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Political Correctness and the Demonology of Modern Prejudice

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    ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    Zalbinion wrote: »
    ege02 wrote: »
    I must say, birds are more closely related to reptiles than they are to us, so comparing us to them is even less feasible than my using your hyena example to prove women dominant.

    Uh. Researchers study birds because birds are warm-blooded, social, and they look after their young. Much like humans and unlike other reptiles.
    Gorillas aren't monogamous, so I could just as easily use that species to prove humans are naturally polygamous too. In addition, we are more closely related to bonobos, which are matriarchal.

    I'm not talking about monogamy in birds to suggest humans are naturally monogamous. In fact, just the opposite: throughout our evolutionary history we've been known the adapt to different social and environmental circumstances by changing the number of partners (both women and men).

    "Throughout our evolutionary history"?

    Homo sapiens sapiens, a.k.a. anatomically modern humans, are 130,000 years old. In that time, the available evidence suggests that different groups of humans have simultaneously incorporated a variety of relationships in their communities, strongly suggesting that there's no one fundamental hard-wired type of human bond.

    If anything, it's the flexibility involved in being able to change so easily how we structure reproductive relationships and other bonds that's hard-wired into humans.

    More like 200,000 but whatever.

    You are pretty much agreeing with me, but the bolded part is a big no-no. The existence of flexibility in human reproductive relationships is not evidence for the lack of a default hard-wired human bond. Claiming that it is would be a false dichotomy because it completely ignores our capacity for rational thought, something you accuse me of doing.

    If we are not hard-wired for monogamy, why does jealousy exist? And before you say jealousy is culture influenced, read this: the incidence of jealousy may vary across cultures, but jealousy remains a cultural universal nevertheless. So if it is culturally universal, that means humans do have a fundamental impulse for not wanting their partners to be with anyone else*. How can you explain this by anything other than a genetic hard-wiring towards monogamy?

    *whether a person can learn to override this instinct is another point entirely. that's not what I'm discussing.
    Sure, bonobos are matriarchally polygamous. Sure, some birds are monogamous. So what? Focusing entirely on the theoretical biological roots of these behaviors completely ignores the inherent mutability of human relationship behaviors, which ironically is possibly the most important part. This is why I think evolutionary psychology is, at best, merely interesting and noteworthy, but not fundamentally important: no matter what our biological impulses are, those impulses don't rule our behaviors. "Artificial" culture mediates them, turning them into something that genes have little, if any, say in.

    Sigh. You are once again strawmanning. I'm not ignoring the mutability of human relationship behaviors, or suggesting our impulses rule our behaviors. They merely influence them or trigger them; after that we can use our rational thought process to decide whether to follow those impulses or override them.

    ege02 on
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    Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator Mod Emeritus
    edited December 2007
    Hey talk about political correctness or prejudice, not fucking evolutionary biology as it relates to monogamy you dumb fuckers.

    Irond Will on
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    ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    Zalbinion wrote: »
    I suspect that we should be striving for a complete picture, however. I don't think it's an either/or situation, any more than the question of biology versus environment is, and we should advance our understanding of both as best we can, using what we discover all the while.

    I think the brain is incredibly complex, and that our understanding of it will be gradual and a journey with innumerable pitfalls. The only reason we should ascribe less value to the genetic component of our understanding is because it's so much subtler. I don't think it should be dismissed as "not fundamentally important". It think it's reasonable to assume that it's fundamentally very important, we simply know very little about it, and it's difficult, slow going.

    That's very true, it is important.

    But... but... here is what you said:
    This is why I think evolutionary psychology is, at best, merely interesting and noteworthy, but not fundamentally important: no matter what our biological impulses are, those impulses don't rule our behaviors. "Artificial" culture mediates them, turning them into something that genes have little, if any, say in.

    So first you say our genes have little if any say in our behavior and thus dismiss that they may be fundamentally important, then you turn 180 degrees and say "very true, it is important."

    What the fuck? Do you even know what you're saying?
    I think the main disconnect here is that by and large PA forumers are scientifically savvy, and they understand that describing biological roots of human behavior doesn't mean that human cultures necessarily should follow those impulses.

    I never suggested that. How many times do I have to repeat myself?
    Zalbinion wrote: »
    The thing is, there are plenty of non-savvy people in the greater population that would use these findings for their own nefarious cultural ends, so I'm more concerned with examining how we can change the cultural ideas that shape our behaviors.

    There are plenty of people out there with ege's view of human development who would also love to force those mythical patterns of gender relations onto modern societies.

    Sure. People have turned the theory of evolution into a diabolical social philosophy by committing the naturalistic fallacy, plenty of people have been killed because of our advances in nuclear technology and similar technological and social advancements.

    I think we counter these people by pointing out how they're wrong, not by hoping (and helping) people shy away from a certain aspect of what makes us who and what we are because we're afraid someone will run with it in the wrong direction.

    Pretty much, and that is the entire point of my rant about how our obsession with political correctness and constant fear of political incorrectness very often fucks with our judgment.

    Just because "research X" can be used towards nefarious ends does not mean we should shy away from that research, or rabidly disagree and ridicule in the hopes of discouraging the person from following that line of thought.

    ege02 on
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    ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA Mod Emeritus
    edited December 2007
    ege02 wrote: »
    Pretty much, and that is the entire point of my rant about how our obsession with political correctness and constant fear of political incorrectness very often fucks with our judgment.

    Just because "research X" can be used towards nefarious ends does not mean we should shy away from that research, or rabidly disagree and ridicule in the hopes of discouraging the person from following that line of thought.

    Then your entire rant is built on shit. Nobody is shying away from this "politically incorrect" research.

    Elki on
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    durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    We don't shy away from radical advances given to us by evolutionary psychology! It's just not very useful. People assume that since it must secretly prove Their People are the best and Those People are the worst, it must be being kept down by the Liberal Bastards.

    It's not. It's not about being PC, it's about the lack of solid evidence or useful hypotheses.

    durandal4532 on
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    ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    We don't shy away from radical advances given to us by evolutionary psychology! It's just not very useful. People assume that since it must secretly prove Their People are the best and Those People are the worst, it must be being kept down by the Liberal Bastards.

    It's not. It's not about being PC, it's about the lack of solid evidence or useful hypotheses.

    How much evidence do we need before we accept a theory?

    Do we have a tendency to ask for more evidence for theories that claim something we are not politically comfortable with?

    I believe we do.

    I really do think our political correctness significantly increases our skepticism, a certain level of which if healthy and encouraged but becomes ridiculous and unreasonable after a certain point.

    Personally speaking, it gets frustrating. Someone makes a claim and supports it with evidence, then people jump at that evidence and rabidly try to tear it to pieces simply because they don't want to believe the claim.

    "waaah that study was published in X year, which is clearly too long ago"
    "waah the researchers are all <members of X group>"
    "waaah the study doesn't do this or that"

    But hey, I guess I'll take over-skepticism over gullibility. :)

    ege02 on
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    ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA Mod Emeritus
    edited December 2007
    Maybe the fact that your evidence is shit has something to do with it. Or maybe the fact you extrapolate far too much from it. Just guessing.

    Elki on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Ege, I don't think you realize how horribly poor the evidence is for most evolutionary psych arguments.

    It's mostly just guessing.

    Add to that that it is also usually plagued with terrible amounts of ignorance.

    This is extremely common with young scientific disciplines. Have you seen the first ideas of what an iguanadon looked like?

    Incenjucar on
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    durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    ege. That is the fucking point of science.

    They tear into it, and if it is true and if it is useful then it comes out unscathed and we believe it. Theocracies have fallen to this methodology, how in the fuck is any amount of Liberal Guilt supposed to topple a useful theory?

    You know what a more likely explanation is? Evolutionary Psych is a useless gross oversimplification that has produced few to no useful hypotheses about human behavior, and is falling justifiably to the wayside to join Phrenology.

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    ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    ege. That is the fucking point of science.

    They tear into it, and if it is true and if it is useful then it comes out unscathed and we believe it. Theocracies have fallen to this methodology, how in the fuck is any amount of Liberal Guilt supposed to topple a useful theory?

    You know what a more likely explanation is? Evolutionary Psych is a useless gross oversimplification that has produced few to no useful hypotheses about human behavior, and is falling justifiably to the wayside to join Phrenology.

    Right, I understand that.

    I am saying, a theory will get far more attention and flak if it suggests something politically incorrect.

    Compared to a theory that suggests something that is regarded as self-evident (but may be incorrect).

    ege02 on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Yes, Ege.

    Errors that can be used to cause havoc do tend to get more attention than errors that cannot.

    Do you think this is a bad thing?

    Incenjucar on
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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    ege02 wrote: »
    ege. That is the fucking point of science.

    They tear into it, and if it is true and if it is useful then it comes out unscathed and we believe it. Theocracies have fallen to this methodology, how in the fuck is any amount of Liberal Guilt supposed to topple a useful theory?

    You know what a more likely explanation is? Evolutionary Psych is a useless gross oversimplification that has produced few to no useful hypotheses about human behavior, and is falling justifiably to the wayside to join Phrenology.

    Right, I understand that.

    I am saying, a theory will get far more attention and flak if it suggests something politically incorrect.

    Compared to a theory that suggests something that is regarded as self-evident (but may be incorrect).
    Let's also not forget that the source needs to be considered, and if the source in the past has been somewhat 'unreliable' about gender issues and so on, it will be scrutinized much more closely.

    Fencingsax on
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    ZalbinionZalbinion Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    ege02 wrote: »
    How much evidence do we need before we accept a theory?

    Do we have a tendency to ask for more evidence for theories that claim something we are not politically comfortable with?

    I believe we do.

    I really do think our political correctness significantly increases our skepticism, a certain level of which if healthy and encouraged but becomes ridiculous and unreasonable after a certain point.

    Personally speaking, it gets frustrating. Someone makes a claim and supports it with evidence, then people jump at that evidence and rabidly try to tear it to pieces simply because they don't want to believe the claim.

    "waaah that study was published in X year, which is clearly too long ago"
    "waah the researchers are all <members of X group>"
    "waaah the study doesn't do this or that"

    But hey, I guess I'll take over-skepticism over gullibility. :)

    What you prefaced above with "Waaah" is what modern academia calls the scientific method.

    Seriously, ege: the whole point of science is to subject hypotheses to rigorous scrutiny, and to only accept as useful those ideas which survive the most withering critiques.

    Unfortunately, most evolutionary psychology ideas simply do not survive critique from a number of angles. This isn't some political campaign, but rather the knowledgeable critiques levied by experts in many fields.

    Peace offering for ege: Although I have not read her work personally, most feminist reviews speak very, very highly of the evolutionary psychologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. I've heard very good things about her book Mother Nature in particular; if you haven't read this book yet, I suggest you do so, because there are lots of people who think this is exactly the kind of research evo-psych should be doing.

    Zalbinion on
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    ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    Zalbinion wrote: »
    ege02 wrote: »
    How much evidence do we need before we accept a theory?

    Do we have a tendency to ask for more evidence for theories that claim something we are not politically comfortable with?

    I believe we do.

    I really do think our political correctness significantly increases our skepticism, a certain level of which if healthy and encouraged but becomes ridiculous and unreasonable after a certain point.

    Personally speaking, it gets frustrating. Someone makes a claim and supports it with evidence, then people jump at that evidence and rabidly try to tear it to pieces simply because they don't want to believe the claim.

