Richard Dawkins has famously proposed that cultural habits are passed on through “memes”: “tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches . . . . Memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation” (quoted in Sheldrake, The Science Delusion , 183).
On materialist premises, memes must be material but, Sheldrake drolly observes, “no one has ever found a meme inside a brain, or seen one leaping from one brain to another.”