virus: FAQ: version 1.0

Eric Boyd (
Fri, 18 Jun 1999 16:12:20 -0400

Hey Virians,

I've collected all of the questions and answers so far -- now lets see if we want any changes and/or additions.

Church of Virus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) version 1.0

(a) What the hell is this Level thing you guys keep arguing over?

(b) What is a meme?

A meme is a unit of information in a mind whose presence influences events such that more copies of itself get created in other minds. Memes can be seen as the basic building blocks of culture, or as the software of the human mind.

(c) What's wrong with believing in God?

The same thing that's wrong with believing in anything, if you haven't examined the pros and cons of believing in it. We stand for consciousness, especially with regard to what to believe and purposeful living.

"I contend that we are all atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

(d) Why start a religion?

It seemed like a logical idea at the time?


>From the web page:

Virus was originally created to compete with the traditional
(irrational) religions in the human ideosphere with the idea that it
would introduce and propagate memes which would ensure the survival and evolution of our species. The main advantage conferred upon adherents is Virus provides a conceptual framework for leading a truly meaningful life and attaining immortality without resorting to mystical delusions. (does this answer the question? Did you have any reason David?)

(e) What is Universal Darwinism?

A model of evolution that looks at all change as resulting from the natural selection of various entities making copies of themselves with occasional mistakes.


Universal Darwinism is a generalization of evolution from biology out into the universe at large. It is the recgonition that there are other types of units/objects to which evolution applies.

"Put into Richard Dawkins's language, if there is a replicator that makes imperfect copies of itself only some of which survive, then evolution /must/ occur." -- Susan Blackmore, _The Meme Machine_, pg 11

Any unit which posses the traits of variation, selection and retention
(or heredity), provides a suitable 'substrate' on which Universal
Darwinism can act as a mechanism of evolution.

(f) What is the paradigm shift involved with memetics?

The tough pill to swallow is giving up the notion that our ideas are mostly our own, and realizing that we are infested or infected with millions of memes all competing for our mind-share.

(g) What is clarity of purpose?

A way of gaining a high level of control over the memes that compete for your mind-share. By consciously choosing a purpose and then filtering memes through that, we can avoid the confusion and ineffectiveness that comes with being programmed in a less conscious way.

(h) What is phaith?

A variant spelling of "faith" designed to avoid the connotation of blindness or stupidity that some atheists carry.

I propose modifying the above to read:

A variant spelling of "faith" which excludes the negative aspects and connotations of faith, while concentrating on the positive elements most freethinkers remain unaware of.

(i) Why is dogmatic faith a sin?

It combines unconsciousness with memebotism, or devoting a portion of one's life to defending the truth of a meme. Both are dangerous to a person's pursuit of a meaningful and fulfilling life.

(j) What is UTism?

Short for the "Us vs. Them" mentality common in our species. When used,
usually implies that someone is caught in the "Us vs Them" perspective and unaware of it. "Us vs Them" is perhaps the original seperator between peoples. Humans, like most other animals, recognize familiar features in animals of their species, and usually consider "US" to be those in our social group or that have similar features. People not in our group, or with unfamiliar features, are "THEM"--and we are naturally more inclined to find fault and to place blame on "THEM" than
we do on "US". However, we all realize upon reflection that UTism leads
inevitably to oversimplifications and generalization and does NOT accurately
represent reality. As such, habitual UTism should be avoided when at all


UTism is a level 2 geneticly based zenophobic memeplex...

(k) What is Virus?

>From the web page:

Virus is:
a forum for rational discourse
a memetically engineered atheistic religion a synthesis of religion and evolution
the best possible conceptual framework for living and thinking a neo-cybernetic philosophy for the 21st century Darwin's dangerous idea out of control
an extended phenotype of the Virion Council

{snip three questions not usually asked here on Virus}

(o) What topics are 'off topic' and why?

Christian apologetics and *biological* evolution are off topic, because past experience has revealed that debate on these topics is useless and distracts Virus from making further progress. The purpose of Virus is to create a new religion based on memetics and freethought -- we will debate other religions only to the extent that we feel it helps our cause.

"[So] long as the proponents of our best theories... have their attention turned defensively backwards, and expend their intellectual energies in futile refutation and re-refutation of theories long known to be false, the state of our deepest knowledge cannot improve." -- David Deutsch, *The Fabric of Reality*

If you wish to debate Christian apologetics or biological evolution, either take it off list into personal email, or go join a different mailing list centered on such topics. Helpful links:

For an extensive collection of freethough literature and general non-theist material and discussion:

For information on evolution:

(p) What is 'a conscious approach to email writing' and why should I
have it?

A conscious approach to email involves actually thinking about what you are saying and why before you send the email off. Why are you writing this email? Is what you have written going to invoke the kind of response you want? Have you clearly communicated your main point?

For a much deeper analysis of this topic, see:

(q) what is conciousness?

Good question!!! There are a great many schools of thought on this. If you'd like to explore some of the more interesting ones, we invite you to join us at: < >

>From the Collins Concise dictionary:

Conscious: adj. 5. of the part of a mind that is aware of a persons self, surroundings, and thoughts, and that to a certain extent determines choices of actions.

The debate, of course, is "what part of the mind (brain)"? and "to what extent?"

For more info on members views, see:


Can anybody think of more questions that should be answered?