Secret ideas. Was Re: On Gatherer's behaviourist stance

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Tue, 08 Sep 1998 09:06:42 +0200

Date: Tue, 08 Sep 1998 09:06:42 +0200
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Secret ideas. Was Re: On Gatherer's behaviourist stance

Bill Benzon wrote:

> >and now Aaron:
> >
> >Rationalist Association). Anyway, I don't see that mind virology
> >necessarily provides any novel critique of religion, and certainly
> >serious theologians simply ignore it. In my Zygon article I try to
> >make the case that the mind virology critique of religion is the modern
> >manifestation of a similar critique (superstition = an infection) that
> >goes back to 17th century non-conformist sects such as the Diggers, the
> >Levellers and the Ranters.
> [snip]
> >to 'irrational responses', but among the theologians there is scarcely
> >a word of comment. I had a lot of trouble persuading the editors of
> >Zygon that a reply to Dawkins was actually warranted. They simply
> >didn't think that such a crass argument merited a response. I got the
> >article published because they liked the parallels I drew between
> >Popper and Averroes in a memetic context - but that's another matter.
> >[Zygon 33, 203-220]
> Derek--This is marvelous stuff. I too worry that memetics as it actually
> is devotes entirely too much effort to critiquing religion and cults in a
> rather tired way. Makes you wonder whether or not these memeticists
> aren't, in fact, trying to defend themselves from ideas they find secretely
> attractive.
> Bill B

Dear Bill: one of the things I learned when studying memes and human psychology
is that we ALL have hidden agenda's and are defending our own world view, we
sometimes kill for it. We stick to our world view and it is difficult to
convince one another that one or the other is wrong at some points (since
giving up on one point might eventually undermine the complete, carefully
constructed world view). Reasoning about why we are so attached to our own
ideas is the kind of stuff I would like to see studied in more detail.

> William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
> 708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
> Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

Mario Vaneechoutte

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