Sticky memes I

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Fri 20 Jan 2006 - 14:51:20 GMT

  • Next message: Kate Distin: "Sticky Memes II"

    I feel a bit like we've been going round in circles lately - or at least I have. It may be helpful to offer a summary of (how I see) the discussion so far.

    I think we're all agreed that freedom of expression, not isolating our children from external influences, encouraging them to ask questions, not intentionally offending other list members and not slaughtering people who disagree with us are the motherhood and apple pie of this list. We can take them all as read.

    The contention of people like Chris, If and Ben is that 1. we ought not to expose young children to religion because 2. in doing so we're imposing a false view of the world which 3. has far-reaching and potentially harmful consequences, and 4. is almost uniquely sticky amongst the memes children encounter - possibly even as sticky as their first language: it is so hard to shake free of parental religion that you are effectively removing all choice from these children.

    My reply is that: 1. We cannot avoid exposing children to religion. There is no neutral alternative. Secular humanism, atheism and agnosticism are all alleles of the religion meme (to put it simplistically). We can - and I think we'd all say should - avoid offering our views as unquestionable dogma, but even then young children are bound to be influenced by parental beliefs and practices. 2. We have to agree to disagree about this one. 3. Whether religion is inherently harmful is also up for debate. 4. If: I think you're right. Religion is almost as sticky as language.
      But I want to go further. I think lots of other things are this sticky too.

    I'm going to send the rest of this in a separate email so that it doesn't get too long.


    =============================================================== 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:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri 20 Jan 2006 - 15:12:45 GMT