RE: virus: Belief and Knowledge (was: The truth about faith)

Richard Brodie (
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 16:14:56 -0700

On Thursday, September 11, 1997 3:47 PM, David McFadzean
[] wrote:
> At 03:17 PM 9/11/97 -0700, Richard Brodie wrote:
> >On Thursday, September 11, 1997 1:26 PM, David McFadzean
> >> How am I being teleological?
> >
> >You are being teleological by attributing a purpose or goal to animal
> >behavior and using the term "reasonable" to refer to behavior that is in
> >alignment with that purpose or goal.
> You're right, I did suggest that animals try to survive and reproduce.
> Are you saying they don't?

Exactly. Their behavior emerges from a set of instincts and abilities that
have evolved over the eons to the extent that they support propagation of
the genetic material. This emergent behavior simulates purposefulness well
under ideal circumstances, but a simulation it is. Attributing more to it
than that is committing the teleological fallacy, just like saying that
genes are "really" selfish.

Richard Brodie
Author, VIRUS OF THE MIND: The New Science of the Meme
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