Re: The Information point of view

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Thu, 06 Nov 1997 09:36:11 -0800

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 06 Nov 1997 09:36:11 -0800
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Re: The Information point of view

Mark Mills[]
> >
> > Dawkins posits a sense of 'agency' upon genes and memes in the Selfish
> >
> > Gene, so you might ask who am I to disagree with the terminology. My
> > reading of the book found Dawkins using homunculi as a rhetorical tool
> > to
> > puncture popular notions about the elevated role of 'human nature' and
> >
> > 'human agency.

Robin Faichney wrote:

> I have to disagree with this. Dawkins doesn't seem to be
> be in debunking mode regarding such concepts in The
> Selfish Gene -- though he obviously is, as regards
> various specifically genetics-related issues.

Indeed, I recall from my reading that Dawkins somewhere in the last
chapter says that selfish meme and selfish gene are used, just as a
manner of speaking.
> On the contrary, in the last chapter (of the first edition),
> he says very clearly that the concept of the selfish
> gene does *not* imply determinism, and that we have
> the capacity to transcend hereditary behavioural traits.

I do not see why the capacity to transcend genetics means
nondeterminism, but we shouldn't have this discussion here, I guess.
Although I agree that we may overcome genetically encoded behaviour (and
this also coincides with what Arel Lucas says in her recent post, e.g.
not falling back in ancient habits), I don't see why I should give up my
deterministic point of view.

> By the way, as regards the existence of Platonic forms
> outside of human minds, you may be interested that
> Dawkins agrees with my characterisation of life as
> "the survival of information".

direction: understanding biological & cultural processes from the "point
of view" of information. Have you published 'information' on your ideas?

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

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