virus: Re: Seven III
Wed, 15 May 1996 01:08:31 -0400

In response to David McFadzean's e-mail of 5/13:

>>Every logical argument starts with premisses....
>> [snip]
>This is irrelevant to the rest of your argument....

I don't think it's irrelevant at all -- it points out that both
scientific method and religious dogma are allowable (and equally valid) from
a "critical rationalism" standpoint. As Max More pointed out in his paper,
"Pancritical Rationalism: An Extropic Metacontext for Memetic Progress,"
"Ayer's move from panrationalism to critical rationalism results in a
conservatism, in which 'the business of the philosopher becomes to analyze,
and state as principles, the patterns of accepted ways of thinking and
speaking.' ...This change of attitude can be described in theological terms:
Ayer moves from apologetics (the procedure that seeks rational justification
for religious commitment) to kerygmatics (the exposition and description of
the fundamental message). Bad as this is, even worse is the fatal flaw in
this strategy for bolstering rationalism against irrationalism: the same move
is open to irrationalists... [who] can contend that Ayer can hace no
objection to someone who is committed to a different ultimate standard (such
as Biblical writing)." [see document in full as]
Since, as pancritical rationalists, everything is open to criticism, we
must acknowledge that either the rationalist, irrationalist, or even a
combination of both may be correct. The latter two may not be likely, but we
must concede the chance.
This means that John Doe's conduct in Seven is quite possibly ethical;
in fact, it may be just as ethical as conduct based on observational /
inductive standards -- such as those of the Church of Virus.

>Science is incompatible with dogma. I'm hoping that religion doesn't have to

Pancritical rationalism, like any other type of rationality, seems to be
an ultimate standard. Science may eventually undermine it, just as it may
(and already has, in principle) undermine science. I wonder if the Virian
religion is more scientific or pancritical rationalist.