Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id RAA10810 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Tue, 28 Aug 2001 17:10:40 +0100 Message-ID: <3B8BB410.CBD03748@bioinf.man.ac.uk> Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 16:09:04 +0100 From: Chris Taylor <Christopher.Taylor@man.ac.uk> Organization: University of Manchester X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.77 [en] (Windows NT 5.0; U) X-Accept-Language: en To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Coordinated behavior among birds, fish, and insects References: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D310174605B@inchna.stir.ac.uk> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
> I don't think memetics and MR are linked, but when one looks at
> other theories of cultural evolution and critiques of memetics, they tend to
> have the same kind of rhetoric that critics of MR on this list have, namely
> the argument of why do you need theory 'X' to explain phenomena already
> (arguably) explainable by other, empirically established theories. Now,
> before everyone jumps down my throat, I don't think memetics is on anywhere
> near as shaky ground as MR, but there are those who make this kind of
> argument (e.g. evolutionary psychology people who reckon they've got culture
> sussed etc.). I think proponents of memetics have more potential in the
> long run to counter those kind of criticisms than the MR crowd (not least
> because first, unlike MR, it proposes a mechanism which is in principle
> empirically testable, and second it doesn't refute established bodies of
> empirical data).
Yeah, it irritates me when that criticism is deployed (such as 'already
done it another way') - a worthy evolutionary biologist said just that
again, in a book review in nature just a week or two ago.
Cue the rant:
The selling point of memetics is that it is a unifying theory, from the
smallest building blocks of behaviour right up to sociology and history.
That is why it is worthwhile (why not go for a GUT for the behavioural
sciences). That's after all one of the three rules for a modeller -
'explains more' (the others being 'explains better' and 'explains with
Actually, there's a rule four - 'this looks like rock hard maths and I
can say whatever I want now'.
Chris Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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