Twins

t (MemeLab@aol.com)
Mon, 30 Aug 1999 10:54:09 EDT

From: <MemeLab@aol.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 10:54:09 EDT
Subject: Twins
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk

In a message dated 8/30/99 6:35:23 AM Central Daylight Time,
D.Gatherer@organon.nhe.akzonobel.nl writes:

> Chris:
> I would seriously consider an analysis of twin data etc etc since it does
> say something about the purity pattern. The question is whether this is a
> 'real' pattern or else a pattern linked to our method of analysis, our ways
> of thinking. Personally I am biased to the latter, as I demonstrate in my
> articles on wave/particle duality and the EPR paradox (which implies
> 'superluminal' communications).
>
> Derek:
> No, I don't see that EPR and other quantum things can help us to understand
> twins or monkeys.
>

I remain fairly skeptical about quantum phenomenon explaining all sort of
mysterious macro-phenomenon, though in principle I cannot automatically rule
it out. The mechanisms proposed by those hopeful to find justification for
telepathy and other related things like "critical mass" 100th monkey, have
sounded so tenuous if remotely plausible, that I think it reveals more a
desire to believe than a compelling explanation for legitimately observed and
confirmed phenomenon (which they almost always seem to turn out not to be).
Couple that desire to believe, with another's unemployed desire to explain.
Add to this the number of otherwise highly qualified and now highly
disillusioned physicists that were left high and dry after the cancellation
of such government projects as the super-conducting super-collider, and we
have the makings of a memetic plague of Quantum mechanical "explanations" for
all sorts of pseudoscientific hopeful monsters.

This business of the twins, however, has remained a point of fascination with
me. The general and prolific uncanniness that has emerged from the Minnesota
twins study and other similar twins studies begs for some sort of explanation
that has not been forthcoming. Obviously geneticists and sociobiologists
would claim this as new confirmation of the power of genetics to determine
behavior, but even this starts to sound incredibly hokey -- you mean there is
a genetic determinant for brands of toothpaste?? This stretches the limits
of credibility almost as much as suggesting a tenuous quantum cause for this
eeriness.

I do think however, that this is an area that memetics could be highly
efficient at closing the explanation gap. A meme-gene *Co-evolution* makes
more sense than any of these other more incredible explanations. Regardless
of the different socioeconomic backgrounds and geographical distance of these
separated twins, it is likely that they have been exposed to many of the same
memes, that permeate our popular culture. If these memes are likewise
evolving to appeal to and capitalize on particular genetic proclivities that
occur within the general population, this sort of eeriness shouldn't come as
a surprise. Perhaps it wouldn't become as apparent, considering the genetic
variations that occur even between closely related individuals, whereas
identical genetics would more likely bring this sharp focus.

This is also an area where the evolutionary autonomy (metaphorical
selfishness) of memes comes into stark focus as well. Clearly the
advertisers and marketers of brands of toothpaste did not conceive of a
particular genetic proclivity that they were consciously targeting. A lot of
that is just sensitive intuitive guesswork based on market feedback, even to
the point of behavioral conditioning -- both of the consumer and of the
marketers -- by the emergent memetic package. Behavior conditioning without
a conscious human conditioner, but a meme.

I think this is a very appropriate promising area for aspiring memeticists to
provide explanations.

-Jake

===============================================================
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)
see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit