Do Memes Exist?

Richard Dawkins (pictured), the famed evolutionary biologist and, more recently, outspoken neo-Atheist, first introduced the term “meme” in his 1976 book, “The Selfish Gene.” Like many other natural scientists, Dawkins was interested in the possibility that culture evolves much like species do. But what were the units of selection? How or why is it that ideas seem to “catch on” — much like religion — in ways that don’t promote an individual’s genetic success? But do memes have real, physical existence? Many researchers think they do.

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