Re: virus: Rationality

Martz (
Mon, 3 Mar 1997 21:49:00 +0000

On Sun, 2 Mar 1997, Alex Williams <> wrote:
>against. If it were actually /memes/ being transmitted, we would see
>behaviour different from that observed. (For one thing, fragmentary
>memes don't fit into the memetic environment, so memes would either be
>transferred correctly or not at all.

I don't follow your reasoning. Can you justify that last sentence?

>Misunderstandings would spring
>/only/ from the incorrect phrasing on the transmitter's end or
>mutation of the memes on the recipients' side, not misparsing, but
>actual changes in memes that had been transferred just as sender
>intended. We actually /see/ rather noisy media being interpreted into
>memes by recipients, so its clear the idea that memes can be
>transmitted is incomplete.)

I'd say that it's data that's being transmitted. Data which is supposed
to carry the blueprint for that which created it. Just as DNA carries
the blueprint for an organism (i.e. imperfectly), so this data carries
the blueprint for a meme. I think we agree that there are differences in
that DNA is self-interpreting (or is it? anyone?) whereas the memes are
interpreted by machinery resident in the receiving station. To carry
that metaphor a bit further; it would be COV.ZIP for a meme and
COVZIP.EXE for a gene.

>> I don't see that it necessitates discarding the biological model.
>Just like language can have various abstractions accepted for various
>degrees of error checking, so too with models. :)



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