virus: Richard Dawkins has left the building

Dave Pape (
Fri, 21 Feb 1997 01:40:30 GMT

Well it was pretty good. His main thing was evolution, a celebration of
Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Best bit of this half was when he'd spent five
minutes saying how beautifully simple evolution is as a concept, yet how
well it describes so many things, and that it could be stated in a single
sentence, without maths, and without complicated language. Darwin's idea,
put simply, was.........

And this old guy sitting at the back shouts "We can't hear very well!" and
everyone pisses themselves laughing. I thought he should've said "Yer
fucking mouth works alright though!"

2nd half, questions and answers, someone says that surely the part of the
brain that does religious thinking (ha ha ha) must have evolved because it
was some benefit, so doesn't that argue for religion. Dawkins says "Well
there have been proposed benefits," and I blurt out "like increased group
cohesion" and then Dawkins goes (without hearing me) " increased
group cohesion," and my head swells because I'm like the big pop star
spotlit on the main platform.

Then I ask my question which was about his (on-paper) claim that science
isn't a virus, and he says that yes, it does spread by infection, but he
doesn't call it a virus because he reckons

(a) there's more evidence that what it says is right- which is a bit ropey,
cos that just means that there's lots of intra-supporting memes that agree
with it.

(b) it actually does more good, which is a bit of a fluff because it
counteracts him talking about possible concrete benefits for religion.

Didn't alter my view that they're both pretty close in the way they spread
and claim hosts' brainspace.

But had a real buzz, had a few more ideas about things like the relationship
between ecology and evolution (nothing groundbreaking, but I felt the
internal consistency of an are of my ecology of ideas suddenly get a bit
more internally consistent, a bit more stable and strong). Top night!

Dave Pape
Limit the Fun. Proscribe the Fun. DESTROY THE FUN!
-(Southport & Formby Round Table Association slogan, 1994-1995)

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