RE: The story-telling ape (was virus: Logic)

Gifford, Nate F (
Tue, 21 Oct 1997 09:25:54 -0400

On Monday, October 20, 1997 1:15 AM, Charmin
[] wrote:
>> The onus is on science to show that it is somehow superior to
>> disciplines for determining the truth.
Richard Brodie
>Looking beyond the surface of Cathy's challenge, can we agree
that the onus
>really is on science? Look what we're competing against! Living
in a world
>of spaceships, vaccines, and computers, there are still
>intelligent people who think science has no special power to
discover the
>truth! Memebers, we need to add good memes to the scientific
method if we
>want it to dispel such ignorance!

I agree with this also. The latest issue of Scientific American
has a study that asks students from the 2nd grade to graduate school to
draw a scientist. As the students get older their drawings become more
stereotypical: focusing on white lab coats, wild Einsteinian hair,
facial hair, and glasses. The article lamented about the dearth of
children with a desire for a career in science, but I think the risk is
larger: policy made in scientific ignorance. The same issue profiles
the scientist who discovered the effect of CFCs on the atmosphere ....
who can forget Sununu - the MIT educated asshole - who was denying the
danger of CFCs when the rest of the world was trying to get a treaty
banning their use signed? Sununu's agruements sounded a lot like the
"Scientists" who work for the Tobacco lobbies who argue about the
significance of the risk associated with tobacco. Not to open up that
debate again .... my point is that to a populace ignorant about the
scientific method, logic, induction, deduction, and statistical
significance then the best expert will be the one who "looks most

Note that as cultural factors change the meme propagators in the
media have to change their depictions of sub cultures. Compare the
computer geeks in Wargames with the computer geeks in The Net.

If anyone is looking for a genre to practice memetic engineering
I would nominate the beatification of science.