The race is on

Tim Rhodes (
Wed, 16 Sep 1998 20:14:56 -0700

From: "Tim Rhodes" <>
To: <>
Subject: The race is on
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 20:14:56 -0700

I was at the dentist office yesterday and while waiting for my appontment I
began to leaf through an issue of Time from March 6, 1995. The cover story
was on the conflicting theories of how old the universe is. The following
paragraph from the article seemed so relevant that I copied it down:

"Tenson between theory and observation is part of the normal course of
science. It keeps both sides honest, and, at those rare times in history
when the two lock horns irreconcilably, it can lead to nothing less than
full fledged scientific revolution. Without such clashes, in fact, we'd
still believe that the sun orbits Earth and that disease is caused by evil

In the end, I think the winner of the current clash in memetics will be
memetics itself, made stronger for the challenges to it from all sides.

But for the short term, the camp that prevails will be the one which can say
with authority, "For memes of the type X, in the setting Y, the adoption
rate will be Z." and PROVE IT, conclusively and with emperical data from the
real world.

My money is on the behaviorists to win this race, given the timespan
predicted before the neural camp has the data it needs. But even a tortoise
can beat the hare if the hare is too busy telling everyone how he's going to
win rather than just getting on with it and running the race.

-Tim Rhodes

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