    "waaah that study was published in X year, which is clearly too long ago"
    "waah the researchers are all <members of X group>"
    "waaah the study doesn't do this or that"

    But hey, I guess I'll take over-skepticism over gullibility. :)

    What you prefaced above with "Waaah" is what modern academia calls the scientific method.

    Seriously, ege: the whole point of science is to subject hypotheses to rigorous scrutiny, and to only accept as useful those ideas which survive the most withering critiques.

    Right.
    Peace offering for ege: Although I have not read her work personally, most feminist reviews speak very, very highly of the evolutionary psychologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. I've heard very good things about her book Mother Nature in particular; if you haven't read this book yet, I suggest you do so, because there are lots of people who think this is exactly the kind of research evo-psych should be doing.

    Fine. As long as you read The Red Queen by Matt Ridley and Sperm Wars by Robin Baker.

    ege02 on
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    poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    ege02 wrote: »
    ege. That is the fucking point of science.

    They tear into it, and if it is true and if it is useful then it comes out unscathed and we believe it. Theocracies have fallen to this methodology, how in the fuck is any amount of Liberal Guilt supposed to topple a useful theory?

    You know what a more likely explanation is? Evolutionary Psych is a useless gross oversimplification that has produced few to no useful hypotheses about human behavior, and is falling justifiably to the wayside to join Phrenology.

    Right, I understand that.

    I am saying, a theory will get far more attention and flak if it suggests something politically incorrect.

    Compared to a theory that suggests something that is regarded as self-evident (but may be incorrect).

    You, like many, overstate the power and pervasiveness of the right-on people you label 'politically correct'. It's like all that 'Communist News Network' crap.

    The theories in evo-psych are always ones 'which are regarded as self-evident'.

    Show me some studies that suggest women are better suited for hunting and therefore the military, or that men make better baby-carers, or anything except the most retarded conservative bullshit.

    and 'flak' isn't a part of the scientific method. It's part of the mass-media and mainstream thought. These things are not the same.

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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    ege02 wrote: »
    Zalbinion wrote: »
    ege02 wrote: »
    I must say, birds are more closely related to reptiles than they are to us, so comparing us to them is even less feasible than my using your hyena example to prove women dominant.

    Uh. Researchers study birds because birds are warm-blooded, social, and they look after their young. Much like humans and unlike other reptiles.
    Gorillas aren't monogamous, so I could just as easily use that species to prove humans are naturally polygamous too. In addition, we are more closely related to bonobos, which are matriarchal.

    I'm not talking about monogamy in birds to suggest humans are naturally monogamous. In fact, just the opposite: throughout our evolutionary history we've been known the adapt to different social and environmental circumstances by changing the number of partners (both women and men).

    "Throughout our evolutionary history"?

    Homo sapiens sapiens, a.k.a. anatomically modern humans, are 130,000 years old. In that time, the available evidence suggests that different groups of humans have simultaneously incorporated a variety of relationships in their communities, strongly suggesting that there's no one fundamental hard-wired type of human bond.

    If anything, it's the flexibility involved in being able to change so easily how we structure reproductive relationships and other bonds that's hard-wired into humans.

    More like 200,000 but whatever.

    You are pretty much agreeing with me, but the bolded part is a big no-no. The existence of flexibility in human reproductive relationships is not evidence for the lack of a default hard-wired human bond. Claiming that it is would be a false dichotomy because it completely ignores our capacity for rational thought, something you accuse me of doing.

    If we are not hard-wired for monogamy, why does jealousy exist? And before you say jealousy is culture influenced, read this: the incidence of jealousy may vary across cultures, but jealousy remains a cultural universal nevertheless. So if it is culturally universal, that means humans do have a fundamental impulse for not wanting their partners to be with anyone else*. How can you explain this by anything other than a genetic hard-wiring towards monogamy?

