Re: Wilkins on the meme:engram relation

Date: Mon Dec 03 2001 - 07:21:14 GMT

  • Next message: Joe Dees: "Re: Wilkins on the meme:engram relation"

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    Subject: Re: Wilkins on the meme:engram relation
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    In a message dated 12/3/2001 12:06:16 AM Central Standard Time, Joe Dees
    <> writes:

    > I disagree, precisely because several related areas in disparate
    > may be conjoined by applying the term 'meme' to their relata. I have seen
    > other term, neo or not, that promises to do this. I also maintain that
    > the memetic life-cycle is understood to include both internal mushroom and
    > external spore, that the confusion that has been unfortunately and unfairly
    > attached to the term 'meme' will quite naturally and rightly abate.

    Hi Joe.

    It does seem possible that the confusion will at some time abate. However, it
    seems much more likely to abate if more readers can see some works that
    express theory and observations without the word. Too many readers have
    become suspicious that the whole theory itself rests upon having a word that
    sounds like "gene," and that we are trying to "pull a fast one." It may be
    that some readers need to take one step at a time: first learning some
    evolutionary cultural replicator theory, and then taking up the matter of how
    best to express that theory across many disciplines and to interested lay
    people. It may even be valuable to have some works that are written up in two
    almost-identical ways: one with the word "meme" and the other without.
    Cloak's 1973 paper shows that theory can be expressed without the word, but
    unfortunately it has languished in obscurity for many years.

    Re-wording things can be a lot of work, though -- especially after spending
    years of relying heavily on the word "meme." I for one would have been much
    happier if Dawkins had handled the definition matter more carefully 25 years
    ago, and changed it only as necessary and only with well stated reasons.

    --Aaron Lynch

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