virus: Re:Science and Religion

Ken Pantheists (
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 02:15:12 +0000

Reed Konsler

> Oh Boy! My turn to rant! Stephen, this isn't intended to be directly
> toward you, but...

I assume it was directed toward my meme. :)

> Earlier you accused us of getting caught in outdated "modern" thinking.

In a "tongue in cheek" way, yes. I may be misusing the word Modern.

> Don't you think this thread is going pretty directly toward classical
> "post-modern" thinking? This last week we've been arguing around in
> circles about our perceptions, beliefs, and their validity. What is truth?
> What is absolute? Blah Blah Blah...

I know and I've found it really frustrating, because people have been
arguing about as if it is something that can be determined--- does god

Post modern thinking (as I understand it, and there are a million
definitions.) explores the frailty of Truth. It is contingent upon many
slippery and layered factors such as context, perception and medium--
not WHAT is true and what is false.

David?? You left Vancouver with an interesting book "The Truth About the
Truth", does it have anything to say on this?

> Doesn't this bore people after a while?

Yes. That's why I decided to change the way I read this list. I have
decided to look at memes only-- not their content--- and work from

> Forget about absolute truth. That concept is as ill defined as God....

You find no arguements here.

> Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick! Aren't all these things enough? What
> do become Gods? For once in the history of civilization a
> process is developed which allows us to stop dreaming about what the Moon
> is like and actually GO THERE and see.

Great. And that achievement has spawned all kinds of associated memes.

Star trek comes to mind-- a marriage of the ancient Homerian epics with
some Cold War gusto and always the assertion that we are getting better
and better at being human.

(BTW. I like Star Trek, so don't take offense at my glib summary.)

> If you don't live in this world then I understand how
> these things seem insignficant. Perhaps you even know someone who has
> claimed to have traveled to the Moon via astral projection of something
> similar. Maybe you believe them.

Well, now you've just created a straw man of me and burned it. I don't
recall ever saying anything that would make anyone believe that about

Perhaps you are referring to my defense of religion (all religion) when
people all but call it the product ignorance and imagination. I have
only said that it works as a social and cultural organizer as well.

If there wasn't a need for memes like that, how do you explain the
behaviour of gazillions of people who organize their lives around *some*
kind of spiritual focus---

How do you explain your purchase of cards and runes?

> Divination is a hobby of mine, and I'm always up for try a new set
> of rune stones or a different deck. I really want it to work. Wouldn't
> the world be a great place if you could manipulate your destiny by through
> something as simple as a set of symbolic objects?

You mean you don't? Of course you do. That's what divination is-- it
organizes your thoughts around a bunch of symbols so you can figure out
possible futures. The symbols help manage information that is
potentially overwhelmingin its detail.

It only becomes mysticism when a specific class of people (The mystics)
decide that only they have the power to do it right and they can charge
money for it.

I have read books on crime theory that call the investigative process

> I'm sorry for sounding like such a lunatic. But do you want us to stop
> searching for treatments for AIDS? for cancer? Do you want us to stop
> investigating fusion power, cheap computers, and space travel?

Apology accepted. Why would you think anyone *sane* would want any of

Unless you were creating a meme that was designed to make me look really

> I'm so tired of "you guys are soooo arrogant", "you guys can't explain THIS
> observation, can you?", "you guys have all these conflicting models, can't
> you come up with something better than that?"

I think you are misinterpreting the point of attack.

Those arguements illustrate the inability of *anything* to illuminate
*one* truth when it comes down to MEMES.

Look at all the "truths" you've created about me while just trying to
get your point across.

I said this to David in a personal conversation about two months ago,
and I'll repeat it here.

Science works great in the biosphere. Yeah, you can create some pretty
rock solid truths. But how can you hope to do that in the ideosphere??
It's like saying you're a black belt in Karate and then attempting to
fight your next bout underwater.

> is: we're fucking working on it. This is a human, physical endeavour and
> it is error prone and time/energy intensive. If you think God will inspire
> you to better solutions to the problems of how to feed, clothe, and
> educate, and provide for 10 billion people...well, God help you. I've
> never claimed that SCIENCE is infallible.

You have created some pretty strong memes. I've used them before as
well. I use them when I try to get people to appreciate something that I
feel is being undervalued or threatened. I point to all the hard work
that has gone into it. Except I talk about theatre and mope about all
the severe cuts that our country (Canada) has levelled against the arts.
I haven't found them effective in reversing the cuts.

But back on track-- someone posted a quote from Stephen Dawkins a number
of days ago where he says that the memetic model gives us the power to
select memes, specifically religious memes, from adifferent
standpoint--- from outside the possible abuses of religious memes.
(genital mutilation, opression of women, minority groups)-- situations
that arise from what I see as an abuse of power more than from the core
memes of the religion.

Ken Pantheists                     
Virus Theatre           
TooBa Physical Theatre Centre