Re: virus: Faith, Logic and Purpose

David McFadzean (
Wed, 12 Nov 1997 14:45:17 -0700

At 10:41 PM 11/11/97 -0800, Tim Rhodes wrote:

>On Sun, 9 Nov 1997, David McFadzean wrote:
>> I believe <faith> is a pernicious, deleterious, unnecessary meme.
>I think I see some necessity for it though and some usefulness as well.
>I don't feel like throwing the baby out with the bath. Hence my stance.

Faith is only necessary if there is something that is necessary to
believe and there are no good reasons to believe it. I would be most
interested in an example.

I don't think I ever said faith doesn't have a use. I've seen
faith comfort people after a personal loss. Wearing my cynical
glasses, I see faith memes gathering around events involving death
and destruction like sharks at a feeding frenzy. Is it necessary
to believe something that is false in order to find comfort? I
don't believe it is.

>I guess my question is, can you combat an emotional appeal with a strictly
>intellectual one? Effectively, that is. If so, how is it done?

Yes it can. You have to appeal to whatever rationality is present
to make rationality memes more powerful in the belief system, and
the opposing memes less influential.

>It seems to me that you are placing all decisions made by non-rational
>(emotional/limbic) means in one collumn labled "faith" and dismissing them
>therefore as pernicious and unnecessary.

No, there has been a miscommunication.

>> If you think science isn't art then you've fallen into the same kind of
>> trap you're warning me about (how ironic :-).
>Science can't lie to reach its goals, but art is all about useful and
>purposeful deceptions. If you'd like to help me see the art in science,
>however, I'm game.

If scientific theories aren't True with a capital T, then what are they?

>But I'd rather see an example of how one can happily live while denying
>that they have an emotional side that acts counter to reason every once in
>a while.

Where do you get these ideas? I literally do not know of anyone saying
or implying that we have to deny that we have an emotional side. Do you
really think I believe that?

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus