Why Not Replicators?

September 11, 2010 |  by

Maybe you’re asking: What’s he got against replicators?

It comes down to this: Science, theories, outlooks on life. Ultimately, what good are they? I believe that the best science can offer us is a pathway, an opening to better understand and experience life. Science is a tool we use to expand our horizons, to grow beyond our limits. We’ve been using this tool for more than 2000 years. Look where we’ve come.

Meme reductionists say we are machines, running on memes. If so, then we’re like computers, and memes are the programs we’re running. All day long, we’re running the programs. It’s a lot like watching TV – going from channel to channel to channel – all day long. But what happens when I’m tired of running the programs? What if I want to run the me program (the best “program” of all, since I’m never sure what will happen)? Sorry.

System error.

Replication theory doesn’t let you do that. At best it says, “Well, maybe you can run the fun program or the serene meditation program. Have you tried those? After all, we have “choice” about our memes. But maybe – just maybe – I don’t want the fun or the meditation program.

Sorry. System error.

So that’s my gripe with replicators. Instead of opening doors for us (and the “me” door is the biggest open door we have), it closes them. It limits us. As theories go, it works pretty well inside it’s own box. But not much beyond it.

A more human view involves what I call an activator. Don’t worry – it rhymes with replicator, but this isn’t Dawkins deja vue. It’s fully compatible with the me program.

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