Re: Astrology

Aaron Lynch (
Tue, 06 Jul 1999 22:53:29 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 1999 22:53:29 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Re: Astrology
In-Reply-To: <>

At 06:43 PM 7/6/99 -0400, Thomas McMahan wrote:
>I would agree with what you stated there, and the other paragraph did
>help clarify.
>What are your thoughts on how memes are copied and how well they're
>copied? This was one area that Dawkins seemed to have trouble with, and
>I can see why. Doesn't the analogy between genes and memes breakdown
>rather severly there?

Dawkins does not discuss the subject on a sufficiently technical level to
effectively address these issues. You might, however, want to read my paper
"Units, Events, and Dynamics in Memetic Evolution." It develops a
non-metaphoric memetics in which "sameness" and "copying" exist only with
respect to an abstraction, (which, incidentally, is true of genes,
particles, etc. as well.) The paper takes as a premise that there are
useful abstractions with respect to which "copying" can happen--but I leave
the study of specific mechanisms to such fields as communication science,
linguistics, cognitive science, psychology, etc., which already investigate
*how* information is transferred on a one-to-one basis as distinct from the
population level. I do not assert that I have discovered any "fundamental"
system of abstractions analogous to the base pairs of DNA.

Section 16 of this paper discusses population memetics in terms of a system
of non-linear, partial differentio-integral difference equations--a class
of equations I have never seen used in any other field. Analogies are
useful in presenting memetics on a more accessible level, but do not, in my
view, form the scientific basis for memetics.


Lynch, A. 1998. Units, Events, and Dynamics in Memetic Evolution. Journal
of Memetics 2, #1,

--Aaron Lynch

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