Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id SAA13668 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Sat, 12 Jan 2002 18:04:26 GMT X-Originating-IP: [18.104.22.168] From: "Grant Callaghan" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: RE: playing at suicide Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 10:00:00 -0800 Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed Message-ID: <LAW2-F1560gxapzhad200019736@hotmail.com> X-OriginalArrivalTime: 12 Jan 2002 18:00:00.0361 (UTC) FILETIME=[F3F62590:01C19B92] Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
> > GRANT: <<I am defending my theory because the only way to test it
> > ideas
> > is to defend it. My objective, though, is not to sell it, but to test
> > The parts of it I can't defend I will discard.>>
>Consider this: What if nobody bothers to 'refute' your theory or any of its
>parts, and you take this non-response to confirm its validity? And, what if
>someone attacks your theory, but you are unable to defend it even though it
>is correct? Does your methodology for 'knowing' not leave you vulnerable
>1) the degree of interest people have in examining it, and 2) the level of
>your own skill in defending it?
>Is your formulation truly the best way for 'knowing what you know'?
My method may not be the best, but the tools I have available to me are few
and limited. I expect the majority of people with established views to
ignore my ideas. That's human nature. I also expect a certain amount of
ridicule for my ideas. That's also part of the way things work. But out of
all that, I still hope to find a few kindred souls who will engage in the
debate and help me shape the substance of my thought on the subject.
If I can't defend my ideas, I feel at the very least they have to be
reconsidered. Either I didn't state them properly or they were misguided in
the first place. In their arguements against my ideas, people tend to lead
me to new sources of information that can change how I think about the
subject. My theory is not carved in stone. It's still very much a work in
progress. But I have to find ways to use the minds of others to lead me to
new information that will either confirm my views or cause me to revise
them. Reading the work of people who have already made up their minds and
are just preaching to the choir doesn't seem to help me much. I keep
shaking my head and muttering, "That's now how it works." as I go along.
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins was an epiphany for me. But a lot of
the people who grabbed his idea and ran with it seemed to me to be heading
in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, Richard Brodie was one of those who
fell into that category. Even animals (as Dawkins pointed out) use memes.
But I have seen no evidence of thought contagion in animals. I haven't
found any real reason yet to believe in the idea, in spite of having read
Brodie's book. It didn't make me sout "Eureka!" as Dawkins' book did nor
did it stop the muttring as I read it. In Dennett's book and others, I only
mutter here and there. Too many of them are trying to apply the principles
of genetics to the theory of memetics.
When I look at culture, both here and abroad, it doesn't seem to work that
way. The force of nature and the force of culture often seem to work
against each other and I want to know why. What is it about culture that
gives it the power to change the world and override the laws of nature?
These are some of the questions I'm seeking answers to and a mind exchange
like this one gives me a place to at least focus my mind in a way that might
produce answers. It may not be the best way, but how many ways are there?
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