Re: virus: Rationality

David McFadzean (
Tue, 25 Feb 1997 00:19:48 -0700

> From: Dave Pape <>
> Date: Monday, February 24, 1997 4:55 PM

> Those animals, /those animals' nervous systems/, aren't rational. Their
> behaviour LOOKS rational, looks reasoned, looks as though it could have been
> logically decided on. But I don't think it is.

Exactly. That's why I distinguished that type with a different label:
pre-rational, i.e. rational (behaviour) without awareness of rationality.

As an aside, I don't think the question of whether a given behaviour
is rational or not is merely in the eye of the beholder, but rather
is an objective fact, at least to the extent that a background set
of assumptions can be agreed upon. I can't think of any examples
irrational behaviour from the animal kingdom offhand, which comes as
a bit of surprise. Even seemingly stupid suicidal behaviours like
standing on hind legs and squeaking when a predator is spotted turn
out to have rational explanations from the selfish gene's perspective.

So I'll take an example from human behaviour: assuming that one doesn't
set out to become disliked, I would contend that it is an objectively
irrational behaviour to insult, demean, taunt, and otherwise derogate
one's (formerly friendly) peers in a public forum.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus