Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id FAA18104 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Wed, 2 May 2001 05:55:27 +0100 Message-ID: <email@example.com> Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 21:51:44 -0700 (PDT) From: Trupeljak Ozren <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: The Status of Memetics as a Science To: email@example.com In-Reply-To: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745E2D@inchna.stir.ac.uk> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
--- Vincent Campbell <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>>> <I agree. The difference is real and important one. The
>>> I was refering to when I call the science one of the religions,
> are the similarities of memetic structure. The science memeplex seem
> to have better "truth-generating engine" then most of the religions
> have, and that translates into direct power that its disciples can
> >> >
> >> I'm not personally keen on the language here, but there are
> those on the list who'd agree with this without as much reserve.
> <Why, what seems to be a problem?>
> For me, terms like 'disciples' are pejorative, implying blind faith.
Disciple is a follower of discipline; how does that imply blind faith?!
But, OK, if that is true for you, no prob. I was refering to the
meaning of the word in relation to scientific view that one needs
disciplined thinking to produce scientificaly valid results, as opposed
to wishful or some other kinds of thinking..
> >> But doesn't this conflict with your
> >> view that science and religion use the same processes of logic?
> (I>> think that was the phrase you used).
> <Nope. Logic by itself can produce enormous amount of completely
> irrelevant and obvious truths. You need good filters to discern what
is useful. In
> a way, logic is one of the underlying mechanisms of truth-engine, but
> the only one and not the most important one. Both religions use it
> > god-ones), but science seems to have developed a way to use that
> change itself every now and then (Kuhn's paradigm shifts) which most
> the other religions have not.>
> So are the filters of science and religion the same in your book?
> As I said in my other reply today, there may be internal logic to a
> train of thought, but if the premises are illogical in the first
> internal logic becomes irrelevant. Science's capacity to change, is
> one of its merits.
Of course that filters of sc. and rel. are not the same; filters amogst
the religions are rarely the same. I never claimed that logical
thinking always produces truths (and I specifically mentioned that most
of the religious premises are out there, meaning, hanging in the air,
We at least agree that ability of science to change itself makes it
different from most other religions.
> <Weak from our, "scientific" perspective. From the perspective of
> Islam scheme
> > dominant in Afghanistan, it was a needed move.>
> Exactly- the basis of religious decision making is instrinsically
> weak, even if its extrinsically strong (rather like military notions
> of proportional response, where knocking out Saddam's radar stations
> doesn't affect Sadam's rule but offers a symoblic indication of
> It's the intrinsic significance that matters to science.
What does it mean, intrinsically weak? What is the meaning of
"intrinsic significance"? Please explain; I do not follow your
> >> Interpretation of religious texts is entirely arbitrary- people
> >> always, and will always, continue to utilise the inconsistencies,
> >> internal contradictions in religious texts to support any cause
> >> like. Think of the racists who use the Bible to support them, and
> >> rights campaigners who do likewise.
> <Culturaly dependant far more then entirely arbitray. South has more
> > racists who use Bible to support their view, North has more civil
> > campaigners who use their Bibles for their goals. And they use
> > Bibles half of the time anyway.>
> I'm not talking about the US, per se, I'm talking globally. The
> slave trade was legitimated on biblical passages, but so were civil
>movements from the US to South Africa and elsewhere. The question
> should be, why do movements on both sides of the race question
> religion rather than other tools- because religion is fundamentally
> in a way that science is not, and thus is malleable to virtually any
I was talking globally, too, just using a specific example. And as far
as I know, movements on both sides of the race question use (and abuse)
science to prove their point also. Science seems to be as malleable as
religious interpretations of morality are, mainly because science does
not deal in ethics and morality at all.
And the only fundamental arbitrariness of religion as opposed to
science that I can see, is a choice of truth generator. Even that seems
to be an evolutionary choice, and not arbitrary one.
> <Ok, when I say new capacity for human behavior, and used above
> > wanted to point out two things: first, those people had an
> > are never going to forget, and that most of the other people on
earth do not
>> get to experience. Irrespective of whether similar things happened
> ... and? I don't get the significance of this. (I'm not sure I
> accept it either, but I'll wait for an exaplanation).
The original argument was that science offered new capacities for human
behavior, while religions do not; I claimed that they do, and offered
an above mentioned example.
> <Second, I wanted to point out that if you didn't have religions in
the first place, you
> > wouldn't be able to go around and destroy their symbols, no? So
> > again a new capacity for human beahvior.>
> ...and? Again, I'm not sure what you're saying here. There's
> absolutely nothing new about destroying the idols of religion, or for
> that matter other icons- after all destruction of statues of Stalin
> Winston Churchill in May Day celebrations in the UK), aren't
> they're ideological ones. This has been done for centuries,
> years even. I really don't know what you're saying here.
You do not even try to understand, do you? I repeat, if you did not
have religions (or ideologies, whatever) in the first place, you would
not have one very specific capacity for human behavior, and that is
destruction of the monuments for that religion or ideology. All of this
only as an example of why the claim that science offers capacities for
h.b. and religions do not.
Now, if you have claimed that science offers MORE capacities for h.b.
then religion does, I might agree with you there. Anyway, not a
difference significant enough to prove that science is not a religion.
> <Yes, as far as I know, yes...still, geneticaly we are not very
> > those first proto-humans at all,>
> Well we not that different still from chimps, genetically speaking
> (or in numerical terms, as recently announced from fruit flies)...
The difference is quite a bit greater though, between us and chimps,
then between us and proto-humans, which is the reason why I claimed
humanity to have existed on earth for about 4 million years, in the
first place. Is it important for the rest of religion-science argument?
> <... and the only (I suspect!) huge differences that we have are
> better developed brains and better resistance to diseases, and this
> last oneas a direct consequence of the rise of civilization (and I am
> talking about the modern medicine at all.)>
> Well, no I think this last point is wrong actually. There's a
> significant point of view that our sanitised society is actually
> making people more vulnerable to disease, e.g. rises in allergic
> in children, falls in general disease resistence levels etc. Wade's
> also mentioned the organisms who've exploited our environmental
> to our detriment.
I strongly disagree. Vast majority of the people on Earth do not live
in sanitised societies. Conditions of life for almost 80% of humanity
are far worse today than they were when we lived in tribal societies;
diseases are still rampant, and are one of the main factors that affect
survival of specific groups of genes. Although we have the technology
needed to combat them, money for that is held in very few, very
weatlhy, countries, that do not give a damn about human suffering
Our current way of life in the first world societies might be
conductive to falls in general disease resistance, but on the
evolutionary scale, is way too short for genes to show that. Even last
5000 years of civilised life (which generates an important factor of
survival: disease resistance) are short enough that this effect is
> Incidentally, I don't know if anyone's died from bed bugs directly,
> but I suspect indrectly they could be pretty damaging to those with
> allergies or asthma (also on the increase in urban environments).
Might be. Doesn't change a bit in my argument for dominance.
> >>> <Since the battleground of our modern drug industry against the
> >> > antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria is my favorite research
> >> > into the specifics of meme-gene interaction, I must confess that
> >> > not agree with what you say.
> > > I'm interested in where you think memes fit into this medicinal
> > > area.
> <If all the knowledge is memetic, then there is your answer. If not,
> > a meme of fighting the bacteria with antibiotics has been present
> > medical culture for a number of years. It has always been devising
> > antibiotics, and is behind today's research into the same. Now the
> > widespread use of antibiotics in inappropriate way (specialy in
US), has led
> to an
> > accelerated evolution of certain bacteria, with the primary
> > affected being their ability to resist the antibiotics. You can see
> that through use of humans, directly influences the genetics of a
> of species, which then again influence that idea, and the whole
> recurses again...>
> Perhaps, but knowledge per se isn't automatically memetic. It comes
> back to the utility conundrum. I'm not interested in human practices
> that spread because they work, have overt utility, but in those that
> spread despite not having overt utility. That doesn't mean they
> different mechanisms necessarily, but I feel we'd get a clearer
> insight into cultural evolution if we could work out why specious
> practices spread.
As I said, if knowledge is not necessarily memetic, then proof #2.
And as for the spread of specious cultural practices, I agree, it might
be very interesting to find out.
There are very few man - and they are exceptions - who are able to think and feel beyond the present moment.
Carl von Clausewitz
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