From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 00:37:12 GMT

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    Hi Steve Drew -

    >More to the point, culture does appear to be replicated

    Permit my skepticism to show on that point as well.

    Spiders can replicate their webs. Termites their mounds. The thought that
    most of what we call culture is just as instinctual is not preposterous.

    Culture could be just such a phenonemon. Changing to meet the local
    variances, but, regardless of our complex sort of webs, innately
    processed and actualized.

    Language, innately prepared for, is nevertheless localized to
    environmental conditions. What is local is being expanded, of course, in
    this global world of the new millennium. (Is it english that is winning?
    Last I knew, it was.) But, is anything 'changing'?

    Perhaps not.

    And, what is being replicated? Artifacts? Are they not simply the local
    conditions? Could they not be considered reactions, and not replications?

    Sure they could. In the same way birds react by altering songs, and
    spiders react by altering webs, and termites react by altering mounds.
    Innately. Sociobiologically.

    However, I like the idea of memes being the units of the cultural
    environment, and I have just adopted the behavior-only stance in an
    attempt to leave all the other reactive processes where they started,
    deep in innate development and stimulus/reaction. And also to put some
    borders around the term, and make it studiable.

    But, even there, we don't need it.

    The real case for its presence is absent. It is the unicorn in the
    garden. A science-fiction writer's conceit.

    Or, it's really there.

    At the moment, I, like Pyrrho, hold it to be and not to be.

    - Wade

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