First one? Really? (Politics)

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Saturday, June 13, 2009, 16:41 (4764 days ago)
edited by unknown, Saturday, June 13, 2009, 16:47

I'm absolutely amazed that no one has commented on this part of your writing. it is, of course, the shortest section I've come across thus far, but still... - Maybe freethinkers at large don't care about the sphere of politics? I find that hard to believe. - Why you see fewer women historically at the reigns of power is because (and this can be backed up by evidence) women are much more likely to be empathetic than men. Meaning, they find it easier to put themselves in someone else's shoes. For men, by and large--this is an exercise. But the masses of people want decisiveness... you can see this as far back as the second Punic War where the winning strategy (attrition) was set aside because the public (and the senators) wanted a decisive victory. The result was one of the must stunning defeats in Rome's history. - Living in the U.S., I will tell you first hand that politicians who come across as compromisers tend to not do well--because the general public wants decisiveness. They want someone else to make the tough decisions, and leaders who don't display this trait tend to be seen as untrustworthy. They want their decisions fast, and at the minimum, dogma allows this. - Nietzsche has quite a bit of insight into human nature in regards of individuals vs. the masses. In short, when anything is given to the masses they make a mockery of it. Our education system is bad in the U.S., because we've allowed it to be "democratized." Just look at Kansas every 2 years when they want to install creationism with a new school board... - A democratic system virtually guarantees that certain decisions will never be made. (My thought, not Nietzsche's.) No one is willing to give up their seat of power to make a "right" decision that will result in their not being elected again. - Note this distinction however, and it comes from Plato: - Freethinkers are by nature the kind of ideal leaders you discuss--but because they know the gravity of the problems they face, they are much less seeking of power because they are cautious about their ability to wield it for good. In other words, compromising leaders don't seek power because they fear its responsibility--I would say precisely because they think people should make many of their own decisions. - Those who are power-hungry are much too focused on themselves and not on the people that will be affected by their rule that they want to make decisions quickly because its an inconvenience to them. - It is clear we inherited this basic power struggle from our distant apelike ancestors. Sometime... contrast Bonobo societies with chimp societies... it is fascinating.

First one? Really?

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 13, 2009, 18:26 (4764 days ago) @ xeno6696

Maybe freethinkers at large don't care about the sphere of politics? I find that hard to believe. - I don't know that this statement is correct. There are many critical books out there, including mine. 
 
> A democratic system virtually guarantees that certain decisions will never be made. (My thought, not Nietzsche's.) No one is willing to give up their seat of power to make a "right" decision that will result in their not being elected again. - Very true. That is why term limits are necessary, and the rules should include no lobbying after terms in office. And why 'sunset rules' should be followed.
 
 
> It is clear we inherited this basic power struggle from our distant apelike ancestors. - I don't like to compare humans to lower animals. We broke off from the bonobo and chimp branch 6 million years ago. We are different in kind, not in degree because of our brain power and consciousness. See Adler: 'The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes", 1967 (but still in print).

First one? Really?

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Saturday, June 13, 2009, 19:41 (4764 days ago) @ David Turell

Dr. Turell, - It is true that we diverged--we are undeniably different--but denying that we share behaviors with our cousins would strike me as absurd. The fundamental problems leading to both ape and human societal breakdowns both amount to an economic problem. dhw's evaluation of animals and humans is one of the best arguments i've ever seen, but it also works both ways. We inherit all the negative aspects of our ancestry along with all of the positive things we added. - Mini case: In countries suffering from a lack of a ruler at all--absolute chaos reigns and it truly becomes "survival of the strongest." The movies "Blood Diamond," and "Gangs of NY" show this. Those who have the most force (used in the political motivation of the word) set the rules. - Sure, we're not fighting over mates (usually--but it happens) but look at what we usually fight for: Land and resources, profit. Rarely--wars are fought over ideology. But the scope of the problem is still little different when we rule out the non-intellectual reasons and causes for war such as ideology. The two most devastating wars of humanity were over resources. - Breakdown of human social structure is invariably linked to economic disparity. Economic disparity applies the same to both animal worlds and our own. - I will however, add that book to my growing list, though it'll be longer before I read that one. My last year is filled with some tough computer classes, and I'm in a self-study program with a math professor for some esoteric number theory this summer. I'll read Shapiro over my own holiday.

First one? Really?

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 13, 2009, 21:07 (4764 days ago) @ xeno6696

It is true that we diverged--we are undeniably different--but denying that we share behaviors with our cousins would strike me as absurd. - Yes, we share behaviors, but not on an inherited basis, A la' E.O. Wilson. - > Breakdown of human social structure is invariably linked to economic disparity. Economic disparity applies the same to both animal worlds and our own. - We have enormous economic disparity in this country, but we have not broken down so far because for most Americans the 'American Dream' is still possible. When it is no longer considered 'posible' by a majority of Americans there will be a breakdown.

First one? Really?

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Sunday, June 14, 2009, 07:24 (4764 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by unknown, Sunday, June 14, 2009, 07:37

It is true that we diverged--we are undeniably different--but denying that we share behaviors with our cousins would strike me as absurd. &#13;&#10;> &#13;&#10;> Yes, we share behaviors, but not on an inherited basis, A la&apos; E.O. Wilson.&#13;&#10;<&#13;&#10;The entire field of behavioral genetics begs to differ. You accept evolution, but deny we inherited anything? - This is an interesting turnabout! You suggest the behaviors we share are shared purely by chance? If evolution teaches us anything it teaches us that non-deleterious behaviors will be conserved. They recently found a &quot;warrior&quot; gene that is prevalent more frequently in gang members than the rest of the population funny study methodology actually... - http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2009/01/hotsauce - I&apos;m going to push you further on this point... - On the anatomic level we share how much in brain anatomy to other apes? Other creatures at large? &#13;&#10;Food seeking behavior? Fight or flight response? (WWII, D-day soldiers crapped themselves, has been a common fear response going back as far back as recorded history.) - &#13;&#10;> &#13;&#10;> > Breakdown of human social structure is invariably linked to economic disparity. Economic disparity applies the same to both animal worlds and our own. &#13;&#10;> &#13;&#10;> We have enormous economic disparity in this country, but we have not broken down so far because for most Americans the &apos;American Dream&apos; is still possible. When it is no longer considered &apos;posible&apos; by a majority of Americans there will be a breakdown.&#13;&#10;<&#13;&#10;This is true--there must be hope in order to maintain order. America is unique in that several of its myths propagate this hope--Horatio Alger specifically. - But this doesn&apos;t always hold. Social structures don&apos;t have to *completely* fail for us to observe animalism in action. - It is a constant battle for humans to *not* act as our ancestors. Maybe I&apos;m more pessimistic than you. (Very probably.) I&apos;m a pharmacy tech in the largest hospital in Omaha, but my weekends are spent in the ER. We&apos;re not South LA, or Cook County in Chicago... but the animalistic way we destroy each other can be seen anywhere. And this violence never seems to strike in the rich part of town. This erodes your argument... - The prisons are filled with those from the low-income bracket. It is obvious that economic disparity is the root of this problem. Most crimes are committed exactly when people lose hope. Hope is a high-level brain function, and when it fails--by your own admission we share behaviors, though in this case--by chance. - This book you suggest is teetering on the top of the list. An author to be nearly insane to think of humans as something separate from or above animals... no offense. I haven&apos;t heard that argument since Aristotle or Aquinas.

First one? Really?

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 14, 2009, 20:33 (4763 days ago) @ xeno6696

The entire field of behavioral genetics begs to differ. You accept evolution, but deny we inherited anything? - That&apos;s right. Babies are pretty much blank slates, not like a foal (at our ranch) who is up and nursing within an hour of birth. Babies&apos; intelligence levels are raised by proper intellectual activities on the part of their parents as shown by recent research. Years pass by before their frontal lobes properly accept full responsibility for their own safe behavior. This is the price we pay for giant brains.&#13;&#10; &#13;&#10;> This is an interesting turnabout! You suggest the behaviors we share are shared purely by chance? If evolution teaches us anything it teaches us that non-deleterious behaviors will be conserved. They recently found a &quot;warrior&quot; gene that is prevalent more frequently in gang members than the rest of the population funny study methodology actually... - I don&apos;t think &apos;evolution&apos; teaches us anything. It is the evolution behavioral researchers who think they own the Holy Grail of truth, and try to convince us of their biases. I think you should read Robert Wright, &quot;Non Zero&quot; & &quot;The Moral Animal&quot;. His points are good ones. We started with tiny hunter-gatherer groups for self-protection and cooperative help. As societies got larger we developed more rules for behavior. As a result, H. sapiens are 150,000 years old, more or less, but religion and systems of morals are perhaps 4-6,000 years old. My point is we taught ourselves these rules, not physical evolution. - http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2009/01/hotsauce - I don&apos;t buy this study at all. It is filled with the usual science weasel words: &quot;suggest&quot;, &quot;support&quot;, &quot;controversial&quot;. Many genes are supposed to control an enzyme, from studies that statistically support &apos;association&apos; to establish the connection. The problem with this type of research is the rapid adaptations controlled by various RNA types. I am currently reviewing an article in the Quarterly J. of Biology &quot;Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance&quot;, which I will report on when I am finished. The point is rapid adaptations can occur to meet individual interpersonal or environmental challenges, and then are inherited. Lemark revisited, and true. Organisms can guide their own evolution. So I don&apos;tknow what that warrior study really means, if anything.&#13;&#10; &#13;&#10;> I&apos;m going to push you further on this point...&#13;&#10; &#13;&#10;> On the anatomic level we share how much in brain anatomy to other apes? Other creatures at large? - The anatomies are generally the same. Our brain is four times bigger than a chimp&apos;s, but amazing more powerful than times 4. Our consciousness makes us different. I&apos;ve discussed that with George. - > Food seeking behavior? Fight or flight response? - &#13;&#10;These are natural required responses. I don&apos;t need instinctual genes for guidance in those circumstances. I learned them in childhood. - &#13;&#10; &#13;&#10;> This book you suggest is teetering on the top of the list. An author to be nearly insane to think of humans as something separate from or above animals... no offense. I haven&apos;t heard that argument since Aristotle or Aquinas. - &#13;&#10;Haven&apos;t you heard of Adler? Interesting man who lived until 98 years old. Born Jewish, adopted his wife&apos;s religion, became an advisor to the Catholic Church, and died a Catholic. As far as I am concerned our consciousness makes us different in kind, not degree.

First one? Really?

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 01:08 (4762 days ago) @ David Turell

Dr. Turell, - This will be an interesting study for me. As for the science words you hate, blame that on science journalists. You know as well as I do that scientists try to shy away from such language. (Journals are boring reads. I don&apos;t care who you are...) Still, if behavioral genetics was completely wrong as you seem to be suggesting, we wouldn&apos;t be hearing about it anymore. - At any rate, I am familiar with the state of modern psychology insisting we have no instincts. I wholeheartedly disagree. It is interesting you bring up the blank slate concept. So, you think a baby somehow learns to cry for food and poop? It doesn&apos;t simply respond to stimuli? And those D-Day veterans who crapped themselves? They LEARNED how to do that? Really? Or when I see a scary movie or think I&apos;ve seen a ghost, my hair stands on end? I learned how to do that too? - Our fear responses have been studied quite well, we all do them the same way and they are all unconscious behaviors. That pretty clearly means instinct in all the definitions I&apos;ve seen. Hell, laughter is used by chimps and even rats to communicate play. (Radiolab has a whole radio show on the origins of laughter.) - Until you mentioned it, I haven&apos;t heard of Adler. Keep in mind as an Info systems student my philosophy education was limited to 3 semesters, 1 each to Nietzsche and Derrida, the other to symbolic logic.

First one? Really?

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 16:08 (4761 days ago) @ xeno6696

At any rate, I am familiar with the state of modern psychology insisting we have no instincts. I wholeheartedly disagree. It is interesting you bring up the blank slate concept. So, you think a baby somehow learns to cry for food and poop? It doesn&apos;t simply respond to stimuli? And those D-Day veterans who crapped themselves? They LEARNED how to do that? Really? Or when I see a scary movie or think I&apos;ve seen a ghost, my hair stands on end? I learned how to do that too? - I think the reactions you are describing above are really automatic from the autonomic system, and come from evolutionary reactions. I&apos;ve had the hair reaction, the diarrhea after a very important test in med school. I&apos;ve felt hunger pangs, and how uncomfortable wet jeans are. If I couldn&apos;t think I&apos;d cry for help. In a very broad sense they are instinctual, but they are really autonomic. Nothing with any purpose or thought. The new-born foal (and I&apos;ve seen lots) automatically breaths and is driven to get up and suck. Those last acts are purposeful on the foal&apos;s part, but driven by instinct. Having a stool is not. The rectum is full and impulses tell the brain to poop. The autonomic system. So I do not accept all automatic body responses as instinct. I view true instinct as driving purposeful actions. - &#13;&#10;> Our fear responses have been studied quite well, we all do them the same way and they are all unconscious behaviors. That pretty clearly means instinct in all the definitions I&apos;ve seen. Hell, laughter is used by chimps and even rats to communicate play. - As you can see I am dividing activity into parts: automatic from the nervous system; purposeful, but driven by instinct; and purposeful from thought. The human baby knows how to suck, but doesn&apos;t struggle to the breast. The human baby has a very few automatic responses, breathe, suckle, cry and poop/ pee.

