Re: virus: Rationality

Alexander Williams (
Mon, 03 Mar 1997 14:13:26 -0500

David McFadzean wrote:
> I see now that we've really been arguing over the meaning of
> "significant". What may be a significant to you might not be a
> significant difference to me, it is subjective. I was using it in
> the sense that if the reconstructed meme is close enough to the
> original that coherent dialog can take place, the differences are
> not significant.

Ah, well, from observation of just this ML, we can see that `coherent
dialogue' is a rather loosely defined term, itself. I'm not sure memes
as reconstructed have to be all that `coherent' at all for dialogue to
take place. Of course, its all entirely relative. The protocol of
language itself gives us an /immense/ amount of clarity, error checking
and shared assumption for references; after millions of years of
evolution it should.

I'm interested in where things break. Guess I'm just weird that way.

> > misinterpret in `just the right way' and clarify on the new
> > perspective and, in so doing, illuminate the target from another
> > perspective.
> That's an interesting way of looking at it.

Its pretty clearly borne when looked at, in almost any public fora you
want to investigate. We throw ideas out, people throw bits back,
changed slightly. We pick it up, examine it, see if it fits better and
reissue. Without others' `breaking' the interpretation, there'd be much
less profit in sharing things publically.

> True, but your confidence should go up through repeated exchanges
> because the probabilities of getting phenomenally lucky multiply.

And in fact, that's what we see.

> ... and I don't have any problems with this either. I guess I'm just
> saying we have to start in the middle (quoting Dennett, I think).
> Abstraction in necessary to make any progress. If we always have to
> figure out underlying mechanisms first, then we'll keep delving down
> to lower and lower levels. I doubt DNA would have been discovered
> if scientists hadn't made a lot of progress on Mendelian genetics
> first.

You guys go up the hierarchy, then; I'll see how deep I can bore. If it
turns out to be self-similar in both directions, we have interesting
results on our hands.

> > Think of it this way ... at least its not a polemic on "neo-cheating"
> > or teaching Manipulation ...
> We need another way of saying, "thank God for small miracles". :)

How about `thankyouthankyouthankyou![grovel grovel'?

   Alexander Williams{}
The  Mekton  is a  powerful tool,  both  physically and emotionally.
There is something that  happens to an  enemy when he sees his  home
and family stepped on by a hundred ton metal man.    -- Arkon Verian
Of  all the weapons of the  Empire, the  greatest and most respected
were the Metal Knights.  These Knights had served the leaders of the
Bendar for Generations,   righting wrongs and  bringing  fear to the
Empire's Enemies.  It is  said that these  metal giants were  shaped
like men so  that the alien servants of  Evil would know that it was
Man who defeated them.
                               -- Scribings from the Murian Archives