RE: JASSS Critical Review of Thought Contagion

Aaron Lynch (
Thu, 29 Apr 1999 14:25:26 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 14:25:26 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: RE: JASSS Critical Review of Thought Contagion
In-Reply-To: <2CDFE2C8F598D21197C800C04F911B20224BBF@DELTA.newhouse.akzo

At 09:53 AM 4/29/99 +0200, Gatherer, D. (Derek) wrote:

>We do comprehend your work Aaron. That's why we don't like it.

By way of meta-discussion, I will point out that you and Marsden seem to
have determined that you will not like my work whether you understand it or

When Marsden's commentary to your JoM-EMIT article suggested that I was
propounding "laws of combination and permutation," I pointed out to him
privately that there was no discussion of permutations in my work, and that
his words seemed chosen solely to make my paper look silly in light of the
commutative property of conjunction. Yet he had apparently already
determined that he would fault me for some kind of "laws of x and y." So he
came up with "laws of combination and separation." My private discussion
with him served little purpose other than to help him generate a more
refined but equally misleading attempt at misrepresenting my work and
making it look silly. Hence, discussions with people who have already
determined not to like my work are apt to be not just futile, but downright
counterproductive. I have no interest in helping you and Paul generate
misinformation about memetics works, least of all my own.

Now, why would someone determine not to like my work whether or not they
comprehend it? As it turns out, scientists are human beings. We have
professional rivalries, for instance. And as one person suggested
privately, there are those who fear and dislike anything they don't
comprehend--like technical diagrams and systems of non-linear partial
differentio-integral equations. My own harsh criticisms of works that
seemed to purvey "cocktail party science" before H. Allen Orr called it
that may also have seemed like a general threat, calling for a preemptive
counter-attack. Possibilities to consider, at least.

Perhaps we can eventually hold more constructive discussions, but, as I
said after you claimed that Richard Brodie and I were posing as a
latter-day "Wilber and Orville," I think things need to cool off first.

Incidentally, while you might dislike my work completely, Paul seems a bit
divided--book review notwithstanding. For example, he did privately thank
me for writing a Y2K memetics article which arrived to him by way of an ad
agency working for the UK government.

--Aaron Lynch

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