Re: A Drosophila for cultural evolution

Mark Mills (mmmills@OnRamp.NET)
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 01:43:47 +0000

Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 01:43:47 +0000
From: Mark Mills <mmmills@OnRamp.NET>
Subject: Re: A Drosophila for cultural evolution

Tim and Martha,

>The meme analogy is fetching, but memetics still has no
>inexplicable observations, like the inheritance of shortness
>in pea plants, that demand a novel explanation. To a doubter,
>memetics seems little more than complex
>jargon for discussing what we already know about.

>This boils down to saying that memetics does not seem to
>be *necessary* the way Mendelian genetics was necessary
>for explaining particulate

Since our questions are generally created from problems within our
paradigm set (epistemology), it is not surprising that memetics might
strike many as unnecessary. A similar situation faced Darwin. Fossils
were known in ancient times, but they were conveniently described as the
bones of a variety of magical beings. There were few questions in the
popular mind about these objects, current paradigm explained them.

I'll suggest a couple of places where glaring inexplicable observations
are available for memetics to answer, but most will think them areas
where memetics has little hope of impacting. The first is the origin of
human language, both as sign system and inborn human ability. The
second is origin of human writing systems.

As in the case of Darwin's proposals, memetics is likely to have a large
impact on how we understand our origins.


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)