Truth and Humanity - Dr Susan Blackmore

Some partial backups of posts from the past (Feb, 2004)
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Kelly Jones
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Post by Kelly Jones » Thu May 10, 2007 12:21 pm

Run like hell, Dan. It's an honest response.

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Elizabeth Isabelle
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Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Thu May 10, 2007 12:27 pm

Kelly wrote:My theory is that Sue's idea of the illusory self is based on the belief that the true I is really a collection of multiple personalities or values (her memes idea), and the false I is the concept of a coherent, unified me inside the biological body that coordinates these personalities.
I think that her explanation of memes sounded more like Victor's explanation of artificial intelligence - that culture itself "thinks" in much the same way as artificial intelligence or humans.
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Post by Kelly Jones » Thu May 10, 2007 12:41 pm

Victor also thinks that meaning (the "force" in what you describe as thinking culture) is divorced or divorceable from information, like some kind of inherent entity running around the world. Both Victor and Sue have the same little security blanket problem.

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Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Thu May 10, 2007 12:52 pm

I'm not sure what you mean by a security blanket problem. I do think that Sue raised an interesting point that no one can be conscious because there are no I's to be conscious. Yes, she is putting it that consciousness is like an inherent entity running around, grabbing a firm hold of one being, a light hold on another being, and not touching a third being at all. To say "I am x% conscious" still states the illusion of control that the I has over consciousness. In contrast, to say "consciousness has a firm grasp on me today" is far less secure of a statement, but bows more deeply to causality.
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Post by Dan Rowden » Thu May 10, 2007 1:19 pm

Kelly Jones wrote:Run like hell, Dan. It's an honest response.
Maybe, but it has too much imagination involved for my tastes.

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Post by Kelly Jones » Thu May 10, 2007 2:41 pm

Yes, you're actually right, Dan. I superimposed my reasoning onto Sue's mindless love of emotion, because I had some idea she was more intelligent than she is.

I was more interested in this idea of her, rather than the one I think you have of her.

How would you explain Sue's inability to understand why non-attachment is the logical conclusion to understanding the non-existence of the finite self ?

---

I don't know much about your relationship with the woman you are living with. However, you've mentioned in the past, in relation to your cohabiting, that loyalty screws with one's head. Do you think this is having an overall beneficial effect on your consciousness?

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Post by Kelly Jones » Thu May 10, 2007 2:51 pm

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by a security blanket problem.
Holding onto an illusion.

I do think that Sue raised an interesting point that no one can be conscious because there are no I's to be conscious.
In the sense that no single thing is causing consciousness. But consciousness requires an I, because consciousness requires memory, and memory is that thing which coordinates ideas. It is the I. Yet it doesn't exist any differently to any other thing.

Yes, she is putting it that consciousness is like an inherent entity running around, grabbing a firm hold of one being, a light hold on another being, and not touching a third being at all.
Can you quote where she says this, or refers to it?


To say "I am x% conscious" still states the illusion of control that the I has over consciousness.
Not necessarily. It depends on whether the I has first reasoned what its true nature is. Then it may also be able to detect fluctuations in its ability to reason coherently, without falling into the gross delusion that it inherently exists.

In contrast, to say "consciousness has a firm grasp on me today" is far less secure of a statement, but bows more deeply to causality.
The self is not separate from consciousness. Sue was intelligent enough to have made that point, at least.


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Kelly Jones
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Post by Kelly Jones » Thu May 10, 2007 10:12 pm

Dan, were you aware that Sue made more bonding attempts with you than with David? If so, why do you think she did?

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Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Thu May 10, 2007 10:32 pm

Kelly Jones wrote:
Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by a security blanket problem.
Holding onto an illusion.
That seemed to be what she was accusing David of as he insisted that the individual is what has consciousness. She was accusing him of holding onto the illusion of self while recognizing that there is no self in order to maintain the feeling of security that would come from feeling like one was in control because one had consciousness.
Kelly Jones wrote:
Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:Yes, she is putting it that consciousness is like an inherent entity running around, grabbing a firm hold of one being, a light hold on another being, and not touching a third being at all.
Can you quote where she says this, or refers to it?
She refers to it in her explanation of memes, and it is before the blurb you quoted earlier. It is in and around when she says "There is not a little Sue inside" and "there is not a top-down controller." Once the transcript is available, I will hunt up the longer, in-context quotation(s).
Kelly Jones wrote:Not necessarily. It depends on whether the I has first reasoned what its true nature is. Then it may also be able to detect fluctuations in its ability to reason coherently, without falling into the gross delusion that it inherently exists.
I won't debate that with you. If there is an I to reason, then it would have consciousness. What I was clarifying was her point of view that there is no I to reason - more that reasoning "happens" much like she stated clearly that emotions happen. Her position is that human bodies host these events passively, yet have the delusion that they are thinking or that they are having emotions, or in some way have an active part in the process. She views Existence as a huge flow, and any individual who thinks he has any say-so at all (which would include the thoughts he supposes he thinks or the reasoning he supposes he does) is under the influence of a delusion.
Kelly Jones wrote:The self is not separate from consciousness. Sue was intelligent enough to have made that point, at least.
It seemed to me that she was quite clear about there being no self, and she very clearly stated "I don't even know what consciousness is!" She did say that humans are meme machines, so in that way she said that consciousness is not separate from humans, but very early on she said that humans gave rise to memes, but then she described it as memes took on a life of their own. She almost made it sound like a virus; the memes need hosts to survive, but the memes are not really part of the host any more than a virus is part of a body - it is, yet it isn't.
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Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Thu May 10, 2007 11:12 pm

Kelly Jones wrote:Dan, were you aware that Sue made more bonding attempts with you than with David? If so, why do you think she did?
Kelly, why are you obsessively trying to put sexual overtones on Dan in this interview? I did not see Dan as flirting with her at all, you have mistaken David's laugh for Dan's, and - what, are you taking a tally of "bonding attempts" and assigning meaning to that? She has a degree in psychology, and I noted a number of times when she used (hackneyed) psychology tools for what appeared to me the dual purpose of smoothing the conversation and buying herself time to think of an answer (such as, "my, what a lovely question").

She did seem to intone that she thinks Dan thinks more clearly than David because Dan seemed to find her view on memes obvious, whereas David posed some disagreement with her view. QRS does this themselves in that they find those who agree with them to be more conscious than those who disagree with them. It's a very egocentric belief-behavior (using the psychological rather than the philosophical definition of "egocentric") to think more highly of those who agree with us - particularly if we have really thought out our position - than those who hold an opposing view especially if that opposing view is one that the individual once had themselves and discarded for their new view (although in that case, the individual might have more sympathy for the one holding the opposing view). That is how I viewed her question to David "Don't you want to take it one step further" as a sympathetic prompting because she used to think like David before she read Dawkins' book.

They both sounded happy to talk with her, as hosts should sound. They sounded happier to talk with her than when talking with Victor, but considering all the technical difficulties with Victor's recording as well as having to go through an extensive period of Victor's style of debate before capturing it on audio - that is understandable. David sounded similar to his early parts of interacting with Alex, and Dan sounded the same with Sue as he did with Nat - yet there were no suggestions of sexual impropriety between Dan and Nat. I also think it's interesting that the laughter was interpreted as scoffing when it was only guys on, but the same laugh got interpreted as flirtatious snorting when there was a female guest (despite that Sue interpreted it as laughing at her at one point - much like Nat was interpreting the laughter). Kelly, I think you are hung up on physical gender on this issue.
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Post by Kelly Jones » Fri May 11, 2007 12:14 am

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:Kelly, why are you obsessively trying to put sexual overtones on Dan in this interview? I did not see Dan as flirting with her at all,
Well, it's a possible explanation for Dan's having agreed with Sue's ideas on the basis of words rather than meaning.

Being so ready to agree was so obviously wierd, that I couldn't help wondering why.

There's nothing wrong with flirting, if you want someone to stop thinking and go flowie. But that seemed an odd thing for a Reasoning Show host to do.

What other explanation is most likely for a seasoned thinker who says a false description of Reality is one of the best one has ever heard --- and sounds wholly sincere? I can't think of anything else except when one's head has been screwed.
Kelly, I think you are hung up on physical gender on this issue.
I admit I can't understand why Dan continues to share his lodgings with a woman who shows no interest in philosophy. It's not a sick relative, not offspring, not a ward, not a refugee, not a sponsored migrant, etc.

I know how difficult it is to become a better thinker, more masculine, and to be wise, so I am naturally not in favour of unnecessary suffering.

Doing that to oneself has effects, on everything else.



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Post by Kelly Jones » Fri May 11, 2007 12:30 am

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:E: I'm not sure what you mean by a security blanket problem.

K: Holding onto an illusion.

E: That seemed to be what she was accusing David of as he insisted that the individual is what has consciousness.
He said the I unifies consciousness, or something like that.

She was accusing him of holding onto the illusion of self while recognizing that there is no self in order to maintain the feeling of security that would come from feeling like one was in control because one had consciousness.
Sue can't grasp that the I can be used for practical purposes, without feelings of security that arise from believing it is intrinsically existing.

EI wrote:If there is an I to reason, then it would have consciousness. What I was clarifying was her point of view that there is no I to reason - more that reasoning "happens" much like she stated clearly that emotions happen. Her position is that human bodies host these events passively, yet have the delusion that they are thinking or that they are having emotions, or in some way have an active part in the process. She views Existence as a huge flow, and any individual who thinks he has any say-so at all (which would include the thoughts he supposes he thinks or the reasoning he supposes he does) is under the influence of a delusion.
The I is not causing consciousness, as I wrote earlier. It is not beyond consciousness. Nevertheless, it is responsible for coordinating ideas and plans. It is just like a computer program that sorts and collects and categorises and stores information. So it has a say in how events arise, even though its agency has been caused by everything else.

Similarly, the individual does think and reason, but its agency is not its doing.


EI wrote:It seemed to me that she was quite clear about there being no self,
Yes, she says that clearly. But don't forget, her meaning is that no particular self has fixed boundaries. She also finds it very difficult to believe this, because she admits, "It wasn't me experiencing [tears/crying], in the same way".

So, I can conclude that she doesn't fully understand that any self at all, applied to anything at all, reduced in size, blown up to match the identity of the Universe, etc. lacks intrinsic existence.


and she very clearly stated "I don't even know what consciousness is!" She did say that humans are meme machines, so in that way she said that consciousness is not separate from humans, but very early on she said that humans gave rise to memes, but then she described it as memes took on a life of their own. She almost made it sound like a virus; the memes need hosts to survive, but the memes are not really part of the host any more than a virus is part of a body - it is, yet it isn't.
Yes, what's your point?

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Elizabeth Isabelle
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Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Fri May 11, 2007 1:32 am

Kelly Jones wrote:Yes, what's your point?
My point was just to clarify what it seemed to me that Sue's position was. I now think we both see what Sue was saying.
Kelly Jones wrote:it's a possible explanation for Dan's having agreed with Sue's ideas on the basis of words rather than meaning.
He did seem to readily agree to words that sounded similar to words he has used before to describe causality and the interpretation of what is meant by reincarnation is something that happens multiple times between one's physical birth of the body and physical death of the body rather than something that happens from one different body that may respond to one name and another physical body that responds to another name. I'm not so sure that he responded one way or another to the specific aspect of her meme concept having a life of their own. As a result, I'm not sure what Dan's position is on that aspect of her meme concept.
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Post by Jamesh » Fri May 11, 2007 10:51 am

Susan said something in the end to the effect of it being 'inhuman' not having emotions. This is true of course as long as one defines humanity as including what one calls emotions.
I'd even go so far as to say that forms of life that have no emotions or feelings are not really "alive", though they may have many other attributes of life like consumption and reproduction. Mind you it is impossible to draw any line - even tiny insects may feel pain - it doesn't take that much brain circuitry to have the feedback mechanisms to direct reponses to changes in the environment.

