RE: virus: Re: Social Metaphysics

David McFadzean (
Tue, 30 Sep 1997 16:17:48 -0600

At 02:47 PM 9/30/97 -0700, Richard Brodie wrote:

>Perfect example. It has everything to do with the "fact" that I live in
>Seattle. That is, it is dependent on the definition of Seattle, the
>definition of "Richard Brodie", the definition of "lives in", and so on.
>These are not inherent properties of reality, but rather memes. Reality has
>no "truth" to it, it just is. Truth is a property of a statement. You
>cannot make any statement about reality without approximating reality,
>because REAL reality is too big and complex and ever-changing to describe.
>This is why Whitehead points out that all "truths" are really half-truths.

I agree that the truth of a statement depends on its meaning. Changing
the meaning of "Seattle" will change the truth of the statement. However
there are inherent properties of reality, namely patterns. It is the fact
that the mass-energy pattern that fits the description of "Richard Brodie"
is often co-located in the space-time pattern called "Seattle" that makes
the statement true, and if the pattern lived elsewhere the statement would
be false. You are so caught up in your maps you seem to have forgotten
the territory.

>The problem I have with your counterexample is essentially what Eva pointed
>out, that wrapped up in the distinction-meme "objective reality" would seem
>to be the notion of self-consistency, so that hypothesizing the
>inconsistency of objective reality is nonsensical. As Prof. Tim suggests,

I think I already demonstrated that true statements about objective reality
aren't necessarily non-contradictory by providing an example that would
amount to a falsification of the proposition. If you have any reasoned
objections to the hypothetical counterexample, let's hear them.

>you simply have faith that there is an underlying consistent physical
>reality. This can never be proved, but it sure feels obvious. And
>discussing it seems fairly pointless.

I don't have faith in that conjecture but I do have a large amount
of evidence that suggests that it is true. Here's another possible
counterexample: what if you could summon a ghost that we can all see
but that doesn't appear on film or any recording? The ghost can
tell us information that we have no way of otherwise knowing. James Randi
and all of his skeptical pals run every test they can think of to debunk
the trick, but they can't because it is real. This would change my mind
about the nature of objective reality, therefore it is not faith.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus