Re: virus: The Discipline of Translation

David McFadzean (
Mon, 30 Jun 1997 15:38:27 -0600

At 06:27 PM 28/06/97 -0400, Reed Konsler wrote:

>Just to keep us "on the same page" David's map
>is at:
>1) I personally don't like the bounded nature of the grid. I think if you
>were to map an individual's position on a statistical sample of theses they
>would tend to bunch around the middle and trail to the edges.

I should have been more explicit that the edges of the grid correspond to
infinite values mapped to 1 or -1. The numbers are really arbitrary, but
I mapped the whole spectrum to a finite grid for a reason, namely so it
would be usable. On my version of the T-grid you can picture where the
point (0.5, -0.8) is (in the "blind faith" region in the lower right
quadrant). On your version of the grid it is a lot more difficult to
picture where arbitrary points lie (e.g. what co-ordinates would you
personally assign to the thesis "dinosaurs existed 120 million years ago"?)

You are of course welcome to apply whatever 2D mapping you want, put
truth on the bottom, make it circular. I don't think mapping the
straight lines to curved lines changes much (except in terms of
usability and visualization), do you?

Why do you say that an individual's position on a statistical sample of
theses would tend to bunch around the middle? I would have said that, if
anything, they would cluster around the edges.

>2) You're engaging in a little circular reasoning. It is the definition of
>the word "faith" about which we were arguing. By placing that definition
>in the shaded ("insane") regions (even with the caveat "blind") you are
>begging the question. I think we understand "your" position. Some of us,

Wait a minute. My version doesn't have "insane" regions, that is your grid.
My version states that "blind faith" is a significant departure from the
skeptical position (here defined as "belief should be proportional to
evidence"). Does anyone disagree with that?

>however, do not share it. Similarly, your optimum line is defined as the
>"skeptical" position. I loved Eric's redefinition of "skeptical" exactly
>because it refuted
>this. I know, David, that you want us to come to some intersubjective

Wait a minute. How did Deron's redefinition of "skeptical" refute it?
(I mean, if all the members of the Skeptic's Society would say that
Deron's definition does not reflect their position, why would you
prefer Deron's definition over that of self-proclaimed skeptics?)

>definitions. But you are pushing us to accept your position.

Of course. Are you saying I should push for your position instead?

>Thus: In an attempt to strip away language which would be circular or
>"value-laden" with respect to the current dialectic, among a great many
>other agendas, I propose the following modified T-grid, which David has
>been kind enough to include at:

You're right, "insane" is much less value-laden than "not skeptical". :-)

[big snippage]

>EVIDENCE: A weighted sum of the evaluation of all other theses with
>respect to the thesis being considered. I know that's a mouthful, but I
>want to make explicit that this axis is actually a simplified
>representation of the y-axis for all other theses. In other words, every
>thesis weighs in as "evidence" for or against every other thesis in a
>self-supporting web. This avoids the creation of some arbitrary standard
>of "absolute evidence" against which to evaluate all theses.

Yes, that's exactly what I meant to convey when I wrote (describing
the x-axis of my tgrid) "In a very real way, the E-value for any proposition
reflects the S-value of the sum of all evidence related to P."

BTW, congratulations on another candidate for the "best of Virus", Reed.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus