Re: virus: RE: MONTAG

Duane Hewitt (
Mon, 3 Jun 1996 07:05:32 -0600 (MDT)

On Fri, 24 May 1996, Richard Brodie wrote:

> >2:Why does it represent a paradigm shift?
> Memetics goes against some commonly held beliefs (memes). For example,
> "human culture is evolving toward a better world"; "we have our own
> original ideas"; "the truth will eventually come out." All of these
> common memes are shattered by the memetic model, which predicts that
> evolution of culture is not evolving toward anything but fitter memes.
> The memes that spread aren't the "good ideas"; they are the fittest
> memes.

I disagree that memetics shatters this. Memes need to be tested against a
fitness landscape. This landscape includes their relevance and
usefullness although is not exclusively based on these criteria.
Therefore "good ideas" do have characteristics that lead them to be

I think that there is a widespread misconception about
Natural Selection in that it is always "survival of the fittest". In the
short run or at the individual level the fittest (or the "good ideas")
may be weeded out or die before being able to
reproduce. However it is in the long run and across large populations
that the principle of Natural Selection operates. It is not very
efficient but when operating over large time scales and populations it
does not need to be.

Duane Hewitt