Re: Setting neuroscience to one side

Aaron Lynch (
Fri, 25 Sep 1998 16:51:21 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 16:51:21 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Re: Setting neuroscience to one side
In-Reply-To: <>

At 04:26 PM 9/25/98 -0600, Mark Mills wrote:
>Nick Rose wrote:
>>However, the hypothesis that those memes
>>>maintain any kind of identifyable (by us) structure (e.g.
>>>neural structure, informational structure) inside the
>>>nervous system is currently untestable. Rather than worry
>>>about untestable hypotheses I think we can do a lot (e.g.
>>>understanding selection mechanisms) by putting the issue to
>>>one side - if only until neuroscience catches up with us.
>Aaron replied
>>I agree about setting aside the issue of specific neural structures, or
>>rather, leaving it to the existing research programs of neuroscientists.
>I think it wise to continually update our model of memetics with insights
>gained from neuroscience and computational modeling of brain processes.
>'...putting the issue to one side' suggests a willingness to ignore
>currently available work on brain processes. I think this is unwise for
>two reasons. First, it weakens arguments that memetics offers anything
>new. Second, it discourages those researching brain processes from using
>memetic models.

Yes, this is essentially what I meant. I don't think that people doing
memetics must set up their own neuroscience labs, because so much
neuroscience work is already underway. But like Mark, I don't think our
field should ignore the work of those already doing intensive neuroscience
studies either. We may find eventually ways of incorporating specific
neuroscience findings and methods into our work.
--Aaron Lynch

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