Re: virus: Watching

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 8 Jan 1999 09:31:39 -0800

David McFadzean wrote:

>To date is in unclear whether the genotype/phenotype distinction
>can usefully be applied to memetics, whether it is good poetic
>science or bad poetic science (as Dawkins would say). Does the
>distinction illuminate or obscure the phenomenon?

I suspect a little of both.

Good poetry in that it is an invocative image that people can get their heads around fairly easily. But bad poetic science in so much as it might not be an accurate description of the real process at work (we don't really have enough data to know for sure yet) and as such, may lead people to believe that they have an understanding of the process when they don't. This could prevent them from asking the harder, more detailed questions about the process that they might otherwise pursue.

-Prof. Tim