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Conspiracy Theorists and Rules of Inference as Memes

Updated: Jun 4

Patterns with which we reason, memes. They are similar to genes in that they, too, determine our phenotypes. As genes determine if we have two eyes or one each, memes determine if we know arithmetic or wield language. They determine if we have the capacity to reason well or not.


Richard Dawkins. Photo by Mike Cornwell.

Memes, as genes are, are chunks of information encoded physically. In the case of genes, in chromosomes. In the case of memes, in brain neural networks. In the case of memes — they can also physically come in the form of microchips called Arithmetical Logical Units.

Both genes and memes, in combination chains, are capable of tweaking. Modus Ponens is one such basic meme. Together with so many others, or their equivalent, Modus Ponens determine the rules of arithmetic or the rules of syntax with which we wield our languages, mathematical or natural. Languages are themselves phenotypes unique to humans.

Viruses in the form of ribonucleic acid strands, communicated through many ways, can wreak havoc to our chromosomes. Fallacies, dangerous forms of reasoning, memes themselves, communicated through many ways, can wreak havoc to how we reason. Memes, come in amedable or unamedable ways — they affect our capacity for reasoning at large.

Affirming The Consequent Fallacy is one such dangerous meme. It mimics Modus Ponens. This fallacy can be communicated via conversations or stories in books.

Modus Ponens goes this way.

p⊃q

p ⊢q

Affirming the Consequent Fallacy goes this way.

p⊃q

q ⊢p

Modus ponens is reliable. Experience reinforces it.

"If I am going to eat, then I will need food.

I am going to eat. Therefore, I will need food."

"If I am going swimming, them I will get wet.

I am going swimming. Therefore, I will get wet."


"If I am going to Spain, then I will need a passport. I am going to Spain.

Therefore, I will need a passport."


Not the same with Affirming the Consequent Fallacy. Affirming the Consequent Fallacy is open to erroneous conclusions.


"If am God-chosen, I am going to be blessed.

I am blessed (with so much). Therefore, I am God-chosen."

"If I am a competent leader, then our economy is going to grow.

Our economy is growing. Therefore, I am a competent leader."

If I have full-blown AIDS, then I am going to experience fever.

I am experiencing fever. Therefore, I have full-blown AIDS."

Gospel-bearing or snake-oil salesmen often use this form. Not reliable. Computers that rely on Central Processing Units themselves rely on Arithmetical Logical Units embedded with memes. These memes are contained as Logical Theory Rules of Inference. These Rules of Inference are embedded side by side with the Rules of Arithmetic that are similarly memes themselves.

Imagine such computers where along with the Logical Theory Rules of Inference and the Rules of Arithmetic, are such forms or rules of reasoning as Affirming the Consequent Fallacy or Denying the Antecedent Fallacy. The end result could be such individuals as those behaving in no different ways from conspiracy theorists.

"If one is a communist, one associates himself with discussions about the shortcomings of capitalism.

One is himself associated with discussions about the shortcomings of capitalism. Therefore, he must be a communist."

"If one is a satanist, one associates himself with discussions about abortion. One associates himself with discussions about abortion. Therefore, he must be a satanist."

If I have full-blown AIDS, then I am going to experience fever.

I am experiencing fever.

Therefore, I have full-blown AIDS."

Contamination of one’s brain neural networkings with such memes as Affirming the Consequent Fallacy results into unique kinds of individuals whose voting preferences are easily identifiable compared to those whose brain neural networkings are least contaminated with such dangerous or unamenable memes. The way they wield their languages, mathematical or natural, are uniquely identifiable for both. In the case of those whose brain neural networkings are not contaminated by such dangerous or unamenable memes, their predictions match actual observations very significantly more than with those whose brain neural networkings are so contaminated.

This can be shown by human experience or, later given advances in ICT, by computer simulation.


Predictable, that the advent of Artificial General Intelligence is going to highlight knowledge of these memes. If there is any legacy that humans are going to leave AGI that is going to survive long after humans have become extinct, it is these memes we call Logical Theory Rules of Inference and the Rules of Arithmetic that make ALUs possible. This is, however, for future generations to appreciate, humans and AGIs.

Meanwhile today, we ought to familiarize ourselves with these memes; knowledge of these memes is what societies need as first step in the direction of immunizing these societies against those that come in the form of fallacies. This is necessary to put an end of conspiracy theorists and dictators.

A brave new world ahead of us.

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