Re: Robert Aunger essay

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Fri 14 Apr 2006 - 18:28:53 GMT

  • Next message: Kate Distin: "Re: Robert Aunger essay"

    Keith Henson wrote:
    > At 04:02 PM 4/14/2006 +0100, Robin wrote:
    >> Thursday, April 13, 2006, 11:12:49 PM, Jesse wrote:
    >> > In addition, memetics, in my opinion, should not and will not be a
    >> total picture or explanation for human culture, but rather will
    >> become the tool by which we understand how information transmits and
    >> changes over time (strangely the electrical engineering courses I
    >> took in communications principles gave me some interesting insight on
    >> memes from this perspective).
    >> I gave up arguing about this years ago, but maybe I should take it up
    >> again. Memes are items of INFORMATION! Genes are extremely unusual in
    >> being items of info that are stored only on one medium: DNA.
    >> Otherwise, info can be and is stored and encoded in diverse formats.
    >> It might be on DVD or video tape or in an encrypted zip file on your
    >> hard drive, but it's the SAME film. Likewise, memes are encoded in
    >> behavioural patterns, neural patterns, books and computers, etc, etc.
    >> It's not either/or but both/and. Is there anyone at all out there,
    >> besides Tim Rhodes and (maybe) Jesse who can see the sense of this?
    > I see it, having made the same argument for years as well. I go a bit
    > further that genes can be in any storage medium as well. The
    > difference in these classes of information is that memes to have real
    > world influence have to be in a brain, genes have to be in cells, and
    > likewise a computer virus has to be in the proper computer/OS.
    > Otherwise all three are all just inactive bits.
    Right - this is the information vs. effects distinction. Choice of medium and of representational system will both have an impact on the information's potential for exerting its phenotypic effects. As you say, this is the case for genes as well as for memes - as demonstrated in the human genome project, 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) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri 14 Apr 2006 - 18:53:15 GMT