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But will anyone buy it? 
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Post Re: But will anyone buy it?
MadArchitect: I think it's being used by some writers as a way to levy attacks against something that they dislike on a personal level rather than as a tool of politically disinterested scientific inquiry.

What level of success do you think they'll have with these attacks using memes?




Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:07 pm
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Post Re: But will anyone buy it?
GOD defiles Reason: What level of success do you think they'll have with these attacks using memes?

That's really hard to guage. Obviously, it's had some early success along those lines -- the mere fact that the meme model has some currency in popular science is a kind of victory.

But there are too many possibilities. The meme model might eventually run up against counter-arguments that are persuasive enough to halt its development in the mainstream. A more functional biological unit for understanding cultural development, one unconnected to the anti-religious arguments, might displace it (something similar happened when a more rigorously scientific anthropology overturned the atheistic theories of Feuerbach et al). Or proponents of the meme model might realize that it has unintended logical consequences -- eg. that in addition to weakening certain arguments for religion, it also weakens certain arguments for, say, democratic society -- which makes them less willing to support the theory. Or someone within the evo-psych community mind find that the meme model can be just as reasonably used to support religion.

For that matter, the meme model might continue to develop along its current lines until it becomes as standard as, say, Mendeleyan genetics. Who knows? It's too early to tell.

That said, I do think that there are good non-polemical reasons to subject the meme model to more rational scrutiny, and there is good reason to doubt some of the assumptions that went into crafting the model. I've pointed to a lot of those in the thread on "The New Replicators", and I think that's probably the best place to continue this conversation.




Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:06 pm
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Post Re: But will anyone buy it?
MadArchitect: Or someone within the evo-psych community mind find that the meme model can be just as reasonably used to support religion.


Can you think of an example of how that argument might go?


That said, I do think that there are good non-polemical reasons to subject the meme model to more rational scrutiny, and there is good reason to doubt some of the assumptions that went into crafting the model. I've pointed to a lot of those in the thread on "The New Replicators", and I think that's probably the best place to continue this conversation.

I don't know that I'm ready to argue the merits of memes, until I have a better understanding of what there are -- or what people like Dennett and Dawkins mean by them.




Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:26 pm
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Post Re: But will anyone buy it?
GOD defiles Reason: Can you think of an example of how that argument might go?

Maybe, but a practicing evolutionary biologist would almost certainly do a better job.

I don't know that I'm ready to argue the merits of memes, until I have a better understanding of what there are -- or what people like Dennett and Dawkins mean by them.

Dennett's "New Replicators" Appendix is a good starting point. A better starting point would be to read Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene", although only the last chapter is specifically about memes. That said, memes are an analogy to genes as described by Dawkins so to fully understand what he means by memes you also have to understand his take on genes. It's a well-received interpretation, but that doesn't necessarily recommend memes.




Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:00 am
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