Re: virus: Maxims

Dave Pape (
Thu, 13 May 1999 00:42:37 +0100

At 22:02 10/05/99 -0600, you wrote:
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Joe E. Dees <>
>Sent: Monday, May 10, 1999 9:32 PM
>> What about, "Why is our root metaphor for memes viruses rather
>> than genes?"
>I'll take a shot at a quick answer. Because memes are (often)
>propagated horizontally rather than vertically. It is the
>difference between infection (horizontal) and inheritance
>(vertical). Of course we can also "inherit" memes from our
>parents, but then again we can also inherit viruses. Moreover,
>the closer you examine viruses and genes, the fuzzier the
>difference becomes. Viruses are little more than a package
>of genes. This answer is turning out to be not so quick
>after all ... :-)

Got any references to the blurred distinction between viruses and genes? I thought viruses were kind of the phenotype and genes the replicator, in which case if memes are a kind of replicator, comparing memes to viruses is only as sharp as the boundary between genes/viruses is fuzzy.