Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri Jan 11 2002 - 17:00:39 GMT

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    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 12:00:39 -0500
    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception
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    At 10:14 AM 11/01/02 +0000, you wrote:
    >On Fri, Jan 11, 2002 at 04:38:33PM +1100, Jeremy Bradley wrote:
    > > At 08:40 AM 10/01/02 -0800, you wrote:
    > > >What if I never have children. Are the stands of DNA in my cells not
    > genes?
    > > >
    > > >You have simply identified a phenomenon that is not very interesting in
    > > >explaining cultural evolution.
    > > >
    > > I agree Richard
    > > We have to separate the meme from its manifestation. We don't hear
    > > geneticists confusing genes and cells. In my view the thought becomes
    > > contagious because it is memeticly recognised as valid. The thought, or the
    > > article, is not a meme.
    >Hi Jeremy, you might be interested in my argument that memes should be
    >considered *encoded* in brains, behaviour and artefacts. This is on
    >the web here:

    This is, I think, the correct way to view memes. A meme is the information
    regardless of the form it takes.

    A scientist would label a bottle of DNA encoding a gene with the same label
    as a paper listing of the gene or a floppy disk with the listing. They are
    all inter-convertible. None has biological effect unless it is in a place
    where the information is transcribed and has effects through the genes

    In the same way, a meme can be encoded in any form, paper, tape, or an
    artifact, but it only becomes active in having effects on the world when it
    is loaded into an appropriate organism and modifies behavior.

    The same thing can be said for computer viruses.

    All three are examples of replicators.

    Genes have active effects in cells, memes in brains, and computer viruses
    in computers.

    Now we can consider the pathological cases, memes that result in suicide,
    genes that kill the organism, and . . . well, we all know what computer
    viruses are capable of.

    Keith Henson

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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