Re: virus: Memes and Genes, stupid

Dave Pape (
Wed, 22 Jan 1997 22:04:17 GMT

At 20:59 21/01/97 +0000, Martz wrote:
>Sorry for lack of attribution here but I'm replying to a reply where I
>don't appear to have received the original message.
>On Fri, 17 Jan 1997, Duane Hewitt <> wrote:

>>> Both you and Dave Pape assume that intelligence is a wholely genetic
>>> trait. I see no statistical evidence for this.
>Point one; it was an attempt at humour and there are gaping holes in the
>argument that I wouldn't even try to defend. I hadn't expected anyone to
>take it seriously...but I'm kind of glad you did.
>Point two; you are correct that within the post the argument was based
>purely on genetics. However, there is an important memetic effect at
>play here also. Most kids are brought up by their genetic forebears,
>therefore the cultural effect that your parents / extended family have
>on you during your formative years is probably the most profound you
>will ever experience. The memes that your early role models carry will
>influence the memes that you carry (although not necessarily by direct
>transmission). A perfect example is that most religious people share the
>same beliefs as their parents.

Who wants to state what percentage of variation in intelligence is caused by
genetic factors and what percentage by environmental ones?

Then I'll annoy them by saying that elements of your parents' cultural
biases which are controlled by their GENES, could impinge on YOU as part of
your ENVIRONMENT, because your parents for a big part of your cultural
environment when you're a child. PLUS your genetically-controlled
behavioural tendencies (nervousness, exploratoriness) could determine the
kind of cultural environment you find yourself in, and hence how much
cultural opportunities you get to learn things that look intelligent.

>So, even if you don't agree that genes influence intelligence at all,
>would you accept that being exposed to the influences of stupid people
>at an early age will encourage you to be stupid too?

What about a memetic definition of stupid or intelligent? Mine would be
something like...

A stupid personality arises from brainspace in which there aren't many
tiers/levels of memetic processing... in that, the brain involved isn't
thinking to many levels of abstraction.

Hmm... what do I mean here...

I think that ideas are what arise when groups of neurons interact. So,
seeing a bit of edge or a corner or some colour in some part of your visual
field is a very simple idea... with few levels of abstraction. Seeing a red
car involves lots of simple ideas interacting... lots of simple neural
groups getting together, firing as a larger-scale meta-group, giving rise to
a more abstract, but more intelligent-sounding idea. Rather than "Blob!
Line! Red... thing. Blob! Red thing again!" you say "Red car". More
intelligent still is the idea "I don't want a red car because I don't want
to seem ostentatious when I'm driving to work", because it's lots of quite
abstract ideas interacting in an even more abstract way.

So a personality that mostly thinks with perceptual (or motor) groups of
neurons (a newly born baby for instance) seems less intelligent than someone
who thinks with metametametagroups of metametagroups of metagroups of groups
of neurons...

What d'you think? Bit of a rant... sorry...

Dave Pape
The memetic equivalent of a G3 bullpup-design assault rifle blowing a full
clip at my opponent. (Alex Williams 1996)

Phonecalls: 01494 461648 Phights: 10 Riverswood Gardens
High Wycombe
HP11 1HN