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← Meme Theory, Zahavi's Handicap, and the Baldwin Effect

Bumpy's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Bumpy

ZEUGLODON: So, quite apart from the high mutation rate that this Lamarkian evolution allows, it shows that ideas don't make copies of themselves any more than a paper makes a copy of itself - the photocopier, and in the brain's case the perceptive and motor neurons, have to do all the work. I think this is the biggest objection to memetics, and the main reason I'm sceptical of it.

I don't see why that's problem. Yes the paper doesn't physically forge a copy of itsef - it presupposes a massively more complicated sequence (which the paper didn't create) to do everything for it (i.e. a human has to feed it into, and operate, the photocopier).

Now how is this qualitatively different to what a genetic molecule does? It too presupposes a certain environment - one with electrostatic forces, raw materials to interact with, a certain tempreture range, the contingency that the laws of physics are unchanging etc.

The genetic molecule is such that in the appropiate environment it will be copied. A piece of paper that reads "please photocopy me" is such that in the appropiate environment (one with a photocopier and a very obedient human) it too will be copied.

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 00:13:00 UTC | #949616