On Human Nature/Consciousness

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 14:20 (4760 days ago) @ David Turell

Dr. Turell, - Humans are arguably the only creatures that have great power to subdue our base instincts, and I would agree on face value (going to read Adler before Shapiro now) that we are different in kind, but the differences aren&apos;t total in nature. Partly because nothing is ever so absolute. Twin studies obliterated the blank-slate idea for me. If we inherit personality traits then it is folly to assume we inherit *nothing* from our ancestors. - Think about when people get over-emotional. Most crimes happen when people &quot;lose their sense.&quot; It is during these times that I argue that we touch base with that inner and ancient instinct, and that it is this instinct that causes people to kill or become violent. - My idea works like this. The only thing that really makes us different than the other apes, is our capacity for long memory. As time goes on there is selective pressure for us to use this long memory to be able to plan and strategize for all the bottom parts of Maslow&apos;s Hierarchy. Consciousness, in my best estimation, is an active synthesis of all of your own life events, and the ability to use that information to make choices. That&apos;s it. Analyze and choose. (No, I didn&apos;t read this anywhere, this is my own synthesis.) We coopted two abilities and the combination of the two is what gives us what we call consciousness. And we know other animals have similar abilities. - It was demonstrated in Artistotle&apos;s time that dogs use logic. That tiny bit of analytical ability means that this ability to problem-solve goes far back in the evolutionary history of mammals, at least. - My overarching point is that we are an incremental step on the evolutionary ladder, not a quantum leap.

On Human Nature/Consciousness

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 14:45 (4760 days ago) @ xeno6696

My overarching point is that we are an incremental step on the evolutionary ladder, not a quantum leap. - Definitely read Adler first. My dogs have used logic, no problem, but do dogs admire paintings, sunsets, music (some howling perhaps)?

On Human Nature/Consciousness

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 20:27 (4760 days ago) @ David Turell

Dr. Turell, - As far as dogs are concerned, we don&apos;t know. Some animals even have incredibly complex communication structures--especially squid, but for us to be able to say that they don&apos;t admire things the way you say, we can&apos;t actually know that. I&apos;ve seen elephants exhibit some behaviors that seems to suggest higher-level functions as you suggest. - More on to the point I&apos;m trying to make though, if we inherit personality traits, then why does it seem so odd that we have also inherited other traits from our diverged ancestors? We didn&apos;t just &quot;become&quot; H. sapiens overnight. It is too much to say we inherit nothing. - 6M years makes for two very different beasts, but 100% different? I&apos;ll see how Adler makes his case.

First one? Really?

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 13:43 (4762 days ago) @ David Turell

One more thing that I just remembered. Do think evolution teaches us nothing at large, or just about the mind? &apos;Cause all I can think about is how we used ampicillin resistance to select against cells that didn&apos;t have the exoU gene when I worked in the pseudomonas lab.

First one? Really?

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 15:40 (4761 days ago) @ xeno6696

One more thing that I just remembered. Do think evolution teaches us nothing at large, or just about the mind? - I think you have missed the meaning of my comment on evolution and teaching. We learn a lot from studies of evolution. The process of evolution is past-history and in large part unknowable. Reproducability is a conjmecture, not fact. However, as I have explained before, after reading a study I have the right to reach my own conclusions, and even dismiss those of the author/s, if they exhibit a bias I view as unreasonable. For example I am not sure evolution is purposeless, although that is the politically-correct Darwinian view.

Twin Studies

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 13:52 (4761 days ago) @ David Turell

I was trying to find a copy of the 48hrs episode they referenced in this article, but this is one of the contentious topics that completely obliterated the blank-slate idea in my mind. I do not see how it would be possible to be &quot;blank slate&quot; and then have this much in common with an &quot;identical stranger.&quot; - This is only marginally related to the idea of what we inherited from our ancestors, but results of this type are earth-shattering to those positions that might suggest that genetics play no role in human development. - http://science.howstuffworks.com/genetic-science/twin1.htm

Twin Studies

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 14:28 (4760 days ago) @ xeno6696

I do not see how it would be possible to be &quot;blank slate&quot; and then have this much in common with an &quot;identical stranger.&quot; - &#13;&#10;I&apos;ve seen this twin-stuff before, and went to med school with the infamous Marcus twins (movie with Jeremy Irons, forgot the title). They were never separated, but each was recognizable and slightly different in personality. I&apos;m aware of the studies in the website you supplied. - Generally, I was taught people were 40% inheritance, 40% parent input and 20% personal input to create that person&apos;s personality. Obviously, the separated twin study will help change those percentages. - In the way you are looking at &apos;blank slate&apos; you are correct. Personality tendencies are &apos;wired in&apos;.

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