Re: Selfish memes?

From: Dace (
Date: Thu Jan 24 2002 - 04:29:48 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Selfish memes?
    Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002 20:29:48 -0800
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    > This is apparently from The Selfish Gene, somewhere...
    > "Of course," Dawkins writes, "the personification of the gene is not to
    > be taken literally ... Personification is sometimes a useful device, and
    > for critics to accuse us of taking it literally is almost as stupid as
    > taking it literally in the first place. Physicists are not literally
    > by their particles and the critic who would so accuse them is a
    > tiresome pedant."

    There's no reason to assume that selfishness in some way inplies humanness.
    So why is everyone jumping to the conlcusion that in ascribing
    self-orientation to genes and memes I'm personifying them?

    I smell a meme.

    The meme in question stems from Descartes, who posited a fundamental divide
    between human consciousness and the rest of nature, all of which, living or
    not, is deterministic. That so many on this list would reflexively conclude
    that motive equals human mentality demonstrates that this meme is alive and

    [from the Stangroom interview]
    > "But the fundamental rule that DNA is selfish and looking after
    > its own interests shines through, and all else is complication"

    Looks like Dawkins is not infected with the Cartesian meme. Good for him.


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