RE: virus: Faith, Logic and Purpose

David McFadzean (
Sun, 16 Nov 1997 15:12:47 -0700

At 01:35 PM 11/15/97 -0000, Robin Faichney wrote:

>Why do you keep reading "can't" as "can't or
>shouldn't"? But no, unless you change your

Since I can't tell from your words what you mean, I'm trying
to get you to clarify your position.

>tactics, I don't think you can make a

And I'm asking you why you say that. In order to convince
me it would be nice if you gave some reasons.

>It's obviously nice to be able to apply an
>understanding, but I find the "enlightenment
>experience", that "aha moment" and the rush
>that goes with it, to be sufficient motivation to
>keep me seeking. Anything else is a bonus.

I will believe that if you destroy all the copies of your book
as soon as you finish it.

>In addition to that, is the strong possibility, in
>general terms, that a good understanding,
>once we get it, will tell us not what to do, but
>that either nothing can be done, or nothing
>need be done (or both). Which is why

Maybe. I'm not going to give up just yet though.

>understanding must come first.

How much understanding do you need before you can
start applying it?

>It's your methods that I, and I think they,
>would disagree with. And if you want to
>drop names, I think the onus is on you
>to show that these people really are with

Both have publicly stated their respective objections
to faith. What exactly is it about my methods that you
think they would disagree with?

>> Perhaps you are right. Maybe it would be better if
>> we kept our thoughts to ourselves. The future will
>> happen just fine without us. Does anyone else vote
>> for shutting down the mailing list and web site?
>Did I say that? Take it easy, David, you seem
>to be taking it personally, and getting irrational!

Get a grip, Robin. You essentially called into question
all of my beliefs and work, and the only thing I did
was say maybe you're right. What were you expecting
me to say?

>But I do think there are serious problems here,
>and I think they're typified, if not summed up,
>by the fact that you call yourself a memetic
>engineer, and yet prize rationality above all.

Are you absolutely sure your model of me is accurate?

>Seems to me that the biggest single insight
>memetics has to offer us is the realisation that
>just when we think we're being perfectly
>reasonable, we are being used by these
>pesky memes. Advertisers are the nearest

So? The only way to avoid memes is to avoid
thinking at all. If you want to continue thinking,
you might as well choose the memes you want,
otherwise they will choose for you.

>thing we have to memetic engineers, while
>philosophers are about the furthest from it.
>(Except in the trivial sense that *any* kind of
>idea juggling could be called memetic
>engineering.) To me, to design good memes
>is to build in the *non*rational hooks and
>such that give them survivability. Memetic
>engineering and rationality are alternative
>ways of trying to propagate ideas, and
>they do not complement each other.

Are you claiming that they can't possibly
complement each other? If so, why not?

>To sum that up: you use rational argument
>to try to spread the rationality meme, but if
>people were significantly susceptible to
>rational argument, they'd already be
>carrying the meme! A real memetic
>engineer would be using the techniques of
>the advertisers.

OK, so if I refuse to use sex to sell rationality
I'm not a "real" memetic engineer. Can you be more
explicit about what you think would be a better

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus