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Mr. Tea
24-10-2009, 10:34 AM
Arguably it's profoundly irrational for me to be posting shit on the internet when I should be asleep. But be that as it may...

Zhao's whole argument in the 'mystery' thread seems to hinge on the idea that there are two fundamentally different worldviews; two different ways of seeing things, of interacting with the world, of considering the subjective experience against objective phenomena. Now while Zhao has made it very clear that he values both kinds of worldview, as he sees them, and would like to see them somehow reconciled or synthesised into some new transcendental worldview with the best of both worlds, I think there's a fundamental cognitive mismatch going on here.

Namely, the idea that 'superstitious' or 'traditional' or 'spiritual' beliefs are somehow irrational. When you live in a pre-technological society (and I'm aware that this is an imperfect term, because all societies have technology, but it has to be better than the troublesome 'indigenous' or the essentially meaningless 'traditional') it is profoundly rational to attribute to spirits or unseen forces the ebb and flow of the seasons, weather and other natural phenomena, illness and other catastrophic events like plagues of locusts, (were)tigers and so on. Because everything happens for a reason, right? And if the reason for something happening cannot be seen, then it happens for an unseen reason, by definition.

From the point of view of someone raised in a technological society in which natural phenomena are for the most part accounted for by science (crop circles can just fuck off, OK? I mean proper old school weird crop circles, not some undergraduate dickheads high on X-Files and scrumpy and psytrance), it can seem 'irrational' to view the world in terms of weretigers. But that's just begging the question, because no-one here has any idea what it's like to live in (and make sense of) a weretigerish world on a full-time basis. I think it would be ridiculous to assume that people who live in that world all the time, because that's the world they know, have gone out of their way to think of things as irrationally, mysteriously (etc.) as possible - no-one does that, because from a survival point of view it's a total dead end. A belief that the world is amenable to understanding - which is to say, rational understanding - underpins all belief systems in their infancy, before they calcify into structures of tradition, ritual, social heirarchy and so on. So while it would be wholly rational to a villager in the Sumatran jungle to view the world in terms of weretigers, and for someone designing novel semiconductors to view the world in terms of quantum mechanics, it would be utterly irrational to try and explain weretigers in terms of quantum mechanics or quantum mechanics in terms of weretigers. At the same time, it would be irrational to try and explain semiconductors in terms of Newtonian mechanics, or weretigers in terms of Biblical creationism, and so on and so on.

So as Nomad has pointed out several times in the other thread, it's not that pre-technological or 'primitive' people (or however you want to put it) have privileged accesss to some inherently intuitive or irrational or pre-rational sixth sense. They're using the same rational faculties as anyone else, to make sense of the world - that's what humans do. As well as any every other species, as far as I can see. Elephants venerate their dead for the same reason we hold funeral ceremonies: it makes sense. Roger Penrose makes a great point that although it's seemingly by-the-by that humans have the ability to understand advanced mathematics, if they so choose to apply themselves, there must be some archaic complex of genes that encode for a brain with the capacity to understand, and that somehow the same circuits that enable the evasion of predators and the capture of prey animals and the cohesion of a basic social group somehow happen to suitable for grappling with integral calculus. It would be trite to assume that this is a coincidence, I think. So you have Stonehenge and Avebury and the Egyptian pyramids and the Mexican pyramids as the pre-modern Greenwich Observatories and Jodrell Bankses and Hubbles and VLAs; likewise alchemy as the forerunner of chemistry and haruspicy (the pre-science of prescience based on the shape of entrails) as the forerunner of anatomy. Newton was an alchemist as much as, if not more than, a physicist and mathematician not because he felt like being rational some days and irrational on others, but because he saw it all as aspects of natural philosophy: the pursuit of understanding the (physical, senisble) world by rational means. It's just that mechanics and optics have stood the test of time and emprical trial, and alchemy has not - even though its underlying philosophy survives in the modern science of chemistry.

Which brings me to a sort of denouement here: as much as some po-mo types would love us to think that science is just another kind of religion or superstition or belief system (and I'm aware no-one here is actually advocating that, of course), it's much closer to the truth to say that superstition and religion are kinds of science. Call it pre-science or proto-science or whatever, it's a response to the same implulse.

What is irrational, one level, is the insistence of many people who live in a technological society and for the most parts reap its benefits but who persist in an entrenched pre-modern worldview that is blatantly disproven by all available empirical evidence (yes, America, I'm looking at you). But then, on another level it's surely rational to stick to these outmoded but familiar and comforting beliefs when you feel your culture is under attack from outsiders who seemingly have few values in common with yours, right?

Murray Gell-mann has a lot to say about adaptive and maladaptive schemata - I could paraphrase but I've gone on too far already and those ideas deserve their own thread.

All this just makes me think of the inherent implausibility of the purely 'logical' Mr. Spock - surely he'd recognise the existential futility of the human/Vulcan condition and realise that the most rational thing to do is top himself in two seconds flat? Logic my arse, I've seen the episode where Spock gets the horn and all hell breaks loose. Then again, if you want to get laid you might as well go about it logically...

This post brought to you by nomadologist, Jonathan Meades and insomnia.

Mr. Tea
26-10-2009, 12:49 PM
*bump*

Oh come on you buggers, someone must have something to say - that was a bastard of a post to type out at ten in the morning on no sleep.

Anyone?

luka
26-10-2009, 12:54 PM
Lay off the smart ddrugs tea

Mr. Tea
26-10-2009, 01:15 PM
No drugs involved, smart or otherwise, this was just insomnia. I get it sometimes.

Your spelling of 'drugs' makes me wonder about your caffeine intake, however...

luka
26-10-2009, 01:16 PM
facepalm son

nomadthethird
26-10-2009, 01:18 PM
*bump*

Oh come on you buggers, someone must have something to say - that was a bastard of a post to type out at ten in the morning on no sleep.

Anyone?

Yes, I agree with you, and that's nicely written.

Insomnia isn't a condition it's a way of life.

DannyL
26-10-2009, 10:17 PM
I have an answer Ollie, don't worry yourself but it's going to take time coming. Away at the moment so will take some time to write it up. Possibly tomorrow.

THIS HAS BEEN A TEASER POST

swears
26-10-2009, 10:54 PM
I think it would be ridiculous to assume that people who live in that world all the time, because that's the world they know, have gone out of their way to think of things as irrationally, mysteriously (etc.) as possible - no-one does that, because from a survival point of view it's a total dead end.

I guess wishful thinking comes into this: if all the empirical evidence weighs up to something dull, depressing or scary then I guess some people on some level choose to believe in an afterlife, spirits, fate, a higher power, guardian angels, witchcraft, whatever, which is different to having it drilled into you.

I've never really had the "ability" to choose what to believe in, a counsellor once told me people that lack it are more likely to be depressed, oh well.

scottdisco
26-10-2009, 11:07 PM
When you live in a pre-technological society (and I'm aware that this is an imperfect term, because all societies have technology, but it has to be better than the troublesome 'indigenous' or the essentially meaningless 'traditional') it is profoundly rational to attribute to spirits or unseen forces the ebb and flow of the seasons, weather and other natural phenomena, illness and other catastrophic events like plagues of locusts, (were)tigers and so on.

money passage

Slothrop
27-10-2009, 12:06 AM
Informal critques of "rationalism" (although I suppose a formal critique of rationalism would miss the point a bit) do have a tendancy to slip and slide between definitions of what they're talking about - from people who think working as a banker, earning as much money as possible, and keeping as much distance as possible from anything dirty or natural or rough is the premeditated pinnacle of thousands of years of social development to anyone who doesn't believe in homeopathy - and I think that's part of the reason t'other thread went the way it did.

Maybe we should come up with a Cosmo style multiple choice personality test to decide How Rationalist Are You... you know:

Do you believe in The Beast of Bodmin?
Yes, I saw a thing on Channel 4 about it once
There doesn't seem to be any solid evidence for it
No, it wasn't in my A-level biology textbook so it doesn't exist

Nomadic hunter gatherers
must be pretty thick if they can't even afford mobile phones
have a fairly hard life but there's stuff we can learn from them
are what we should all be, maaan...

Do you work as
a computer programmer
a graphic designer
a wise old kalahari bushman, gazing with deep, sad eyes into the middle distance while leaning on a carved stick even older and more gnarled than he is

Gavin
27-10-2009, 02:14 AM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71XRD09XJDL._SL500_AA240_.gif

“Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology.” - Adorno & Horkheimer

"If I had read The Dialectic of Enlightenment earlier, it would have saved me a lot of useful time." - Michel Foucault

nomadthethird
27-10-2009, 03:30 AM
Slothrop, that was funny, I lulzed at that.


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71XRD09XJDL._SL500_AA240_.gif

“Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology.” - Adorno & Horkheimer

"If I had read The Dialectic of Enlightenment earlier, it would have saved me a lot of useful time." - Michel Foucault

But isn't this sort of like saying "all belief systems are as good as the next, there aren't any real truth claims that have a leg up on others, there's only various shades of gray and they're all named mythos"..?

I mean, Lyotard wrote that book, too, and I think most people are kind of over it...it was very chic and cool and sophisticated for a while to talk about the death of the Master Narratives, but realism is back with a vengeance.

atoga
27-10-2009, 04:02 AM
kind of an aside, but re: mr spock, there's a big difference between being logical and being rational. virtually everything in life is ill-defined (except for things like chess games and computer programming), so there's an infinite number of propositions you can make about the world, & obviously it would be impossible to logically deal with all of them. being rational probably has a lot to do with realizing which of these propositions are actually relevant, and maybe being able to intuitively reconcile them.

if you buy that, it stands to reason that having superstition/narrative/religion/whatever is very rational (and possibly necessary?) as you point out.

poetix
27-10-2009, 07:49 AM
I don't agree that the worldview of a pre-scientific society represents that society's (inadequate, superseded) state of knowledge of the world.

Pre-scientific societies don't set out to understand the world with a scientific attitude (for instance, they don't tend to hold the notion that there are natural laws and that these can be inferred from observable regularities in phenomena) and don't accumulate evidence and build theories via scientific methods.

Even if the animist's view of the world as pervasively influenced by invisible powers involves a kind of rational deduction, the attribution of anthropomorphic characteristics to those powers (trickster gods etc.) is clearly driven by a different impulse to that of knowledge-seeking or theory-formation.

3 Body No Problem
27-10-2009, 10:32 AM
realism is back with a vengeance.

In what substantial sense? Which of the problems of realism have been solved?

scottdisco
27-10-2009, 10:44 AM
I don't agree that the worldview of a pre-scientific society represents that society's (inadequate, superseded) state of knowledge of the world.

Pre-scientific societies don't set out to understand the world with a scientific attitude (for instance, they don't tend to hold the notion that there are natural laws and that these can be inferred from observable regularities in phenomena) and don't accumulate evidence and build theories via scientific methods.

Even if the animist's view of the world as pervasively influenced by invisible powers involves a kind of rational deduction, the attribution of anthropomorphic characteristics to those powers (trickster gods etc.) is clearly driven by a different impulse to that of knowledge-seeking or theory-formation.

'what they believe' / 'making sense of the world' etc

Tea's central thrust is correct then wrt what i take to be your most fundamental point (that i highlight)

to be fair, your concluding sentence seems to read, to me, as of a semantic difference w his key point, rather than anything distinctly & fundamentally different

nomadthethird
27-10-2009, 01:24 PM
I don't agree that the worldview of a pre-scientific society represents that society's (inadequate, superseded) state of knowledge of the world.

Pre-scientific societies don't set out to understand the world with a scientific attitude (for instance, they don't tend to hold the notion that there are natural laws and that these can be inferred from observable regularities in phenomena) and don't accumulate evidence and build theories via scientific methods.

Even if the animist's view of the world as pervasively influenced by invisible powers involves a kind of rational deduction, the attribution of anthropomorphic characteristics to those powers (trickster gods etc.) is clearly driven by a different impulse to that of knowledge-seeking or theory-formation.

But the question was whether they were setting out to understand the world with an irrational or a rational attitude, not a scientific versus and unscientific one.

It turns out that people aren't either "irrational" or "rational", and that rationality and irrationality aren't hats people can decide to wear at random.

The distinction I'd make is that, while the pre-scientific societies certainly weren't "scientific" yet in any meaningful sense, they were certainly trying to understand the world by investigating, describing, then ascribing phenomena in it with certain properties, abilities, functions, etc. In this sense, their umwelten would fall more under the rubric of "rational" thinking as we define it now than they would some fetishized "irrational" "feminine" "mystical" Other.

