X-Message-Number: 11968
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 14:30:45 +0100
From:  (John de Rivaz)
Subject: Re: Meme theory / Newtonian physics, and those ants

As a result of posting the review to uk.local.southwest, someone told me about 
http://www.memes.org.uk/ - I have only just found it and extracted Dr 
Blackmore's email address and sent her a lot of the correspondence resulting 
from the review. Hopefully she will comment.

In article: <>"Philip Rhoades" 
<> writes:
> As far as Economics is concerned, it is less a science and more voodoo . .

Yes, economics is to do with chaos theory and iterations. In Butterfly 
Economics Paul Ormerod describes this eloquently - basing his observations 
on a model of a nest of ants and two supplies of food. Which supply does the 
first ant go to, and which subsequent ant goes to which supply of food, and 
how do subsequent ants behave? This sounds like a trivial problem, but it is 
in fact a matter of abstruse mathematics. Similar problems relate to whether 
a given film is a success or not and which toy is a hit at Christmas. Why 
was Lou Grade's "Raise the Titianic" such a monumental flop when many 
similar action adventure films such as the "Lost Ark" series raised a small 
fortune for their producers? A mere slip of chance could have made  "Raise 
the Titianic" a success, and Lord Grade could have made a whole string of 
films afterwards.

Cryonics and many of the religions have the central idea of dealing with the 
problem of death. This is undoubtedly in the forefront of human minds - 
hence the popularity of the Dracula stories. Initiating death is also a 
popular concept - the average American child has seen 40,000 murders on TV 
by the time he is 18.

Yet cryonics has gone the way of "Raise the Titianic". It has a few 
vociferous supporters and activists, but the vast mass of humanity passes it 
by eventually to rot or burn.

Anything that helps to understand why this is so ought to be studies. 
Millions of lives are at stake.

If you don't fancy The Meme Machine, then maybe Butterfly Economics could be 
a fruitful course of study instead.


(sorry no US source as yet, but you can order using a credit card form the 

In article: <> Peter Merel <> 

> We're open minded, sure, but we're not credulous. If we were,
> we'd be lining up for tombstones with the religionists.

I like it!

> If memetics treated ideas as organisms in an
> ecosystem I'd have very little problem with it. Unfortunately, it doesn't
> do that - it treats them as alleles within an organism. 

Perhaps it is my lack of understanding with what I am reading that made me think
of *memeplexes* as organisms within an ecosystem. I suppose that one could have
a memeplex containing just one meme, but its survival value may not be very 

A memeplex is a group of memes, eg a religion that has memes 

"Blind faith is good" 
"have blind faith in God" 
"God speaks through me".

such a memeplex seems to be better equipped for survival than

"Cryonics is the best option instead of burning or rotting"
"Technology is advancing such that reanimations could be possible sometime"
"when you are revived the world will be great" 
"sign up now - what can you lose"

You could add the two, and add a meme that suggests that God requires you to 
have cryonics, eg 

"God has given you the gifty of life - show gratitude by looking after it"

However the meme

"Using cryopreservation shows lack of (blind) faith in an afterlife" 

could attack this new memeplex.

Note that Christian Scientists have a similar meme that attacks the conventional
practise of medicine.

Sincerely, John de Rivaz
Homepage:         http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/JohndeR
Longevity Report: http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Sauna/3748/lr.htm
Fractal Report:   http://www.longevb.demon.co.uk/fr.htm 
PCS - a  Singles listing sheet for people in Cornwall

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