Re: What/who selects memes?

Date: Wed Oct 03 2001 - 18:36:51 BST

  • Next message: Robin Faichney: "Re: What/Who selects memes?"

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    Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 18:36:51 BST
    Subject: Re: What/who selects memes?
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    >Yes thinking and meme-handling is not the same but it both >happens in
    >the brain.

    What is this meme-handling stuff? What happens in brains is colloquially called thinking, and by neurobiologists called lots of other technical things - but 'meme handling' ain't one of them. Your argument seems to require the invention of a new category of mental event, which isn't thinking.

    >I don't know whether you read the text but it advised to >avoid
    >spreading certain memes.

    [snipped list of recommendation]

    >And so on. That has all to do with memes. You can for >example decide
    >to sensationalize the event therefore spread this kind of >memes or
    >you decide against it and not spread the memes. You >decide.

    But all these are behaviours. There were no recommendations about thinking.

    >> But Stone Age people _didn't know_, that's the whole point.

    >Sure they knew, they wouldn't have survived otherwise.
    >Some might died, but others learned from them who died, they received
    this meme and survived because of it.

    No, how can you say that they knew what was going on? Microbiology is only a few centuries old. There are sociological studies (Rogers and Shoemaker - extensively discussed on this list a few months ago) that show that some societies in Peru are still resistant to things like boiling water. They have plenty of opportunity to observe children dying of dysentery, but it seems to have no effect.

    >I could make up
    >a hypothetical meme "Drinking petroleum is good" and even >life
    >accordingly to it, but the meme wouldn't spread very far >because
    >people would see that i died from drinking petroleum so >their brain
    >wouldn't let this meme survive and spread. Obvious.

    No, not obvious. It wouldn't depend on whether or not they realised that drinking petrol was harmful. They would die just the same. The meme would become extinct even without any knowledge of the harmful effects of petrol.

    >I wrote "the resulting meme is going to be saved
    >in both of these structures in whatever way". So it's in >the brain.
    >Read before you answer.

    Well, if it's in the brain, maybe you can show me how I would identify it in a brain? You can only point to memes as artefacts and behaviours. Occam's razor.

    >PS: I gave you examples how i store memes and handle memes >in my
    >head just like everyone does, you didn't reply to them, i >guess
    >because you can't find an argument against it.

    No, I merely found the argument too unconvincing to merit a response. You are positing 'storage' and 'handling' capabilities for which there is no precedent in neurobiology. If you are going to play the 'memes are in the head' card, you have to be able to be more specific.

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