Memetics

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Memetics is the study of ideas, and their propagation. It is considered to be a protoscience. The term was popularized by agnostic and evolutionist Richard Dawkins, in his book, The God Delusion[1]. The thesis postulates that ideas follow a Darwinian form of Natural Selection, as the idea, or Meme reproduces by being accepted by people. It then mutates, as in a game of telephone, causing the most appealing version of the original idea to out compete the other variations of the original meme.

Contents

Terminology

Memetics coins the following concepts:

  1. Memeplex, like a gene pool, a memeplex contains similar memes.
  2. Memotype, the actual content of the meme
  3. Memoid, people who have truly accepted the meme as truth.
  4. Memetic equilibrium. A state where the ideas are there, but the person does not let it get into the way of his/her goals.

Atheism and Richard Dawkins memes

On a worldwide basis, atheism is not a very robust meme and global atheism is shrinking in terms of its global market share. In the Western World due to immigration, the higher birth rates of religious people and other factors, the secularism and atheism memes are expected to decline.[2][3] Professor Eric Kaufmann writes: "Committed religious populations are growing in the West, and will reverse the march of secularism before 2050."[4]

In addition, post Elevatorgate, the Richard Dawkins meme has markedly diminished in both influence and frequency (see: Richard Dawkins' loss of influence). At the same time, the meme of young earth creationism is growing rapidly in terms of its global presence.[5]

Criticism

Memetics is criticized on several fronts, on the basis that none of the assertions have been tested, and in some cases, cannot be tested. Other critics decry it's lack of a code, as DNA has a code. This, apparently causes the evolution of memes to be far to chaotic to be measured usefully. Others yet say that it is simply another version of Semiotics, which only has it's ability to copy itself.[6]

See Also

References

  1. Dawkins, Richard. "Memetics." The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.
  2. Early paper - Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann, Belfer Center, Harvard University/Birkbeck College, University of London
  3. Why are 2012 and 2020 key years for Christian creationists and pro-lifers?
  4. Early paper - Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann, Belfer Center, Harvard University/Birkbeck College, University of London
  5. Global decline of atheism and the rise of global creationism. Information on the Question Evolution! Campaign
  6. Terrence Deacon, The trouble with memes (and what to do about it). The Semiotic Review of Books 10(3). James W. Polichak, "Memes as Pseudoscience", in Michael Shermer, Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience. P. 664f.
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