Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work

From: Philip A.E. Jonkers (
Date: Wed Nov 21 2001 - 23:04:02 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work
    Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 15:04:02 -0800
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    > > I don't deny there is such a thing as the self being the individual. That
    > > would be silly. All I claim is that if the individual would be stripped
    > > from its cultural baggage (i.e. its cultural education and upbringing) an
    > > animal-like self would remain. I used the phenomena of the feral children
    > > to support this view. It speaks for itself that wolf-children may bite me
    > > in my ass if I'd deny their possible existence.

    > Then why refer to the self as a "self-plex?" If it's real, then why regard
    > it as an ego-like structure fabricated in the course of memetic
    > competition? The self is the field within which memes are the particles.
    > There are no memes without conscious selectors. Like a tune that won't
    > stop playing, memes must first be consciously selected. Only then do they
    > dip into unconscious to plague us. Selfish memes become ingrained because
    > they exploit a deep, psychic need. So, for instance, American football has
    > thrived-- relative to traditional football-- by playing on our love of
    > regimented, militaristic behavior, which is rooted in our collective
    > predation reflex (Ehrenreich, 1997). Without a conscious self, and its
    > corresponding subterranean dreck, memes don't exist. This is no different
    > than to say that photons have no self-nature apart from electromagnetic
    > fields. It's not that photons exist "inside" e-m fields; they're the
    > particularizations of the field. You can't reduce consciousness to memes
    > (or vice versa) any more than fields to particles.

    Hi Ted, I guess I understand where the source of our disagreement lies.
    Memetics really goes so far as to consider consciousness as some property
    emerging from exposure to culture. Consciousness is thus in a way, memetic.
    If you are conscious of some event you can express it in words right? It is
    the little voice called consciousness in your head reflecting on that
    event that triggered your attention. Then if you are able to express your
    conscious experience in words consciousness necessarily consists
    entirely of memes for the simple reason that words are memes.
    Therefore, assuming consciousness to consist of memes, when you make a
    conscious choice to select or adopt a meme the memeplexes inside your NS
    really make that choice. In the quintessentially memetic way, memes
    choose memes therefore, using the brain as a vehicle. The only intrinsic
    quality that makes us really original lies in our crude genetically based
    predispositions or preferences to memes. This is genetically determined.
    Separately raised identical twins showing remarkable resemblance in
    predispositions, flavors and preferences testify of that.
    Genes give you the slay featuring raw biases, the personal memetic
    history fills in the rest, which defines the very nature of humans.
    Together with our genetically determined set of raw biases makes each
    human unique. The view that the self really consists of memes is
    emphasized once more in:

    > > Any form of science? What about the ancient greek and byzanthium(?)
    > > scholars, didn't they virtually invent science while capitalism was still
    > > an unknown word?

    > The ancient scientists are known to us as philosophers. (Even the early
    > modern scientists were known as "natural philosophers"). As Pellicani
    > notes, the first "philosophers," such as Thales, Anaximander, Pythagoras,
    > Heraclitus, Xenophon, and Parmenides, were all born and worked in Magna
    > Graecia, which was an expression of the colonial, market-based economy that
    > spread out from the Aegean to the Adriatic and the Black Sea. It was the
    > original, Western-style empire, formed by individuals not so well-connected
    > back home who set out to make something of themselves as pirates and
    > traders. Like modern Europe it was the commonors, not the aristocrats, who
    > forged the new world, and they accomplished this by means of a ruthless
    > rationalism. The ideal of science-- the pursuit of knowledge-- has always
    > been tangled up with its historical roots in predatory economics. While
    > genuine science is a sort of applied philosophy, in reality it carries the
    > ideology of the market, with its irreconcilable split between materialistic
    > individualism (atomism) and the abstract principles by which the market is
    > said to operate (mathematical idealism). You might say it's the Platonic
    > pseudo-science, where astrology and numerology and Tarot are but
    > shadows on the cave wall.

    It's a harsh world, survival still means everything. I'm happy as a
    scientist as I am though. I try to keep out of politics
    (can't do everything). I just want to satisfy my thirst for knowledge
    without too much financial interests (I'm not allergic to money, of course).
    I don't really care about the perhaps not so admirable past of science.
    Should I be ashamed to be Dutch for Apartheid is a Dutch word?
    All nations and groups have parts in their past that are less admirable,
    but that doesn't keep me from getting sleep though.


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