5.0076 Journal of Ideas (1/269)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 21 May 91 14:54:10 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0076. Tuesday, 21 May 1991.

Date: Thu, 16 May 91 18:18:36 pdt
From: well!moritz@apple.com (Elan Moritz)
Subject: J. of Ideas - New Journal Announcement & Call for Papers

Last year the Institute for Memetic Research [IMR] launched a [print]
journal dealing with idea creation and propagation and related aspects.

Attached are some files containing information and abstracts of articles
published in the J. of Ideas.

The IMR believes that a systematic study of "idea-science" is in order.
Individuals dealing with information & knowledge systems, concept and
meaning representation, cognitive sciences, computer sciences,
information and knowledge dissemenation [print & electronic] and related
areas may be * very interested * in this area.

We are sending this posting to acquaint you with the Journal, both as
potential readers and possible authors of contributed research and

The Journal currently appears in print form. [Subscription information
is provided below]. At a future point in time, we plan to establish an
e-mail distributed "Ideas, Memetics and Ideonomy" or IMI-L
newsletter/journal which will include relevant research community
announcements, abstracts, some of the shorter articles appearing in J of
Ideas, critical discussions, and reader interaction. We are interested
in hearing from folks interested in participating as Associate Editors,
and in Sites interested in acting as distribution nodes for IMI-L.

We would very much appreciate your [e-mail] comments, and your
assistance in making folks at your institution aware of the Journal of
Ideas and the upcoming IMI-L e-newsletter/journal.

Elan Moritz,
Editor, Journal of Ideas
Editor, IMI-L [Planned]

e-mail: moritz@well.sf.ca.us

* Journal of Ideas *

published by The Institute for Memetic Research
PO Box 16327, Panama City, Florida 32406-1327 USA

Editors Editorial Advisory Board

Elan Moritz R. Wilburn Clouse, Vanderbilt U.
Patricia S. Smith Peter Kiss, Sentar Inc. Huntsville
The Institute for Memetic Research, Matthew Witten, U. Texas System,
Panama City Austin

manuscripts and information requests should be directed to
Elan Moritz (E-mail: moritz@well.sf.ca.us)

** AIMS & SCOPE ** The Journal of Ideas is an archival (print) forum
dedicated to the dissemination of research results and discussion
relating to the formation and spread of ideas in human and machine
systems. Areas covered include: 1) dynamical and structural theories
of idea and meme generation, mutation, combination, spread and
dissolution, 2) knowledge generation, representation, and storage in
living and artificial systems, 3) cognition and self-awareness in living
and artificial systems 4) generalized theories of life, evolution, and
ecology in biological, mechanical and electronic systems, 5) classical
and quantum mechanical theories of brain/mind interactions, 6) human and
machine creativity and, 7) results of experiments in the preceding
areas. The Journal publishes research communications, critical reviews,
short notes, book reviews, and relevant historical material. The
Journal is geared to a diverse audience coming from classical
disciplines such as physics, biology, evolutionary and ecological
studies, psychology, anthropology, computer science, mathematics, and

Abstracts of Papers Published in Volume 1

MEMETIC SCIENCE: I - Introduction

E. Moritz - The Institute for Memetic Research, FL

Memetic Science is the name of a new field that deals with the
quantitative analysis of cultural transfer. The units of cultural
transfer are entities called "memes". In a nutshell, memes are to
cultural and mental constructs as genes are to biological organisms.
Examples of memes are ideas, tunes, fashions, and virtually any
cultural and behavioral unit that gets copied with a certain degree
of fidelity. It is argued that the understanding of memes is of
similar importance and consequence as the understanding of processes
involving DNA and RNA in molecular biology. This paper presents a
rigorous foundation for discussion of memes and approaches to
quantifying relevant aspects of meme genesis, interaction, mutation,
growth, death and spreading processes. It is also argued in this
paper that recombinant memetics is possible in complete analogy to
recombinant DNA / genetic engineering. Special attention is paid to
memes in written modern English.


J. T. Bonner - Princeton University, NJ

Culture is defined here as information transmitted from one
individual to another by behavioral means. The evolution of culture
is discussed in terms of selection of units of behavioral information
defined as memes. The relationships of genes, memes, behavior and
the role of individual and collective memory in cultural evolution
are explored. Changes obtained via human cultural evolution are
comparable in magnitude to changes resulting from millions of years
of genetical evolution.


D. R. Brooks and D. A. McLennan - University of Toronto

One approach to finding a unified theory of biology stems from
perceptions that (1) the direction of time and history are important
aspects of biological systems, (2) biological systems are highly
non-linear, (3) biological systems are far from equilibrium, and that
the historically-constrained nonequilibrium behavior of biological
systems produces (4) hierarchical organization and (5) steady states
that may act as local equilibria to such an extent that natural
selection is expected to play an important role in explaining much of
their short-term (micro-) evolutionary behavior. Internal production
rules in biological systems require outside energy but are also
highly insensitive to the conditions of the external environment from
which the energy comes. This leads to the production of historically
constrained, spontaneously stable, complex structure. Because the
production rules are physically encoded in the structure of the
system, biological systems are physical information systems, and
their expected behavior over time follows a general entropic
dynamic. The autonomy of the production rules leads to an
explanation for the reality of natural selection that does not rely
on analogy with human economic theory. The historical nature of the
elements of diversity at any given time leads to an expectation that
the details of responses to external evolutionary forces (such as
natural selection, competition, geological changes) will be highly
individualized. Hence, evolutionary regularities will tend to be
highly generalized (macroevolutionary) or statistical in nature.


