Re: Meme Conference

Aaron Lynch (
Tue, 25 May 1999 09:43:45 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 09:43:45 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Re: Meme Conference
In-Reply-To: <001e01bea66e$9a0b5580$f56a45c2@paul>

At 07:21 AM 5/25/99 +0200, you wrote:
>Me again Bob, Hi!
>My train is all booked up for the conference, as is my accommodation since I
>cannot get back until on the night of the 4th (too far). So I was wondering
>would it be possible to turn up on spec. on the 5th, just *incase* somebody
>has dropped out, and there is a place at the back where I can sit quietly
>and listen (my PhD *is* going through internal examination this term)? I
>know you have to enforce your PhD selection criteria re. *invitations*
>strictly to avoid chaos - but turning up on spec. and attending only if
>there is a place free might seem a sensible alternative.
>Best Wishes,


I am not sure that I can regard the posting of this to the memetics list as
an "innocent" mistake, especially as you have previously posted claims of
having been "banned" in an apparent effort to publicly pressure Bob into
bending the rules.

Now, your arguments about accommodations, someone possibly dropping out,
and sitting quietly, etc. all sounds benign enough. However, you are in
effect requesting that such arbitrary incidentals be used to choose
yourself as someone to write a summary paper on the conference. I might
even have been inclined to accept this, but for the fact that you have
demonstrated major lapses in scholarly accuracy. For example, in your
"review" of my book, you re-wrote the title of Chapter 2 from "a missing
link" to "the missing link," resulting in a vast shift in meaning that
served your polemic purposes. (I never use the phrase "the missing link" at
all.) So if you were arbitrarily chosen (based on logistical incidentals)
to write a summary paper on the conference, I would therefore have to ask
"What did Daniel Sperber *really* say? What did David Hull *really* say?"
etc. The fact that you are able to slip misquotations and other
misrepresentations past journal reviewers does not reassure me in the
least, but rather, makes me more concerned.

As far as I know, your doctoral committee may find similar flaws in the
accuracy of scholarship in your dissertation. Maybe they won't. Yet even if
your PhD is approved, I will still have to wonder whether it really
indicates a commitment to accurate scholarship on your part. Until I have
seen you *demonstrate* a commitment to accurate scholarship, I have to
recommend to Bob that he stay strictly with his rules and not admit you to
the June 5th session. I am perfectly content to wait and read the
participants' words when and as they decide to publish them.

--Aaron Lynch

This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)