All of Nato_Welch's Comments + Replies

Which Parts Are "Me"?

Why must I be like that?
Why must I chase the cat?
Nothin' but the dog in me.

--George Clinton - Atomic Dog

To Spread Science, Keep It Secret

Animal sacrifices have been replaced by DRM.

I haven't followed this to any of numerous possible conclusions, but I found the analogy irresistible. Think about it.

Rationality Quotes 11

//"Law of Conservation of Firepower: Any powerful weapon capable of destroying/defeating an opponent in a single shot will invariably be reserved and used only as a last resort."//

Of course it's the last resort; if the enemy has been destroyed, why keep firing?

This is like: When you've lost something, it's always in the last place you look.

The Wonder of Evolution

Would it be too hard to believe that the very first replicators actually went extinct several times before the right accidents occurred in the right circumstances to give rise to sufficiently hardy descendants?

Certainly, the first replicator that gave rise to us might be seen as marvelous - but the first replicator //period// may have been plain pathetic.

Say Not "Complexity"

"Then a miracle occurs..."


I wonder if memetics would serve as a good candidate for the category of things that satisfy without explaining or predicting anything, along with phlogiston, emergence, and complexity. The analogy to biology seems interesting and fun, but is it more useful than as just a way to re-formulate our perspective?

I don't know where you get the idea that memetics doesn't explain or predict things from. We know a lot about what factors influence cultural virulence. Marketing and advertising folk make use of that knowledge on a daily basis. They know which jingles are catchy, which catchphrases are likely to be repeated, which images are more likely to be shared - and so on. We know which ideas play well with which other ones well enough to know that we should not target our condom commercials at the catholic demographic. Check out Dan Zarella for some of the recent material: [] He views his work as being memetics: []
The Majority Is Always Wrong


Web browsers, Operating Systems, analog videotape formats (Beta/VHS) (I'd look for this effect in hidef videodiscs soon as well), peripheral interconnects (USB/firewire), mobile phone transmission protocols (CDMA/GSM), mobile digital audio players (iPod/Zune/etc), programming languages (C++/Java/Python)...

Some examples here might be better than others.

The Modesty Argument

I often recognize this as what I've called a "framing error".

It's the same problem with believing Fox News' claim of being "fair and balanced". Just because there are at least two sides to every story doesn't mean each side deserves equal consideration.

Consider the question of whether one can support the troops and oppose the war.

The very posing of the question, which came invariably from Fox News in 2003, is to imply that there is some controversy over the answer. But that's all but disappeared now.