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1626Re: [nanotech] Re: screaming memies -- Memes vs. ideas

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  • eugene.leitl@lrz.uni-muenchen.de
    Jan 2, 2001
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      Mark Gubrud wrote:
      > Yeah, and it's sure a _lot_ shorter than "ideas spreading like viruses,
      > except that they're not exactly like viruses, because they don't have
      > protein coats, and they don't force you to make their parts so they can

      Protein coats? Now you're being deliberately dense. It's similiarity,
      not identity.

      > self-assemble and launch back into the air, and people tend to spread them

      Of course they make you act as a vector, they make you blab about a
      nifty idea, thus encoding the information virus (or symbiont) into
      its transport form (it has several, including hosts imitating behaviour),
      until it hits a susceptible target, gets translated back into its
      canonical genotype, changes in neural circuitry, and starts expressing
      its phenotype, one of which goes something like "hey, I recently become
      illuminated, and a burning thorn bush spoke in a thunderous
      voice to me [...] now go forth, and preach upon the herd as I hath
      preached upon ye, and do no cease until every single infidel is
      converted, or they have slain thee (but preferably, slay the particularly
      hardy cases by yourself, and of course you're protected by God Himself,
      so you're virtually invulnerable, but just in case you should manage
      to be killed: you will sit to the right side side of the Deity henceforth,
      in eternity, amen). And yeah -- the Deity will indeed get pissed &
      will smite thee with a lightning bolt of divine wrath, in case you change
      a single iota of this Scripture".

      > for other purposes not necessarily explicit in their content, and people

      A thing has a certain meaning in one context, and will shift meaning
      in another. If this alters meme's virulence, then it just has a lousy
      global fitness.

      > receiving them often understand them differently than the people who sent
      > them... well, see, they're really like genes, see, except they don't have

      Sure, errors in transcription. This is called mutation, and creates diversity,
      which has positive, negative or neutral impact on fitness.

      > any of the structure of genetics and neither does their evolution... but

      Why? They do have genotype and phenotype. They replicate, and mutate.
      They get selected for fitness. They interact, building meme clusters.
      Their hosts coevolve with them.

      > that's the point, don't you see, they _evolve_, ideas spread from person
      > to person and they _evolve_, cause like, some are successful and others
      > die out ... just like viruses and plants and societies and like, Wow man."

      It's not a concept's fault that airheads are picking it up, and running with
      it. Obviously you're immune to the meme meme, at least in the mutated
      form you so far came into contact with.

      > > Um, don't you feel kinda silly claiming "meme" has no meaning
      > > nor conveys any information whatsoever?
      > It's pseudoscientific cult jargon that usually conveys no more meaning
      > than a secret handshake. It's also Dawkins' reification of a completely

      I disagree here. You're being pretty hard on the concept, here. No
      one claimed it to be scientific, it's threshold at best.

      > trivial observation, which explains little and nothing of much interest.

      Well, I don't think Blackmoore's book only contains trivialities. But let's
      just agree to disagree here.
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