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post #106 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danneq View Post

Before moving on the the DAP section, I would like to point out that the creator of this thread, xnor, posted an article from a magazine and wanted to know why this is the case:

 

If someone holds a belief and is shown scientific evidence that contradicts it, they will often be strengthened in their belief instead of revising it. Why is this the case?

 

I tried to give a possible answer:

 

 

Does anyone have any other thoughts as to why it can be like this?

 

My answer is in three parts.

 

A simple because saying sorry is the hardest thing to do. By saying sorry you are admitting that you were wrong and we don't like to do that anymore. Politicians, big business, banks, people used to admit to their mistakes and resign with honour. We rarely do that anymore. 

 

Secondly, authority has been eroded and the general public is more questioning. A doctor saying there is nothing else they can do was accepted with a thanks. Now people want a second or third opinion. (Generalisation to make a point). 

 

Thirdly, particularly with the internet it is much easier now to find others who share you own opinion, even wild and wacky ones. Having others reinforce your beliefs makes it easier to retain them, no matter the contrary arguments.
 

post #107 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post

here I was, looking forward to reading 7 pages of psychology - instead I'm now having flashbacks to my semester of epistemology


 

Well, sorry to have disappointed you. 

 

Actually I prefer this to something that ends up in a discussion of things such as oedipal complex, ego, super-ego and id. Woody Allen is one of my favorite directors and without psychoanalysis to screw him up, he would not have had much material for his films. But overall I feel that psychology does more harm than good to people.

post #108 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post

My answer is in three parts.

 

A simple because saying sorry is the hardest thing to do. By saying sorry you are admitting that you were wrong and we don't like to do that anymore. Politicians, big business, banks, people used to admit to their mistakes and resign with honour. We rarely do that anymore. 

 

Secondly, authority has been eroded and the general public is more questioning. A doctor saying there is nothing else they can do was accepted with a thanks. Now people want a second or third opinion. (Generalisation to make a point). 

 

Thirdly, particularly with the internet it is much easier now to find others who share you own opinion, even wild and wacky ones. Having others reinforce your beliefs makes it easier to retain them, no matter the contrary arguments.
 


Interesting and I do not disagree with any of your points.

 

A remark to your first point. Here in Japan where I am currently living, it is common for the top man in a company to do a press conference and with tears in his eyes say that he is sorry. I am sure that it is more an act than a true show of emotions, but for the public it does give the impression that the men "up there" can say that they are sorry.

post #109 of 150

Tears and sorry are the reserve of gossip mag celebrities who have been caught out by the press over here.

post #110 of 150

This is a bit tangential to the OP's question - but an article recently showed that people's ability to see illusory connections between (literally) random stimuli is a function of the lack of control in their lives.  The authors propose that this 'desire to combat uncertainty and maintain control' is a primary basis for conspiracy theories, superstitions, inferring trends from short-term data, etc.

 

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/322/5898/115

 

Here's a link to the pdf if you want to read the whole article-

 

http://www.rifters.com/real/articles/Science_LackingControlIncreasesIllusoryPatternPerception.pdf

post #111 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Draca View Post

Eugenics is an application of science, but is not necessarily a moral one. The problem arises, of course, in determining what those 'good' traits are - you've suggested that '[t]o know what are desirable genetic traits requires deep knowledge of many fields' but realistically those desirable traits are historically culturally determined (e.g. Hitler and the Völkisch movement) rather than empirically based.

 

Natural selection doesn't apply to human societies as it does in nature because of the means we have available to subvert it (such as medicine, technology etc) and eugenics can be seen as an imperfect way of attempting to simulate that process. Unlike natural selection eugenics is man-controlled and hence victim to the subjective value judgements of what man sees as good and bad, whereas natural selection is based on an almost infinite number of complex variables that themselves rely upon a design-less environment.


 

Both you and Danneq pigeonhole eugenics to have bad morals when it does not imply it intrinsically. There's no reason it has to. If you look at the science of breeding animals and plants, it's sometimes for making them more resistant to harsh environments where there is no basis in subjective opinion. If eugenics is only used for this purpose, there is no bad morality about it, unless you find resistance in people not wanting to have their freedom to select their own mates taken away from them. But, nowhere is it written that eugenics has to infringe upon that right. When you visualize scenarios where eugenics is taking place, you presume it is automatically bad, because there's a high chance of misuse. Likewise, there's a high chance of misuse of fire, and there has historically been much misuse of fire, but that doesn't mean that fire is immoral.

post #112 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post




 

Both you and Danneq pigeonhole eugenics to have bad morals when it does not imply it intrinsically. There's no reason it has to. If you look at the science of breeding animals and plants, it's sometimes for making them more resistant to harsh environments where there is no basis in subjective opinion. If eugenics is only used for this purpose, there is no bad morality about it, unless you find resistance in people not wanting to have their freedom to select their own mates taken away from them. But, nowhere is it written that eugenics has to infringe upon that right. When you visualize scenarios where eugenics is taking place, you presume it is automatically bad, because there's a high chance of misuse. Likewise, there's a high chance of misuse of fire, and there has historically been much misuse of fire, but that doesn't mean that fire is immoral.

 

Eugenics necessitates a moral judgment because humans cannot simulate the complexities of natural selection which has no 'goal' in sight. Eugenics works towards something, whereas natural selection has no ideology.

 

With regard to pigeonholing - you've assumed that I think eugenics is automatically bad due to history - this is not the case at all. I've based my opinion on the idea that selection does *not* apply to human societies in the same way it does in nature, and as such what is the point of trying to simulate it - which itself is impossible for us to do. The only way for eugenics to not include a moral or value judgment dimension is to mimic natural selection, but as I explained before, natural selection relies on a complex interaction of environmental variables that are hard enough to approximate let alone replicate.


Edited by Draca - 5/30/10 at 8:32am
post #113 of 150

Hard does not mean impossible. Denying it simply because it's hard goes to show you haven't delved deeply into the subject matter, and until you know for certain it is impossible you can't say it is impossible.

post #114 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

Hard does not mean impossible. Denying it simply because it's hard goes to show you haven't delved deeply into the subject matter, and until you know for certain it is impossible you can't say it is impossible.


I am not denying it completely, and I don't appreciate the ad hominem attack. I have done a lot of reading on evolution and natural selection, in fact I discussed these very subjects with Richard Dawkins himself at the Oxford Union on Friday - but I don't want this to turn into a 'credentials' battle. Try and keep the discussion on subject matter rather than personal attacks.

 

It will of course not be 'impossible' forever but at the same time you have ignored the pointlessness of simulating natural selection (the only non-moral application of eugenics) in an artificial society. 

post #115 of 150

It's not pointless to simulate it. Is it pointless for people to breed animals for certain traits?

post #116 of 150

Again, you're conflating two separate ideas here and slightly twisting my words.

 

What I said was pointless was the simulation of natural selection in an artificial society.

 

Animals don't live in artificial societies characterised by cultures, medicine and technology.

 

Humans do live in such societies, thereby rendering non-moral eugenics pointless.

 

Animal breeding is oft characterised by a sort of moral eugenics where we choose what is 'good' or 'bad' and is not pointless because of the benefits it brings to our artificial society.

 

If you're saying that eugenics as it is used in animals should be used in human societies then that necessitates a value judgment - this is fine if you have a society that accepts this concept but it would be very hard to find one that does today.


Edited by Draca - 5/30/10 at 9:14am
post #117 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danneq View Post




Well, I think that philosophers have point when they, like Wittgenstein, point out how inaccurate language is. "Truth" is a very difficult word to define, it will work on concrete examples in our daily lives, i.e. the color green is green, a chair is a chair. But when it comes to more abstract use of the word "truth", the truth of an American, an Inuit, a North Korean and a Taliban will be completely different.

 

I am sorry that your experiences from studying philosophy has made you dislike it so much. But to my understanding it was the more theoretical branch, and to me theoretical philosophy tries to go into areas it cannot handle, such as defining the world outside of us. Philosophy should be directed at man itself.


I understand and agree with that. All Americans, Inuits etc will understand the basic facts or truth, e.g hungry = need food. But when it comes to cultural and religious differences the truth will vary significantly.

post #118 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by eucariote View Post

This is a bit tangential to the OP's question - but an article recently showed that people's ability to see illusory connections between (literally) random stimuli is a function of the lack of control in their lives.  The authors propose that this 'desire to combat uncertainty and maintain control' is a primary basis for conspiracy theories, superstitions, inferring trends from short-term data, etc.

 

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/322/5898/115

 

Here's a link to the pdf if you want to read the whole article-

 

http://www.rifters.com/real/articles/Science_LackingControlIncreasesIllusoryPatternPerception.pdf


That is very convincing and very interesting. That lack of control in our lives is prevalent in the Western world, particularly where social and regional barriers have broken down and people have lost the security which comes with small communities, family on hand, secure employment and traditional local industry. The book 'Status Anxiety' by Alain de Botton is an excellent read on that subject.

post #119 of 150

Draca, if you read all my posts you'll see I have said repeatedly that eugenics would likely fail in modern societies. And the breeding of cows so that they thrive on grass is not based on subjective opinion. Breeding for specific characteristics like suitability for certain climates is obviously subject to occasional poor decisions by the breeders, and is time-consuming and subject to many setbacks due to being also a game of chance, but all these things are totally different from "subjective values". I have said it many times before, and I'll say it again. Eugenics does not intrinsically define what are good traits and what are bad traits, to define such a thing scientifically and humanely requires a great understanding of many sciences, which I don't pretend to know, and also know the vast majority of people don't know. Just because we live in a complex society does not make eugenics pointless, eugenics must simply take into consideration all the complexities of reality, be it economics, medicine, etc, but if someone jumps to conclusions, it would be "value judgment", and I bet the vast majority of people would resort to incomplete analysis rather than practice eugenics truly scientifically.

 

As for what truth is, it's whatever doesn't come out of a politician's mouth. Cultural differences are just cultural differences, culture clash isn't about one subjective truth vs another, it is us vs them, ego battles.

post #120 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

Draca, if you read all my posts you'll see I have said repeatedly that eugenics would likely fail in modern societies. And the breeding of cows so that they thrive on grass is not based on subjective opinion. Breeding for specific characteristics like suitability for certain climates is obviously subject to occasional poor decisions by the breeders, and is time-consuming and subject to many setbacks due to being also a game of chance, but all these things are totally different from "subjective values". I have said it many times before, and I'll say it again. Eugenics does not intrinsically define what are good traits and what are bad traits, to define such a thing scientifically and humanely requires a great understanding of many sciences, which I don't pretend to know, and also know the vast majority of people don't know. Just because we live in a complex society does not make eugenics pointless, eugenics must simply take into consideration all the complexities of reality, be it economics, medicine, etc, but if someone jumps to conclusions, it would be "value judgment", and I bet the vast majority of people would resort to incomplete analysis rather than practice eugenics truly scientifically.

 

As for what truth is, it's whatever doesn't come out of a politician's mouth. Cultural differences are just cultural differences, culture clash isn't about one subjective truth vs another, it is us vs them, ego battles.


I understand your view although I think where we differ is our perception of what is classed as a subjective value judgment. I respect your opinion however - and thanks for summarising your argument. I apologise for not seeing your qualifier about modern societies. Good discussion all 'round though.


Edited by Draca - 5/30/10 at 11:21am
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