Re: Definition, Please

From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Mon Nov 26 2001 - 13:49:38 GMT

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    Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 08:49:38 -0500
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    On 11/26/01 07:25, Ray Recchia said this-

    >Are the branches memes? If not, why not?

    Were these chimps observed without prior human contact? I have to know
    about the protocol of this observation to give it credence.

    Likewise for the other example. But, I won't go out on a limb and say
    there _aren't_ memes there- I'm just not convinced we have an unbiased or
    untampered set of observations- or just like the hundreth monkey- a hoax.
    (Or Sheldrake, but that's another issue... or is it?)

    >No artifacts are required to produce a 'B' that is capable of producing a
    >more fit 'C'.

    But, hey- that ain't true with memes. Or memetics. Or culture. Artifacts
    are absolutely required to make a better B.

    I ain't disagreeing with -

    >acquisition of characteristics. Reproduction, variation, and selection
    >producing greater fitness. Pattern at state 'A' produces offspring, those
    >offspring are selected for and a state 'B' survives and reproduces.

    - at all. But I am asking that the mechanism of memetic offspring be
    explained, and the only way _I_ can do it, and involve memes _at all_
    (rather than throw them out entirely), is have them be cultural
    artifacts, and only cultural artifacts, and to involve some analog of
    sexual contact, since I really don't think there is any evidence to show
    sheer mutation as the only operative, as Joe pointed out.

    And, I did try to choose the inside meme, and the shared meme, as a
    mechanism, but, the inside meme depends way too much on things we simply
    don't know yet- that region between perception and behavior is just too
    unknown. And the shared meme requires a leap into illogic that remains
    impossible for me.

    If cultural evolution is a fact at all (and not just our innate responses
    to complexly changing environments coupled with our pattern-prompted
    answers), then why not look at _what is produced_?- the artifacts of
    culture are ready and able to be studied and analyzed. If you want
    pigeonholing, then, yes, this makes memetics a branch of anthropology-
    but, I too would prefer that memetics occupy that consiliating realm
    between art and science. But then, in true consilience, that's where
    everything should be.

    But, before I go, let me know if you _really_, _really_, meant the
    following -

    >Similarly, the
    >earth has the chemicals and energies sufficient to produce a human without
    >any evolutionary process occurring at all

    - Wade

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