Re: What happened to the journal of memetics?

From: Agner Fog (
Date: Sat 19 Feb 2005 - 18:36:04 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: What happened to the journal of memetics?"
    Keith Henson wrote:
    >I have no idea of why.
    You mean no idea why the journal disappeared, or no idea why I don't want theories to be limited to discrete information units?
    >If you use "information" in the technical sense, then it is discrete units measured in bits.
    You might with the same argument publish articles about anything in a chemistry journal because anything consists of molecules :-)
    Journal of memetics is limited to theories of automatic selection of information units. Memetics, like other evolutionary theories, is a theory of things happening as controlled by an "invisible hand" rather than consciously planned. But "invisible hand" effects can be caused by other types of selection than selection of information units. Adam Smith invented the term "invisible hand" to describe the free market forces of economics. This is selection of quantitative variables (money) rather than qualitative items (memes).
    Example: Big companies tend to grow still bigger because their size give them a number of competitive advantages known as "economy of scale". No social planner decided that Coca Cola or Microsoft should be big multinational companies. It just happened because of the market logic. This is automatic selection, but not of discrete information units.
    Democratic election is another example. One party may grow and another party shrink because of whatever selection criteria voters apply. This is selection of a quantitative variable (number of votes), and only secondarily a qualitative information unit (political ideology).
    I have more examples in my book "cultural selection". My point is that memetics is an "invisible hand" theory of social and cultural development. There are other similar theories which can explain unplanned developments just as well as memetics can. What these theories have in common is selection, not information units. This is the reason why I would like to see a joural with a broader focus. This would include such scientific traditions as cultural selection theory, evolutionary epistemology, evolutionary economics and public choice, as well as memetics. A cross-fertilization between these sciences would be very fruitful. =============================================================== 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:

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