    *whether a person can learn to override this instinct is another point entirely. that's not what I'm discussing.
    Sure, bonobos are matriarchally polygamous. Sure, some birds are monogamous. So what? Focusing entirely on the theoretical biological roots of these behaviors completely ignores the inherent mutability of human relationship behaviors, which ironically is possibly the most important part. This is why I think evolutionary psychology is, at best, merely interesting and noteworthy, but not fundamentally important: no matter what our biological impulses are, those impulses don't rule our behaviors. "Artificial" culture mediates them, turning them into something that genes have little, if any, say in.

    Sigh. You are once again strawmanning. I'm not ignoring the mutability of human relationship behaviors, or suggesting our impulses rule our behaviors. They merely influence them or trigger them; after that we can use our rational thought process to decide whether to follow those impulses or override them.

    Must I point out that monogamy isn't even universal in the western world. Read the Torah, multiple wives and husbands were the norm (though the husband thing was more an issue of succession, such as in the story of Ruth). Besides, I was pointing out that fact to illustrate why animal comparisons aren't necessarily valid unless you can prove a contextual relation, ence my use of a more closely related species to argue a point I know you disagree with, because standing by your gorilla example would immediately prove you wrong of patriarchy.
    Jealousy is obviously part of relationships because it has been found that the affinity that comes with a close bond is based on the same hormone that triggers possessiveness and the same area of the brain (though I slightly doubt my memory on the region assertion).
    ege02 wrote: »
    We don't shy away from radical advances given to us by evolutionary psychology! It's just not very useful. People assume that since it must secretly prove Their People are the best and Those People are the worst, it must be being kept down by the Liberal Bastards.

    It's not. It's not about being PC, it's about the lack of solid evidence or useful hypotheses.

    How much evidence do we need before we accept a theory?

    Do we have a tendency to ask for more evidence for theories that claim something we are not politically comfortable with?

    I believe we do.

    I really do think our political correctness significantly increases our skepticism, a certain level of which if healthy and encouraged but becomes ridiculous and unreasonable after a certain point.

    Personally speaking, it gets frustrating. Someone makes a claim and supports it with evidence, then people jump at that evidence and rabidly try to tear it to pieces simply because they don't want to believe the claim.

    "waaah that study was published in X year, which is clearly too long ago"
    "waah the researchers are all <members of X group>"
    "waaah the study doesn't do this or that"

    But hey, I guess I'll take over-skepticism over gullibility. :)

    The funniest thing to do now is to compare this to what he said when we point out that historians have bias.
    I suspect that we should be striving for a complete picture, however. I don't think it's an either/or situation, any more than the question of biology versus environment is, and we should advance our understanding of both as best we can, using what we discover all the while.

    I think the brain is incredibly complex, and that our understanding of it will be gradual and a journey with innumerable pitfalls. The only reason we should ascribe less value to the genetic component of our understanding is because it's so much subtler. I don't think it should be dismissed as "not fundamentally important". It think it's reasonable to assume that it's fundamentally very important, we simply know very little about it, and it's difficult, slow going.

    On this note, I would like to note that humans have the most brain cells at or shortly after birth, and from that point on, the culling begins! The body actually assesses what cells of the brain you don't use and kills them off to save energy and, probably, to streamline the rest of the brain.
    Scalfin wrote: »
    I just remembered: female violence is on the rise while male violence is declining, showing that many of the violent associations we have with males may have been the result of how children were raised, rather than natural disposition.
    And isn't that just a bag of social conditioning, even to myself. It takes a very conscious mental strain not to be dismissive/cold when there's a headline like "teen girls beat cab driver to death".

    No, the article I was talking about was more focusing on the skyrocketing rate of violence between teenage girls, specifically horrific gang-esque beatings.

    Scalfin on
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    AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Let's also not forget that the source needs to be considered, and if the source in the past has been somewhat 'unreliable' about gender issues and so on, it will be scrutinized much more closely.

    Right. If the only group willing to underwrite you is the Pioneer Fund, it's usually a good sign to rethink your argument.

