Re: Critical thinking in memetics

Aaron Lynch (
Tue, 19 May 1998 09:54:33 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 19 May 1998 09:54:33 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Re: Critical thinking in memetics
In-Reply-To: <>

>...Entire organizations such as the Committee for
>the Scientific Evaluation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP,
> exist to provide critical review to items that so
>often lie beyond the reach of peer-reviewed journals, as well as to certain
>items that make it past an imperfect peer-review process. Examples of
>CSICOP work include the debunking of pseudo-physics ideas such as "zero
>point energy machines." The role of critic is for me an unpleasant role
>that can get me into an unpleasant frame of mind. But I for one would much
>rather play this role from within memetics than open my mail some day to
>find an anti-memetics critic treating memetics as pseudoscience in the
>_Skeptical Inquirer_ or elsewhere.

The 73 fellows of CSICOP include JOM-EMIT editor Susan Blackmore, as well
as Richard Dawkins, Douglas Hofstadter, Jan Harold Brunvand, and Marvin
Minsky. It is worth noting that their active opposition to pseudoscience
has not stopped any of them from producing widely read science books. My
own memetics book _Thought Contagion_, which contains no traces of
pseudoscience, has made the and _New Scientist_ bestseller lists.

--Aaron Lynch

Editor, Journal of Memetics:
How Belief Spreads Through Society--The New Science of Memes
Basic Books. Online Brochure:
Most recent paper: Units, Events, and Dynamics in Memetic Evolution.

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