Roy on Susan Blackmore

My brother Roy posted this:

OH MY GOD !!!!! This is indeed wondrously done, Sue gives words to my incoherent thoughts and names the disease — religion is a virus of the mind.


Sorry Roy, just had to respond, I’m researching an article on memes to be released in a couple of weeks: “Meaningful Memes or Glorified Graffiti” and have researched the varied colored hair lady in depth. Sue Blackmore is a freelance writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She has a degree in psychology and physiology from Oxford University (1973) an MSc and a PhD in parapsychology from the University of Surrey (1980). She no longer works on the paranormal. Her research interests include memes, evolutionary theory, consciousness, and meditation. She practices Zen, campaigns for drug legalization…

Sue Blackmore writes for several magazines and newspapers, blogs for the Guardian newspaper and Psychology Today, and is a frequent contributor and presenter on radio and television. She is author of over sixty academic articles, about eighty book contributions, and many book reviews. Her books include Dying to Live (on near-death experiences, 1993), In Search of the Light (autobiography, 1996),Test Your Psychic Powers (with Adam Hart-Davis, 1997),

The Meme Machine (1999), Conversations on Consciousness (2005), Zen and the Art of Consciousness (2011) and Consciousness: An Introduction (a textbook, new editions 2010 and 2011).

Absolutely the necessary qualifications needed to lecture on evolutionary theory.

She specifically wants to talk about memeplexes which leads to memetics which is defined as: The meme, analogous to a gene, was conceived as a “unit of culture” (an idea, belief, pattern of behavior, etc.) which is “hosted” in the minds of one or more individuals, and which can reproduce itself, thereby jumping from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief is seen as an idea-replicator reproducing itself in a new host. She and others have taken an inanimate object, a graffiti like picture, and given it the concept of ‘life’.

She has written “‘… Nowadays I would say that memetic evolution is going faster and faster, and it has almost entirely taken over from biological evolution.” Blackmore even believes that the idea of the ‘self’ is an illusion produced by competing memes in the brain. But under her own system, you have got to ask, ‘Who or rather, what is actually proposing this idea?’ But it becomes ridiculous when things such as the Internet, birth control, any invention, insulin, are called ‘memes’. A term that describes everything really describes nothing. All that Blackmore has done is apply the same label to just about anything, but this adds nothing to our knowledge. It is not a work not of science, but of extreme advocacy. Memes are nothing but a flashy new wrapping around a piece of old and conventional ideas.

They follow memes, where they get posted and shared to and with whom (another example of Facebooks lack of ridged privacy rules) adding to and detracting from it and ‘studying’ what they believe is its influence on others. And they get paid to do that!

What about the students? A bunch of religious nut cases probably, right! Well if you go to Wikipedia (which I usually don’t but thought I would give it the best benefit of the doubt that I could) these students parents have paid a lot of money for them to go there, and they have to have some kind of intelligence as seen below.

Oxford Royale Academy was included in the list of winners of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2012 in the International Trade category, the equivalent of being made an OBE in the corporate world. This was in recognition of growing student enrolments.

The company was also awarded Best Educational Product at the annual British Youth Travel Awards in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. ORA was chosen based on a range of criteria including customer service; quality of content; creativity in business thinking; improving or innovating a product; and commitment to health and safety.

Oxford Royale Academy is fully accredited by the British Council, British Accreditation Council (BAC), World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation (WYSE) and is a member of EnglishUK and StudyUK. In February 2012, Oxford Royale Academy became a supporting member of the Council of British International Schools. Oxford Royale Academy is fully accredited by the British Council, British Accreditation Council (BAC), World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation (WYSE) and is a member of EnglishUK and StudyUK. In February 2012, Oxford Royale Academy became a supporting member of the Council of British International Schools.

So, as mentioned in several of the comments on that article and in further research on her speeches, I would suggest the reason the students walked out had more to do with her and her lecturing capabilities and her personality than it had to do with the students religious beliefs or intellectual capabilities.

If you believe in what she believes in, I’m sure her lecture made sense, otherwise….. I can understand them walking out.

Roy Marshall I pretty much gave up reading when you wrote this -“Absolutely the necessary qualifications needed to lecture on evolutionary theory. “— Again, we read the same things, we look at them with differing eyes


You are expressing a myopic point of view (pun intended), which is your right. You have the right to reject information that might cast dispersions upon what you want to believe. But from my point of view, if she is pawning herself off as an ‘expert speaker’ in evolution then she should at least have some qualifications in the area such as paleontology, archeology, biology, embryology – something other than parapsychology.

I would wonder why the Academy didn’t bring in somebody like Tim ‘TurboTax’ Geithner or some other economists to speak to the class. One could certainly question their reasoning in this event. But for Ms Blackmore to expect that a highly intelligent group of business students from many nations, studying International Trade Relations, to stay around for her lecture, in which she admits she had no idea whom her target audience was to begin with and then admits she was deliberately condescending toward anyone who had any religious faith, is the height of narcissism.

I have no doubt that she qualifies to be an ‘expert speaker’ on the subject of parapsychology and her books on Zen Consciousness are well reviewed and one is (for what it is worth) used as a textbook at some liberal arts college somewhere.

So, she helps to put words into your mouth that you have been unable to adequately present on your own- cool. Even I seek the wisdom of others to assist in expressing myself-that is why most of my postings have a bibliography attached- so others can also check my sources.  And once checked, if someone disagrees with me, I am willing to debate the relative merits of both sides of the issue.

And believe me I have been slammed- my new I Am Not An Atheist blog has had some 200+ comments from atheists . Those that are vulgar I send to the spam folder. Those that maintain a modicum of civility, I request permission to answer them and post their comments (informing them that while their email address would not be shown, others would be able to send them comments) and to a person they have refused permission. It just seems odd that for people who are so willing to condemn others for something they do not believe in, they are unwilling to stand up for what they themselves profess to believe.  I did not include the above on the repost.


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