Re: reading a book

From: William Benzon (
Date: Sun 24 Apr 2005 - 01:01:53 GMT

  • Next message: William Benzon: "Re: Aunger vs. Pinker on Galton"

    on 4/23/05 2:56 PM, Scott Chase at wrote:


    >> The substrate is clearly significant: information
    >> will be transmitted
    >> more/less effectively depending on the medium in
    >> which it's realized; it
    >> will also be more/less powerful in exerting its
    >> potential effects. But
    >> Aunger doesn't convince me that this means the same
    >> information (meme)
    >> cannnot "really" be realized across different media.
    > Well when he's discussing abstract stuff about memes
    > he's not causing me as much grief as when he starts
    > goofing on molecular biology and now, it seems, basic
    > zoology (head-desk, head-desk, repeat 10 times). I had
    > cleaned the slate and he goes and does it again.

    Get used to it. You might consider some thick padding on the top of your desk. OTOH, if you put a bunch of rocks on your desk top the constant beating might be sufficient to render you insensitive to Aunger's lapses of fact, common sense, and internal consistency.

    But I'll give you a little preview. In his first chapter on the neural theory he announces his Big Discovery, that the neural meme is not a physical structure in the nervous system, but the state of a physical structure he calls a node. In one of the later chapters he suggests that memes can be modeled with stick and ball structures.


    > When
    > he's talking about the molecular bases of memory,
    > which in itself is an important topic I need seriously
    > to remediate myself on, he totally fries my brain with
    > a category error of serious proportions in zoology. He
    > equates the genus *Aplysia* which is a model organism
    > for memory research with the nematode. He says (p.
    > 190): "A number of studies, involving animals as
    > varied as the fruit fly (*Drosophila*), nematode worm
    > (*Aplysia*), and mouse...".

    Details, details, great minds working on great theories don't sweat the details. As long as it sounds good . . . .

    Bill B

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