Re: virus: Religious Memes

Richard Aynesworthy (
Thu, 6 May 1999 21:42:32 -0400 (EDT)

> Sounds a bit bombastic!
> Science NEEDS reason to function.

...right - science is a construct of reason, but that's also a limitation on the data it can gather. Reason is only one component of the humyn data-gathering and sorting apparatus. Exclusive reliance on reason and the discard of intuition, rationality (which includes emotion and instinct)

The scientific method is simple
> rationale. One tests hypotheses with experiment.

...but the structure of reality can't necessarily be encompassed by testable hypotheses. Especially since our sensoria is limited by the intrinsic boundaries of our information-gathering apparatus. Linguistic structures - based as they are on symbolic representations of experiential factors - also play their part in shaping those aspects of reality which are open to examination. The reliance of science on transmissible (and reproducible) results makes assumptions about the nature of the universe which do not necessarily have anything to do with the nature they propose to investigate.

If enough
> experiments duplicate the results, certain possibilities are
> eliminated and others remain. These are then tested again and
> again and again in multiple fashion in order to rule out bias.
> There is progression in science. to cite an example? (bearing in mind that CHANGE and PROGRESSION are different things)

> As far as myth is concerned, they all have a "moral to the story", a
> kernal of human nature within. But we don't need myth.

...don't we? What then gives meaning to life? Myth encodes the intuition that our experience is comprehensible. That's the feeling that gave impetus to the scientific initiative in the first place.

"It was only with a recognition of the metaphoric dimension of myth and religion that they would be seen, not as ultimate reality, but as fingers pointing to an ineffable mystery; not as final truth, but its verisimilitude, the multicoloured refraction of the clear white lightwhich may never be looked upon directly." - Joseph Campbell

Myth came
> from us. It is not the other way around.

...the structure of myth came from us, true - we gave it shape in our individual cultures and paradigms. But the SUBSTANCE of mith - its content is that from which we sprang.

We should look at all
> the forces behind organized superstitions. Myth should be in
> folklore books not the basis for humanity's worldview. the organised superstition of scientific rationality?

...personally, twenty thousand odd years of transmitted humyn experience sounds like a better foundation for a worldview than a feww odd hundred years of a system designed to propagate a particular variety of hierarchy.

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