Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

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Postby Ichthus77 » Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:48 pm

Carleas -- Dawkins' selfish gene book is considered "science" -- it is therefore inappropriate to use "selfish" with regard to a gene or meme. "Social" can be used of nonhuman animals, but not in an ethical sense. "Selfish," however, is in the language of ethics. I don't think science and ethics are distinct from eachother, but when it comes to memes and genes, which are mindless -- ethics only comes into play when talking about what humans do with or think about (etc) memes and genes. Shall we agree to disagree?

As for rejecting memes, it is important to keep in mind that, in meme theory, if 'you' are rejecting a meme, it is actually a case of a previous selfish meme (or memes) defending itself against a meme that threatens it.


"You" leave "you" out of it when you think the memes are doing the selecting. "You" have chosen certain memes to help "you" do the selecting, or "you" have decided to stay out of the selection process. Granted, "you" are not aware of every last meme, just as you are not aware of every last drop of water, but you can still navigate the ocean.

I am certainly not criticizing or defending meme theory in this thread. I am bringing up some stuff it sparked in my imagination. I will keep your much appreciated thoughts (and felix dakat's questions) in mind when I construct my theory of self, so as to avoid any misunderstanding.

P.S. Up there in my last reply I mention "they remain ignorant" and later "spiritually deadly" -- just want to point out that the spiritually deadly part is not a punishment, but a natural consequence... the ignorant are not punished. In the "Sin thread, rebooted" I mention that sin gets in the way of genuine happiness. In that way it is spiritually deadly.

I'll be busy the rest of today, most likely. I will not return to ILP after tomorrow at 3:30pm, until my boys return to school in the Fall... Lord-willing. I'll be working on the self theory and the determinism-thread-revamping over the summer, if I have time.
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Postby Lollipop King » Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:56 pm

The religious mind consistently fails to comprehend that social interaction necessitates tolerance and inevitably results in larger brained individuals which require cooperative coexistence.
It’s another way of surviving or of being selfish – an indirect selfishness.

It is weakness or the inability to be self-reliant or to survive within a particular environment that forces cooperation and leads to social interactions.
Weakness, thusly, producing strength by numbers and subsequently resulting in a counter-reaction and so forth and so on - explaining the natural propensity towards more and more intricate organisms – society being the current super-organism in relation to the human organism - itself made up of lesser organisms, such as cells, that have already been assimilated and still exhibit disharmony with the organism (cancer and disease).

The desire to make the very mechanisms that ensure our well-being and survival into transcending, sacred forces is a natural one and it effectively assimilates distinct egos within a single unity.
It is a way of sublimating and/or suppressing natural drives that confront or resist assimilation.
This is why the weakest and most vulnerable are less resistant to this assimilating drive.

As a consequence of this weakens, the individual loses its sense of independence and identity as a distinct entity and finds itself finding identity within the group. This makes self-sacrifice and altruism and compassion possible and can be found not only in humans but in many herd and pack animals.
The individual organism’s growing dependence on the group for its own sustenance and its failing resistance to assimilation – becoming weaker with every generation as the very genetic qualities that facilitate coexistence and assimilation are passed on – associates self with a larger unity, a group, or a nation, or a belief, or a tribe, and so its selflessness is, in essence, selfishness redirected.
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Postby Ichthus77 » Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:46 pm

My afternoon just became free...

Satyr -- that'd go perfect in the discussion on selfishness in Philip 27 of 79's "Are you evil?" thread -- I'll copy/paste and reply to it there.

After that, I'll return to my new keyboard, which has a built in learning tool enabling me to learn Moonlight Sonata without knowing how to read music! Unfortunately... it is a severely abridged version... but once I learn it, I'll learn to read music, and learn the complete Moonlight Sonata.

M(iddle).S. my earlier reference to navigating the ocean... fits perfectly with Hebrews 6:19.

And everything I've been involved in recently in ILP reminds me of John 15.

See you here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/phpbb/vi ... 1&start=50
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Postby felix dakat » Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:02 pm

Carleas wrote:Ichthus, I think see your point with selfish, but I don't agree. Suppose I walk into a sporting-goods store, and I ask the manager "what do you carry", and she says "we carry everything!" And then I say "great, I'd like a strain of streptococcus and a brown dwarf," there's something wrong. It wasn't wrong for the manager to use the word 'eveything', but it should be understood in the context of a sporting goods store.
Likewise, there is not problem with selfish memes that bestow altruistic tendencies. The meme is selfish, and the person is altruistic. There is no conflict.

As for rejecting memes, it is important to keep in mind that, in meme theory, if 'you' are rejecting a meme, it is actually a case of a previous selfish meme (or memes) defending itself against a meme that threatens it.

Felix, no, I don't see a relevant difference between my consciousness and my computer's display. Granted, I am meat and it is metal, I am much smarter in certain ways, it is much smarter in other ways, I am much more adaptible, and it is easier to fix (or reinstall). But those aren't relevant. The comparrison between the systems of my brain that work together and create what seems a coherent consciousness, and systems of my harddrive that work together and create what seems a coherent desktop, seems perfectly legit, and I do not see the relevant differences.
Meme theory hasn't superceded everything, it's just a higher level theory than you're looking for. You want to know how science explains consciousness, the "centered inner perspective," but meme theory doesn't do that and doesn't try. Mendel was doing genetics long before quantum theory; your question is akin to asking him how is genetic theory explains what the plant is made of. It doesn't, it just says, 'These are plants, and this is how they breed. These are the patterns I see.' A similar statement of memetics would be 'This is a conscious human being, and this is how its thoughts propagate. These are the patterns."

Something that I should make clear to both of you: I haven't been defending meme theory, per se. I'm simply pointing out that you aren't making valid criticisms of it. Meme theory is an attempt to characterize thoughts and beliefs as propagators, and to offer a new lexicon for how we think and talk about human thoughts and beliefs. It doens't attempt to explain how a soul interacts with a meme, or how a meme creates consciousness, that's not it's aim. It already assumes that souls aren't there, and that consciousness is there. If you want to attack the soul-less scientific paradigm, or the material understanding of consciouness, that's a separate argument, but you're beyond all that when you're already talking about meme theory.
Meme theory is easy to criticize legitly (though I think it does a good job holding its own): Criticize the fact that it takes thoughts as unitary, while they seem to be irrevocably attached to a framework; criticize it for the fact that human brains are pretty different, and that there's no way the same thought can propagate across such radically different platforms; criticize that people think and understand things in such different ways, that even when people seem to have the same thought or belief, it turns out to function very differently. But you can't expect the theory to do what it doesn't try to do. It's not a theory of consciousness just as it's not a theory of math, and it doesn't deal with the soul just as it doesn't deal with qi.


Carleas--I said nothing about a soul here. You would have to explain how you got that idea from what I wrote for me to reply. I was discussing conciousness and I nowunderstand that you think a computer has consciousness much like your own. That may be in your case, however I have not seen evidence of autonomous consciousness in any computer I have used yet. Maybe this anthropomorphic projection on your part. On the other hand, you may want to get in touch with the researchers that are developing artificial intelligence because they don't seem to know that they have succeeded in inventing a self conscious being yet.
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Postby Carleas » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:28 pm

Sorry, the soul part was directed at Ichthus, the consciousness part was directed at you. I don't actually think Ichthus used the word soul, but it seemed to be the implication given his religious beliefs, and I take his silence as assent.
I never exaggerated computer abilities to include consciousness, and I assure I'm as conscious as any other mind. I compared my consciousness with my computer's display or desktop, and in the limited sense that both are emergent properties of systems made up of discrete parts. I said that there is no relevant difference, not that my computer and I are intellectual equals.
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Postby Ichthus77 » Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:00 pm

Carleas -- I thought it an excellent illustration (the emergent property thing). May I steal it when I write up my theory? -- I'll give you credit.
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Postby Carleas » Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:06 pm

You're as welcome to it as I am. I'm not sure where I picked it up, but I'm sure I can't take credit for it. Search around for the phrase "emergent properties" and intelligence, and you'll find a better source.
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Postby Ichthus77 » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:14 pm

I wasn't talking about that specifically (I read about it in Dennett's book), but about the desktop/display illustration. But I remembered I scribbled that idea down somewhere, so, unless our brains are linked and we both deserve credit (I jest), or unless God gave us both the same idea at different times (at the same time from His perspective) (and, according to my observation, He's always doing little things here and there and letting other people take the credit... and in return I just remember to give Him the glory) -- then I'll use it, and just mention you also came up with the same idea (it happens), to be safe. I'm not worried you'll sue me or anything... I just like to give credit where credit is due.
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Re: Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

Postby Ichthus77 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:58 am

Um...wow. It's really weird reading things I wrote years ago. lol! :icon-redface:

I just came in looking for the url of a video I posted in this thread. I found its url is dead, so I googled it and here is a live url for it: Biology as Literature: Learning to Read the Molecular Book of Life: http://www.uctv.tv/shows/Science-Matters-Biology-as-Literature-Learning-to-Read-the-Molecular-Book-of-Life-5403 The relevant language parts run between 8:45 and 12:55. ENCODE has outdated the junk DNA musings.

Studying I.D., is why.
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Re:

Postby V-OutOfTheWilderness » Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:26 pm

Ichthus wrote:I wasn't talking about that specifically (I read about it in Dennett's book), but about the desktop/display illustration. But I remembered I scribbled that idea down somewhere, so, unless our brains are linked and we both deserve credit (I jest), or unless God gave us both the same idea at different times (at the same time from His perspective) (and, according to my observation, He's always doing little things here and there and letting other people take the credit... and in return I just remember to give Him the glory) -- then I'll use it, and just mention you also came up with the same idea (it happens), to be safe. I'm not worried you'll sue me or anything... I just like to give credit where credit is due.

I wonder if we didn't give God the glory would God, as a result, be short of glory????
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Re: Re:

Postby Ichthus77 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:36 pm

V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:
Ichthus wrote:...and in return I just remember to give Him the glory...

I wonder if we didn't give God the glory would God, as a result, be short of glory????


No, it's not possible for God to be short of glory in that sense, but it is possible for us to be short of recognizing that. Giving recognition doesn't give a person anything, but what sort of relationship can you have with someone you don't recognize for who they are? Even if they are staring at you right in front of your nose, you won't see them (who they really are, anyway). Also, if you know a friend has helped you do something awesome and you take the credit, you naturally distance yourself from them emotionally, because that's a natural reaction of your guilty conscience: build a wall between yourself and what triggers the guilt. It doesn't change the fact that they're actually the awesome one. So, you avoid a lot of baggage if you just give credit where credit is due, in all areas of life. And God is not just in one area of life, but gives and sustains it, so...
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Re: Re:

Postby V-OutOfTheWilderness » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:16 pm

Ichthus wrote:
V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:
Ichthus wrote:...and in return I just remember to give Him the glory...

I wonder if we didn't give God the glory would God, as a result, be short of glory????


No, it's not possible for God to be short of glory in that sense, but it is possible for us to be short of recognizing that. Giving recognition doesn't give a person anything, but what sort of relationship can you have with someone you don't recognize for who they are? Even if they are staring at you right in front of your nose, you won't see them (who they really are, anyway). Also, if you know a friend has helped you do something awesome and you take the credit, you naturally distance yourself from them emotionally, because that's a natural reaction of your guilty conscience: build a wall between yourself and what triggers the guilt. It doesn't change the fact that they're actually the awesome one. So, you avoid a lot of baggage if you just give credit where credit is due, in all areas of life. And God is not just in one area of life, but gives and sustains it, so...

So giving glory to God is a social thing? And speaking it is a dog-whistle to other glory to Goders? It's purpose is to find tribal members ... people who think like us.

At least you admit that God doesn't need us to give Him glory ... that He has all the glory He needs. So giving God glory is silly, except it makes us feel all good-warm-and-fuzzy ... and puts us in a particular sheep-pen ... with sheep like us.
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Re: Re:

Postby felix dakat » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:26 pm

At least you admit that God doesn't need us to give Him glory ... that He has all the glory He needs. So giving God glory is silly, except it makes us feel all good-warm-and-fuzzy ... and puts us in a particular sheep-pen ... with sheep like us.

God is the putative source of everything including our own lives. So, if you are going to "give glory", then giving it to God makes more sense than anything else. No sheep pen required.
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Re: Re:

Postby Ichthus77 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:31 pm

V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:
Ichthus wrote:
V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:I wonder if we didn't give God the glory would God, as a result, be short of glory????


No, it's not possible for God to be short of glory in that sense, but it is possible for us to be short of recognizing that. Giving recognition doesn't give a person anything, but what sort of relationship can you have with someone you don't recognize for who they are? Even if they are staring at you right in front of your nose, you won't see them (who they really are, anyway). Also, if you know a friend has helped you do something awesome and you take the credit, you naturally distance yourself from them emotionally, because that's a natural reaction of your guilty conscience: build a wall between yourself and what triggers the guilt. It doesn't change the fact that they're actually the awesome one. So, you avoid a lot of baggage if you just give credit where credit is due, in all areas of life. And God is not just in one area of life, but gives and sustains it, so...

So giving glory to God is a social thing? And speaking it is a dog-whistle to other glory to Goders? It's purpose is to find tribal members ... people who think like us.

At least you admit that God doesn't need us to give Him glory ... that He has all the glory He needs. So giving God glory is silly, except it makes us feel all good-warm-and-fuzzy ... and puts us in a particular sheep-pen ... with sheep like us.


It's a social thing between an individual and God (or...between a group God uses, and God), and to do otherwise is a kind of cosmic plagiarism. So, no--it isn't silly...no sillier than the footnotes of a (peer-reviewed? baaa?) scholarly paper (journal).
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Re: Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

Postby Jayson » Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:34 am

Dawkins says your average meme is highly “subject to continuous mutation” between minds (not exact copies are made… miscommunication occurs) – but then contradicts himself by mentioning that a different understanding of Darwinism is a meme entirely separate from the Darwinism meme (though owing its existence to the earlier meme).

Dawkins' use of 'meme' is based on the Greek, "mimeme": to imitate, and refers to a piece of cultural information which has been passed on over demographics and/or generations, especially those which are passed on by imitation.

A great example of this is the culture of linguistic slang.

When Dawkins states that Darwinism itself is one meme, but an understanding of Darwinism is another meme; he's referring to how a meme is a cultural passing of information.
Conceptually, this passing of information has to be kept separate in our minds from the original piece of information.

For instance, you hold that your god delivered his information at some point.
You also hold that that piece of information remains unchanged in and of itself.
However, you recognize that it has been understood in differing ways, and changed in rendering over time through cultural hands.
But yet, you still hold that the original information itself remains the same regardless of these events.

This is essentially how Dawkins outlines a meme when it regards a physical piece of information, such as for Darwinism.
By 'physical', I am referring to something which has (or once had) a physical existence and an originating party with an intended and created understanding of that information.

It's essentially someone giving a label to the old game of "telephone" whereby one person begins by reading a statement on a card and then tells the person next to them what that card reads. Then the next person tells the person next to them, and so on.
Once it reaches the end, you hear the "final" version rendered and compare it to the original copy and laugh at how far off they are from each other.

Also, for the record, Dawkins does not agree with "memetics", the branch of study now growing due to his catch-phrase ... catching on.
His reason is rooted in that "memetics" is chasing after an empirical set of units to measure with (so far not accomplished).
Dawkins dislikes this idea and asserts this could cause misunderstanding of the intended use of the concept.
I find this ironic as he is essentially disagreeing with "memetics" for being subject to his own description of what happens to a "meme".
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Re: Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

Postby Ichthus77 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:00 am

Jayson...I haven't kept up on all that. I'm still a fan of the meme, as far as I understand it. :0)
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Re: Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

Postby Ichthus77 » Thu May 12, 2022 3:04 pm

Ichthus77 wrote:Um...wow. It's really weird reading things I wrote years ago. lol! :icon-redface:

I just came in looking for the url of a video I posted in this thread. I found its url is dead, so I googled it and here is a live url for it: Biology as Literature: Learning to Read the Molecular Book of Life: http://www.uctv.tv/shows/Science-Matters-Biology-as-Literature-Learning-to-Read-the-Molecular-Book-of-Life-5403 The relevant language parts run between 8:45 and 12:55. ENCODE has outdated the junk DNA musings.

Studying I.D., is why.


gentle reminder
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Re: Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

Postby Ichthus77 » Thu May 12, 2022 3:22 pm

Carleas: “As for rejecting memes, it is important to keep in mind that, in meme theory, if 'you' are rejecting a meme, it is actually a case of a previous selfish meme (or memes) defending itself against a meme that threatens it.”

That is no argument against dealing with one’s cognitive distortions. It is interesting to me that cognitive distortions are not necessarily considered abnormal… basically because they are statistically normal, and we’re not a bunch of geniuses walking around able to correct every last distortion as it happens. I really wanna watch a movie about a super intelligent android aware of their cognitive distortions and correcting them in real time. Would that require a default worldview of a certain perfect perspective?
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Re: Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

Postby Carleas » Sun May 15, 2022 1:27 am

Wow, this thread is a throwback! I'm a bit embarrassed about what I said, but pleased to be reminded of it. And "memes" didn't always refer to jpegs images with text overlays!?

Honestly, it's hard for me to even relate to the theory of mind I was using there. Though I paid lip service to the existence of 'hardware' in some of my replies, the way I talk about memes makes it seem like it plays no role. I know I hadn't read Pinker's Blank Slate at that point, but it's jarring to see myself calling a person a "sum of their memes". Surely there is a remainder, and I think that is part of what explains cognitive distortions. Our experiences shape us, but some parts are more plastic than others.

I'm not sure I understood the point you were making with the Word, and I'm not sure I understand it now. I see memes as a sort of pure-information version that continues the pattern of selection visible in evolution and many other complex systems. "In the beginning was the Word, Word was with God, and the Word was God." I understand this as a metaphor for something like a seed, a spark of life in the universe, a singularity that explodes outward into all the permutations of the universe. What role does the Word play in the world today? Or is the Word more like the 'language' with which all these things are written?
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Re: Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

Postby Meno_ » Sun May 15, 2022 10:46 am

In a more personal understanding of God, the effort to overcome dogma, was a reactionary effect which went too far afield. Within universally held tenets of Christianity, the Catholic Institution was hidden in an unexpected mystery, that some found inadequate. The Golden Rule's dynamic, particularly has devolved into a kind of dry mantra, as the effects of the modern industrial state has lessened the humanistic goals of men's interactive means of daily living.

For some, gnossis is based on particular, unforgettable points of reference; as noted by the following:

"Their goal was release from unconsciousness and ignorance, or incomprehension. Humans who possess the divine spark can find their freedom only in learning of its source, how it came to be entrapped in the material world, and how it can escape to return to its original realm."

Why such need to denote a dynamic process?
Even if left incomplete, the unconscious events have to be unearthed an parallel with Jesus' life, His thought and feelings previsaged, provisioned.

That this need to particularity and know of the reasons why even He, the man was prevy to in His attempt to reason with God, is borne out by the gnostic strain of pre-Greek consciousness, even as early as the Bronze Age.

The coupling of this passionate need to know , and embrace the Sacredness of such knowledge, dies nowhere in liturgy, or document in the Bible any forbidden violation of the Word of God.

The unconscious of sacred message Is by It's very Nature That, which underlie the meaning of parables, intentionally carrying it's complex messages far into the future, perhaps into the eternal stretch of time.

Such duration message undoes the very meaningful structure of temporal vision, enahilating time It's self into the eternally indescribability of time it'self, creating the very source of how the experience of an imminent-eternal state of being with God can be described.
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Re: Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

Postby Meno_ » Sun May 15, 2022 11:01 am

Meno_ wrote:In a more personal understanding of God, the effort to overcome dogma, was a reactionary effect which went too far afield. Within universally held tenets of Christianity, the Catholic Institution was hidden in an unexpected mystery, that some found inadequate. The Golden Rule's dynamic, particularly has devolved into a kind of dry mantra, as the effects of the modern industrial state has lessened the humanistic goals of men's interactive means of daily living.

For some, gnossis is based on particular, unforgettable points of reference; as noted by the following:

"Their goal was release from unconsciousness and ignorance, or incomprehension. Humans who possess the divine spark can find their freedom only in learning of its source, how it came to be entrapped in the material world, and how it can escape to return to its original realm."

Why such need to denote a dynamic process?
Even if left incomplete, the unconscious events have to be unearthed an parallel with Jesus' life, His thought and feelings previsaged, provisioned.

That this need to particularity and know of the reasons why even He, the man was prevy to in His attempt to reason with God, is borne out by the gnostic strain of pre-Greek consciousness, even as early as the Bronze Age.

The coupling of this passionate need to know , and embrace the Sacredness of such knowledge, dies nowhere in liturgy, or document in the Bible any forbidden violation of the Word of God.

The unconscious of sacred message Is by It's very Nature That, which underlie the meaning of parables, intentionally carrying it's complex messages far into the future, perhaps into the eternal stretch of time.

Such duration message undoes the very meaningful structure of temporal vision, enahilating time It's self into the eternally indescribability of time it'self, creating the very source of how the experience of an imminent-eternal state of being with God can be described.



Perhaps the larger goal of this process of All inclusiveness brought in the irony of God's intent to create a bridge bo man, to dilute the beautiful, Wise and other aspects into more generalized understanding of the effort to understand the Goodness' in man's need, to compare it to a time when goodness was lost. In metaphore. The psychometric behind the intent was releases to untangle the reasons behind it in order that his soul be liberated.
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Re: Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

Postby Sculptor » Sun May 15, 2022 11:21 am

Ichthus77 wrote:I have been reading “Consciousness Explained” by Daniel Dennet (Back Bay Books, 1991) – in it he talks a lot about Richard Dawkins’ memes. “Meme” is the title Dawkins gives to the “idea” (in his book “The Selfish Gene”) to call attention to the fact that ideas replicate via minds. In chapter 11 “Memes: The New Replicators” (at one time available on-line, and may still be), Dawkins presents the idea that since memes are replicators, like genes, they are alive. This got me thinkin’ about the Word, of course.

Dawkins says your average meme is highly “subject to continuous mutation” between minds (not exact copies are made… miscommunication occurs) – but then contradicts himself by mentioning that a different understanding of Darwinism is a meme entirely separate from the Darwinism meme (though owing its existence to the earlier meme). This is a contradiction because it says both that 1) memes mutate, and 2) stay in tact (rather than mutating), but produce offspring which may be different (if that is what is meant by mutation, then this discussion on memes brings up something very subtle, but very important -- especially to a discussion of the Word). Just like Dawkins mentioned of the Darwinism meme – if you (like Dawkins) have an incorrect understanding of the Word – you don’t have the Word – you have a completely different meme (see my “Against Gnosticism” thread for an example of an incorrect understanding of the Word). However -- though maybe nobody has the original Darwinism meme in their minds (now, or in the future) -- God will not let that happen to His Word. It is unchanging and everlasting.

You may be missing a key point here.
Everything; memes and living beings all mutate. But there is a little thing called natural selection. This has a way of weeding out traits that compromise survival. In the same way the "Darwinism meme" has to undergo a selection process. If it mutates in a way that makes it useless or incoherent there is always a bigger chance that those mutated versions of it will not survive. The point here is that the meme is not one thing but an ever growing number of things- more like bacteria than macro organisms. Thus there are many mutations of the "Darwin meme" that survive even though some are incoherent, as they satisfy, more or less the host organism. Some mutations include bad traits such as unjustified teleology, whilst others persist to propagate a false Lamarckism. The ultimate selection process is, of course truth. But the millions of memes we all possess rarely have to face the ultimate test, and so humans are full of nonsense memes, that we all take for granted.
When it happens, though, the meme has to adapt or die. This accounts for why when Darwinism is so poorly taught in schools it rarely survives and other memes are selected by weak minded people to replace it.

For myself I think we already had a perfectly good word for meme long before Dawkins colonised this area of thinking, reducing it to a materialist pov. That word was "IDEA". ideas change and are modified, they are unique to the beholder and change according to their experience and learning. Ideas may be shared and with each transmission can grow and evolve into new ideas.
I always thought that the whole meme notion was redundant, and Dawkins was just applying a new metaphor for an old Idea.
I personally knew Ben Cullen who applied a similar idea to the world of Archaeology. His CRT (cultural virus theory) was more nuanced and developed than Dawkins, who, like many scientists seem stuck in the lab, and are ignorant of the larger cultural world. Sadly Ben died in 1995 before he had a chance to make a great impact, but his CRT has been developed by some in the field.

[edit 8-31-08 --don't bother replying to the part of this paragraph that misunderstands Dawkins' use of the word 'selfish'. I know. The rest of what I said stands.] Whereas Dawkins pins down memes as “selfish” replicators – he seems to neglect that in order to “rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators” – we must combat with memes which favor altruism. So… that would make them… selfish altruism memes (oxymoron)? I think he may have just gone too far with the “selfish” thing (thought himself in knots or something). Memes are not selfish, and neither are genes – they are, as he said earlier – “unconscious, blind replicators” (unlike the Word, of course, which wants to get in your mind) – and he should have stopped there. It is not inherently evil to love yourself (I say that because Dawkins seems to like the shock-value of calling things “selfish” – therefore putting an evil spin on it), for how can you love your neighbor as yourself (or treat others as you would have them treat you), if you hate yourself? If the altruism memes populated more minds and had more of an effect on the world than the malevolent-selfish memes, it would not be a result of competition (as if the memes know time in a mind is a limited resource). Memes do not fight over minds any more than chicken nuggets fight over stomachs. It means people got fed up with malevolence; won over by Love (John 1:1, 1 John 4:9) – the most superior (not to mention aesthetically pleasing) of all memes, by which all memes must be measured. Real competition is willful and can be seen in humans taking the reigns of their blind-replicator memes (holding every thought captive, 2 Cor 10:5) and surrendering to God’s superior memes (Eph 6:17-18), so that He can rid us (far better than we ever can) of the cancer of malignant memes (Hebrews 10:22).

If you get a kick out of Dawkins’ memes – perhaps you’ll get a kick (like I do) out of a (not exhaustive) study of the Word as living (Dawkins says “memes should be regarded as living structures, not just metaphorically but technically” … as “self-replicating brain structures, actual patterns of neurological wiring-up that reconstitute themselves in one brain after another.”) (I have resisted the urge to replace every instance of “Word” or “Scriptures” with “Meme” or “Memes”.) After the study I go into (sorta) the ethical implications if you consider values-transmission in the light of Dawkins’ memes.

All quotes from Scripture and from study notes are taken from Zondervan’s NASB Study Bible, 1999.

The word “Scripture” below refers to both OT (Old Testament) and NT (New Testament) – see 1 Tim 5:18, which quotes from Deut 25:4 and Luke 10:7, calling them both “Scripture” (although the NT was still forming at the time… keep in mind there was a time in which the OT was still forming, as well).

Isaiah 55:11 “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

NASB note: My word. Especially the promises of vv.3,5,12. The word is viewed as a messenger also in 9:8, Ps. 107:20. Cf. John 1:1. succeeding. See 46:10-11 and note; cf. 40:8; Heb 4:12.

Jeremiah 23:28-29 “‘The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?’ declares the Lord. ‘Is not My word like fire?’ declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?’”

NASB note vv.28-29: The true word of God is symbolized in three figures of speech (grain, fire, hammer).
NASB note v. 28: straw…grain. Of the two, only grain can feed and nourish [see note on 15:16 – NASB note: “I ate them” means “I digested them, I made them a part of me” (see Ezek 2:8-3:3; Rev 10:9-10)].
NASB note v. 29: like fire. See note on 20:9. The fire of the divine word ultimately tests “the quality of each man’s work” (1 Cor 3:13). like a hammer. Similarly, the divine word works relentlessly, like a sword or hammer, to judge “the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12).

John 1:1-3, 14, 18 “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

NASB note v.1: Word. Greeks use this term not only of the spoken word but also of the unspoken word, the word still in the mind—the reason. When they applied it to the universe, they meant the rational principle that governs all things. Jews, on the other hand, used it as a way of referring to God. Thus John used a term that was meaningful to both Jews and Gentiles. with God. The Word was distinct from the Father. was God. Jesus was God in the fullest sense (see note on Rom 9:5). The prologue (vv.1-18) begins and ends with a ringing affirmation of His deity (see note on v.18).
NASB note v.14: became. Indicates transition; the Word existed before He became a man. flesh. A strong, almost crude, word that stresses the reality of Christ’s manhood. dwelt among us, and we saw His glory. The Greek for “dwelt” is connected with the word for “tent/tabernacle”; the verse would have reminded John’s Jewish readers of the tent of meeting, which was filled by the glory of God (Ex 40:34-35). Christ revealed His glory to His disciples by the miracles He performed (see 2:11) and by His death and resurrection. [ There is more to the note if you’re interested. ]
NASB note v.18: has made Him known. Sometimes in the OT people are said to have seen God (e.g., Ex 24:9-11). But we are also told that no one can see God and live (Ex 33:20). Therefore, since no human being can see God as He really is, those who saw God saw Him in a form He took on Himself temporarily for the occasion. Now, however, Christ has made Him known.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

NASB note: word of God. God’s truth was revealed by Jesus (the incarnate Word; see John 1:1, 14), but it has also been given verbally, the word referred to here. This dynamic word of God, active in accomplishing God’s purposes, appears in both the OT and the NT [see, on your own, Ps 107:20; 147:15, 18; Is 40:8; 55:11; Gal 3:8; Eph 5:26; James 1:18 (NASB note: the “word of truth” is the “proclamation of the gospel”); 1 Pet 1:23-25]. The author of Hebrews describes it as a living power that judges as with an all-seeing eye, penetrating a person’s innermost being. soul and spirit…joints and marrow. The totality and depth of one’s being.

1 Peter 1:23-25 “23 …for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, ‘All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word which was preached to you.”

NASB note v.23: born again…through the…word of God. The new birth comes about through the direct action of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5), but the word of God also plays an important role (see James 1:18), for it presents the gospel to the sinner and calls on him to repent and believe in Christ (see v.25). seed which is perishable…imperishable. In this context the seed is doubtless the word of God, which is imperishable, living and enduring.

Additional verses: Psalm 19:7-11; 33:4,6; 104:4; 107:20; 119:92-93, 105; Mark 13:31; Eph 6:17; Col 3:16; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Heb 6:5.

A nice quote from Lewis Sperry Chafer’s “Major Bible Themes” (revised by John F. Walvoord) (Zondervan, 1974), from chapter 1: “The Bible: The Word of God” p. 15: “Because of the combination of human and supernatural qualities which enter into the Bible, a similarity may be observed between the Bible as the written Word and the Lord Jesus Christ as the living Word (Ichthus: in case the semantics confuse you, both the Bible and Jesus communicate the living Word – refer to the verses above). They are both supernatural in origin, presenting an inscrutable and perfect blending of that which is divine and that which is human. They both exercise a transforming power over those who believe, and are alike allowed of God to be set at nought and rejected by those who do not believe. The untainted, undiminished divine perfections are embodied in each. The revelations which they disclose are at once as simple as the mental capacity of a child, and as complex as the infinite treasures of divine wisdom and knowledge, and as enduring as the God whom they reveal.”

Question to ask yourself: If you consider that memes must have time in your mind in order to germinate – what memes are you entertaining? – how much time are you giving to them? Which memes would you prefer to have growing in your head? Is your mind a meme cesspool or a meme Eden (if you say “Eden” you’re lying)? If you feel powerless to escape the current conditions of your mind, you’re wrong – His power is perfected in your weakness (2 Cor 12:9) – take the hand He is holding out to you. Once He’s got you, there’s no going back, do you hear? Don’t you dare let go. He’s not going anywhere – He’s been here all along. Yes, even at your worst. It’s never too late.

I scribbled a few notes this time last year (11/24/05) about memes in terms of schemas. Not sure how correct I was, but here’s the nitty gritty: bad schemas are resistant to change, like strong memes. In that sense, they can be thought of as “plaque” on the mind (sort of reminds me of the “truth with teeth” thing, but anyway…). Good schemas and good memes can be thought of as the healthy germs from which our body actually benefits. You can immunize yourself against bad memes by injecting yourself with the Word. Lining yourself up with the Word is equivalent to preventive medicine (daily Bible study, being part of a church fellowship, selfless acts and what not, are like brushing and flossing and routine cleanings). Neglect your mind with all sorts of junk-memes, and you’ll suffer spiritually (see my “Madness as Spiritual Suffering” thread) in one way or another. In this metaphor, God is not just the Grand Physician – He also specializes in dentistry. Root canal takes on a whole new meaning (and can still be just as painful…)… preventive medicine is better. But… if it’s too late for that, God can work a miracle in your mind. Just ask. 1 Thess 5:17; Matthew 6:5-15; 7:7; 18:20; Luke 11:1; 22:32; John 9:31; Psalm 25:8, 86:5; James 5:16 (all relevant verses on prayer).

Another way to ask the same question: What are the implications of Dawkins’ memes on values transmission? I would like to put in there (your thought-soup) that God’s value-memes are far superior to anything the world has to offer – thank God we can choose them, rather than being stuck with inferior value-memes. Sort of reminds me of the section where Dawkins mentions memes do not necessarily have to support the life of the mind they indwell (which, for me, harkens back to “the wages of sin is death”) – any gene for jumping off cliffs before reaching puberty would be doomed to failure, but a meme for such a thing (refer to the number of accidents blamed and yet to be blamed on the “Jackass” movies) can flourish, as long as it does not indwell every existent mind and cause extinction. (I was just as goofy when I was kid – I’m not saying that pulling life-threatening stunts in childhood is, in-and-of-itself, sin – don’t get me wrong… just an illustration.) Don’t forget how this paragraph started… lol.

I leave you with this thought: Be alert and mindful of the memes affecting you, so that you can hold “every thought captive” (2 Cor 10:5) and combat the malignant memes with God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17-18).

Check out “Biology as Literature – Learning to read the molecular book of life.”
http://www.ucsd.tv/sciencematters/5403.shtml

I like to watch that and think about meme-transcription.

[edit] see my posts below for why this was edited.
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Re: Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

Postby Meno_ » Sun May 15, 2022 11:54 am

Sculptor: good point except the failed messages missing v ontent why the failure to pass the larger message, that is, the unknown, 'unconscious' content rate of memetic mutation may differ significantly in passing of signified versus unnoticed content.

That may mean not a complete absence of change beneath the radar, but a different rate of change.The interrelation still goes on, however having smaller, minute 'meta-effects'

The gradients being increasingly substantial. But this is again under the radar awareness , re-sourced.



Memetic and genetically evolved 'messages' were not conceived as separable in the middle ages, when hermiticism had intrinsically acquired power, as opposed to it's modern negatively conceived counterpart in introversion and alienation. Therefore, social cohesion was not predicated in that , less 'evolved' idea.
Last edited by Meno_ on Sun May 15, 2022 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re:

Postby Sculptor » Sun May 15, 2022 12:29 pm

Lollipop King wrote:The religious mind consistently fails to comprehend that social interaction necessitates tolerance and inevitably results in larger brained individuals which require cooperative coexistence.
It’s another way of surviving or of being selfish – an indirect selfishness.

It is weakness or the inability to be self-reliant or to survive within a particular environment that forces cooperation and leads to social interactions.

Social cohesiveness is not a function of higher brain activity; cerebral cortext size or other higher mental functions.
Consider the sheep of the field and compare the loneliness of the rogue male elephant or the solitary cat.
Sheepishness is a feature of religion which is by definition a "binding" together of people under a set of dogmas.
Weakness, thusly, producing strength by numbers and subsequently resulting in a counter-reaction and so forth and so on - explaining the natural propensity towards more and more intricate organisms – society being the current super-organism in relation to the human organism - itself made up of lesser organisms, such as cells, that have already been assimilated and still exhibit disharmony with the organism (cancer and disease).

The desire to make the very mechanisms that ensure our well-being and survival into transcending, sacred forces is a natural one and it effectively assimilates distinct egos within a single unity.

Easy to say, puzzling to know what you are actually referring to here.
It is a way of sublimating and/or suppressing natural drives that confront or resist assimilation.

What exactly is the "it" here?
This is why the weakest and most vulnerable are less resistant to this assimilating drive.

Odd that higher brained individuals seem to achieve cohesion AND the weak too

As a consequence of this weakens, the individual loses its sense of independence and identity as a distinct entity and finds itself finding identity within the group. This makes self-sacrifice and altruism and compassion possible and can be found not only in humans but in many herd and pack animals.
The individual organism’s growing dependence on the group for its own sustenance and its failing resistance to assimilation – becoming weaker with every generation as the very genetic qualities that facilitate coexistence and assimilation are passed on – associates self with a larger unity, a group, or a nation, or a belief, or a tribe, and so its selflessness is, in essence, selfishness redirected.


Maybe, maybe not.
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Re: Dawkins' "Meme" and the Living Word of God :^)

Postby felix dakat » Sun May 15, 2022 8:23 pm

Carleas wrote:Wow, this thread is a throwback! I'm a bit embarrassed about what I said, but pleased to be reminded of it. And "memes" didn't always refer to jpegs images with text overlays!?

Honestly, it's hard for me to even relate to the theory of mind I was using there. Though I paid lip service to the existence of 'hardware' in some of my replies, the way I talk about memes makes it seem like it plays no role. I know I hadn't read Pinker's Blank Slate at that point, but it's jarring to see myself calling a person a "sum of their memes". Surely there is a remainder, and I think that is part of what explains cognitive distortions. Our experiences shape us, but some parts are more plastic than others.

I'm not sure I understood the point you were making with the Word, and I'm not sure I understand it now. I see memes as a sort of pure-information version that continues the pattern of selection visible in evolution and many other complex systems. "In the beginning was the Word, Word was with God, and the Word was God." I understand this as a metaphor for something like a seed, a spark of life in the universe, a singularity that explodes outward into all the permutations of the universe. What role does the Word play in the world today? Or is the Word more like the 'language' with which all these things are written?


The passage you quoted goes on to say of the Word (Logos)" In Him was life, and the life was the light of humanity. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it...That was the true Light which gives light to every person coming into the world." This I take to be the light of consciousness in which perceptible objects and clear and distinct ideas are intelligible. Thus Christ is identified with the light of truth, and the light of reason. And consistent with what you said above, it is through this "singularity" that all things become intelligble as things.
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