Re: virus: Virus Invades Cybernetics Conference

Eric Boyd (
Sat, 26 Sep 1998 12:07:45 -0400


David Rosdeitcher <> wrote:
> Can you show me a reasoned argument that suggests that in long term
> interaction, it is better to take advantage of the other guy, based on
> ESS's?

Not sure what you mean by long term, but how about the well known example
of young birds killing their brothers and sisters by pushing them (or their
eggs) out of the nest? It certainly helps them to survive childhood.

> I wonder if there's a limit to the value of discourse.

Ahhh! Blasphemy! Let's kick him out! :-)

re your ten ideas:
I agree with all of them, with these provisos:

1) It best to have as many *reasonable* opinions as possible. (e.g.
opinions that actually have (merit) >= 0. A few ideas without such a
property may be useful to stimulate better ideas, but there are limits to
how many we should put up with)

3) is a little ambiguous. It's theoretically possible that you *are* the
best; your point is that improvement is always possible, right?

4) True enough, but not very practical. In practice, one changes the
structure of society, and hopes that in a generation the structure of the
minds of the youths have adopted what was intended...

5) "Human immortality is conceivable". Most everything is conceivable
(flying pigs are conceivable), the question is: is it possible? or even
likely? Cloning should most definitely be tried. If only because it might
finally settle the nature/nurture debate.

7) organ? Tool would perhaps be a better choice, but to be most accurate,
I think saying that language is a critical part of our extended phenotype
is best.

10) And at the peak of the ceremony, we should sacrifice him to our god! (I
think the CoV could use a martyr!)

> Maybe it isn't. But don't you find it the case that one thing
> replaces another? For example, a set of parents might get
> replaced by a guru. Then a guru might get replaced by a different
> guru or idea system. An idea system might get replaced by another
> idea system, or some other mode of thinking--it goes on ad
> infinitum. Or, do you find something different, that you can take
> something away and not replace it with anything?

This reminds me of a quotation I found a while back:

"Every sensible man, every honest man, must hold the Christian sect in
horror. But what shall we substitute in its place? you say. What? A
ferocious animal has sucked the blood of my relatives. I tell you to
rid yourselves of this beast, and you ask me what you shall put in its
place?" -- Voltaire (1694-1778)

Nevertheless, you're right that the general contention in the free-thought
community is that something is needed to replace the meme-complexes we
don't like -- the CoV being a good example as any of proposed replacements.