As far as "natural laws" are concerned--well, you could look at the Greeks, for example. Kronos, time. Or look at Thor, thunder. The Judeo-Christian god is just a consolidation of all of the preceding pagan gods where he's the ultimate Law-Giver, and all natural laws flow from him, he keeps the universe suspended, and speaks light into existence etc. There are all kinds of mythological systems that try to account for natural laws. They did their best with what they had, epistemically.

The human brain has an innate, deeply hard-wired cognitive bias toward ascribing agency where there is none. This is why "gods" are employed to explain natural laws. It took thousands of years to get to the point, empirically, where we could logically prove that there need not be any agency involved in, say, a storm system.

It's all too easy and trite to sit around pining for the "simpler" "better" days when people had their glorious imaginative belief systems and didn't have to worry about facts and figures. People have a way of piecing things together. Discovering the wheel. They do that because they want to make their lives easier, not more mystical. This is actually a testable hypothesis, but I bet it'd make an even better reality show.

nomadthethird
27-10-2009, 01:34 PM
In what substantial sense? Which of the problems of realism have been solved?

What do you mean? Have you not noticed that there are about four new branches of realism in philosophy and that it's very not cool to be a "correlationist" (someone who believes after Kant basically that the world only exists insofar as it is perceived by minds, and that there is no world outside of perception.) This is in grad school blogosphere circles, of course. In the real world of academic philosophy, people just keep churning out translations of Plotinus.

Philosophy's not anything to measure your own commitments by, of course, being a bunch of scholastic in-fighting with lots of boring textifications and limited cache outside of a very small circle of privilege.

But still, even as far as philosophy is concerned, realism seems to be back in. And that's on the heels of scientific discoveries that basically shelve most of what philosophers were writing up until the 1960s.

3 Body No Problem
27-10-2009, 01:49 PM
What do you mean? Have you not noticed that there are about four new branches of realism in philosophy and that it's very not cool to be a "correlationist"

I was not asking about what is "cool" in the blogosphere. I was asking about the key problems of realism (how to define realism in a non-question begging way, how we can access/know about 'reality', how to reconcile realism with all empirical insight into how humans construct knowledge and so on).


(someone who believes after Kant basically that the world only exists insofar as it is perceived by minds, and that there is no world outside of perception.)

This is most certainly not Kant's position.


And that's on the heels of scientific discoveries that basically shelve most of what philosophers were writing up until the 1960s.

While I agree that much philosophy is difficult to reconcile with modern scientific insight (and unfortunately but perhaps inevitably, some philosophers are not even interested in trying any more), I find it hard to see what scientific insight you have in mind that would warrant a return to realism. All cognitive psychology, all SSK, all neuro-science points to a human knowledge being socially and historically constructed.

nomadthethird
27-10-2009, 01:58 PM
I was not asking about what is "cool" in the blogosphere. I was asking about the key problems of realism (how to define realism in a non-question begging way, how we can access/know about 'reality', how to reconcile realism with all empirical insight into how humans construct knowledge and so on).



This is most certainly not Kant's position.



While I agree that much philosophy is difficult to reconcile with modern scientific insight (and unfortunately but perhaps inevitably, some philosophers are not even interested in trying any more), I find it hard to see what scientific insight you have in mind that would warrant a return to realism. All cognitive psychology, all SSK, all neuro-science points to a human knowledge being socially and historically constructed.

We can access reality through testing hypotheses. And testing. And retesting. And peer reviewing our results. And retesting.

Kant is pretty much the correlationist par excellence, according to Meillassoux or whatever his name is. I'm not accusing him of this, the Speculative Realists are. Kant's no realist, anyway.

NO, all cognitive and neuroscience do not point to all human knowledge being socially constructed.

Good lord.

The epic fail.

The facepalm.

I can't do it today, I have better things to do.

Slothrop
27-10-2009, 02:09 PM
kind of an aside, but re: mr spock, there's a big difference between being logical and being rational. virtually everything in life is ill-defined (except for things like chess games and computer programming), so there's an infinite number of propositions you can make about the world, & obviously it would be impossible to logically deal with all of them. being rational probably has a lot to do with realizing which of these propositions are actually relevant, and maybe being able to intuitively reconcile them.
I think that's pretty relevant to the point, actually. I don't think that having a fundamentally empiricist / rationalist outlook is neccessarily means that you're an emotionally dead materialist with no sense of fun and no sense of wonder, but Zhao's position seemed to be using the two interchangeably.

if you buy that, it stands to reason that having superstition/narrative/religion/whatever is very rational (and possibly necessary?) as you point out.
I wouldn't say superstition/narrative/religion so much as empathy/intuition.

3 Body No Problem
27-10-2009, 04:30 PM
We can access reality through testing hypotheses. And testing. And retesting. And peer reviewing our results. And retesting.

That seems like an anti-realist statement. Hypothesis and tests are built on top of elaborate scientific theories.


Kant's no realist, anyway.

Yes.


NO, ALL COGNITIVE AND NEUROSCIENCE DOES NOT POINT TO ANYTHING BEING SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED.

Sure it does. Anyway, maybe you want to reflect on how a typical contemporary scientific experiment like the LHC in Geneva is conducted without several millenia of preparation in terms of developing Mathematics, physical theories and so forth.

nomadthethird
27-10-2009, 04:42 PM
That seems like an anti-realist statement. Hypothesis and tests are built on top of elaborate scientific theories.



Yes.



Sure it does. Anyway, maybe you want to reflect on how a typical contemporary scientific experiment like the LHC in Geneva is conducted without several millenia of preparation in terms of developing Mathematics, physical theories and so forth.

No, scientific theories are built on hypotheses, which are tested, or test-able (aka "falsifiability"). If you don't have a set of hypotheses that are falsifiable, you won't be able to build a coherent scientific theory.

The fact that the LHC comes into being within in the space-time continuum has nothing to do with whether "neuroscience" "tells" us that "everything" is "socially" "constructed". It doesn't--not even close--although I wish I had a dime for every time I heard a philosophy or humanities buff pull that hot one out of thin air with a straight face.

There are branches of neuroscience and cognitive science that deal with social factors, social relationships, and the ways in which these relate to cognition/thinking/neurological processes. But these branches are in no way the "primary" ones. The deep biological bedrock of neurology is still molecular and cellular, the knowledge basis is being built up as we speak, and there's huge amounts of evidence pointing to the fact that the "mind" is at least as determined by genetics (if not much more so) than it is by environmental factors.

grizzleb
27-10-2009, 04:45 PM
Where's all this realist chat then, just some links would do. I've not heard much about this.

nomadthethird
27-10-2009, 04:45 PM
Anyway, maybe you want to reflect on how a typical contemporary scientific experiment like the LHC in Geneva is conducted without several millenia of preparation in terms of developing Mathematics, physical theories and so forth.

Anyway, maybe you want to reflect on a few semesters of neurophysiology, neurochemistry, genetics, and the epidemiology of neurological disorders.

grizzleb
27-10-2009, 04:46 PM
Anyway, maybe you want to reflect on a few semesters of neurophysiology, neurochemistry, genetics, and the epidemiology of neurological disorders.
Like you?

nomadthethird
27-10-2009, 04:48 PM
Like you?

I can't wait to take neurophys...

grizzleb
27-10-2009, 04:52 PM
I'm sure it'll be bangin'. You got any links that refute Kant etc? I kant (lol) get past idealism.

Mr. Tea
27-10-2009, 07:27 PM
But the question was whether they were setting out to understand the world with an irrational or a rational attitude, not a scientific versus and unscientific one.....

This is all great stuff. I'm afraid my reply might only be tangentially relevant, however - what I'm really waiting for is a response from the Z-man. I think your (nomad's) point, here and elsewhere, about rational thought processes being employed by pre-technological peoples no less often then by people in developed societies made me think about how often people in a technological culture use intuition - which is to say, all the time. Driving a car (surely an archetypal "soulless Westerner"-type activity?) is a wholly intuitive process; cooking; dancing; playing football, baseball, whatever your sport of choice may be; fishing; fruit machines; computer games; musical instruments; DJing (ha!); Guitar Hero...

And going back to pre-tech civilisations, they have immense stores of knowledge gathered using much the same rational process as Western scientists; observation, trial and error.

DannyL
27-10-2009, 08:39 PM
Hmmm... don't agree with how you're using "intuition" here, really. Surely it's something more than just activities carrying on outside our deliberate conscious control? Isn't the idea of some kind of understanding/reaching at knowledge implied by intuition? One might say that you drive "automatically" but one wouldn't say one drives "intuitively" would you? Unless you were talking about some kind of direction location without maps type skillz.-

nomadthethird
27-10-2009, 08:56 PM
Believe it or not, the way our brains function hasn't changed all that drastically in terms of basic cognitive capacity in the past several thousand years.

Baboons and other primates have cognitive faculties similar to ours. We're not actually all that impressive in intelligence. We have to jump through all kinds of hoops to correct for our own terrible logical abilities. Thankfully we have computers and other technologies now that help.

baboon2004
27-10-2009, 09:09 PM
Baboons and other primates have cognitive faculties similar to ours. We're not actually all that impressive in intelligence.

it's true, y'know.

grizzleb
27-10-2009, 10:13 PM
Kind of off topic but relates to romanticism, seems it's always been around too - I remember reading that cuneform script went through various phases where the way of writing it was shortened (I can't remember exactly what, but I think the vowels were removed or number of strokes were changed) and then it went back the way, there were phases were purism was in fashion and people wrote everything in painstaking format, and the easier one was frowned upon. Makes me laugh how stupid people are, and how similar it is to how we view language today, as if it's this static thing... Hubris has been about for as long as we have.

Does anyone else wonder how they would have fared back in the jungle? I often wonder if I'd be as useless then as I am now, most likely is the answer. Haha.

scottdisco
27-10-2009, 11:11 PM
Kind of off topic but relates to romanticism, seems it's always been around too - I remember reading that cuneform script went through various phases where the way of writing it was shortened (I can't remember exactly what, but I think the vowels were removed or number of strokes were changed) and then it went back the way, there were phases were purism was in fashion and people wrote everything in painstaking format, and the easier one was frowned upon. Makes me laugh how stupid people are, and how similar it is to how we view language today, as if it's this static thing... Hubris has been about for as long as we have.

Does anyone else wonder how they would have fared back in the jungle? I often wonder if I'd be as useless then as I am now, most likely is the answer. Haha.

the script thing recalls people who are overly precious re txt msg spelling today.

re jungle - i'd be mauled dead in five minutes by a jaguar, no probs ;)

grizzleb
27-10-2009, 11:27 PM
the script thing recalls people who are overly precious re txt msg spelling today.

re jungle - i'd be mauled dead in five minutes by a jaguar, no probs ;)But at least, as you drew your last breath, you could blame it on the jungle boogelies. For the betterment of your eternal soul too. Eh zhao? haha

scottdisco
27-10-2009, 11:30 PM
hopefully it'd be a southern Mexican forest jaguar, so i could at least console myself by noshing on some chocolate as i drew my last, afflicted breath.

grizzleb
27-10-2009, 11:30 PM
magic chocolate

grizzleb
27-10-2009, 11:41 PM
See, I basically think that people have been thinking basically the same sort of shit ever since we could think, talk etc. I think alienation is part of the fabric of human existence, and it's easy to think in modern life that computers, tv, drugs, etc etc do it, when really it's just something that's been following us around ever since we figured out how to escape from brute nature (and I find the word nature problematic too, but you know what I mean). When I read authors of various centuries I find that peoples reactions to things are startlingly similar, there's an overemphasis onhistory and ascribing some 'lost' sense of comfort in your own world to another age.

Human life is, toiling in the field, working in an office, spending days chasing some animal, or whatever. That's what simultaneously seperates us from the animals and makes us feel alien in the world...

Ahh. rambling shite. Got to love it.

nomadthethird
28-10-2009, 01:59 AM
Human life is, toiling in the field, working in an office, spending days chasing some animal, or whatever. That's what simultaneously seperates us from the animals and makes us feel alien in the world...

Ahh. rambling shite. Got to love it.


No, you're exactly right. Blood, sweat, tears, and a few moments here and there of leisure time or fun or pleasure or whatever. Take them as they come, basically. Isn't there an entire book of the Old Testament about this?

