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Is geneology a rational pursuit?

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

And I deny that you can establish a causative link. The only link is genes.

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

The link is severed each generation.

These factually are false statements.  

As an example consider any family who had systematically indoctrinated their children with religious dogma, and abused them physically and sexually, and the pattern repeated generation after generation for a statistically significant number of offspring...

Consider now a family rich in civility and tradition who provided great educational and philosophical instruction, inspired and demanded of their children high standing and achievement and the pattern repeated generation after generation for a statistically significant offspring...

These two families did not become EXACTLY the same after ONE generation. 

There IS a causative link.  It is not a 100% deterministic link because there is volition.  Some offspring no doubt turned their backs on achievement and some escaped the cycle of violence, but there is a causative link in reality between what happens in each generation.

To "blame" or "credit" the patterns of these families as solely due to genes would be fall into the trap of ranking people by their "blood" alone.

No, there is much more causatively happening than mere genes.  That said, it is factually true that genes do play in role, but how and to what extent exactly, that is for the scientists to determine.

 

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

Who your great-grandpa is doesn't matter at all in that process.

As shown above... "wrong".

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

All that you said implies a general importance to genealogy, an importance that has unique standing.

I'm not saying it has "importance".  Some people find it has meaning for them others do not.  Some people, because of the particular circumstances are affected more by it (people in families with strong traditions etc) than others (people given up for adoption).

It's almost as if you take my sense of family and meaning personally?  Does it threaten you somehow?

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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34 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I NEVER said family ancestry "has moral weight".

" Family and the reality of it CAN have deep personal meaning and value  "

This IS moral weight.

" Also in large part, what you are is by Nurture, who you are, what you think, has been formed and shaped by who they are, what they think and feel.  "

This too. Who you are is a moral issue.

" Objectivism is NOT antithetical to Family or the idea that Family can have and provide special Meaning in one's life. "

Special meaning is moral weight. Your posts show that genealogy is part of your concept of family and that genealogy matters to some people. That means some people -should- value their genealogy. But no person at all -should- find meaning in it is my claim.

" Consider now a family rich in civility and tradition who provided great educational and philosophical instruction, inspired and demanded of their children high standing and achievement and the pattern repeated generation after generation for a statistically significant offspring "

This is not genealogy anyway. Each generation has to establish values anew. You can only observe a continuation based on a person believing the people they know personally and culture. That a great grand parent taught your grandparent taught your parent egoism is not to be judged differently than Rand's great grand parent that perhaps taught egoistic ideas. If someone learned to be a racist and lynch black people, that's on them, and only brought on by accepting their culture, not linked to ancestors qua ancestors. The causative link is no different if there is also a genealogical link. Thus, no special meaning exists.

" These to families did not become EXACTLY the same after ONE generation. "

Each generation is wildly different than the last. No family will be the same. So we judge people as individuals or their values, with no consideration on lineage. If it does affect who I am, even a little (say, 5% of who I choose to be), if you had particularly admirable ancestors, then I can judge some of your moral worth based on your ancestry. But I say 0%.

" It's almost as if you take my sense of family and meaning personally?  Does it threaten you somehow? "

I think you're wrong is all (weird to ask, I'm practically zen about it).

 

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1 minute ago, Eiuol said:

" Family and the reality of it CAN have deep personal meaning and value  "

This IS moral weight.

No.

2 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

" Also in large part, what you are is by Nurture, who you are, what you think, has been formed and shaped by who they are, what they think and feel.  "

This too. Who you are is a moral issue.

No.

You are you, and "You" are not a "moral issue".

3 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

That means some people -should- value their genealogy.

NO!

4 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

The causative link is no different if there is also a genealogical link.

Factually false.

 

5 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Each generation is wildly different than the last. No family will be the same. So we judge people as individuals or their values, with no consideration on lineage. If it does affect who I am, even a little (say, 5% of who I choose to be), if you had particularly admirable ancestors, then I can judge some of your moral worth based on your ancestry. But I say 0%.

