Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id IAA29808 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Wed, 25 Apr 2001 08:44:24 +0100 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 00:41:07 -0700 (PDT) From: Trupeljak Ozren <email@example.com> Subject: RE: The Status of Memetics as a Science To: firstname.lastname@example.org In-Reply-To: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745DDA@inchna.stir.ac.uk> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
--- Vincent Campbell <email@example.com> wrote:
> I think your argument rests on very big ifs- particularly the notion
> they are behind our dominance of the planet (I still think bacteria
> have a
> pretty good case for that status- they've been around longer, can
> large parts of the planet that we can't, and despite our best efforts
> eradicate some of them deliberately we've largely failed).
> So, my questions are: What do you mean by dominance, firstly, and
> secondly, how could/would memes per se allow for that dominance?
Well, first and foremost, the purely physical capabilities to destroy.
I think there is no question that we are the dominant life form on the
planet in that aspect. Second, the energy production/usage levels that
a life form has control over. Third, our ability to adapt (either us to
enviroment, or enviroment to us). These were my main criteria for
claiming human dominance. Note, that I am not claiming any sort of
permanence for that dominance; I am not talking about future, or the
past, just now...
As for bacteria, none of the reasons for their bid for dominance make
any sense on (my) that scale. So what if they have been around longer?
Dinosaurs have been around longer then us, and look at them now. So
what if they live on places on this planet that we don't; taking aside
the factors of size, the only thing actually stopping us from living in
these places is that we have gotten the better territory (in a manner
of speaking) and that we have no need to fill the other niches. (yet)
And extermination of bacteria has never been our primary goal. There
are easy ways for doing it, but the cost (and I am not talking about
money) would be unacceptably high; what good comes from eradicating
them all anyway?
If you are refering to the continual fight of antibiotics against more
and more resistant bacteria, then you shoudl be aware that as long as
our computational capabilities are higher then the equivalent mutation
capabilities for bacteria, we win. We can stand on quicksand, if we
paddle fast enough.
Now, memes and dominance, well, I think it should be obvious after
reading the preceding text.
> Surely memes are related primarily to culture, thus does having
> cultural capacity has a significantly positive impact on survival?
It seems that it does. At least so far. The more complex cro-magnon
culture seems to have been able to completely take over the niche
previously shared by a number of other (proto?) human societies, all
with markedly less complex and (arguably) less developed culture.
> culture's impact was really the key factor in dominance, then surely
> evolution would have produced complex cultures in all sorts of other
> organisms (in the same way that the eye evolved in a wide range of
> organisms because eyes are very useful tools).
Look at a bunch of recent articles in Nature (and similar periodicals)
about the beginnings of culture noticed among different chimpanzee
groups in Africa. We just might be the very first complex culture of
this magnitude to rise on this planet (since we do not seem to have
found any remains of the previous ones), and we sure seem to be
Another argument might be made that complex cultures are actualy quite
instable and liable to self-destruct from a variety of reasons. That
would explain quite a lot, too...:)
> > ----------
> > From: Trupeljak Ozren
> > Reply To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2001 7:43 pm
> > To: email@example.com
> > Subject: Re: The Status of Memetics as a Science
> > If we start with the assumption that memes have been with us for
> > time; that they follow the principles of evolutionary selection;
> > they are the reason behind our physical dominance on this planet;
> > THEN
> > it would follow that releasing the knowledge about the specific
> > mechanisms of their existence (knowledge of meme-engineering) could
> > only lead to a greater diversity; and thus stronger, more robust
> > "meme-system" (eco-system of the memes) for the whole of their
> > space".
> > Why do I believe that they (memes) are the reason behind our
> > By definition, all transmited knowledge exhibits memetic behavior;
> > our physical dominance is the result of our knowledge of theory and
> > application for laws of nature. The ideas standing behind the rise
> > scientific thought could very easily be perceived as being memes.
> > Why would the release of knowledge of "meme-engineering" lead to
> > greater diversity of existant memes? Well, from the simple fact
> > you would have many more nodes of replication that would mutate
> > on purpose, not just by accident or "flashes of inspiration", and
> > far more knowledge of what the results might be.
> > Why would this greater diversity of memes bring any good to us,
> > humanity? Well, here I can only go by analogy with biology, in
> > the most complex systems exhibit surprising capabilities of
> > and adaptation. In a way, by being exposed to more, and better
> > memes, we can raise the immunity to truly virulent ones just by
> > constant exposure. Fanaticism of any kind might become a rather
> > and isolated phenomenon, unlike today...that might be good. :)
> > again, I might be discovering warm water. But I was provoked by the
> > discussion on ethics of releasing the knowledge of how the human
> > is manipulated to the general public. If we extoll the principles
> > evoultion to be the elegant truth behind our existence, why should
> > not accept them as our ethical system, too?
> > __________________________________________________
> > Do You Yahoo!?
> > Yahoo! Auctions - buy the things you want at great prices
> > http://auctions.yahoo.com/
> > ===============================================================
> > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information
> > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> > see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
> 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: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
There are very few man - and they are exceptions - who are able to think and feel beyond the present moment.
Carl von Clausewitz
Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Auctions - buy the things you want at great prices
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)
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