Re: virus: Church of Virus/Memetics/Faith

David McFadzean (
Wed, 28 May 1997 19:12:47 -0600

Still playing catchup...

At 10:39 AM 26/05/97 -0400, John \"Brand New -- You're Retro\" Williams wrote:

>>I believe that nothing can be proven
>>true. I don't think everything is nonsensical, therefore I cannot
>>possibly be a logical positivist.
>Then, pray tell, where do you find the authority to make any statement?

Does one need to justify a statement in one authority or another? What if
an authority isn't necessary?

>What is "sensical?"

I think a statement makes sense insofar as its meaning shares some pattern with
the world.

>>> >But if you can't back up (offer good reasons for) your beliefs then you
>>> >have to admit you are indistinguishable from all the loonies with
>>> >nonsensical beliefs. Not all good reasons have to be published in a
>>> >peer reviewed academic journal (though that often helps).
>>> Fallacy of Continuum again...
>>Huh!? How?
>The assumption that since I believe something that is not entirely
>rational[1] makes me no different from, say, a snake-handler, is an
>explicit statement that pigeonholes me as a loony, irreguardless of how
>much science I may believe, what value I put on rational thought, etc. In
>many ways it is the inverse of what you said earlier...
>that it was impossible to classify anyone. You've over-classified, placing
>me in an extreme classification without regard to degree.

But that's not what I said. If two things are indistinguishable in some
certain respect, it doesn't mean they are not different. Imagine, for
example, two catatonic people in an asylum last century. One lives a
rich inner life of fantasy and philosophy while the other is brain dead.
If an observer can't tell the difference then they are indistinguishable,
but obviously not the same by defintion.

>>I don't think it is necessary to append "insofar as we understand it" to
>>everything we say (I hope). And there is nothing physically impossible about
>>a spaceship following a comet.
>Ah: I mean, you're assuming that what most mainstream religions believe is
>physically impossible. I'm saying, "impossible as far as we know." In this
>case, it is necessary to append that disclaimer. Or not make that argument
>at all.

I'm assuming most mainstream religions postulate the existence of miracles
which are physically impossible by definition (otherwise they wouldn't be
miracles). Correct me if I'm wrong.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus