Re: "scientism"

t (MemeLab@aol.com)
Fri, 9 Apr 1999 09:48:37 EDT

From: <MemeLab@aol.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1999 09:48:37 EDT
Subject: Re: "scientism"
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk

In a message dated 4/8/99 8:26:45 PM Central Daylight Time,
chrislees@easynet.co.uk writes:

>> Well, perhaps you ought to re-evaluate your budgeting, and actually read
people's work before casting aspersions upon it. <<

Well, once again, if I have gotten something wrong about it, please feel free
to correct it. But if all you can do is confirm that yes indeed she does say
these things about self being an illusion, irrellevant, or disposable, then
your whining is just that, whining.

>>In my code, to denigrate an individual - in this instance, S. Blackmore -
by daft slurs like " she must have been listening to her psychic friends "
and other derisory remarks, is unworthy of anyone who wishes to be respected
for their views.<<

Well thank you for your holier than thou perspective on this. At least my
slurs are coupled with relevant points. Your previous EM said absolutely
nothing except perhaps that you were upset at me, coupled with your mindless
"bla, bla, bla".

>>I'm still waiting for you to offer a response to the requests, from myself
and
R. Faicheny, regarding how you define 'reality'. The silence is deafening.
Perhaps you have your fingers in your ears and have tuned out <<

Joe Dees made the counter point. I read it. Did you? Faichey did.
Apparently you did not follow the drift. Perhaps you were paying more
attention to egos rather than ideas?

>>Incidentally, I'm all in favour of scientists debunking the paranormal.
Like Lloyd, you seem to assume that because I attack what I call scientism,
the corollary is that I must support a literal interpretation of Genesis, or
the mystification associated with UFOs and spoon bending. I hope I have
made it thoroughly clear that I do not. I call bullshit bullshit, wherever I
find it, and there is as much in science as anywhere else. As I pointed out
re telepathy, when the paranormal refuses to be debunked, scientism turns
a blind eye to the evidence.<<

I read your EM on telepathy. I just wasn't impressed. Your belief that this
proves anything is not anything that I can share even if I try to be
charitable. All it shows is that similar people given similar visualization
directives, will achieve similar looking EEGs. I don't see any compelling
leap to telepathy in these findings. In fact most of the experiments that I
have read about that would potentially provide such a compelling link have
either failed to do so, or been shown to be outright fraudulent or
suspiciously unrepeatable (apparently if the "wrong" people are present for
the experimentation they "don't work").

I fail to see how recognizing and accepting these shortcomings qualifies as
dogmatic, narrow minded, arrogant, or now even turning a blind eye. And once
again I think your use of the word "scientism" is irresponsible and serves no
other function than to legitimate denigration and derision of scientific
endeavor. If you want to call somebody dogmatic - then do so. There is no
point in "scientism" boogeymen to vent your frustrations on.

>>I have only entered this forum because some scientists interested in memes
have touched upon zen. Having studied zen for thirty years, I have
accumulated some knowledge in that area, which may or may not be helpful.<<

Okay. But I don't think that you should get your expectations up about
people accepting zen buddhism as authoritative. Anymore than one would
expect any other brand of mysticism to be taken as authoritative. I don't
doubt that many practitioners of zen are sincerely looking for something, but
I personally think that the "self as an illusion" meme that seems to be
highly prevalent in Zen does not lead to anything greater than delusion.

I have occassionally entertained the notion that there might be a clearer and
more useful distinction that could be made between self-transcendence and
self-denial, but all Zen practitioners that I have heard speak of it confound
these things in such a way that I find their distinctions effectively
meaningless. To say "self is an illusion" and "self doesn't exist" are both
irrational assaults on the ontological legitimacy of self, and represent only
different degrees of self denial. Perhaps I am a stickler semantic clarity,
but I think without it, we can't hope for many other kinds of clarity.

>>There is a vast body of work - from Nagarjuna, to Hua Yen
metaphysics, to Dogen, etc., etc., - which could be drawn upon.I wonder if
anyone
is working on it, and if not , why not.<<

Perhaps at least partially for the reasons that I have stated.

-Jake

===============================================================
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit