RE: meme as catalytic indexical

From: M Lissack (
Date: Sun 25 Jan 2004 - 01:42:27 GMT

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    Richard you are ignoring the question. How do you know that it is the meme that is the replicator rather than something else being the replicator and the meme only being the sign?

    Some ideas thrive some ideas do not. What is that distinguishes them? What is the mechanism for their thriving or failing?

    Sure you can cite many examples of ideas that have been replicated but what is the cause of the replication?

    Memes as replicator is an assertion that the meme is its own cause for replication. Idea as "Final Cause" if you will. But what distinguishes the causes between successful and unsuccessful memes?

    When word meanings change over time have the memes changed, failed, succeeded, or mutated and what distinguishes these from the change in environment.

    You are happy with memes as they are. That is not what my article or Bruce's challenges are about. If the world is happy with memes as they are --- wonderful. But memetics is presently not treated as science and lacks academic credence. Without either credence or the "science" label it gets little in the way of research attention or funding.

    Maybe memetics is fine but maybe it is like cold fusion or the misapplications of catastrophe theory. Your web site contains many stories but little in the way of serious research. Some of us who think memetics could be so much more find that to be an unacceptable state of affairs for the field in general.

    Dawkins made an offhand remark when he coined "meme." To treat an offhand analogy as the "word of god" instead of as an initial idea worthy of research and subject to change is to suggest that all memes can be subjected to evolutionary forces except for the meme meme.

    Memes as catalysts and memes as replicators differ mainly in the notions of cause and of actors. All of the stories found on your web site can be recast as meme as catalyst without losing anything except these two notions.

    I still await someone else to suggest an answer to Bruce's challenges or explain why they should be rejected. Telling me I have suggested that the word of god is wrong does neither.
    --- Richard Brodie <> wrote:
    > M Lissack wrote:
    > > No Richard asking for evidence that a definition
    > makes sense
    > > is not nonsensical except perhaps withr egard to
    > religious
    > > belief. You are willing to assert that the meme
    > is what
    > > replicates but have no basis for the assertion.
    > It makes sense to many people, but apparently not to
    > you. If you've read my
    > book and it still doesn't make sense I doubt it ever
    > will. My heart is heavy
    > with sorrow that I was unable to reach you.
    > However, if you want to talk about something that is
    > a semiotic sign of
    > something that replicates, why not choose another
    > word? Meme is quite
    > overloaded already.
    > > The evidence
    > > you cite can be used to support the idea that the
    > meme is the
    > > semiotic sign of something else which replicates.
    > If
    > > memetics is to advance it has to be able to find a
    > way to
    > > make this distinction other than through naked
    > assertion.
    > I don't know that memetics needs to advance. I'm
    > quite happy with it as is.
    > I make decisions knowing that anything I say or
    > write has the potential to
    > spread, and that there are things I can do to make
    > that more or less likely.
    > I recognize replicating bits of culture and their
    > potential usefulness or
    > danger. I explain to other people how to do that. I
    > really don't have any
    > feeling one way or the other about semiotic signs
    > but every few months
    > somebody comes in here and for some reason tries to
    > redefine "meme." I or
    > someone else generally pipes up, if only for the
    > record.
    > >
    > > I commend the depth of the tautological belief but
    > I question
    > > the need for the tautology. Darwin mechanics can
    > be tested.
    > > The meme as replicator mechanics cannot.
    > Reasoning by
    > > analogy can only go so far. If memetics is but
    > analogy then
    > > its fate is truly limited.
    > I just explained to you why Darwinism is not a
    > tautology. Did you understand
    > that? Of course the replication of ideas can be
    > tested; in fact, it is
    > tested every day is schoolrooms throughout the
    > world.
    > 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)
    > see:

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    =============================================================== 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:

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