Date: Thu, 01 Apr 1999 17:25:54 +0200
From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <D.Gatherer@organon.nhe.akzonobel.nl>
Subject: RE: A more "sciency"-sounding mysticism.
To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com>
The genotype is encoded in the nucleus, but if you are going to tell me that
the nucleus is the expression of the phenotype as well, I think I would have
definitely skipped your level 2 Genetics.
'nucleus is the expression of the phenotype'? I don't understand. So I
suppose I wouldn't say that because I don't know what it means.
Now I am sure you are not saying
that. I am also sure that you know what I am actually saying - seeing that
you should have the conceptual understanding required.
I think I know what you are trying to say, which is that 'gene' is just an
abstraction, and DNA is the 'real' thing. However, that is what I am
objecting to. Genes are not (just) abstractions.
I think you are being
a wee bit, and unnecessarily contrarian.
No, I'm being pedantic. You may with reason wonder why. The reason is that
there is a long history within memetics, part of which is reflected in
recent JoM articles, commentaries and on this list too, of debate concerning
to what extent the meme is an abstraction, and how it is an abstraction. As
one in the anti-abstraction camp, I always have to face up to arguments
like: 'but genes are just abstractions too', and that is what I am concerned
If you want "gene" to really mean
"genotype", then it would be quite a bit clearer if you just said "genotype"
No I don't want gene to mean genotype. Absolutely not. They don't mean the
same thing. Nor is the genotype just the total assemblage of genes (that's
especially if you are going to be putting me in my place (threatening to
"fail" me and all). I understand many geneticists and biologists are
accustomed to using "gene" to mean "genotype" (three syllables can get
cumbersome - so I understand the economy)
No, no, absolutely the reverse. What makes you think I'm saying that?
- but I am more of a philosopher, so
I am pickier about words and require more precision than this.
But it's me who's being the pedant here. I objected to what I saw as your
lack of precision. And you are objecting to my lack of precision? I'm a
bit confused now.
is necessary if we are going to draw cultural comparisons.
Exactly, that's why I'm makng such a fuss over such a little thing.
Please tell me
that you do know what I mean - I think I have made it fairly clear,
I think that you have some confusion over the biological terminology. I
think you are labouring under the misconception frequently peddled in
memetic circles that since genes are just abstractions (false), it's alright
for memes to be too (which it isn't).
So although I am a nit-picking pedant, I am a nit-picking pedant with a
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