Re: Memes and Things

Hans-Cees Speel (
Mon, 1 Feb 1999 13:41:57 +0100

From: "Hans-Cees Speel" <>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 13:41:57 +0100
Subject: Re: Memes and Things
Message-Id: <>

> Hans-Cees Speel <> wrote in reply to me:
> >> So, I think that there is a sense in which a type is low fidelity but
> >> transmitted without a replicator, and that this is still within the
> >> evolutionary paradigm, so construed. I also think that there is an
> >> operational issue: we can best investigate the high fidelity
> >> replicators, and that is where we should start, as I argue in my
> >> forthcoming JoM-EMIT reply to Gatherer.
> >
> >transmitted without a replicator? Do you mean that there is no geno-pheno
> >distinction, or something else?
> No, this is a claim about necessity. I think that Darwinian evolution
> occurs on reproduced types (what Griesemer calls "reproducers"), while
> neo-Darwinian selection occurs over replicators. The latter certainly
> applies in most cases, but that does not exhaust the range of Darwinian
> process.

You go too fast for me:-) Darwinian in your words means selection
on individual organisms, and neo-darwinian selection on
replicators? Else please elaborate becuase then I have definitly lost
you here....

> >In my thoughts i see memetics
> as a mix of systems where there >are evolutionary feed-back loops
> (learning and evolutionary >selection leading to adaptation) and
> transmission where there is >just spread, and perhaps struggle for
> survival without adaptations.
> Analogous to selection and adaptation, and drift and neutral variation,
> but I cannot make sense of the third option. If system S struggles to
> survive, then it needs some processes of acquiring and utilising
> resources, even in the absence of competition with conspecifics or
> allospecifics. If these work, then I cannot think they aren't adaptations
> in at least one sense. Especially since variations will drive a refining
> in progeny of those traits and mechanisms.

I simply mean that species, and organisms too, can outcompete
each other. If this happens we need no adaptations, and we have
only weeding out of less fitting. Some call this adaptation, but I
don't automatically, because the feedback loop is then even
ourtside the species. A lot of change in nature is simply the going
away of species from places, new species arriving and some
competition. It is more the ecological view on evolution I quess.

> >I wonder if this doesn't touch on the ability of 'things' to be both
> >genotype and phenotype in special situations.

I could have written this:-)

I guess I could claim that
> >all things are 'code', most simply have low fecundity and reproductive
> >fidelity. I could also claim that all things are the result of
> >antecedent processes and thus phenotype.
> >
> >Would you agree?

I think the material that holds code can be in selective processes,
and thus by definition phenotype. But to be code you also need to
have decoding and encoding. So not all phenotype is involved with

> The notion of a "code" (as opposed to a mapping of prior to subsequent
> states in a set of processes) is an analytic tool that says as much about
> us as cognisers as it does about the systems being studied. IMNSHO.

But it does say something about the physical structure aswel
IMHO, namely that it stands for something else: that physicla thing
that can be produced by a decoding process.


Theories come and go, the frog stays [F. Jacob]
Hans-Cees Speel
Managing Editor "Journal of Memetics Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission" submit papers to

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