[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Dennett on the Darwinism of Memes

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John Bottoms <john@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2013 13:39:18 -0400
Message-id: <51796A46.9010202@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Ed, et al,    (01)

I think we are bobbling the ball on "god", as we did on memes. Maybe we 
should track the practice back to "Pegasus", but let me address god/God 
and memes for a moment.    (02)

It is asked, "Can we know there is a god?" The use of the word "know" is 
out of place in this sentence without further qualification. It is often 
used to express the view that god should not be discussed in science, 
and I agree with that view. However, there is a role in ontology, in the 
broadest sense for "god". But it needs to be defined in a domain other 
than "science". If we sanction or embargo the use of the word "god' in 
an ontology, then we have failed in our professional responsibilities.    (03)

Likewise, we do permit the use of "Pegasus" without censure. We assume 
it is part of a Wittgenstein game that begins with "Once upon a 
time...". Without Pegasus and Minnie Mouse we lose our ability to talk 
with, and about the industries that employ these symbols. Likewise with 
the term "god".    (04)

With respect to "meme", it seems like there are mixed opinions about how 
it should be treated. One camp believes it is a poor synonym for 
"popularity" or a similar notion. Others, including myself, believe that 
it is sufficiently unique that we humans have adopted a term for the 
concept, albeit, poorly defined.    (05)

Are we to assume that those who use the term "meme" are  fadish, overly 
poetic or oafish? My approach is to reserve opinion on this issue and 
focus on the use of the term. I do see merit in Dennett's analogy to 
viruses. His metaphor does overlap with "popularity", which does not 
capture the full effect of "meme". I give the group an adequate, passing 
grade in Ontology101 in this case. In my view we still have a lot to do 
in the development of the ontological practice.    (06)

-John Bottoms (disclaimer: I studied at Christian Theological Seminary 
in '74)
  FirstStar Systems
  Concord, MA USA    (07)

On 4/25/2013 12:43 PM, Barkmeyer, Edward J wrote:
> I suppose this is what happens when we talk about our technology as 
> I am sure I will regret even contributing to this discussion.  But fools rush 
>in ...
> Pat Hayes wrote:
>> The basic scientific argument against the existence of God is that there is
>> absolutely no observational evidence for the existence of a God, nor any
>> reason to hypothesise such an entity in order to explain anything that is
>> observable.
> I agree that this is the basic scientific argument.  Now, I propose to play 
>"Devil's Advocate".
> Assuming we hypothesize the Big Bang to dispense with creation myths, how did 
>the Big Bang itself come to be?
> "And God said, Let there be light. And there was light."  (Genesis 1: 3)
> That one biblical passage associates the prevalent scientific theory, now 
>based on extensive observation, with an answer to the question the theory 
>doesn't try to answer.  I don't have to believe that it is true (the "leap of 
>faith"), in order to recognize something that is now taken to be observable 
>and is not explained by modern scientific theory.  It is, of course, possible 
>that some yet less-than-understood phenomenon like "dark energy" might be the 
>predecessor and explain the Big Bang, but the question is currently still open.
>> A very straightforward application of Occam's principle then suffices. Of 
>course this is not a *proof*, but it is a sound *scientific* argument.
> I am merely proposing a possible counterexample to Pat's basis postulate, 
>which would imply that the application of Occam's razor is premature (dicto 
>simpliciter, if you will).
> I believe that the existence of God is unknowable.  It can be accepted or 
>rejected without harm to the soundness of one's arguments for science.
> How the existence of God may relate to human behaviors is an entirely 
>separate question, not to be confused (as it often is) with the fundamental 
> -Ed
> P.S.  One other question that has always intrigued me:  How did a moderately 
>successful pre-Iron Age agricultural and mercantile civilization come to 
>postulate the Big Bang?  Or (in Genesis 1:2 , out-of-order) describe the 
>formation of the solar system?  It is not hard to understand how the concept 
>"Divine inspiration" comes into existence.  But it is also not unreasonable to 
>suppose another source of that knowledge  ("Are we alone?"), which many "hard 
>scientists" also think is nonsense. Underlying both of these "conjectures" is 
>another observation we cannot explain.
> --
> Edward J. Barkmeyer                     Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
> National Institute of Standards & Technology
> Systems Integration Division
> 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263             Work:   +1 301-975-3528
> Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263             Mobile: +1 240-672-5800
> "The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
>   and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."
>    (08)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J    (09)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>