It's always been this way. Try not to make the world an even shittier place than it already is or needs to be. Try to make things better where you can. Etc.

padraig (u.s.)
28-10-2009, 04:26 AM
Does anyone else wonder how they would have fared back in the jungle?

oh, I dunno. it has quite a lot to do with how your raised I think, what skills you learn. like, I remember being shocked at the sight of 4 or 5 year old kids who were already proficient with machetes; it's not as if they're innately better at wielding machetes than children in other locales like, say, the suburban United States, it's just what their parents etc are teaching them & what's likely to be useful.

it's possible to learn skills as an adult as well of course, though it's obv so much more difficult. but, I mean, I know a lot of people who've been learning "jungle skills", so to speak, partially in vague anticipation of industrial collapse (or entropy) and partially out of wanting to to put $-mouth in re: talking up h-gs & original affluence & all that and partially just for fun. even dabbled a bit myself (lemme tell ya, skinning and tanning a hide is a pretty involved process). I mean, it's like anything else - if you want to master it you have to spend the time practicing. and if you'd grown up in that setting you would've spent most of your time mastering those skills as opposed to whatever it is you're doing now.

*so, no, there's nothing magical. no jaguars either, Scott, sorry. maybe deep in the Lacandon, I guess.

slightly crooked
28-10-2009, 05:38 PM
Believe it or not, the way our brains function hasn't changed all that drastically in terms of basic cognitive capacity in the past several thousand years.

How would that view relate to something like the Flynn effect? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect)

(This is a genuine question, rather than an attempt to argue with what you've said - I only recently came across the FE, so would welcome some scientific perspective upon it).

mixed_biscuits
28-10-2009, 06:57 PM
A possibly important change in cognitive capacity, a little further back than the Flynn effect, at the far end of nomad's timeline:

The role of working memory in the evolution of managed foraging (http://www.uccs.edu/~faculty/fcoolidg/pdfs/Before%20Farming%20PDF%202003.pdf)

...the hypothesis that enhanced working memory capacity was a relatively recent development in human evolution, and one that not just enabled managed foraging, but perhaps modern culture itself.

Mr. Tea
28-10-2009, 07:15 PM
How would that view relate to something like the Flynn effect? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect)

(This is a genuine question, rather than an attempt to argue with what you've said - I only recently came across the FE, so would welcome some scientific perspective upon it).

Diet has a big effect on intelligence, esp. your diet as a young kid and even your mum's diet before you were born. Then there's better schooling and probably other effects like lower rates of exposure to harmful industrial/agricultural chemicals and childhood diseases.

Maybe even the effects of playing computer games? Though you'd have to balance that against other psychological effects - christ, some mates of mine had Game Cubes a few years ago and some of the 'games' looked like they'd been designed by and for people on about six strong Es, I could practically feel the damn thing giving me ADHD as I watched it...

massrock
28-10-2009, 07:24 PM
Rupert Sheldrake's take:

In the appendix to my book 'Dogs That Know When Their Owners
Are Coming Home' I discuss the Flynn effect and show data for these rises in
IQ. I predicted this effect in the early 1980s but could find no data about
it. Then Flynn discovered that there had in fact been rises in IQ. He and
a colleague, William Dickens, have recently tried to explain this by what
seems to me a highly complicated and artificial argument, published in the
Psychological Review (Vol. 108, 2001). (Unfortunately I don't have the
page numbers because I only have a proof copy of the article).

The fact that Dickens and Flynn have been driven to this tortuous attempt
to explain the phenomenon is because all previous attempts to explain it
have failed, and yet the data are very solid and have been replicated in at
least 14 different countries. The paradox is that IQ test improvement is
not paralleled by any other indication that intelligence really is
increasing. I think this is happening because people are simply getting
better at doing IQ tests because so many people have done them before. In
other words, it's a morphic resonance effect. They have already tested
possibilities about it being due to more TV, increasing test sophistication,
etc, etc, and none of these have been shown to explain it. This might be an
interesting subject to take up on your discussion list, if you have not done
so already.

http://cfpm.org/~majordom/memetics/2000/6425.html

Mr. Tea
28-10-2009, 08:04 PM
Interesting that Sheldrake should come up in a thread about rationality... ;)

I met the guy's son once at a party organised by the Chap magazine. He seemed nice enough, I hope I didn't come across as unpleasantly sceptical when we was talking about his old man's ideas.

Anyway, re. IQ tests: surely it wouldn't be too hard to compare, year on year, results from people who are taking an IQ for the first time? You'd have to take their word for it, I guess, though that'd probably be a fair assumption if you were testing young kids. Or you could even compare figures for people who'd taken the test loads of times and were practised at it. As long as it was a fair comparison, you could draw meaningful conclusions.

Edit: Ohhh, I see: he means that because a large minority of people have done the tests a lot, that's making everyone better at them. Um, yeah OK...

massrock
28-10-2009, 08:07 PM
Interesting that Sheldrake should come up in a thread about rationality... ;)
I knew you'd appreciate that. :)

zhao
29-10-2009, 03:18 AM
Arguably it's profoundly irrational for me to be posting shit on the internet when I should be asleep. But be that as it may...

Zhao's whole argument in the 'mystery' thread seems to hinge on the idea that there are two fundamentally different worldviews; two different ways of seeing things, of interacting with the world, of considering the subjective experience against objective phenomena. Now while Zhao has made it very clear that he values both kinds of worldview, as he sees them, and would like to see them somehow reconciled or synthesised into some new transcendental worldview with the best of both worlds, I think there's a fundamental cognitive mismatch going on here.

Namely, the idea that 'superstitious' or 'traditional' or 'spiritual' beliefs are somehow irrational. When you live in a pre-technological society (and I'm aware that this is an imperfect term, because all societies have technology, but it has to be better than the troublesome 'indigenous' or the essentially meaningless 'traditional') it is profoundly rational to attribute to spirits or unseen forces the ebb and flow of the seasons, weather and other natural phenomena, illness and other catastrophic events like plagues of locusts, (were)tigers and so on. Because everything happens for a reason, right? And if the reason for something happening cannot be seen, then it happens for an unseen reason, by definition.

From the point of view of someone raised in a technological society in which natural phenomena are for the most part accounted for by science (crop circles can just fuck off, OK? I mean proper old school weird crop circles, not some undergraduate dickheads high on X-Files and scrumpy and psytrance), it can seem 'irrational' to view the world in terms of weretigers. But that's just begging the question, because no-one here has any idea what it's like to live in (and make sense of) a weretigerish world on a full-time basis. I think it would be ridiculous to assume that people who live in that world all the time, because that's the world they know, have gone out of their way to think of things as irrationally, mysteriously (etc.) as possible - no-one does that, because from a survival point of view it's a total dead end. A belief that the world is amenable to understanding - which is to say, rational understanding - underpins all belief systems in their infancy, before they calcify into structures of tradition, ritual, social heirarchy and so on. So while it would be wholly rational to a villager in the Sumatran jungle to view the world in terms of weretigers, and for someone designing novel semiconductors to view the world in terms of quantum mechanics, it would be utterly irrational to try and explain weretigers in terms of quantum mechanics or quantum mechanics in terms of weretigers. At the same time, it would be irrational to try and explain semiconductors in terms of Newtonian mechanics, or weretigers in terms of Biblical creationism, and so on and so on.

So as Nomad has pointed out several times in the other thread, it's not that pre-technological or 'primitive' people (or however you want to put it) have privileged accesss to some inherently intuitive or irrational or pre-rational sixth sense. They're using the same rational faculties as anyone else, to make sense of the world - that's what humans do. As well as any every other species, as far as I can see. Elephants venerate their dead for the same reason we hold funeral ceremonies: it makes sense. Roger Penrose makes a great point that although it's seemingly by-the-by that humans have the ability to understand advanced mathematics, if they so choose to apply themselves, there must be some archaic complex of genes that encode for a brain with the capacity to understand, and that somehow the same circuits that enable the evasion of predators and the capture of prey animals and the cohesion of a basic social group somehow happen to suitable for grappling with integral calculus. It would be trite to assume that this is a coincidence, I think. So you have Stonehenge and Avebury and the Egyptian pyramids and the Mexican pyramids as the pre-modern Greenwich Observatories and Jodrell Bankses and Hubbles and VLAs; likewise alchemy as the forerunner of chemistry and haruspicy (the pre-science of prescience based on the shape of entrails) as the forerunner of anatomy. Newton was an alchemist as much as, if not more than, a physicist and mathematician not because he felt like being rational some days and irrational on others, but because he saw it all as aspects of natural philosophy: the pursuit of understanding the (physical, senisble) world by rational means. It's just that mechanics and optics have stood the test of time and emprical trial, and alchemy has not - even though its underlying philosophy survives in the modern science of chemistry.

Which brings me to a sort of denouement here: as much as some po-mo types would love us to think that science is just another kind of religion or superstition or belief system (and I'm aware no-one here is actually advocating that, of course), it's much closer to the truth to say that superstition and religion are kinds of science. Call it pre-science or proto-science or whatever, it's a response to the same implulse.

What is irrational, one level, is the insistence of many people who live in a technological society and for the most parts reap its benefits but who persist in an entrenched pre-modern worldview that is blatantly disproven by all available empirical evidence (yes, America, I'm looking at you). But then, on another level it's surely rational to stick to these outmoded but familiar and comforting beliefs when you feel your culture is under attack from outsiders who seemingly have few values in common with yours, right?

Murray Gell-mann has a lot to say about adaptive and maladaptive schemata - I could paraphrase but I've gone on too far already and those ideas deserve their own thread.

All this just makes me think of the inherent implausibility of the purely 'logical' Mr. Spock - surely he'd recognise the existential futility of the human/Vulcan condition and realise that the most rational thing to do is top himself in two seconds flat? Logic my arse, I've seen the episode where Spock gets the horn and all hell breaks loose. Then again, if you want to get laid you might as well go about it logically...

This post brought to you by nomadologist, Jonathan Meades and insomnia.

the line which separates the 2, are of course constantly shifting. which often makes people with rigid definitions look pretty silly.

zhao
29-10-2009, 03:39 AM
No, you're exactly right. Blood, sweat, tears, and a few moments here and there of leisure time or fun or pleasure or whatever. Take them as they come, basically. Isn't there an entire book of the Old Testament about this?

It's always been this way. Try not to make the world an even shittier place than it already is or needs to be. Try to make things better where you can. Etc.

if you want to ignore scientific data gethered during the last 100 years, just because they cause problems with the way you see the world, that is your choice. but it is sad that someone so young can be so blindly invested in a particularly rigid world view that it would make one as stubborn, irrational, and unscientific as you.

apologize to everyone else for going over well covered territory, but this silly person apparently has major blocks in her mind, caused by rigid adherence to a particular world view, which makes it near impossible for her to rationally consider scientific evidence on subjects which anthropologists world wide agree unanimously -- groups of band level societies, which are numerous, such as the Dobe Ju/'hoansi:

• gather 70 percent of their food (roots, nuts, fruits, etc.)
• no hierarchy and no authority, only "temporary leaders"
• no private property
• work 20 hour weeks with only division of labour being between sexes
• does not distinquish between work and play
• zero starvation: 100% of population fed compared to 30% starving in the "civilized" world
• superb health (relative to ours)

padraig (u.s.)
29-10-2009, 05:33 AM
but it is sad that someone so young can be so blindly invested in a particularly rigid world view that it would make one as stubborn, irrational, and unscientific as you.

just so we're clear & you can't try to squirm out of it later, that is exactly the kind of condescending, passive-aggressive Internet hectoring that people constantly call you on. don't try to write it off as a "bold statement" or whatever either.

also, that view of h-gs is extremely one-sided; even the staunchest anti-civ primitivists might be a bit uneasy with the rose-colored glasses. it is (unsurprisingly, given that this is a Zhao argument) considerably more complicated than you make it to be. I don't want to get into an involved, proper answer right now b/c I need to go to sleep but I don't to just let that stand either.

zhao
29-10-2009, 05:50 AM
just so we're clear & you can't try to squirm out of it later, that is exactly the kind of condescending, passive-aggressive Internet hectoring that people constantly call you on. don't try to write it off as a "bold statement" or whatever either.

you are confusing "aggressive" with "passive aggressive", you dickless wanker.


also, that view of h-gs is extremely one-sided; even the staunchest anti-civ primitivists might be a bit uneasy with the rose-colored glasses. it is (unsurprisingly, given that this is a Zhao argument) considerably more complicated than you make it to be. I don't want to get into an involved, proper answer right now b/c I need to go to sleep but I don't to just let that stand either.

