Re: virus: Memetics, Intent, and Salvation

Eric Boyd (
Tue, 19 Aug 1997 18:32:02 -0500

Reed Konsler wrote:

> During the Reformation, one of the great debates within

<snip> Thanks for this, Reed. My knowledge of history is poor
at best, and I did not know why the original split occured.

> Whenever I discuss this scism I always bring up the third
> alternative that never really seemed to enter into the debate,
> although I'm no biblical scholar (so if you have any references
> for this position, I'd be very interested):
> One could be "good" in action only--sort of a reverse
> hypocracy. One could think and believe all kinds of strange
> and evil things without guilt and still be saved as long as
> one acted in a "good" way.

Ummm. How about the "moral atheist"?

S/He beleives all sorts of "strange" ideas, and yet still acts good!

> What is a "good deed". Do we still believe that "the *S*elect"
> are "the Elect"? From a memetic perspective, can we take
> ANY assurance of the accuracy of science based upon it's
> apparent success?

I think you committed non sequitor (sp?), Reed.

I couldn't, at first, even see how you could doubt the accuracy of
science. But I see it now.

In your first example, "good" deals are correlated with "doing good"...
that is, Calvin assumes that people who succeed are "good".

Those two "goods", however, are not inherently related, and thus we can
refute his position.

In your example, however, you ask whether science is "accurate" becuase
of it's "success"... These two *are* related.

You see, the relationship between a successful scientific theory and
it's accuracy to the real world is a *direct* one. Like Richard Feynman
(The Character of Physical Law) said:

"It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does
not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what
his name is-- if it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. That is all
there is to it."

I beleive the logical fallicy which you had pointed out in Calvins
position was "ambiguity"... he assumed the same word meant the same
thing in a different place, and it was not so.

But that fallicy does not flow into science. Really, science is all
about making sure that ideas which we would *like* to see be true are
*tested* first, and (possibly) accepted later.

> Is it possible that another model of reality,
> perhaps a "magical" one, could have lead to similar material
> successes?

Ummm. This is very confusing. "Science" generally is used to mean two

1) A systematic method of guess, test, repeat, whereby we learn about
the world.

2) A body of knowledge gained by the above method.

Now, you've been rather inaccurate above. I do not beleive that any
other method than "science" is really useable, if you wish to learn
about the *objective* world. For how else could you do it? (I'm
looking for *meaningful* changes to the process)

(as far as I know, people have never acheived useful physical theories
by praying to God -- but I'm open to evidence, if you have it)

However, (and here I'm plugging my Church) I do beleive that "magical"
systems can be used to learn about the *subjective* world. Studying
yourself with the tools of science is very difficult... it's pretty hard
to even decide what to guess about, let alone what to predict.
Experimentation would be frought with difficulties (every experiment
changes the nature of the "world" -- no repeatable tests, no control
groups) So remember -- Spirituality is Subjective.

> How closely is theory coupled to practice? Is the scientific
> model the ONLY accurate way of understanding reality?
> Is the scientific model the BEST way of understanding reality?

Again, a little ambiguity -- the scientific *process* is a good way to
*learn* about *objective* reality.