virus: memes, genes and empiricism

Joe E. Dees (
Mon, 28 Jun 1999 21:39:23 -0500

The root metaphors for memes are viruses and genes, both of which undergo evolution. In fact, without the theory of evolution from which Dawkins could have extrapolated, it is unlikely that memetics would have emerged. The theory of evolution, as well as its mechanism (natural selection) was formulated as a result of Darwin's empirical study of species diversity within nature. Memetics is employed by testing and modifying differing memes and memeplexes to ascertain which variants of them work best in one's life. Utility and truth, while not identical, are not unrelated. To categorize a scientist's developments of an empirically derived theory as anti- or non-empiricist is to misunderstand memetics itself.