virus: truth, science, and the American way

Reed Konsler (
Tue, 1 Apr 1997 10:49:51 -0500 (EST)

>From: bolin aaron ulysses <>
>Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 13:09:12 -0600 (CST)
>Reed recently brought up the idea that any point of view that is not
>based on reason leaves an individual open to manipulation.
>Though reasoned argument and scientific evidence I have arrived at a
>point of view which says that everyone (even Master Brodie) are
>susceptible to manipulation, regardless of their point of view. If fact,
>some people with an irrational point of view are harder to manipulate
>because of their irrational "faith meme."

Sure. It's harder to manipulate a person from outside their faith, but
easier from within it. Critical thinking makes one less manipulable
from any vector

>The point I'm trying to make is that there is no truth. Reason is an
>illusion, science is an illusion, and most of all truth is an illusion --
>there is no objective reality.

I don't even begin to believe this, and if you're not careful David R. or
Tad is going to eat you for lunch. If you really want to float this as a
hypothesis I think you need to develop it as it's own idea.

>So how does this fit into a discussion of memetics? Memes exist because
>they are adaptive in some way. If they were not adaptive they would be
>replaced by better memes.

Unless someone intentionaly alters the selection criteria, for instance
by asking the questions:

Does this meme seem accurate?
What do I get by holding it?
Is there any use in spreading it?
What do I have to give up to hold it?

Artificial selection is as effective as "natural" selection. Assuming you
are interested in breeding domestic memes.

>Seek therefore not for truth or reason but practicality.

I can't argue with this, except that I don't think our definitions of
"practicality" are the same. My definintion includes accuracy.

>For some people it makes sense for them to have irrational
>memes because it allows them to do extraordinary things.

A human being cannot fly without assistance. Such extraordinary
feats have never been observed reproduceably. Belief is
irrelevant, except that false belief can lead to harm (for instance,
jumping off your garage becuase you believe you can fly).

Now, if you are talking about "placebo effect", that's true...
but not as significant in support of your thoughts, I think.


Reed Konsler