Re: _Religion Explained_ by Pascal Boyer

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Fri 06 Jun 2003 - 14:11:44 GMT

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    On Friday, June 6, 2003, at 04:26 AM, Keith wrote:

    > This is about memory, not memes.

    Ah, if only he really listened to himself.

    > Memetics is a way to view the spread and persistence of cultural
    > information.


    > At the definitional level is it just not concerned with details at
    > this level.

    This is the prime reason the performance model is not concerned with placing the meme in the mind, because, the mind is only a quality of two of the necessary and sufficient agents of the cultural process. The simplist, very simple simplest, particle of the cultural process is the performance, which is the observed action of at least one human in a space which has to contain at least one observer. The meme in a mind is not sufficient to process culture.

    It is only memory, not memes, this 'memeinthemind' thingee.

    Memetics is not about just minds. It is not concerned with details at this level.

    As Lawry said, what about _influence_? Even the influence of the chair you are sitting in and the color of the walls around you, and the brand name on the PC you use, and the socks you wear, or don't wear? The cultural venue is the sum of all these influences, plus the actions of the performers, plus the state and perception of your observations. The mind is not enough to process or distribute culture. Thus, the memeinthemind is inadequate to explain cultural evolution. For me, this is a QED that the meme is not in the mind. In order to play baseball, there is still a ball, and a bat, and a field, required. Not just a mind, or even two, or even eighteen. The study of memetics is not complete without the study of the venue, and the venue itself is the source of the greatest influence. After all, when baseball is played on a city street, it is called stickball, not baseball. The environment is always an influence, and evolution is not possible without an environment, and the memeinthemind denies this.

    - Wade

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