Re: virus: Faith, Logic and Purpose

Marie Foster (
Wed, 19 Nov 1997 16:54:55 -0800

David McFadzean wrote:

> No, religions are meme-complexes and not necessarily
> evil. If all memes are memetic viruses, they aren't
> necessarily evil either. Actually, when I said that
> faith is a sin, I meant that it is a bad idea, not
> that it is evil per se. Faith is a bad idea because
> it is incompatible with pancritical rationalism.
> --

All along I have been thinking that what you have a problem with is not
really faith, but dogma.

Main Entry: dog·ma
Pronunciation: 'dog-m&, 'däg-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural dogmas also dog·ma·ta /-m&-t&/
Etymology: Latin dogmat-, dogma, from Greek, from dokein to seem -- more
Date: 1638
1 a : something held as an established opinion; especially : a definite
authoritative tenet b : a code of such tenets <pedagogical
dogma> c : a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without
adequate grounds
2 : a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally
stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church

Main Entry: dog·ma·tism
Pronunciation: 'dog-m&-"ti-z&m, 'däg-
Function: noun
Date: 1603
1 : positiveness in assertion of opinion especially when unwarranted or
2 : a viewpoint or system of ideas based on insufficiently examined

This is the reason why fundamentalism is so awful. Because if examined
it does not even hold logically. Fundamentalist Christians who will
tell you on one hand that Christ came to do away with the law as given
to the Children of Israel in the old testament. However, they dredge up
old testament verses to support what they want to believe on any number
of issues. They ignore 90% of what Christ actually conveyed and really
should consider themselves Paulists rather than Christians. This is not
just a fault of Christianity either. If one looks at the different
schools of Buddhism you can find the same problems with dogma. While I
love Tibetan Buddhists, I find the emphasis on prostrations, the secrecy
of some monks, and the sexism of the hierarchy, et al to be just

And David, while you have had lots of run ins with fundamentalist types,
you have not had a lot of flak from those of us who have questioned,
probed, and looked for what matches our own internal resonance.

Faith to me is loyalty to the truth as I understand it. I have faith in
science. When I got on that airplane on Monday to wing my way over to
Seattle for one of my meetings I give thanks for my faith in the science
that holds that sucker up.

I hope you do not think that I am challenging you here. Often in the
past when I have been trying to understand your point of view I have
felt that you erected a shield to bounce back my question instead of
answering it.

BTW, dogma is not just attached to religion. Politics has as much if
not more dogma as well as economics. I think that it is the case that
some schools of science also have dogmatic beliefs.

Your stated instances of science as assumption or idea, and test, etc.
excludes the observational sciences such as that practiced by Jane
Goodall for example. Dogma comes from power. I would contend that the
more powerful that science becomes in the life of mankind the more we
need to guard from scientific dogma.