R. A. Wiley - BioBalance Services, FL

Clinical research dealing with metabolic dysfunctions indicates that
the evolution of disorders commonly referred to as psychogenic,
mental, behavioral and stress-related is governed predominantly by
intermediary metabolic activity. These dysfunctions, characterized
by weak or poorly coupled interactions within Kreb's cycle and the
Embden-Meyerhoff pathways, can be nutritionally countereffected
thereby limiting and often eliminating the extent to which they are
cognitively, affectively and behaviorally articulated. This research
suggests that genetic factors and nutritional input are primary
determinants of psychometabolic pathology. The implications of this
research are profound, extend far beyond the domains of clinical
psychology and medicine, and may go on to impact disciplines as
diverse as psycholinguistics, sociobiology, criminology, cultural
anthropology and zoology to mention only a few. The status of
clinical research regarding the role of intermediary metabolism in
shaping cognitive performance is reviewed in this article. A generic
mathematical formalism of metabolic activity is developed, and a
metric mapping metabolic activity into cognitive activity is proposed
and discussed.


S. N. Salthe - Brooklyn College, CUNY, NY

This paper attempts to sketch out in what way macroscopic information
must be entropic. If this can be shown, a larger science, of
infodynamics - the study of uncertainties, can subsume thermodynamics
and information theory. It is crucial for these purposes that a
finite observer be stipulated for all informational exchanges, and,
in order to achieve the desired result, that observer must be located
inside the supersystem that contains the object systems it


H. K. Henson and A. L. - San Jose, CA

This paper discusses the question of creationism and evolution theory
in the context of memes. Several key questions are raised including
the questions of why humans have beliefs at all, and why does belief
in evolution excite substantial opposition. The authors address the
competition of memes in the meme pool and propose the existence of
meme 'receptor sites' responsible for strong maintenance of religious

Volume 2 #1 Abstracts


Abstract: Memory abstractions, or mnemons, form the basis of a memetic
evolution theory where generalized self-replicating ideas give rise to
thought contagion. A framework is presented for describing mnemon
propagation, combination, and competition. It is observed that the
transition from individual level considerations to population level
considerations can act to cancel individual variations and may result in
population behaviors. Equations for population memetics are presented
for the case of two-idea interactions. It is argued that creativity via
innovation of ideas is a population phenomena. Keywords: mnemon, meme,
evolution, replication, idea, psychology, equation.

Sociobiology and Thick Description -- Charles J. Lumsden
Department of Medicine, University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A8

Abstract: This report considers the problem of modeling culture as a
thick symbolic system: a system of reference and association possessing
multiple levels of meaning and interpretation. I suggest that
thickness, in the sense intended by symbolic anthropologists like
Geertz, can be treated mathematically by bringing together two lines of
formal development, that of semantic networks, and that of fractal
mathematics. The resulting semantic fractals offer many advantages for
modeling human culture. The properties of semantic fractals as a class
are described, and their role within sociobiology and symbolic
anthropology considered. Provisional empirical evidence for the
hypothesis of a semantic fractal organization for culture is discussed,
together with the prospects for further testing of the fractal
hypothesis. Keywords: culture, culturgen, meme, fractal, semantic

Matthew Witten
Center for High Performance Computing
University of Texas System, Austin, TX 78758-4497

Abstract. Although there is a growing historical body of literature
relating to the mathematical modeling of social and historical
processes, little effort has been placed upon modeling the spread of an
idea element "meme" in such a population. In this paper we review some
of the literature and we then consider a simple kinetics approach, drawn
from demography, to model the distribution of a hypothetical "meme" in a
population consisting of three major age groups. KEYWORDS: Meme, idea,
age-structure, compartment, sociobiology, kinetics model.

Francis Heylighen, Cliff Joslyn, and Valentin Turchin
The Principia Cybernetica Project[dagger]

Abstract: This note describes an effort underway by a group of
researchers to build a complete and consistent system of philosophy.
The system will address, issues of general philosophical concern,
including epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics, or the supreme human
values. The aim of the project is to move towards conceptual
unification of the relatively fragmented fields of Systems and
Cybernetics through consensually-based philosophical development.
Keywords: cybernetics, culture, evolution, system transition, networks,
hypermedia, ethics, epistemology.

Brain and Mind: The Ultimate Grand Challenge -- Elan Moritz
The Institute for Memetic Research
P. O. Box 16327, Panama City, Florida 32406

Abstract: Questions about the nature of brain and mind are raised. It
is argued that the fundamental understanding of the functions and
operation of the brain and its relationship to mind must be regarded as
the Ultimate Grand Challenge problem of science. National research
initiatives such as the Decade of the Brain are discussed. Keywords:
brain, mind, awareness, consciousness, computers, artificial
intelligence, meme, evolution, mental health, virtual reality,
cyberspace, supercomputers.

The Journal of Ides an archival forum for discussion of 1) evolution and
spread of ideas, 2) the creative process, and 3) biological and
electronic implementations of idea/knowledge generation and processing.

The Journal of Ideas, ISSN 1049-6335, is published quarterly by the
Institute for Memetic Research, Inc. P. O. Box 16327, Panama City
Florida 32406-1327.