Re: memetics-digest V1 #1464

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Wed 28 Jan 2004 - 04:04:00 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: meme as catalytic indexical 2nd try at posting"

    At 03:18 PM 27/01/04 -0500, Jeremy wrote:

    >[Scott Chase:]
    > > What sort of criterion is hits on google beyond being
    > > a popularity contest? Does popularity translate to
    > > validity?
    >As a tool to measure the "influence" or "health" or "selectedness" or
    >of a meme, I think Google's index is our most powerful tool. However, I also
    >think you're right: popularity doesn't mean what the meme describes is
    >true. A
    >high PageRank doesn't indicate "truth" or "validity".

    Fully agree with you. You have to watch what you are doing data mining Google per my earlier post.

    >To update Keith Henson's Google numbers:
    >"(memetic OR memetics)" yields 173,000 vs. 137,000 for "memetics" alone
    >"(memetic OR memetics) AND meme" yields 30,500 vs. 21,700

    (memetic OR memetics) AND (meme OR memes) 43,800

    restricted to English, 42,400

    >"(memetic OR memetics) AND Dawkins" yields 10,200
    >"(memic OR memics)" yields 5,390
    >"(memic OR memics) AND meme" yields 227
    >"(memic OR memics) AND Dawkins" yields 117
    >"(mimetic OR mimetics)" yields 83,600 vs. 18,400
    >"(mimetic OR mimetics) AND meme" yields 2,040 (or 7% of "e" version) vs. 274

    (mimetic OR mimetics) AND (meme OR memes) 2,360

    restricted to English 1,780

    Raw ratio 5.4 %

    English only ratio 4.2 %

    There is very little overlap between on the terms mimetic and mimetics when meme is also on the page. Tonight mimetics AND memetic AND (meme OR memes) shows only 50 hits (40 if you drop memes). Some of this could be language, meme is a common French word. (Between us we pluralized all the words.)

    >"(mimetic OR mimetics) AND Dawkins" yields 730 (or 7%)
    >Something interesting...
    >"(memetic OR memetics) AND meme site:edu" yields 589
    >"(mimetic OR mimetics) AND meme site:edu" yields 175 (or 30%)
    >"(memetic OR memetics) AND Dawkins site:edu" yields 466
    >"(mimetic OR mimetics) AND Dawkins site:edu" yields 70 (or 15%)


      (mimetic OR mimetics) AND (memetic OR memetics) Dawkins site:edu yields 17, so close to a quarter of the last category uses both terms.

    Interesting sample:

    Five Misunderstandings about Cultural Evolution File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
    ... belief is ? , while the relative mimetic fitness of ... the relationship between genetic and memetic fitness are ... be traced to people taking Dawkins'pop-science ... Five%20Misunderstandings.pdf - Similar pages

    > From the difference in the prevalence between citations for our keywords by
    >generic and academic sources, we could say that the "e vs. i meme" in
    >memetics/mimetics has spread further outside of academe than inside. Is this
    >because academicians are more sophisticated? Or is it something about the
    >intuitive bastardization of the word "meme" by popular culture without
    >reference to the original process that created the word, including ignorance
    >about the meaning of the word "mimetic" and what I believe to be Dawkins'
    >intent in alluding to it?

    Well, my wife (who used the term first) is not an academician, but she *is* a Stanford University English graduate with an advanced degree (Library Science). She suggested the term after reading Selfish Gene and Hofstadter's article in purposeful analogy to genetics. The word mimetic was already in use. Overloading it as mimetics to refer to the study of memes was the wrong thing to do.

    >I would argue that *this* is certainly a valid use of Google for the
    >measurement of memes...

    Isn't instant armchair research fun!

    Keith Henson

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