Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id WAA10120 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Mon, 5 Feb 2001 22:59:20 GMT Message-ID: <3A7F2F62.63CC824F@wehi.edu.au> Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 09:55:30 +1100 From: wilkins <wilkins@wehi.EDU.AU> Organization: The Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.76C-CCK-MCD (Macintosh; U; PPC) X-Accept-Language: en To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Darwinian evolution vs memetic evolution References: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745C32@inchna.stir.ac.uk> Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="------------3F296263AD3C4C43CE27E400" Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Vincent Campbell wrote:
> I wouldn't dispute the idea that a difference between culture and
> nature is the notion of "choice" (although I suspect philosophically this is
> actually quite a complex concept), but choice isn't everything. Lots of
I would dispute this. Choice is the end-result of a series of retained
successful past trials and errors, or it is arbitrary and there is no
correlation between the choices made and the success of these choices.
This is, after all, the implication of Hume's problem of induction. This
in no way differs qualitatively from what occurs in "nature" (nor should
it, if humans are part of nature).
> people follow all sorts of trends, customs etc. without knowing why (what
> for) or the origins of such customs, but just do so. A recent anecdotal
As Dave Rindos observed in one of his essays, we can treat human
intentions as a Gaussian distribution and so no different to mutations
or recombination in genetic populations. It is still subjected to
selection and drift.
> example comes from a politics teacher in the local school my wife works in
> as a careers adviser. One of the kids asked the politics teacher where the
> terms left wing and right wing came from, as they do seem arbitrary, and she
> didn't know (neither did my wife who's first degree is in politics, and
> neither did I). Part of the initial appeal of memetics is those cultural
I believe it came from the seating arrangements in the French
> trends that persist regardless of personal choice. Genes have nature, memes
> have culture. Leaving aside the issue of whether or not religions are
> memes, for the moment, it's quite clear that many (most?) people do not
Religions are complex traditions comprised of many elements. At best the
elements are the memes, and the religion is a "memeplex".
> choose their religion but adopt that of the family, community and culture
> around them, so much so that people will claim to be born to a religion. In
> some cultures, there is little choice but to accept a certain faith or else
> to face exile from, or persecution within, that culture.
> Seeing free will or choice as the determinant of memes thus is not
> the full picture.
Particularly as many organisms clearly have intentions. If a gazelle
wants anything, it wants to avoid being eaten by the predator...
-- John Wilkins, Head, Graphic Production, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia Homo homini aut deus aut lupus - Erasmus of Rotterdam <http://www.users.bigpond.com/thewilkins/darwiniana.html> Content-Type: text/x-vcard; charset=us-ascii; name="wilkins.vcf" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Content-Description: Card for wilkinsContent-Disposition: attachment; filename="wilkins.vcf"
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