Re: Meme definition

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Fri 20 Jun 2003 - 23:04:06 GMT

  • Next message: Chris Taylor: "Re: Meme definition"

    Wow I dont' know what's more scary about this information, that memetics is so corrput, or that 'they' are advancing...

    Keith Henson wrote:
    > At 09:33 PM 19/06/03 -0400, Scott wrote:
    >>> From: Chris Taylor <>
    > snip
    >>> 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.
    > I am frankly amazed at this view of the evolutionary psychology people
    > when you can find in a few minutes research on Google that the same
    > professors who teach one often teach both in the same course or have
    > both as research interests.
    > Memetics and Evolutionary Psychology (Week 3)
    > Phil 708 -- Philosophical Psychology
    > Topic: Meme Theory, Evolutionary Psychology, and Sociobiology
    > Psychology 452, Evolutionary Psychology
    > Dr. Mills
    > [] Summary and Powerpoint Presentation Boyer, P. (2000).
    > Evolutionary Psychology and Cultural Transmission. American Behavioral
    > Scientist, 43(6), 987-1000. Review by Ashleigh Anderson, Susie Boersma
    > and Timothy Devereaux. Fall, 2002.
    > [] Summary of Best, M. L. (1999). How culture can guide evolution:
    > An inquiry into gene/meme enhancement and opposition. Adaptive Behavior,
    > 7(3/4), 289-306. Review by Amanda Garrett & Stacey Smith. Fall, 2002.
    > Evolutionary psychology's explanation of culture
    > If evolutionary psychologists depart from the assumption that human
    > beings have a brain which consists of specialized modules from which the
    > content of their behavior derives, how then do the evolutionary
    > psychologists look at culture? They claim that they can explain culture.
    > Culture is quite important in the eyes of evolutionary psychologists.
    > Humans are the only species "that has an extra medium of design
    > preservation and design communication" (Dennett, 1991, p. 338). Culture
    > "can swamp many - but not all - of the earlier genetic pressures and
    > processes that created it and still coexist with it" (ibid.). The way
    > evolutionary psychologist try to deal with culture has two aspects. One
    > follows directly from the line of argument that starts with a critique
    > of the general purpose machine, the other is developed as an analogue to
    > genes. In the latter case, culture traits are turned into 'memes' to
    > which the concepts 'variation', 'replication' and 'fitness' apply
    > equally well as in genetic theory. Ideas of people tend to survive by
    > using the individual as a reproductive device; a replica is made,
    > sometimes with some variation, and once the whole thing fits into a
    > certain environment, the idea carries on (Blackmore, 1999). Such is true
    > for crucial inventions, a piece of music, a moral imperative, playing
    > chess, and material things we cannot do without anymore (Dawkins, 1989).
    > Memetics, as the science of memes is called, tries to explain cultural
    > patterns this way, and tries to come to grips with persistent behaviors
    > and ideologies. Dennett (1991, p. 353 ff.) in his enthusiasm for
    > memetics, has pointed out that memes are conceptually useful and
    > interesting, because of the analogy with genes. 'Gene' as a concept for
    > information, does its work, irrespective of how it is materialized. What
    > is important is its syntax-like structure which can be read off in order
    > to create functional organs. The same holds for memes. They carry
    > information irrespective of how they are materialized. The individual is
    > merely the vehicle by means of which memes replicate themselves. In
    > memetics one wants to get rid of the acting person in the same way as in
    > evolutionary psychology in general, where algorithms and macro's take
    > over the role of a conscious agent in order to do away with metaphysical
    > categories like 'mind' and 'god'. Memes as cultural traits are
    > self-preserving, using the individual mind as bearer of the traits.
    > Memes are responsible for the persistence of certain traits, even those
    > that do not directly favor the group in which those traits spread
    > themselves around.
    > Evolution & Psychology
    > PG 6952B
    > Fall 2000 M & W 11:00 - 12:15
    > Professor: Dr. Peter Zachar
    > Nov 20 Universal Darwinism?: The Science of Memetics
    > I know (at least indirectly) a good number of the people in evolutionary
    > psychology and associated areas and I can't think of one of them who is
    > opposed to memetics, in fact, virtually all of them seem to think
    > memetics is an important topic when evolutionary psychology is taught.
    > There surely *are* genes that cause behaviors. "Waltzing" in mice was
    > known to be a simple recessive gene over 50 years ago. Tourettes . . .
    > . "It is genetically transmitted; parents having a 50% chance of passing
    > the gene on to their children. Girls with the gene have a 70% chance of
    > displaying symptoms, boys with the gene have a 99% chance of displaying
    > symptoms."
    > But with the exception of this class of movement disorders, I don't know
    > of anyone in the evolutionary psychology area who thinks gene=behavior.
    > Genes *do* shape psychological traits, motivating us to seek food and
    > eat it when hungry, or the tendency social primates have to seek social
    > rewards. But what you do to obtain social rewards varies from being a
    > good hunter in a primitive society to being a rock star or a Noble Prize
    > scientist in ours.
    > Keith Henson
    > ===============================================================
    > 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)
    > see:

      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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