RE: virus: Re: Thinking clearly about faith

Richard Brodie (
Mon, 15 Feb 1999 07:17:35 -0800

MemeLab wrote:

<<You can

operate on a set of assumptions and still hold them in principle open to rational criticism.>>

Yes. The important thing is holding the assumptions open. Rational criticism or some other means may be used to allow for future self-reprogramming.

<<Good. Then you can uderstand that I can reasonably trust an assumption.
otherwords, I can in practice rely on it now, while in principle holding it open to rational criticism.>>

This is a powerful, mature attitude. However, rational criticism is not the only metasystem, nor necessarily the best.

<<Job was holding belief, or commitment to his supposedly
benevolent "God" thingy in contradiction to reason, and I think that is the "acid test", the essential without which there is no faith in the sense that the religious use the word.>>

Not in contradiction to reason. In contradiction to RESULTS. Imagine you are playing blackjack. You have run a computer simulation and are sure that you know exactly what moves to make at each step in order to maximize your chances of winning. Now you lose seven hands in a row. (This has happened to me, by the way.) You notice that every time you double down, you lose. The players at your table, and the dealer, all start giving you advice like "always take even money on a blackjack" and so on. Is sticking to your original strategy doing it against reason? Or against results?

<<And does it really matter when the last time I questioned the validity of
scientific method or logic, or even if I have at all? As long as I hold it in
principle open to rational criticism, I am not required to always rationally criticize everything. If a compelling criticism of the scientific method or logic occurs to me, I will entertain it. But being a rational person does not
require me to invent criticisms of *everything*. Being a rational person does
not mean that I cannot reasonably assume things, or hold things as being practically justified for now.>>

"I'm not addicted. I can quit any time."

Richard Brodie Author, "Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme" Free newsletter! Visit Meme Central at