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  • Katie shared from The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition (Oxford Landmark Science) by Richard Dawkins
    At first sight it looks as if memes are not high-fidelity replicators at all. Every time a scientist hears an idea and passes it on to somebody else, he is likely to change it somewhat. I have made no secret of my debt in this book to the ideas of R. L. Trivers. Yet I have not repeated them in his own words. I have twisted them round for my own purposes, changing the emphasis, blending them with ideas of my own and of other people. The memes are being passed on to you in altered form. This looks quite unlike the particulate, all-or-none quality of gene transmission. It looks as though meme transmission...
  • Katie shared from The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition (Oxford Landmark Science) by Richard Dawkins
    But just as not all genes that can replicate do so successfully, so some memes are more successful in the meme pool than others. This is the analogue of natural selection. I have mentioned particular examples of qualities that make for high survival value among memes. But in general they must be the same as those discussed for the replicators of Chapter 2: longevity, fecundity, and copying-fidelity. The longevity of any one copy of a meme is probably relatively unimportant, as it is for any one copy of a gene. The
  • Katie shared from The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition (Oxford Landmark Science) by Richard Dawkins
    Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation. If
  • Katie shared from The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition (Oxford Landmark Science) by Richard Dawkins
    We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. ‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene’. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme.*
  • Katie shared from The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition (Oxford Landmark Science) by Richard Dawkins
    I think that a new kind of replicator has recently emerged on this very planet. It is staring us in the face. It is still in its infancy, still drifting clumsily about in its primeval soup, but already it is achieving evolutionary change at a rate that leaves the old gene panting far behind. The new soup is the soup of human culture. We
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Katie