Re: Do all memes die out or evolve? I think not.

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 19:33:34 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Do all memes die out or evolve?  I think not.
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    > "Dace" <> <> Re: Do all memes die out or evolve? I think not.Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 10:11:06 -0800
    >Joe Dees:
    >> I think that some memes reach an optimized limit state that nevertheless
    >> retains their functionality and usefulness. For instance, I do not see
    >> the multiplication tables either dying out or evolving.
    >Are you backing off from your assertion that memetics is the evolutionary theory of meaning?
    Of course not; such things have evolved to an optimized state. There is nothing in evolution that states that optimization for an environment cannot be reached by evolution, in this case, the environment is a cognitive one.
    >Just because memes are liable to arrive at an optimal state doesn't mean they aren't still products of evolution. The same thing occurs in the natural environment all the time. Organisms get to a certain point where they fit their ecosystem perfectly. Then the ecosystem gets washed away, and only those that are able to further evolve will survive. In the event of a general breakdown of civilization, multiplication tables would have little use and might disappear.
    Civilization would have to break down to prehistoric levels for that to happen; this is an extremely unlikely scenario. Everyone who knew of the multiplication tables would have to die, and all records of them would have to be obliterated. I see the chances of this happening in the absence of actual total extinction of the human race as vanishingly small.
    > The other possibility is a genetically engineered leap in intelligence that could render multiplication tables unnecessary. In that case, if they evolved into much greater complexity, then they might be useful again and would persevere.
    The fact that we now have differential and integral calculus does not render the multiplication tables obsolete, and I cannot see how such a thing might happen in the future. The leap in intelligence you invoke would certainly leave its beneficiaries aware of the functionality and utility of the multiplication tables.
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