Dawkins’ problem is that he only thinks within a Darwinian box. If something makes apparent Darwinian sense, for him it automatically has logical moment however absurd it might appear in another context. Outside the Darwinian box it is hard to think of an idea more absurd than memes. According to Dawkins, ideas that could not themselves possibly be rational and willful, as if rationally and willfully manipulate minds that actually are. Isn’t this what fairies do? Queen Mab who gallops at night through lovers’ brains, proclaimed Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. They compete with each other in order to colonize human minds. It’s like saying apples compete with each other to get inside an apple pie. (Take that you scurvy pippin! Out of my way!). Memes are not all good however. There are some really sly devious types. Particularly disgusting is the religious meme, which, would you believe, teams up with the fear of hell meme and the blind faith meme to terrify some poor lumbering robot into religious belief. So that’s why I believe! Thanks Richard. What’s really slimy is that the more you point out to the hapless believer that his faith is irrational the more virtuous he takes himself to be, as his faith has now shown it can resist even the most rational arguments. Funny, that’s just how I see Dawkins. except in reverse. The more you point out that memes are a complete fantasy the more he is confirmed in what he takes to be Darwinian sense. Is there any evidence for all this? Has anybody ever seen a meme? Dawkins is an unconcious – or maybe not so unconscious – Humean. He takes it for granted that there is no such thing as the self, and what ignorant and superstitious religious believers call the soul is merely a kind of logical empty space waiting to be colonized by memes. Any evidence?
Dawkins will say, of course, that science has investigated the brain and hasn’t found a soul. I rest my case. Dawkins’ basic proposition that only science can tell us truth is undermined by science itself. The fundamental experiment that launched quantum mechanics was the two-slit experiment. In the very act of investigating the wave scientists collapsed it and reduced it to a particle. Or if they tried to investigate the wave, abacadabra, there was no particle. Science can tell us a lot about particles. But it can only speculate about the superposition out of which, if Bohr is to believed at any rate, the observer calls the observed that he (alright if you insist she) observes. But, this is the crucial point, science reasonably speculates that there is a superposition. The ‘prove it then or I won’t believe it’ position is fundamentally flawed because of the superposition. The facts of science , science itself tells us, can’t tell us everything there is to know.
I wouldn’t mind so much if Dawkins even mentioned, let alone refuted, the vast amount of philosophical thinking that holds there is a self, because once you think that the whole meme idea collapses. This is what I mean by thinking inside the Darwinian box. Dawkins needs to get out more. His propositions always take the form: ‘given that the only answer to this question is a Darwinian one, is the only answer to this question a Darwinian one? Answer yes.’ Memes make Zeus look like an experiment in physics.