Gene:(Genotype/Phenotype,Genocide)::Meme:?

March 31, 2004

Random thought of the morning. If there is a correspondence between genes and memes. We should be able to express gene concepts about memes. So here goes:

gene — encoding of some property in cells

meme — encoding of some property in ideas

genotype — a set of genes that will express themselves as a phenotype

memotype — a set of memes that will express themselves as a phenotype

a phenotype for a genotype is an organism e.g. a person

a phenotype for a memotype is the expression of an idea e.g. a book or movie. it is also a person who expresses/holds that idea. an adherent/believer.

genocide — killing all entities that posess a particular genotype

memocide — destroying all entities that hold a particular memotype e.g.
marketing, conversions, censorship/book-burning.

Question 1: Traditional genocide is bad because it involved killing people. Modern science will soon allow gene therapy. So, we could e.g. eradicate the gene for Down Syndrome (which most people would think is a good thing!). However, it also means the possibility of eradicating the gene for homosexuality (if homosexuality is indeed genetic) or the Cohen gene. Perhaps we need to think of genocide in terms of the merits of the population… Is it ok to eliminate down syndrome but not ok to eliminate the cohen gene?

Question 2: Apply the analysis above to memes. The war on terrorism is above-all a war on the suicide bombing meme….