Replicators or just Brain-Snot? (was: The information theoretic view)

Tim Rhodes (
Thu, 2 Sep 1999 17:24:39 -0700

From: "Tim Rhodes" <>
To: <>
Subject: Replicators or just Brain-Snot? (was: The information theoretic view)
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 17:24:39 -0700

Richard wrote:

>I meant exactly what I said, and this is a crucial point. Memes
>(in the mind) actually cause cultural change that can be catalogued
>and observed objectively.

Well then, we should be able to draw this discussion to a close quite
easily. Simply provide us with these objective catalogues of cultural
change which can only be explained by memes-in-the-mind.

As easy as pi!

Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not sure what you've called "memes
in the mind" even pass the test as replicators. The "ice"-like memes you
keep coming back to seem more like emergent properties that arise from the
pool of ideas in each mind independently. True, the pool must contain
certain components for the property to emerge. But how do you propose to
distinguish between when the emergent property influences the replication of
all its component parts, and when the parts--each replicating on their own
irregardless of the presence of the emergent property--simply creates that
emergent property in another as a byproduct?

If the former is the case, it becomes very important to show how it is the
emergent property which influences it's own reproduction, rather than just
the parts replicating on their own. And if the later is the case, the
emergent property is not driving it's own replication any more than
"post-nasal drip" influences the production of snot in the noses of others.


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)