Survival machines for genes · Survival machines for memes · The fidelity of copying · Genetic and memetic replication

The honeybee drone “gives its all” when it mates, leaving behind its entire genital apparatus in its mate’s abdomen, after which it promptly dies. Which of the ideas presented here does this illustrate?

The German physicist Max Planck remarked that “An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents. . . . What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is familiarized with the idea from the beginning.” How does this exemplify the idea that “we’re the disposable vehicles in which our memes are riding to immortality”?

What makes analog an appropriate designation for analog devices? Where does the “analogy” come in?

“Just say no” was a popular meme of the 1980s. It was thought that if everyone would “just say no,” the drug problem would disappear. Has anyone every offered you this meme to hold onto as a guiding principle? Why do you think it failed?

Can you think of any memes your parents have passed on to you that you’ll pass on to your children? Can you think of any that you won’t pass on?

Write a paper giving some examples of memes that are “newborn in one generation, swaggering with power in the next, doddering in the next, and laughably old-fashioned in the next.” [My country right or wrong comes to mind.]

Ask your parents what “My country right or wrong” means to them. Then write a paper comparing the way they feel about this meme to the way you feel about it.