RE: Individual - Collective / digest V1#1480

From: Richard Brodie (
Date: Fri 27 Feb 2004 - 19:58:54 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "RE: Individual - Collective / digest V1#1480"

    Ted Dace wrote:

    > In memetics, what the
    > fundamentalists maintain is that cultural evolution is a
    > mechanical process reducible to memes. This view follows
    > from the recognition that cultural evolution proceeds much
    > more quickly than natural evolution and therefore can't be
    > explained by genetic mutation. The "problem of culture" is
    > thus "solved" by reducing culture to the blind, mechanical
    > evolution of gene-like memes. In mechanizing human culture,
    > the purist form of memetics becomes, not simply a science of
    > culture, but *the answer* to all questions cultural. No need
    > to posit anything human, like love, for example, which is
    > reduced to the imperative of obtaining attention as well as
    > the tactics of manipulating people by lavishing attention on
    > them and promoting one's genes by assisting close relatives.
    > Mechanization resolves all issues according to a simple
    > formula. "Survival of the fittest" becomes as worn out and
    > meaningless as "Jesus saves." Meanwhile, those who raise
    > objections become taboo and are denounced as "wacky" or
    > simply ignored.

    That's a great description of "memetics fundamentalist." But who are these people? I don't think I've ever met one. Everyone I know who understands memetics also understands that it is simply one of many useful models for explaining the past and predicting the future.

    Richard Brodie

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