Re: virus: FAQ: v1.0 (o) -- Off-topics

Eric Boyd (
Sat, 19 Jun 1999 15:21:04 -0400


Tim Rhodes <> writes: <<
I think this needs work. I have two problems with it:

  1. Most of the people who want to argue Christian apologetics on CoV don't even know what that term means. You need to define it. (And I would define it very specificly, since I can also see great value for us in being able to address topics like Christian mythology or religious beliefs, provided they are dealt with from a memetic perspective.)

Hmmm... seems a shame that we have to pander to their ignorance, but you're probably right.

How about:

Christian apologetics (including by not limited to pascals wager, the lord/liar/lunatic argument, and any discussion of biblical or papal infailability) as well as (debates about the truth of) *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.

2) Biological evolution is "off topic"?!? I assume you must mean the question of whether evolution is "true" or not. Since so much of memetics is currently based on comparision to biological evolution, to call the whole subject off topic would seem quite daft. That can't be what you mean.

Actually yea. I'm more and more convinced that the biological metaphor for memetics is a blind ally. It gets us all caught up in arguments about memeotypes and phemomemes and other "carry overs" from biology that (frankly) we have no evidence for in memetics. We also talk about "Lamarkism" and bable on about needing to know (physically) what a meme is, both of which are really inessential for progress at this point in memetics. Darwin's theory of biological evolution had to wait 60+ years to acheive that kind of knowledge -- why should memetics suddenly happen over night? To the extent that biological evolution can help us understand evolution (and U.Dism), it's fine -- but do be very wary of carrying the metaphor to far.