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

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Wed 06 Aug 2003 - 04:01:15 GMT

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

    At 03:45 PM 01/08/03 -0400, Aaron wrote:

    Re Richard Dawkins in 1982 in _The Extended Phenotype_, where he states:


    >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.

    I think as long as we understand that culture can be divided into some-kind-of-units and those units are subject to variation and selection over time, then exactly what terminology we use is not so important. Those in broad agreement to this view can go on to more interesting study where memetics plays a powerful role such as the misfit between our evolved psychological tendencies and the world in which we find ourselves.

    Examining the really pathological cases such as Easter Island or the wars that started about 1250 in the American Southwest indicates to me that our psychology is not adapted to even the technology of primitive agriculture. I.e., when it goes wrong, the results are much more disastrous than in hunter/gatherer tribal groups.

    Keith Henson

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