Re: virus: Re : Complexity was TT and Absolute Truth

David McFadzean (
Tue, 26 Nov 1996 12:54:55 -0700

At 06:57 AM 26/11/96 -0500, Alex Williams wrote:

>I'd call it `code that describes a program', just as they teach back in
>CIS 100. Its a coded representation of an algorithm which can be
>executed on a platform.

They called it a "program" where I attended university. I don't see
a big difference between a coded representation of an algorithm and
the algorithm, at least not in common usage. Since algorithms are
abstract we can only show "coded representations".

>Question: Is it a program for Perl4? No, I think it has a couple
>Perl5-isms in there, so as far as Perl4 goes (or Scheme or Common
>LISP, or other sane programming language :) its not a program at all

No, I mentioned it was for perl 5.

>but could just as easily represent a dataset which has to be parsed to
>convert data to information. This is, in fact, exactly what the Perl5
>interpreter does.

Not unlike Chinese memes are for non-Chinese speaking interpreters...

>So, to sum up, yes, I'd say its a stimulous-pattern meant to trigger a
>specific pattern-interpreting-complex and cause /it/ to do useful
>work. Theoretically, you could write an interpreter for an entirely
>different language in Perl5, and then feed /it/ a different set of
>stimulous-patterns; isn't that akin to how meme-complexes reproduce?

Theoretically you could teach a child to interpret English as a
different language. I don't see how that is relevant.

>(Nota bene, the comp sci field is probably not a good one to use when
>looking for terminology hooks; we're such a confused bunch that we
>have acronymns for our acronymns, after all.)

Actually I think the terminology for CS is the best there is for
discussing memetics (along with evolutionary biology of course).

OK, here's a new argument that will prove that memes are encoded in

1. Memes aren't encoded in writing.
2. Memes aren't encoded in a recording of a spoken narrative of writing.
3. Memes aren't encoded in a live spoken narrative of writing.
4. Memes aren't encoded in speech.
5. Memes cannot be transmitted by speech.
6. Memes cannot be transmitted.

Obviously (I think) 6 is wrong. Each step follows logically
from the previous (to the extent that if X is true, it is
reasonable to say that X+1 is true), so where does the argument
go wrong? I say the first premise is flawed.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus