Re: Measuring Memes

Mark M. Mills (
Tue, 15 Jun 1999 17:31:12 -0400

Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 17:31:12 -0400
From: "Mark M. Mills" <>
Subject: Re: Measuring Memes
In-Reply-To: <005401beb764$a7761960$76d66ccb@ddiamond>


Thanks for the comments.

At 05:23 AM 6/16/99 +1000, you wrote:
>>We know a great deal about how DNA plays a role in Darwinian
>>evolution of species. It is not so clear what plays a similar role, if
>>anything, in Darwinian evolution of culture.
>I think that this is because, due to the use of external memory storage
>(books etc), cultures can be seen to evolve along apparent Lamarckian lines
>where the high degree of feedback forms a niche such that it is hard to
>determine 'what/who came first?'

Thanks for mentioning Lamarck. I find no useful insights in Lamarck, and
forget that he is popular with some. I need to keep Lamarck in mind.

Given your framework, could you comment on a problem I find interesting?
I'm interested in the bifurcation of ancient primate culture into human and
chimp subgroups. Recent work with modern chimps has shown they have a rich
cultural heritage. Different chimp groups have unique medicinal herb and
tool practices, just as different human groups do. These chimp practices
are passed from generation to generation, just as in human culture.

Does your blending of Darwinian and Lamarckian perspectives offer any
insights into primate cultural bifurcation?


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