Re: Replicators

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Fri, 13 Jun 1997 13:34:59 -0700

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 13:34:59 -0700
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Re: Replicators

Robin Wood wrote:
> Would complex adaptive systems theory not cover many of the issues you
> need to achieve such a synthesis?

Although this is another theory I've never heard of, it sounds like it
could. Shannon information theory, memetics, cybernetics, complex
adaptive systems theory, genetics, ...: we are heading somewhere. Only,
there is so much redundancy that only a giant brain (yes, even much more
giant than that of Timothy!) can take the essence out of it. Scientific
activity is such a brain (or a mind which emphasizes better the
process), and the real answers are starting to come out. You can see it
on this list.
We all want to accelerate this process. How should we proceed to

We should first try to agree on some basics. We should first try to get
rid of confusing definitions which make people think they think about
the same subject while they are not.

A possible solution is to split up in small groups discussing a very
limited area and having these groups reporting to each other on regular
intervals (as such avoiding that the different groups grow way out from
each other as has happened with the different disciplines in science and
which is the reason why so many people on this list rightfully claim not
to understand the jargon or each others jargon). That would also avoid
overload of messages. Again, I refer again to Luc Claeys, who claims
that brains and organisations work by temporary isolation of subunits
with regular getting together again to exchange new findings and to
check their knowledge versus that of the other subunits.

Indeed, when you discuss like on a mailing list, threads diverge, merge,
redund (?) and the process of acquiring knowledge is random and may not
lead to structured knowledge. We are having nothing but a coffee break
talk here, starting with an accident which happened yesterday and ending
with quantum physics or with discussing the weather, depending on who
spoke loudest and on which jokes attracted attention.

The initial reason for this journal was to avoid freewheeling like on
alt.memetics. Although I consider the discussions here at a far higher
level, still what we lack is structure.

> Dr Robin Wood
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark_M_Mills []
> Sent: 11 June 1997 19:47
> To:
> 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

I even hadn't read these useful remarks of Mark.

Mario Vaneechoutte

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