Re: virus: The story-telling ape

David McFadzean (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 12:00:53 -0600

At 12:54 PM 10/23/97 -0400, Reed Konsler wrote:

>polarizing. My position is closer to the one Dennett
>expresses in _Darwin's Dangerous Idea_:
>"If you want to teach your children that they are tools of God, you had
>better not teach them that they are God's rifles, or we will have to stand
>opposed to you: your doctrine has no glory, no special rights, no intrinsic
>and inalienable merit. If you insist on teaching your children
>falsehoods---that the Earth is flat, that "Man" is not the product of
>evolution by natural selection---then you must expect, at the very least,
>that those of us who have the freedom of speech will feel free to describe
>your teachings as the spreading of falsehoods, and will attempt to
>demonstrate this to your children at our earliest opportunity. Our future
>well being---the well being of all of us on the planet---depends on the
>education of our descendents." (p. 519)

As far as I can tell, Dennett's position is closer to mine then yours.

>I think it's foolish to deny people their faith on the conceptually
>suspect grounds that it is possible to live without faith of some

I am not denying people anything at all. They are welcome to base
their life on faith. Look in the mirror, Reed. The only one here
denying anything is you denying me my right to express my opinion
on the merits of faith or lack thereof.

>I don't happen to belive in God. If you do, that's fine. But
>I do not accept that arguements based upon revelation are
>PARTICULARILY worthy or meritorious. The theories
>of Jesus as expressed in the Bible stand beside those of
>Mohammed, John Rawls, Richard Brodie, and David
> be judged by each of us. Scientific
>constructions of reality are not "better" than religious
> is simply a question of what ideas are useful
>to you in the pursuit of your life's goals.

Scientific constructions are better *given* certain
life goals. I am not telling anyone what their life goals
should be. If they happen to be the same as mine, then I
say let's get together. Why should you deny my attempt
to build a community?

>I think it only SEEMS like a good idea to hold up reason and
>critical thinking as a sort of "defense mechanism"
>against faith. To me, this is like treating disease with
>generation after generation of antibiotics, each one
>more sophisticated, dangerous, expensive, and
>complicated than the last. Eventually, the rapidly
>evolving viruses will develop immunities to every
>defense. TB is making a comeback, and so is
>fundamentallism. All we are doing is breeding
>more and more virulent and aggressive versions
>of the infections.

Last time I checked we weren't killing any fundamentalists.
(Unfortunately I can't say the same for the fundamentalists
not killing people that don't share their beliefs.)

>In the end, the answer to mental well-being is the
>same a physical well-being. Eat well, get a lot
>of rest. Keep active and in contact with your
>community. Find meaningful work and purpose.

No arguments here.

>Love your neighboor.

I don't think unconditional love is a good thing, but
otherwise, sure.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus