Re: Memetic Parasitism

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri 22 Jul 2005 - 02:23:51 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: Memetic Parasitism"

    --- Chris Taylor <> wrote:

    > ? No that is a general summary.
    > Thank you Captain Ad Hominem. Try _reading into_
    > what was said,
    > as a whole. I can provide you with a lower wattage
    > version if
    > required..?
    > What gets memetics a bad name is the lack of true
    > analysis or
    > predictive power. And unhelpful nonsense like yours.
    OK guys lets take it down a notch or two. Robin rarely posts here anymore, so don't go chasing him way with the 'tude :-)

    Anyway, going beyond memetics and EP, I think one needs to put some historical perspective on whatever you're addressing and history is notorious for lacking predictive power (unless you're a psychohistorian, of course).

    The whole cascade started with Kate's innocent introduction of Harry Potter and the fundie reaction to it. Can memetics best explain this or EP? Would it be best to do a lit crit analysis of the Potter series and then analyze how the themes involved relate to Christian theology and the history of the church(es). One could look at the history of how Christians have perceived witchcraft and how this fits with how the fundies are dealing with a perceived threat via Potter. Sadly I'm not very familiar with the series, but it does overlap with the topic of intellectual freedom and censorship, so I should get more familiar with the nuances. There's lots of interesting angles to take, but I'm not too up on the details of the witch trials or Wicca or Potter or the rise of Christian fundamentalism in the US.

    The Christian fundies might see a competing worldview on the rise in Potter. This perception of threat might be assymmetric, though, since the Muggles aren't all that concerned with how fundamentalism is competing with their fantasy worldview as long as they can still access the books freely and enjoy them. But at some point organized attacks on Potter spawned by fundie beliefs are a threat to the Muggles, because their intellectual freedom is at stake. There are so many issues, I'm not sure how easily it can be forcefit into a memetics account.

    As far as EP goes, maybe there's some religiosity module at play that get people really into Biblical literalism and makes them feel compelled to impose their maxim as a law upon the rest of society (a little Kant here I think). Or maybe the emergence of religion is a spandrel instead, but still with the same outcome in the case of how fundies react to what they see as socially corrupting forces.

    You can't overlook the notions of paganism and the occult, not so much because the Muggles are going to become Wiccans or adherents of Crowley because they read Rowling's books, but maybe because that's the imagined outcome that fundies see as a threat. I learned my Crowley from Ozzy and Jimmy Page, thank you very much. And the fundies back then played Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" backwards to show people like me that we were diving headfirst into the lake of fire and eternal damnation. If you played Dungeons and Dragons you might have been diving without an asbestos snorkel and wet suit.


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