RE: New Scientist this week

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Tue May 21 2002 - 16:29:32 BST

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    Subject: RE: New Scientist this week
    Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 11:29:32 -0400
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    Good morning, Vince,

    I've had the opportunity to profile some terrorists (McVeigh, Ted K., Leila
    Khaled, Menchem Begin, Doris Katz, etc.) and must say that passing on their
    genes seems to never have entered into their thinking, whether they were
    suicidal in their tactics or not. They are quite rational, though 'we' have
    a hard time understanding them. Have you ready Ted K.'s Manifesto? It is a
    quite extraordinary essay, and entirely rational.

    Of ocurse, as a society, we are quick to assert that anyone doing anything
    threatenting is 'irrational.' Ezra Pound was locked up in St. Elizabeth's;
    the Cathars were hunted down by the Inquisition, as were US Communists by
    Joseph McCarthy, and Salman Rushdie by the Iranian mullahs. It is not that
    these folks didn't offend, it is that the response of the society in which
    they are embedded was to assert that they are irrational or misled.

    OK. I try to be a voice of sage wisdom on the 'Net. But there comes a time
    IN IT. This is a heathenish and insidious notion. NOR SHOULD SUGAR EVER BE
    PUT IN TEA. Tea should be drunk: by warming the tea brewing vessel with hot
    water which is then discarded, tea leaves plopped in (NO aluminum eggy
    thing) raw, and boiling water poured over the leaves if black tea, and
    cooler water if green tea. Yes, yes, I know, water temperature is a bit more
    complicated than this, but I confess to being a barbarian and not having an
    inclination to fiddle around with thermometers. Well, my UK friends are
    probably back down to one or two. But tea-purity has been upheld.


    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: []On Behalf
    > Of Vincent Campbell
    > Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 8:00 AM
    > To: ''
    > Subject: RE: New Scientist this week
    > >> There's another way of thinking about altruistic sacrifice-
    > social
    > >> status for offspring and relatives. A martyr (or a celibate
    > monk, say), may
    > >> die, but family members may gain in social status as a result and
    > >> subsequently will do better in terms of survival and mate choice
    > etc. Such
    > >> an argument works better in social insects where they share more
    > genes with
    > >> each other, but when you add in cultural capital, if you like,
    > that might be
    > >> a strong factor in humans also. This could work as well for
    > women as for
    > >> men. The sisters of a female suicide bomber might have their
    > mate chances
    > >> improved by association.
    > <Yes I have come across these explanations before, but am still very
    > wary of
    > > them. Although I am not aware of one , a lone female with no siblings or
    > > cousins etc would tend to disprove it. Anyone hear of one? IMHO
    > this is a
    > > case of memes over genes. That of a tribal identity that is
    > not based on
    > > kinship.>
    > >
    > One of the tangential problems of suicide bombings is that, here in
    > the UK anyway, who these people are, what their family circumstances are
    > etc. are rarely if ever given. So I don't know. I personally do
    > think some
    > people do such things out of highly irrational though-processes, but I'm
    > still not convinced its memes at work.
    > <Is the Adams book the one finished by his wife? Read all the rest,
    > > obviously! Were the Kricket Wars too UK? :-)>
    > >
    > It's a mixture of articles, short stories, and the first half dozen
    > chapters from a Dirk Gently book he was writing (for the past decade or so
    > apparently!). I dunno how the third hitchhiker book went down in the
    > States, given it's very British themes, in one piece in this book, he does
    > comment on Americans absolute inability to make a proper cup of tea
    > (elsewhere, he gives instructions for his perfect cuppa, where I
    > discovered
    > he's a milk first person like myself).
    > Vincent
    > --
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