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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Let's also not forget that the source needs to be considered, and if the source in the past has been somewhat 'unreliable' about gender issues and so on, it will be scrutinized much more closely.

    Right. If the only group willing to underwrite you is the Pioneer Fund, it's usually a good sign to rethink your argument.
    I was actually referring to edge and previous experiences with his ideas about gender issues, but let's go with that.

    Fencingsax on
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    an_altan_alt Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Zalbinion wrote: »
    This is why I think evolutionary psychology is, at best, merely interesting and noteworthy, but not fundamentally important: no matter what our biological impulses are, those impulses don't rule our behaviors. "Artificial" culture mediates them, turning them into something that genes have little, if any, say in.

    Biology is the knobs, environment is the tuning. those impulses don't "rule" our behaviors any more than our environment "rules" our behavior, but the claim isn't being advanced that either is solely responsible for ruling our behavior. But our behavior is almost certainly ruled by the two together.

    But my friend who is finishing up her masters in sociology assures me that our behavior is 100% completely based upon environment and that all her profs agree with this. She couldn't be wrong, could she?

    an_alt on
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    RedShellRedShell Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    an_alt wrote: »
    Zalbinion wrote: »
    This is why I think evolutionary psychology is, at best, merely interesting and noteworthy, but not fundamentally important: no matter what our biological impulses are, those impulses don't rule our behaviors. "Artificial" culture mediates them, turning them into something that genes have little, if any, say in.

    Biology is the knobs, environment is the tuning. those impulses don't "rule" our behaviors any more than our environment "rules" our behavior, but the claim isn't being advanced that either is solely responsible for ruling our behavior. But our behavior is almost certainly ruled by the two together.

    But my friend who is finishing up her masters in sociology assures me that our behavior is 100% completely based upon environment and that all her profs agree with this. She couldn't be wrong, could she?

    It's not like we were magically created by God. Everything comes from our environment on some level.

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    JamesKeenanJamesKeenan Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    an_alt, I can't tell if that's sarcastic or not. Really.

    But to address it, genes play a large role in behavior. Hell, just today we've got this. Genetic research into sexual orientation, as well. Brain chemistry. There's Phineas Gage...

    JamesKeenan on
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    redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    RedShell wrote: »
    an_alt wrote: »
    Zalbinion wrote: »
    This is why I think evolutionary psychology is, at best, merely interesting and noteworthy, but not fundamentally important: no matter what our biological impulses are, those impulses don't rule our behaviors. "Artificial" culture mediates them, turning them into something that genes have little, if any, say in.

    Biology is the knobs, environment is the tuning. those impulses don't "rule" our behaviors any more than our environment "rules" our behavior, but the claim isn't being advanced that either is solely responsible for ruling our behavior. But our behavior is almost certainly ruled by the two together.

    But my friend who is finishing up her masters in sociology assures me that our behavior is 100% completely based upon environment and that all her profs agree with this. She couldn't be wrong, could she?

    It's not like we were magically created by God. Everything comes from our environment on some level.

    our genes are the result of 100 million years of interaction with our environment? ehh... yeah, I guess. I don't believe in an extra-environmental creator.

    surprised she doesn't have profs that would nit pick a bit, for any number of reasons. Doubt alt's veracity a bit. It's a nested appeal to authority or a straw man, as well.

    redx on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I think the joke is supposed to be "sociologists, masters of neurobiology."

    Incenjucar on
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    redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    something about everything looking like a nail when you have a hammer.

    duh, I'm stupid.

    edit:see... that post of mine was ironic. I was demonstrating the tendency of web forums for groupthink, when it comes to certain topics, like someone else being wrong.

    yeah.

    redx on
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    JamesKeenanJamesKeenan Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Well, that works. It's funny, even. But, as I missed it initially... I cannot laugh.

    In fact, I may never laugh again.

    :|

    JamesKeenan on
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