Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id CAA02963 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Thu, 26 Apr 2001 02:48:52 +0100 Message-ID: <3AE77D10.8FA31F5@wehi.edu.au> Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 11:42:38 +1000 From: wilkins <wilkins@wehi.EDU.AU> Organization: The Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.76C-CCK-MCD (Macintosh; U; PPC) X-Accept-Language: en,pdf To: email@example.com Subject: Re: The Status of Memetics as a Science References: <B70C3C28.8DC7firstname.lastname@example.org> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
William Benzon wrote:
> on 4/25/01 7:07 AM, Vincent Campbell at email@example.com wrote:
> > ... b)
> > there are entire industries engaged in persuasive communication already who,
> > despite the money paid to them by clients, have absolutely no way of
> > predetermining the effectiveness of their efforts, and when they are
> > successful its largely nothing to do with them, and everything to do with
> > the attitudes of those they're trying to persuade).
> It's really quite amazing isn't it?
> Taken collectively, those attitudes are the environment in which these pesky
> little meme thingys must survive. But memeticists give almost zero
> attention to them.
> Why? I suspect because it would seem to diminish the power of these memes,
> making them seem less like self-propelled vehicles of mentation.
A lot of this strikes me as somehow parallel to the arguments in favour
of eugenics (the non-Nazi variety) before the war. It never seemed to
connect to many (an honourable exception being Theodosius Dobzhansky)
that if these feeblemindedness genes were so bad, then they ought to
eliminate themselves from the gene pool. But if they were spreading so
rapidly, then they must, by definition, be fitter for that environment
than the "noble" genes that the working class, etc, threatened.
Memes survive, if memes "do" such a thing, in virtue of their adaptation
to local environments. I fail to understand why people think that they
have any better idea of the long term fate of manipulated memes than
they do of manipulated genes...
> BB, the curmudgeon
JSW - another curmudgeon.
-- John Wilkins, Head, Communication Services, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia Homo homini aut deus aut lupus - Erasmus of Rotterdam <http://www.users.bigpond.com/thewilkins/darwiniana.html>
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