Re: virus: Faith, Logic and Purpose

David McFadzean (
Mon, 10 Nov 1997 12:57:19 -0700

At 02:15 AM 11/11/97 +0100, Reed Konsler wrote:

>:-) Poor word choice. The "why" questions can not be definitively
>answered in an objective sense, since they refer to an implied intentionality.

Agreed, but is that the only useful kind of answer?

>One can still psychoanalyze with some success, though. Even so, you're
>out of line. [ :-) ] I rationally and with good effect oppose the declaration
>of answers to unanswerable questions in the same way that I oppose
>the declaration of the invention of a perpetual motion machines.

Since no question can possibly be definitively answered in an objective
sense you must oppose all answers, right?

>>I don't believe the guesses are non-falsifiable. The "lens of
>>interpretation" you mention is an excellent example of the kind
>>of faith-based belief I think is avoidable.
>Completely? Don't you really mean that it can be minimized?

No, I mean completely. It takes only a single doubt to completely
avoid the "I'm always right and you're misguided" belief.

><critical analysis> is the product of evolution, and definitely serves an
>adaptive purpose. But not for us. It serves the meme-complexes that
>can't find support in faith.
>Was that abusive? I don't know. I have agreed that <critical analysis> is
>a useful tool that we should encourage people to use. You seem to be
>elevating it to a higher position than tool. It is that additional worship
>of reason, above all else, that makes me uncomfortable.

No, I'm saying that I have good reason to believe that <critical analysis>
is vastly superior to <faith> as an epistemological tool. I think <faith>
is like <racism> in that it may have been useful many thousands of years ago,
but its time is long past.

><faith> is a tool. Tools are neither good nor evil. Intentional entities
>can put tools to both good and evil purposes. I do not believe that
>some tools are intrinsically biased toward good or evil use. As the
>Bible tells us, the devil can quote scripture for his own purpose.

Agreed. Can we look at how well the respective tools fulfill their

>Humans are above faith. Humans are above reason. It is we who
>are the users of the tools, not the converse (in an ideal world ;-) ).

And genes are a tool we use for creating the next generation of humans?

>My position is only "fatalistic" if you equate the mitigation of <reason>
>with death. I have no doubt, based on these conversations, that you
>hold this bias. I do not. To contemplate one's intrinsic and inevitable

What if I have faith that you also hold this bias?

>imperfections and ambiguities is not the prelude to suicide. Unless you
>are Javert? :-)

Sorry, don't know what a "Javert" is.

>>Don't you think people in general can learn to act more intelligently?
>And with greater kindness! Yes, David, the world can be a better place!
>But there are many ways of defining intelligent, and none of them are
>"strictly rational". ;-)

True, but I don't know how to teach people how to be more creative
and kinder. I can teach them to make better decisions rationally.

>>If they can, don't you think that would create a better future?
>Of course! What makes you think that <faith> isn't a worthy tool
>in this collective endevour?

Because <faith> will prevent me from having any influence (if I
only use means that are ethical in my view). <faith> closes the
channel for constructive criticism. Isn't that reason enough?

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus