RE: FW: Memetics in Time magazine

Aaron Lynch (
Thu, 29 Apr 1999 10:26:08 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 10:26:08 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: RE: FW: Memetics in Time magazine
In-Reply-To: <2CDFE2C8F598D21197C800C04F911B20224BBE@DELTA.newhouse.akzo

At 09:00 AM 4/29/99 +0200, Gatherer, D. (Derek) wrote:

I am not going to argue another exponentially growing list of subtopics.

>But Dawkins does mention your book. It's on page ix of the Foreword. He is
>even quite complementary. Why can't you just accept his small endorsement
>and be grateful?

The interesting question is why YOU can't accept his small endorsement even
as you are telling me that I should.

Nevertheless, I am not going to be fatuously grateful for anything that
gets memetics labeled as "a meaningless metaphor," "an utterly silly idea,"
or "cocktail party science," simply because it is has a pro-memetics tone.
If Dawkins had mentioned the existence of quantitative and technical work
and Gould and Orr still made those derisive remarks, I could have seen the
fault as lying more with Gould, Orr, and perhaps the TIME staff. As it
stands, I feel that Dawkins has earned some of the responsibility. If he
doesn't want to be a spokesperson for memetics, he doesn't have to be. But
if he is going to be a weak or ineffective spokesperson, he should expect
his work to come under critical review. As someone who independently
re-invented the concept (perhaps for the millionth time) of natural
selection in self-spreading ideas, I do not feel I owe a debt of
unconditional gratitude to Dawkins.

--Aaron Lynch

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