The Creationism Meme

Two links thanks to Sam at Elizaphanian.

A two part interview in Der Spiegel with Dan Dennett about the ID-Creationism vs neo-Darwinism debate. [Now read through completely. Nothing new. Just Dennett’s Darwinian put-down of any need for a super-natural causal god. Inlcudes the memetic argument for the self-preserving evolution of religions themselves. Also inlcudes the warning about mis-application of pan-Darwinist evolutionary mechanisms in inappropriate situations – neo-Darwinism is such an attractive idea it can be mis-applied. Quite tersely and clearly stated, thanks to the interview style. Worth a read if you’ve not already read and accepted “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”.]

A U-Penn paper from 2000, on the subject of memes generally, what they are and how useful the Darwinist parallel really is. [Now read through fully. Well researched detail with many references. Dawkins, Dennett, Blackmore obviously, Schank surprisingly, but no Midgley. Again nothing really new. Main message is that warning about the woolly edges in defining memes, and that users of the memetic ideas in social anthropological spheres are unlikely to be experts in detailed bio-genetic mechanisms, so precise parallels will rarely be drawn. Practical conclusion – this stuff is only useful in so far as you make use of it – the metaphor doesn’t stand up to too much “navel gazing”. Agreed.]

I mentioned in the recent post on Dennett and Blackmore, that neither seemed to be majoring on the memetic angle (or at least use of the word meme) in their current consciousness work. Intriguing.

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