Re: On Gatherer's behaviourist stance

Tim Rhodes (
Sun, 13 Sep 1998 23:32:13 -0700

From: "Tim Rhodes" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: On Gatherer's behaviourist stance
Date: Sun, 13 Sep 1998 23:32:13 -0700

Aaron writes:

>If there is no such
>thing as replicated information residing in the brain, then good science
>dictates DROPPING THE WORD MEME from the accepted science vocabulary.
>Physicists have mostly abandoned the word "tachyon" due to lack of evidence
>for faster than light particles. Those arguing against brain-stored
>replicated information should refrain from trying to appropriate the word
>"meme" for other uses, and argue instead for relegating the term to the
>scrap heap of scientific terms that turned out not to fit real phenomena.

I think the response given on another list (when your good friend Mr. Brodie
tried to make a similiar point, Aaron) might be worth reprinting here:

On Wed, 9 Sep 1998 Reed Konsler wrote:

>Actually, the word "meme" was coined by Dawkins in _The Selfish Gene_ as a
>thumbnail sketch. It is only afterwards that people like Dennett were able
>to convince him to refine his definition to the one you're asserting. The
>original passage contains elements that can be read lots of different ways.
>So, pedantic as it may be, the definition of "meme" is still a
>thing. And, I smile to think of it, once the academics get done with it it
>will be so precise and jargon-laden that it will be unrecognizable. You'll
>have to spend 5-10 years in graduate school to truely appreciate all the
>intricacies of the meme, and an international association of memetic
>engineers will acredit only the most loyal adherents.

(Hopefully Reed won't mind me quoting him--he's put it so much better than I
-Tim R.)

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