I am going to respond to Susan Blackmore's TED talk by highlighting several excerpts at a time over a period of several days. Feel free to leave your own reactions to what she has to say or to my analysis. (If you want to go back and check out the context, times are in parentheses.)
(:18) Cultural evolution is a dangerous child for any species to let loose on its planet. By the time you realize what's happening, the child is a toddler, up and causing havoc, and it's too late to put it back. We humans are Earth's Pandoran species.
Note that culture and its evolution are for Blackmore alien to the human person. Culture stands outside of or alongside whatever source or identity it has in the human being. Culture is not something that flows perpetually out of what it means to be human.
To a certain extent, I agree with Blackmore that culture does come to stand "outside of" the experience of being human. We speak this way whenever we talk about a culture apart the sum of human actions. Culture is more than the sum of its parts.
I would even agree that culture is one of the forces that shapes our understanding of what it means to be human. Consider language, religion, education, ceremony -- these all undoubtedly contribute to our self-understanding in essential ways. In fact, I would probably go so far as to say that culture and a sense of what it means to be human are mutually dependant upon one another.
But it seems to me that where Blackmore is going with this is quite different (something that becomes clear later). She is making culture (and its memes) essentially independent of any foundational understanding of the human person.
At the end of the day (all just accommodations to the force of this explanation in accounting for things like ties, Wii bowling, the popularity of the movie Titanic and the bowl haircuts of the 80s aside), this vision is incompatible with a Christian vision that asserts a relationship between a creator God and his image bearing creatures. At the end of the day, I think we have to retain a vision of culture that flows out of our image bearing nature.
In her admittedly powerful account, Blackmore leaves us no room to think of humanity except as a system which serves as a biological and mimetic replicator that has become the environment for other biological and non-biological replicators.
At what cost?
(1:22) [with picture] The best idea anybody ever had.
Just a note: Consider the revelatory imagery of the picture that accompanies this. You think signs and symbols are not important to us anymore?
(1:46) The idea was so simple and yet it explains all design in the universe. I would say not just biological design but all of the design that we think of as human design. It's all just the same thing happening.
Here again is that radical leveling. The simplicity of her vision is brilliant - perhaps even more brilliant than the physicalism upon which it is based. This is the part of her talk that makes her world view capable of stability. It is both simple and universally applicable.