Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id RAA15636 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Thu, 30 Aug 2001 17:12:51 +0100 Message-ID: <3B8E658B.2C271DB4@bioinf.man.ac.uk> Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 17:10:51 +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: Cichlids & Memes References: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101746064@inchna.stir.ac.uk> <3B8E6002.232BD4B6@pacbell.net> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
> > Of course whether fish really have culture or memes is, I suspect, a matter
> > of some contention.
> Hmmm. I wonder if it is possible to have memes without culture.
> I know, I know, memes are defined as building blocks of culture, so the
> notion of a meme without culture is meaningless. Or is it?
> Isn't it possible to have patterns of behavior that are reproduced via
> imitation, are varied and subject to selection, without their combining
> in a superstructure that we call culture? Why not? The imitation of mate
> preferences in guppies seems a good candidate for such.
Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. This is difference between uni- and
multicellular life if you like, and as with that, the simple is
conceivable without the complex, but not the complex sans the simple. So
I would say that patterns of behaviour without culture is not just
likely, but a necessary precursor to complex meta structures like
culture (or multicellular life). Another analogy: I can imagine
individual species without an ecosystem (e.g. those km-deep in the rock
microbes), but I can't imagine an ecosystem without individual species
(by definition, obviously).
One of my fave versions of this sort of thing is to consider the
transition from a bag full of superstitions, to a codified religion (a
meta structure over the pre-existent superstitions).
Chris Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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