Re: virus: Goal of the church?

Brett Lane Robertson (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 13:29:04 -0500

At 09:30 AM 10/23/97 -0700, you wrote:
>After reading the posts on Christianity that have flown back and forth
>it appears to me that the consensus of the members ( : of the church is
>that the majority use of this meme is not a very good thing.

>We also know that a meme or a gene becomes stronger in a hostile

>Might it therefor be reasoned that hostility only serves to strengthen
>it and make it more virulent?

>I am wondering if our goal is a society where reason prevails, we might
>be better off to figure out a "nudge" we can engineer that could start a
>redefinition process? Is this not in agreement with chaos theory?

>>From one who has read widely, but perhaps not as deep



The nature of memes and genes would determine if these assessments were
indeed true (1. That Christianity is a meme, 2. That it is not a good
meme, 3. That both memes and genes are strengthened in response to
hostility, 4. That strengthening increases virulence, 5. That an
engineered memetic "nudge" can counter 1-4 above.). In addition to the
stated, I feel there is an underlying assumption: 6. That hostility is
ineffective as a weapon against "badness".

One and two if combined suggest that the nature of some memes are that they
are not good, "virulent". My assessment of memes are that they are
self-ordered survival mechanisms and are therefore "good" when compared to
chance occurrences...that is, they lead to survival.

Numbers 3 and 4 suggest that virulence is proportional to hostility. My
assessment is that virulence and hostility if they are related can increase
proportionally, or can show an inverse relationship...that the increase of
hostility could cause a decrease in virulence. All possible relationships
show a zero-sum effect: If hostility increases the virulence of bad memes
then this would cause the destruction of hostility as an example of a "bad"
meme, itself (an interpretation of the original assumption using good logic
but poor reasoning).

Could a memetic "nudge" therefore be a new meme which could be seen as
affecting the self-negation of both the Christian meme and the hostility
meme?: Yes, if it were "Christian" by negation and "hostile" toward itself
(not the best-case scenario). Or, a memetic nudge--if memes are
self-ordered and positive--could take on the characteristics of a successful
resolution between Christianity and hostility. So, a successful meme by
this definition must not be hostile--must not seek to destroy a less
successful meme complex; but, must seek to evolve to a higher evolutionary

The proposed <nudge> takes on the characteristics of a zero-sum game
(illustrated here by self-negation of badness and increased hostility which
both negates this negation and itself...and which precludes the survival of
any attempt which itself is either bad, hostile, negating, self-negating, or
non-survival oriented). These are characteristics of "de-selection"* and
are relegated to the gene which, by definition, concerns itself with chance,
competition, destruction, and setting the stage for the propagation of a
successful "memetic" mutation.

So, assumption #6 above (that hostility is ineffective against badness)
should be left for genetics to decide; while the suggestion that a
successful meme could be manufactured which encourages it's demise (#5)
would be better restated in a positive way: A new meme could be engineered
which has the chance of "mutation" in the genetic game to replace the
"Hostile Christian" gene; and this chance improves if it neither deals with
hostility nor Christianity.


*"de-selection"--the process of "the destruction of the least fit" which
results in the probability for reproduction of a trait being equal to
chance, so that "mutation" must account for any survival
characteristics--though "memetics" replaces "mutation" in this post assuming
that self-ordered survival accounts for everything which is not chance and
which is not zero-sum

Rabble Sonnet Retort
This line from Shakespeare has delusions of grandeur.

Douglas R Hofstadter