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Dan Dennet on Memes

February 29th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 1 Comment

The first talk of Dan Dennett that I watched, disappointed me. (It was his talk on “Believing in Belief”.) My disappointment came at the end of the talk, when he employed rhetorical devices reminiscent of what I see at creationist talks. Anyway, he’s still a potent thinker, worth listening to.

Check his TED talk on memes. Here is the blurb on the page:

Here’s one of those talks that can change your view of the world forever. Starting with the deceptively simple story of an ant, Dan Dennett unleashes a dazzling sequence of ideas, making a powerful case for the existence of “memes” — a term coined by Richard Dawkins for mental concepts that are literally alive and capable of spreading from brain to brain. On the way, look out for:
+ a powerful one-sentence secret of happiness
+ a compelling insight into terrorists’ motivation
+ a chilling view of Islam
And just when you think you know where the talk’s heading, it dramatically shifts direction and questions some of western culture’s fundamental assumptions.
This. Is. Unmissable.

Rather high praise for the talk, probably accurate. I didn’t experience it as being that ground-breaking, but I’ve been thinking about these things for a long time and have thought about pretty much all the things he touches on in the talk. Have a look, and let me know if you care to discuss any particular aspect of this talk. Let’s stick to the subject matter in this talk though, if you know what I mean. Certain digressions we so love making aren’t particularly useful.

UPDATE: For your convenience, the embedded video:

Categories: Religion and Science
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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Dan Dennet sez: Find Yerself a “god”! // Jul 13, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    […] wrote about Dan Dennet’s TED talk on memes before. Right now, I want to talk about a 25 second section out of it, between 5:00 and 5:25: I […]

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