Why start a religion?
Virus was originally created to compete with the traditional (irrational) religions in the human ideosphere with the idea that it would introduce and propagate memes which would ensure the survival and evolution of our species. The main advantage conferred upon adherents is Virus provides a conceptual framework for leading a truly meaningful life and attaining immortality without resorting to mystical delusions.
What topics are often discussed on the Virus mailing list?
Memetics, level 3, consciousness, the self, truth, meta-discussion (talking about talking -- especially talking about talking with email), belief and faith, the nature of religion and the meaning of life.
What is a meme?
A meme is a unit of information in a mind whose presence influences events such that more copies of itself get created in other minds. Memes can be seen as the basic building blocks of culture, or as the software of the human mind.
What is the paradigm shift involved with memetics?
The tough pill to swallow is giving up the notion that our ideas are mostly our own, and realizing that we are infested or infected with millions of memes all competing for our mind-share.
The paradigm shift is recognizing that a meme is a unit to which Universal Darwinism applies -- and that therefore, memes often serve nothing but themselves. Just because an idea exists and is widespread tells you nothing about it's truth or usefulness; that only tells you that it replicates well! The fundamental insight of memetics is therefore that if we wish to find truth, we must guard against the natural tendencies of idea-imitation; we must provide a different selection criteria than "natural selection".
What's wrong with believing in God?
The same thing that's wrong with believing in anything, if you haven't examined the pros and cons of believing in it. We stand for consciousness, especially with regard to what to believe and purposeful living.
"I contend that we are all atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
-- Stephen L. Roberts
What is level 3?
"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world."
What is Universal Darwinism?
A model of evolution that looks at all change as resulting from the natural selection of various entities making copies of themselves with occasional mistakes.
Universal Darwinism is a generalization of evolution from biology out into the universe at large. It is the recognition that there are other types of units/objects to which evolution applies.
"Put into Richard Dawkins's language, if there is a replicator that makes imperfect copies of itself only some of which survive, then evolution /must/ occur."
-- Susan Blackmore, _The Meme Machine_, pg 11
Any unit which posses the traits of variation, selection and retention (or heredity), provides a suitable 'substrate' on which Universal Darwinism can act as a mechanism of evolution.
What is clarity of purpose?
A way of gaining a high level of control over the memes that compete for your mind-share. By consciously choosing a purpose and then filtering memes through that, we can avoid the confusion and ineffectiveness that comes with being programmed in a less conscious way.
What is phaith?
A variant spelling of "faith" designed to avoid the connotation of blindness or stupidity that some atheists carry. http://www.c-realm.com/phaith.cgi
Why is dogmatic faith a sin?
It combines unconsciousness with memebotism, or devoting a portion of one's life to defending the truth of a meme. Both are dangerous to a person's pursuit of a meaningful and fulfilling life.
See the Virian Sins and Virtues.
What is UTism?
Short for the "Us vs. Them" mentality common in our species. When used, usually implies that someone is caught in the "Us vs. Them" perspective and unaware of it. "Us vs. Them" is perhaps the original separator between peoples. Humans, like most other animals, recognize familiar features in animals of their species, and usually consider "US" to be those in our social group or that have similar features. People not in our group, or with unfamiliar features, are "THEM"--and we are naturally more inclined to find fault and to place blame on "THEM" than we do on "US". However, we all realize upon reflection that UTism leads inevitably to oversimplifications and generalization and does NOT accurately represent reality. As such, habitual UTism should be avoided when at all possible."
UTism is a level 2 genetically based xenophobic memeplex......
What topics are 'off topic' and why?
Christian apologetics (including by not limited to Pascalís Wager, the lord/liar/lunatic argument, and any discussion of biblical or papal infallibility) as well as debates about the truth of *biological* evolution are off topic, because past experience has revealed that debate on these topics is useless and distracts Virus from making further progress. The purpose of Virus is to create a new religion based on memetics and freethought -- we will debate other religions only to the extent that we feel it helps our cause.
"[So] long as the proponents of our best theories... have their attention turned defensively backwards, and expend their intellectual energies in futile refutation and re-refutation of theories long known to be false, the state of our deepest knowledge cannot improve."
-- David Deutsch, *The Fabric of Reality*
If you wish to debate Christian apologetics or biological evolution, either take it off list into personal email, or go join a different mailing list centered on such topics. Helpful links:
For an extensive collection of freethought literature and general non-theist material and discussion:
For information on evolution:
What is 'a conscious approach to email writing' and why should I have it?
A conscious approach to email involves actually thinking about what you are saying and why before you send the email off. Why are you writing this email? Is what you have written going to invoke the kind of response you want? Have you clearly communicated your main point?
For a much deeper analysis of this topic, see:
The ultimate goal of such a conscious approach is to improve the signal to noise ratio on the mailing list -- to have more content, more quality, and less flamewar type interaction.
What is consciousness?
Good question!!! There are a great many schools of thought on this. If you'd like to explore some of the more interesting ones, we invite you to join us on the lists.
For the views of some members see: