Re: Fwd: Re: memetics/memics/mimetics

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Wed 28 Jan 2004 - 01:50:43 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: memetics-digest V1 #1464"

    At 07:43 AM 27/01/04 -0800, you wrote:
    >Google hits on Scientology 1,280,000
    > > add truth 72,800
    > > add fraud instead 22,800
    >so I guess by the standard below scientology is 3.5
    > times more likely to be truth than fraud?

    It is instructive to look at the first page or two of Google results for
    "scientology truth." Seven of the first ten: - -

    are anti-scientology sites. "Truth" gets used in context such as
    "Scientology does not tell the truth . . .," "Now the truth is allergic to those who tell lies . . .," "Do you have the whole truth about Scientology?" So the use of the word implies the converse of truth for this subject. The last three:

    are scientology sites. If you know much about this cult, you are very likely to assign a counter meaning to their use of the word.

    As you can see from the above, word searches on Google, should be subjected to bit of reality checking. To explain the methodology for presenting the data the way I did--which I probably should have done last night . . . .

    I was not surprised to find 137,000 references to memetics (I have seen upwards of 50,000 for years). I was surprised to find 18,000 references to mimetics. It turns out mimetics has several established meanings besides the one proposed by Richard Dawkins. (Insulin Mimetics, X-ray Nucleic Acid Mimetics and uses much stranger.) Taking a fast look at the first two pages I could not find a *single* use of the word which would relate it to memes. So I added "meme" to sort out the pages of interest. (I should have used meme OR memes which gives 320 hits.) Having sorted one term this way, it would be unfair to compare it to the other term without using the same additional restriction. That's where the 21,700 to 274 or (very roughly) 100 to 1 ratio comes from. Using meme OR memes as the restriction term on both gives 31,400 to 320 which is even closer to 100 to 1. (Numbers are for January 27, 2004 and very subject to change.)

    I suspect that competing uses of the word mimetics decreased the chances of it being accepted.

    Keith Henson

    PS. (scientology "Keith Henson") in Google gives 22,700 hits. (~2%)

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