virus: Re: virus-digest V1 #7

Ken Pantheists (
Tue, 27 Aug 1996 17:03:18 -0600

Reed wrote:

>Religions, and meme-complexes in general, are like viruses. Some are
>virulent, some aren't. Some kill slowly and others quickly.

And some don't kill.

>...and (in my opinion) religion is especially

I agree. Many memes can be used dangerously.


>But what about midnight
>jazz vespers? The music, good. The rituals and connection to
>spiritualism, good. The underlying faith in God? The Church?
>Bad. That is perhaps an oversimplification, but not in my opinion.

It is an oversimplification, but a good one for a debate. Why waffle?

>God-meme is an oncomeme, it is cancerous and dangerous. Just beacause it
>isn't expressing today doesn't mean that 50 years from now reasoned people
>won't be fleeing the midnight jazz vesper Nazis.

I still hold that what you are perceiving is the illusion of danger. 50
years ago people were fleeing *real* Nazis who were armen, not with the
righteous sword og God (although Hitler did allude to the "Grace of God" in
some of his speeches) but wuth the unquestionable weapon of science and
ationality. It was called the Final Solution, not God's Will. They were
armed with statistics, twisted Darwinism and a charismatic radio star of a
leader to drive their message home.

What you call rationality and logic and observable data are useful tools in
the biosphere, but the ideosphere *is* an illusion and will always remain
so. It is *not* a gene pool. Although thinking of it as one is useful. All
of it still remains invisible. I'm not saying it is illogical, just not as
observable asin the biosphere. One's observations are necessarily provisional.

>To me the situation is like AIDS. Some people are expressing the symptoms
>and other people aren't. But don't be fooled, if we aren't vigilant it
>could kill us all.

You have accused me of making closed statements like that in the past, I'm
calling you on it now =)

>On re-reading this It sounds a bit alarmist, maybe a bit extreme. But
>thinking people should be a little alarmed.

I'm sure Hitler said the same thing to himself when he was painting houses.=)

>>From Daniel Dennett: "Darwin's Dangerous Idea", Chapter 18 "The Future of
>an Idea"
>"I began this book with a song [Tell Me Why] which I myself cherish, and
>hope will survive 'forever' the same time I do not myself
>believe...the doctrines that are so movingly expressed in that song...They
>are, in a word, wrong..." p514.
>" many of us are caught in that very dilemma, loving the heritage,
>firmly convinced of it's value, yet unable to sustain any conviction in
>it's truth? We are faced with a difficult choice. Because we value it, we
>are eager to preserve it in a rather precarious and 'denatured' state..."

this is the very thing that interests me about memetics-- I still consider
myself a novice at this-- I am making my way slowly through some of the
reading as I write-- There is an interesting crossover between genetic
theory and an Aesthetic Theory.

Shakespeare wrote:

All the world's a stage and the men and women merely players. I think we all
perform our texts (discourses, memes) knowing that we are performing them.

The dilemma Dennet speaks of is paradigmatic of the postmodern world--
denatured truth, provisional truth-- I think they are one in the same.

>"I love the King James Version of the Bible. My own spirit recoils from a
>God who is He or She in the same way my heart sinks when I see a lion
>pacing neurotically back and forth in a small zoo cage...saftey demands
>that religions be put in cages too--when absolutley necessary.

Again-- agreed, but lions are caged in order to convey meaning. Language is
itself a complex cage, but we could not communicate without it.

So who's prepared to put science in its cage when it becomes dangerous?

We just
>can't have forced female circumcision, and the second-class status of women
>in Roman Catholicism and Mormonism, to say nothing of their status in
>Islam..." p515.

I agree with all of this. But why are you argueing outside of your point?

None of this has to do with the God meme. It has to do with the mutilate the
women meme.

I remember a funny bumper sticker that says something like "Jesus, save me
from the Christians"

Science mutilates women too. I suggest "The Making of the Modern Body" ed.
by Gallagher and Laqueur for some interesting reading on this.

>"If you want to teach you children they are tools of God, you had better
>not teach them that they are God's rifles, or we will have to stand firmly
>opposed to you: your doctrine has no glory, no special rights, no
>intrinsic and inalienable merit. If you insist on teaching your children
>falsehoods...then you must expect, at the very least, that those of us who
>have freedom of speech will feel free to describe your teachings as the
>spreading of falsehoods, and will attempt to demonstrate this to your
>children at our earliest opportunity. Our future well being...depends on
>the education of our decendents." p519.

I agree with all f this yet you have still failed to convince me that
religious belief is intrinsically and inalienabley BAD.

I think we think more like each other than not. As I read in you telepathy

>I actually don't want to argue in favor of believing in telepathy. I just
>wonder if it's kosher to argue that an inconsistent theory must be adopted
>on an "either / or" basis. Can't one adopt a sort of Victorian atttidue
>and act like it will all work out for the best in the end? Can't one
>accept mutually exclusive paradigms on a provisional basis?