virus: Dawkins on memes

David McFadzean (
Mon, 04 Jan 1999 09:19:00 -0700

I just finished reading Richard Dawkins's latest book, Unweaving The Rainbow (science, delusion and the appetite for wonder). Unlike his other books, it is not wholly concerned with evolution. Rather it examines the nature of science and the meaning and beauty it can bring to our lives.

Here's an interesting quote on p.302:

"... Genes are replicated, copied from parent to offspring down the generations. A meme is, by analogy, anything that replicates itself from brain to brain, via any available means of copying. It is a matter of dispute whether the resemblance between meme and gene is good scientific poetry or bad. On balance, I still think it is good, although if you look the word up on the worldwide web you'll find plenty of examples of enthusiasts getting carried away and going too far. There even seems to be some kind of religion of the meme starting up -- I find it hard to decide whether it is a joke or not."

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus