Re: virus: May the best meme win?

Jason McVean (
Mon, 18 Nov 96 13:46:24 MST

Richard Brodie wrote:
> This touches, by the way, on one of the most common phenomena I see
> working against the spread of science. I call it distinguish-and-discard
> mode, and I spoke about it for the first time at the Western Washington
> Mensa meeting last Sunday on my birthday.
> The Level-2 mind has one fixed model of reality. Any new input must fit
> into that model (usually called Truth) or be discarded. In
> distinguish-and-discard modem the Level-2 mind "recognizes" broad
> classes of dissonant input -- such as new theories, unpleasant people,
> disturbing political views, and so on -- and lumps them into a class of
> memes "known" to be valueless.

This may not affect your main point but I just wanted to point
out that "dissonant input" is really what drives science. To
perform a repeatable experiment that give results contradicting a
"physical law" is huge news in science... quite the opposite of
pushing it aside after classifying it as useless. There may be
individuals who do as you describe but science as a whole can't.
Science quests for self-consistancy, which may be where it
diverges from level-3, but it certainly does not disregard
inconvenient information. At least not the field of science I'm
in. Perhaps social sciences are different.


Dept. of Physics and Astronomy University of Calgary

"I am as close to you as the veins in your neck when I say to you, in
my whispering lisp, I, too, began as a boy." Mark Richard - Fishboy