Re: The selfish gene meme

Date: Wed Dec 05 2001 - 19:50:35 GMT

  • Next message: Dace: "Re: Definition please"

    Received: by id TAA04698 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Wed, 5 Dec 2001 19:55:05 GMT
    From: <>
    Message-ID: <>
    Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2001 14:50:35 EST
    Subject: Re: The selfish gene meme
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
    X-Mailer: AOL 4.0 for Windows 95 sub 113
    Precedence: bulk

    In a message dated 12/5/2001 10:41:08 AM Central Standard Time, If Price
    <> writes:

    > Thank you John for this example which for Andrew (he coined the term) and
    > is a example of a general phenomenon - lack of fidelity of
    > meaning as a good trick (sensu Dennet)in meme replication space.

    Hi If.

    For the past few years, my main page at has had a
    comment to this effect on the propagation of the word "meme."

    "... However, the ambiguity of a word with many definitions swirling around
    it can actually increase its propagation, even as some scientists recoil from
    it. When people are able to read into a word the meaning that most suits
    them, it may increase the numbers of non-specialists and even social
    scientists who adopt and use the term. ..."

    What is important, in my opinion, is that any word we use serve the
    scientists and their work rather than the other way around.

    Interestingly, your use of the term "replication space" suggests that you are
    referring to something that is defined with sufficient mathematical precision
    to call for a coordinate system. Some readers will want to know in exact
    quantitative terms how that space is defined, which in turn may cause them to
    want to know in more exact terms how the word "meme" is defined.

    --Aaron Lynch

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Dec 05 2001 - 20:01:23 GMT