Of memes and Calvinism

June 14, 2008

150px-FirstblastA really outstanding post here taking apart the concept of memes. This quote will give you the essence of it: Worst of all, memetics sucks the air out of the room for a serious consideration of the ways that culture, knowledge, technology, and human evolution might be interrelated. That is, like a theory of humours and vapors in illness, it provides pseudo-explanations in place of just getting the hell out of the way of serious thought. I had planned a blog on memes after reading this, but Neuroanthropology beat me to it and did a much better job.

My one additional comment is to suggest that the take up of memes is apart of an all to common need for crude causal religion, Calvinism being a good example. Some people seem to need a deterministic reason for things; they want it to be simple, they want it to absolve then from taking responsibility for what they are and what they should be. Dawkins association with the idea is yet another example of his religious nature: Atheism is God and Richard is his prophet. Come to think if it he is a bit like another Calvinist, John Knox and the writing style of The God Delusion, is very similar in style and intellectual rigor to The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.

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