Re: RE[2]: virus: Hosts

Martin Traynor (
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 12:34:50 +0000


On 13 Oct 96 at 17:56, KMO prime wrote:

> The scholars and theologians in most any long-standing religious
> tradition tend to have very different religious beliefs than the laity in
> that same tradition. The "God meme" is often maintained in the minds of
> the laity in conjunction with a memetic allergy to analytic thought.
> This is definitely not true of most religious scholars. To maintain a
> place in the cognitive architecture of minds like those of Augustine,
> Thomas Aquinas, the current Pope, or any number of sharp-thinking
> believers (and we all know at least one person who maintains both complex
> rational thought processes as well as theistic belief) the "God meme"
> must decouple itself from a memetic allergy to rationality.

I've often wondered about this process.
To rise to any significant level within the [catholic] church a
belief in its teachings would be a positive drawback. From a
political viewpoint, how can a man who (supposedly) strives for
humility lobby effectively for high position? Equally, how can a
brilliant thinker fail to notice the inherent flaws and
inconsistencies in Vatican teachings? The conclusion I initially came
to (and held for a number of years) was that beyond a certain point
they were all liars and hypocrites (that made me very popular in my
Irish homeland ;).

Looking at things memetically has softened my point of view though; a
belief in God needn't exclude a proclivity for, or indeed positive
brilliance at the sciences. This is probably best illustrated by
example. Borrowing David Leepers 'Tree of Life' memetic metaphor, we can
imagine a situation where science is close to the trunk while
religiousness is perhaps one of the branches. This could represent
someone for whom science is the guiding force but who allows the
possibility that religion may have something to offer or that there
may be some truth in it. Conversely, a situation where a
religion is the trunk of the tree while science is nestling in the
foliage could represent a person who, while they have a deep and
abiding faith in their God, they still recognise that science has
power and ability when dealing with the physical world. An
able-minded individual might recognise that science is the memetic
enemy of religion and might study it ferociously thereafter (know
thine enemy). Alternatively, he may simply embrace it as one more
means of facilitating the spread of the word of god. This needn't
cause any problems such as the creationist / evolutionist schism.
Even if this man holds to the genesis view, he can examine the
evidence and say 'while I believe that God created the world in 7
days, for some reason known only to himself he created it in such a
way that it would appear that we have evolved from amoebas. He
appears to have built things to a fairly consistent model therefore a
study of the discernible rules may prove efficacious'.

This is not to say that there aren't liars and hypocrites in the
upper echelons of church hierarchies, but a few might not be ;)

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