Re: Measuring Memes

Mark Mills (
Wed, 16 Jun 99 18:44:54 -0000

Subject: Re: Measuring Memes
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 99 18:44:54 -0000
From: Mark Mills <>
To: "Memetics List" <>


>> >>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.
>As I argued before: printed text. Nothing compares as well to genes as
>printed texts.

I agree. Printed text plays a similar role to DNA, in an entirely
different context, with different reproductive mechanisms.

>Of course, their function and role is completely different to that of
>genes. That could simply be because culture is still in an early
>developmental stage...

I don't think culture is particularly new. As I've pointed out in my
references to chimp culture, it seems clear that we can investigate the
bifurcation of primate culture into distinct human and chimp groups.
This must have happened about 4 million years ago.

And, I don't think culture was invented by primates.

>Looking for memes as the analogs to genes in minds and behaviours is
>looking in
>the wrong place. IMO, words like memotype, phemotype, etc. are completely
>erroneous since they try to find analogies with genes where they aren't.

I'm currently working on describing the difference between a Mendelian
gene and the modern microbiologist's gene. If I ever get that done, I'll
have something an opinion on terms like memotype, phemotype, etc.


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