RE: transmission

From: Richard Brodie (
Date: Thu 15 May 2003 - 00:43:08 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Mechanism for wars (was transmission)"

    Keith wrote:

    <<Now consider this variation in a thought experiment I have used here before where a person can be tested for having the information in their brain about baseball by teaching an isolated group of children (who have never played ball and stick games) a recognizable game of baseball. You dump kids, teacher and equipment on an island and come back in two months.

    The variation is that the teacher on this assignment doesn't know a thing about baseball, but is given books on baseball rules and how to play the game before being dumped on the island.

    If the kids are playing a recognizable game of baseball when the experimenter returns, then the only information source for what they are doing is the books. I.e., the books contain the baseball meme

    I don't think you could get funding for this experiment because the outcome is too obvious.>>

    This is a great experiment. I used to umpire high-school baseball until I got tired of being yelled at and hit by baseballs. The Official Baseball Rules are sufficiently abstruse that, for example, nowhere does it say that the rule entitling a batter to First Base when he is hit by a pitched ball does not apply if the ball bounces off the catcher before it hits him. There are rules that are simply not enforced, like the definition of the Strike Zone as going up to the midpoint between the shoulder and belt, or a Strike being called if the batter takes too much time before stepping into the box. It would be fun to see what aspects of the game the book specified sufficiently and which it did not.

    It's another interesting aspect of memetics that most of the discussion on this list comes from people saying things that go counter to the general understanding of the field. Posts that concur with the mainstream generally pass without comment.

    Richard Brodie

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