The Problem and Potential of Memetics

Volume 30
Spring 2002
The Problem and Potential of Memetics

Memetics, in kinship with evolutionary psychology, has arisen as a relatively new Darwinian approach to understanding language, culture, and the human mind, where memes exist as cultural and mental replicators analogous to genes. In its extreme versions, memetics purports to give a total explanation for the origin, grounding, and functioning of cultural and mental events, yet ironically, memetics is rife with conceptual problems and utterly lacking in empirical support. Nevertheless, in spite of the serious technical issues and the unconvincing over-extension of the idea, modest versions of the theory might potentially enlighten our understanding of cultural transmission and the reproductive success of certain ideas. Furthermore and most importantly, since radical memetics presents an aggressive, increasingly popular, and absolutely materialistic conception of human nature that is vociferously anti-theistic, Christian scholars who wish to understand and critique pivotal academic and cultural trends will benefit from understanding the problems and potentials of memetics.

J. Poulshock
68 - 80
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