Re: Critical thinking in memetics

Rollo Whitehead (
Wed, 20 May 1998 03:28:26 -0700 (PDT)

Date: Wed, 20 May 1998 03:28:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: Rollo Whitehead <>
Subject: Re: Critical thinking in memetics

i agree with what
---Bruce Howlett <> wrote:

though i have a few comments below:

> Aaron,
> While your criticsm of the not so scientific writings of
> "scientists" is valid, I appreciate easy to read
information about areas
> of science in which I am interested but do not
necessarily want to
> specialise. I have been grateful, for example, to John
Gribbin for
> demistifying quantum mechanics. I would suggest that
your book, being
> about a social science has a much wider potential
audience than quantum
> mechanics. Also worth remembering is that a very small
percentage of
> the population is capable of critical thinking.

this scares me. is memetics going to become more arcane or
more pragmatic and tangible? and though i disagree with
the rather pessimistic view of people (as mentioned
above), i suggest that "more" of the population COULD be
capable of such thinking IF they had access to a more
populist approach to memetics. for the application of
memetics seems to be limited to a small group of academics
writing the usual po-mo masturbatory exercises. it's as if
they are saying: "oooh, look! people are being influenced
and infected with memes they didn't ask for. let's just
watch and write papers to show each other, rather than
find some way to educate them and give them some help in
fighting off such infections!"

Is the purpose of this
> list to narrow down the possible number of participants
in memetic
> science to a select few?

from looking at the symposium abstracts and from reading
these posts, i think it seems to be that way.

I would suggest that many list members are
> feeling alienated by some of the sharp criticisms that
result from posts
> of late. I have been hesitant to mention some of my
ideas for fear of
> disection, or worse, being ignored. I think it would be
a great help if
> the "heavies" on this list lightened up a little.

thanks for saying this. i agree. because the academics
continue to remain insular and isolated from the 'real
world', they keep missing the more obvious areas of
memetic activity that thrive in society...the kind that
require NO knowledge or understanding of diffusion theory,
neurolinguistics, or any other obscure mathematical or
scientific models.

sorry, but memes is memes. and even the biggest redneck
could understand 'em if someone wrote for them and used
memes that they had access to as examples.

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