Re: Replicators

t (Mark_M_Mills@pc2000dfw.com)
Wed, 11 Jun 1997 13:47:13 -0500

From: <Mark_M_Mills@pc2000dfw.com>
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 13:47:13 -0500
Subject: Re: Replicators

Mario,

>The only replicator on Earth today is the cell: the cell is a system
>which can reassemble something similar.

Looking at this from a process orientation, cells replicate when
environmental conditions are correct. In other words, when 'resources' are
ample and 'refuse' really leaves. The required participants in the process
are

1. replicator
2. resources
3. refuse acceptors
4. buffered 'ground state' which is relatively stable despite the
replicator's consumption of resources and deposit of refuse.

The names only make sense one identifies the 'main character' in the
process. Each element is a sub-process of the circular chain. Each
element is a process with somewhat vague boundaries. Each element is a
potential 'replicator.' If we pick 'cells' as replicators, we are forced
to acknowledge that 'cells' consume 'cells' for resources. Also, they have
'cells' process their refuse. The resource and refuse cells are all
replicators. A close look at the 'ground state' environment shows it to be
more of the same chain.

The confusion is cased with these process oriented labels become 'things'
instead of 'processes.' Thus, users of process oriented vocabulary need to
take care or the flexibility of the terms quickly turns the world upside
down. Dawkins (consciously or unconsciously) plays this trick on his
readers by calling DNA (a thing), a replicator (a process). I believe the
linguistic trick works (and sells a lot of books) due to the semi-mystical
powers the general public ascribe to the 'black box' we know as DNA.

It seems to me that from the process orientation, we can see many classes
of replicators. I suspect one could make a good case that this list could
replicate if the right process was found to divert traffic into two
'concept' areas.

>Genes cannot do that, neither memes. Genes and memes are replicated.

Right. Genes and memes are 'things,' not processes. At least, that is how
I use the terms.

>Indeed, I think it is possible to construct a single framework for
genetics,
>cybernetics and memetics when considering things from an information point
of view.

I think this is a great goal. One of the interesting things about Shannon
Information Theory is the relationship between high entropy and high
information states. Thus, as time proceeds and entropy increases,
information increases as well. Life, an information processes activity,
grows into this ever increasing information ecosystem.

>Many more possibilities and insights arise when we push back the
>border further towards an information centered world view.
>Considering life as a single giant process and getting rid of the gene
>replicator, meme replicator paradigm could already help a lot.

Agreed.

Mark

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