Re: virus: Honesty vs. Parasitism

Tim Rhodes (
Thu, 6 Feb 1997 21:55:27 -0800 (PST)

On 6 Feb 1997, David Rosdeitcher\ wrote:

> Most of the posts that attack me do not attack what I am
> communicating or trying to communicate. They are simply dishonest
> methods of creating confusion and uncertainty. As I said before, they
> attack the memes that are contained in what I am saying, not what I am
> actually saying.

> Examples of attacking fragments or memes of ideas are
> so common throughout this list, that pointing them out would be like
> pointing out water in the Pacific Ocean.

I'm trying to objectively (sorry) see how you use the term "meme". It
seems, to me, like you're using it to mean "words" or "terms" or
"sentences" or the like. Is that it or am I off the mark? I'm starting
(through sheer attrition) to understand what you're trying to communicate
and I may agree with you. I'm hesitant to theorize on your ideas without
your input, but I'd rather not lose my train of thought right now, so
here goes:

Yes, a common rhetorical technique is to disprove a conclusion by
disproving the assertions on which its based. This crops up a lot on this
list. It's hard to get past attacking the /style/ of the argument instead
of the argument itself. This may rise from the skeptical approach we
learn though science or from some other source, I don't know. The point
is, that it is a very /HUMAN/ thing to do. Like it or not, this is a
meeting of very human minds and all the little querks of human nature are
going to evidence themselves here eventually (even if it is on the Net).
Should we try and steer away from this? Probably. But until we figure
out what an individual (such as yourself) is trying to say, it's all we
have to go on. What else is there to spark a conversation with you other
than the words you choose? And that's all this is, a conversation. If I
walk up to you in a coffee shop or a club and want to get to know you, I
have to start somewhere. I might say something completely ludicrous just
to get things rolling. To provoke a response (and you're good at that
part) and then see how we interact from there. Sure, it's messy and
imprecise and sometimes ugly and mean. But we're people. Whether we're
at a bar or a terminal, we can be expected to act like humans. Don't let
your expectations get crushed by asking use not to be the people we are.

If you choose to continue to with us I think you would be well advised to
take Dave Pape's (I think it was his?) advice and include quotes from the
arguments you're answering. This, if for no other reason than clarity,
would help us all see what it is you're trying to say a little better.

Good luck,

Prof. Tim