virus: Church of Virus/Memetics/Faith

Reed Konsler (
Wed, 28 May 1997 11:18:02 -0400 (EDT)

At 09:16 AM 27/05/97 -0700, Richard Brodie wrote:

>Rational thought is slow. Acting irrationally, on instinct, can do a lot
>for you, especially in relationships with people. People have built in
>sensors that read "beware" if they detect you're thinking rather than
>responding. Ever notice that a lot of the best salespersons are

Acting on instinct isn't necessarily irrational. In fact it is almost
always rational (which is why the behavior evolved in the first place).
Instincts tend only to be irrational in an environment significantly
different from the environment in which it evolved.
- --
David McFadzean

David, aren't you getting into arguments over definitions?
You make arguments like this:

I define faith as X.
X is irrational and not to be tolerated.
Religion claims to include faith.
Therefore Religion is irrational and not to be tolerated.

But what religion describes as faith (Y) and what you
descibe as faith (X) are two different things.

X is not Y.
Therefore, your syllogism doesn't play in Peoria.

What people accept as rational and irrational do not correspond
to your model. I'm not arguing with the accuracy
or utility of your definitions, but don't you expect the the
church-bound to resist your attempt to subvert to meaning of
these central words to your own end? And yet you cry in
the woods like some kind of martyr: "Carl and I against the
world," indeed. Methinks I detect a wolf-in-sheeps-clothing.

Good ploy, though. ;-)

This all becomes very complicated in my mind. Instincts are
rational? You do violence to my defintion of rational with
this assertion. Rational implies, in my mind, the concept
of "with forethought". Rationality is the fire of Prometheus;
not all-powerful, but a great advantage. To reduce rationality
to utilitarianism loses shades of meaning I think we should retain.

And why? Becuase it creates, as Richard has pointed out a more
complicated model. Acts can be rational (I mean: "with forethought")
or irrational (I mean: "without forethought") without regard to
their outcome.

Rationality is, like science, logic and like all mental tools a process.
to define "rational" as "that which is successful" is like calling
all objective thought Objectivist thought.

You know, Dawkins has been fighting this battle along with you
and Sagan for a long, long time: "Science is not a religion".

It's so obvious, isn't it?

Isn't it?


Reed Konsler