Re: Joe

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Wed 04 Dec 2002 - 16:13:41 GMT

  • Next message: Wade Smith: "arguments with the faithful"

    In numerous posts many of us have pointed out the fact that you can't argue with memes of faith. People on both sides of the argument will refuse to see what they don't want to see in opposing arguments. So to continue aruging about it is a complete waste of time. It's not a matter of who is right and who is wrong. It's a matter of meme dominance and we on this list should know that better than anyone. When someone posts endless arguments in support of a faith-based concept, it is equivalent to spam. The key indicators include the belittling of the people arguing the opposing side, the endless posting of "facts" to support one's position, the obvious emotional content of the arguments posted, and the refusal to let the matter after stating one's position on the subject.

    If nothing else, this has been a good demonstration of how a faith-based meme can take over a discussion and drive out all reason on the subject. It has led to a mini-war of words and emotions between people who are normally friendly toward each other. I think we should take a good look at what has happened, both on the list and in the hearts and minds of the people doing the posting. How has the meme affected their thinking on this subject? How has it affected their emotions? Has it driven them into opposing camps that didn't exist before? Has it spread to other members of the list? Are people taking sides and hardening their positions?

    I think these are all serious issues that have the potential to affect the lives of everyone in the world today. There is this fiction that it requires a religious leader to cause this affect. It doesn't. It happens to academics just as easily as it does the rest of us. And when an academic has placed his/her faith in a theory, he/she will defend it to the exclusion of reason and politeness. It has become a matter that affects the world map of the people involved and they feel compelled to defend their territory.

    This, of course, is just my personal opinion and I am not about to defend it to the point of excluding all counter-arguments. But it's something I think we, as a group involved in the study of memetics, should give some thought to.

    >Ted Dace wrote:
    >>Why do I wish to insult him? Because he refuted Sheldrake!
    >>While plenty of people on this list have offered thoughtful, constructive
    >>criticism of Sheldrake, Joe is not among them. The most exhaustive
    >>discussion came from Derek Gatherer, who wisely dropped the subject after
    >>it became clear that he wasn't able to offer any kind of clear-cut
    >>refutation. Like any sensible person, Gatherer declared his disagreement
    >>and let it go at that. Intelligent people can agree to disagree. If anyone
    >>ever does conclusively refute holistic biology, it'll certainly be news.
    >>No doubt Skeptical Inquirer will feature the story on its cover.
    >Much as I hesitate to respond to this post, as a point of clarification,
    >Gatherer's last word on Sheldrake referred to the theory as an elaborate
    >delusion comparable to Velikovsky's 'Worlds in Collision', a work from the
    >1950s which claimed to show that Venus was ejected from Jupiter 3500 years
    >Ray Recchia
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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