RE: Definition please

From: Ray Recchia (
Date: Tue Nov 27 2001 - 13:11:29 GMT

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    Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001 08:11:29 -0500
    From: Ray Recchia <>
    Subject: RE: Definition please
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    Hi Scott Chase

    At 11:18 PM 11/26/2001 -0500, you wrote:
    >Have you read the part of _The Ape and the Sushi Master_ where de Waal
    >talks about memes? Would you say he casts memetics in a favorable light

    Well I'd call it a mixed bag and not particularly well thought out. Which
    is understandable because it is not really his area of interest or the main
    focus of the book.

    On the one hand he acknowledges that behavioral inheritance and genetic
    inheritance are concepts that can be conceptually linked. His main
    objection seems to be an alleged attempt to over analogize genetics and
    behavioral transmission. At the same time he uses the evolutionary term
    'Lamarckian' to describe cultural transmission which I think is very
    misplaced and a bad analogy.

    His main objections involve the differences in transmission methods and
    mutation. We know transmission is different for memes. It's part of what
    memetics can explore. The 'genes are changed through random mutation and
    memes are changed by more complicated processes' argument he lifted from
    Gould. With things like meiotic crossing over, jumping genes, and sexual
    recombination, genetic mutation isn't truly random either. As long as we
    can say that there is a change in probabilities after mutation we can make
    useful analogies.

    This answer is a bit briefer than I'd like it to be but I have to get to work.

    Ray Recchia

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