Re: virus: Rationality

David McFadzean (
Sun, 2 Mar 1997 15:03:00 -0700

> From: Alex Williams <>
> Date: Saturday, March 01, 1997 12:23 PM
> > I didn't ask if you know with certainty. I'm asking if it is a reasonable
> > assumption. Hint: the fact that you are responding coherently implies
> > that you do whether you admit it or not.
> Here we have an example of the failure of the protocol: you're making
> an assumption I both do not agree with and had no intent to admit to.

If you agreed with me, you could have said so. Instead you answered
a different question.

> I /don't/ think its a reasonable assumption to say we had memes of
> tightly coupled similarity from my intent to your cognition. They're

I don't believe you. If you really thought that, then you wouldn't
waste time having these discussions. (Sort of like someone trying to
convince you that you are a figment of their imagination, they undermine
their own position merely by participating.)

> pretty close, the protocol 'English' is good enough for that, but the
> rapid change effects of your memetic environment on it turned it in
> short order to something else.

Wrong again. Here is the your quote that we are discussing:

> From: Alexander Williams <>
> Date: Friday, February 28, 1997 7:39 PM

> Then we got lucky. Either I'm amazingly good at communicating my meme,
> or you're amazingly good at interpreting my communication, or we just
> flat out got lucky. Or have developed an amazingly good protocol that
> reduce the probability of encoding/interpretation, I suppose.

My interpretation hasn't changed since I first read it. In order for
you to show that my interpretation has a /significant/ (your word)
difference than the intended meaning, you must show that my response
to it is incoherent from your perspective. I don't think you can do
that (but you're welcome to try) since your responses to my messages
are in fact coherent, which means that there is a vanishingly small
probability that there are significant differences in the copies of

> SOMEONE has to keep in mind that the protocol isn't 100%, or even
> nearly so. We very well may /not/ be communicating the intended
> concepts at all, keeping that possibility of failure in mind is very
> important to understanding where things can and do derail.

There is a difference between constantly keeping it in mind, and
constantly bringing it up in every discussion.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus