Ethereal Addict

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Hello, my name is Mara, and I am an ethereal addict. sounds good (in a "hey would some of my athiest friends be interesed in this?" way)- until you start getting in a bit deeper and suddenly feel an overwhelming wave of creeped-out feeling for having somehow crept into one of your favorite distopia novels. Like, at one point, the guy* says that tolerating other peoples' beliefs is problematic. Yikes!

*Ironically, the guy who started this movement based it on a science fiction novel he wrote. Hmmmm.

[Actually, I have this crazy fear that they'll find this blog entry, hunt me down and attack me for my subversive comments, and I'll have to go into hiding just to stay alive.]

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Hi Mara! I checked out the site. Right on the main page I found the first flaw, perhaps the most disturbing to me: he claims that his principles are based on science but yet claims them as truth. One of the big differences between science and religion is that science never claims to know the truth. What this guy proposes seems a sort of psuedo-religion/plan for a world order that creeps me out as well.

I'll take your word for it that it's creepy. After the random photo generator on toothpastefordinner I figured I'd had enough creeped out Mendon for a while. Anyhow, the link to Hayley's blog doesn't work becuase it's not the right URL.
But it does seem that she remembered to post it correctly this time.
will both get you there.

Hey, Mara!

Right. I usually do my best to avoid talking about religion. At all. It's just a contentious issue.

Nevertheless, I'm not convinced by his website and I'm even less convinced by the excerpts from his book that are available. He takes a very non-rigorous approach to knowledge. The simplest criticisms are sometimes the most devestating: I have epistemelogical concerns with his approach.

For a far more rigorous but a lot less interesting approach, read the interminable seeming A New Kind of Science by Stephan Wolfram. It's a struggle, but by the time you turn that 1201st page it'll all seem worth it. Or you'll have died of boredom. Or maybe old age. It's a long book. To be fair, there's only really 879 pages of small type followed by 300+ pages of even smaller footnotes, followed by an index in a typeface originally used by the Russians during the cold war when they wanted to smuggle documents through customs on an eyelash or the head of a pin.

But, it's the thorough treatment that the subject deserves.

As a side note, if memes really interest you, check out some of Richard Dawkin's stuff, rather than this egomaniac's simplistic drivel.

I know that Nathan really appreciates memetics as a field. And, I can appreciate it to. The concept of memetics pushed me in the direction of psychology. Memetics, as a field, does have its uses. However, one should note that memetics is contemporary philosophical psychology.

What makes it philosophy is that it posits arguments and develops theses based on methods of developing knowledge that are extra-scientific by which I mean, do not fall within the realm of science. Presently, the field of psychology has an entire branch of experimental, theoretical, and therapeutic ideology devoted entirely to much of what those who study memetics are discussing.

Memetics was born out of the DNA/Genome fad and is an extended metaphor for how human beings "know" the world based on these contemporary images. You can find similar philosophies of psychology based on contemporary metaphors if you look back to William James who posited that attention functions like a microscope in that it has a field that can only see a limited part of the whole. Perhaps as we become more advanced in our knowledge of the universe our contemporary metaphors will become closer to science because we will be continually growing closer to a general field theory. However, until then, popularity is the metaphor of the day. Currently, the popular memetic metaphor is the structure and nature of DNA as a guide for understanding the world around us. Why is it so popular? Memetics is popular, probably, because it is associated with the name Richard Dawkins which is credited as being a foreward thinking scientific philosopher.

Arguable, the philosophy of science (as much as the philosophy of psychology) exists as a structure to allow us to make assumptions, question those assumptions, and develop a theoretical framework that will potentially direct future researchers by proposing ideas and asking questions that are not currently answerable. The difficulty with such philosophical disciplines is determining, in the present, whether they are legitimate or fads. Memetics has the dual difficulty of proposing questions that asks two seperate fields to investigate. The field that might be interested in memes, neuroscience, is relatively uninterested because it knows that it's so far away from being able to discuss these ideas within its own realm that they've pretty much tabled/ignored/never bothered to read anything about memetics.

I think a potential problem with memetics is that half of the theory is approximately par with, if not even a little behind, contemporary psychological research. If you are interested in reading about memetics (which I happen to think is a very cool idea) I suggest you also pick up some of Aaron Beck as a starter. He is a therapist who hasn't conducted any research, really, but who's perspective on Cognitive Psychology discusses many of the issues of "memetic programming."

Mara and Nathan,
Is hypertext enabled in the comments? I used some and it isn't showing up, I think that it will enhance my post to understand where I'm emphasizing a few things so that they are more salient.

Human cultural evolution occurs as often as we, the individual accepts a need to "change".
In that sense we are genetic change molecules whether we consider it in an ethos or in a chaos, or even a bios sphere. It can be graphically an elipse, biologically metabolic,
spiritually mystical, and physically ice cream.
Thus any meme is is an ice cream of memy flavors.

Yay, Daddy! Finally, someone who is as interested in memes as I am!

I'm an ethereal addict too, but I only use it to sniff passwords off of gullible Windows users or the poor snots who are still using rsh and telnet. (Only Nathan will probably get that joke. . .)

And Dustin, I think memetically derived flavors are in bad taste.

As a philosophy student I learned a few things.
1. Kant tried really hard to create a science of human knowledge. I believe he failed... and his protege spent the remainder of -his- life debunking the work of his mentor. Then he temporarily became a Nazi.
2. Hermeneutics was fascinating to me. . . and still is. . . but it's kind of like playing a video game for too long... on an Atari 2600.
3. Philosophy is important in that all of the humanities derives a lot of their form and structure from what is current in the philosophical field. This actually keeps me up at night.

Wait! Mara, you're into memetics?

You're kidding me, right?

Please describe how you got into memetics and then proceeded to do what? Did you give them to Nathan? If you're harbinger of memetics into the Dornbrook family I will be surprised. Furthermore, I'll need some good hard backing up of why you are into it. Or, rather, you're being sarcastic?

I don't know *shouts frustratedly* there's no way to intonate on the blogs! ARGH!

Mendon, I could not care less about memetics.

Gday, i've been following all your writing for a short, but rarely chimed in on anything before. Thought I would personally give my opinion. I found the article you authored quite useful. There initially were just a few ideas which were not straightforward, yet all around, the write-up ended up being a good one -- not that you need me personally suggesting just what you already know, haha. At any rate, continue the good work!

The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.

Hands down, Apple's app store wins by a mile. It's a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I'm not sure I'd want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

Cool! This makes things clearer! I will sure will check this whole blog out again, thanks again, OP!

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The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it'll do even better in those areas, but for now it's a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod's strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

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Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass' favor.

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This page contains a single entry by Mara published on January 26, 2006 3:39 PM.

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