Re: virus: New Ideas

Dave Pape (
Mon, 26 May 1997 13:40:31 +0100 (BST)

At 18:15 24/05/97 -0600, David McFadzean wrote:
>> From: Dave Pape <>
>> Date: Friday, May 23, 1997 5:09 PM
>> I've been lurking for ages (time constraints and shit) but have ducked the
>> faith argument cos... I think that scientists accept a LOT of things
>> technically on faith, in that they haven't done the relevant experiments
>> themselves but just accept other people's word on the matter in question (ie
>> a meme comes in and meshes easily, unchallengedly, with their memecologies).
>Do you think scientists accept any random person's word on the matters
>in question?


>Or perhaps do they have good reason, like the other person
>is educated and has published in a peer reviewed journal?


>If they believe
>whatever is in black & white, then I would call it faith. Otherwise it most
>certainly is not.

Yeh, but I was saying "technically" faith in order to say that scientists do
take other people's word on something, BUT the understanding is that those
people are hammering the issues with debate and experimental evidence, on
your behalf.

I think I made a later point about 'faith contests' in religions, whereby
often there's a negative judgement attached to people raising doubts about
articles of faith. An analogue of... replicating experiments being frowned
on in a scientific context.

>I'm starting to get the impression that I'm the only one around here that
>has a scientist's perspective on faith (as described in, say, Carl Sagan's
>excellent "The Demon Haunted World"). Is it just me and Carl vs. the

I hope I've managed to persuade you that you're not.

Well, not completely...

Because I think there's certainly elements of religion-style
faith-in-the-face-of-evidence, within the boundaries of "scientific" thought.
This manifests as people resisting new ideas which disagree with the ones
they've been holding for ages. Memes defending their territory.

So you're not alone in your ideals, though I reckon that if you managed to
implement those ideals 100%, you'd be pretty statistically isolated.

Dave Pape
I am ready.

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