grand unification theories

SOC MicroLab 2, UEA, Norwich (
Tue, 9 Feb 1999 12:15:23 GMT

Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 12:15:23 GMT
From: "SOC MicroLab 2, UEA, Norwich" <>
Subject: grand unification theories

>>We do not want scientists such as Polichak to misconstrue
that we offer
>>memetics as a replacement to all the existing work in
>>sociology, anthropology, economics, linguistics, etc., or
as a replacement
>>to existing work in specific sub-domains such as
state-conditioned learning
>>and confabulation.
>Why not. One of the points about the memetic stance is that
it offers us (as
>Paul Marsden has pointed out) a minimalist heuristic which
can unify
>evolutionary approachs in all those disciplines.

I suppose that my approach is to start with a scientifically
memetics, and save questions of grand unification for later.
We have people
like Polichak who think that memetics is good for nothing at
all, and even
feel that we are attempting to dismiss all of their
research. Getting them
to see its value and necessity in just a few cases, such as
the Amish, may
open the door to seeing the broader value of the memetic


Yes. Memetics is relatively speaking an unknown and
unpopular subject, and I personally believe it is the
academics we have to convince first. Now, academics are not
the kind to react well if we barnstorm in there claiming to
have a unified theory of everything, let alone saying that
we can "replace" their theories.
Taking a stance somewhere between Dennett and Popper as far
as the epistemology is concerned here, I'd say that the
grand unifying theory is a skyhook; we need to work from
the ground up, with testable hypotheses and falsifiable
theories, not a grand ideology that people can take or
leave. Anyone can say they have a theory which THEY are
convinced explains everything, it's convincing other people
that their view is wrong that is the trick. In this respect,
to show them that memetics explains something in their field
that their theories could not seem to explain as well (such
as Paul Marsden's work) is the way forward - then you will
have their attention.

cheers, alex rousso

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