Re: virus: Dawkins Refers to Church of Virus

Dan Plante (
Mon, 03 May 1999 12:45:31 -0700

At 10:43 AM 03/05/99 -0600, David McFadzean wrote:

>I found an online copy of the article:

Assuming the following people were represented accurately and concisely in the article (usually a pretty agregious assumption, I admit)....

Stephen Jay Gould is out to lunch. I think the problem with him is that he doesn't see (or doesn't want to acknowledge the fact) that the process of evolution is fundamental and ubiquitous; that it is the orchestrator of order in everything, not just biology.

H. Allen Orr (ignoring his more argumentative and dismissive comments), seems to harbour the same 1950's concept of evolution; a world-view that seems to have set like concrete. I wonder if these two gentlemen would continue to percieve memetics as non-evolutionary, devoid of randomness and recombination, after a long talk with James Burke. Hmmmm.....

Blackmore and Dennet, on the other hand, ascribe too much to memes. They both seem to elevate an individual's meme-sphere to be the sole requirement for self-awareness. I've never met a cellular biologist who believes a living cell can be judged "alive' simply by virtue of its complement of chromosomes. A cell needs a cell wall, organelles such as mitochondria, nutrients and a medium (cytoplasm) to operate within, enzymes and mRNA to affect changes, etc. Without these other parts working in concert with the genetic material, cells would be inert. In the same way, a mind will not think if it consists solely of the contents of its memory (memes).

In spite of his view that he "doesn't quite believe it's a science" (I think it eventually will be), I have to side with Steven Pinker on this one. He seems to percieve on an intuitive level that the mind/conciousness is the emergent result of interation between memes, intelligence and emotion. I find it rather ironic that the evolutionists are way off base, and the linguist has it nailed.