From: Chris Taylor (email@example.com)
Date: Wed 27 Apr 2005 - 21:28:26 GMT
Sorry perhaps I wasn't clear -- the genetic engineering reference was
just an analogy to illustrate my point that my imagination allows me to
take parts of one memeplex and insert them into another in a way that I
would never see in the real world; or indeed to construct a whole new
thing from bits of others. No literal sense of the world of genetic
engineering was supposed to be involved...
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sandwiches at all. Works of fiction.
Satellites. The Intel whisky still. Art (most of). Lamdba calculus.
Carpeting. Guacamole. More or less everything we have constructed was at
some point and to some degree imagined, unless it was somehow wholy
discovered (maybe sharp flint edges were discovered, but what about axe
handles -- did someone dream about having a third section to their arm
to get a bigger whack with their sharp stone -- a fore-forearm -- and
then saw a stick and thought "Hey now..."? How did the first axe heads
get attached to the sticks?
This was all I intended to provoke an examination of -- is the ability
to deconstruct and recombine parts (in the most general conceptual
sense) what we have that others don't (I mistyped others as otters just
then lol); and is that a qualitatively different skill from the signs of
intelligence for which there are much clearer origins in our near and
distant relatives (like copying things as a whole entity, and learning
from serendipitous discovery -- actually sea otters use a kind of blunt
hand axe in a sense -- now if only they had decent thumbs)?
>>From: Chris Taylor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>Okay so this is linked to my vague point about imagination: Is it simply
>>the case that this ability to recontextualise a pattern, and to exploit
>>serendipitous accidents (either in the world, or internally) is much
>>more advanced in us, but no different in kind; or is there more?
>>Is it the ability to deconstruct and recombine disparate parts that is
>>the key (fish genes in tomato iyswim), or can 'lower' forms do that too,
>>but again to a less advanced (=speedy?) degree?
> What we call genetic recombination has been practiced by bacteria for three
> billion years. They're a lot better at it than we are. But this doesn't
> mean the "meme" of genetic recombination originated with bacteria. What
> bacteria do can be explained strictly in terms of standard biological
> concepts. To apply memes to bacterial gene exchange is therefore to violate
> the law of parsimony. Memes simply aren't necessary to account for what
> bacteria do. But they are necessary to account for the same practice in
> human culture. We engage in this practice because the idea of genetic
> recombination is culturally transmitted from scientist to scientist. By
> contrast, among bacteria the practice is biologically ingrained and requires
> no internal representation of the process that can be transmitted from one
> bacterium to another. In the realm of pure biology genes can be exchanged
> but not memes.
> 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: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
-- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chris Taylor (email@example.com) HUPO PSI: GPS -- psidev.sf.net ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ =============================================================== 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: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
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