RE: Memetics/Evolutionary psychology reversal

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri 13 Jan 2006 - 01:55:18 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "RE: Memetics/Evolutionary psychology reversal"

    At 12:00 AM 1/12/2006 -0500, you wrote:
    >>From: Keith Henson <>
    >>Subject: Memetics/Evolutionary psychology reversal
    >>Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 11:55:15 -0500
    >>I recently tested memetics and evolutionary psychology with
    >>Google. Four years ago, there were twice as many hits on memetics as
    >>EP, now that has reversed to almost twice as many hits on EP as memetics.
    >>849,000 for "evolutionary psychology"
    >>475,000 for memetics
    >>It is also interesting, 22,200 for "evolutionary psychology" memetics
    >>and I am not responsible for *all* of them :-)
    >>18,600 for "evolutionary psychology" memetics -henson
    >Google hits are an index of usage, but how can things like redundancy be
    >addressed? How many hits are unique versus copied across websites?

    I am assuming that whatever problems there are with Google, the same problems existed 4 years ago and affected these search terms in similar ways making a ratio comparison over time *somewhat* reasonable.

    Mid 2001 "evolutionary psychology" had about 23,000 Web hits. By comparison, "memetics" had about 50,000 Web hits. Nanotechnology had 160,000 up from 80,000 the year before. Interesting. Nanotechnology is currently 47.7 million,--which is almost 1/3 of the way to God (177 million)

    >My own experience has led me to believe that websites borrow extensively
    >from each other to the point that a good many "hits" on a given keyword
    >are carbon copies or at least cut and pastes from other sites.
    >Hits coming directly from our memetics discussion here often seem to be
    >mirrored at the "Church of Virus" site, which is redundant in a sense.
    >Redundancy in a system is good in some respects, since if one site goes
    >down temporarily or permanently its content will be accessible at another
    >location, although google does have the handy cache feature.
    >By way of comparison to your chosen terms "mneme semon" gets 575 hits,
    >"mneme meme" gets 763 and "noogenetics" gets an anemic 53. Yet popularity
    >or number of hits doesn't necesarily reflect value.

    True. This is only a measure of relative popularity of certain terms on the web. Still, in the last 4 1/2 years memetics is up by a factor of almost 10, EP by a factor of 37 and nanotechnology by a staggering factor of 300.

    >Plus if you notice I'm responsible for some of the hits on the terms I chose.
    >How could the usage of terms be evaluated for quality of source? Would a
    >hit on a prestigious research type site or government site be considered
    >with more weight than someone's informal homepage or blog site especially
    >someone's drunken Saturday night ramblings though serious scholars do have
    >blogs too.
    >Wiki sites and such can be good sources, if the author(s) know what they
    >are talking about, but I'm cautious about these sites myself, especially
    >sans corroboration. It seems that the isue of redundancy is important with
    >wiki and online "encyclopedia" sites.

    All this is true, but search engines are the best measure of the memes circulating in society I know of. It may not be the best quality data, but sometimes you have to make do with what you can get.

    Keith Henson

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