Re: Substance and Form

Mark Mills (
Mon, 25 May 98 13:03:03 -0000

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Substance and Form
Date: Mon, 25 May 98 13:03:03 -0000
From: Mark Mills <>
To: <>


I'm reading the articles.


Based on a quick glance at the papers, the articles address a basic
debate we are having on the list. I'm refering to the 'what is a meme'
conversation. Personally, I've concluded that the real problem is the
question 'what is a gene.'

Thanks to the conversation here on the list, I am convinced that a 'gene'
(as used in evolutionary biology) cannot be a stretch of DNA in a
chromosome. It is a mistake to see a gene as a 'substance' if the intent
is an understanding of evolutionary theory.

Unfortunately, 'genetics' has become a matter of manipulating DNA chunks
due to the powerful work in 'genetics' labs. Why they are not called
'DNA labs' is beyond me. I suspect it involves humanity's instinctive
preference for the 'substance' view of things. Consideration of this
leads to cognitive development issues and even further from memetics, so
I'll stop.

Anyway, the term 'meme' will not be clear as long as 'gene' is so easily
misinterpreted. Perhaps, memetics can assist the genetics discipline in
coming to a better usage of the word 'gene.' If so, it will have served
an important role in advancing general understanding.


This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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