Re: Meme Conference

t (
Mon, 17 May 99 14:49:27 +0000

From: <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Meme Conference
Date: Mon, 17 May 99 14:49:27 +0000

<<I was planning on attending this conference, which will
undoubtedly be a
landmark event in memetics, and write up the conference in a
paper for the
JoM. Unfortunately, a number of research students, (conducting
research in
memetics) have been banned from the critically important second
day of the
conference by the organiser, on the grounds that our PhDs are not
completed (and no, I don't understand the logic either), but I am
sure the
organiser has the issue in hand of imparting the words of wisdom
during this "closed session" to the relevant journals so we all
may benefit.
But perhaps somebody more qualified than myself (any PhD relevant
or not
will do, I think) will be able to report directly to the JoM?>>

Unfortunatey I won't be able to attend what looks like an
extremely interesting meeting of minds. (Ironically I' just be
returning back to Seattle from two weeks in Europe. I'm currently
in Brussels visiting with F. Heylighen and L. Gabora.) Of course
the only degrees I have are a high-school diploma and a
certificate from baseball umpire school.

<<Culture is either a new phenotypic strategy
used by the most prominent class of replicators, genes (e.g.,
Flinn and
Alexander 1982; Flinn 1997), or the product of a novel, quasi-
class of replicators with their own interests (e.g., Brodie 1996;
1997). These basic units of information, able to reproduce
during transmission between individuals, were called "memes" by
(1976). One of these theories is wrong: either memes exist or
they don't.>>

I've read this three times and already I'm lost. What's the
raionale for saying that at most one of these theories is
predictive? They both look good to me.

By the way, if anyone wants ammo, there are some obvious
predictions that memetics makes:

-- evangelistic religions tend to spread faster than others
-- cuture will evolve to develop artifacts and activities that
are more and more likely to capture people's attention (i.e., we
will see people shift from old activities to new, and not as much
the reverse)
-- If a correlation is found between extroverted personalities
and certain ideas they tend to harbor more than introverts, we
will see more infuence of those ideas in cuture.

There are many more, of course, mentioned in Virus of the Mind,
which although cited in the conference overview doesn't seem to
have been as thoroughly digested by the organizer as I might have

Richard Brodie
Author, "Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme"
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