From: M Lissack (email@example.com)
Date: Sun 25 Jan 2004 - 01:42:27 GMT
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
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
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
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
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> M Lissack wrote:
> > No Richard asking for evidence that a definition
> makes sense
> > is not nonsensical except perhaps withr egard to
> > 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.
> > memetics is to advance it has to be able to find a
> way to
> > make this distinction other than through naked
> 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
> > 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
> 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.
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
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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)
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