Re: virus: Evolution

David Leeper (
Tue, 28 Aug 1956 00:11:23 +0000

David Leeper wrote:

Tad, sorry it took me so long to respond to this post, but it was
rather large. In this response I'm responding to your Memetics part
of the post.

; >What is "Evolution"?

; Evolution consists of 5 components, which I will discuss below using
; examples from the following 6 areas:
; M = Memetics

; (1) SOUL. The first component of Evolution is a number. Or: information,
; or code, or data (the school guys will argue here that data is not the same
; as information, I know), or "the universal homologous form a la
; Wittengenstein"... For the sole purpose of sexy mnemonics, (you will see my
; point later) I decided to name it a Soul.
; The Soul can be seen as a number or code (same thing :-)).

How interesting, Aliester Crowley insists that a number is a soul.

; M - An idea (meme, statement) written in some language. When I think of
; it -- it seems the language of memetics does not exist yet -- or the whole
; memetics as a branch of science is an illusion. I would like to ask
; someone with a Memetic Engineering degree what the equivalent of DNA in
; memetics is!

Seems there are several answers:

1] Patterns of synapsis in the brain.
2] Patterns of 1s and 0s in computers.
3] Patterns of letters in a language.
4] Patterns of waves in sound and light.
5] Patterns of touch.

Notice only 1] is living. 5] is used by living creatures.

Notice all of these are patterns.

Is _any_ pattern a meme? I don't know. Lets look at this from the point
of view of Order, Chaos and Complexity.

Order: Memes which do not change, or which change in an orderly mannner.
Example: Mathematics.

Our current level of knowledge says that Order is to rigid to
support life. Given this, Orderly memes are not alive, they
are all viruses.

Complexity: Memes which change in sometimes orderly, sometimes chaotic
ways. Examples: Emotions.

Our current level of knowledge says that Complexity can
support life. While not all complex systems are considered
alive, I would say that complex memes are alive.

Chaos: Memes which change in unpredictable ways. Example: Madness.

Our current level of knowledge says that Chaos is too unpredictable to
support life. Given this, Chaotic memes are not alive, but I'm not
sure I'd call them viruses. Ideas on this?

All memes can be mapped using Cohesive Math.

; (2) PROCESS. The second component of Evolution is a Process. The number
; (Soul) is controlling a process and producing a result.
; M - Ideas are controlling human (and other "chimps"?) behaviour.
; Actions taken are the results.

This stage can be mapped using Cohsive Math functions.

; (3) EVALUATION. The third component is the evaluation or the "Judge".
; There is someone or something who evaluates the result of the PROCESS. It
; is an important and necessary element in Evolution. Who is judging in each
; of the following?

; M - Society (?) judges which ideas are "better", or maybe it is like in B
; where it takes ages to decide (maybe we are just kidding ourselves we have
; a say in memetics?).

One of the problems I've noticed in my exploration of Genetic Algoritms, one
which I think directly relates to memetics, is that the Evaluation function
is often so weak that unfit individuals cannot be removed from the population.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Begin Example =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Generating creatures to walk through a maze. Fitness is based on how
long an individual can walk without bumping into a wall. Individuals know how
to go forward, backward, left and right. The also know how to detect a wall.
The problem arises when "spinners" evolve. Spinners simply spin in circles.
No matter what maze they're put in, they always walk and never hit a wall.
Therefore they always receive the highest level of fitness.

To solve this problem, a predator can be introduced into the environment.
The predetor eats walkers it catches. Spinners are easy targets and quickly
killed off.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- End Example =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Logic serves as a predator in the meme community. For centuries, the God
meme was "spinning around", receiving the highest fitness. First physics
and now evolution, are working on killing off the "spinner" God.

; (4) REPLICATION. The fourth component is replication.
; M - People spreading memes.

Memes can be spread using 2-5 from the above list, reprinted here:

2] Patterns of 1s and 0s in computers.
3] Patterns of letters in a language.
4] Patterns of waves in sound and light.
5] Patterns of touch.

I would say that forms of memetic replication are subject to at least the
following two conditions:

1] Cross-over
Components of one meme merge with components of other memes.
Simple Example Using Cohesive Math:
Replicating Meme: 3 (1 + 2)
Specimen Meme From Host: 12 (4 + 8)
New Meme Created In Host From Cross-over: 5 (1 + 4)

2] Mutation
Replicating meme changes in the process of transmission to the host.
Simple Example Using Cohesive Math:
Replicating Meme: 3 (1 + 2)
New Meme Created In Host From Mutation: 5 (1 + 4)

Of the two types of change, cross-over and mutation, I'd say that
cross-over is more common and more useful.

; (5) MUTATION. The fifth and last component of Evolution. Changes are
; necessary for Evolution to take place.
; M - The more I think of it the more I realize how undeveloped memetics
; still is. What causes mutations of memes? (Maybe I'm just in a bad mood
; towards memetics after the L3HV escaped from the laboratory and infected
; our list).

I'd say that mutation in memetics occurs for reasons similar to those of
genetics: They occur randomly and without need of a cause.

; MUTATION produces new SOULs and Evolution continues on and on... In case
; of DB and GA the process stops when the results are satisfactory for the
; Judge. In the rest of the cases it seems to be endless.

; One more thought: I like to think of the first (the DNA) area of Evolution
; as the universe developing us in order to experience and understand itself
; (whatever it means).

As long as this is using the language of convienence, I'd agree.

David Leeper
Homo Deus  
1 + 1 != 2