Re: virus: Re : Complexity was TT and Absolute Truth

Alexander Williams (
Tue, 26 Nov 1996 16:30:27 -0500

David McFadzean wrote:
> They called it a "program" where I attended university. I don't see
> a big difference between a coded representation of an algorithm and
> the algorithm, at least not in common usage. Since algorithms are
> abstract we can only show "coded representations".

And here we see the reason different universities exist, to give
different perspectives on the same experiences. Clever folks, those
inconsistant educators ...

The usage we're putting things to here is about as far from `common
usage' as one can get and still be using terms understandably to the
audience with different backgrounds in the subjects dealt with. I've
always been educated with the memes that code != program, though the
term `program' oft gets attached to code as a sort of linguistic
shorthand. You can have two different pieces of code that create the
same program in operation.

The fact that algorithms /are/ abstract bolsters my arguments; memes
have a lot more in common with abstracted algorithms than manifest code.

> >Question: Is it a program for Perl4? No, I think it has a couple
> >Perl5-isms in there, so as far as Perl4 goes (or Scheme or Common
> >LISP, or other sane programming language :) its not a program at all
> No, I mentioned it was for perl 5.

Exactly my point; rhetorical conceit. As far as Perl4 goes, the code
you sent isn't a program at all. It fails to execute.

> Not unlike Chinese memes are for non-Chinese speaking interpreters...

Precisely; I contend you cannot seperate the memes from the interpreter.
In my worldview, the memes /are/ the interpreter, the stimulous is
merely a means of memes leaving spoor for other memes that know what to
look for. A copy of GETTING PAST OK in Chinese lying in the midst of my
reading table triggers significantly fewer memes to reproduce with
mutation than a copy in English. (OK, maybe that's a bad example. :)

> Theoretically you could teach a child to interpret English as a
> different language. I don't see how that is relevant.

Its relevant in that it shows that there is no inherent meaning in the
language itself, it is /ascribed/ meaning in the ear/interpreter of the
listener. Every time we teach someone a non-native tongue we're
creating a new interpreter from the old, since the instruction is
usually started by drawing analogies and structure from the first.

> Actually I think the terminology for CS is the best there is for
> discussing memetics (along with evolutionary biology of course).

When using CS terms to discuss memes its very easy, especially in a
tech-heavy group like this, to lose track of what's being explicitly
said and what is merely implied when some term is bandied about, like
`program.' See `hack' in the Jargon Dictionary.

> OK, here's a new argument that will prove that memes are encoded in
> writing:

See below for the refutation:

> 1. Memes aren't encoded in writing.
> 2. Memes aren't encoded in a recording of a spoken narrative of writing.
> 3. Memes aren't encoded in a live spoken narrative of writing.
> 4. Memes aren't encoded in speech.
> 5. Memes cannot be transmitted by speech.
> 6. Memes cannot be transmitted.
> Obviously (I think) 6 is wrong. Each step follows logically
> from the previous (to the extent that if X is true, it is
> reasonable to say that X+1 is true), so where does the argument
> go wrong? I say the first premise is flawed.

The problem with the argument is that you /believe/ it to be wrong. You
have no proof that its wrong, in fact, you just followed a perfectly
plausible logical chain to its very clear conclusion, and then merely
turned about and said `but its wrong.' You haven't demonstrated why.

I contend that memes /cannot be transmitted/. Memes may arise
spontaneously as a result of pre-wired genetic propensities in the human
brain (the Baby Bootstrap, if you will) or they may arise due to another
meme-complex's action to reproduce (with some degree of mutation), but
you will not see a naked meme running about.

(Interesting name for the debate: The Naked Meme.)

Alexander Williams {   ||Member: Evil Geniuses
          }    ||For a Better Tomorrow
============================================// => Charter Member <=

"Perhaps we should lower our mental trousers and compare the size of our consciousnesses?" -- Jan Sands to Marvin Minsky ==================================================================== <>