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Memes anyone?
Posted: 01 March 2008 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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It seems to me that the biggest difference between memetics and otherwise “normal” evolutionary psychology is the fact that memetics examines ideas under the Darwinian principle of “survival-of-the-fittest” whereas the latter tends to ignore the notion of “selection” when explaining the spread and/or extinction of certain ideas.
The memetic approach says that those ideas that survive and spread do not survive because they are the most practical or even pervasive in the given “meme pool” but are simply the most adaptable to change and “contagious”

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Posted: 01 March 2008 08:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I love Dawkins’ version of memes in the God Dellusion, he was so clear and straightforward in laying it down.

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Posted: 25 May 2008 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Hi all. Sorry for a long absence.

The best argument against memetics is Dennet himself, in *Darwin’s Dangerous Idea* in the chapter on memetics. Recall the original thrust of it: ideas will spread *just like* genes do in genetics, and that the process is very much akin to evolution. Hence the very words ‘meme’ and ‘memetics’. In the relevant chapter, Dennett discovers that ideas don’t spread much like like genes do. And there seem not to be ‘basic’ memes like there are basic genetic material, and *therefore* the spread of ideas aren’t very well explained by an evolutionary, gene-like theory.

At best, IMHO, evolutionary ‘memetics’ explains unimportant and ‘surface’ ideas like clothing styles. In other words, the ideas we dont’ care much about, and drop quickly.

Now don’t me misled by Dennett’s phrasing in the chapter. As one of the first posts pointed out, Dennett is quite smitten with memetics as an analog of evolutionary change in genes, and so at the end of the chapter he still predicts great things for memetics. But in fact he himself, it’s most intelligent advocate, admits the hypothesis just doesn’t work.

But i urge you to read the chapter for yourself.

Cheers, and happy to be back and with a little more vinegar than i’ve had in months.

Chris Kirk

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Posted: 25 May 2008 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Daisy - 01 March 2008 08:39 PM

I love Dawkins’ version of memes in the God Dellusion, he was so clear and straightforward in laying it down.

Hi Daisy:

Dougsmith much earlier in this thread suggested that Dawkins had a ‘light touch’ in positing memetics. Are you saying he’s much more committed to it now?

(I would partially disagree with doug there, and claim a little more strongly that Dawkins is introducing a real hypothesis, but without going much into it; Dennett picked up that task in his own work, and that’s rather common among thinkers, you know.)

Cheers,

Chris Kirk

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Posted: 25 May 2008 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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inthegobi - 25 May 2008 08:11 AM

Dougsmith much earlier in this thread suggested that Dawkins had a ‘light touch’ in positing memetics. Are you saying he’s much more committed to it now?

(I would partially disagree with doug there, and claim a little more strongly that Dawkins is introducing a real hypothesis, but without going much into it; Dennett picked up that task in his own work, and that’s rather common among thinkers, you know.)

Hi inthegobi,

Where did I say that? IIRC Dawkins does sort of go back and forth in his support of the “meme” meme. Sometimes he says that it’s an intriguing hypothesis (again, IIRC he says this sort of thing in Selfish Gene when he proposes the idea) and then other times he seems more committed to it. But I do think he’d agree that the only way to know if memetics is a useful addition to the sciences is if actual scientists find actual uses for it, and that’s still not quite certain at this point.

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Posted: 25 May 2008 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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dougsmith - 25 May 2008 09:44 AM
inthegobi - 25 May 2008 08:11 AM

Dougsmith much earlier in this thread suggested that Dawkins had a ‘light touch’ in positing memetics. Are you saying he’s much more committed to it now?

(I would partially disagree with doug there, and claim a little more strongly that Dawkins is introducing a real hypothesis, but without going much into it; Dennett picked up that task in his own work, and that’s rather common among thinkers, you know.)

Hi inthegobi,

Where did I say that? IIRC Dawkins does sort of go back and forth in his support of the “meme” meme. Sometimes he says that it’s an intriguing hypothesis (again, IIRC he says this sort of thing in Selfish Gene when he proposes the idea) and then other times he seems more committed to it. But I do think he’d agree that the only way to know if memetics is a useful addition to the sciences is if actual scientists find actual uses for it, and that’s still not quite certain at this point.

Doug, it was *far* back in the thread. (i’m not trying to carve out Christian space here, but think about splitting up Ask a Christian into sub-threads. This thread has become enormous!!) Your answer here is plenty. I didn’t know he’d changed his mind more than once on memes.

So you see him as ‘instrumental’ about evidence, eh? Electrons exist, surely, when we use them in electron microscopes for example; memetics is a real theory when we can use it to (accurately) do other things.

I’m not objecting to this; just clarifying. I hadn’t thought of Dr. D as an ‘instrumental realist’ (my personal fave Henry Kyburg is one of those in phil of science.)

Kirk

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Posted: 25 May 2008 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Well, I don’t want to suggest that Dawkins holds to any particular ontological theory. Insofar as I can reconstruct his position from memory he was making rather the same sort of innocuous epistemological point that I think most realists hold: we only know a theory is good when it allows of profitable use in the sciences.

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Posted: 27 May 2008 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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inthegobi - 25 May 2008 08:11 AM
Daisy - 01 March 2008 08:39 PM

I love Dawkins’ version of memes in the God Dellusion, he was so clear and straightforward in laying it down.

Hi Daisy:

Dougsmith much earlier in this thread suggested that Dawkins had a ‘light touch’ in positing memetics. Are you saying he’s much more committed to it now?

(I would partially disagree with doug there, and claim a little more strongly that Dawkins is introducing a real hypothesis, but without going much into it; Dennett picked up that task in his own work, and that’s rather common among thinkers, you know.)

Cheers,

Chris Kirk


That was one of the 1st couple of posts I put up when I first registered. I did not read all thread, I apologize for it. And the GD, I read more than a year and half ago, I will have to go back and re-read that chapter to honestly answer your post. Again sorry.

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Posted: 03 June 2008 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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A new one from TED: Susan Blackmore on memes and, a new kid on the block, “temes.” Fun talk.

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Posted: 26 July 2017 09:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Aren’t scientific theories themselves memes?
And laws?

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