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[UPDATED]Kowboy's Kicked Out of College
seeker
That whole process of labeling is, IMO an essential part of how our minds work. We label and categorize in order to create a sense of order in a similar way to the method we use to recognize patterns. Unfortunately our pattern recognition sometimes finds patterns where there are none just as we sometimes apply labels where there should be none.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Graduate_Student
Agreed, from an evolutionary point of view, that labeling and categorization you mentioned has been a very useful survival mechanism. We associate patterns with both positive and negative outcomes. Things get screwy though when we start applying them where they don't belong, or take patterns or rules for pattens from society around us without fully questioning them.

Our society is changing though and progressively moving forwards over time so over time these negative patterns will diminish. For all the gains of the last 40 or 50 years it is always good to remember that a society can also move backwards. An example of this is Iran, both before the Islamic revolution in 1979, and where it is now. I am sure I am not telling you anything you don't already know on that one. I should get off this tangent lest I start getting into things like the irony of our government's involvement in various coup d'
Edited by Graduate_Student on 03/06/2012 08:52
 
Cynic
I believe you are correct, the offensiveness in that quote has also to do subjects like scientific racism, eugenics, and the country's guilty history regarding those subjects.



I've always tended to give the "scientific racism" thing a pass, in and of itself. True or not, speculation and discussion can't be stopped just because it makes people uncomfortable. Almost invariably, however, bringing it up in the first place tends to reveal motivations that are the real problem and the real racism. It tempting to give the man the benefit of the doubt, and probably he should get it. But I can't help but interpret his statement, given the context, as an attempt -- unconscious or not -- to diffuse the credit that might be due to black athletes. It's kind of an "oh, sure he's good, but that's because of his genes, not because of anything to do with the character of the man himself" type statement. That, to me, is the truly offensive part of it.

Let's be honest: at a certain level of athletic competition, all the contestants have better genes than average for the relevant athletic traits. It's a given. To suggest otherwise is to call evolution (and breeding, the "non-natural" selection version of it) itself into question. Are certain races more inclined toward certain activities? Not only is that plausible, it would be downright suspicious if such a thing would not be revealed if studied long enough. Certain anatomical configurations are better for certain activities and certain peoples are more apt to have them.

(I'd like to suggest that Kenyans dominating marathons is not wholly coincidental, but consider as an alternative the fact that white people with fair hair are able to bundle up in cold, mountainous climates and still maintain adequate levels of vitamin D as compared to their dark skinned, dark haired counterparts. Consider also that an ability to run flat out for hours isn't particularly useful on a mountain and thus might not be conserved as such.)

It certainly gets dicey to discuss such things. Ask Francis Crick about that. But again, I question the necessity of bringing it up in most places it does get brought up, like at sporting events. I question the motivation behind it, generally. In fact, beyond diffusing the credit to those athletes, one might even suggest he was giving it to Plantation owners. Even if we allow that selective breeding of the sort described had the effect described, I highly doubt the impact was as great as all that. Not only was this "effort" poorly managed and mostly unintentional, but would be more reasonable to suppose that any athletic superiority, if there is one, would have more to do with social selection pressures in Africa, from where they were taken, then health and ability to survive on the way over, then purchasing advantage of the rich, who would take only the best and put them in environments where procreation was more likely than on poorer estates where there would be poorer athleticism and fewer mating opportunities. All this, before such "breeding" would even occur, and then many generations in which to dilute the supposed effects before now.

The whole thing stinks, if you ask me. ;-)
 
Graduate_Student
The whole thing does stink, but even with the stench I can understand how bad ideas can come up out of the best of intentions.

One of my sisters is a doctor in a large urban hospital. She has told me of her frustration caring for pregnant, heroin addicted patients who also abuse alcohol. The children they have are born addicted to heroin and also suffer from FAS or FAE depending on how much alcohol and when during the pregnancy it occurred. Now add to this that some of these patients do this over and over again, and they have multiple children in this manner. The children spend a good deal of time in the ICU and require lots of care. Even with all that care, FAS and FAE are serious chronic conditions and the children will never grow up in responsible functional adults.

If I was a doctor and I saw that happening again and again, I would struggle with my inability to solve the problem in some immediate way. Of course that is a very slippery slope to play on. Besides I know that the real solution is an upstream societal one, but it is a really hard and expensive one to fix. Who wants to pay for prenatal care for these folks? Who wants to pay for drug treatment? Who wants to pay for the societal support systems that help prevent these sorts of things happening? Lastly, who is going to pay for free birth control when some people in this country are still trying to re-argue the validity of Griswold v. Connecticut?

My point is not to go on a rant about social problems, more that I can understand how some of these things came up in the past. I brought up Margaret Sanger earlier. Knowing what I know about what she experienced as a nurse back then, I can understand where she was coming from with broaching the subject of eugenics.

Interestingly enough for the original topic for this thread, one of the few places in our society where the idea of the societal greater good trumping individual rights is in the area of sex offenses. Some states have civil commitments for sex offenders who pose such a risk to society that they are deemed unsafe to be in society. This civil commitment is not the same as a criminal sentence as the offender has usually served their criminal sentence already. It is an additional sanction on top of the original criminal sentence. Now this can have a positive and negative side. Sex offenders, even ones that present little threat of re-offending are demonized in today's society. This leads to all kinds of other problems for reintegrating low risk sex offenders into society, and as a result they have a higher risk of re-offending then they would otherwise. Probably material for another thread entirely though.
Edited by Graduate_Student on 03/06/2012 14:41
 
Cynic
My point is not to go on a rant about social problems, more that I can understand how some of these things came up in the past. I brought up Margaret Sanger earlier. Knowing what I know about what she experienced as a nurse back then, I can understand where she was coming from with broaching the subject of eugenics.



If I had to choose one statement to sum up my philosophy of how to approach life, it would be to always resist the urge to think anything is ever, ever simple. So yeah. Smile I don't know about Hell, but there's definitely a road paved with good intentions out there. It's interesting (to me) that in politics issues are hashed out and advocated for along lines of whether it hews to human nature (people who advocate for unrestrained capitalism, for instance) or improves upon, corrects, or counters human nature (how many view communism).

There's this idea that human nature is something that you can't or even shouldn't fight, as if our natures are perfect if not interfered with. Meanwhile in science, no discussion of animal behavior science as it applies to the human animal is complete without a warning against the historic follies of "social Darwinism ," in which someone's supposed understanding of human nature is used as justification to either commit atrocities or allow them to persist unabated.

I have no idea how to "quickly" solve the problem of babies born into detox and destined to shitty lives as a result and for the reasons you describe, that's a fact I sort of find encouraging. Charging mothers who do with this child abuse seems reasonable, but where to go from there in terms of detection, enforcement, or punishment seems fraught with problems. (And as Tigger once said, you can't argue with a word like "fraught.")


Interestingly enough for the original topic for this thread, one of the few places in our society where the idea of the societal greater good trumping individual rights is in the area of sex offenses. Some states have civil commitments for sex offenders who pose such a risk to society that they are deemed unsafe to be in society. This civil commitment is not the same as a criminal sentence as the offender has usually served their criminal sentence already. It is an additional sanction on top of the original criminal sentence. Now this can have a positive and negative side. Sex offenders, even ones that present little threat of re-offending are demonized in today's society. This leads to all kinds of other problems and at a higher risk of re-offending. Probably material for another thread entirely though.



My take on this particular issue is that it reflects and is wholly consistent with the true nature of the criminal justice system: it's purpose is not the punish or rehabilitation, but to protect members of our society from those who would do them harm. Arguments against such "continued punishment after their time is served or the rehabilitation is completed" tend to hinge on that either/or false dichotomy or misunderstand even those by assuming that punishments will necessarily prevent recidivism, that rehabilitation actually occurs, or that keeping a class of offenders known to be extremely resistant to rehabilitation forever is a "more honest" strategy than a way to give them a chance, if more guarded than usual.
 
Graduate_Student
As far as charging the mother in such circumstances, until the baby is born they are not charged with a crime, but that can depend on the state where it occurs.

