Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Matt Ridley - Evolution of Everything book videos

Here's Matt talking at Google:

Matt talks explicitly about memes 40 minutes in - raising the objection that memes are particulate, while culture doesn't have to be. He describes memes as being "a bit restrictive" and says: "I feel it's moved on since then".

I regard these objections as bogus ones. Memes represent heritable information in cultural evolution, just as genes represent heritable information in the organic realm. The idea that memes (and genes for that matter) are too 'particulate' is to do with the molecular biology definition of the 'gene' - not the evolutionary definition of the gene. Remember that genes are not sections of nucleic-acid.

Memes (and genes) are 'particulate' in the sense that they are informational - and so can be divided up as much as you like. Information can be subdivided into particulate bits and sent down cables. That's just a fact, and it isn't specific to memetics: most other theories of cultural evolution assume a basis in information theory, focus their attention on heritable cultural information and use some kind of meme synonym.

Here are a couple of other recent videos from Matt on the same topic:

No comments:

Post a comment