AND you are wrong. anthropologists world wide agree amost UNANIMOUSLY on the data collected on the Dobe over the past 100 years, which all support the list i made above.

now go suck that lemon to sleep.

zhao
29-10-2009, 07:09 AM
but i must admit to having been very sexist here on this forum:

because the only reason Nomad has many times gotten away with her ugly, vile behavior is because she's a girl.

use personal information i disclose in good faith to condescend and patronize (http://dissensus.com/showpost.php?p=208439&postcount=15), just because you disagree with my ideas on sprituality? that is simply the behavior of a massive CUNT, of whatever gender.

and of course it doesn't stop there. since the beginning of the "Mysterious" thread, i have received 3 private messages, none of my initiative, from long time active members, in regards to the constant stream of nasty shit coming from you:


...Nomad can be unbelievably annoying and patronizing...


i don't completely agree with you, but this Nomad is really out of line sometimes. it's like listening to a 12 year old brat.


i have to say regarding this forum that i do dislike the way some of the shit that nomad character (and i hate to single one person out but really...) comes out with is so often let by without comment. i find that strange to be honest. is it for the entertainment value, or maybe because she's just about the only female poster? highly rigid mentality anyway. where do you even start with what's wrong there? it's sort of funny to bait i suppose but there are surely more productive ways to interact.

but more than this irritation i get the impression that quite often posters who may have interesting perspectives to bring just don't bother saying anything. and maybe they're right to stay out of it but i can't help feeling that the potential for a more rewarding discussion is sometimes frustrated by certain kinds of behaviour being overly condoned, even encouraged.

what we have on this forum is a unique chance for some good discussions to occur, because there are a few here who come from different backgrounds, and bring different perspectives. nomad, you should realize that your hostility on a personal level destroys what might have been much more fruitful dialog.

and before you give us the bullshit accusations of me being the one who is hostile, just re-read the original "mysterious" post (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=10052) again: my impatience with what i perceive as "western rationality" is a fair statement of opinion, and a valid starting point for a discussion, and bare no resemblance to the "insult" that you try to paint it as.

but the fact that you, and Padraig, and Tea, the same few people who always have a problem with my posts, see what i said as a personal insult, well that right there is indication of some deep insecurity and deeper rooted issues.

in all sincerity, i understand you are all very much invested in your chosen perceptual paradigm, and that is why it is so threatening to you when someone presents another, or even present that there is more than 1 valid way to perceive the experience of humans on earth.

but the fact remains that your view is not the only "correct" one, and there are scientists who disagree with your vision of a dog eat dog world, and eternal slavery as the "natural" "fate" of humanity, etc, etc.

remember this little exchange? and the only reason i bring it up is because your bahavior has not changed in the slightest, and is just as annoyingly closed minded now, as then:


yeah you could "posit" that "symbiotic" (marketing catch phrase or what?) relationships "outnumber" other kinds, but you'd have no way of quantifying that in reality so it'd be basically a wild guess based on, well, nothing.

things exist. things sometimes need to kill other things to continue existing. end of story.


WIKI: The biologist Lynn Margulis, famous for her work on endosymbiosis, contends that symbiosis is a major driving force behind evolution. She considers Darwin's notion of evolution, driven by competition, as incomplete and claims that evolution is strongly based on co-operation, interaction, and mutual dependence among organisms. According to Margulis and Dorion Sagan, "Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking."

but all of that is beside the point. which is this: i am giving up on you, Nomad.

because you have shown clearly, one last time, that you are, ironically, incapable of a rational, reasoned discussion, and will go to any length, willfully ignore, falsify, mud sling, in other words, act like a rude little brat-bitch, to try to prove that your world view is the only acceptable one.

so go on believing what you want, and dismiss those with other ideas as "unscientific" "new age" "hippies", hahaha makes zero difference to me :D it is for sure the more popular position at this point in time anyway, as pathetic little slaves like grizzleb is too happy to demonstrate. this will help you feel smart as you go along, and become even more calcified in your views, for you will find many who agree with your rigid, fundamentalist notions, and you can all gang up and hate "mystics" together. :rolleyes:

you will reap what you sow, and everything in the universe will be, just as it was before.

vimothy
29-10-2009, 10:12 AM
Actually, I think that Zhao is on quite solid ground when he says that ancient hunter-gatherers lived much better lives than most of humanity. I'm not sure that I would say that they live better lives than people in modern OECD countries, and I dunno about that list, but I'd certainly prefer to be a primitive hunter-gatherer than a medieval European peasant or starving African farmer.

woops
29-10-2009, 10:29 AM
you dickless wanker.

that is simply the behavior of a massive CUNT

the constant stream of nasty shit coming from you

a rude little brat-bitch

pathetic little slaves

if we carry on like this, maybe k-punk will come back!

baboon2004
29-10-2009, 12:02 PM
I've kinda lost the thread of this. I think there's an argument that's being carried over from another thread that's usurped this one.

Going back to the original post, which I thought was very good:

Not that there is such a thing as a homogenous scientific community, but what are some of the views of science ont he project that it's involved with? Is it to "explain everything" or a variant of that? Obviously there will always be some things outside science, that are mysterious without being Mysterious, if you like, such as emotional life, the mind-body conundrum etc.

As to the relative merits of Western/non-Western life (although the heterogeneity involved within each of these terms makes any such discussion of necessity very approximate), surely a non-Western view of Western science is kinda needed here? But then Western science is founded on a lot of non-Western principles, and the West defined what Western/non-Western was anyways...I'm getting confused.

Fuck it, the mudslinging makes my head hurt less. As you were.

padraig (u.s.)
29-10-2009, 01:50 PM
Actually, I think that Zhao is on quite solid ground when he says that ancient hunter-gatherers lived much better lives than most of humanity.

this may/may not be true. it depends heavily on what you define as a "better life". I'm not disputing any of those specific points about the Dobe Ju (which I didn't to begin with, anyway), but there is a flipside; considerably lower life expectancy & higher infant mortality rate, endemic low-level warfare in many h-g societies, a greater vulnerability to the elements, lack of access to modern medicine (I'm not sure about that bit about "better health" which again depends on the definition), etc. now, there are counter-arguments to all of those, and counters to those counters. actually, you can - & I've seen it done plenty of times - argue that all of the things I mentioned are good, or at least more "natural" (that, for example, life expectancy now is artificially inflated) which, I dunno. I'm just saying it's not all peaches & cream, that there is a cost to the benefits, hard choices (for example, infanticide) that Internet h-g enthusiasts will likely never have to face.

further, not all h-g societies are the same. the San/Basarwa (of which the Dobe Ju are a specific group) are different from the Dani are different from the Yanomamo. the San are kind of the go-to for people who want to "prove" that h-g societies are egalitarian, non-hierarchical, etc. which may be largely true - the issue is more that almost everywhere humans abandoned h-g for agriculture, out of necessity. h-g requires an extremely large amt of land/person; in fact, many h-g practices are linked to keep population low. as resources (specifically, large game) become depleted & pop density goes up people become more sedentary & agriculture creeps into the picture, linked with hierarchies & division of labor & patriarchy & all that. so it's all very well to go on about original affluence & so on from your laptop, but it's not the reality we're stuck with, yunno?

(of course none of this should detract from the many valid critiques of Western/advanced/etc. society that can be made)

padraig (u.s.)
29-10-2009, 01:58 PM
oh & opinions about the Dobe Ju & San generally among anthropologists are anything but unanimous (or UNANIMOUS). I'm not up to speed on the ins & outs, but there's been serious debates on the topic for several decades running.

vimothy
29-10-2009, 02:00 PM
I'm thinking of the basic Malthusian Trap model, which states that, because resources are essentially fixed, for any pre-industrial society (and it need not necessarily be human), population levels will reach equilibrium at the subsistence wage. Any gradual positive technological change will simply increase the net birth rate and return living standards to subsistence. For example, one of Africa's tragedies is that thanks to advances in medical science, the modern subsistence wage is quite a bit lower than it was in the past.

EDIT: So ultimately, less people = higher standards of living. Since there were obviously less people sharing the same set of resources, living standards were higher for primitive hunter-gatherers than for medieval peasants.

Slothrop
29-10-2009, 02:12 PM
What do the comparative advantages of nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyles and high-tech specialized lifestyles have to do with rationalism, anyway? I don't see any essential correlation.

vimothy
29-10-2009, 02:22 PM
its complictd -- you wudn't unerstand

zhao
29-10-2009, 02:50 PM
its complictd -- you wudn't unerstand

hahaha... wait i don't think i do either :slanted:

oh and nomad careful not to spit all over the keys when you PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

padraig (u.s.)
29-10-2009, 04:02 PM
So ultimately, less people = higher standards of living. Since there were obviously less people sharing the same set of resources, living standards were higher for primitive hunter-gatherers

pretty much. extrapolating from this, if h-g becomes impossible beyond a certain # of people, and increase in population (at least in pre-industrial societies) & depletion of resources are inevitable then it's kind of a doomed endeavor over the long run. which is indeed kinda sad. to get back O/T, that doesn't mean there aren't all kinds of interesting & valuable things which can be learned from studying/interacting with h-g peoples, or that it's a way of life which shouldn't be preserved if that's how people want to live (& no wonder, when the alternative is grinding poverty in subsistence farming).

zhao
29-10-2009, 04:12 PM
I'm thinking of the basic Malthusian Trap model, which states that, because resources are essentially fixed, for any pre-industrial society (and it need not necessarily be human), population levels will reach equilibrium at the subsistence wage. Any gradual positive technological change will simply increase the net birth rate and return living standards to subsistence. For example, one of Africa's tragedies is that thanks to advances in medical science, the modern subsistence wage is quite a bit lower than it was in the past.

EDIT: So ultimately, less people = higher standards of living. Since there were obviously less people sharing the same set of resources, living standards were higher for primitive hunter-gatherers than for medieval peasants.

right, the move from A to B is the crux of the matter.

but i tend to see agriculture as less the fulfillment of the conditions of over-population, but rather farming created the possibility to over-populate.


pretty much. extrapolating from this, if h-g becomes impossible beyond a certain # of people, and increase in population (at least in pre-industrial societies) & depletion of resources are inevitable then it's kind of a doomed endeavor over the long run. which is indeed kinda sad. to get back O/T, that doesn't mean there aren't all kinds of interesting & valuable things which can be learned from studying/interacting with h-g peoples, or that it's a way of life which shouldn't be preserved if that's how people want to live (& no wonder, when the alternative is grinding poverty in subsistence farming).

other social models fundamentally different from ours do exist, and do work, work very well, is currently working, and have worked for, literally, ever - since the dawn of humanity.

vimothy
29-10-2009, 04:36 PM
right, the move from A to B is the crux of the matter.

Sorry, what do you mean by A to B?


but i tend to see agriculture as less the fulfillment of the conditions of over-population, but rather farming created the possibility to over-populate.

I don't think that's consistent with the model. Reproduction (Gaia hirself?) created the possibility of overpopulation.

zhao
29-10-2009, 04:55 PM
Sorry, what do you mean by A to B?
from the before lifestyle to agriculture/bigger socieites.



I don't think that's consistent with the model. Reproduction (Gaia hirself?) created the possibility of overpopulation.

sure, but various groups seemed to have been entirely successful with limiting their population for, i think millions, some think 500,000, but anyhoo a fuck of a long ass time, before the thought of organized power and labor entered the picture.

(was going to say "enter the game" but should be "enter of the game")

nomadthethird
29-10-2009, 05:00 PM
but i must admit to having been very sexist here on this forum:

because the only reason Nomad has many times gotten away with her ugly, vile behavior is because she's a girl.

use personal information i disclose in good faith to condescend and patronize (http://dissensus.com/showpost.php?p=208439&postcount=15), just because you disagree with my ideas on sprituality? that is simply the behavior of a massive CUNT, of whatever gender.

and of course it doesn't stop there. since the beginning of the "Mysterious" thread, i have received 3 private messages, none of my initiative, from long time active members, in regards to the constant stream of nasty shit coming from you:







what we have on this forum is a unique chance for some good discussions to occur, because there are a few here who come from different backgrounds, and bring different perspectives. nomad, you should realize that your hostility on a personal level destroys what might have been much more fruitful dialog.

and before you give us the bullshit accusations of me being the one who is hostile, just re-read the original "mysterious" post (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=10052) again: my impatience with what i perceive as "western rationality" is a fair statement of opinion, and a valid starting point for a discussion, and bare no resemblance to the "insult" that you try to paint it as.

but the fact that you, and Padraig, and Tea, the same few people who always have a problem with my posts, see what i said as a personal insult, well that right there is indication of some deep insecurity and deeper rooted issues.

in all sincerity, i understand you are all very much invested in your chosen perceptual paradigm, and that is why it is so threatening to you when someone presents another, or even present that there is more than 1 valid way to perceive the experience of humans on earth.

but the fact remains that your view is not the only "correct" one, and there are scientists who disagree with your vision of a dog eat dog world, and eternal slavery as the "natural" "fate" of humanity, etc, etc.

remember this little exchange? and the only reason i bring it up is because your bahavior has not changed in the slightest, and is just as annoyingly closed minded now, as then:





but all of that is beside the point. which is this: i am giving up on you, Nomad.

because you have shown clearly, one last time, that you are, ironically, incapable of a rational, reasoned discussion, and will go to any length, willfully ignore, falsify, mud sling, in other words, act like a rude little brat-bitch, to try to prove that your world view is the only acceptable one.

so go on believing what you want, and dismiss those with other ideas as "unscientific" "new age" "hippies", hahaha makes zero difference to me :D it is for sure the more popular position at this point in time anyway, as pathetic little slaves like grizzleb is too happy to demonstrate. this will help you feel smart as you go along, and become even more calcified in your views, for you will find many who agree with your rigid, fundamentalist notions, and you can all gang up and hate "mystics" together. :rolleyes:

you will reap what you sow, and everything in the universe will be, just as it was before.

LOL.

Zhao, you've talked openly on the board about your problems with your parents beings scientists, how you resented them for their overly rigid values and views, and how they mistreated you.

Want links?

I like how you accuse me of somehow bringing to light some "private" correspondence (which I didn't), and then you go ahead and PUBLISH someone's PM as "proof" that I'm a big bad meanie.

Do you somehow think other people were not simultaneously PMing about what a gigantic douchebag you are during that "Mysterious" thread? Because they were. I could've published those, but I tend not to publish PMs.

Zhao, you are hilarious. Seriously. It's always hilarious to watch you try to argue a point. It's like watching a child try to read the newspaper. Upside down, sideways, dropping things all over the floor...

nomadthethird
29-10-2009, 05:05 PM
if you want to ignore scientific data gethered during the last 100 years, just because they cause problems with the way you see the world, that is your choice. but it is sad that someone so young can be so blindly invested in a particularly rigid world view that it would make one as stubborn, irrational, and unscientific as you.

apologize to everyone else for going over well covered territory, but this silly person apparently has major blocks in her mind, caused by rigid adherence to a particular world view, which makes it near impossible for her to rationally consider scientific evidence on subjects which anthropologists world wide agree unanimously -- groups of band level societies, which are numerous, such as the Dobe Ju/'hoansi:

• gather 70 percent of their food (roots, nuts, fruits, etc.)
• no hierarchy and no authority, only "temporary leaders"
• no private property
• work 20 hour weeks with only division of labour being between sexes
• does not distinquish between work and play
• zero starvation: 100% of population fed compared to 30% starving in the "civilized" world
• superb health (relative to ours)

Zhao, we can look at fossils and skeletal remains of early humans and immediately see that people were not in "superb" health just because they lived in less economically stratified societies.

What is clear is that you have no real understanding of the actual scope of the topic you've made your pet one--you've only cherry picked one guy who happens to be an internet message board cult hero in New Age circles but who a) doesn't even sort of imply that the life was "easy" before agriculture, just that society was more egalitarian, b) who is unfortunately being identified with a bunch of woo that he'd probably rather avoid.

Survival is a tough row to hoe for any species, it always has been, it always will be. I don't particularly care whether you don't like that. Kiss my ass. Go suck a mime's dick. I don't care if you don't like me.

Mr. Tea
29-10-2009, 05:15 PM
but i tend to see agriculture as less the fulfillment of the conditions of over-population, but rather farming created the possibility to over-populate.


But there's a yawning inconsistency here, don't you see? Surely if life is as good for the Dobe Ju as you claim it is (and please note than I'm not doubting you here), then "the possibility to over-populate" is there all the time: they just have to start having lots of babies! Abundant resources and the absence of war, predation and epidemic means populations will rise exponentially unless some specific measure is taken to prevent this; in technological civilisations this is done through artificial contraception, while apparently the Dobe Ju rely simply on abstinence from sex apart from at particular prescribed times. Fine, whatever works. But the threat of over-population is latent and omnipresent; all it would take is a breakdown of the taboo against out-of-hours nookie or whatever system they have and there'd be a huge explosion in population. Resources per head would drop, leading to competition, scarcity, strife, war...note that all of this has nothing at all to do with agriculture.

Edit: there's a couple of other points I might as well raise while I'm at it. One is your insistence that the Dobe Ju live a life that's more or less the same as "our ancestors" lived all over the world. Whereas there is no reason to think that any two societies, widely separated in space and time, were/are particularly similar just because they were both "primitive", pre-agrarian or however you want to put it. I've raised before the example of human bones from Europe dating from the palaeolithic (almost certainly a band-level society, and certainly well before farming or settled living) which show evidence of human-on-human violence and even cannibalism - surely the ultimate calling-card of competition for resources? Clearly this was an environment not as conducive to peaceful co-existence as where the Dobe live; consequently, it led to cultures of a quite different nature.

The other is simply that a culture which is not holding back from population growth is likely to out-compete a neightbouring one which exists in stasis with its environment - this may sound a bit Darwinian, and I'm not trying to use it to justify the fact that this happens, just to point out that it seems kind of inevitable. Inevitable unless some other social force comes into play (as it did in the developed world over the course of the 20th century so that we now see largely stable populations in developed countries).

nomadthethird
29-10-2009, 05:18 PM
But there's a yawning inconsistency here, don't you see? Surely if life is as good for the Dobe Ju as you claim it is (and please note than I'm not doubting you here), then "the possibility to over-populate" is there all the time: they just have to start having lots of babies! Abundant resources and the absence of war/epidemic means populations will rise exponentially unless some specific measure is taken to prevent this; in technological civilisations this is done through artificial contraception, while apparently the Dobe Ju rely simply on abstinence from sex apart from at particular prescribed times. Fine, whatever works. But the threat of over-population is latent and omnipresent; all it would take is a breakdown of the taboo against out-of-hours nookie or whatever system they have and there'd be a huge explosion in population. Resources per head would drop, leading to competition, scarcity, strife, war...note that all of this has nothing at all to do with agriculture.

Exactly. Zhao subscribes to the "vacuum" theory of evolution. Where evolution happens in a vacuum. And you can simply hop, skip, and jump populations back and forth from era to era in order to have more fun with the shaman on the savannah.

padraig (u.s.)
29-10-2009, 05:36 PM
but i tend to see agriculture as less the fulfillment of the conditions of over-population, but rather farming created the possibility to over-populate.

yes, a lot of people have read Ishmael, dude.

so, why did people ever abandon their idyllic h-g lives to till the soil? it is certainly true that agriculture leads to a sharp rise in population growth - abundant (for large #s of people) food supply = population growth - but clearly there was some kind of impetus to do so. presumably it was a choice made out of necessity. places where h-g still exists or existed until recently - i.e. the Kalahari, the Australian Outback, parts of Irian Jaya - are places where environmental and/or geographical conditions make agriculture extremely difficult or impossible. absent such conditions, humans have always, always, always chosen agriculture. the consequences of that decision aren't choices so much as inevitable, but nonetheless.


other social models fundamentally different from ours do exist, and do work, work very well, is currently working, and have worked for, literally, ever - since the dawn of humanity.

until people come up with a different social model out of necessity, or until they come into contact with a different social model that changes or annihilates theirs. dudes like you always have this idyllic, unchanging vision of Stone Age peoples, but none of that shit happens in a vacuum. that way of life has been almost entirely supplanted, for better or worse. once again, that's not to say that it's not worth preserving; it's just unlikely, in the extreme, that any large # of humans will be returning to it.

I swear to God, it's bad enough to hear you whinge on about the mysterious, but at least that had some kind of spiritual aspect to it. I just can't handle some urban hipster harping on about the glories of h-g peoples from his chic Berlin flat. do much foraging on the Friedrichstrasse lately?

nomadthethird
29-10-2009, 05:38 PM
yes, a lot of people have read Ishmael, dude.

so, why did people ever abandon their idyllic h-g lives to till the soil? it is certainly true that agriculture leads to a sharp rise in population growth - abundant (for large #s of people) food supply = population growth - but clearly there was some kind of impetus to do so. presumably it was a choice made out of necessity. places where h-g still exists or existed until recently - i.e. the Kalahari, the Australian Outback, parts of Irian Jaya - are places where environmental and/or geographical conditions make agriculture extremely difficult or impossible. absent such conditions, humans have always, always, always chosen agriculture. the consequences of that decision aren't choices so much as inevitable, but nonetheless.



until people come up with a different social model out of necessity, or until they come into contact with a different social model that changes or annihilates theirs. dudes like you always have this idyllic, unchanging vision of Stone Age peoples, but none of that shit happens in a vacuum. that way of life has been almost entirely supplanted, for better or worse. once again, that's not to say that it's not worth preserving; it's just unlikely, in the extreme, that any large # of humans will be returning to it.

I swear to God, it's bad enough to hear you whinge on about the mysterious, but at least that had some kind of spiritual aspect to it. I just can't handle some urban hipster harping on about the glories of h-g peoples from his chic Berlin flat. do much foraging on the Friedrichstrasse lately?

Dude... you're cruising for a three-year dissensus balk and stalk...

padraig (u.s.)
29-10-2009, 05:39 PM
The other is simply that a culture which is not holding back from population growth is likely to out-compete a neightbouring one which exists in stasis with its environment - this may sound a bit Darwinian, and I'm not trying to use it to justify the fact that this happens, just to point out that it seems kind of inevitable.

this is it exactly, as evidenced time & time & time again. & complete with the divorcement of acknowledging a fact from justifying it.

padraig (u.s.)
29-10-2009, 05:40 PM
Dude... you're cruising for a three-year dissensus balk and stalk...

as long as it ends with Craner asking me to marry him I reckon it's all to the good.

nomadthethird
29-10-2009, 05:42 PM
this is it exactly, as evidenced time & time & time again. & complete with the divorcement of acknowledging a fact from justifying it.

Evidence?

Jared Diamond's three bittorrented lectures from 10 years ago ARE the evidence.

Mr. Tea
29-10-2009, 06:06 PM
do much foraging on the Friedrichstrasse lately?

Bwuhahaha, "zing!", as they say.

zhao
29-10-2009, 06:49 PM
Zhao, you are hilarious. Seriously. It's always hilarious to watch you try to argue a point. It's like watching a child try to read the newspaper. Upside down, sideways, dropping things all over the floor...



What is clear is that you have no real understanding of the actual scope of the topic you've made your pet one


Zhao subscribes to the "vacuum" theory of evolution. Where evolution happens in a vacuum. And you can simply hop, skip, and jump populations back and forth from era to era in order to have more fun with the shaman on the savannah.


I worry about your intellectual capabilities.

the imbecilic character of my every word and sentence is evident: i know next to nothing about my "pet topics", which are rehashed cliche Kooky Kalifornia New Age Nonsense anyway.

clearly.

so... bare with me here...

why don't you stay out of them then?

sounds like life would be much better for you, without the lame grade school bullshit which constantly issues from my mouth. no?
certainly would be better for me.

i mean... here is another, related idea:

you should go and start your own threads, well researched, peer reviewed, and just full of scientific rigor!

and i can stay out of them! :D

how is my logic here? faulty or no? :eek:

i wish i had some intellectual capacty, even just a little, then i would know... :o
...

edit:

oh! ...... right!

(slapping forehead silly)

should have thought of it earlier! damn it! ....

it's all a joke to you! none of it means anything! you're just here for entertainment, to have a laugh at the stupds! me!

of course!

see if i was just slightly less idiotic i would have realized much earlier...

nomadthethird
29-10-2009, 07:50 PM
Ativan. Chillpill. Relax. Some people on a message board disagree with you. It's not the end of the world.

