Re: virus: Re: virus-digest V2 #295

William Roh (
Mon, 10 Nov 1997 12:12:35 -0500

> I agree we have a woefully incomplete ontology and that we have
> bad tendencies. I don't see why that means we must take a fatalistic
> view. Don't you think people in general can learn to act more
> intelligently? If they can, don't you think that would create
> a better future? If not, why not?
> --
> David McFadzean
> Memetic Engineer
> Church of Virus

I think you are very much correct here. It is true that we all hold
priori and axioms, and that most people tend to see their view as the
"rational" choice, and all others as non-rational, but this is far from
universal. I do not think however that we are capable of making most
decisions without the effect of emotion. This is what makes other
concepts seem "irrational". The problem I see is that most people are
unwilling to determine where their emotional aspect takes command. In
most religions, for instance, emotions dictate the choice of belief
systems. Fear is the start of most religions, I would argue that because
of this, religion fails the test of rationality. This is not to say that
it is bad. We continually decide that "rational" = "good" and "faith" =
"bad" even though we all know (in this mail list anyways) that good and
bad are TOTALLY subjective. My problem with people's belief systems is
that they are unable or unwilling to admit that their system is not
rational but "faith" based. An old poster here, Chardin, who was
otherwise very nice, was adamant that the Bible was perfectly accurate,
that the prophecies were absolely perfect, and that the Bible was
actually God's infallible word. She would not admit that it was "faith"
that led here to these conclusions, but would state repeatedly that her
views were rational.

For me, i have chosen to believe nothing absolutely (Faith) and very few
things after that become beliefs. i am only aware of two beliefs for

1. Rationality is better than non-rationality for understanding.
2. I believe that "I" exist.

Everything else falls into the more likely - less likely scenario.

More Likely

Mathematics is accurate
All complex things evolve from less complex things
The Sun will rise tomorrow
Bill Clinton is a womanizer
Jesus healed people with a touch
The tooth fairy collected my old teeth as a child
The Earth is flat
A God created man and earth and the stars

Less likely

And this scale is determined only by results and investigation. The
technilogical explosion of the last few years has put a great deal trust
in mathematics. That Bill Clinton is a womanizer has lots of evidence,
but is still subjective and unknown for sure. There is no evidence
what-so-ever for a god creature in or out of this Universe. That's not
to say that "God" does not exist, just that based on what we know, and
don't know, there is no reason to believe based on evidence.

Using this scale, which i do everyday, helps to keep emotional belief
systems at bay. But, being human, means that i like emotional binges,
and I enjoy avoiding the rational sometimes. Wouldn't be much of an
artist/musician if i could not suspend disbelief.

What do you think of this system for deciding rationality of a