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Everything posted by softwareNerd

  1. I assume you do not mean consciously. You won;t have people who think to themselves "I hate the West because they taught me about equal rights, and I cannot experience it". I assume you mean the West taught them about equal rights, but they could not experience it. Do you mean they could not experience it during colonial rule, or later. I guess you could say that they were fine with all sorts of rulers, and then the colonists were similar -- albeit white-skinned. yet, the colonists were telling them that all were equal, while not treating them equally? But, that would explain why they rose up and got their independence. it might even explain residual hatred for the colonists (though -- in fact -- that's not the norm, at least in British colonies). Not sure how that would be an explanation for hatred a few generations later. What's the chain of reasoning there?
  2. Not sure what being said here? Are we saying some people in the east hate the west because the west colonized them?
  3. Instincts is a pretty nebulous concept: perhaps it means something like "pre-programmed and choice less". The extent to which is true of non-human animals is debatable. Once we take evolution as factual, a good going-in assumption is that there is something closer to a continuum in animal kingdom, ... or at least that there once was, even if there are many missing links if we only consider current species.
  4. Human beings do not always apply their full mental focus to everything they do. In fact, many tasks that we have to focus on and prctice very consciously become increasingly automated over time, so that we can drive 100 miles on a daily commute and hardly know how we got to our destination. This clearly has many advantages, and yet the risks are also pretty clear. That's just automated tasks. There are also "automated judgments and decisions" which follow the same theme of economizing the need to spend time thinking everything through. Sales people take advantage of this "thinking" that people do based on a quick pattern recognition, and without spending the time needed for a good decision. The conscious mind is always there to be awakened. This allows for a "meta" approach: after an experience where we did something unthinkingly, we can analyse it, and fit that into the same pattern-recognition machinery. So, the next time, it can be a reminder to wake up and start to think more critically about something. Or, one could decide that when one recognizes the same pattern one will not make a decision without sleeping over it. One can go beyond one's own experiences and learn from the experience of others. Books like Cialdini's "Influence" and Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow" have many such examples. They can be tools to prepare oneself for such situations. Yes, this is not about chemicals that "pre-exist". But, I think it is analogous. In the sense that after some experiences, a thoughtful person might decide not to make a major decision if he's feeling particularly unwell.... or some such thing. The classical example is PMS. At least one woman has told me that there are some times in some months where she (paraphrasing) puts her conscious mind on high-alert for a few days, and also tries to avoid certain situations where she thinks she might react in a way that she will later regret. Does this contradict "blank slate". It really depends what exactly one means by a blank slate. Every time the topic comes up, people argue about what it really means. I'll suggest that the way to clarity is to replace the term with something more descriptive, for the duration of this topic.
  5. I assume that's basically true: i.e. that physical conditions -- illness or something else -- can impact "mood", which -- in turn -- can impact thinking. At least that's what layperson experience would indicate.
  6. It is a bit of a paradox: that we want certain values and the easier they come, the more of them we'll be able to achieve, yet if everything is super-easy where's the mental satisfaction to come from? Evolution "made" us feel positive about the work that goes into creating/achieving value. The stoic who achieves value too easily keeps piling on more "to-dos" on his list. This is a good approach, but must be done consciously and by questioning whether one really wants to achieve that value and why. There's a yarn about a young, ambitious MBA vacationing on a small island, chatting with a local fisherman about his life-plan. "I'll join a great company"... "And then what, senor?" ... "I'll form my own company" ... "And then what, senor?"... "I'll go global"... "And then what, senor?" ... and it ends with "And then, I'll buy a plot on this far-away island and retire here to fish for the rest of my life". The epicurean, on the other hand, tells people to chill out and enjoy life. Don't be lazy, he says, but don't be in the rat-race for fame or fortune either. True laziness, in this perspective, is to work so little that you cannot provide for a comfortable life: a nice home, nice food, ample wine, time to relax, and throw in a good bunch of close friends. This approach too makes sense, but can leave the stoic feeling unsatisfied: will I die having done nothing to be super-proud of? The point that's missed in the fisherman's yarn is that the young MBA has a lot of fun (or at least he ought to) through the process of his achievement. Chances are, he'll never even retire the way he dreams of. He'll have the means, but it'll just seem too boring. As an individual, one has to think this through, and make the choice that suits you.
  7. Based on your counter-examples, I should clarify that I'm not saying the British empire was an ideal government. Far from it. The question isn't whether a particular white-skinned monarch was good, but whether the average brown-skinned monarch was better. And yes, there were some very progressive, modernizing rulers in some of the princely states.
  8. Yeah, that's all we have... if we don't like nationalism or imperialism we're stuck with anarchism. If only some Russian woman would put her brain to thinking about other alternatives, lol!
  9. Yes. The IQ scores aren't worth the paper they're printed on when they're used outside their planned context. There are pretty string assumptions about schooling that are built into IQ scores above the elementary-school age level. Of course they do measure something and that something is meaningful. The point, however, is that it is not some raw "IQ" that is free of the context of any input (in fact, that notion is a contradiction).
  10. It's pretty sad that the world prefers to go from evil one horn of the dichotomy to the other, instead of looking for the (abstract) solution that philosophers have long advised: go through the horns of the dichotomy.
  11. If Rand claimed that people don't let emotions influence them, she was wrong.
  12. It really depends on what you mean by "tribalism". Since we're on this forum, maybe you're using Rand's concept, which I'll paraphrase as: the tendency to join group based on something other than reasoned choice. And what does it mean for something to be "inherent" in human nature? For instance, does it mean things that manifest themselves when men do not use reason to their fullest, but allow themselves to be guided by something else? If you put those two together, the conclusion almost writes itself.
  13. Isn't the "Sermon on the Mount" the place that people point to for the core Christian ethical theory? How much of altruism is in there?
  14. No, it is not that a third factor explains why the two correlate. It is that a third factor, a "independent variable" with relatively low poisitve correlation can trump the real extremely high correlation of a different "independent variable". Let X1, X2, X3,...Xn be independent variables, and let Y be the dependent variable. Let's assume that there are no other independent variables. And let's assume we can vary a single Xi while holding all other variables constant With this, let's say we find a very low positive correlation between X1 and Y, but a very high positive correlation between Xn and Y Under that scenario, X1 might still be the most important factor if we want to change Y.
  15. No the correlation-causation thing is a different topic. The point here is that you might find actually causation, and yet it is unimportant. Imagine you can control most other factors, and find that the IQ of a kid is 80% correlated with the IQ of it's dad (let's assume) Imagine some biologist -- separately -- finds that IQ depends on a certain configuration of some part of the brain, and can be predicted with 99.9% accuracy from the metrics of that configuration Imagine that there's a 95% correlation between that particular brain configuration of kid and that of it's dad So, in essence one has a mix of correlation and understood causation that is pretty strong Imagine also that even though we aren't sure ... this causation is an actual fact In other words: imagine that there is an actual causal factor that makes a kid's IQ extremely correlated with his dads, if all other factors are equal This would not imply that the IQ of a dad is at all important in determining the IQ of the kid. It may be, or it may not be. If important goes from 0 to 100, it could be any place from 0 to 100. To put this another way: if the correlation backed by causation is near zero, then it's obviously not important. However, if the correlation backed by causation is near 100, the importance could range anywhere from zero to 100. On a separate issue: tribalism is not genetic: not in the way you use those two terms. You seem to use "genetic" to mean something specific to one's particular parent... in the sense that if something is genetic I might have inherited it and you may not... because we have different parents. Used in that sense, tribalism is not genetic. It could well be genetic in the proper use of the term: i.e. that is is influenced by something in our genes. But, that is a completely different concept. Aside: People form tribes around all sorts of things... even silly things like the football team that was closest to their middle-school, or the floor they work on in a large corporate office.
  16. 1. If this topic interests you, read "The Gene Illusion" by Jay Joseph. I'm not supporting all his conclusions by recommending him. But, his book is a good starting point survey of various such research projects (albeit from an author with an opinion). 2. One of the big problems with science is the obsession with correlation coefficients. Not just in twin studies etc., but even more so in medical research on reactions to types of foods, etc. Consider that we can somehow -- twin study or not -- actually find a 100% correlation between the IQ of a person and the IQ of their two biological parents. Without knowing other factors, this fact could give us anything between 0% and 100% predictability about a person's IQ...given that we know the parents' IQ. Chew on this a bit, because it is not an easy concept to understand with modern obsession with correlation coefficients. 3. Personally, I think it is plausible that genes have a correlation to some raw physical mental base on which "IQ" is based. Taking that hypothesis to "race" is confounding by using a fuzzy variable that gets fuzzier with every passing decade and will finally disappear in the west. Even so, it is still plausible that one will find a correlation using typical definitions. Nevertheless, what I find is that even if all the decent studies are true, the factor is not important compared to others. 4. Personally, my mind goes to the question: what value/disvalue does this thing (whatever) bring me, and how can I profit from it, and protect against the downside. This is -- as an individual first, not as a social engineer. However, given the relative unimportance of heredity -- even assuming convincing correlations -- if we did want to perform social engineering, that improves IQ for "society" there are pretty easy ways to do so (not easy to get them through politically, lol... that's the rub). 5. There's an old thread on this topic here: 4. I think it is plausible that
  17. I'll add this... all too often people pushing for "Open Objectivism" have some very specific ideas they want to sell to self-identifying Objectivists. And, instead of just trying to sell those ideas on the merits, they try to tag it to the brand name. "Ayn Rand" is such a powerful brand name that even her detractors love to use it. I don't mean "Open Objectivism" advocates here. I'm talking about people who write articles that criticize Rand, and who clearly ate her. They do realize that doing so, with a headline that has Rand's name, is great click bait. That's almost the definition of a powerful brand these days. Similarly, there are people who want to advocate for income taxes, or for abortion-bans, or for environmentalist ideas, or for racist theories of behavior... and they figure that calling these things "Objectivism" and showing that Ayn Rand ought to have thought like them, might find them a ready audience. Quite odd really... rather niche marketing!
  18. It's been years since I thought this might matter in some way. Maybe that's the crux of the issue. I suggest you should not think of ARI or Atlas are thought leaders in philosophy as such. More importantly, I suggest you don't think of yourself as "rank and file", except as a casual not-really-meant-as-suc figure of speech. They're about 90% primarily advocacy organizations. Advocacy is a legit role, but it ain't "thought leadership".
  19. And there are those like me who respect Rand's views, and want to use Objectivism to change my environment... and don't really give a damn about the whole Open vs. Closed debate. There was a time I thought it mattered from two viewpoints: For personal conceptual clarity: i.e. what is "Objectivism"? From a marketing viewpoint, i.e. what does the world identify as "Objectivism"? I now realize that neither is important and controllable. The whole debate is like the early Christian debates about trans-substantiation. Some inner circle will keep arguing over it for decades, but it really doesn't matter. Time poorly spent.
  20. There's no doubt that ideas and attitudes about focus (political / non-political) and about whom to cooperate with have changed over the years. There's also no doubt that -- as a whole -- Rand fans/Objectivists have embraced and incorporated many non-Rand ideas not their own personal "philosophies". That does not really make those new ideas Objectivism though. Aren't you making two completely different points here: Philosophy did not stop with Rand's Objectivism. We already know more, and we will continue to learn. Good and true philosophy is a super-set We should continue to call this super-set "Objectivism" In general everyone here is agreeing with your first point, which is the really substantial one, by miles. Do you see that agreement? Or do you think people in this thread disagree with you on this aspect? On the surface, the second (ie. what to call it) seems relatively unimportant. Is that your only point of contention?
  21. By this token one has to throw out the entire Objectivist Ethical theory, not just the tiny part about family. Truth is that Rand was pretty silent about family so speaking of an Objectivist conception of family is already far-fetched. Not really. Not if you're using 'Western civilization" to mean "modern / industrial civilization as opposed to middle-age European civilization, There is a dangerous meme that our modern world is Judeo-Christian. It's unfounded. As for family, Christianity is relatively weak in its support for duty toward family. I cannot compare to the typical Eastern civilization, whee entire religions take duty to family as a more fundamental than most other duties and even make it a foundation for their primary scripture.
  22. It is really "for their value to you" and often "for the values you share" and not the broader, more generic "for the values they hold". Of course their values do make a difference. Check out the exmuslim reddit for many examples or lousy parents who deserve being lied to, and worse. Also, the actual relationship matters: siblings may be different from cousins, because you typically have many more share experiences (losses and gains of value) with siblings. However, and cousin who was really close would trump a sibling you did not know existed... such a person is a stranger, for whom one probably has a lot of curiosity interest but might decide not to have any relationship with whatsoever. And, parents/children are different from siblings. They're people who created you, or people you created: that counts for a lot.
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