What the hell do you expect? That everyone should instantly defer to your authoritaaay?

http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/217/605074-cartman_super.jpg

I couldn't possibly care less if everyone on here disagrees with me on every topic, although there are a few people whose posts are interesting and thought provoking.

Just enjoy it when it's good and post your opinions and forget about converting everyone.

zhao
29-10-2009, 08:39 PM
wow you are super annoying dude. congratulations on being the best flippant little snot nosed piece of shit ever.

nomadthethird
29-10-2009, 08:47 PM
i.e. the Kalahari, the Australian Outback, parts of Irian Jaya

Aren't the Australian indigenous peoples actually horticulturalists? If so, they'd be different from foragers, substantially in some ways...

Mr. Tea
29-10-2009, 11:12 PM
Aren't the Australian indigenous peoples actually horticulturalists? If so, they'd be different from foragers, substantially in some ways...

I think "the" Aborigines comprise hundreds if not thousands of distinct groups, some of whom may be h/g, others may be horticulturalists of some kind, I don't know...those that still exist, I mean. And that aren't just utterly socially and culturally FUBAR. :(

nomadthethird
31-10-2009, 04:36 PM
Interesting that Sheldrake should come up in a thread about rationality... ;)

I met the guy's son once at a party organised by the Chap magazine. He seemed nice enough, I hope I didn't come across as unpleasantly sceptical when we was talking about his old man's ideas.

Anyway, re. IQ tests: surely it wouldn't be too hard to compare, year on year, results from people who are taking an IQ for the first time? You'd have to take their word for it, I guess, though that'd probably be a fair assumption if you were testing young kids. Or you could even compare figures for people who'd taken the test loads of times and were practised at it. As long as it was a fair comparison, you could draw meaningful conclusions.

Edit: Ohhh, I see: he means that because a large minority of people have done the tests a lot, that's making everyone better at them. Um, yeah OK...

I didn't see this before.

What is it with Mixed Biscuits and IQ tests... ?

First, the idea that increase of a few points in "IQ" amounts to a significant increase in cognitive capacity is highly suspect. The Flynn Effect may well be real (I have no idea), but it still has nothing to do with our basic cognitive capacities and whether these differ significantly in degree or kind compared to other primates.

What we have that other primates don't are large frontal lobes. This makes us more verbal, basically. And that's about it. The cognitive "bedrock" that controls a large percentage of brain function is something we share in common with lizards, rats, dogs, chimps.

mixed_biscuits
31-10-2009, 04:43 PM
What is it with Mixed Biscuits and IQ tests... ?

Huh? It wasn't me! I posted a essay on working memory being linked to managed farming, I think.

nomadthethird
31-10-2009, 04:48 PM
Huh? It wasn't me! I posted a essay on working memory being linked to managed farming, I think.

Oh sorry, that was "slightly crooked" who posted that, not you.

blackpixie
04-11-2009, 04:50 AM
Part philosopher, part sociologist and entirely humanist, he studied tribes in Brazil and North America, concluding that virtually all societies shared powerful commonalities of behavior and thought, often expressing them in myths. Towering over the French intellectual scene in the 1960s and 1970s, he founded the school of thought known as structuralism, which holds that common features exist within the enormous varieties of human experience. Those commonalities are rooted partly in nature and partly in the human brain itself.

He concluded that primitive peoples were no less intelligent than "Western" civilizations and that their intelligence could be revealed through their myths and other cultural keystones. Those myths, he argued, all tend to provide answers to such universal questions as "Who are we?" and "How did we come to be in this time and place?"

His studies of American cultures, he said, was "an attempt to show that there are laws of mythical thinking as strict and rigorous as you would find in the natural sciences."

He was particularly intrigued with opposites, such as black and white, cooked and raw, roasted and boiled, or rational and emotional, that often serve as organizing elements in societies. He explored these binary concepts to find fundamental truths about humanity, noting, for example, that some cannibal groups boiled their friends, but roasted their enemies.

rest of article (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-me-claude-levi-strauss4-2009nov04,0,890035.story)

relevant, no?

& rip mr. levi-strauss

Mr. Tea
31-10-2012, 07:18 AM
A scientific experiment has found that two mediums were unable to demonstrate that they had special psychic powers.

The test by researchers at Goldsmiths, University of London, tried to establish whether mediums could use psychic abilities to identify something about five unseen volunteers.

The results, carried out under test conditions, did not show evidence of any unexplained powers of insight.

But medium Patricia Putt said this experiment "doesn't prove a thing".

..................

"Scientists are very closed-minded," she said. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20145664)

:rolleyes:

zhao
20-11-2012, 05:43 AM
just an update after the escalation episode from 4 years (and 1 page) ago: while i still have not completely forgiven her for being the only one on the entire internet douchey enough to do such personal attacks in an otherwise diplomatic debate... we have stayed digital friends since. Also: Nomad is now living in California, going to grad medical school, and a master of Vipassana meditation.

seems like someone managed to get over the false dichotomy. bravo.

Mr. Tea
24-10-2013, 10:22 AM
How Mao Zedong invented 'traditional Chinese medicine' (even though he didn't believe in it himself). (http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/10/traditional_chinese_medicine_origins_mao_invented_ it_but_didn_t_believe.html)

zhao
27-10-2013, 10:01 AM
interesting article. however ludicrously one sided and astoundingly arrogant in its complete dismissal of a massive body of knowledge based on flimsy "evidence".

Holism is but a new term to make modern western people understand a traditional philosophy, a way of doing things, and it seems like this guy doesn't know what it means. An example in medical terms:

Generally, when you go see an Asian doctor about an illness, the first questions s/he will ask you is about your daily life and environment - work, home, relationship, etc, to determine what kinds of stresses or conflicts persists. Secondly s/he will ask about your diet. Thirdly and finally s/he will ask about the physical direct aspects and history of the illness.

Ideas like this have been gradually, increasingly gaining ground in western practice, many decades after Mao was pushing Chinese medicine. In recent years we in the west are more and more aware of the fact that these things ARE INDEED inextricably connected, and physical illness can be manifestations of stress with emotional sources.

The fact that such connections between invisible factors such as emotional stress and visible symptoms of illnesses is common sensical to us is proof of how much Eastern and traditional medical ideas have, thankfully, become part of Western thought and practice.

Things like natural healing are also being more and more accepted with each passing day: ideas only a few years ago, which we have argued on this forum, are becoming more and more mainstream, such as the benefits and healing effects of raw, vegan diets.

Sure there are many of contradictions and examples of unsavory ideas and practices in China's present and past, we are talking, after all, of a long and wide history of medicine. What large body of knowledge does not contain contradictory doctrines and experts which disagree? But the existence of bad examples does not discredit the entire legacy. Bad Chinese restaurants in Berlin is no proof that the Chinese know nothing about food.

Sure Mao probably invented the term and sold it (of course a living tradition does not call itself "traditional" lol), but that is also no proof that the entire history of Chinese medicine is rubbish.

zhao
27-10-2013, 10:49 AM
To learn more about acupuncture research, I would direct you to two publications.

Acupuncture Research: Strategies for Establishing an Evidence Base (http://www.amazon.com/Acupuncture-Research-Strategies-Establishing-Evidence/dp/0443100292/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382841442&sr=1-1), by Hugh MacPherson PhD (Oct 26, 2007)

Integrating East Asian Medicine into Contemporary Healthcare (http://www.amazon.com/Integrating-Medicine-Contemporary-Healthcare-ebook/dp/B0064A580M/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382841442&sr=1-2), by Scheid, Volker and MacPherson, Hugh (Oct 24, 2011)

Currently our highest standard of evidence consists of meta-analyses such as this study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which proves a statistically significant difference between sham and verum acupuncture interventions, on top of a statistically significant reduction of chronic pain measures:

Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22965186

Acupuncture research has increased dramatically in the past 10 years, but we still face a slow process of research development due to the small numbers of researchers. The Slate article does a good job of showing how politics can influence medical policy (especially in highly controlled societies such as Maoist China), and it uses a few choice quotes that are easily cherry-picked to create a certain bias. However, it completely obfuscates the steady development of Chinese Medicine over the past 2,000 years (who cares about a difference of 1,000BC vs 3,000BC seriously, that is a moot point), replacing its complexity and medical effectiveness with the streamlined, politicized version that Mao promoted, and conveniently avoiding mention of its currently successful use in hospitals in Sweden, Germany, the UK, China, Taiwan, South Korea, etc).

I have a few criticisms of this article.

1) I find it amusing that this article spurred a debate about the scientific validity of Chinese Medicine. In fact the only time Levinovitz mentions the science of acupuncture research, (referring to the advanced work of Ted Kaptchuk studying acupuncture and placebo at Harvard Medical School), he immediately compares the scientifically significant studies of acupuncture and placebo with the statement that "some elements of Scientology are probably sound advice." Advice? Compared to scientific method? This is facetiousness, not skepticism. The author could more effectively compare the teachings of L Ron Hubbard to those of Chairman Mao. But instead he compares the results of valid medical research to the polemicism of a religious icon. He also concludes his argument with a nice blanket statement conflating the idea of Qi with the power of God. This is unscientific thinking at its laziest. Is his goal to convince readers that acupuncture is a religion? If so, then he has started to do a good job. Not so great however with objectivity or investigative reasoning.

2) Are most people missing the original point of the article? He is comparing the Senate Resolution to NAME A WEEK after Naturopathic Medicine (in the USA, 2013, in which around 10,000 NDs practice in the US as fully qualified primary care physicians) to the party line on national medicine used in Maoist China during the forced relocation of around 1/4 of China's medical practitioners from urban areas to the countryside, often armed with little over a handbook in the way of medical training. Wow. He then gives Mao agency by telling us that "Mao would have been pleased to see how the Senate resolution paid homage to these innovations." Rather than showing why preventative medicine and holistic care could possibly be harmful, or why NOT to name a week after Naturopathic medicine, he merely gives them a negative association by pretending to know that Mao would approve of their politicized language. Then he uses this negative association as a platform from which to denounce acupuncture (not naturopathy as one might expect) as the last resort of a society looking for a miracle to cure their chronically overweight, depressed, arteriosclerotic, cancerous huddling masses. Great, that is really helpful. But I am still confused about the goal of the article.

3) What is Levinovitz actually criticizing? Is he saying that federal acknowledgment of Naturopathy (by naming a week after it) is commensurate to erroneously advocating the use of Chinese Medicine? How, logically, does naming a week after NATUROPATHY lead to the absolute acceptance of Chinese Medicine in the US? Or is Mao somehow an indexical bit of language referencing the irrational endorsement of a nonscientific medicine? And if that were the case, shouldn't he be explaining how naturopathy is unscientific, rather than acupuncture? He seems to merely state that the language of holism and prevention are similar between Maoist Chinese Medicine and principles of Naturopathy, and that this language somehow becomes equated with "miracles, panaceas, and natural healing powers." Interesting. I would argue that Levinovitz engages in miraculous types of logic in order to hold this argument together.
- from comments

zhao
27-10-2013, 10:54 AM
This article, not its subject, is a very good example of irrationality and bad science.

Mr. Tea
28-10-2013, 01:21 PM
Zhao, if your knee were jerking any harder we could attach it to a generator and solve the world's energy needs forever more.

Read the article again. At no point does it say what you clearly think it says or would like it to say, namely, "Chinese medicine is a load of old nonsense". What it says, among other things, is that Chinese medicine, to be taken seriously as medicine, should be subjected to the same standards of scientific scrutiny as Western medicine. Do you substantially disagree with this point?

In fact, the article is as much about Western (mis)conceptions of Chinese medicine as it is about Chinese medicine itself. Such as the idiocy of the sort of extreme cultural relativism that paints China as Ye Mystick Orient where the laws of nature and principles of logic are radically different or don't exist at all, and which comes in part from the mistaken belief that objectivity and empiricalism are uniquely Western ideas. Or about how many people have totally missed the point that complementary medicine is exactly that, i.e. medicine that's intended to complement conventional treatments. So we have a story about a guy who was treated with acupuncture for postoperative pain mutating into an urban myth about a guy was operated on with acupuncture as the sole anaesthetic. The article doesn't say "acupuncture is moonshine", it implies that you'd be foolish to rely on acupuncture alone to prepare you for major surgery - as evinced by the fact that Chinese surgeons use effective, modern chemical anaesthetics, just as Western surgeons do.

But, you know, please don't let any of that get in the way of a jolly good rant!


Generally, when you go see an Asian doctor about an illness, the first questions s/he will ask you is about your daily life and environment - work, home, relationship, etc, to determine what kinds of stresses or conflicts persists. Secondly s/he will ask about your diet. Thirdly and finally s/he will ask about the physical direct aspects and history of the illness.

Yep, someone should definitely tell Western doctors about the importance of diet and lifestyle to overall health, I mean they've really missed a trick there. :rolleyes:

Edit:


but that is also no proof that the entire history of Chinese medicine is rubbish.

For fuck's sake, did you even bother to read the article?

Sectionfive
28-10-2013, 02:54 PM
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BXnqagDCIAAN0i9.jpg

Mr. Tea
28-10-2013, 04:02 PM
Now THAT's rational. To say nothing of sexy.

zhao
28-10-2013, 04:25 PM
Read the article again. At no point does it say what you clearly think it says or would like it to say, namely, "Chinese medicine is a load of old nonsense".


None of this conclusively discredits Chinese medicine, just as L. Ron Hubbard’s previous career as a science fiction author doesn’t conclusively discredit Scientology. Some aspects of Chinese medicine are undeniably effective (a prominent American authority on Chinese medicine now heads up Harvard’s program in placebo studies), and some elements of Scientology are probably sound advice.

comparing Chinese medicine to Scientology and basically saying that it is only effective as placebo... sounds very much like complete dismissal as nonsense to me.


The reason so many people take Chinese medicine seriously, at least in part, is that it was reinvented by one of the most powerful propaganda machines of all time and then consciously marketed to a West disillusioned by its own spiritual traditions.

again, he is basically saying that it should not be taken seriously.

did YOU read the article, Tea?

Mr. Tea
28-10-2013, 05:12 PM
comparing Chinese medicine to Scientology and basically saying that it is only effective as placebo... sounds very much like complete dismissal as nonsense to me.

The point he was making about Scientology is that a set of ideas don't have to be consistently valuable or consistently worthless. By all accounts Scientology includes some fairly advanced practical psychology, I mean William Burroughs of all people was a member of the CoS for a while and found their techniques very useful. That doesn't mean you have to take as gospel all the stuff about us all being possessed by the spirits of deal aliens. Similarly, acupuncture does seem to have something in it, in that people genuinely find it to be of benefit. Again, it's hard to distinguish this from a very powerful form of placebo, but from a phenomenological point of view, it works. And of course there are all sorts of herbs and whatnot used in traditional medicines in China and all around the world that have genuine medical value because of their chemical content.

But there is good reason not to take seriously the 'five elements' theory of medicine, or the kind of thinking that's leading to species being hunted to extinction because some decrepit millionaire thinks eating part of it will turn him into a sexual superman. It's based on pre-scientific ways of thinking and has been superseded by better theories (theories to which scientists and doctors from all over the world have contributed and continue to contribute).

And if a certain treatment from a certain culture is found to be no more effective than placebo in rigorous clinical trials, well I'm afraid that's just the way the cookie crumbles. Insisting Chinese medicine must work because you like the idea of it is unfortunately not a watertight argument for its effectiveness.

You've also completely ignored the bit where he talks about Chinese doctors hundreds of years ago effectively using anaesthetics, performing complex surgery and correcting old textbooks that were found to be correct. In other words, improving knowledge and moving on, no slavishly 'respecting' ancient, incorrect ideas just because they're ancient.

Ideas in medicine should be taken seriously on the basis of how effective they are for treating patients, not on how old or folkloric they are. If you think every element of ancient Chinese medicine should be taken seriously just because it's ancient and Chinese, then well...I dunno what to say.

Mr. Tea
29-10-2013, 12:51 PM
Really, it's false to distinguish between 'empirical Western medicine' and 'non-empirical Chinese medicine'. The only valuable distinction to make is between medicine that works and medicine that doesn't. There is no argument to be had over the fact that medicine based on empirical observation and study works a lot better than medicine that isn't. As the article points out, for hundreds of years Chinese doctors have been finding fault with established practices and developing new, better practices based on observations they'd made - in other words, practicing empirical medicine. Making progress precisely because they didn't hold ancient and traditional ideas in an attitude of uncritical reverence.

And on the other side, it's hardly as if Western medical thought isn't haunted by a whole load of pseudoscientific nonsense - the Wakeman MMR jab/'autism' scandal and other examples of anti-vaccine superstition, homeopathy, AIDS denialism, a non-stop drip of sensationalist bullshit about 'superfoods' and miracle vitamins, the gutter press's obsession with things that supposedly cause, prevent or 'cure' cancer...it goes on and on.

So if you want to take criticism of non-empirical medicine (which is entirely justified) as a criticism of Chinese medicine in its entirety, then go right ahead, but that's a profoundly mistaken view and, I say again, not what the article is saying.

luka
03-11-2013, 11:08 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKHUaNAxsTg
banned ted talks

luka
03-11-2013, 11:08 AM
http://www.grahamhancock.com/forum/HancockG6-TheWarOnConsciousness.php

HMGovt
03-11-2013, 10:29 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKHUaNAxsTg
banned ted talks

Good talk, he's right on some, but not all, of these. Some of the phenomena he describes aren't necessary, are ludicrous or are paranoiac. However the mind/matter problem remains profoundly insoluble for science for all sorts of wonderful reasons. I don't think anybody thinks deeper on this than Raymond Tallis, he's tricksy fucker when it comes to demonstrating the utter uniqueness and exquisite capability of any old human mind.

luka
04-11-2013, 08:33 AM
i mostly wanted to wind up mr tea. the only tallis ive heard of is gordon, responsible for greatest tackle in the history of contact sport.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_f5Rr93v_Q
i'll look into it though

Mr. Tea
04-11-2013, 11:45 AM
http://www.grahamhancock.com/forum/HancockG6-TheWarOnConsciousness.php

There's a double bind for the science mainstream with regard to 'mavericks' and cranks like Sheldrake. Do you attempt to engage them and explain why their ideas are nuts, knowing that the unreasonable are unlikely to be swayed by reason and that you run the risk of giving them a patina of legitimacy? Or do you refuse to engage them and give them the opportunity to cast themselves as the voice-from-the-wilderness telling the harsh truths that the arrogant science establishment can't handle?

This comes partly because of the stereotype of the lone genius overturning the established world view, so that a lot of non-scientists don't realize that paradigm shifts happen very rarely, perhaps a few times per century in a given discipline at most, and that the vast majority of scientific progress is accumulative, not revolutionary. So figures like Copernicus, Darwin and Einstein, despite being unrepresentative of the vast majority of scientists, have given rise to the belief that if an idea is called crazy by mainstream science, it's almost guaranteed to be correct.

Watching that video, it's kind of funny how much like a mirror-image Dawkins Sheldrake is. He starts out by mischaracterizing science in much the same way as Dawkins does religion, they even look and sound remarkably similar.

zhao
05-11-2013, 06:39 AM
There's a double bind for the science mainstream with regard to 'mavericks' and cranks like Sheldrake.

Watching that video, it's kind of funny how much like a mirror-image Dawkins Sheldrake is. He starts out by mischaracterizing science in much the same way as Dawkins does religion, they even look and sound remarkably similar.

according to you they both "mischaracterize" the subject of their critique, yet you designate use of the descriptor "crank" solely for Sheldrake, and never for Dawkins.

Good videos, thanks Luka.

what Sheldrake says is pretty much all kosher, no?

the DMT dude really does come off as a BIT of a crackpot at times but of course, i 100% stand by the gist of his message.
(and who ever doesn't is either brainwashed or dead inside)

muser
05-11-2013, 08:10 AM
i think the fact that for his critique of the science world he puts a lack of acceptance of telepathy and molecules having a "consciousness" (whatever he means by that) in his top ten list of dogmas shows he is far from kosher tbh.

muser
05-11-2013, 08:15 AM
his sentiments are like catnip for people who have taken too many psychedelics and spend all their time indoors smoking weed and browsing david icke forums.

luka
05-11-2013, 09:23 AM
im one of those people.

Mr. Tea
05-11-2013, 12:06 PM
I have to admit to a soft spot for Terry McKenna, you can read his stuff completely sober and feel your grip on material reality starting to slip away between your fingers. And you have to love anyone who comes up with something called the 'stoned ape hypothesis'.

baboon2004
05-11-2013, 12:36 PM
Watching that video, it's kind of funny how much like a mirror-image Dawkins Sheldrake is. He starts out by mischaracterizing science in much the same way as Dawkins does religion, they even look and sound remarkably similar.

In a nutshell, how does Dawkins mischaracterise religion? I've been too bored by the thought to ever read one of his books, and the sheer mindbending stupidity of his article about honey and airport security makes me realise I was right (not) to do so. However, I would be interested to know in what way he frames religion.

Mr. Tea
05-11-2013, 12:47 PM
according to you they both "mischaracterize" the subject of their critique, yet you designate use of the descriptor "crank" solely for Sheldrake, and never for Dawkins.


That's because Dawkins is not a crank per se - his problem is that of using objective facts (and ignoring others) to push an agenda based on his personal biases, rather than (as Sheldrake does) blatantly making stuff up. When Dawkins reels off a list of atrocities committed by the ancient Israelites in the name of Yahweh or a list of utterly inane 'transgressions' for which the Book of Leviticus demands the death penalty, he's just quoting what's there in black and white for anyone to read. Likewise, he's correct to point out that the development of Muslim countries is being held back by a widespread suspicion of and hostility to science, with the result that they invest in science research and teaching just a tiny fraction of that spent by non-Muslim countries. (The same point is made by Jim al-Khalili, who is an atheist but clearly not an Islamophobe.) At the same time, while he has grudgingly admits that amazing scientific achievements were made in the Muslim world in the middle ages, he fails to see or refuses to see that someone writing in the 12th century could just as well use this to argue that European culture is inherently 'backwards' compared to Islamic/Arabic-Persian culture, which at the time was true.

I think where RD goes wrong is in his insistence that religion is the root of all evil, because he's confusing cause and effect. Terry Pratchett gets it right, I think, when he says religion doesn't make people act like arseholes to each other; rather, it gives people an excuse to be arseholes, but the latent arseholeish tendency is there already. You only have to look at the history of the USSR or Cambodia for examples of indescribably monstrous regimes that were not merely secular in the way most modern liberal democracies are, but in which religion was officially suppressed and believers brutally persecuted. And while it could be argued that the personality cult that tends to form around the leaders of totalitarian regimes is a form of secular religion in itself, it nonetheless gives the lie to the idea that belief in an imaginary being is a prerequisite for human evil.

baboon2004
05-11-2013, 12:54 PM
Terry Pratchett gets it right, I think, when he says religion doesn't make people act like arseholes to each other; rather, it gives people an excuse to be arseholes, but the latent arseholeish tendency is there already. .

Clearly Pratchett is capable of using his brain - the conception that the 'Muslim world' is full of religious maniacs rather than, exactly as in the West, a fair few people bent on achieving power by the most efficacious means possible, well....it's exactly like taking David Cameron at face value when he wanks on about 'democracy' and 'freedoms' (which, if we want to characterise it like this, could be seen as the 'religion' of the west, or at least precepts that do not bear any public interrogation).

Mr. Tea
05-11-2013, 02:53 PM
Clearly Pratchett is capable of using his brain - the conception that the 'Muslim world' is full of religious maniacs rather than, exactly as in the West, a fair few people bent on achieving power by the most efficacious means possible, well...

The big asymmetry of course is that many Muslim countries have an explicitly religious basis for their legal systems, which is in general not the case for Christian countries. (Meaning countries where the majority of the population is, or historically has been, Christian - clearly there are no 'Christian' states in the sense that Iran is an Islamic state, unless you include the Vatican, I guess.)

Russia is an interesting case where the church is making a big comeback as a real social force with legal backing and is being used as a power accessory by a state-capitalist/verging-on-fascist regime. Then there's the Tea Party tendency in the USA who want to turn their country into basically a Christian version of Iran or Saudi Arabia, but thankfully haven't (yet) succeeded, although concessions made to them especially the state level are already very worrying.

