Re: virus: Religion, Zen, post-structuralism, and the failure

David McFadzean (
Wed, 11 Jun 1997 14:49:25 -0600

At 02:51 PM 11/06/97 -0400, John ''Storm of Drones'' Williams wrote:

>1. I do consider this discussion to be about metaphysical issues.

So you consider logic to be optional in this discussion?

Can you now see the problems inherent in dismissing consistency?

>2. Whether what I say is true or not matters insofar as anything can be
>determined to be true.

OK, well I dispute the charge that I have called anyone a fool, stupid
or a nutbar. Do you think there is any truth to the matter, one way
or the other?

>3. I would be convinced that a viewpoint that is valid and sound would be a
>viewpoint worth having. I am not convinced that your viewpoint, or
>arguments so far, are valid and sound.

I didn't ask what you thought about my argument. You seem to be saying that
you think a valid and sound viewpoint may be worth having, but you wouldn't
feel compelled to adopt it, correct?

>I don't know how often I've quoted this here, David. Maybe I'm wrong in
>attributing this statement to you:

No, I wrote those.

>>Through some twist of fate western society has come to regard
>>faith as a virtue. To hold an idea as true despite all evidence to the
>>contrary is an abdication of reason. Convictions are the end of
>>knowledge, not the beginning; they are the enemy of truth more
>>than lies.
>>No other system of thought in history has proven
>>more effective. If truth is the goal, rationality is the
>>way. A good Virion will endeavor to hold a
>>consistent set of beliefs and act in accordance with
>>those beliefs. Think critically, act rationally.
>This reading says to me, "anyone who values or expresses faith is a fool."

That interpretation is far more insulting than my intended meaning.
It would be closer to read it as "anyone who values or expresses faith
is confused or ignorant of the adverse effects of having such low
standards of evidence". Notice that says absolutely nothing about
their intelligence, sanity, value, character, heritage, or personal
hygiene. If you are reading an insult into it, that is your addition.

>I've already said that all that is required is a qualifier on that
>statement: "anyone who values *blind* faith is a fool." I'm happy with

It is not necessary to add "blind" because I define what I mean
by faith explicitly in the very next sentence: "To hold an idea as
true despite all evidence to the contrary...".

And I absolutely refuse to call anyone a fool in CoV doctrine.

>that. But I consider these two statements above to be reductive,
>inconsistent with CoV concepts, inconsistent with the Post-Structuralism
>you *say* you agree with, and basically downright intolerant.

I don't know what you mean by reductive.

Those *are* CoV concepts. If they are inconsistent with other CoV
concepts, which ones?

It is not inconsistent with Post-Structuralism to have a worldview or
to believe that some worldviews are better than others.

Intolerant of poor ideas, perhaps, but never of the people that hold them.

>Indeed, I think it makes you sound like a Fundamentalist. You are perhaps

Stating provisional beliefs is hardly fundamentalism.

>unaware of it and didn't intend it to be quite as dismissive as it actually
>is, but it does nevertheless state that reason is superior and anyone else

Why do you suppose you find it so dismissive?

>who believes otherwise is acting stupidly or with evil intent (ie,

I do imply that reason is superior. As for faith being a sin, is there
really evil intent, or are the sinners just "missing the mark" as Christians
like to say?

>Now, perhaps, we are a little clearer on what it is *I* am trying to get
>across, and what I've believed that *you* were trying to get across. Have
>we been misreading each other all this time?

I would like to see some second opinions on how dismissive and insulting
the CoV doctrine quoted above really is.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus