Re: meme as catalytic indexical

From: Dace (
Date: Mon 26 Jan 2004 - 17:33:15 GMT

  • Next message: Dace: "Re: meme as catalytic indexical"

    > From: Keith Henson <>
    > At 11:38 AM 24/01/04 -0800, Ted wrote:
    > snip
    > >Ray,
    > >
    > >That chimps are known . . . .
    > I started to respond, but there are so many factual errors it just doesn't
    > seem worth it.

    Can you point to a specific factual error?

    > If you want to know what is really known about these subjects, one of the

    I read the review, and it's quite interesting. However, it has nothing to do with Ehrenreich's thesis about the origin of war.

    > And, of course, the works of Jane Goodall.
    > But the idea of war only being 12,000 years old has no real support.

    Except for the evidence. There's no *evidence* for war prior to that time. What's significant is that there's plenty of evidence up to that time, consisting not only of physical evidence such as spear points embedded in human skeletons but cultural evidence such as cave drawings of soldiers lined up for battle. Nothing like this appears further back into the Paleolithic.

    > Any
    > time humans run up against ecological limits you are going to see war, and
    > our line has been doing that for millions of years.

    Apparently not. What's interesting is not simply that war itself is a meme
    (or set of memes) but that the idea that war is part of our nature is also a meme, though obviously of more recent vintage.

    You also wrote that you're not aware of big cat predation on human beings. This was established by C.K. Brain in the 1980s by reinterpreting evidence dug up by Raymond Dart in South Africa many years earlier. Dart assumed that the bones of humans found among many other species demonstrated that these people had feasted on the other species. Brain proved that the humans were simply another item on the menu, and that site was actually a leopard's lair. (Brain, C.K., *The Hunters or the Hunted? An Introduction to African Cave Taphonomy,* University of Chicago Press, 1981).

    I appreciate you comments. Whether or not I'm right about war, this sort of exchange is the bread and butter of memetics. There's no semiotic shortcut here. Only the long, difficult work of assembling convincing case studies can establish memetics as a respected science.


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