Re: The information theoretic view Was: JOM

Robin Faichney (
Mon, 6 Sep 1999 11:42:12 +0100

Date: Mon, 6 Sep 1999 11:42:12 +0100
From: Robin Faichney <>
Subject: Re: The information theoretic view Was: JOM
In-Reply-To: <>

In message <>,
Richard Brodie <> writes
>Robin wrote:
><<Dawkins' "viruses" are virulent memeplexes, not some other type of
>replicator, and it is rather dishonest of you to imply otherwise.
>(Unless, of course, you genuinely misunderstand Dawkins' position.)>>
>You may be surprised to discover just how much I understand. Let me give you
>a little tutorial. Dawkins never even uses the word "memeplex" in his essay
>on mind viruses
> ).

That's not in the least surprising. I've only started using it myself
within the last year. It stands for "co-adapted meme complex". I don't
have time to check right now, but I'm quite sure that Dawkins *does* use
that concept, even if not those words.

>term has been used to mean both a self-sustaining collection of memes and a
>loosely defined cultural replicator consisting of people hosting certain
>memes and perhaps including artifacts such as books.

But Richard, you're the only one that believes in the latter as
something entirely distinct from the former. For everyone else,
"memeplex" (or any phrase to the same effect) covers the ground quite

>I don't see how you can
>avoid bringing artifacts into the picture when discussing religions, which
>is of course what his essay was about.

You're reading your own ideas into other people's work. You need to
take off those coloured spectacles now and again. It is entirely your
own logic that says Dawkins has to be talking about what *you* call
mind-viruses. I attended the Cambridge conference on memetics a couple
of months back, at which both Dennett and Dawkins spoke, and despite the
fact that cultural evolution was gone into quite deeply -- due to the
scepticism of the anthropologists present -- there was no mention
whatsoever of any cultural replicator other than the meme. I accept
that you're innocent of conscious deception here, but you are quite
deeply deluded if you think your ideas are anywhere near the mainstream.

Robin Faichney
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