Loose threads (was Re: virus: From Tao to Tarot)

David McFadzean (dbm@merak.com)
Fri, 03 May 1996 17:02:10 -0600

At 01:25 AM 01/05/96 -0400, boneill@voyager.net wrote:

>I go away for a weekend and return to topics of Christianity fading to
>natural selection and Taoist memes... Amidst all this range, there seems to
>be a community personality emerging on this list... does anybody agree? David?

Absolutely, and I am simultaneously elated that the quality of discussion on
this list for the past few weeks has exceeded my high expectations, and
frustrated that I have been unable to participate as much as I'd like lately
due to work-related issues (mostly setting into motion the creation of a new
company for developing applications for the web, which is very exciting because
it means among other things an upgrade of hardware and bandwidth for lucifer.com
and the opportunity to spend more time and effort on the Virus pages).

One thing I've noticed as I've been catching up on all the messages the past
few days is that there are a lot of loose threads of discussion that should
be tied up. The biggest disadvantage I can see to this mailing list medium is
that it is very easy to move on to new topics of discussion without resolving
any of the old ones. This isn't necessarily bad (I think everyone was probably
getting a little tired of reading arguments about what exactly constitutes a
belief) but in order to make progress we're going to have to figure out a way
to get closure on at least some of the more relevant discussions and capture
the results for posterity. Otherwise this list will fall into a pattern I've
seen in almost every newsgroup I've bothered to read where topics are endlessly
rehashed as new people tune in.

So here's my take on the current status of some recent threads, please let me
know if you disagree.

1) Atheism and Agnosticism (demon thread)

I think we got closure when jwa@inx.net (John Aten) concedes:
>I have realized that you cannot judge any institution, philosophy, or
>anything like this by violent acts in it's history. Anything can be
>misused, especially when it is corrupted by greedy, ambitious leaders.

2) QM vs. logic (was Re: virus: Fundamentals)

Dan Henry <dmhenry@csn.net>
>Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you two aren't really disagreeing.
>Except that David is pointing out that the wave/particle duality may not be
>the contradiction we sometimes think it is. It is illogical to conclude
>that quanta behave in a contradictory fashion, just because we can't
>reconcile the macro behavior of billiard balls and ocean waves.

If this is true, then the advent of QM does not mean the demise of logic,

3) Definition of Belief

Reed <konsler@ascat.harvard.edu> just won't let this one die :) as he brings it
up again in the "other reality" thread:

>I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but way back when we were defining belief I
>was very serious when I said that:
>One observed to act as if X were true is said to believe X.
>Is the most precise definition of belief because it explicitly indicates the
>primacy of observation.

I still disagree with the definition on a subtle point, that Reed's definition
is true for *ascribing* beliefs to another, but doesn't define when beliefs
*exist*. I'm not going to pursue it until I can come up with a better argument

4) Religion & Logic

This thread actually has to do with the justification of logic, or how logic
is "better" than faith (or not).

"John A" <jwa@inx.net> suggests:
>I think that we will also reach a point where all existing concepts can
>be proven by existing concepts. for example,
>It completes a circle. Does any one else think this is feasable? If not,

"Joel Bradford Klammer" <klammer@acs.ucalgary.ca> replies:
>I think this is a case of the logical fallacy "begging the question".

Patrick D. Bunt (pbunt@indiana.edu) agrees:
>A circular argument is invalid by definition.

I actually agree with John on this one because I think Joel's and Pat's
objections can be avoided (or at least ameliorated) with the tenets of
pan-critical rationalism. But that will have to be the topic of a new thread.

David McFadzean                 david@lucifer.com
Memetic Engineer                http://www.lucifer.com/~david/
Church of Virus			http://www.lucifer.com/virus/