From: Wade T. Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed 18 Jun 2003 - 18:45:48 GMT
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
http://www.skeptic.com/03.4.miele-dawkins-iv.html 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
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,
> 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.
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