Re: Precision of replication

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Wed 18 Jun 2003 - 03:18:07 GMT

  • Next message: Lawrence DeBivort: "RE: Cultural Imperialism as Idea & Meme"

    >From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: Precision of replication
    >Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 22:59:49 -0400
    >Wade said:
    > > Replication, mutation, and selection.>>
    >Richard said:
    > > 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
    > > performed by an entirely different set of people who read the book.
    > > 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.
    > > in no way explain these differences or predict direction. It's
    > > not a model.
    >In our view of memetic dissemination, the replication need not, and will
    >rarely be identical. Yet we call it memetic and this view seems to work
    >in our work.
    >Why is dissemination nor identical? Because each person (or group of
    >for we also think of memes as being able to disseminate to and through
    >groups) will have his own criteria for acceptance which may require some
    >modification of the meme prior to acceptance. So as they disseminate, memes
    >also tend to mutate. The 'power' of the meme lies in part in its ability to
    >withstand such mutation, i.e. to be accepted whole and as close to
    >identically by the recipient.
    >Notwithstanding this lack of identical dissemination, prediction of
    >acceptance is possible, particularly if one can also model the acceptance
    >criteria of the recipient. Such modeling is possible, but we do not
    >the methods for doing so to be part of the field of memetics.
    >Does this fit with your thinking, Richard? Wade? Others?
    I could be misreading him, in which case there's been no replication bewtween our minds, but itseems Richard is holding that replication implies identity, not similarity. He has written a book on memes so is an authority.

    The so-called "meme" of the "brain" is hardly identical between people. The people may spell brain the same, but what the word means to a trained neuroscientist is probably different than what it means to a cultural studies major or some swordfisherman from Cape Cod. The concept of
    "brain"probably varies for an individual through their lifetime, say from their first glance at a picture in a elememtary school textbookto perhaps what they learn in colege psych classes to late what hey may have long forgotten from these classes due to disuse.I fail to see anything sufficiently "selfsame" (obligatory Deesian lingo) across individuals or within indiviaduals to qualify as beng identitical. Similarity could be a stretch in itself.

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