MEMETICS: PCR on PCR, was Re: Pardon my rant, was Re: Afghanistan after the war

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Sun Nov 11 2001 - 13:08:34 MST

<An Acquaintance> wrote:
> What are 'fundies?' And PCR?
> IDAUATA---I mean---'I Don't Always Understand All the Abbreviations'

Kindly scroll down to the bottom for the punchline of this email.

Answer 1) 1 "Fundies" is short, deprecative for "fundamentalists".

The most mainstream use of the word is by "progressives" putting down
right wing wacko southern babtizts. I use the word more generally, to
refer to fundamentalists including Christians (Xtians, some call them),
Wahhabists, and people who believe that all God's plan is revealed in
the print of some wizened sage's left pinky toe, and that unbelievers
are controlling things and will or should be smited by God or his children.

As an interesting aside, I have recently gained a deeper understanding
of another root cause of Judaism's treatment by Xtianity and Islam.
I heard on the radio (need to research further) that Talmudic rabbis
have written that there might be more than one path to heaven. Dangerous
to any struggling proselytizing my-way-or-the-highway faith. I can name
a couple of those, and I'm sure you can, too.

Answer 2) PCR means at least two things.

PCR(1): The ExI philosophical variety.
In the subject context, it's short for Pan-Critical Rationalism,
the shortened but only slightly snappier term for what Bartley
originally called "Comprehensively Critical Rationalism"--I think
I have that right, the book is out of reach just at the moment.

The goal of Bartley, a young Xtian philosopher(/theologian-by-the-side-door, was
to find a way for rationalism and honest inquiry to be a part of deep, true Christianity.

_Very interesting concept_.

Somewhat confusingly, the title of the book is _Retreat to Commitment_.
It's a slippery title--is he advocating some sort of retreat? Is "commitment"
some sort of setback? Is this title a play on the "religious retreats" (weekends
or weeks spent in the woods) that were catching on in the '60s? What? What?

I haven't digested the book, but my take on his approach is approximately:
1) hunkering down in commitment is what you do when you turn off your brain, and
2) God doesn't want you to turn off your brain--he created your brain in his image, too; and
3) there is an _antidote_ or _vaccine_ for fundamentalism; and
4) this vaccination doesn't flop over into utter "whatever, maaaan!" relativism. so:
5) God doesn't have to die just because you wonder about that whole Jonah deal.

Thus its current import.

Since the 60s, some smart atheists have figured out that even Xtians have good ideas
every so often. :) They suggest that the path Popper-Kuhn-Bartley is a useful way out of
the secular relativist trap, too.

This kind of PCR is a part of the Extropian guiding principles, if I recall correctly.

PCR(0): The techie term.
In genetics and current events, PCR is Polymerase Chain Reaction,
a method of "Xeroxing" chemical samples (DNA and RNA, particularly)
to produce a large amount from a small representative trace.

I've mentioned it to you <Acquaintance> recently in a "how dey do dat?" thread.

BIG CONCLUSION: We need to do Memetic PCR(0) on PCR(1). Heh.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:18 MDT