RE: The Status of Memetics as a Science

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Sat Apr 21 2001 - 18:07:23 BST

  • Next message: Robin Faichney: "Re: The Status of Memetics as a Science"

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    Subject: RE: The Status of Memetics as a Science
    Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001 13:07:23 -0400
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    If by science we mean that memetics can be subjected to empirical
    experimentation, the formation of hypotheses that contribute to a growing
    body of reliable knowledge, and sufficiently precise observation that 'Aha'
    and 'Gee, that's weird' reactions can be garnered, indeed, I think memetics
    can become a science. For example, if one experiments by launching a
    potential meme, and gives to it a unique and unchangeable identifier, and
    then one finds the identifier showing up in the target populations, one can
    conclude that the meme was launched successfully. If it spreads to
    unintended populations, one can conclude that the boundary eleements of the
    meme were inadequately specified. A body of knowledge begins to be built up
    that can then serve to create more refined experiments.

    But to become a science, this kind of research has to be done, and, I
    believe, the ethical framework in which it should be carried out has to be

    I have no doubt that commerically motivated lurkers read these postings and
    are intent on using whatever practical gleanings they can, without what
    would be IMO adequate ethical consideration. The Frontline program that I
    reported on a couple of days ago here showed banks of Internet
    pseudo-participants salting various chat groups with advertising messages.

    All we can do here is communicate amongst ourselves as best possible while
    minimising information that may be technically useful to these
    pseudo-participants, and hope that we may find more secure fora in which to
    have more substantive discussions and exchange of research findings.

    - Lawrence

    -----Original Message-----
    From: []On Behalf
    Of Robin Faichney
    Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2001 11:23 AM
    Subject: Re: The Status of Memetics as a Science

    >> How does faith in memetics as a science fit in there?
    > Hi, Robin, if that question is for me, I don't think of memetics as a
    > science (not that it might not be approached as such by others), and have
    > faith in neither science nor memetics, if I understand your use of the
    > 'faith' correctly.

    What I meant was faith that memetics will, or at least has the potential
    to, become a science.

    Robin Faichney

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