Wade admits he's a prankster

From: Richard Brodie (richard@brodietech.com)
Date: Wed 18 Jun 2003 - 01:18:46 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: Science as Idea & Meme"

    Wade wrote:

    <<(I would ask you to explain your model of memetics to my ten-year old daughter, but, so far, I have not seen you pass the Feynman test either. As you said, it took you over 250 pages....)>>

    I most certainly did not say that. In fact, I have summarized memetics in a few sentences for you several times in the last few days.

    <<The performance model of cultural evolution-

    Performer A performs.

    Observer A observes.

    Both Performer A and Observer A are within a societal construct with shared experiences (the venue) so that Observer A can gain knowledge from the performance of Performer A.

    Observer A performs as Performer B.

    Performance B is observed by Observer C who is also within this same venue and Observer C, understanding and finding knowledge in this performance, repeats it, with enough similarity that Observer D can also find similar knowledge.

    Performance A becomes B and then C and then D...., all of which meet observational tests as being similar, if not culturally equal, performances.

    And thus, cultural replication can occur. Any of a myriad of happenstances will affect the outcome of any of the performances- some from nature itself, some from performance alterations from physiological differences among performers, some from observational and perceptual variances among the observers. The venue itself is an environment that is designed to direct and focus performances and observations such that the extra-cultural influences are kept to a minimum. And yet, such control is impossible, and mutations happen. Observers will, or will not, adopt mutations. The venue may or may not attempt to suppress or adopt these mutations. This complex process is culture. This process is evident in all performance.

    Replication, mutation, and selection.>>

    There is no replication because you have similar, not identical, performances. Replication means identical. The four-note motif, on a relative scale, is the most identifiable meme in Beethoven's Fifth. Your
    "observational tests" depend upon memes in the minds of the observers. Also, culture evolves in many other ways besides observers becoming performers. A reader of "Taming of the Shrew" may write a musical version which is then performed by an entirely different set of people who read the book. Also, you have far too much of your mechanism in your vague, all-encompassing
    "venue", which may as well be God for all its scientific usefulness.

    You are essentially saying that, given time and a culture, people will behave similarly to the way they've seen others behave, but different. You in no way explain these differences or predict direction. It's not a model.

    > Of course you can show the existence of memes. For instance, you used
    > the word "brain." That shows pretty much for certain that the meme for
    > the word "brain" exists in your mind.

    <<I'm sorry, Richard, but that is pure hand-waving at its finest. This is no proof whatsoever that I have any meme in my mind and you can only wave your hands to put one there. As you should know, I do not believe in therapeutic touch.>>

    So you are claiming that you came up with "brain" all by yourself and it just happens to have the same spelling and meaning as every other English speaker? Nonsense. Words such as "brain" are the epitome of culturally transmitted information.

    >> memeinthemind.>>
    > I've never heard anyone but you use that term, so you are either lying
    > or deluded if you say anyone is postulating such a thing.

    <<You just used it. You just postulated it. Here, let me quote you, again- "the meme for the word "brain" exists in your mind" Deny your own words. Not only do you use 'meme in the mind', but you claim you have a proof that it is there.>>

    Either you don't understand the difference between using and quoting or you think words extracted from a sentence and concatenated are identical to the original sentence. I use the phrase "meme in the mind", but not the term you invented for the purpose of derision.

    > Calling something "obvious" is the last refuge of the hand-waver.

    <<This is all you can do, however, when you claim to show me a meme in my mind by saying I have a meme for the word 'brain'. As I said, this is pure hand-waving at its finest.

    There is nothing obvious about anyone having a meme in their mind. This is a claim of some memeticists about how the mind works, and there is no empirical or experimental proof that there is such a thing. The english word 'brain' is in my mind. Nothing more, nothing less. So is the latin 'cognito'.>>

    Would that word ever have entered your mind if it had not first inhabited some other mind? Of course not. It's a meme. You're just being obstinate, I think.

    <<The mechanism for a following performance is the need for a following performance, and this need is predicated by the interest and parametric controls of the venue. When you say 'hello' I am expected to say
    'hello' in return. (Although I may not.) The venue of our society and our language and our civility are offering little else to perform. The mechanisms for the continuation of similar performances is all around us, at all times. The lines on the road. The buttons on a shirt. The silence during a symphony. I can't believe you are being so obtuse.>>

    This is all very vague and is at the heart of the problem with your argument. You may as well say it's God's will.

    Replace all the drivers at once with Londoners and see which side of the lines on the road they drive on.

    > So now you've finally expanded the definition of "venue" to include the
    > human mind.

    <<Then I've failed to explain it properly to you.>>

    You certainly have failed. In fact, your ever-shifting non-model cannot be explained because you don't understand it yourself.

    <<_You_ don't have a replicator. ( You can't show anyone this meme in a mind. It is not possible, at this stage, to show anyone a mind.>>

    This is another frequent nonsensical argument you make. A few weeks ago I asked if you had the same problem with gravity. Things can be shown functionally. Although we may never know for certain what the inside of the watch looks like, we can know if our model predicts its operation pretty well.

    << The performance model has merely to show anyone a performance, and then a following performance, to show replication.)>>

    Replication means identical, not similar.

    << _You_ don't have a meme.
    (You don't have any empirical unit of cultural evolution, and no way to show any sort of replication in something so unexplained as a mind.>>

    I've demonstrated it over and over again, in my book and on this list.

    << The performance model not only has a meme, it can show it to you, as the meme is the performance. The performance is replicated every time another person performs again.)>>

    Replication means identical, not similar. You don't have a meme.

    << _You_ don't have a model. (You have no mechanism to explain how the meme in the mind has any capacity to induce behavior.>>

    Cognitive psychology.

    << The performance model not only has a myriad of inducements, including autonomic responses and intentional actions, but the agency of the venue, which compels expected responses, and maintains controls for the elicitation of similar performances.)>>

    So the venue is now the agent. "Culture evolves because culture evolves." I guess you've run out of nonsense.

    <<But, as far as a real science of this meme thingee goes, we're both pranksters. And I'll cop to that.>>

    Thank you for admitting it. Perhaps this will end the discussion. I wish I could join you in your confession, but I'm actually onto something useful.

    Richard Brodie www.memecentral.com

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