Re: Defining the word "replicator" (was Re: Silent memes)

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sun 03 Aug 2003 - 01:09:45 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: Defining the word "replicator" (was Re: Silent memes)"

    >Subject: Re: Defining the word "replicator" (was Re: Silent memes)
    >Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2003 15:45:59 EDT
    >In a message dated 8/1/2003 4:02:47 AM Central Daylight
    >Time, Derek Gatherer <> writes:
    > > --- wrote: > In a message dated
    > > the
    > > > following definition given by Richard Dawkins in
    > > > 1982 in
    > > > _The Extended Phenotype_, where he states:
    > > >
    > > > "I define a _replicator_ as anything in the universe
    > > > of
    > > > which copies are made." (p. 83)
    > >
    > > But on page 84 he qualifies this extensively with the
    > > notions of longevity, fecundity and fidelity. That's
    > > why genes are replicators but chromosomes and
    > > individual nucleotides aren't, even though they get copied.
    >I didn't mean to suggest that you and I were finally on the
    >same page, or anything like that...
    >Dawkins does indeed continue defining terminology on page
    >83 and the following pages, where he introduces the terms
    >"active replicator," "germ-line replicator," etc. and
    >arriving at the term "genetic replicator" on page 85. On
    >page 87, he points out that in the rest of the chapter, he
    >uses the word "replicator" as an abbreviation of the term
    >"genetic replicator," but the same paragraph also says that
    >he purposely defined "replicator" in a general way that
    >encompasses more than DNA. (His overall focus in the
    >chapter and the book is on biological evolution, hence
    >the emphasis on genetic replicators.)
    >Along the way, on page 84, he notes that he had previously
    >summed up the qualities of a "successful replicator" in
    >terms of "Longevity, Fecundity, Fidelity." I take this to
    >be a tenet of evolutionary theory (subject to empirical
    >testing and re-testing, logical analysis, etc.) rather than
    >another definition per se.
    >And on page 86, he offers this gem: "But let us not become
    >worked up over terminology. Meanings of words are
    >important, but not important enough to justify the
    >ill-feeling they sometimes provoke..." A point that I, among
    >others, should note.
    Would you hold that memory units (engrams, mnemons or what have you) replicate?

    Look, I posted with no typos. A miracle!

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