Re: Meme definition

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri 20 Jun 2003 - 01:33:52 GMT

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    >From: Chris Taylor <>
    >Subject: Re: Meme definition
    >Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 15:21:58 +0100
    >??? Er...
    >What I think is that brain structure, as evolved over aaaaages, supports
    >layers built on layers of informational patterning, and at the top, as
    >human government is to the chemical and physical processes of the
    >environment (with all those ecological pyramidial layers between), so our
    >minds are to our brains.
    >I'm an old style lefty blank slater - that's my objection to the
    >bull that comes out of that Kipling-esque posse of shysters. Chomsky talked
    >some sense about grammar (and politics of course) but a lot of shit about
    One could reverse this argument and say that Chomsky's politics are appalling and the Universal Grammar is a gem. Does Chomsky subscribe to a Darwinian fundie view of linguistics or was this more the direction Pinker took after the handoff (run Forrest, run ;-))?
    >The rest (Pinker, Cronin, that Randy Thingy the US rape apologist /
    >fluctuating asymmetry nonsense guy, and many others) have added to the
    >corpulent corpus with more fetid rubbish than you could shake a stick at.
    Though I'm not waving a pom pom by any stretch of the imagination for ev psych, I think Pinker's _Blank Slate_ book has its better moments.

    The arguments about the innate basis for rape need not imply rape is a good thing. Are those looking into rape as an evolved strategy actually condoning rape? These ideas could be flawed on the factual part, but this could be demarcated from the moral part. Whether rape has an innate basis or not, it is still morally wrong.
    >Nothing, apart from a few reflexes and maybe some basic animal emotional
    >awareness (our wonderfully demarcated faces, fear, pain etc., but not
    >plugged in to any cognitive stuff - hence weird fetishes being so easy to
    >develop) is in at the start. For a get-go, anything that could be
    >culturally transmitted would rot away genetically because there would be no
    >selective force to maintain it. Noone has found any 'behavioural' genes in
    >any credible study except those controlling big, general hormonal levers,
    >or genuine flaws in 'the machine' like failing to re-uptake a
    >neurotransmitter or whatever. Drugs like prozac work this way which is why
    >some get better and some kill their families with big knives. Next consider
    >that your brain is made with about as many genes as your liver, and is
    >several secretory organs in one none of those functions having anything
    >much to do with cognition. Then read a book on fractal compression, and a
    >neuroanatomy atlas, and tell me there's room left in your genome to
    >preprogram jack shit (to coin a phrase).
    Good points.
    >Evopsychos or God. What a choice!
    When they tend to deify Almighty, All-knowing, All-being Natural Selection there's not a dime's worth of difference between Evpsycher's and theists.
    >But then of course I forgot that the big guy is all the rage now with
    >cosmologists(!) - "as rational as anything else" I heard one say (with a
    >completely straight face, I kid you not).
    >So anyway that'd be a no I guess :D
    >Btw the consensus was, I thought, that memetics was diametrically opposed
    >to the gene=behaviour evopsycho jocks?
    Well there's gene-meme co-evolution. There may be ev-pychers and sociobiologists who view memetics more favorably than others. Going on my experience with Jungians (who are quite analogous to ev-psychers in many ways if you jettison the baggage of synchonicity) I'd say that other ev-psychers would agree with the statement that culture is nothing but a thin veneer over the deeper recesses of the unconcious. It in this case wouldn't take much for the veneer to delaminate and leave us with a cavedweller driving an SUV.
    >And I'm still pissed at them for nicking the good name.
    I tend towars Gould's views on ev psych. It should be looked at in a critical light and functional shifts plus non-adaptive explanations looked at. That's Gould's point with exaptations and spandrels. Some academic lefties, including the late Stephen Gould, can take things too far. Pinker talks about the harsh reception _Sociobiology_ met with after Wilson published it.
    >><<I must admit to being alarmed by how close
    >>Dennett turned out to be to the EvoPsych nutters>>
    >>You think evolutionary psychology is nuts? So you believe the brain was
    >>designed by God then?
    >>Richard Brodie
    >>This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >>Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >>For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > Chris Taylor (
    > »people»chris
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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