Re: Genes and Memes

From: Nick Tarleton (
Date: Fri Apr 25 2008 - 06:17:15 MDT

On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 2:21 PM, Matt Mahoney <> wrote:
> Memetic fidelity can be estimated from the evolution of language. After 100
> generations, a language bears little resemblance to its original form. If we
> assume that cultural beliefs are inherited in the same way as language, then
> the error rate is about 10^-2. Therefore our cultural beliefs, to the extent
> that they are heritable, must have a complexity of less than 100 bits.

At least, any that last more than 100 generations; but even this is
patently false. The works of Homer, say, are >>100 bits and have been
transmitted faithfully. Many religions are that old or nearly so, and
although they have changed, >>100 bits have been preserved in each.
Perhaps I misunderstand what you mean by "cultural beliefs".

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