Re: grand unification theories & imperialism

Aaron Lynch (
Tue, 09 Feb 1999 17:27:18 -0600

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 09 Feb 1999 17:27:18 -0600
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Re: grand unification theories & imperialism
In-Reply-To: <>

At 12:15 PM 2/9/99 GMT, alex rousso wrote:

>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.

Thanks, Alex.

Academics do indeed respond poorly to barnstormers who seem to be
proffering a replacement to all their hard-done work. Yet outside of
academia, such an approach might seem tempting. Academics are often held in
contempt in popular American culture. This includes a stereotype that
academics have developed bookish intelligence to the exclusion of "street
smarts." They are also seen as starving for funds and recognition, points
that might become levers of manipulation. So they might look like sitting
ducks against methods of seduction, or against intimidation when seduction

Academics as a whole will also respond poorly to anything that makes
memetics look like a cult, even if a few academics be seduced into lending
credibility to cults. Movement in the cultish direction would get
"memetics" classified alongside "dianetics" in the minds of skeptics. While
the "dianetic" movement has certainly seduced and/or intimidated famous
people into giving it credibility, it remains in wide disrepute among

>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.

Well said.

Likewise for Martin de Jong's statements about the drawbacks of memetic

--Aaron Lynch

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