Re: implied or inferred memes

Mark M. Mills (
Tue, 5 Oct 99 14:15:20 -0000

Subject: Re: implied or inferred memes
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 99 14:15:20 -0000
From: "Mark M. Mills" <>
To: "Memetics List" <>


>>Koch goes no further than describing the autophosphorylating kinases
>>electrical performance characteristics.
>>I'm not talking about ideas. I'm talking about the molecular genotype
>>for cultural behavior.
>And what makes you think that "autophosphorylating kinases" are that, other
>than the fact that they are in the nervous system?

I don't have a copy of Biophysics of Computation in front of me, but here
are the features I remember reading:

1. autophosphorylating kinases have been found in synapses.
2. autophosphorylating kinases have been show to have the properties of
an 'on/off' electrical gate.
3. a mechanism for setting autophosphorylating kinases to either 'on' or
'off' has been demonstrated.
4. The time required to change the gate state (on->off or off->on) has
been shown to occur in the millisecond range, fast enough to allow for
observed decision making processes (a fly has about 50 milliseconds to
avoid a fly-swatter).

>>I would understand if you said autophosphorylating kinases patterns were
>>unimportant, I may have the wrong molecular explanation for static memory
>>which survives 60 seconds of brain death.
>Those molecular mechanisms may well be involved. But you haven't come
>close to explaining how they encode memories.

You are right. I have not come close to explaining how they encode

I am simply clarifying a biophysical model of the L-meme and showing
that our knowledge of neural biophysics fails to rule out the possibility
of L-memes encoding memories. Based on your earlier comments, I got the
feeling you considered L-memes another word for 'idea.'

All I'm doing is supporting a biophysical approach to memetics. I'd be
very happy to engage in discussion of other models of biophysical memory
encoding. I'm not particularly attached to the autophosphorylating
kinases model. What I'm attached to is the biophysical model for memory.
If research can produce wide agreement regarding a model for biophysical
memory encoding, we will have a much firmer foundation for evolutionary
models of cultural change.

>To provide an analogy, you can know all there is to know about logic
>circuits on silicon chips and still not have the foggiest idea how to
>program a word processor. And, you can do a bang-up job of programming a
>word processor without knowing the physical or logical layout of memory
>chips, etc.

I'm not sure what you mean by this analogy. The circuit designers I know
can all develop primitive word processors. They are not going to produce
a 'good' word processor, but I don't think that is your point. Further, I
don't see the purpose of invoking 'designers'. I haven't dropped a
homuculus in the L-meme model.


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