Re: Extremism in memetics

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Wed, 14 Apr 1999 20:55:06 +0200

Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 20:55:06 +0200
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Re: Extremism in memetics

UEA wrote:

> 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
> invalid.
> 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
> well!
> >>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?

Saying that one should be double cautious is not saying that it is
entirely erroneous. A bit hasty?

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