Memetics Pt. 1: Introduction, and the “Fitness” Snag

Evolutionary patterns can be applied, by analogy, to anything that has similar basic mechanics of virulence (“spread-iness”) and resilience (“stickiness”).

Those basic mechanics aren’t that big of a deal and aren’t controversial. If something spreads and sticks, passing various selective “tests,” it has a better chance to flourish.

We take advantage of this fact when we utilize genetic algorithms in software. The software isn’t dealing with real organisms, cells, or DNA, but we don’t need those things — we just need mechanics analogous to those basic evolutionary principles.

Over the last few decades, we’ve all started to recognize that social information has mechanics analogous to these basic evolutionary principles.

Again, this shouldn’t really be controversial — obviously, some ideas are better than others at spread-iness and stickiness, and are tested against various selective agents in the environment.

This is important to recognize, however, because the various conceptual snags and counterintuitive patterns we recognize in genetic evolution can help us power past conceptual snags and counterintuitive patterns that have been infecting theology, philosophy, and any other social collection of ideas, bearing itself out in:

  • Doctrinal disputes
  • Heretical outbreaks
  • Persistent doctrinal error or incoherence
  • Church aesthetics and “seeker-sensitivity”
  • And much, much more

The following is the first in a four-part series of a basic introduction to memetics, and how it affects philosophy and theology.

At 7:25:

So here’s the weird thing. You can have a genotype that has great virulence and resilience, but is bad in terms of things [of which we] say, ‘We think this thing is good.’

For instance, it might be bad for justice, it might be bad for truth, it might be bad for quality of life, it might be bad for all of these things — but because it is high in virulence and resilience, it wins.

It dominates the environment over time.

Ugh! That’s lame!

Schedule

 

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About stanrock

Husband, father. Professional game developer, software engineer, & social product analyst. Armchair theology debugger. Fun theology exercises and games at http://StanRock.net

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