Aloha Y'all...

JuanCompos (
Thu, 09 Dec 1999 00:28:32 -0500

Date: Thu, 09 Dec 1999 00:28:32 -0500
From: JuanCompos <>
Subject: Aloha Y'all...

I recently joined the list and am currently reading the old posts. Some
interesting stuff but the message is basically just a test to see if I
have the right TO: address.

I am currently a Freshman at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I
found out about this list and the related online journal whilst in a
chat room devoted to bringing the nuts and bolts of evolution and
evolutionary theories to an interested populous and, ideally, to an
uninterested populous as well (read: creationists).

In any event, Howdy, and I'll comment on some of the stuff I've read
already (forgive me, I'm currently only on 03.06.97).

Bloch's Paradox.
Studying an extinct meme would, in my understanding, generate memes
about the extinct meme, though not the meme itself. Studying belief in
Zeus would generate knowledge about belief in Zeus but would not
necessarily generate belief in Zeus. Ergo, the extinct meme, belief in
Zeus, would remain extinct. From my understanding, Bloch's Paradox is a
confusion between the meme and memes about the meme.

Lamarckian v. Darwininan memetic evolution.
Consider that beliefs can affect one's fitness. Take Judaism, because
of beliefs regarding food preparation and sexual relations it's likely
that there was lower incidence of deaths from food poisoning and
sexually transmitted diseases. As a result these groups had more
children whom were socialized with these memes (and a lot of others
which may or may not be adaptive). Meanwhile those who ate pork got
trichinosis, those who undersalted their foods either starved or got
food poisoning, died or were sterilized by STDs and all around produced
fewer children to be socialized as new hosts for their less adaptive
memes. The implication of this is that memes can propagate in a
Darwinian fashion subject to natural selection, gene flow, genetic
drift, and non-random mating.
However, if someone finds a new way to cure meat or to avoid STDs
besides abstinence and then socialize their children with this new meme
is that a mutation or an acquired characteristic? What if they spread
the meme to their next door neighbour and then he socializes his
children with it? In his case is it a mutation or an acquired
characteristic? If you come up with it yourself is it a mutation but if
you learn it it's acquired? It there really any use to such a
distinction (besides to intellectual property rights attorneys)? And
aren't memes by necessity learned?
I use the socialization of children as a convienient and obvious example
(and also one that would have definite genetic correlation) of memetic
evolution operating in a traditional Darwinain fashion. It could just
as easily apply to prisoners passing along the tricks of surviving in
It's even hairier if one considers that the adition of a new meme might
cause changes in other memes but not itself become part of those
memes... it's a mutagen meme!

Lots of interesting things to think about, but currently I have to go
clean the kitchen.

Aufwiederlesen Y'all
Ser JuanCompos )

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)