Re: virus: The Discipline of Translation

John Williams (
Tue, 01 Jul 1997 12:55:01 +0000

David McFadzean wrote:

> I mean statements that may or may not be true like "Santa Claus lives
> at the north pole" or "Marilyn Monroe was murdered". It is not at all
> clear that value judgements like "NIN rules" and normative statements
> like "the government should be abolished" can be true in the same
> sense
> that factual statements about the world can be true.

Yes; I understand you know. Those were bad examples (the ones I made). I
was afraid that if I made a straightforward statment that has apparently
high truth-value based on quite a bit of evidence (ie, Santa lives at
the north pole) then it would be difficult to demonstrate how this would
eventually apply to metaphysics. If I chose a metaphysical example, I
risked using something as an example that might carry a bit of baggage
along with it.

So: here are some example statements you can replace, rather than "I
like seafood":

Marilyn Monroe was murdered.
Aliens crashed at Roswell.
Christians defined "atheism" in the dictionary so
that it would be impossible to defend.[1]
Michael Jackson is really Janet Jackson in disguise.

One might have varying stances on these depending on what memes the
person has been exposed to, and how he rates the truth values of those

I do think the model could be applied to value-judgements and normative
statements, however: and would be very powerful in that way.

-- John

[1] I actually heard this argument recently, from an atheist who's
definition was substantially different from the Webster's. I thought it
was a nutbar statement, but that might just be because I improperly
projected that statement into my meme-space; or, that I improperly
judged the truth-value he assigned to it. (He may have been making a