Re: Genes and Memes

From: Stuart Armstrong (
Date: Fri May 02 2008 - 05:49:05 MDT

> That does not compute. Nothing more? First you say memes and genes are
> COMPLETELY different (with an exclamation point!) and then you admit you
> can make an analogy between them. If you can make an analogy between two
> things then they are not completely different, if you can make a good
> analogy as I believe you can between genes and memes then they can't
> even be substantially different.

I can make analogies between stars and jilted lovers, between the flow
of time and the flow of a river, between AI's and gods, between cars
and ants. Some of these would be very good analogies, with many points
in common.

But none of them would be useful analogies, in that I can't take known
results from one side, and apply them on the other. Memes and genes
are liguistically close (hardly surprising, since the meme was
conceived as "let's take the idea of a gene and transplant it to
another context"). To go beyond linguistics, you need a precise
equivalence between important elements of a gene and meme, a model of
how both interact, and a mathematical expression for the difference in
how the two evolve.

You need to be able to make numerical predictions about memes while
knowing only about genes (or vice-versa) and for these predictions to
be at least somewhat accurate.


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