virus: Fundamentals

Dan Henry (
Sat, 23 Mar 1996 13:43:10 +0500

I just found the Church of Virus home page a couple of weeks ago, while
looking for alternative poetry sites, and I've enjoyed reading the mailing
list correspondence since then. Even though I browsed through the archives,
I wasn't able to find answers to some pretty basic questions. So please
forgive my ignorance if these questions have been discussed. Also, they
seem negative, but that's just my first reaction to any religion. Speaking
of which ...

You state your purpose is to be an alternative to all the irrational
religions out there, but I've always thought of science as that alternative.
You seem to embrace the scientific method, but I'm not sure what your
religion adds. Is there anything you worship? Perhaps it's an unwarranted
assumption that all religions worship something. Actually, the only
characteristic I can think of that applies to every religion is that of
faith in something (that is, belief without the existence of, or need for,
proof). But I'm also fairly ignorant of most theologies.

Needless to say, your definition of "religion" left me unsatisfied. It's
not quite circular, but I prefer definitions that capture the most
fundamental characteristics of the term being defined. On the other hand, I
feel your definition of "god" goes way too far. There is no reason to
ascribe characteristics such as omnipotence, omniscience, or perfect
mortality. You might as well throw in "and has a long, flowing, white
beard." Those characteristics are unnecessary in describing a concept, our
only evidence for which is the existence of the universe. Perhaps you're
merely providing as rational as possible a description of what some other
religions (i.e., western monotheisms) refer to as "God." If that's the
case, is there a place for god in your church?

I'm an old fan of Hofstadter's, and the"meme" concept has intrigued me since
I ran across it in his and Dennett's book The Mind's I. It's interesting
(in a self-referential way) that the concept is proving itself, through its
own hardiness. Your church seems to consider the concept a kind of first
principle. It struck me while reading your home page that the importance of
the "meme" concept confuses the medium and the message. Claiming that the C
of V is based on the "meme" concept is somewhat akin to Buchanan claiming
that his campaign is based on verbal communication. All the campaigns are
based on verbal communication, and all religions have meme-structures
(mostly haphazard). Successful religions have meme-structures that somehow
resonate within a certain group of people. The C of V can use the "meme"
concept well or poorly, consciously or unconsciously, but it will use the
"meme" concept. Though it may be a tool that the C of V uses particularly
well (the way the LDS uses missionaries well), it can't be used to define
the essence of your religion.

Maybe what I'm looking for is some sort of integrating, unifying,
beautifying framework. What's the F=ma of the Church of Virus?

I hope someone can educate me on the tenets of the C of V (wrt the above
questions). I also hope I don't sound too contentious, but given the nature
of the C of V, I'm sure I would not be your church's first Doubting Thomas.

Dan Henry
Hollis H. Henry
ES&H Analyst
SCIENTECH, Inc., Hyperk Group TRAC Team
E-mail address:
Phone: (303) 258-0726