Monday, October 25, 2010

A Structure RE: Corruption of Memes - 2

In the first post of this series we talked about memetic morph whereby a meme changes through some corruption of memory.

Some of the morph that takes place in such a case has been described in our series as a partial corruption of the strands of memes within an individual's memory.

One allegorical or symbolic example can be demonstrated by comparing what happens when there is a phenomenon that appears as an "innocent corruption of memory" described by Dr. Roger A. Pielke Sr. engendered by the inaccurate reading of text.

Even this can lead to memetic morphs that generate corrupt memes then their propagation throughout a meme complex, and even beyond that.

A paper released recently, which we will shortly get to, informs us of a scenario where corruption can take place in a structural manner which could lead to promulgation of corrupted memes, even though the subject matter is scientific data that is not itself corrupt.

First however, lets consider the case of the memes of climate change skeptics & global warming deniers within the meme complex harboring the notion that global climate change & global warming are the greatest hoax ever fostered on humanity.

Some of their ilk hacked into servers (central computers) of climate scientists to steal database data, email records, and documents of other types.

Upon analysis of that stolen information they formulated the meme that scientists were fabricating data to the degree that reports constructed from the data was biased to the point of being fraudulent.

That meme spread far and wide and is still strong within the denier meme complex.

Clearly toxins of power were at work when theft was chosen as the method of discovery in place of logic, argument, and scientific debate.

But there are other ways memes can become corrupt in an innocent manner, well short of theft.

Take the case revealed by a recent paper mentioned above, pointing out what is called citation mutation (a form of morph):
Few scientific studies have attracted as much attention as the "Cleavage of structural proteins during the assembly of the head of bacteriophage T4", published 40 years ago by Uli Laemmli. Referenced an estimated 2 x 105 times (about 15 daily citations), it is unavoidable that the article is often cited incorrectly. Indeed, database searches reveal more than 600 variations of the correct reference ...

The omission, addition or replacement of one character on the keyboard by another lead to variations that can be described in genetic terms and classified as deletions, insertions, point mutations and inversions of characters, or as complete nonsense mutations.
(Mutations of Citations, The Scientist). The mutation of citations can lead to memetic morph when the wrong citation leads to an unintended paper that has similar sounding text, but in actuality is different.

Governments do deliberate memetic morph activities during propaganda wars where HTML links are studied, then sometimes changed, when the government wants to continue to cover up activity it considers harmful to the image it wants to project to the public.

In the case of deliberate corruption we can see the work of toxins of power, but in the case of negligent or mistaken corruptions, the toxins of power move in later in the process, so that, they are not always the primary cause of memetic mutations or morphs.

The next post in this series is here.