Monday, 3 September 2012

Counter attacks turn on memetics

One source of half-baked criticisms of memetics seems to be when people use memetics in an argument, and the counter-argument turns into an attack on memetics. I think that pretty-much explains what is going on with Alister McGrath - in his attack of memetics on behalf of God. Another example appears in this recent defense of libertarianism:

While the idea of memes seems to be effective, it is difficult to study memes as a science because memes are not consistent, nor they are continuous. It has been proved beyond doubt that memes, like traits, will continually be integrated and changed by the receiver of the information. That is, while a receiver will attain information through various memes, he will refine and interpret that information and will use or practice it in his own independent way. There are some other refutations that derecognize the importance of memes.
Alas, genes inside viruses change and evolve inside their hosts in much the same way that memes do. Genes in pathogens adapt to the environment inside their hosts - just as memes do. This criticism of memetics is half-baked - a silly straw man attack.

To reiterate, there are no valid technical criticsms of memetics, just the ignorant ramblings of those who haven't bothered to properly understand it.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    I wrote that article and I have no qualms in accepting that I am no expert on memetics or its refutation, I used the book "The Status of Memetics as a Science"written by Robert Aunger and published by Oxford University Press in 2000.

    So, if you do not agree with my criticism and claim it as half baked, you are actually pointing your fingers against that book and I have no opposition to it as I am skeptic about this whole issue, it will be great if enough evidences are provided to claim the veracity of memetics or its criticism.

    However, I am certainly against those supporters of memetics who claim that Christianity is the worst religion, governments should confiscate riches and property of christians, missionaries and churches, government should protect Children against their Christian parents etc.

    I am a born atheist, my parents are Hindu atheists (there are many sects in the Umbrella of Hinduism that claim that there is no creator and stress on logic/reason.)

    Yet, I am against any coercion against Christians or any other religion on record because for me, Non Aggression Principle is moral rule. In India, where Christians are a negligible minority, we don't need a tide to create ripples of hatred against Christians specially when the Indian government already offers various privileges and facilities on the name of minority protection for Christians/Muslims etc to grab Voite Bank. The government itself is doing great harm and people advocating active opposition to Christianity or Islam will prove to be a curse on situations.

    In 1999, a Hindu fundamentalist named Dara Singh burned a missionary and his son alive.

    On the other hand, since I am a supporter of natural rights and Non-Aggression Principle, I find that these meme supporters are also trapped in the effect of ill memes (if memes are a reality) and even these supporters of memetics need cure. Supporting the idea of using government as a tool to curb religion is not only dangerous, it is equally wrong as religionism is and that is point of my article, these meme supporters are trapped in ill-economic and political memes.