From: Derek Gatherer (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 05 May 2005 - 13:00:10 GMT
I have a bee in my bonnet about this, since it has previously been wrangled
about extensively within the memetics community. See in rough order of
At 12:23 05/05/2005, you wrote:
>Derek Gatherer wrote:
>>>Well, lack of precision does not preclude comparison, it just makes it
>>>coarse grained. For example, take this quote from Chaucer:
>>> I warne yow wel, it is no childes pley.
>>>Eight memes (lexemes), counting 'childes pley' as one, six mutations
>>>(including short to long 'i' in 'childes') in over more than 600 years.
>>>Millions of replications, at least. That's gotta be slower than the flu, no?
>>600 years is a mere 20 human generations.
>But meme generations aren't often the same as gene generations. 600 years
>could be thousands of meme generations.
>>20 flu generations is probably less than 60 days. How much does a flu
>>virus mutate in 60 days? In any case, to what extent are orthographical
>>changes cultural mutations?
>They're more changes in the way that culture is represented than in the
>culture itself. The meaning of the phrase doesn't change when you move it
>into modern English; the information it carries remains the same.
>>Does that not assume that culture is somehow coded in language? Couldn't
>>it be coded in something else (eg a mentalese?) or not coded at all?
>Coded in lots of different ways, yes.
>I'd also question the assumption that the phrase consists of 8 memes just
>because it has 8 lexemes. I'm not saying that each word could not be a
>meme, in certain contexts, but that functionally this particular phrase
>actually carries only one or at the most two bits of information (a
>self-referential statement that the phrase is a warning, and the warning
>Dawkins has an example in The Blind Watchmaker about the evolution of
>language, plotted in terms of word divergence, which I think falls prey to
>the same problems. Obviously there's a lot more to language than its
>constituent words (e.g. grammatical rules, etc.).
>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)
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)
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