Extremism in memetics

UEA (A.Rousso@uea.ac.uk)
Wed, 14 Apr 1999 10:38:28 GMT

Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 10:38:28 GMT
From: UEA <A.Rousso@uea.ac.uk>
Subject: Extremism in memetics
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk

Jake wrote:

I think Joe Dees made a very good point that perhaps this is
the way all shiny new paradigms start out. People get so
enthralled with the new idea that they see all kinds of
things that they used to take for granted as now somehow

I agree, and his comparison with behaviourism was excellent.

>>If Blackmore hadn't stuck herself so far out there, then
probably somebody else would have. There is something to be
said about making mistakes well, so that others aren't as
tempted to do so again in the future. If the mistake is an
inevitable one, might as well get it out of the way now. <<

Yes, although remember Blackmore does actually _believe_ in
what she's saying, for her it is not some "trick" as you
say, to try to get more people to read the book (at least
consciously, anyway). I put it to her that her stance
implies that she believes x, y, and z (for example that she
is a determinist) and she is perfectly happy with that - oh

>>Blackmore's view of memes is very prevalent in the
community of people that talk about memes.<<

Well I don't know if it is actually - while we're on the
subject, Bill Benzon, did you mean what you said about the
meme meme infecting Dennett? I didn't think you were that
way inclined.

And on the subject of names, Mario's comment:

>>You are absolutely right: the more big names behind
something, the more cautious and critical one should be.<<

is not exactly a good rule of thumb, is it? What I was
saying was, to dismiss Blackmore's book out of hand would be
unwise because the two people who have done most for
memetics reckon it would be useful for people into memetics
to read it. To assume that it is "entirely erroneous" would
be a bit hasty, no?

Finally, thanks for your comments, Jake. It seems that you
are just as good at making your comments when you are not
being abrasive or arrogant. And it's good comments that
attract my attention (and presumably everyone else's), not
inflamatory ones. Abrasive and arrogant comments just wind
me up, and when you are staring at a computer screen rather
than in conversation with someone, the effect is exacerbated
- presumably why we have so many heated debates on this

cheers, alex rousso.

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