From: Bill Spight (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 21 Apr 2005 - 20:26:29 GMT
Dear Bill B.,
>>I was also disappointed by Blackmore. In "The Selfish Gene" Dawkins
>>> talks about memes replicating by "a process which, in the broad sense,
>>> can be called imitation." Now, that statement cries out for more
>>> detailed explication and analysis based upon social learning theory. But
>>> Blackmore takes off her psychologist hat for a second and says, "Hey,
>>> it's imitation."
> But at least Blackmore is within the realm of the more or less possible.
> Even if she takes imitation at unanalyzed face value, one can imagine that
> something would be left of her ideas if one were more careful.
I did not mean to be overly critical of Blackmore. I was just expressing
my disappointment in that regard.
> But Aunger's
> confusion is so massive that it's hard to imagine anything coming of his
> book. It's also hard to imagine how it ever got past editorial review.
> When [Aunger is] talking about replication in biology, I'm
> hoping for a competent description of DNA replication,
> but instead get something that grates on my nerves and
> makes me worry about the rest of the book.
Unfortunately I am reminded of something someone (Carl Sagan, I think)
wrote about Velikovsky ("Worlds in Collision"). Many scientists who read
Velikovsky in the 50s spotted his errors in their own fields, but
thought he knew what he was talking about in other fields. I do not mean
to put Aunger on Velikovsky's level, but it is very easy to go astray
when you venture outside your area of expertise, and not so easy to
recognize that someone has done so, when it is outside your field, as well.
It's funny to hear myself saying such things, because I resist the
pigeonholing of knowledge and am drawn to interdisciplinary stuff. But I
have to admit the difficulties.
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