After the baby is born, they can be charged with misdemeanor or felony injury to a child. That depends on what happened and again the particular state where it occurs. The baby or babies are typically taken from the mother at birth after testing positive for narcotics and taken into the legal custody of the state. One of the parents (mother or father) then has to be found appropriate by the state before parental rights are returned to that parent.

I would be all for state subsidized voluntary contraceptives or sterilization procedures for people in those positions. It would certainly prove a lot cheaper than the alternative, and I think it would be a morally correct thing to do. I don't have a problem with that kind of immediate solution (providing at risk people the ability to not to have kids) if the decision remained voluntary.
Edited by Graduate_Student on 03/06/2012 02:20
 
Theory_Execution
I would like to say that there is a difference between eugenics and selective breeding. Eugenics considers the societal impact of selective breeding and is put in place to preserve/improve the domiant power group of a nation.

Selective breeding, although a part of eugenics, is in essence to improve a crop or stock by weight, strength, nutrition, survivability etc.

To me, dog breeding is a form of eugenics as it is not concerned with the health of the dog, but with the visual characteristics of a breed.

The slave owners were practicing selective breeding amongst the slaves to improve their stock. Any hint at eugenics was for themselves as a 'race'.

Graduate_Student
Essentially the idea of "boot strapping" oneself and hard work being the answer can be a convenient way for people to flatten the playing field in their mind so we can feel okay about the position we hold.


I find this is a decidedly American out look on life, and it explains much of the rhetoric of the candidates running for president.

Specifically it was about how little investigation the press did on the story, and how they swallowed hood, line, and sinker the story as provided by FIRE and Joe himself.


The phrase originates from fishing, and refers to the hook, the line holding the hook and the sinker (which may be the float, or the drop feeder) all being swallowed by the fish in its excitement over consuming the bait.

But I agree, but this is what modern journalism is. I linked to a website here a while back, [url]http://churnalism.com/[/url]

Journalists are content to rehash and sit back, there is no balanced opinion, because for some reason, reason doesn't sell.

There was a charity trialling voluntary contraceptives in the UK, but it got into a lot of trouble as it was paying the women to take the drugs, which they would then go out and spend on beer and other narcotics.
 
Graduate_Student
The phrase originates from fishing, and refers to the hook, the line holding the hook and the sinker (which may be the float, or the drop feeder) all being swallowed by the fish in its excitement over consuming the bait.


Thanks for pointing that out, and I have since fixed it. I mistyped and didn't notice it for some reason when I read back over it.


I would like to say that there is a difference between eugenics and selective breeding. Eugenics considers the societal impact of selective breeding and is put in place to preserve/improve the dominant power group of a nation.


Eugenics gained its negative connotation because of how it was abused in the past by the groups that used it (specifically the Nazis but there were others). We still use eugenics (but perhaps with a small e?) in various forms now although we rarely use that term in regards to those forms. Genetic engineering and prenatal testing both are modern forms of eugenics.

I also had to look more up on my idea of voluntary free of charge contraception and sterilization. Both of those approaches have tried and in some circumstances were also abused in the past. Things like this are rarely simple or without risk of secondary effects as we can see from your quote:

There was a charity trialling voluntary contraceptives in the UK, but it got into a lot of trouble as it was paying the women to take the drugs, which they would then go out and spend on beer and other narcotics.

I can understand why there was some fallout from the situation with contraceptives you described. However I think it likely that these same people would have been doing those same things (abusing alcohol and narcotics) regardless of the additional financial resources provided them by the trials. If anything it was a good thing they access to the contraceptives considering their behavior. Perhaps just trialing the contraceptives without a financial incentive would have been better even if the effort had been well intended. However much you may want to control what people spend money on, some of them with chose the wrong things.
Edited by Graduate_Student on 03/06/2012 12:17
 
seeker
I think Joe and FIRE did a nice job of 'packaging' the story for the press. They were aided by the fact that neither the school nor its professors could directly comment.

Cynic said:
But I can't help but interpret his statement, given the context, as an attempt -- unconscious or not -- to diffuse the credit that might be due to black athletes. It's kind of an "oh, sure he's good, but that's because of his genes, not because of anything to do with the character of the man himself" type statement. That, to me, is the truly offensive part of it.


I do think that is the offensive aspect of the statement that is most immediately striking. Initially it reminds me of casually racist comments like, 'they are naturally musical' or 'they can really jump'. Most of the time statements like this are, I think you'd agree, simply attempts to de-humanize the person and minimize the achievement.

What stands out with Snyder's statement is that he basically acknowledges that people in the US thought of them as animals and treated them that way. I tend to wonder, had he just said something on the order of, 'they are just naturally faster', whether his remarks would have been regarded as controversial.

Your suggestion that certain races do have natural advantages in particular situations is provably true. [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/25/sports/baseball/in-baseball-blue-eyed-hitters-are-wary-of-glare.html]People with blue eyes, for example, tend to have more issues dealing with glare.[/url]

Unfortunately the human mind is really good at rationalizing its way to pretty much anything one might want to believe. Oddly enough the smartest people often use their greater intellect to form more intricate rationalization. I would put scientific racism in that category, racism rationalized by selective scientific observation.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
seeker
Cynic said:
There's this idea that human nature is something that you can't or even shouldn't fight, as if our natures are perfect if not interfered with. Meanwhile in science, no discussion of animal behavior science as it applies to the human animal is complete without a warning against the historic follies of "social Darwinism ," in which someone's supposed understanding of human nature is used as justification to either commit atrocities or allow them to persist unabated.


I am constantly amazed by people who try to justify economic and other positions by claiming that you can't fight human nature. Civilization only occurs because we subordinate human nature. Were we not able to sublimate our natural impulses we'd be too busy raping, killing and plundering each other to have ever built anything close to what we have now. The very fact of crime is proof that we rely on each other to keep particular impulses under control.

Imagine living in a neighborhood where there were no laws; No protection other than whatever you personally might be able to cobble together. Would you really want to live in a place where anyone at any time is free to act any way they chose with no consequence? Yet people suggest just such things in our economic neighborhoods.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Graduate_Student
I want to post a link to an article on something called contra-power harassment. Contra-power harassment refers to a form of harassment that occurs when "a person with lesser power within an institution harasses someone with greater power".

The article was written by a Psychology PHD who teaches at University of Alaska, Anchorage. The article describes her first exposure to this phenomena in her classroom, and has a details some of her subsequent research on the subject. The article is not long, and the research isn't esoteric wordiness guaranteed to put a non-psych academic to sleep.

I am trying to do more reading on the subject of student teacher harassment. It is more common than I would have thought.

This is the article:

[url]http://www.difficultdialoguesuaa.org/index.php/handbook/content/essay_contrapower_harrassment_on_campus_incidence_consequences_implications[/url]
Edited by Graduate_Student on 03/06/2012 19:56
 
seeker
GS - As a practical matter you are of course welcome to quote from the article and post a link but posting the entire article may be problematic due to copyright restrictions. Just be sure not to get us into trouble.

I will say, after giving the article a quick read (it isn't very long) that it is definitely eye opening. I was surprised by the numbers she came up with.
Edited by seeker on 03/06/2012 20:00
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Cynic
I am constantly amazed by people who try to justify economic and other positions by claiming that you can't fight human nature. Civilization only occurs because we subordinate human nature. Were we not able to sublimate our natural impulses we'd be too busy raping, killing and plundering each other to have ever built anything close to what we have now. The very fact of crime is proof that we rely on each other to keep particular impulses under control.



I find it difficult to properly distinguish what, exactly, human nature is. People tend to divorce humans from their cultures, as if culture were merely a software layer running on wetware computing platforms. To be sure, we're obviously pretty malleable. But I wonder what sorts of relationships we would be prone to if things were somehow reset (a la Lord of the Flies with less to pick on). Function tends to follow from so it's difficult to ignore the idea that human nature is what it is because of the underlying structures we've developed (in concert with our cultures, of course, making things complicated).

Studies of animals, even and especially social animals, including other primates, bear this out. Rarely do we humans, as a species, engage in behaviors that would contradict an optimum behavior for enhancing our own fitness or the fitness of our offspring: we tend to do exactly what theory would predict. Animals don't "just do things." There's almost always a reason for it, even if that reason doesn't make any sense to us. There's a spider that allows itself to be eaten by its mate so that part of it might remain lodged in her as a chastity belt, ensuring the birth of his progeny while denying his rivals. Its ancestors didn't decide this was a good idea -- they did it and gained an advantage as a result and thus became the dominant phenotype. Most people would be shocked to discover how much of their own behavior isn't really their idea.

To me, I don't think "resisting our natures" is as much the problem as much as the people who try to use our natures as justification for things don't really get what our natures are, or insist that anything people do necessarily comprise our natures. People who insist that pure capitalism is most compatible with our natures while socialism is antithetical often cite how nature is all about competition, but they ignore how incredibly cooperative we are as a species and how that tendency is common to all social animals. They cite wars throughout history but ignore how such large-scale conflicts are flatly impossible without the high degree of cooperation inherent in human nature. Even compared to other primates, humans are cooperation machines and consistently outperform all other primates in tests in which greater rewards can be had through cooperation, regardless of how far along the subjects are in their acquisition of culture.

Rather than suppress our natures to achieve what we have, I'd suggest we actually embrace it. But we're also keenly tuned in to game theory strategies, such as being aware that a behavior might be most profitable when most others are doing something else.
 
Graduate_Student
I will say, after giving the article a quick read (it isn't very long) that it is definitely eye opening. I was surprised by the numbers she came up with.


I was surprised too, and I am surprised that I haven't heard the term before. I am finding a bunch of scholarly articles on contra-power harassment now I know what I am looking for. If nothing else, this idiocy with Kowboy has me now learning new things.


GS - As a practical matter you are of course welcome to quote from the article and post a link but posting the entire article may be problematic due to copyright restrictions. Just be sure not to get us into trouble.


Not to worry about copyright stuff, I wouldn't post an article here, I would only post a link. I should have used better wording. I changed my original statement to reflect that.

I also noticed your comments over on the OP editorial page about Kowboy. I think I need to add something over there myself too. He is repeating the same bovine scatology all over again just in a different place.
 
Kowboy
"He is repeating the same bovine scatology all over again just in a different place."

GS:

I love this. The best way to know you're winning the debate is when your opponents can't make a coherent argument and have to resort to ad hominem attacks. The ultimate victory is when you are banned from a site; not for rule infringement, but for making irrefutable arguments.

I am merciful. I'll take it easy on you and seeker from now on. Your concession is accepted.
 
Graduate_Student
Irrefutable arguments huh? Let's see:

You accused me of an ad hominem attack when I colloquially stated that you were rewriting lies from here in another MB with an intent to deceive.

First we need a basic definition of an ad hominem:

An ad hominem attack is an attempt to negate a proposition by pointing out a negative characteristic or circumstance of the person supporting it.


Essentially you are claiming there is no validity to me implying you are a liar when I pointed out that you were rewriting lies from one MB to another with an intent to deceive.

They should have taught you proofs in your Intro to Logic class, but maybe they didn't so I go will over them quickly:

When you state a logical argument you need to also be able to state a logical proof for it that holds up. Short of a proof that holds up, you only have the original statement, and that is not worth much in the world of logic.

In this case, your claim was an ad hominem attack. The proof for an ad hominem attack is a theorem that can demonstrate that:

The character or circumstances of the person under attack have nothing to do with the proposition being defended.


In this case, the character and circumstances (that lies were told by you with the rewriting of lies from one place to another with an intent to deceive) actually have everything to do with the proposition (that you are a liar). Your ad hominem proof does not hold up, and therefore your claim of an ad hominem attack fails. It was logically perfectly valid for me to say what I said.

This is an ad hominem attack: a) Kowboy does not understand formal logic because clearly he is a moron.
This is not an ad hominem attack: b) Kowboy does not understand formal logic because he took an introductory logic class and clearly failed to grasp several key concepts.

