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L.Kelly-Bowditch's picture

The Chicken and the Egg

On Thursday, the idea of memes and the resemblance of these cultural measurements to genes and biological reproduction was a discussion point in our smaller group. However, we discovered a problem in Dennett's reasoning--if ideas are not created by an individual, but rather absorbed and replicated by our minds, where did the first idea come from? If we as people do not produce ideas from observations, etc., than where did this first idea originate from? It seems Dennett seriously undermines his argument by 1) bringing up this problematic argument and 2) not addressing it.

By bringing this cultural analogy into his book, Dennett ends up making his reader question his thesis that evolution clearly occurred without the help of a higher power, because if ideas just magically appeared and began being replicated by the mind, where did the first bit of life come from?

Secondly, by not mentioning this problem, Dennett leaves the reader doubting his credibility for either not noticing this vital error in his argument or for insulting us by assuming we would not notice.

Dennett puts himself in the same situation later on when he uses the robot analogy--both situations call for a moment of creation. (not to mention he asks us to DESIGN the robot...)

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