Re: Grad program on memetics?

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri 08 Oct 2004 - 12:51:03 GMT

  • Next message: Ray Recchia: "Re: Grad program on memetics?"

    At 02:01 PM 07/10/04 -0700, you wrote:
    >Hi everyone!
    >My name is paul from Jakarta, I think it's my first writing in this forum
    >although I've been reading it for some months. I've been studying memetics
    >and doing some not-so-serious researches on memetics for the last 3 yrs. I
    >wonder, is there any graduate program on memetics, perhaps memetics
    >studies, or applied memetics (I call it memetics engineering). I'm
    >interested in memes-based knowledge classification, or applying memetics
    >for mass-education/public-education, or do a specific research on
    >scientific memes. Let me know if any of you ever heard of it.

    I was one of the first people to write popular articles about memes. I now think the topic is too small a frame for fundamental research. Animals, particularly humans had to *evolve* the ability to hold and pass on memes. This psychological trait has been subjected to evolutionary selection either directly or as a side effect of some other trait. If you want to research *why* some memes are effective at spreading, especially the ones that hurt host reproduction, you really have to get into evolutionary psychology and cognitive science (effectively a branch of evolutionary psychology).

    >By the way I have some unanswered questions on scientific memes:
    >How do you guys think of scientific memes? Can we put them in the same
    >group as other memes? I found several interesting behaviors which
    >significantly distinguish them from the other types of memes, in fact it
    >seems that in my opinion I can't claim them to be selfish-memes which
    >consequently they possess some non-memetics behaviors.

    Memez is memez. They are all replicating information patterns. The difference is that scientific memes are supposed to be subject to selection by the scientific method.

    To give an example, the old meme was that stomach ulcers were caused by psychological stress. Then in 1982, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren researched this "well established truth," (meme) and determined that infection by Helicobacter pylori was what caused ulcers. It took maybe 15 years, for the previous meme about the cause of stomach ulcers to be replaced in the minds of doctors and the public.

    You might be interested in pointers into articles I wrote along the road to my present view of memetics. If so, ask for URLs.

    Keith Henson

    =============================================================== 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:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri 08 Oct 2004 - 13:09:07 GMT