Re: Online Paper: "Ideas are Not Replicators but Minds Are" by Liane Gabora

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Sun 16 Nov 2003 - 15:00:35 GMT

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    From: "Keith Henson" <>
    > Viruses as well. People can debate endlessly if viruses are "alive," but
    > doubt anyone with a cold would doubt they are replicators! (Nasty ones at
    > that.) And there is no question that viruses lack most of the molecular
    > machinery needed to replicate.
    > >By this I am not daring to make stand as to whether the single gene or
    > >whole genome is the unit of evolution,
    > I don't think you need a hard answer to this question to understand that
    > evolution is changes in the frequencies (of something) in the genome as a
    > result of selection. The typical operational effect is that a different
    > protean is produced, for example the one for sickle cell that--where
    > malaria occurs--conveys a survival advantage. Dawkins eventually opted
    > an operational definition, a length of DNA that was not so long as to be
    > broken up by crossovers before it had a chance to affect its own frequency
    > in the population (paraphrase). He was not happy with this definition,
    > felt it was the best he could do. (It was a long time ago, but I doubt
    > anyone has done better. Some words are like "string" simply don't have a
    > fixed length dimension.)

    Overdue no doubt about it, but anyway, could we address in the same token the question that memes, in their initial form can' t be broken up by crossovers !?

    I mean, can we say that memes, by the ways we express them can 't be broken !? That saying something nasty to somebody is an initial meme, but that by the way we say it a crossover comes into being, a mutation arises so that the chance of the meme's affecting its frequency rises or decreases !? In a sense I am saying that memes don 't have a fixed length dimension when their meaning- fraction is concerned ! It is essential to their survival that certain ' replicator ' coding pieces, as I see ways of expressing some- thing ( saying something nasty is different from saying something nice) exists and come into being. I think that such ways are the tools by which memes " instruct " us to get them copied or not.... You do remerber something better if the way by which it is said to you is useless, useful, harmful, acts upon certain emotions, etc....all what don
    't moves us, drifts away and gets forgotten.



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