Re: Logic

From: John Wilkins (wilkins@wehi.EDU.AU)
Date: Fri Aug 10 2001 - 08:09:42 BST

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: Logic"

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    On Friday, August 10, 2001, at 04:50 PM, Scott Chase wrote:

    >> From: "Dace" <>
    >> Reply-To:
    >> To: <>
    >> Subject: Re: Logic
    >> Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2001 22:54:18 -0700
    >> Kenneth,
    >> > > Memes are indeed, of course associated with thought and IMO we
    >> > > have to stop applying ' genetic- like ' explanations to describe
    >> the
    >> > > memes themselves and the processes where they are involved in.
    >> When he first coined the term, Dawkins located "memes" in the brain.
    >> If the
    >> brain is reducible to genes, then memes are functions of genes. But
    >> if the

    This is a classic reductionist fallacy. I'm surprised to find a new ager
    proposing it.

    If there is sufficient degrees of freedom of outcome from a lower level
    system, and we know that neuronal connections are extremely plastic and
    adaptive to the life history of the organism, then it makes no sense at
    all to say that the higher level processes are "a function" of the lower
    level ones. In short, genes do not determine most memes. At best (in the
    case of evolutionary psychological explanations) they bias them.

    >> brain is informed by past, similar brains, then memes are patterns of
    >> neurotransmission that follow habitually from previous, similar
    >> patterns.
    > Well, if there is a social heredity or means of cultural transmission,
    > whether Dawkinsian memes or the noogenetic/noetic patterns of Julian
    > Huxley (somewhat following in the footsteps of Teilhard), the brain
    > could be informed by past "similar" brains without the spooky MR
    > principle. This means of social heredity need not be tightly leashed by
    > genes either.

    What's wrong with learning and imitation as a vector? ;-) Do not
    unnecessarily multiply entities in explanation, as I seem to recall
    somebody once saying...
    > Tradition need not resonate, whatever that means.
    It's a form of sympathetic magic, this MR stuff. Like homeopathy.

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