OpinionIf memes are equivalent to genes, then some memes must also be equivalent to diseases - the spread of poor thinking from one individual to many.
      – Lee J Haywood, 2010-06-19 at 09:46:39   (15 comments)

On 2010-06-19 at 19:24:31, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Mistakes too, not just poor thinking per se...
On 2010-06-19 at 22:13:36, Thelevellers wrote...
Oh I like that... I like that a lot! :D And have to agree, it's something I have considered and liked finding a reason for why some people fail so hard :P
On 2010-06-20 at 10:34:28, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Sometimes (in the workplace) you find that if enough people start doing something the wrong way, they'll start to insist that they're all doing it right - even though they're ignoring years of precedent. It just takes one individual to pass on their wrong-headed way of doing something, and make it sound plausible, for everyone to start following the trend.
On 2010-06-20 at 10:35:10, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@Thelevellers: Can you think of any examples you've encountered, particularly small things?
On 2010-06-20 at 12:11:35, Thelevellers wrote...
Actually, mentioning workplace practices is definitely a good example. My employer are currently ensuring all their workers are getting 'yellow belt' Business improvement training, which is basically a way to try and safeguard the correct way of doing things and ensuring it doesn't slide as it is recognised that it happens a lot. An odd example of a small thing is slamming car doors! You don't need to with a new car, and slamming them can damage the mechanism and force you to slam them to close properly. I know I used to slam all doors cause we used to on my family's car - though I don't think they needed to be slammed to begin with. Someone (likely me in a strop TBH!) probably did and it kind stuck... Possibly.
On 2010-06-21 at 18:31:02, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Ah, there's a lot of things that you learn from your parents which make no sense or are at least an inefficient way to do something. It's worse when something becomes a habit (when you're young), as that makes it harder to change later on. Long story... At my old workplace, we always separated a list of reference numbers with a slash (/) in the code comments. We started using a version control system where the decision was made to separate references with an underscore (_) but of course that'd make no sense in an 'English' comment. At some point, a consultant decided to start using underscores in both code and version control - and their craziness soon became established as the 'correct' way to do things, ignoring the previous 10 years of precedent. So much so, that I was asked to change the standards because they were 'wrong' - not the people who weren't following them. I started calling this the Underscore Disease long before I'd heard of memes.
On 2010-06-22 at 21:33:57, Thelevellers wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: 'Underscore disease' - I like it! :P
On 2010-06-23 at 11:37:41, DigitalBoss wrote...
Liberals use this in politics: A lie told often enough becomes the truth. Like the lie that the US is a democracy. Completely untrue, the US is not, and never has been a democracy. The US is a constitutional republic. The progressives (liberals) started calling it a democracy back in the days of Woodrow Wilson. In the US, our government has democratic processes, but all is defined and protected by the Constitution. So after telling this lie for over 60 years to children that attend government schools, they all now believe that this country is a democracy, but it is not. By the way, memes are said to analogous to genes, not equivalent, a big difference.
On 2010-07-01 at 04:45:26, BorgClown wrote...
"Equivalent for some values of equivalence"
On 2010-07-23 at 06:07:55, TheRevolutionary wrote...
Some ideas are like Herpes. That would make a good bumper sticker or something. Fortunately none of our "diseases" have been fatal, though I can think of a few that have showed potential.
On 2010-07-23 at 07:36:40, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@TheRevolutionary: They're certainly fatal to a great number of individuals. Concepts of race and religion are obvious examples, but even bigotry in general (of all kinds) spreads mimetically.
On 2010-07-23 at 19:53:49, TheRevolutionary wrote...
Those were near the top of my list. Though I think it would be more accurate to say that they are like genetic traits that served a purpose in our ancestral past, and now cause problems. Like an appendix, or our craving for fats sugars and salts.
On 2010-07-24 at 16:45:52, Lee J Haywood wrote...
I think language diseases are the most common. Like those who insist on others applying a grammatical rule universally ('you and I'), and incorrectly. Or those who mis-spell a word based on its sound ('duct tape'), and help to make the mis-spelling common.
On 2010-08-27 at 04:48:48, Baslisks wrote...
Do we have a form of antivirus for our minds? How could we combat bad memes?
On 2010-08-27 at 18:01:46, Lee J Haywood wrote...
This is the thing which contrasts a logical, science-based mentality from a dogma-based religious mentality. You could claim that they're both 'valid' belief systems, but I argue that you have to have a way to filter good information from bad - otherwise anything goes. The problem with religion is that whilst it is good at providing answers, it's very, very poor at backing them up. Science, on the other hand, is based on a spectrum of certainty and knows to what degree it can answer a question. Science and religion aren't in opposition as such, but they both have a massive impact on the way people decide which memes are 'bad' and which are 'good' which is entirely subjective.