X-Message-Number: 28391
Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2006 01:24:32 -0400
From: Keith Henson <>
Subject: Re: Nanotech, space elevator and wealth (and the cost of LN2)

At 09:00 AM 9/4/2006 +0000, dss wrote:

>On 2 Sep 2006, at 17:58, Keith Henson wrote:
> >> No, because it isn't the right field of knowledge to deal with this
> >> question.
> >
> > If you didn't read the article, how do you know it isn't in "the right
> > field of knowledge"?
>Your paper addresses questions typically dealt with in political
>economy. I am not aware that the 'meme' concept is used in that field
>at all (and it is rarely used in science, in general). The concept is
>derived from, and persists in, popular science works.
>If you want to maintain that a zoologist suddenly had an insight that
>revolutionized psychology, anthropology, and now political economy,
>you are welcome to make a fool of yourself. If you do a search of the
>professional literature in these fields, you will discover this
>'insight' has barely penetrated the professional literature in the
>thirty years of its existence.

The same concept went under different names such as "culturgen" for many 
years.  But I wonder, who would you respect?  E.O. Wilson perhaps?  The 
concept that culture comes in particulate elements is hard to refute, if 
kind of trivial.

>I have now looked at your article. What I have read confirms the above.
>I approach this issue as a professionally trained psychologist with a
>research degree from the Univ. of Cal. The head of my PhD committee
>was a leading researcher in mathematical models of memory. I attended
>a conference a couple of weeks ago at the Danish University of
>Education. There was no mention of 'memes' in the latest research on
>the interactive evolution of the human species and its culture.

In that case, you really should read up on the concept.  But "memes" was 
the most minor part of the article.  The main thrust was from an 
evolutionary psychology perspective, of psychological traits selected in 
the long period where people lived as hunter gatherers.

 From such a viewpoint, war is as gene connected as the reflex for drawing 
back from a hot stove.

Keith Henson

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