Re: new memetics article

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Mon 13 Jan 2003 - 20:03:57 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "memes defined operationally (from article)"

    ----- Original Message ----- From: "Ray Recchia" <>

    > At 01:11 PM 1/12/2003 -0500, Keith Henson wrote:
    > Using the imagery of fitness landscapes, we can think of some memes having
    > very steep fitness peaks. The notion that 1+1 = 2 has a very steep slope
    > and is probably permanently stabilized. On the other hand hairstyle's
    > and go quite quickly and could be thought of as having low fitness peaks.

    But the technique to come to such a kind of style remains quite the same, no
    !? A haircut is a haircut, in either way all hairdressers use the ' same ' technique. Isn 't this the thing Sperber talks about, triggering and boottrapping !? Creating a hairstyle involves more than just copying a technique to cut hair. As how long do you define a low fitness peak, in contrast with 1+ 1= 2, sure you right, but I got doubts about the hairstyle- thing....1 week, a year, a century...!? Maybe I am in the wrong....


    > In the legal profession there are certain areas of the law that change at
    > snail's pace, like certain aspects of real estate law. There are cases
    > from pre-revolutionary war England that are still considered good law in
    > the United States. On the other hand, family law notions have changed
    > drastically in the two centuries and no one would base a legal argument on
    > a case from the 1800s.

    Maybe, but if one find the law convincing enough to back up his case, he will use it ! Be sure of that ! In the recent past we 're confronted with what the judges call ' the word of the law ' and ' the spirit of the law '. The former is what is written down and this has to be taken literally, the latter is the interpretation, how the law is being ' used ' in the courtroom. In a legal argument those stand most of the time diametrical one against the other. If it suits one both notions will be used accordingly.

    > I also agree with Grant that memes are not always propagated with each
    > potentially meme transmitting activity. For purely behavioral memes, it
    > may take a person a number of observations, and then independent trial and
    > error, before reproduction will occur. Although this is much different
    > the process by which genes reproduce it can still be viewed as a Darwinian
    > process.

    This is what the writer of the article refered to as 'non- content transmissions ', what is being 'suggested ' with the initial meme. I already mentioned this upon this list, to get the ' meme(plex)' you have to get all what surrounds it, the skeleton is what is transmitted, all the rest is pre- knowledge and learned behavior. Of course, the latter is also due to memetic influence and in DNA encoded traits and habits evolved over the eons of time. To get the performance ' right ' you do need the additional info.

    > An individual's personalized manifestation of a meme may differ from what
    > is originally transmitted because of the need to adapt to that person's
    > individual memetic landscape and physical capacities. In the language of
    > fitness landscapes the term 'epistatic interaction' is used to describe
    > effect that the presence of other genetic or memetic elements have on the
    > fitness of one particular element. This type of interaction is frequently
    > modelled in fitness landscapes.

    Personaly I prefer ' interference ' above interaction , although it is debatable what is best. But has it to be the presence of other genes/ memes !? I think here about the fact " that fingers just arise in the womb if cells where with all those fingers initial were connected kill themselves " ! Can 't have the lack of having some genes/ memes around an influence !?


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