Re: Selfish memes?

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 02:41:37 GMT

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    Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 21:41:37 -0500
    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: Re: Selfish memes?
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    At 10:18 AM 22/01/02 -0800, "Dace" <>

    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: Keith Henson
    > > >>We're born into a world already
    > > >>chalk full of ideas, all of which want to seduce us and propagate in
    > > >>our consciousness,
    > > >
    > > >I don't believe ideas "want" to do anything.
    > >
    > > Of course not, and genes are not "selfish." It is a shortcut method of
    > > thinking Dawkins used to consider things from a gene's or a meme's
    > > viewpoint.
    >He wrote an entire book called *The Selfish Gene.* Are you saying he didn't
    >really mean it? I think we have to accept the fact that, according to
    >Dawkins' theory, memes are not merely ideas capable of replication but
    >autonomous ideas that actively pursue self-replication, much like genes.

    Dawkins explains in *detail* that this is metaphor and as shortcut way to
    think about evolution from the viewpoint of genes. "Selfish" in this sense
    only means that as time goes on the effects of evolution makes some genes
    increase in number of copies I don't have my copy at hand or I would find
    you the page number, but I assure you it is there.

    > > But an idea can certainly cause the person who has it to spread the idea
    > > others. Such memes tend to become more common as time goes on.
    >Anything with causative power has its own intrinsic existence.

    I agree, but it does not mean we should excessively anthropomorphize it.

    Keith Henson

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