Straw man.  If every "link" is wiped out then statistically speaking every family will be "the same" randomly "following no particular traditional pattern" family.

 

8 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I think you're wrong is all (weird to ask, I'm practically zen about it).

Not weird to ask... purposeful evasion, illogic, and denial of common sense often has its roots, psychologically speaking, in emotional reaction of the subconscious.

 

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Posted (edited)

25 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Straw man.  If every "link" is wiped out then statistically speaking every family will be "the same" randomly "following no particular traditional pattern" family.

I'm afraid you make no sense about suggesting genealogy has no moral weight yet one may have rational reasons to feel pride in their genealogy, SL (meta point: it seems your premises about morality are at issue here, as Epist is getting at). Or do you mean to say there are values that exist besides life that require no rational reasons? Don asked you questions, feel free to answer those. They are the most pertinent.

To your point... No, because each value has to be chosen again. The causal link is culture. There are still many links.

This is disagreement, SL. Sometimes it makes little sense why someone disagrees, and it feels like common sense. Of course I'd "evade" your conclusion - because I deny your premise.

Edited by Eiuol

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10 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I'm afraid you make no sense about suggesting genealogy has no moral weight yet one may have rational reasons to feel pride in their genealogy, SL (meta point: it seems your premises about morality are at issue here, as Epist is getting at). Or do you mean to say there are values that exist besides life that require no rational reasons? Don asked you questions, feel free to answer those. They are the most pertinent.

To your point... No, because each value has to be chosen again. The causal link is culture. There are still many links.

This is disagreement, SL. Sometimes it makes little sense why someone disagrees, and it feels like common sense. Of course I'd "evade" your conclusion - because I deny your premise.

We agree to disagree.

Now please STOP misstating what I say and misquoting me.

Actually I would prefer if you simply ignored every post I make here... then you wont be tempted to misconstrue what I say.

Can we agree to that?

 

IF you CANNOT stop misconstruing what I say I DEMAND that you refrain from referring to me or what I say AT ALL.

This is not acceptable.

 

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

We agree to disagree.

Now please STOP misstating what I say and misquoting me.

It's not misconstrual if your position doesn't make sense. It's normal to say "your argument looks like X, is that what you mean?" If X is not your meaning, it usually means you were unclear. Anyway, I still wanna know how you'd respond to Don's questions.

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4 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

It's not misconstrual if your position doesn't make sense. It's normal to say "your argument looks like X, is that what you mean?" If X is not your meaning, it usually means you were unclear. Anyway, I still wanna know how you'd respond to Don's questions.

Given how you blithely and arbitrarily you misconstrue what I say, I highly doubt you actually want to know what I think and really ... I don't care.

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6 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Apropos of this thread, I've been thinking about this sort of thing lately, and what I've found myself wondering is: suppose it turned out that Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastián d'Anconia were adopted?

It depends on what one is interested in. Personally, my interest is more about the parents who brought me up, and the parents who brought them up. The biology of it is way less important. If I were to find out I was adopted, I might be curious about the circumstances of my biological parents, but I wouldn't bother investigating or even proactively seeking information.

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On 3/20/2017 at 4:13 AM, Dustin86 said:

Most people are interested in their ancestry and don't go around worrying whether this is "tribal" or "irrational".

This is a good point (though perhaps not applicable to the OP)... it's really pathological to question whether something is rational *just because you are interested in it*. If you like something, that is positive evidence that it *is* rational, all other things being equal. Pleasure is not the result of sin, it is a result of virtue. It's not a cost, it's an end in itself. If you like something, that is not a signal that you should stop and carefully think about it. The natural inclinations and innate desires in human nature are not rigged against your rational self-interest. There is no original sin in Objectivism.

If you have some reason to question whether something is rational or right, then by all means stop and be careful. But *just being interested in something*, just *liking* something, is *not* a reason to question whether it's rational or right.

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On 3/20/2017 at 4:12 PM, Eiuol said:

There is no big causal link between one's parents and the person they are and become, though.

