Re: never wanting to grow up

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon 09 Jun 2003 - 02:59:11 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: _Religion Explained_ by Pascal Boyer"

    >From: "rhiggins7" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: Re: never wanting to grow up
    >Date: Sun, 8 Jun 2003 04:18:55 -0400
    > > Date: Mon, 26 May 2003 19:28:46 -0400
    > > From: Keith Henson <>
    > > Subject: Re: never wanting to grow up
    > >
    > >
    > > "Culturgen" is a term predating "meme" which means the same thing. A
    > > culturgen is an element of culture that is passed on, like patterns of
    > > decoration on pottery or the means of making pots, chipping rocks to
    > > tools or ways to make shoes. These culturgens or memes are no real
    > > to explain because they are useful to learn, but they do require being
    > > passed down as elements of culture. That makes them memes.
    > >
    > > "Bleeding" as a medical practice was harmful in virtually all cases, but
    > > too was a meme that was passed down from generation to generation. As a
    > > meme it did not induce behavior to teach others to bleed people.
    > >
    >I disagree with this last statement. For one thing, Bleeding was a
    >technology which was part of greater set of technologies as you called it
    >"Medical practice"(or least it evolved into our current concept of
    >medicine). I feel I'm pretty safe to say that a substantial portion of
    >Medicine during that era did harm in some fashion of another and most of
    >the rest did extremely little if any thing. But despite its harmfulness,
    >the evidence would seem to show very strongly that Bleeding not only did
    >"induce behavior to teach others to bleed people" it actually induce
    >behavior to teach others to let others be bled. Bleeding lasted several
    >hundreds of years (I'm not sure exactly how far it goes back but I suspect
    >thousands of years) and continued at least up to the American Revolution (I
    >heard somewhere that some General died due to bleeding) so it had the
    >longevity. The way it induces behavior to teach others to bleed people was
    >primarily through early medical training in schools and through
    >apprenticeship. And it "induce behavior to teach others to let others be
    >bled" either through acceptance of authority (trust in doctors) or as part
    >of some other mechanism like a placebo effect. A couple of notes, as far
    >as I know bleeding was more a last resort type healing and then mostly for
    >the well to do, which would probably mean that those that died were seen as
    >dying any way so any that lived proved that it worked. More importantly,
    >despite what we want to believe there was no real way of knowing that it
    >didn't work: no general understanding of anatomy and biology so they
    >couldn't see that it was inherently unhealthy; there was not scientific
    >method so they could not disprove; and, it fit the best (common) medical
    >model of the day so it shouldn't be questioned. Memes like all knowledge
    >is very context sensitive.
    [sarcasm mode on]

    Yeah I could see how fortunate it has been that barbaric practices like bleeding, especially using leeches in this practice, have ceased being a part of the modern medical repertoire. I'd hate to think that a doctor in our enlightened times would succumb to the "meme" of attaching a leech to a patient, especially after the patient's finger has been surgically reattached and restored circulation becomes a necessity [sarcasm mode off]

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