Re: On Gatherer's behaviourist stance

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Tue, 15 Sep 1998 09:37:59 +0200

Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 09:37:59 +0200
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Re: On Gatherer's behaviourist stance

Paul Marsden wrote:

> Mario wrote:
> <<The community of memeticists does not seem to agree about what
> should be called a meme.Saying, like Paul, 'Never mind, and let me do
> applied memetics now' doesn't
> work. It is like chemists doing chemistry without agreement on what an atom
> is.>>
> Richard wrote
> >It's like the Wright Brothers doing heavier-than-air flight without
> >agreement on the science of aeronautics.
> Paul wrote
> Or maybe like Darwin presenting a theory of organic evolution without even
> knowing what a gene was.

Mario:As a matter of fact, all Darwin basically did was to apply the principle
of selection, which he took from breeding animals (selection) and which he
applied to nature (natural). At that time it was sufficient to trigger
scientific exploration, but his theory was nearly abandoned when Mendel's
genetic inheritance were rediscovered. It took neodarwinism to reconcile
darwinism with genes. Maybe, when Darwin had known the principle of a gene, he
would not have formulated natural selection!?

Also, Darwin was concerned with speciation and he tried to explain speciation by
natural selection. You should realize that natural selection does not explain
(By the way: speciation is but a side-effect of evolution. Without speciation
evolution would go on as well. Furthermore: the concept of species is only truly
applicable to most sexually reproducing organisms, and still then it is
sometimes problematic)

Is this blasphemy? I don't really care and I keep considering Darwin as a true
For my back up, read an 'authority' (someone of social sciences, I think). I
don't agree with the style of the article, because it puts things black and
white (seeing problems there where most modern biologists agree that genetic
determinism is not the way out) and it contains flaws (e.g. I see no problems
with the extended phenotype of Dawkins, genetics does not fail on schizophrenia,
rather it is the diagnosis of schizophrenia which fails by lumping together
different disorders, etc., etc.), but at least some things Prof. Steven Rose
says are worth further considering in the context of memetics: his remarks on
the term replicator (which echoes my remarks), his remarks on Mendel and Darwin.


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