RE: virus: Logic

Tim Rhodes (
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 09:56:50 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 19 Oct 1997, Ken Kittlitz wrote:

> Sorry, I just recently re-subscribed that list and so missed that
> discussion. What I'm confused about is how we can make a judgement about a
> belief system (astrology, logic, whatever) without looking at how it
> affects its hosts.

I don't think we can, but that's not what I'm trying to say. I'm just
noting that the effects of a belief system are not the same as the content
of the belief system. The effect of <belief X> on the host is not to be
understood just by looking at the mechanisms inside <belief X>. Tarot
reading, for instance, claims that the random shuffling of cards taps into
the "cosmic flow" and predicts the future. In practice however, the
randomness functions as a highly advanced Rorschach test to enable the
user to perceive their own feelings on an ambiguous situation. There is a
name in anthropology for this difference between the function they tell
you and the one it actually serves, but my old tired brain can't remember
it right now.

-Prof. Tim