Re: Lynch makes statement.

Aaron Lynch (
Sun, 07 Feb 1999 17:04:34 -0600

Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 07 Feb 1999 17:04:34 -0600
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Re: Lynch makes statement.
In-Reply-To: <v02140b17b2e3b7fc1491@[]>

At 04:47 PM 2/7/99 -0500, Reed Konsler wrote:
>Aaron Lynch:
>>Paul's reaction to the box messages and "blobs on trolleys" is likely to be
>>fairly common, too. I suspect he feels the same way about that animated
>>lion at your web page. The fact that you include such material suggests
>>that you are not familiar with the culture and mentality of research
>>scientists. What was your college major before dropping out, anyway?
>Aaron, this statement was completely unacceptable. If you are going
>to hold yourself up as an expert on research scientists, please tell me
>where and with whom you've received your Ph.D., and what department
>at which university you have or are seeking tenure. If you don't feel
>those questions are relevant, then I suggest you apologize to Richard.
>I mean, honestly, can't you count to 10 before posting?
>He who yells louder does not win a scientific debate.

Welcome to the memetics list, Reed. As I recently checked to see if Kelly
Salsbery was still on this list, I see that you have just joined. I haven't
seen your name since the last time I went looking for that "high bandwidth"
discussion in the "Church of Virus" archives. Did someone suggest that you
come and join this discussion on Richard Brodie's behalf? Another "Church
of Virus" list subscriber, Tim Rhodes, is already here.

As for the statement in question, I don't know about "unacceptable," but it
does seems to have been incorrect. According to Richard, "I can probably
speak for KMO when I say that neither of us do our work in order to please
academics." In the context in which it was written, I take this remark to
mean that he does not care about the reaction the animated lion provokes
among research scientists, even if he understands the culture and mentality
as well as any of us. Rather than accusing him of indifference, I
speculated that he merely did not know the culture and mentality, much as I
do not know the culture and mentality of sculptors. I do not hold those who
do not know the culture and mentality of research scientists on some lower
level than those who do not know the culture and mentality of sculptors,
though. I do, however, feel that one should know and care about such things
when marketing a theory to scientists.

Asking someone to tell us their undergraduate major is just as relevant as
asking if someone has read Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. On
the cover of his book, Richard shows that he wants us to know that he is
"educated at Harvard." In order to even decide if this information is
relevant, I have to at least ask him his major. His book makes clear that
he did not finish college, so I did not demand to know what degrees he
holds, or suggest that he needed one in order to do memetics. I do not hold
a PhD myself, but I do not expect an apology from anyone merely for asking.
Nor do I offer an apology for asking Richard the subject matter of his
widely publicized education at Harvard. Richard clearly wants people to
know that he dropped out, too, so I cannot apologize for bringing that up

--Aaron Lynch

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