Re: FW: Memetics in Time magazine

Aaron Lynch (
Tue, 20 Apr 1999 16:46:08 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 16:46:08 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Re: FW: Memetics in Time magazine
In-Reply-To: <>

At 03:07 PM 4/20/99 EDT, wrote:
>In a message dated 20/04/99 17:40:38 GMT Daylight Time, writes:
><< The potential for intellectual conflict and conflict of interest is
> sufficiently high that the possibility should be openly noted. Dawkins
> certainly has had it within his power to keep his commitment to memetics
> beyond question, and he simply has not done so in my opinion. >>
>I attended the First Annual Charles Simonyi lecture at Oxford where Dawkins
>invited Dennett as his "first choice" to talk about
><A HREF="">"The
>Evolution of Culture"
></A> i.e. memetics. This sounds like some sort of commitment to me. I
>suspect he only has the same reservations which many here still have.

Andrew Brown quotes Dawkins as saying that he is "sitting on the fence
about memes" in the July 10, 1997 issue of Salon Magazine (at or near So if Dawkins helps memetics to be seen as
serious science in one setting, and then lends credence to the view that it
is "cocktail-party science" in another setting, it should not surprise us.
Note too, that the speaker Dawkins invited to give that First Annual
Charles Simonyi lecture is one who has recognized Dawkins's past retreating
over memetics.

I think that we have to evaluate the overt and subtle messages Dawkins
gives about memetics on a case by case basis.

--Aaron Lynch

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