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Post by Dan Rowden » Fri May 11, 2007 12:45 pm

Kelly Jones wrote:Dan, were you aware that Sue made more bonding attempts with you than with David? If so, why do you think she did?
No, I'm not aware of that at all. However, if she responded to me more positively than David it's because I was speaking quite favourably about memetics (we didn't get into the problems I have with it), which is her major field of research along with consciousness, and over which she gets quite a lot of flak from the scientific community. It's to be expected don't you think?

Either that or it was my incredibly sexy, deep voice. I have to fight 'em off with a stick because of that, ya know?

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Post by Kelly Jones » Fri May 11, 2007 1:02 pm

Jamesh wrote:I'd even go so far as to say that forms of life that have no emotions or feelings are not really "alive", though they may have many other attributes of life like consumption and reproduction.
Yes, listening to David, I thought, "Wow, David is about 90% dead." My humanity arose several notches.

Whereas listening to Dan, I thought, "What's happening there? Why's he singing?"

Dan,

Yes, deluded people respond favourably if you suppport them - and if they've been under-fire for those views, then one has to be particularly careful about how one supports them. I'm not saying, disagree on the basis of language, but watch out for the meanings. They're bound to be awry.

Females in particular lose any slight tendencies to forging through with a line of reasoning, if they think they're getting support. They just don't follow through. They make a flowie flop. So it is far more logical to bring them up into reason by avoiding any sign that you agree. Just ask them for their views, and let them try to stand on their own feet.

I'm sure you realise that women will flatter one to keep you singing supportively. Did anyone else notice at the end, how Sue started flirting overtly with Dan: "Bye Dan, Bye Dan, Bye Dan with the ?? voice." That doesn't come out of nowhere.

Either that or it was my incredibly sexy, deep voice. I have to fight 'em off with a stick because of that, ya know?
I noticed that it's something you're not entirely comfortable with, since you stuttered more in the Susan show.

What's the attraction with Karaoke ?


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Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Fri May 11, 2007 1:40 pm

Kelly Jones wrote:Did anyone else notice at the end, how Sue started flirting overtly with Dan: "Bye Dan, Bye Dan, Bye Dan with the ?? voice."
I noticed that, and thought that it sounded more like sexual harassment than anything. If a guy did that to a female, many females would have considered him a pig.

Furthermore, that does not mean he was flirting with her. The way you keep carrying on about this Kelly makes you sound jealous.
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Post by Dan Rowden » Fri May 11, 2007 1:52 pm

Kelly Jones wrote:Dan,

Yes, deluded people respond favourably if you suppport them - and if they've been under-fire for those views, then one has to be particularly careful about how one supports them. I'm not saying, disagree on the basis of language, but watch out for the meanings. They're bound to be awry.
I support people, deluded or otherwise, if I think they're doing worthwhile work or expressing worthwhile views. The value of memetics is yet to be fully determined, but it seems to be on the right track as far as the science goes. We didn't have time to get into more slippery areas like the predictive power of memetics (or of evolutionary theory in general). And you clearly don't have a very good understanding of it so I suggest before getting all cocky with me you improve that understanding.
Females in particular lose any slight tendencies to forging through with a line of reasoning, if they think they're getting support.
That may be true. Blackmore doesn't seem to need all that much support to be able to think fairly well.
So it is far more logical to bring them up into reason by avoiding any sign that you agree. Just ask them for their views, and let them try to stand on their own feet.
There's nothing inherently wrong with encouraging people. It's when you do their thinking for them that it becomes a problem. And there's also a difference between showing someone support and attacking the folly of their detractors. In my supportive attitude towards Sue I was actually taking an opportunity to attack people such as Paul Davies. I was using it as a vehicle through which to point out the irrationality of the science community. David did this too when speaking of academia.
I'm sure you realise that women will flatter one to keep you singing supportively. Did anyone else notice at the end, how Sue started flirting overtly with Dan: "Bye Dan, Bye Dan, Bye Dan with the ?? voice." That doesn't come out of nowhere.
Well, after we stopped recording I aksed her for a blowjob and she refused, so I obviosuly didn't really get anywhere.
Either that or it was my incredibly sexy, deep voice. I have to fight 'em off with a stick because of that, ya know?
I noticed that it's something you're not entirely comfortable with, since you stuttered more in the Susan show.
D..d...d..did I?
What's the attraction with Karaoke?
It's my only musical outlet. However I've come to find it pretty boring. Btw, who told you I do/did that?

