Re: reality and other memes

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Tue, 13 Apr 1999 08:45:41 EDT

From: <>
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 08:45:41 EDT
Subject: Re: reality and other memes

In a message dated 4/13/1999 10:23:00 AM !!!First Boot!!!,

>> Jake, mate. Much as I am on your side in this whole
argument, I have to say that this kind of statement is not
going to do you any favours: people will stop listening
pretty sharpish if you say this kind of thing. Sue Blackmore
is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology who has had a book
published by Oxford University Press and personally endorsed
by no less than Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett.<<

And this is supposed to make a difference to me? Should I begin
genuflecting? Does this suddenly exempt her ideas from rational criticism?
If I see enough big names behind a book should I cease thought and
uncritically accept it?

>>You are some bloke on the internet. <<

I know. Pretty liberating if I do say so myself. Don't have any reputation
to protect, nor am I trying to get anything published or get a grant. I'd
say it is pretty safe to say whatever I want. The internet is kinda scary
that way, isn't it? Without it, I would be just some bloke. Now I am some
bloke on the internet. And if I work at it, I can actually be some bloke on
the internet who makes sense and can write reader reviews for Amazon, Barnes
and Noble, and other book companies - and perhaps even have some impact on
people's opinions. The only thing I have going for myself is making sense,
and that can be dangerous. It's also easier to do when you don't have your
own ox out there that could be gored. When people get defensive, they often
stop making sense, or they shut up. Just watch sometime.

>>This statement betrays the fact that you had prejudged the book as having
nothing useful to say, based on hearsay (or my presumably inadequate
explanations of it), and before you had read any of it.<<

Well actually it is not based on hearsay now. I have the book, and it has
confirmed what others have told me about it. In case it is unclear, I
haven't judged that the book has nothing useful to say. It's just on this
"self is an illusion" insistence, I think she has clearly gone off the rails.
Beyond that, I am sincere when I say I think she has more to say,
unfortunately she made this one issue a very prominent feature of her book.
She very unecessarily sets it up that way in the very first chapter.

Furthermore I have now read her essay "Meme, Myself, and I" in which she
clearly states that this is indeed a major feature of her book and outlines
it in some detail. Actually I have been harping on this issue on the
internet long before her book was published and I even knew who she was. You
can check with EGraham about my AOL activities on this issue. So don't think
that I suddenly decided to pick on Blackmore for no apparrent reason. She is
repeating an error made by many intellectuals before her.

I think Joe Dees made this point very nicely in his EMail about how people
respond to "The Next Big Thing". On this count Blackmore is following a very
predictable pattern, now even to the typical extreme that we don't really
have selves, there are just memes.

>>You say you are a criminal defense lawyer. What ever happened to innocent
until proven guilty? That's what we're trying to do here - prove Blackmore is
"guilty", but it would help if you didn't jump to these kind of conclusions.<<

Okay. I will shut up for now and finish reading the book.


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