Re: RE: socially selected memes

John Wilkins (
Tue, 03 Aug 1999 09:06:13 +1000

Date: Tue, 03 Aug 1999 09:06:13 +1000
From: John Wilkins <>
Subject: Re: RE: socially selected memes
In-Reply-To: <>

On Mon, 02 Aug 1999 09:58:31 +0100 (Ilfryn PRICE)

> writes:
>> What I proposed as utilitarian memes are accepted
>>more on the basis of external factors
>I do not dispute selection on the basis of explanatory power for your
>scientific memes but merely alert the social biases
>therein. I have heard the quote
>'paradigms do not change through logic. They change when the old guard
>finally dies or retires' attributed to Max Planck. New
>ones usually emerge in institutions away from the bastions of the old.
>It is an instructive example of peripherral isolation
>being important to memetic speciation (see my 1993 paper referenced at
>the site below)

Hull, Diamond and Tessler have investigated the Planck Principle and
found that it does not hold, at least for Darwinian acceptance in the
1860s and 1870s. Most of the adopters were established older scientists
(ref in Hull's 1988 book). IIRC, Frank Sulloway also found this - the
early adoption or late adoption strategy in his account seems to depend
more on the birth order of the researcher than the age at which the
novel theory is encountered.

Sulloway, Frank J. Born to rebel: birth order, family dynamics, and
creative lives. 1st ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 1996.


John Wilkins, Head, Graphic Production The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research Melbourne, Australia <mailto:wilkins@WEHI.EDU.AU><> Homo homini aut deus aut lupus - Erasmus of Rotterdam

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