RE: virus: Empiricism

Joe E. Dees (
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 13:07:04 -0500

From:           	"Richard Brodie" <>
To:             	<>
Subject:        	RE: virus: Empiricism
Date sent:      	Tue, 29 Jun 1999 07:05:47 -0700
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> Joe wrote:
> <<yes, it IS empirically true that if a majority of
> Virions identify themselves as empiricist, that a majority are,
> unless they are lying).>>
> Can anyone think of five other explanations for why the result of such a
> poll would not reveal the "truth"?
> I remember a spoof of "USA Today" that the Harvard Lampoon put out shortly
> after the paper's debut. On the front page, in a characteristic cartoony
> inset box, was a bar chart with the headline: "Lead heaviest element, poll
> shows!"
Empirically minded people, like Baptists and Nazis, are those who say they are; what we are measuring is peoples' self-conceptions, not physical facts such as the relative specific gravities of the elements (this is best done using weight scales and volume measurements, with a little math thrown in). Scientifically measuring specific gravity is entirely different from quizzing people who don't know about osmium concerning the heaviness of lead.
> Richard Brodie
> Author, "Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme"
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