RE: virus: STOP! not another tautology thread!

Richard Brodie (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 11:15:50 -0700

Robin wrote:

>It still seems to me that you can't test whether "good memes"
>will out-compete "bad" ones, unless you have a definition of
>"good memes" that's independent of their success. In other
>words, enables prediction in *specific* cases, not just that of
>"all good memes". Now, if there is such a defn, I'd be very
>grateful to be told of it.

OK, here ya go. The DEFINITION of "good meme" (technically "fit meme")
is replicative success. You can then hypothesize and test empirically
what characteristics such fit memes would have. Really, I spend a good
chunk of my book on this. Did you miss it? Broad categories of fit
memes: (1) memes that push evolutionary buttons and thus attract
attention (danger, food, sex, celebrity); (2) memes that promote
self-replication by their very nature (tradition, evangelism); (3) memes
that resist attack (faith, skepticism); (4) memes that utilize
neocortical functions (making sense, familiarity).
>The bottom line: I think you slipped out of Level 3 thinking,
>because at that level you know that memetics isn't
>testable. And I think you should admit it -- despite being
>a published author, you are fallible, just like the rest of
>us! :-)

I don't know what you mean here. Of course the hypotheses of memetics
are testable, far moreso than the hypotheses of genetics. Years ago, I
predicted a n increase in cults and multi-level marketing groups. That
would be expected as these mind viruses evolve and self-replicate. And
so they have. And only the Pope is infallible, right David?

Richard Brodie +1.425.688.8600
CEO, Brodie Technology Group, Inc., Bellevue, WA, USA
Author, VIRUS OF THE MIND: The New Science of the Meme
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