FW: "Retarding the Progress" - A Call for Specifics

Gatherer, D. (D.Gatherer@organon.nhe.akzonobel.nl)
Wed, 03 Mar 1999 14:55:47 +0100

Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999 14:55:47 +0100
From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <D.Gatherer@organon.nhe.akzonobel.nl>
Subject: FW: "Retarding the Progress" - A Call for Specifics
To: "'memetics@mmu.ac.uk'" <memetics@mmu.ac.uk>

> Aaron, on some of the people who have reacted favourably to his work:
> Some whose names you might recognize are Douglas Hofstadter, Daniel
> Dennett, and John Casti.
> Derek:
> Eminent names indeed Aaron.
> Aaron:
> Somehow, they managed to avoid the misreadings that you and Derek have
> produced.
> Derek:
> Well, actually Aaron, if you read the part of Darwin's Dangerous Idea
> in which Dennett makes the distinction between memes as syntactic as
> opposed to semantic entities............ your mnemons of 'awareness
> of statement x' are of semantic construction. So I think Dennett did
> perceive the weakness in your work, even though he doesn't actually
> bother to cite it.
> Aaron:
> David Hull told me that such
> caricatures are common in major scientific disagreements.)
> Derek:
> Gosh, now I am flattered. I take it you were referring to me?
> Please, pray tell, did you talk to David Hull about little me???? I
> am not worthy!
> Aaron:
> Reading between the lines seems to be a factor in some cases of
> sharply
> negative reactions.
> Derek:
> Reading between the lines is a necessary part of any interpretative
> exercise.
> Aaron:
> Michael Best misread parts of the paper too. For
> instance, he misinterpreted me early in the paper as claiming to model
> contagious forgetting events. He has since politely accepted my
> correction
> on that point.
> With you and Derek, the discussion has become a bit more
> passionate, so I have serious doubts that I can get you to see any of
> your
> misreadings or drop the caricatures until the subject has cooled off a
> bit.
> Derek:
> Well, if you insist on talking about caricatures, let's get into the
> caricature you seem to have of me. That is, that I am religiously
> motivated. It seems to be a main plank of your defence against me.
> What a pity it's false.
> Aaron:
> My main purpose in starting this thread was to see if you had some way
> of
> using linguistics or cognitive science in a memetic explanation of the
> growth or decline of a specific movement to which "the thought
> contagion
> metaphor" was actually applied, and could show how harm had been done
> by
> not including such linguistic or cognitive science discussion in a
> thought
> contagion analysis. We have ranged over many interesting topics, but I
> still do not see the kind of specifics I originally requested.
> Derek:
> Still not getting my point across.... I'll try to be really, really
> simple.. You actually applied the TC metaphor to the Hutterites. You
> actually applied your much endorsed calculus of mnemon intantiations
> to the Hutterites. Said calculus betrays a lack of understanding of
> linguistics in the post-war epoch. Said calculus is a bit harmful to
> the reputation of the memetics movement as a whole (to put it mildly).
> Said calculus is misleading in the context of analysis of the
> Hutterites because it implies that Hutterite behaviour is caused by
> the spurious mnemons they are alleged to host. If you had bothered to
> think about linguistics the said calculus would have been consigned to
> the wastepaper basket.
> In any case, you have dodged the question I was pressing so hard
> yesterday. Is the calculus of mnemon instantiations now also to be
> taken as a calculus of behavioural instantiations????????
> Derek

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