Possibly, Richard Dawkins’s worst offense against the world of reason is the coining of the word “meme” – a “unit” of “thought” that replicates in the minds of others by neo-Darwinian natural selection. The idea itself is, of course, hardly a useful description of how people influence each other, but it serves very well as a lazy substitute for precise language.
For example, we might hear about the “hate Hilary Clinton meme”, the “Islam is the religion of peace meme”, or, even more inexcusably, the “religion meme”. These short cuts are short circuits.
How about, in order,
“Many Democrats have a strong aversion to Hilary Clinton”, “Some claim that Islam is a religion of peace”, and … well, what in Hull DOES Lazybrains mean by the “religion meme”? Probably something like, “I despise traditional spiritual beliefs.”
Do you see the problem here? Once Lazybrains is compelled by his Inner English Teacher to actually say what he means, he will need to defend it rationally and with evidence.
Or maybe I should save myself lots of work by just calling all this the “mental laziness meme”?
Then I wouldn’t have to say what I mean, but I would at least have modelled the proposition ably.