Re: memetics-digest V1 #1399

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Wed 18 Jun 2003 - 11:34:23 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T. Smith: "Re: memetics-digest V1 #1399"

    On Tuesday, June 17, 2003, at 11:55 PM, Richard wrote:

    > And of course you continue to close your eyes to the
    > obvious idea replication going on all around you.

    If I closed my eyes, or my ears, I wouldn't be able to see or hear these ideas- I would not observe the performance.

    QED- performance and observation and a place for observation are all required for cultural evolution.

    > Unfortunately for you, that's what memetics is: the study of the
    > self-replicating idea.

    The very concept is absurd. Okay, find an idea, and let it sit there, oh, over there in the corner. Let me know if it replicates.

    What are you positing now, spontaneous generation? Like some medieval idea about how flies come to be? Self-replicating flies and self-replicating ideas....

    Memetics is the study of the meme. Some models prefer to put their meme in the mind (these are the memeinthemind models, of which the model you and Keith champion calls its meme a 'self-replicating idea'), some prefer to put their memes only in artifacts, and some prefer to put their memes in behavior. The processes of selection and replication are all being shown by all these models. But the memeinthemind models have yet to provide any empirical proof that there is such an entity in a mind, or even that such an entity is required for cultural evolution. Both the artifactual and the behavior models can show their memes and show their progress and mutations through time and space.

    All the models require some level of cognition at the agency level. The memeinthemind models offer their meme as a unit of this cognition. The other models do not. But all the models are successful at tracking and analyzing cultural evolution.

    As I say, since the memeinthemind models posit a unit of cognition, this claim, so far, stands unproven and of a conjectural quality only.

    - Wade

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