Re: Precision of replication

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Wed 18 Jun 2003 - 18:45:48 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T. Smith: "ditto"

    On Wednesday, June 18, 2003, at 01:07 PM, Lawry wrote:

    > prediction is considered to be a necessary part of a valid model
    > (which, if I understand him correctly, Wade is arguing)

    Richard is more arguing for predictive abilities of models, but, I concur. Scientific models need to agree with the data and provide predictive targets which will be met by experimentation.

    _My_ main argument so far has been that I haven't seen much discussion of _valid_ memetic experiments, so that the accountability of any model for prediction has not been tested, and, IMHO, any experiments involving the memeinthemind model need to first ascertain that there is meme in a mind in the first place. After all, this _is_ the data it is relying upon. So far, with no discovery of any meme in any mind, there is no data for any experiment based upon any memeinthemind model. And, theories without data are not scientific theories. However, the performance model has no such claim to verify as a first step.

    > For us, the core concept of memetics is that some ideas are
    > self-disseminating and self-defending.

    What we, as memetic dabblers do have is an _axiomatic_ condition of human society that says culture evolves in a darwinian fashion. This is the core of memetics. Although, let me quote St Dawkins here-

    "My original purpose in introducing the concept of memes really was not to produce a theory of culture, but rather to say that Darwinism doesn't have to be tied to genes."

    - which has always led me to accept darwinian processes for culture, once we accept that culture evolves, which is, as I said, an axiomatic step and not a factual step. Sociobiologists have quite another take on culture, and their model works just as well as any memetic model, if not better than some, IMHO.

    And, if I may, let me paraphrase St Dawkins as follows (original refering to genetic evolution and human development and found at as was the above)-

    "No one factor, memetic, or environmental, can be considered as the single 'cause' of any part of a culture. All parts of a culture have a near infinite number of antecedent causes. But a _difference_ [original emphasis] between one culture and another, for example a difference in length of distance, might easily be traced to one or a few simple antecedent differences, either in environment or in genes. It is differences that matter in the competitive struggle to survive; and it is memetically-controlled differences that matter in cultural evolution."

    Why bring the St into this discussion? Because he started it all, and he is not bound, by agenda or by pride or by investment, in the memeinthemind, either as a model or a darwinian agent. He does want the meme to be something, rather, outside the organism, at basis, though, doesn't he...?

    > I started developing the subject of acceptance criteria well before I
    > tackled memetics, and I use the acceptance criteria material for a
    > variety of purposes not related to memetics.

    Interestingly enough, so did I. Perceptual and cognitive studies was the one thing I would tackle Scientific American for on a specific basis. This led to aesthetics, and then to performance theory, with a degree in dramatic arts and a minor in anthropology. Memetics I encountered when Selfish Gene was first published. Entranced I was, but, there was no place to go with it.

    I do, at least, see that _something_ Lawry's Memetic Group is doing might be more based, effectually and pragmatically, in something a lot closer to the performance model than anything else, semantics and definitions aside. One of the reasons I've come to the performance model primacy that I have is my own distrustful reaction to the concept of 'memetic engineering', which to me, was a nonsense jargonizing to protect otherwise propagandists and marketing consultants.

    Yeah, of course the observer and all the acceptance criteria he possesses is part of memetics. It's one third of the part of the performance model. But, that there is an 'acceptance criteria' to the venue is also one third of the performance model. And then, there is one third in performance itself, but all of these things, as in the Dawkins' quote above, "have a near infinite number of antecedent causes", and all of them are causes of culture and cultural evolution. This is why Ray's criticism of the performance model as being somehow restrictive of parameters is specious, and the inclusion of all thirds of the process by it that Joe's claim that it denies the internal is equally as incompetent. It's not selfsame, it's just equally as incompetent. My criticism of the memeinthemind's non-empiricism is a valid one, but, I do realize that there are arguments against it, which can only be addressed because my criticism was a competent one. There is no answer to a non-sequitur criticism, as such is illogical and irrelevant. Thus, I have no answer to Ray other than to tell him the model he describes as restricting parameters is simply not the performance model, but, I'd agree, any model of memetics which restricts parameters would be too facile a model, if not wrong entirely. And to Joe, all I can say is, no, you are not criticizing the performance model, which at no time in any of my discussions of it did I describe as denying the internal. As you say, Lawry, the internal is things like the acceptance criteria of the observer, and the experiences of both the performer and the observer, and all the workings of the physiognomy of the bodies of the performers and the observers, and the performance model pays specific and careful attention to these agencies.

    > This discussion is now leading me to think of the acceptance criteria
    > matter as being intrinsic to the subject of memetics.

    To me, this was one of the first givens of any memetic theory or model. Perceptions come first, after all, before cognition, especially conscious cognition, of which so much of memetics is bound.

    - Wade

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