Re: Mutant swarms and copying fidelity

From: Bill Spight (
Date: Thu 05 May 2005 - 17:20:22 GMT

  • Next message: Bill Spight: "Re: Mutant swarms and copying fidelity"

    Dear Derek,

    >> 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. 20 flu generations is
    > probably less than 60 days. How much does a flu virus mutate in 60
    > days?

    Well, see my other note, where, from what Barry says, it appears that a flu virus has over a 99% mutation rate for a single generation.

    > In any case, to what extent are orthographical changes
    > cultural mutations? 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?

    Who is talking about coding? Lexemes replicate, vary, and are differentially selected. And language is part of culture. Lexemes are memes.



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