New Papers Online

Aaron Lynch (
Thu, 11 Dec 1997 00:07:41 -0600

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 00:07:41 -0600
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: New Papers Online

I have just placed two new papers are now online.

One of them is a draft of a new and expanded discussion of theoretical and
empirical issuse in population memetics. It's title is UNITS, EVENTS, AND
DYNAMICS IN MEMETIC EVOLUTION, and is at My thanks to Valla Pishva and
Daniel Dennett for helpful comments on prior versions.

The other is a non-technical article on the memetics of TV violence,
Nazism, body piercing, etc. It's title is THOUGHT CONTAGION AND MASS
BELIEF, and is at

An evolutionary recursive replicator theory of mental/brain information is
presented. Noting that all replicator theories rest at least tacitly upon
the fundamental notions of causation and of calling two or more entities
"the same" with respect to an abstraction, the concept is rendered explicit
in defining the terms "mnemon" and "meme." It is argued that there may be
no "absolute" system of abstractions for memetics much as there is no
absolute coordinate system (framework of space-time abstractions) in
physics. A symbolic calculus of mnemon conjugations and replication events
is introduced. The term "meme" is given a concise technical definition, and
reasons are offered for avoiding more expansive definitions. Arguments that
meme sets are generally only partially ordered then provide a formal reason
for rejecting the idea of mnemon "size" as a crucial element in defining
the word meme. Differential equations are developed for meme host
population versus time in a two-meme system, modeling the dynamics whereby
events at the individual level give rise to trends at the population level.
This lays a foundation for computerized simulations and the falsification
or validation of specific memetic hypotheses. As memetic hypotheses
generally involve observable communication events they are found to have
stronger empirical standing than hypotheses involving unidentified genes.
Mechanisms of creativity as a population phenomenon are examined, with the
memetic perspective yielding a novel explanation for the temporal
clustering of independent co-creations. Creation and propagation are
integrated into a theory of evolution by variation and natural selection of

--Aaron Lynch

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)