Re: memetic speciation? [was what's in a meme]

Dr I Price (
Fri, 20 Jun 1997 10:15:41 -0400

Date: Fri, 20 Jun 1997 10:15:41 -0400
From: Dr I Price <>
Subject: Re: memetic speciation? [was what's in a meme]
To: "" <>


Thanks for the linguistics references.

>>IP I am just starting
>trying to explore what has or has not been written on linguistic taxonom=
>non taxonomy. I don't see especially after John Wilkins observations on
>plant species that linguistic cross pollination lower down the hierarchy=

>renders a taxonomic approach invalid.
BB What the tree says is that a given linguistic species has one parent
species -- that's how trees are constructed. But, many linguistic specie=
clearly have contributions by many parent species. Of course, not all of=

these contributions are equally important (and just how would one estimat=
the importance of a contribution, from a distribution of sources). My
point, at a minimum, is that the tree simply doesn't represent the geneti=
relationships which in fact exist between languages.>

a. what sense of genentic do you mean. I assume the general rather than
specifically gene based.

b. I was not suggesting a tree. Sure linguistic species cross pollenate a=
they evolve. =

>Now consider culture in general. During the late middle ages a book on
mathematics made its way from the Islamic world to Europe. SNIP. But, i=
the context of all the memes afloat in medieveal Europe, that's just one
meme-complex among many.

If we do large-scale memetics like comparative linguists to linguistics,
then the geneological relationship between modern scientific cultures and=

the New East may well be obscured. That's the kind of problem I'm
concerned about.<

Agreed me too. There is an awful lot of co-evolution in these systems, bu=
then as Dawkins said even 'the selfish gene is a metaphor for a system of=

interacting genes of almost infinit complexity' [something like that. I
haven't time to look up the exact words.

If Price

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