‘Memetics is a Dumb Explanation’ says Dennettian ‘naturalist’

The resident professional ‘philosopher’ of TSZ recently wrote this:

“’memes!’ is a dumb explanation.”

Yes, I agree! (Although that person doesn’t seem to know the difference between ‘memes’ and ‘memetics.’ – e.g. I don’t mind ‘memes’ used for popular shared internet links, but that’s not ‘memetics.’)

Well, given the weekend’s significance for a billion+, let’s ‘crucify’ memetics then. Why is ‘memetics’ a dumb explanation? And there’s no need to hold back with merely ‘dumb’. If one is an ideological ‘naturalist’, isn’t one forced into something like ‘memetics’ because they share the same materialist, naturalist, agnostic/atheist worldview as (chuckling at his own supposed lack of self-identity!) Daniel Dennett? Isn’t the built-in materialism of ‘memetics’ what made it so attractive to certain people and for the same reason obviously not attractive or believable to most others?

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The “Soul”

There’s a lot of (mostly very obscure) talk about “the soul” here and elsewhere. (Is it supposed to be different from you, your “mind,” your “ego” etc.? Is it some combo of [some of] them, or what?)  A friend recently passed along the following quote from psychologist James Hillman that I thought was nice–and maybe demystifying–at least a little bit. Continue reading

Our prejudices: Implicit associations

We all have biases that we should try to be aware of. Our implicit prejudices may be at odds with our explicit attitudes. One problem when discussing issues such as racism and sexism especially is that surprisingly many people seem to think that such things have been largely dealt with in the 20th Century and are now of minimal importance.

https://implicit.harvard.edu has several tests designed to measure our implicit biases. As with any scientific test, there could be issues with methodology etc and, in addition to discussion of implicit biases (e.g. the psychology of them, how they affect our skepticism), that also seems an appropriate topic for discussion here.

Who would die for a lie?

In a comment at UD, Sal Cordova says:

One could of course argue the New Testament is a fabrication and exaggeration, but then it is well attested that the Romans inflicted cruel deaths upon Christians, some of whom claimed to be eye-witnesses of Jesus. Why die such a horrible death for a lie?

It lends too much credibility to the New Testament.

Sal seems to be unaware of phenomena such as cult suicides and suicide bombings.

The “who would die for a lie?” Christian trope confuses conviction with truth. It is a persistent apologetic, since the confusion of conviction and truth is the fundamental error of the religious. It is something all humans are vulnerable to. Hence we always have to be wary of con artists and other charismatic people, governments, authority figures, and the media.

Over to you. Who would die for a lie?