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: 77
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 A Former Member on December 27, 2009 at 5:44pm Documenting Internet phenomena: viral videos, image macros, catchphrases, web celebs and more.
Comment by George on December 13, 2009 at 8:33pm
Fred W:
I recall reading an article about the "death" of memetics, and about the controversies surrounding the idea - will try to find it.

I think that part of the problem is that the idea of memes caught on in popular culture before it was properly explored as a formal philosophical or scientific concept. So the popular concepts of memetics overwhemed the serious questions.

As for mimicry vs "memetic engineering" - it's both/and, not either/or.
Comment by Richard Goscicki on June 5, 2009 at 2:39pm
Thanks, let's try it again. Bill Hicks
Comment by A Former Member on June 5, 2009 at 12:16pm
@Richard: No link provided for Hicks video.
Comment by Richard Goscicki 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 A Former Member on June 5, 2009 at 11:22am
@Daniel: I don't have an issue with re-spellings or neologisms per se, if they are appropriate, necessary, creative, etc., but I do have a problem if they are done out of lazyness, ignorance, or just people who are not clever trying to act like they are clever.

I hate the Branjolina because it, I believe, was motivated by a specific media in an attempt to be clever, or to be the first to coin a term, or to be catchy, and it doesn't serve any real social or cultural need.

Like kewl for cool. What is the point? What is the necessity? Cool conforms to standard English pronunciation, and is similar to school, fool, tool, etc., so why change it to kewl? I can think of no other word off the top of my head that is spelled e - w - l.

As far as Gaytheist, it is obviously a combo of gay+atheist (or some have seen it as gay+theist), but that is a screen name, not a neologism introduced to change the language, or created in response to changing language. Sure I thought it was fun and clever, but I'm certianly not the first to use it. By and large, the response here to it has been positive, with several people taking the time to comment on it. I just don't think me using Gaytheist is on the same level as Branjolina.

To be clear, I am in no way against the evolution of language, and don't buy into "pure language" concepts at all.

Also, I hate the Orwelllian use of language to obscure meaning and intent as well. That is a huge subject, though, that I don't want to comment on here.
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 Richard Goscicki 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 A Former Member on June 4, 2009 at 7:09pm
That's a good lecture you posted from Susan Blackmore, George. I can't wait to read her book.
Comment by George on June 3, 2009 at 3:45am

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