re: this list & the specialization meme

Hans-Cees Speel (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 16:17:08 MET

From: Hans-Cees Speel <>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 16:17:08 MET
Subject: re: this list & the specialization meme

> I unsubscribed in frustration, then decided to try once again...
> There is a meme regarding science, I'm not sure when it started, but its
> effect is to emasculate science, to separate it from its broader context.
> When we see Hans--Cees Speel write:
> >I hope I can persuade at least a few of you to start discussing in a
> >more formal way in our journal. That will in my opinion put memetics
> >on the map in the scientific community stronger.
> Then we know that what he means is to be more abstract, more detached from
> all other disciplines and considerations - to refine Memetics into an
> independent and esoteric branch of pure science.
> This is what gets points in the academic community - to be able to speak
> with a specialist jargon that only other officianados [sic] can comprehend,
> to be able to wink at insider references, to stake out a new domain in
> which popularly undecipherable papers can be published.

Well, you interpreted my text in a specific way. In my view there are
two issues here: the formal articles versus discussion on a list such
as this one, and being undecipherable and specialistic.

The first issue is simply that we need official papers that take
stands on relevant issues. This is simply the way science goes. We
need people that write articles and state what they think is relevant
and right and why, and so on.
The reason to do this is that articles are more balanced than ongoing
discussion, and will yield more coherant thoughts. Also they are
reviewed, and thus readable (else they will be rejected), and also
must be coherent, and wil be chequed for consistency, etcetera.
It simply strikes me that a lot of what is known to the poeple of
this list is not formally stated anywhere retrievable. In my opinion
there are no papers that state what are the different streams of
thought in memetics. This will stay almost impossible unless these
streams will come to exist in formal reviewed papers. If htis is the
case in one journal, they will be very retrievable as an extra plus.

The second issue is whether such articles will be specialistic in
their language, and thus undecipherable to many people. I personally
take the stand that this need not go together at all. IT is probable
that memetics will yield its own way of looking at the world. This is
not wanted if it leads to segregation, but it is wanted if we can put
together views that are novel, and that for instance connect thoughts
that were segregated in the past.
I hope the last will be the case. That this will probably also lead
to a specific language is inevetable, but not bad per se. If such a
new language leads to new ways of understanding this is perfectly ok.

So in general I think you are too negative. I do not call for being
incomprehensable, but I do call for offical papers. To say that any
new view should be omitted becuase not everybody understands it is to
say that innovation in science is wrong. I simply disagree on that.

By the way, these views are my own of course, as everything on this
list. I am also not officially an administrator of this list. Maybe
we will install one if we need it.


^The second issue

Theories come and go, the frog stays [F. Jacob]
Hans-Cees Speel
Managing Editor "Journal of Memetics Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission"

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|School of Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and management
|Technical University Delft, Jaffalaan 5 2600 GA Delft PO Box 5015 The Netherlands
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