Memes Redux (04 Aug 2002)

I head off home tomorrow. I would have gone today but the British rail system being what it is (which is generally ok, but crap on Sundays) the only train was at 23:30 and gets in at 9 tomorrow morning.

Keith commented on my ramble about memes on Wednesday. I'll expand a little on that today.

I think a lot of my ramble can be represented as the question "Is elegance a fundamental environmental factor for memes?". The fitness function for a genetic algorithm has 2 parameters - the replicator and the environment. The environment can be split into fundamental factors and other replicators.

As an example, in gene evolution rain is a fundamental factor of the environment (at least it is here). If the gene causes its host to explode whenever it rains that seriously hurts its fitness. (not to mention creating a real mess.) In the same example, predators are other replicators effecting the environment of a gene. If the gene causes the host to light up in the ultraviolet and its predators see ultraviolet then that, too, will hurt its fitness.

So is elegance a fundamental factor or a meme? I can think of evidence for and against - but in the end I guess the argument is a little pointless. If anyone disagrees (with either assertion) - feel free to reply