Re: [asa] Darwin only biological evolution? (can anything exist without evolution?)

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Fri Jan 16 2009 - 23:31:51 EST

Dehler, Bernie wrote:
> I haven't studied Dawkins wrt memes in detail. Yes- I'm using the general overall view of thought/social evolution, and putting my own twist on it (such as allowing divine input).
> Pastor Murray said:
> " Now, again, I acknowledge your not suggesting that Beethoven's Ninth is simply a random mutation which got lucky in the jungle of early 19th century Vienesse concert halls - BUT if one says Beethoven's Ninth is a "meme" of the the same sort Dawkins advocated, then this is EXACTLY what is intended and the role of intelligent agency is certainly NOT obvious."
> I doubt Dawkins would say that. Dawkins go to great length that evolution is not like gambling- spinning dials long enough to get a jackpot. Instead, it is building piece-wise, adding/subtracting as you go while keeping the remaining from the previous, over time.
> Can you give an example from Dawkins where he is excluding an obvious role of intelligence in meme creation? Can you quote something?

Respectfully, Bernie, you don't need to tell me you haven't studied Dawkins' discussion of memes in detail - if you had, you would understand the point being made about the confusion which ensues when one chooses to radically redefine a term which ALREADY has a recognized usage.

My point has always been that this entire debate is a definitional merry-go-round which will just go around, and around, and around.

Well, sorry, I'm getting off.

But before I do - just let me ask this: given that YOU are the one arguing that the notion of the meme is a valid one, how is it that I'm the one who's supposed to go and do the research? Frankly, if you want to believe that what you're calling a meme is ANYTHING like the idea that Dawkins proposed, and if want to argue Dawkins thinks intelligent agency is involved in the promulgation of memes then that's fine.

But don't ask ME to cite Dawkins' writings in support of my view that your position is wrong! It's your thesis, Bernie. YOU are the one trying to convince ME. _YOU_ do the research. _YOU_ give the examples. _YOU_ cite the literature. I'm happy to point you in the right direction: you need to read "The Selfish Gene" - but more than that? No! Not going to happen!

It's simply not done to propound a notion and then assume a default status of "valid" unless somebody else does the research to show otherwise.

To put it in a nutshell, you say you haven't read Dawkins in detail? Well, it's time for you to go and do so. When you can demonstrate that you know what Dawkins is talking about when he refers to memes then we might be able to continue the discussion. Until then I really do have far more pressing matters to attend to.

Apologies for being curt - but to expect anybody to spend more time researching a thesis than the person propounding it is unrealistic in the extreme.


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Received on Fri Jan 16 23:32:22 2009

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