Science Wins [was Re: understanding neuroscience]

Robert J. Bradbury (
Mon, 6 Sep 1999 13:50:28 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 5 Sep 1999, J. R. Molloy wrote:

> Dormant memories sound vaguely reminiscent of post-traumatic stress
> syndrome.

Perhaps not too much different -- "you must believe this otherwise you will be damned..." (in the extreme cases). Or -- "the universe cannot be understood, this provides the only explanation..." (in the milder case).

> I wonder how far toward Armageddon the resurgence in religious fervor (and
> religious memes) will take us. Do you wonder how much dormant programming
> might influence Homo sapiens to retreat from a technological Singularity, or
> from an extropic Type I civilization? I view religious memes as analogous to
> infectious disease. Some people display greater immunity than others.

The immunity towards all ideas varies from individual to individual. You *must* base the explanation in a person's own personal experience and then work your way out to group experiences.

Base the discussions strongly on their experience as *verified* by others experience. Force them to confront (a) the fact that universal experiences are "valid", while non-universal experiences are just that (non-universal); and (b) that they were probably given their beliefs before they were able to think critically and could determine whether they were being fed "facts" (i.e. gravity) or "beliefs".

Then explain how science works, i.e. peer review, acceptance until a theory which better explains the facts appears, etc. Science is an open system, anyone with sufficient motivation can verify it. It is/was not dictated by a specific individual.

Force them back until they are confronted with the paradox of their position (they can't prove (get universal acceptance) of their beliefs), then offer them an alternative.