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Posted: 03 October 2007 10:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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The first time I ran into the concept of “memes” a number of years ago, I had the same reaction that Massimo Pigliucci had in quoting Karl Popper’s statement.  I was fascinated (I’m being kind or I would have said nauseated) by the idea of an atheistic “scientist” coming up with his own faith based mythology.  As far as I’m concened they are a fairytale.  Because they offer convenient explanations for phenomena we see in our everyday lives doesn’t make them true, just as because the bible offers some conveneient explanations for everyday phenomena we don’t consider it “revealed” (or any other kind of) truth. 

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Posted: 03 October 2007 11:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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But the difference between a fairytale and a hypothesis is that the latter will either stand or fail on the basis of subsequent evidence and predictive value. I’m not sure if memes will turn out to be a useful model or just a neat but mistaken analogy, but I don’t think the evidence is in to say yet. Let’s see if they can generate some testable predictions.

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Posted: 03 October 2007 11:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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That was the point of the article - that at present they fall into the class of Popper’s non-falsifiable propositions.  Which means pretty much that until someone can come up with a way of testing them they are pretty much meaningless.  A hypothesis needs to have implicit in it some way of testing it, and this hasn’t been shown at all for memes.  (so for me memes are still a fairytale)

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