Thursday, June 5, 2008

Susan Blackmore's memes and "temes"

There are wonderful ideas in this presentation but I have a problem with her equation. As she presented it (14:30):

N=n*f(r1)*f(r2)*f(r3)*L.
N => number of communicative civilizations;
n=> number of planets;
f(r1)=> fraction of planets with r1;
f(r2)=> fraction of planets with r2;
f(r3)=> fraction of planets with r3;
L=> the fraction of a planet's life for which R3 survives


As it should read:

N=n*f(r1)*f(r2)*f(r3)*L.
N=> number of communicative civilizations;
n=> number of planets;
f(r1)=> fraction of planets with r1;
f(r2)=> fraction of planets with r1 that develop r2;
f(r3)=> fraction of planets with r2 that develop r3;
L=> the fraction of a planet's life for which R3 survives


But even this has issues. The equation suggests that R3 must develop before the planet is communicative. She suggests that we are on the cusp of develping R3 which would then suggest we are merely on the cusp of becoming communicative.

This presentation is also the best defense for conservatism I have ever heard.

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