virus: Re: virus-digest V3 #51

Reed Konsler (
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 11:04:37 -0500

>Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 17:57:58 -0500
>From: "joe dees" <>
>Subject: Re:virus: Nothing

>>"You don't have a clue what Dan thinks."
>Au Contraire; Dan has written many tomes...

Well, we disagree on our interpretation.

>>Furthermore..if he did agree with you, you would
>>both be wrong and I'd be disappointed in him..
>>becuase I expect someone brilliant enough to write
>>the books he does to know better.
>You'd be disappointed in his error any time his
>opinions differed from your own? Methinks your
>egotistical pudendum is showing here.

What does "pudendum" mean? What I meant is that if Dennett made the same claim to rationality while being so obviously the way you are...I would be quite shaken. I really like Dennett and find much meaning in what he says. I presume he is flexible enough to allow the word "faith" in a conversation without vomiting up a bunch of vile negative memes. He might not agree with me, but I presume his tactics would be much different than yours. It's just my opinion.

>You may withdraw into delusion, but when you do
>, you still lose; it's just you are not aware of it, but
>everyone who does not share your delusion is.

Too true. But, in a sense, we are all deluded, anyway. No one has an unbiased perspective, which is why we should do our best to unify across the divides.

>>"Look, you don't have any special access to Truth.
>>If you keep saying all these silly things then you
>>should expect the rest of us to resist you every
>>step of the way. And don't think violence will
>>deter us..just becuase we are rational doesn't
>>mean we won't do whatever it takes to preserve
>>freedom of expression. Our lives and liberty
>>are less important to us that the well being of
>>the collective. Oh, and don't think that you have
>>some special right to preserve the ways of your
>>father by imposing them upon your children.
>>We are all in this together, and they are our
>>children, also, to love, protect, and teach as best
>>we can."
>>Like I said, he is one bad ass philosopher.
>Check out my post about the spread of Islam in
>response to Prof. Tim; I said much the same thing there.

But you don't recognize that dogmatic rationalism can also become a toxic frame of mind. Can you admit that Reason can be put to evil purposes? Can you accept that Faith might be put to good ones? I'm asking for you to imagine that these things could be "in principle". Can you?

>>Richard has already countered that argument. We are
>>all human, does this make the word "human" meaningless?
>Is the planet Uranus human? Are donkeys human? Is a
>magnolia tree, a mountain, or a river human? There
>are plenty of entities to contrast "human" with (in fact
>the overwhelming preponderance in the Universe), and
>that fact grants the word its meaning. I'm disappointed
>in you here, Reed. If you couldn't have come up with a
>better argument than this one you should have practiced
>the wiser course of forbearance.

God grant me strength in this my hour of need... he speaks of my need for "forebearance"!

Look, you can't make me mad at you. Insult me, call me foolish, call me mad. I'm just going to smile and say



Those things are not human, but each can be understood fruitfully from an anthropomorphic perspective. We can personify each to give it meaning. Why do you think the planet is NAMED "Uranus" and not "X442245" We relate to everything though the framework of our human perspective. Logic is just one way of communicating that translation, a rigorous formal one. It is excellent for some purposes and useless for others. Why can't you accept a conditional on this point? I'm not asking you to capitulate to any idea or rule except that, usually, the meaning of something "depends" on more than a simplistic general rule. It depends...that's all. I don't understand what is so hard about "it depends". Are you afraid of the thin end of the wedge? Are you THAT afraid?

>>>If you believe in error, you will lose.
>>Interesting..I see your point. That's a dangerous
>>statement, though, becuase one interpretation points
>>toward light and other towards darkness. It's a test
>>of will you interpret me?
>>I interpret it as:
>>"If you don't have faith in yourself, then you can't
>No. If you have a faith in your position that is
>contradicted by the facts of the matter, you will
>still lose (though you may sail up the Egyptian
>River of Denial about it).

OK...look, in the interest of cordial relations, I'll fiat. How do you know when you have lost? Who has the authority to tap you on the shoulder and say "hey, buddy, give it rest". This isn't a formal debate, there are no rules and no judges.

I would assert that you have to tell yourself when you've had enough. But if, in your reflective moment, you have established a principle as core to your beliefs you would be foolish to let someone bully you into thinking differently or acting out of sorts.

That doesn't mean you don't think seriously about what people say to you. I just means that, at the moment of confrontation, you have to throw everything into fray...and then some. It's like a marathon, if you aren't sick and puking by the end, then you didn't really give it all you could.

Again, at that moment of confrontation. That can be a short moment, followed quickly by a moment of reflection. Or, if you understand what Level 3 means, you can reflect AND confront simultaneously. Practice makes perfect. First you do one, then the other. With enough practice, you start to multi-task.

>>If A then ~B
>>If B then ~A
>>If C then ~A, ~B
>>If A then ~C
>>If B then ~C
>>Those are the premises.
>>I assert:
>>If ~A, ~B then either C or ~C
>>Look, this abstract shit is boring me. I do
>>it at work all the time, could we talk about
>>people instead?
>Sure, but A v B v C, or to say it another way
>~(A*B), ~(B*C), and ~(A*C), were assumed
> (that truth, falsehood and meaninglessness
>were mutually exclusive categories),

I didn't make that you see it is not in my set of premises. If you wish to establish that, then you need to take ANOTHER step backwards. How do you know the categories are, in fact, exclusive? Your "logic" is nothing but a foundationless tower of assertions.

>and that ~D (there is no statement which is
>neither true nor false nor meaningless).

Ooh. That is deep! Since I can't think of a good reason why that shouldn't be the case, sure, I'll agree with ~D. I'm still not giving you the "mutually exclusive" though

For instance:

"He who hesitates is lost"
"Look before you leap"

Aphorisms...sometimes they are true, sometimes they are false, sometimes they are meaningful, sometimes they just remind you of say, Richard's book [OK, shamless plug! Ha! sue me!] for no reason you can put your finger on.

Can we make a new relationship?


Where # denotes A evoking an idea B becuase the two are associated in your mind. For instance, in your case, we could say:

Faith # Nazis # Jim Jones # evil #...

and so forth

for me we could say

Faith # Happiness # Reason

In other words, faith makes me think of happy, which makes me think of reason, the other thing which makes me happy.

Or do you only do formal systems that "real" philosophers use?

>I should have restated these in the premises, but if you
>disagree with them, it is up to you to provide a disproving
>counterexample, or admit that you can't.

That would only be true if I were trying to convince you using formal logic, which I'm not. I can disagree and I have the freedom to let everyone know it. I don't have to justify my beliefs with you before communicating them to others. Your doctrine has no intrinsic merit, as our buddy Dan might say.

>>>>You do understand! That was great!
>>>I have understood for quite a while now;
>>>the contention is about the things you do
>>>not yet understand.
>>Cool. What are they?
>We're discussing them as these posts proceed.

You have yet to tell me anything I didn't already understand. Oh, I take that back. Elide is a cool word.

>>>>The isn't over yet, is it? I still warming up.
>>>Not until you submit or quit.
>>"You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down,
>>I shall become more powerful than you can
>>possibly imagine." -Obi Wan Kenobi
>> "Star Wars"
>> George Lucas
>"Come over to the logical side, Luke! I am your father!"
>(Darth vader, paraphrased)

"I'll never join you!" (which, in the end, of course is a half truth) Skywalker and his father are united in spirit, in the end. But it is Vader who moves.


  Reed Konsler