Date: Tue 18 Feb 2003 - 00:49:28 GMT
> At 06:23 PM 16/02/03 -0500, you wrote:
> >on 2/16/03 5:52 PM, Grant Callaghan at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> > >
> > > Bill Benzon
> > > --
> > > I think you got it backwards. I was saying that cognitive science
> > > has
> > a lot
> > > to offer memetics, not the other way around. I get the idea you
> > > wish the whole concept of memetics would just disappear, but I
> > > think there is something there that is not being discussed in the
> > > literature of cognitive science and that is how ideas become
> > > culture.
> Perhaps because it is just too obvious. If you define culture as the
> sum of all memes in a human population, then the procedure to that
> makes a meme into a member of the culture pool is simple addition. We
> can see in the archeological record the spread of such meme driven
> behavior as pottery styles and before that drilled sea shells showing
> up hundreds of miles from their origin.
> >Right, the cognitive sciences don't have a clue about that. Neither
> >does memetics. Memetics has identified a problem, but has little
> >useful to say about how to solve the problem.
> Sorry, I certainly agree that memetics has identified a number of
> interesting problems, some of which I think evolutionary psychology
> helps understand, but I don't see what problem you are talking about
> Memetics is really *very* simple. People have evolved to be good at
> learning. Memes (replicated information) are a large part of what
> they learn, clear back to the old stone age. Humans can't learn and
> pass on every meme that comes along so memes are in competition for
> the limited resource of human brains and time, thus setting up the
> conditions for Darwinian differential selection.
In a nutshell.
> Particular memes become more or less common over time because some are
> better at getting into new human minds. (Most memes are
> helpful--ultimately to the genes of their host--but a few are
> pathological, damaging or killing their hosts.) Memes vary (mutate,
> copy errors) and because of variation and selection ones better suited
> to get into human minds and be passed on further become more common
> and memes less good at being passed on become less common over time.
True enough; most memes are symbionts rather than virulents, but those that are virulent must be strongly contagious, or 'hook-into-able', due to the disadvantage that assimilating them confers.
> The environment for memes both physical and memetic is in a flux,
> especially in the last few hundred years. So what was a meme of
> considerable power to get itself replicated 100 years ago may be
> nearly extinct today (example phrenology).
Yep; memetic evoilution snowballs, standing on progressively higher shoulders of the previously known, and thus the rate of memetic change continually accelerates and cascades.
> The overall system of humans (constructed by their genes) and memes
> (sum of memes = culture) has co-evolved. This introduces
> complications, but certainly not beyond that often seen in
> biologically co-evolved systems.
There is a mutual feedback system operating between genes and memes, so that neither can any longer be considered strictly in isolation. Genes influence the choices of possible memes in the short run, but memes influence which genes proliferate over the long run.
> Keith Henson
> This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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