the earth revolves around the sun

From: Ray Recchia (
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 00:00:58 GMT

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    Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2002 19:00:58 -0500
    From: Ray Recchia <>
    Subject: the earth revolves around the sun
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    Hey Wade

    Here we go one last time on this topic

    >If someone tells you that "The earth revolves around the sun" in Japanese
    > >they have behaved quite differently than they would if that told you that
    > >same thing in English.
    >No argument. But they have performed this meme in a cultural vacuum- I
    >don't speak japanese. Their meme cannot be replicated by me.
    > >You would label these two separate memes.
    >I would. (At least right now, now that I'm on my meme-is-behavior-only
    > >If you
    > >tell someone that "The earth revolves around the sun in English" and they
    > >pass this information along to someone else in Japanese there would be no
    > >correlation under your proposed memetic theory and no passage of memes at
    > >all.
    >If I performed this meme in english, I would do so only knowing that my
    >audience understands english to a sufficient degree, and is prepared to
    >translate my performance, to the best of their ability, for a japanese
    >audience. I hope that, if I've performed this meme with enough accuracy
    >and simplicity, that further behaviors of this audience will be fairly
    >complete replications of this, and thus my meme lives. It ain't the same
    >meme, as no two things are identical, but, within memetic parameters, the
    >meme replicates the most that gets understood for replication the best.
    > >Haven't we been around this circle way too many times now?

    The problem is there can be no concept of translation with a knowledge
    based idea under a behavior only version of memetics. There is no
    corresponding behavior. You have to recognize that what is being
    translated is meaning. The words "The earth revolves around the sun" in
    Japanese probably sound nothing like the words in English. And until you
    point to corresponding behavior then translation becomes a meaningless
    term. What is translated is meaning or a mentally based meme.

    Lets stick with English for a moment.

    Which of these phrases memetically is closest to when you say "The earth
    revolves around the sun."

    a. Terra circles Sol
    b. the planet next inside of Mars spins around a G type star.
    c. the large body with the humans on it orbits the gravity based fusion
    energy generator.
    d. The berth devolves around the bun.

    If we adopt behavior based meme approach then since "the berth devolves
    around the bun" involves using the mouth in a similar way then you would
    have to pick d.

    Actually though it is a trick question. The real answer is none of the
    above. The key is 'say'. These are written phrases and under a behavior
    based memetics you would be unable to relate any of them to a spoken "The
    earth revolves around the sun because the behavior involved in writing is
    not the same as the behavior involved in speaking.

    There are clearly problems that a behaviorally based memetics has in
    dealing with language and knowledge based memes. A memetics that is
    incapable of looking examining and recognizing the similarities between
    differently worded written statements, statements made in different
    languages, and written statements and spoken words is of limited
    value. When dealing with memes that can be transmitted easily through
    imitation a behavioral memetics might be a more accurate method of
    collecting data but otherwise I see no reason to unnecessarily impose a
    filter this limited on the field.

    Ray Recchia

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