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Post by Dan Rowden » Fri May 11, 2007 1:55 pm

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:
Kelly Jones wrote:Did anyone else notice at the end, how Sue started flirting overtly with Dan: "Bye Dan, Bye Dan, Bye Dan with the ?? voice."
I noticed that, and thought that it sounded more like sexual harassment than anything. If a guy did that to a female, many females would have considered him a pig.

Furthermore, that does not mean he was flirting with her. The way you keep carrying on about this Kelly makes you sound jealous.
It's ridiculous, frankly. The reason she sounded more "chummy" and familiar with me is because she knew me. I got her on the show and had a dialogue of sorts with her leading up to it. David was a complete stranger to her at the time of recording. Things are often a lot simpler than they seem.

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Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Fri May 11, 2007 1:57 pm

Dan Rowden wrote:Well, after we stopped recording I aksed her for a blowjob and she refused, so I obviosuly didn't really get anywhere.
You could reach her in England from Australia with that thing? Daaaamn. You'd deserve to be on disability if that were true.




edit to add: we are soooo far off topic now that I'm not sure the discussion would even be fit for the Worldly Matters forum...
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Post by Dan Rowden » Fri May 11, 2007 2:44 pm

Kelly Jones wrote: Kelly: It's my belief that Sue uses memes to mean causes with will, or something like that.

Dan: I don't think "will" is the right word. It's just a matter of success according to the forces of natural selection. A meme's success is as "blind" as anything else

Kelly: That's the way you see it. But she expressed it such that these memes are running around the place trying to be rebirthed everywhere. She literally used this kind of personification.
It's just poetic language in the same way as "competition" is spoken of in natural selection. Memes don't "try" and get themselves replicated - they either do or do not. That's exactly the criterion for the judgement of "success" in natural selection. Successful memes replicate and fit in with their environment better than unsuccessful ones. There's no conscious purpose or design to any of it.

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Post by Kelly Jones » Fri May 11, 2007 3:23 pm

Dan Rowden wrote:I support people, deluded or otherwise, if I think they're doing worthwhile work or expressing worthwhile views.
But you wouldn't support a view of the nature of Reality that was false, I think?

The value of memetics is yet to be fully determined, but it seems to be on the right track as far as the science goes.
My library hold of "The Selfish Gene" is likely to take a few weeks. In the meantime, I found this from Wikipedia:
The memetics movement split almost immediately into those who wanted to stick to Dawkins' definition of a meme as "a unit of information in the brain," and those who wanted to redefine it as observable cultural artefacts and behaviours. These two schools became known as the "internalists" and the "externalists." Prominent internalists included both Lynch and Brodie; the most vocal externalists included Derek Gatherer, a geneticist from Liverpool John Moores University and William Benzon, a writer on cultural evolution and music. The main rationale for externalism was that internal brain entities are not observable, and memetics cannot advance as a science, especially a quantitative science, unless it moves its emphasis onto the directly quantifiable aspects of culture.
This reminds me to point to my earlier query why Susan wasn't asked whether she thought memes inherently exist beyond consicousness.

And it also looks as though memetics is definitely on the wrong track.

We didn't have time to get into more slippery areas like the predictive power of memetics (or of evolutionary theory in general).
Yes, I was wondering why you didn't get onto the difference between masculinity and femininity as part of the discussion on levels of consciousness. I'd say this is the main measuring instrument for the taking-up of ideas and values.

I agree you can't go far in 60 minutes, but you could go a lot further with someone with a high level of consciousness.

Blackmore doesn't seem to need all that much support to be able to think fairly well.
Interesting. If you've listened to other talks she's done, you'll perhaps conclude that she is quite susceptible to influence. She changes according to the interviewer's ideas.

I'm not saying she's completely gullible and fashionable, but she is noticeably susceptible to being influenced. Such that she'd absorb and replicate what others were fertilising her with, unless of course those ideas and values were too painful --- then she'd just steamroller them and say, "This is how it must be, and is, and always is, Amen".


Kelly: So it is far more logical to bring them up into reason by avoiding any sign that you agree. Just ask them for their views, and let them try to stand on their own feet.

Dan: There's nothing inherently wrong with encouraging people. It's when you do their thinking for them that it becomes a problem.
Suggestive behaviour is also a problem.

I agree there's not really much you can do with a person highly suggestible to influence. But you can try to reduce the bonding.

And there's also a difference between showing someone support and attacking the folly of their detractors. In my supportive attitude towards Sue I was actually taking an opportunity to attack people such as Paul Davies. I was using it as a vehicle through which to point out the irrationality of the science community. David did this too when speaking of academia.
Logically, yes. But to a gullible person, it is the same as bonding with them.

If you attack their enemies, then you are supporting them.

It just comes down to being careful that you understand what exactly you are supporting.

I mean, your definition of memetics is purely unemotional, but Susan describes memes emotionally, so there is some egotistical meaning in there. Saying that her definition is accurate is therefore false, if you define memes as causes occurring in consciousness - meaning, empty of inherent existence.


Humour is great to undermine the delusion that things inherently exist, and can also be used to avoid thinking.

I'm kind of surprised at how flippant you are about your influence as a teacher. It's very feminine behaviour, Dan.

Kelly: What's the attraction with Karaoke?

Dan: It's my only musical outlet. However I've come to find it pretty boring. Btw, who told you I do/did that?
You, in a different lifetime, that had more conscience.

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Post by Dan Rowden » Fri May 11, 2007 4:13 pm

Kelly Jones wrote:
Dan Rowden wrote:I support people, deluded or otherwise, if I think they're doing worthwhile work or expressing worthwhile views.
But you wouldn't support a view of the nature of Reality that was false, I think?
No, why would I do that? But I might also take a neutral position on ideas whose nature is still uncertain.
My library hold of "The Selfish Gene" is likely to take a few weeks. In the meantime, I found this from Wikipedia:
The memetics movement split almost immediately into those who wanted to stick to Dawkins' definition of a meme as "a unit of information in the brain," and those who wanted to redefine it as observable cultural artefacts and behaviours. These two schools became known as the "internalists" and the "externalists." Prominent internalists included both Lynch and Brodie; the most vocal externalists included Derek Gatherer, a geneticist from Liverpool John Moores University and William Benzon, a writer on cultural evolution and music. The main rationale for externalism was that internal brain entities are not observable, and memetics cannot advance as a science, especially a quantitative science, unless it moves its emphasis onto the directly quantifiable aspects of culture.
This reminds me to point to my earlier query why Susan wasn't asked whether she thought memes inherently exist beyond consicousness.
I can think of a 100 questions that could have been asked that weren't. It's fairly pointless though thinking that way. Conversations just don't work like that. And I'm not sure how she could answer your question if she hasn't worked out what consciousness actually is.
And it also looks as though memetics is definitely on the wrong track.
Ok, in what sense? Memetics seems almost platitudinously obvious to me.
I agree you can't go far in 60 minutes, but you could go a lot further with someone with a high level of consciousness.
We weren't speaking with a philosopher of the infinite. If we do another show with her down the track we can flesh out some of those untapped ideas.
Blackmore doesn't seem to need all that much support to be able to think fairly well.
Interesting. If you've listened to other talks she's done, you'll perhaps conclude that she is quite susceptible to influence. She changes according to the interviewer's ideas.
I can't speak to that as I've not experienced it.
I'm not saying she's completely gullible and fashionable, but she is noticeably susceptible to being influenced. Such that she'd absorb and replicate what others were fertilising her with, unless of course those ideas and values were too painful --- then she'd just steamroller them and say, "This is how it must be, and is, and always is, Amen".
Well, everybody's like this to some degree. Are you not influenced by Kevin when you sit and have conversations with him? It's a fine line between being open minded and simply open to influence. I can't really say where Sue Blackmore is with respect to that. She's not wise so there's probably a bit of both happening.
Kelly: So it is far more logical to bring them up into reason by avoiding any sign that you agree. Just ask them for their views, and let them try to stand on their own feet.

