Re: What came first?

Bill Spight (
Tue, 05 Oct 1999 08:08:03 -0700

Date: Tue, 05 Oct 1999 08:08:03 -0700
From: Bill Spight <>
Subject: Re: What came first?


Well, genetics answers it quite well- the egg, as the mutation, comes first. Now, as to when the chicken and the egg of memetics- the idea and the culture, so to speak, happen, well, I think that the answer is as well the egg- culture is the mature form of the mutation, allowed to grow. Once grown, of course, it becomes McNuggets easily....


General comment. There seem to be three general camps regarding the application of the genotype-phenotype distinction to memes. For one camp, the genotype is encoded in brains, and the external manifestation is the phenotype. For another camp, the manifest cultural behavior or artifact is the genotype, and some associated neurological structure is the phenotype. For the third camp, the genotype-phenotype distinction does not apply, as a rule; memes simply take different forms.

(Please correct me if I have misrepresented your camp.)

Wade, I think that you are right to focus on the question of mutation. But it seems to me that, in terms of chickens and eggs, mutations in the eggs are potentially passed on to future eggs, and mutations in the chickens are potentially passed on to future chickens.



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