Memetics and Cultural Evolution


Memetics and Cultural Evolution

A group for people interested in the study of memes, viral ideas, and cultural evolution.

A meme is any unit of shared cultural information.

Memetics is the study of the propagation of this information.

Members: 75
Latest Activity: Nov 25, 2014

Memes, Genes And Religious Beliefs - Richard Dawkins @ UC Berkeley

Discussion Forum

Memetics going mainstream

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jun 18, 2013. 0 Replies

In Why America & China's Future Plans Are Totally Nuts, James Howard Kunstler refers to…Continue

Tags: memes

Word frequency reflects liking

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Joan Denoo Feb 14, 2013. 1 Reply

Many Atheists continue to talk about theism for decades after they've stopped buying into the spooks. My position ,that it's better develop a theism-meme free world is often incomprehensible to some.…Continue

Tags: word use implies liking

Video on Religion as virus

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Joan Denoo Feb 2, 2013. 2 Replies


Tags: virus mutation, religion, memetics

Review of The Mocking Memes

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Steph S. Jan 29, 2013. 1 Reply

Tim Tyler reviews The Mocking MemesThe Mocking Memes:A Basis for Automated…Continue

Tags: The Mocking Memes

Bullying still attractive in leaders *yuck!*

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Steph S. Dec 20, 2012. 1 Reply

For Power and Status, Dominance and Skill Trump LikabilityYou'd think we'd advanced culturally in selecting…Continue

Tags: prestige, leadership, bullying, intimidation

Submit climate crisis memes

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Dec 17, 2012. 3 Replies

What’s Your Meme? Changing the Climate Change ConversationMemetics is…Continue

Tags: climatememe

Comment Wall


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Comment by Rich Goss on June 5, 2009 at 12:00pm
I certainly agree with your dislike of Orwellian terms like “isolated detention centers” for “concentration camps” with crematoria. Orwell was a great writer and knew a lot about mind control. That’s what it’s all about: brainwashing. And we still see a lot of it, like going to war for peace in our time.

Also misspelling words in ads like “kwik” or “majic” drives me crazy. It’s an example of greedy, selfish, ignorant people flaunting their control and power over the media and society.

Here’s a fun video by Bill Hicks on the subject. If you’re not familiar with him, you’re in for a treat. I followed his whole career and his early demise was a great loss. Dig his video on evolution right under it.
Comment by Daniel W on June 4, 2009 at 10:44pm
Regarding the earlier statements about not liking re-spellings and neologisms - I have the opposite point of view.

I'm sure that language is also considered a collection of memes and is a meme itself. Language evolves, adapts to its environment, and transforms its environment.

I like the fun expressions, like "Bennifer". It's a short-hand, a commentary on the concept of a couple being joined in the cultural mindset, and a bit of a satire on the silliness of celebrity itself. The concept of combining names is a new meme, at least to me.

Meaning this only in a friendly way, how is it different from "Gaytheist"?

Evolution of language and language-related memes might be a fun topic for a discussion.

Leaders in a number of countries have attempted to purify their languages, with a variety of results. This was done in Turkey, resulting in huge leaps in literacy and essentially cultural loss of the earlier literature from the language. German and French have had attempts at re-purification or maintaining purity.

English is a combination of languages, starting with Germanic dialects, with infusions of Scandinavian, Norman/latin origins, neologistic constructions from Latin and Greek, and borrowing of scattered words from around the globe. The language has almost equal parts French/Norman, Germanic, and Latin origins (Roman conquest of Britain), plus elements from other languages.

Being a hybrid language gives English its vitality. It also makes it fun to play with.

That being said, what I do hate is Orwellian use of language to obscure and spin, making offensive concepts seem acceptable (like transforming "torture" into "persuasive interviewing" or whatever), and other manipulation. When language is used for hiding rather than revealing, then it is a problem for me.
Comment by Rich Goss on June 4, 2009 at 10:12pm
The Meme Machine is the bible. She's great. Also catch her TED video on Youtube. I predicted temes 30 years ago.
Comment by George on June 3, 2009 at 3:45am
Comment by Rich Goss on April 12, 2009 at 10:06pm
I know what you mean. I hate majik, kwik, and other on purpose misspellings. Bad memes. Shows the power of Madison Avenue and the weakness of brainwashed consumers.
Comment by Rich Goss on April 12, 2009 at 9:17pm
Dallas, this forum is getting interesting. Remember the statement, humans are machines that memes have programmed and not created. Subtle difference.

Blackmore talks about language at lenght, about language being one of the most important memetic drivers of genes. The memes hop on the backs of genes and determine who gets selected.

Take the "make a spear" meme of Homo habilis. Members that learned to copy this meme had an advantage even over the big and strong. Same goes for language learning.

The point is: memes aided natural selection and became part of it, just as genes.
Comment by George on April 12, 2009 at 2:19pm
I've just posted a link above to a lecture by Susan Blackmore about the future of memes. Very good introduction.
Comment by Daniel W on April 12, 2009 at 10:51am
I'm envisioning the early scene in "2001 - A Space Odyssey" with the homonids and the rectangular monolith. Now I understand - this was transmission of the first meme (in this case, use of tools). The monolith was a memolith.

I can't get the embed function to work this morning, but here is the link:

Opening sceen 2001 A Space Odyssey
Comment by Rich Goss on April 12, 2009 at 9:52am
I offer this on a "food for thought" basis. To sum up The Selfish Gene, "all animals and plants are machines that genes have programmed to get them from one generation to the next."

To sum up The Meme Machine, "humans are machines that memes have programmed to get them from one generation to the next."

I always liked the definition of humanity, "Peculiar apes infested by meme complexes."

Once we understand what we are, humanity can evolve out of the Dark Ages.
Comment by Mac Rex on April 11, 2009 at 7:42pm
"Mirror Reversal"? I don't think I've heard of that one. Consider it on my list!:}

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