From: Lawrence DeBivort (email@example.com)
Date: Tue 27 Jan 2004 - 15:47:53 GMT
'Memes' can serve as a unit of useful scientific analysis.
Of course, one has to specify a definition. Like you say, Michael, the
field of memetics has done a pretty poor job collectively of settling on a
definition. As you say, Richard, a definition stands on its own, it is
correct sui generis. The trick is to settle on a useful and interesting
definition, a distinction that makes the difference. And then stick to it.
Does anyone know of any published scientific study of memes?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf
> Of M Lissack
> Sent: Tue, January 27, 2004 10:28 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: RE: meme as catalytic indexical
> In your world the word token meme works. In the
> scientific world it is so overloaded with conflicting
> notions (including those expressed by Dawkins himself)
> that it is next to useless as a unit of analysis. My
> article is an attempt to help the field advance. Your
> postings seem to indicate that you are opposed to the
> idea that the field needs to advance.
> You have a distinguished resume but you are not an
> academic nor a philosopher nor a true scientist. To
> refer people to works of years ago and say you "have
> done all you can" is to ignore all of the work and
> efforts that have gone on since those works you cite
> were written. And I never recall asking for your
> "help." I wrote an article, it was published, and
> people are commenting on it.
> There is no established "definition" of a meme. There
> is a loose collection of fuzzy notoions which all
> share the label or word token "meme."
> Science does not advance by treating definitions as
> given but by questioning always questioning
> Your web site fails to point to much of anything post
> the year 2000. Do you believe that all worthy work
> (save your own postings) stopped then? Do you really
> believe that a book you wrote more than a decade ago
> was prescient enough to answer challenges raised after
> the book was written?
> Yes I am challenging the "conventional wisdom." I am
> not the first nor will I be the last. You as a self
> proclaimed author of that "convention" are much more
> interested in defending your territory than in
> addressing the many questions which get raised here
> and in other forums.
> So for the last time I ask you again to respond to
> Bruce's challenges with something other than hubrus or
> platitudes. If you have no interest in memetics as an
> academic field fine. If you think Bruce has raised
> unnecessary issues tell us why you think so. If you
> think Bruce's challenges can be easily answered tell
> us how to do so. If you think Bruce's challenges are
> invalid tell us why. But stop answering by telling us
> that you said all that in Virus of the Mind. You did
> not and you could not because Bruce's challenges came
> much later.
> --- Richard Brodie <email@example.com> wrote:
> > M Lissack wrote:
> > > 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?
> > The very question indicates to me a basic lack of
> > understanding of the
> > scientific method. A definition cannot be right or
> > wrong. It's simply a
> > definition. Some definitions are more useful than
> > others for building
> > theories that explain and predict. "Meme" happens to
> > be defined as a
> > cultural replicator and a fair amount has been
> > written about memes in the
> > last almost 30 years based on that definition. Many
> > people find the
> > definition useful. Some do not.
> > > 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.
> > As I said before, if you've read my book and are
> > still asking questions like
> > these I doubt there is anything else I can write to
> > help you understand. I
> > gave it my best shot at answering these questions in
> > the 250 pages of Virus
> > of the Mind.
> > >
> > > 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.
> > Well, then, why don't you just redefine "funding" to
> > be a catalytic
> > indexical and then you can catalyze your own
> > semiotically? ;-)
> > >
> > > 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.
> > My web site is for the general public. I believe the
> > Journal of Memetics
> > site has the serious research, such as it is, and I
> > have a pointer to that
> > site on mine for the academically inclined.
> > >
> > > 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.
> > My first wife used to complain sometimes that I
> > wasn't considering her
> > feelings when I made a decision she didn't like.
> > Usually, though, I was
> > considering her feelings but decided against them
> > anyway. I think we have
> > two problems here. First, I don't think you
> > understand (or perhaps
> > understand but disagree with) the pragmatic approach
> > to the philosophy of
> > science: that scientific theories are not True or
> > False but useful or not. I
> > conclude this based on my judgment that you are
> > arguing that the established
> > definition of meme is wrong. Second, I don't think
> > you understand what
> > Dennett calls the "intentional stance." Reading his
> > "Darwin's Dangerous
> > Idea" is a good way to familiarize yourself with
> > that philosophical
> > position. All replicator theory is based on that.
> > >
> > > 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.
> > Sure. Reality can be described any number of ways.
> > However, memes are not
> > catalysts, they are replicators. If you want to look
> > at information as
> > catalyst it could be a very interesting perspective,
> > but why confuse people
> > by using a word with established meaning to denote
> > something else?
> > >
> > > 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.
> > I think Bruce's challenges are great. I don't think
> > anyone here but you used
> > the term "word of god."
> > Richard Brodie
> > www.memecentral.com
> > 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: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
> Do you Yahoo!?
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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: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
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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