Memetic Mesmerism and Eumemics

Please note that this essay will now be housed in True Freethinker’s section on Daniel Dennett


  1. In fact, the recent overview of Dennett's body of work by Tadeusz Zawidzki (Dennett, Oneworld Publications, 2007), otherwise sympathetic to Dennett, notes that it "lacks philosophical depth and is not systematic.". i.e-He compromises much of his logic in order to satisfy his position as an atheist high priest.

  2. Definitely true. Michael Ruse on the other hand at least appears much more respectable and logical in his defense of Evolution or Atheism. From what I have read of his works and examples of Dennett's it should be obvious even to atheists that the "New Atheists" are just nutty fundamentalists of a different color.

    These people are doing their cause more harm then good.

  3. The "New Atheist" label is a nonsense something Wired Magazine used on the cover and people have taken up to lump these four guys together.

    'Breaking the Spell' is probably lacking depth because Dennett is proposing something new, a new way to study religion, in a naturalistic way -- he also had a non-technical audience in mind.

    Have you read 'Darwin's Dangerous Idea'? It is both logical and systematic and has plenty of depth.

    Also, it's hard to be 'deep' when the targets of the atheists arguments are woolly, unclear and vague assertions about some 'Ground of all being' or some other lofty, non-defeasible claim.

    I think, to be fair to Dennett, you need to point out to your readers that Dennett is not only pointing out how memes can be a useful way to understand the spread and evolution of ideas, but that the Bible itself is not the word of God but the product of what you call 'unnatural selection' -- the Bible, best-seller ever!, is the fittest of texts, the product of many generations of human-design tweaks.

    Regardless of whether there is a God or not, you have to accepts that all these thoughts and ideas about God have *some* mechanism. Theists have slowly come to believe that DNA and evolution is really the mechanism behind evolution and life, the evidence is staggering, and I look forward to the day when we have a similar theory in the real of ideas and the mind. It won't be memetics are currently stated, this is science after all, we can amend our ideas without the whole house of cards tumbling down -- defeat is progress so thank you for your part in making this issue a little clearer for everyone involved.

    I hope we all become 'infected' with the science meme, the evolution meme, the naturalist meme and the meme meme. At least the new atheists are being honest about what they're doing.

    Do we see Ric Warren, Billy Graham et al being so honest about the ideas they'd like to implant? In your post you equated abortion with murder - did you realise you were implanting an meme? You seem to take this as a fact that everyone should just swallow.

    Wake up people, something memelike is always going on in cultural transmissions... let's be honest about it and become good shepherds of good, honest, memes.