Richard Brodie: this beats all your tricks!

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 08:22:06 -0700

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 08:22:06 -0700
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Richard Brodie: this beats all your tricks!

Dear colleagues memeticists,

This is just a good story. But I thought it was one subscribers of this
list shouldn't miss.
Richard Brodie showed us a lot of tricks to spread a meme in his book,
but read this one.

We bought us a box of cornflakes. On the box was a little quiz: 20
statements to be answered with right or wrong, at about the level of
10-year-olds. One had to cut out statements and answers and make some
kind of device whereby one could first look at the statement (e.g.:
there are more stars than people), whereafter one could let pop out the
columns 'Right' and 'Wrong'. The answer was indicated as a cross in one
of both columns. As such, children could check whether they had answered

I could answer all questions, which reassured me that my knowledge was
at least that of a 10-year-old, something I had started doubting about
seriously after subscribing to this list.
Except for one question: 'Man descends from ape'. I had answered
'right', but the cross was in the 'Wrong' column.


When I told this during the coffee break at our lab, someone said: of
course, you had Quaker cornflakes!!

What an ingenious way to spread a meme: hiding your creationist message
between 19 correctly answered 'scientific' statements, offering it as a
toy, presenting it to children, on a packet of food! Richard, this beats
all the tricks you presented! Quakers are really smart for being

Mario Vaneechoutte
Laboratory Bacteriology & Virology
Blok A, De Pintelaan 185
University Hospital Ghent
Belgium 9000 Ghent
Tel: +32 9 240 36 92
Fax: +32 9 240 36 59
Editor J. Memetics:
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)