Re: RE[2]: virus: Hosts

David Leeper (
Sat, 12 Oct 1996 01:02:51 -0500

> The two previously posted responses to this question (including the
>one quoted above) seem to suggest that a genetic basis operates in meme
>selection. Do we have any hard evidence to support this, as opposed to
>cultural- or experiential-based selection?

Do cats prefer Nietzsche or Nabokov? This is a silly question because the genes of a cat
produce an awareness level which is not up to the task of understanding such things. Genes
effect memes.

Memes depend on environments created by genes. As that environment changes, the memes that live
in that environment must change or be replaced by more adaptive memes. I participated in a
thread like this about a year ago on Virus. It should be in the archives.

The reverse idea, that memes effect genes, is called the Baldwin Effect. This idea is a little
more radical. In fact, it's only resently resurfaced after decades of neglect because some
experiments in Artifical Life seem to indicate that the Baldwin Effect actually exists and can
be measured.

David Leeper
Homo Deus