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 Post subject: God Is A Meme
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2004 12:29 pm 
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In his book, the selfish gene, Richard Dawkins wrote:
I think that a new kind of replicator has recently emerged on this very planet. It is staring us in the face. It is in its infancy, still drifting clumsily about in its primeval soup, but already it is achieving evolutionary change at a rate that leaves the old gene panting far behind. The new soup is the soup of human culture. We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. 'Mimeme' comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like 'gene'. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme. If it is any consolation, it could alternatively be thought of as being related to 'memory', or to the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with 'cream.' Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms and eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation. If a scientist hears, or reads about, a good idea, he passes it on to his colleagues and students. He mentions it in his articles and his lectures. If the idea catches on, it can be said to propagate itself, spreading from brain to brain


Consider the idea of God. We do not know how it arose in the meme pool. Probably it originated many times by independent 'mutation'. In any case, it is very old indeed. How does it replicate itself? By the spoken and written word, aided by great music and great art. Why does it have such high survival value? Remember that 'survival value' here does not mean value for a gene in a gene pool, but value for a meme in a meme pool. The question really means: What is it about the idea of a god that gives it its stability and penetrance in the cultural environment? The survival value of the god meme in the meme pool results from its great psychological appeal. It provides a superficially plausible answer to deep and troubling questions about existence. It suggests that injustices in this world may be rectified in the next. The 'everlasting arms' hold out a cushion against our own inadequacies which, like a doctor's placebo, is none the less effective for being imaginary. These are some of the reasons why the idea of God is copied so readily by successive generations of individual brains. God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:56 am 
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This is great EvilPoet. It reminds me of one of the first places I went to when I started on this computer. Scott Bidstrup.

Scott, I believe, eventually left the United States because his life was regularly being threatened. I loved his work. He talked of the god meme and told how it replicates itself, how it moves from person to person and builds strength as it invades more and more people. I should have taken the time to check and see if his work is still available--I hope it is but would be surprised. He was literally driven out of the country, I don't know that he would want to leave any trace to himself behind.

Thank you for posting this excerpt from what has to be an interesting book. Richard Dawkins sounds like someone worth reading.

And the meme lives on.....


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 10:03 pm 
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bump

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 10:24 pm 
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It suggests that injustices in this world may be rectified in the next. The 'everlasting arms' hold out a cushion against our own inadequacies which, like a doctor's placebo, is none the less effective for being imaginary. These are some of the reasons why the idea of God is copied so readily by successive generations of individual brains. God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture.

sums it all up perfectly.....why doesn't evilpoet post more???

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 Post subject: Bonobos are memes of christians thoughts.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:55 pm 
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The term mimeme reminds one of MIMEING, Which describes what christians do as they ape each other. More Evilpoet MORE. We need to meme your words until the christians realize that they are merely CRAZYAPES doing it to each other from behind.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:14 pm 
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Evil Poet was good...she really had her head on straight, and I was sorry when she said she'd had fun here but had to leave. She gave no explanation. You can find her in the membership list and send her a pm....maybe she would return if enough people asked it of her.

I enjoyed her insights in other forums, too. :D

Catherine

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