Dan: There's nothing inherently wrong with encouraging people. It's when you do their thinking for them that it becomes a problem.
Suggestive behaviour is also a problem.
Can you be specific?
I agree there's not really much you can do with a person highly suggestible to influence. But you can try to reduce the bonding.
If all they are is suggestible you shouldn't have anything to do with them.
And there's also a difference between showing someone support and attacking the folly of their detractors. In my supportive attitude towards Sue I was actually taking an opportunity to attack people such as Paul Davies. I was using it as a vehicle through which to point out the irrationality of the science community. David did this too when speaking of academia.
Logically, yes. But to a gullible person, it is the same as bonding with them.
That's unavoidable. Just talking to a person can have this effect.
I mean, your definition of memetics is purely unemotional, but Susan describes memes emotionally, so there is some egotistical meaning in there.
It's one of her major interests so I've no doubt there's some emotional attachment to it. She's obviously passionate about it, but I don't see her ascribing anthropic qualities to memes (other than in the poetic use of language).
Saying that her definition is accurate is therefore false, if you define memes as causes occurring in consciousness - meaning, empty of inherent existence.
You've lost me.
Humour is great to undermine the delusion that things inherently exist, and can also be used to avoid thinking.
Still lost.
I'm kind of surprised at how flippant you are about your influence as a teacher. It's very feminine behaviour, Dan.
Hmm. The fact is I happen to think memetics is a perfectly valid way of seeing things (up to a point and within the limitations of what science can say). It's just an evolutionary theory framed within the principle of natural selection. It's not a profound philosophical thesis, though it does, like evolutionary theory in general, have some philosophical implications that can be followed.

It's my opinion that you don't understand it at all. Either that or I am, as you suggest, projecting validity and meaning onto it that isn't there.

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Laird
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Post by Laird » Fri May 11, 2007 5:17 pm

Dan Rowden wrote:In my supportive attitude towards Sue I was actually taking an opportunity to attack people such as Paul Davies.
Dan, could you give me a synopsis of the position of Paul Davies that you seek to attack (or point me to material from which I could develop my own synopsis)? I am new to the ideas of memetics and have not read anything much about them; I am though currently reading Paul's brilliant book, The Mind of God, and I am interested to know what weaknesses you perceive in his thinking.

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Dan Rowden
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Post by Dan Rowden » Fri May 11, 2007 6:05 pm

What do you find brilliant about that book? Anyway, here's a snippet of what he's said about memetics:
"... Those aspects of the mind that are not predetermined by genetics lie at the mercy of “memetics.” Memes are the mental equivalent of genes-ideas, beliefs, and fashions that replicate and compete in the manner of genes. British psychologist Susan Blackmore recently contended that our minds are actually nothing but collections of memes that we catch from each other like viruses, and that the familiar sense of “I” is some sort of fiction that memes create for their own agenda.

These ideas are dangerous because there is more than a grain of truth in them. There is an acute risk that they will be oversimplified and used to justify an anything-goes attitude to criminal activity, ethnic conflict, even genocide. Conversely, people convinced that the concept of individual choice is a myth may passively conform to whatever fate and exploitative social or political system may have decreed for them. If you thought eugenics was a disastrous perversion of science, imagine a world where most people don’t believe in free will."

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