Now run the ad hominem proofs against them to check the statements.
Proof for "a": Kowboy being a moron has nothing to do with him not understanding formal logic (no direct linkage)
Proof for "b": Kowboy failing to grasp key logic class concepts has everything to do with his not understanding logic (direct linkage)

I hope that clears ad hominem attacks for you. I also hope in makes it clear that you have no idea what you are talking about. Do yourself a favor, and stop throwing around terms that you don't fully understand.

I do not care about your silliness with you anymore. I understand you better at this point than you understand yourself unfortunately.

We had moved on and were discussing more interesting things earlier today until you showed up again. Please add something useful to the conversation or go away.
Edited by Graduate_Student on 03/07/2012 14:07
 
Theory_Execution
I am with Cynic here, and I would like to add, the moments that people may wish to point to as having been a case of an individual taking a charge with 'might is right' and 'survival of the fittest' on their side, only ever achieves a position of great power (government role) if they have found some way of having others cooperate with them.
 
seeker
Cynic wrote:

I find it difficult to properly distinguish what, exactly, human nature is. People tend to divorce humans from their cultures, as if culture were merely a software layer running on wetware computing platforms. To be sure, we're obviously pretty malleable. But I wonder what sorts of relationships we would be prone to if things were somehow reset (a la Lord of the Flies with less to pick on). Function tends to follow from so it's difficult to ignore the idea that human nature is what it is because of the underlying structures we've developed (in concert with our cultures, of course, making things complicated).

Studies of animals, even and especially social animals, including other primates, bear this out. Rarely do we humans, as a species, engage in behaviors that would contradict an optimum behavior for enhancing our own fitness or the fitness of our offspring: we tend to do exactly what theory would predict. Animals don't "just do things." There's almost always a reason for it, even if that reason doesn't make any sense to us. There's a spider that allows itself to be eaten by its mate so that part of it might remain lodged in her as a chastity belt, ensuring the birth of his progeny while denying his rivals. Its ancestors didn't decide this was a good idea -- they did it and gained an advantage as a result and thus became the dominant phenotype. Most people would be shocked to discover how much of their own behavior isn't really their idea.

To me, I don't think "resisting our natures" is as much the problem as much as the people who try to use our natures as justification for things don't really get what our natures are, or insist that anything people do necessarily comprise our natures. People who insist that pure capitalism is most compatible with our natures while socialism is antithetical often cite how nature is all about competition, but they ignore how incredibly cooperative we are as a species and how that tendency is common to all social animals. They cite wars throughout history but ignore how such large-scale conflicts are flatly impossible without the high degree of cooperation inherent in human nature. Even compared to other primates, humans are cooperation machines and consistently outperform all other primates in tests in which greater rewards can be had through cooperation, regardless of how far along the subjects are in their acquisition of culture.

Rather than suppress our natures to achieve what we have, I'd suggest we actually embrace it. But we're also keenly tuned in to game theory strategies, such as being aware that a behavior might be most profitable when most others are doing something else.


Beautifully said. I admit I had to re-examine exactly what I think human nature is after reading your post and at best it is a vague term. What I run into is a kind of conflation between human nature and impulse control. We have impulses which lead us to consider particular acts but perhaps it is more precise to say that part of our nature is impulse control.

You are right though that the whole 'resisting our nature' argument is rather simplistic in that it really doesn't consider the full aspect of whatever it is that we are.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
seeker
Kowboy wrote:

"He is repeating the same bovine scatology all over again just in a different place."

GS:

I love this. The best way to know you're winning the debate is when your opponents can't make a coherent argument and have to resort to ad hominem attacks. The ultimate victory is when you are banned from a site; not for rule infringement, but for making irrefutable arguments.

I am merciful. I'll take it easy on you and seeker from now on. Your concession is accepted.


Allow me to interpret this post for those members of this board that don't speak troll:

Kowboy wrote (as translated by seeker):

I have lost badly and no longer have cogent arguments or even the will to try to make them. The only thing I have left to do now is try to piss people off enough to get banned and the I can pretend to myself that they just couldn't answer me logically.

I wish I could be more like seeker

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
seeker
GS - Kowboy has reduced himself to simple trolling. I'll continue to provide translations purely because it amuses me.

I don't think it'll do any harm to let him flame for a while. He won't be able to avoid reading our posts and may actually learn something.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
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