Re: Good Meme, Bad Meme

Peter Bentley (
Tue, 03 Mar 1998 11:40:25 +0000

Date: Tue, 03 Mar 1998 11:40:25 +0000
From: Peter Bentley <>
Subject: Re: Good Meme, Bad Meme

> >Had some trouble here. Would not the quality of a meme primarily lie in
> >its ability to establish and move freely among meme-carrying structures?
> >This is more a question of effectiveness in the world of the living than
> >GOODNESS or BADNESS...ooooo, how I despise such words. Good, bad don't
> >make much sense to me here. Either it is likely to succeed in the
> >evolutionary selection dance or it is not. No system "needs" a meme nor
> >is it likely to discern what is GOOD for it. If it is BAD the meme is
> >rejected?
> I'm afraid that nature is tautological rather than ethical. Those things
> that survive longer, do indeed survive longer than things which do not
> survive as long. What's "good" (or beneficial) to the larger system, may be
> quite detrimental for individuals or species. Our own survival as mankind
> maybe of relative importance to us, but it is trivial to nature as a whole.

Oh come on, Ton. Natural evolution has nothing to do with tautologies,
and it's only those people who misunderstand evolution who think so.
You also seem to be implying that everything evolves for the sake of 'a
larger system' which is patently untrue. Our own survival is irrelevent,
and so is the survival of species or nature as a whole. The only relevent
thing in evolution is the gene, and whether that gene has some kind
of phenotypic effect which increases its chances of being duplicated.
The same thing applies in Memetics - the only thing of importance is
the meme, and whether its phenotypic effect increases its chances of
being duplicated. If it does it could perhaps be called 'good', but
really the words 'good' and 'bad' are meaningless here.


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