Re: _Religion Explained_ by Pascal Boyer

From: Dace (
Date: Tue 03 Jun 2003 - 18:23:31 GMT

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    > From: Keith Henson <>
    > At 05:29 PM 01/06/03 -0700, you wrote:
    > > > From: Gudmundur Ingi Markusson <>
    > > >
    > > > As Boyer is very interested in the transmission of concepts, esp.
    > >religious concepts, his ideas are certainly relevant to memetics.
    > >Nevertheless, note how he introduces memes only to dismiss them shortly
    > >afterwards. He does that with reference to Dan Sperber, on not
    > >grounds as Sperber himself does in "Darwinizing Culture" (Aunger ed.
    > >in brief, concepts are not replicated but recreated.
    > > >
    > > > gudmundur
    > >
    > >To understand a concept is indeed to recreate it in our minds. This is
    > >ordinary discourse operates. You say something on your mind, and in the
    > >process of understanding it, I recreate the concept in my mind. Memetics
    > >the study of those concepts (or behaviors, etc.) that *don't* depend on
    > >understanding to jump from mind to mind.
    > For the life of me can't see why you warp the extremely simple definition
    > of a meme (element of culture, replicating information) into such a
    > shape.

    Hi Keith,

    I'm trying to narrow the definition of "meme" so that it doesn't apply to every piece of information that passes from one person to another. There's no reason to invoke the concept of self-replication for most such information. Your approach flies in the face of standard social and psychological analysis. Can you explain why decades of research are wrong? I don't think either of us is in a position to do that, which is why I offer a definition that doesn't conflict with established science.


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