Re: re. Is memetics necessary (Alex Brown)

Tim Rhodes (
Sun, 29 Jun 1997 21:01:21 -0700 (PDT)

Date: Sun, 29 Jun 1997 21:01:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tim Rhodes <>
To: "'Memetics list'" <>
Subject: Re: re. Is memetics necessary (Alex Brown)
In-Reply-To: <c=SG%a=_%p=TP%l=STAFF-EXCHANG-970628053012Z-9083@staff-exchange.TP.AC.SG>

On Sat, 28 Jun 1997, Brown, Alex wrote:

> [clip] Rates of spread, evangelism, tradition,
> reproduction, etc. are not I would suggest, underlying mechanisms - they
> are particular historical constraints, not organizational or system
> processes which can be applied to various dynamic processes. In my
> opinion, in memetics (so far) we are awash with this kind of
> observational data, (like spandrels purporting to be primary
> structures), but if I describe something, even in great detail, I am not
> automatically explaining it. In other words there is a difference
> between the effects of a process and the logic of the process itself. It
> is the latter that concerns us. Nor is it enough to say that this or
> that idea spreads from mind to mind and that 'causes' the spread. It
> didn't. It is the 'spread' re-titled. End result - we are back where we
> started, namely at the natural history phase of a science, busily
> collecting samples and filling the basement shelves with them.

If Memetics (with a big "M") is to grow into a true science isn't it
necessary that it go through the awkward adolescence of evidence gathering
en-route to the Holy Grail of Cultural Theory?

-Tim Rhodes

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