:huh:

 

On 3/14/2017 at 7:05 PM, StrictlyLogical said:

I'm sure you can find someone here on the forum who is actually interested in what you have to say.  I strongly suggest you find them, and talk to them for a while.

Or maybe run this theory by his parents, I bet they would have some input :D

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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

...WRT to humans some people find meaning in life, others will profess they do not.... (etc.)

Just because someone professes that they do not find meaning in life doesn't mean that there *isn't any*. They might not even implicitly believe that or act on that premise, even if they profess it.

Whatever theories someone has or doesn't have about the meaning of life doesn't change the objective facts about whether such a thing exists or not. Just because for life to have meaning it has to have meaning FOR YOU - doesn't mean it's existence *depends* on you. Just because only people hold things as having meaning doesn't mean that there isn't an objective fact, discoverable in reality, about what does or does not really have meaning. You could simply be mistaken about the issue, thinking it's one way when it's really the other. People can argue that life has no meaning, they can argue it's rational to believe life has no meaning, they can argue that the entire concept is irrational. But their arguments can just be *wrong*.

Meaning does *not* presuppose that some person just happens to be holding that something has meaning to or for them. Just because nobody happens to be holding that something is meaningful, doesn't mean that it's just *not* meaningful, it's objective meaning could just not be known.

Edited by epistemologue

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34 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

:huh:

I mean comparatively, it (parents) isn't bigger than other factors, so it's not big, but it matters. (See my first reply to SL). But dead relatives you'll never meet? Their impact on you is not greater on you than a dead non-ancestor.

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Posted (edited)

6 hours ago, Eiuol said:

But dead relatives you'll never meet? Their impact on you is not greater on you than a dead non-ancestor.

Their main influence is transitive -- because they influenced your parents. For example, a person may be a Muslim because his great-great-granddad converted to Islam. For most people, the religion they practice goes back to a choice or a forced change made many generations back.

There are more subtle impacts too. For instance, a person living in Cedar Rapids may be influenced mostly by his community; but his great granddad might have been the one who decided to move from Ukraine to America. The person's current existence in America (indeed his existence itself) is a product of that old choice.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, epistemologue said:

Just because nobody happens to be holding that something is meaningful, doesn't mean that it's just *not* meaningful, it's objective meaning could just not be known.

If there is a something which is literally meaningless to everyone, i.e. if everyone looked at it and carefully thought about it, and it meant nothing to them, to whom or what could that something possibly be "meaningful", and in what way could that something be "meaningful"?

Now, people can err, and forget things, ignore things, and perhaps not be aware consciously that something is meaningful for them, or perhaps they never really thought about it.  Such is a case where the something IS meaningful to that person, but it requires their focus or turning their mind to it in order to recognize it first.

 

It is difficult to see how the concept of an "objective meaning" which is not known does not become entangled with mystical or intrinsicist notions.

Can you give examples of something with objective meaning which is not known?

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

If there is a something which is literally meaningless to everyone, i.e. if everyone looked at it and carefully thought about it, and it meant nothing to them, to whom or what could that something possibly be "meaningful", and in what way could that something be "meaningful"?

Now, people can err, and forget things, ignore things, and perhaps not be aware consciously that something is meaningful for them, or perhaps they never really thought about it.  Such is a case where the something IS meaningful to that person, but it requires their focus or turning their mind to it in order to recognize it first.

 

It is difficult to see how the concept of an "objective meaning" which is not known does not become entangled with mystical or intrinsicist notions.

Can you give examples of something with objective meaning which is not known?

EPIST Just to follow up:

Take the example of whether or not the taste of "chocolate" is pleasurable to John.  Prior to John's ever having tasted chocolate the statement:

"John finds the taste of chocolate pleasurable."

Is false, because he cannot find the taste of something which he has not tasted to have any quality or character whereas the statement:

"John will find the taste of chocolate pleasurable."

might be true, depending upon the nature of John, his brain, his taste-buds etc... the facts of which are currently not accessible to testing by modern science.

