>And, evolutionary mechanisms are not presumed to be individual's
    > >>>mechanisms, are they, regardless of the agency within evolution of
    > >>>individuals?
    > >>>
    > >>>- Wade
    > >>
    > >>If Mr. Darwin were still around, I'd ask him. But then I can't ask
    > >>Lamark for the same reason.
    > >>
    > >>
    > >Well if he's not too busy with thesis work, I'm sure Mr. Wilkins will
    > >be chiming in on you mates as this this happens to be his area of
    > >expertise.
    > Another distinction of memetic distribution that differs markedly from
    > genetic is the fact that almost everyone who is exposed to a meme
    > becomes a carrier. When you sit around the lunch table the next day,
    > nearly everyone is aware of what has been talked about on the news or
    > was in the evening paper. Even on this list, most of us are aware of
    > what the others are talking about despite the fact that we live as
    > much as half-a-world apart. There isno way genes could be broadcast
    > and picked up by other members of a species this way.
    Long-distance communication is a reality; long-distance fornication is a fantasy.
    > Another feature of the meme is that it is spread across cultures
    > whereas genes are restricted to specific species for the most part.
    > The defining characteristic of a species is that they cannot mate with
    > another species. Language and culture do restrict the passing of
    > memes but don't even begin to prevent them, although they did at one
    > time when tribes were small and widely separated. Species that look
    > identical are considered separate if they can't impregnate each other.
    > Memes, on the other hand can be passed from one species to another in
    > a restricted sense. Gorillas did learn sign language, after all and
    > used it to pass information back to their human handlers. Altough I
    > don't believe they passed it to other members of the same ape species.
    > On the other hand, humans learn from observing other species all the
    > time. Chinese developed martial arts based on animal movements. We
    > know more about the lives of animals like wolves and apes than we know
    > about our next door neighbors if we're in the business of animal
    > observation. We know how lions live, mate and coordinate a hunt. We
    > know how wolves mark their territory. We know that an ant colony is
    > smarter than any individual ant.
    > And all of this knowledge is common to our culture and available to
    > anyone who wants to pursue it. What's more this knowledge has had a
    > strong effect on the shape of our culture and whole areas of memetic
    > knowledge are devoted to it. Just because we don't peck the tops off
    > milk bottles to drink the milk doesn't mean we didn't pick up the meme
    > when the finch (or whatever) did it. And we have passed that
    > information to millions (if not billions) of other humans.
    > So when you look at it, there is no way we can defensibly call the
    > spread of memes a Darwinian process. I don't even think we can call
    > it Lamarkian, now that I think about it. I doubt that either of them
    > envisioned anything like what is going in here.
    You've got that right. It's more McLuhanesque.
    > Grant
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