IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

The Meme Machine unleashed, according to Susan Blackmore.

Glen M. Sizemore gmsizemore2 at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 3 08:26:35 EST 2002


These ideas are very old. The only thing new is the coining of the term
"meme," and the ridiculous notion that it is useful to say that "memes
propagate themselves" rather than that practices are selected because they
contribute to a culture's ability to produce food, housing, and more
members, and that cultures do this by arranging contingencies of
reinforcement that select behavior at the individual level. So much for
"memes." Or, rather, so much for Dawkins' intellectual honesty.

"Richard Lancashire" <rlancashire at hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:8ad6f59.0210030429.79d5cbac at posting.google.com...
> "Simon Laub" <silanian at mail.tele.dk> wrote
>
> >   It all rings true to me.
> > Except Susan Blackmores claim that the self
> > is a complex meme. Certainly, it is puzzling
> > that blind people are reported thinking that their
> > "I" is located at their fingertips, when they
> > read Braille.
>
> I enjoyed the book too, as an introduction to memetics. However, it
> was not without its weak points; I was unconvinced by the notion of
> 'self' as a meme or consistent part of meme-complexes, and in reading
> the bibliography I notice Dr Blackmore was writing on Buddhism before
> she became really interested in memetics;. It seems like the
> Buddhism-meme has persuaded her to draw a conclusion that sits neatly
> with itself. But that's what successful memes do...
>
> Another point that I found less than satisfactory was her suggestion
> that the development of language preceded (and presumably drove)
> symbolic representation. This seems too counterintuitive to me to
> state as theory and then move on without elaboration.
>
> >   So what about the future? Does the future belong
> > to the memes entirely? And are the genes at the end of
> > their reign?
>
> There will still be genetic selection, but part of the point of the
> book was that this proceeds at a much slower pace than memetic spread.
> Should it come to a major disaster or epidemic, for example, what
> parts of mankind that survive will need to be favoured by both in
> order to do so.
>
> I think as a fundamental philosophy of existence it is lacking; as a
> practical philosophy of information and action it contains very
> interesting points to be addressed.
>
> To one of the other posters: she does not claim to have invented the
> concept of 'meme'; the name and the full theory (including that of
> selfish behaviour, spread and evolution) is attributed to Richard
> Dawkins.
>
> Cheers
> Rich





More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net