The reason the above obtains is because the question regarding whether John finds the taste of something pleasurable requires that he taste it, whereas the question of whether or not John would find it pleasurable is in the form of a hypothetical, i.e. it attempts to answer whether he would find the taste pleasurable IF he tasted it.

 

Similarly, consider whether or not a movie, a locket from a lost love, or anything in particular has meaning to Kevin.  Prior to Kevin's experiencing the movie or receiving the locket, or experiencing the "anything", the statement (substituting X for any of these) :

"Kevin finds X has meaning for him." 

Is false because the requirements for Kevin finding meaning in something have not been met.  Consider also the possibility that Kevin would also have to think about, ponder, or contemplate the movie or the locket prior to the possibility of his finding it to have meaning for him.  Then even if Kevin saw the movie or received the locket, but prior to thinking about it, maybe he does not have the time, he is not very introspective etc. these might not have meaning for him.  Consider now the following question:

"Kevin will (or would) find X to be meaningful when (or if) he reflects upon it."

This statement CAN be true, depending upon Kevin and what in him determines what he finds meaning in.

 

The above might be perfectly obvious, but I thought I should clarify the difference between actually finding meaning in something and what we can call the potential to find meaning in something.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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13 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

Their main influence is transitive -- because they influenced your parents. For example, a person may be a Muslim because his great-great-granddad converted to Islam. For most people, the religion they practice goes back to a choice or a forced change made many generations back.

There are more subtle impacts too. For instance, a person living in Cedar Rapids may be influenced mostly by his community; but his great granddad might have been the one who decided to move from Ukraine to America. The person's current existence in America (indeed his existence itself) is a product of that old choice.

I thought my prior response to you addressed this. The people that provide a real impact on you are people you know, and those that provide a historical contribution or impact. Anything else is mythology. Stories can be of great value and express great ideas, but this isn't genealogy. Perhaps this transitivity applies to people your parents knew but are dead now, there's just no reason to say that the impact on -you- is ancestors no one in your family knew. The bigger point is that each person has to single out values to adopt and evaluate, so the only impact on who one is, is what one chooses to think. That action is all on the individual - "impact" is often a personal evaluation that is subject to error, bias, and even proper recognition.

For the factors to choose religion like Islam, the great-great-granddad converting to Islam only had an impact on the culture he was part of or people around him like his kids. That choice maybe led him to send his kids to a mosque. Going to the mosque may have rationally convinced those kids to be Muslim. Then they send their kids, and so on. What is actually having the impact is the philosophy, and the ideas a culture promotes and people accept. The transitivity only works if it includes some sort of deification, where mythology is reified AND the people involved believe that their ancestors had a special role by being ancestors.

We can only speak of being a product of X in the sense of unchosen and genetic factors. My having brown eyes is a product of genetics. My existing is a product of an ancestor from Bohemia coming to the US. Who I choose to be is all me - my context of the particulars around is set by the unchosen and the people I learn from. That Bohemian ancestor cannot rationally be of more value than all other Bohemian immigrants - unless he was heroic as an individual.

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On 3/23/2017 at 10:29 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

whereas the question of whether or not John would find it pleasurable is in the form of a hypothetical, i.e. it attempts to answer whether he would find the taste pleasurable IF he tasted it.

Whether or not it's a value to him is not ultimately hypothetical. Either it is or it isn't, regardless of whether he has yet to actually taste it or not. The facts of reality are one way or the other to begin with. John's nature and the nature of reality and the nature of chocolate are what they are, regardless of John's state of knowledge on any of these issues.

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Same goes for Kevin. There are things that objectively are meaningful to him, regardless of whether he has happened to find that meaning yet or not.

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43 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

Same goes for Kevin. There are things that objectively are meaningful to him, regardless of whether he has happened to find that meaning yet or not.

Couldn't we say that -meaning- here refers to an attitude and drive, an identification? This sense of the word meaning is a different concept than the purpose something serves or what something is - apart from one's awareness. 

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