Edit: and yes, Terry P may not write the kind books that get discussed in long threads on Dissensus but he knows a thing or two about human beings, that's for sure.

luka
05-11-2013, 03:01 PM
i love mckenna. im an acolyte. i think at root the psychedelic experience is a religious experience and like any religious experience it is transformative. you will never be the same again. it is impossible to be a materialist again.

Mr. Tea
05-11-2013, 03:45 PM
it is impossible to be a materialist again.

TRY ME.

luka
05-11-2013, 05:09 PM
what does that mean? i dont get the joke.

Mr. Tea
05-11-2013, 05:17 PM
what does that mean? i dont get the joke.

I've tripped on a whole bunch of stuff and am still a materialist, is what I was getting at.

zhao
05-11-2013, 08:17 PM
calcified pineal gland

HMGovt
05-11-2013, 08:59 PM
Materialism's all well and good until you encounter a single immaterial thing, like waking up in the morning and opening your eyes. What type of matter is that again?

HMGovt
05-11-2013, 09:01 PM
Materialism's all well and good until you encounter a single immaterial thing, like waking up in the morning and opening your eyes. What type of matter is that again?

In other words, get back to us when you find a material theory of mind.

Clue: there isn't one, there never will be one. QED materialism, a product of that which it is unable to explain or describe or model, is false.

Here's a big gun I'm rolling out:

The sensation of color cannot be accounted for by the physicist's objective picture of light-waves. Could the physiologist account for it, if he had fuller knowledge than he has of the processes in the retina and the nervous processes set up by them in the optical nerve bundles and in the brain? I do not think so.
Erwin Schrödinger

Mr. Tea
05-11-2013, 09:31 PM
calcified pineal gland

Pfft, that made me laugh.

luka
05-11-2013, 09:43 PM
are you shirking the challenge tea?

Mr. Tea
06-11-2013, 09:15 AM
are you shirking the challenge tea?

Tell you what, you dig up some good blotters and I'll meet you in London. It'll be a laugh.

luka
06-11-2013, 11:17 AM
i thought you were going to explain the physical nature of the mind and conciousness

Mr. Tea
06-11-2013, 11:42 AM
i thought you were going to explain the physical nature of the mind and conciousness

Oh, that. Um. Yeah, gimme a minute.

Mr. Tea
06-11-2013, 01:37 PM
Roger Penrose reckons consciousness arises from the quantum superposition of different protein configurations in structures called microtubules that are found in neurons, and that they decohere via a process involving quantum gravity. I don't think he's found any way to work this into a viable theory, however. And he's arguably one of the cleverest people alive.

luka
06-11-2013, 01:44 PM
lool!

HMGovt
06-11-2013, 01:47 PM
Roger Penrose reckons consciousness arises from the quantum superposition of different protein configurations in structures called microtubules that are found in neurons, and that they decohere via a process involving quantum gravity. I don't think he's found any way to work this into a viable theory, however. And he's arguably one of the cleverest people alive.

http://star.psy.ohio-state.edu/coglab/Pictures/miracle.gif

I used to like this theory, the old Hameroff-Penrose theory, which resulted mainly from Hameroff's observation that general anaesthetics appear to work by means of temporarily disassembling the tubulin cytoskeleton inside neurons. Consciousness was supposed to take the form of Frohlich condensation, coherent quantum states with a molecular basis, that somehow 'vanishes' or decoheres when the tubulin framework is disrupted. But all that does is postpone the question: what makes Frohlich condensation, if that's what it is, self aware, intentional with a unity of conscious experience?

So that too is bollocks. It's reasonable to assume that there is a quantum mechanical component to it though. I spat my coffee out earlier this year when researchers hesistantly suggested photosynthesis might rely on such phenomena. What, proteins being jiggled around energy states by incident photons? Really?! That's quantum mechanical? No shit.

Doh!
Study Rules Out Fröhlich Condensates in Quantum Consciousness Model
http://phys.org/news155904395.html

Mr. Tea
06-11-2013, 02:44 PM
lool!

Yeah, it looks that way, doesn't it? I think you have to bear in mind, though, that just because some phenomenon is not yet scientifically explicable, that certainly doesn't mean it is inexplicable in principle and will never be scientifically understood. I mean, everything that we now have a good explanation for was once a complete mystery.

Further, I think it's entirely plausible that some concepts will never be fully understood by humans because of the inherent limitations of our brains but that doesn't mean they couldn't be understood by rational beings with different (and perhaps greater) intellectual capabilities. You can make an analogy with perception in different numbers of dimensions. A being living in a 2-dimensional world could only ever see, at most, two sides of a square at any one time, and could not even in principle envisage how a 3-d being could see all four sides at once (though of course a sufficiently intelligent Flatlander could be convinced that this would be the case, even though he couldn't directly picture it). Similarly, I can accept that a four-dimensional being could see all six faces of a cube at once despite being fundamentally unable to picture how this would work.

So perhaps levels of consciousness work in a way comparable to dimensionality. Computers are great at performing rote calculations very, very fast but have no understanding of anything. Humans, if they choose, can understand how computers work. But maybe it takes a level of consciousness above what humans are in principle capable of to understand how human consciousness arises?

Edit:


what conciousness actually is, is kind of ambiguous really.. perhaps muddies peoples different attempts to understand it or describe how it works. I found this talk really interesting, http://worldsciencefestival.com/videos/consciousness_explored_and_explained

Well yeah, I mean the fact that it's so difficult even to come up with a definition of consciousness that people can agree on is indicative of the inherent difficulty in analyzing the human mind with no computational tool more powerful than the human mind itself. "Like a sword that cuts, but cannot cut itself - like an eye that sees, but cannot see itself", the Zenrin-Kushu puts it.

muser
06-11-2013, 02:55 PM
what conciousness actually is, is kind of ambiguous really.. perhaps muddies peoples different attempts to understand it or describe how it works. I found this talk really interesting, http://worldsciencefestival.com/videos/consciousness_explored_and_explained

Mr. Tea
06-11-2013, 03:36 PM
that doesn't mean they couldn't be understood by rational beings with different (and perhaps greater) intellectual capabilities than us.

BTW speaking as we were of psychedelics, I've certainly 'understood' or rather intuitively grasped certain concepts or modes of experience while tripping that are completely inaccessible while sober. Unless perhaps you've spent 50 years doing yoga or za-zen for 12 hours a day, I dunno. I'm pretty sure that if anyone ever does come close to producing a 'unified theory of mind', psychs will have had an important part to play in it.

Nomad was good on this kind of stuff...

HMGovt
06-11-2013, 03:50 PM
BTW speaking as we were of psychedelics, I've certainly 'understood' or rather intuitively grasped certain concepts or modes of experience while tripping that are completely inaccessible while sober.

Yes, I've had that too, did a lot of that while I was studying philosophy of mind at college. The sense that it must depend on some weird but utterly necessary inside-out topological exception or interfacing of mind and matter, but nothing you could hang a scientific theory off of. Novalis said "The seat of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world meet. Where they overlap, it is in every point of the overlap."

Mr. Tea
06-11-2013, 04:02 PM
That sounds intuitively appealing but it still doesn't convince me that the 'inner world' is anything other than an emergent phenomenon or epiphenomenon produced by the (physical) functioning of the bit of the 'outer world' that we happen to carry around in our skulls. Even if the way in which it emerges is so subtle and complex that it would take an intelligence exponentially greater than our own to really understand it in rational terms.

If this is the case, then as far as our own attempts to explain consciousness are concerned the question will remain forever open, like a statement that's formally undecidable within a certain consistent set of axioms.

sufi
07-11-2013, 02:59 PM
apologies for dragging up posts from earlier in the discussion but...
Likewise, he's correct to point out that the development of Muslim countries is being held back by a widespread suspicion of and hostility to science, with the result that they invest in science research and teaching just a tiny fraction of that spent by non-Muslim countries. (The same point is made by Jim al-Khalili, who is an atheist but clearly not an Islamophobe.) At the same time, while he has grudgingly admits that amazing scientific achievements were made in the Muslim world in the middle ages, he fails to see or refuses to see that someone writing in the 12th century could just as well use this to argue that European culture is inherently 'backwards' compared to Islamic/Arabic-Persian culture, which at the time was true.This i think is not correct, as i think structural inequalities tend to prevent poorer countries from indulging in scientific research more than any cultural preference, even if the lovely Dr Jim says otherwise.
And you can ask him this evening when he will be expounding on exactly this topic - please go along & report back! http://www.cara1933.org/events/43/science-rationalism-and-academic-freedom-in-the-arab-world-a-personal-and-historical-perspective

I think where RD goes wrong is in his insistence that religion is the root of all evil, because he's confusing cause and effect. this is correct though


The big asymmetry of course is that many Muslim countries have an explicitly religious basis for their legal systems, which is in general not the case for Christian countries. (Meaning countries where the majority of the population is, or historically has been, Christian - clearly there are no 'Christian' states in the sense that Iran is an Islamic state, unless you include the Vatican, I guess.)
the UK? the queen being the head of the state and the national religion? I don't think you'll find that countries with muslim populations are less likely to have secular systems of government or law, count them up!

Mr. Tea
07-11-2013, 06:44 PM
apologies for dragging up posts from earlier in the discussion but...This i think is not correct, as i think structural inequalities tend to prevent poorer countries from indulging in scientific research more than any cultural preference, even if the lovely Dr Jim says otherwise.

But where do these structural inequalities come from in the first place? Surely they come in large part from the culture, of which religion is an important aspect? And I don't see quite why you've substituted 'poorer countries' for 'Muslim countries' - Saudi Arabia and certain other Gulf states weren't short of a few quid the last time I looked, yet they invest virtually nothing in R&D because they can just rely on oil. In fact Uganda proportionally outspends Saudi Arabia eight times over. Look at this map:

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/GB.XPD.RSDV.GD.ZS/countries?display=map
(http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/GB.XPD.RSDV.GD.ZS/countries?display=map)


the UK? the queen being the head of the state and the national religion? I don't think you'll find that countries with muslim populations are less likely to have secular systems of government or law, count them up!

Oh come oooon, England (not the UK) may notionally have an 'official religion' but by any reasonable measure we're one of the most secularized countries in the world. I said some Muslim countries have legal systems that are explicitly based on religious law in a way that, as far as I know, few if any Christian countries do (with a caveat about recent worrying developments in Russia). Why isn't there a colour on this map for 'Christian law' in the way there is for 'Islamic law'?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/21/LegalSystemsOfTheWorldMap.png/800px-LegalSystemsOfTheWorldMap.png

Is there a country that's basically the Christian equivalent of Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan or Iran? I'll take it all back if you can provide an example.

Mr. Tea
07-11-2013, 06:53 PM
However,



And you can ask him this evening when he will be expounding on exactly this topic - please go along & report back! http://www.cara1933.org/events/43/science-rationalism-and-academic-freedom-in-the-arab-world-a-personal-and-historical-perspective


ta for the heads-up but sadly I'm not in London these days.

sufi
07-11-2013, 08:21 PM
ta for the heads-up but sadly I'm not in London these days.wish i could have gone as i'm sure it would be fascinating, although i think dr jim is a bit of a safe mouthpiece for the beeb secularist viewpoint...

sufi
07-11-2013, 08:52 PM
But where do these structural inequalities come from in the first place? Surely they come in large part from the culture, of which religion is an important aspect? And I don't see quite why you've substituted 'poorer countries' for 'Muslim countries' - Saudi Arabia and certain other Gulf states weren't short of a few quid the last time I looked, yet they invest virtually nothing in R&D because they can just rely on oil. In fact Uganda proportionally outspends Saudi Arabia eight times over. Look at this map:

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/GB.XPD.RSDV.GD.ZS/countries?display=map
(http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/GB.XPD.RSDV.GD.ZS/countries?display=map)
that's interesting, but equally shows that impoverished african, (also asian and latin american) countries that aren't mainly muslim spend less, and that's not because of their religion, it's because of them not having enough money to spend on the basics, let alone scientific R&D. When the proportion of minted countries like saudi is compared to somewhere like uganda that means that a big amount is actually getting spent - Saudi has pretty good science education, & is actually world leader is some random stuff like conjoined twins
surely you're not saying that the reason that many southern countries, (regardless of their religion), are poor, is simply down to their culture?


Oh come oooon, England (not the UK) may notionally have an 'official religion' but by any reasonable measure we're one of the most secularized countries in the world. I said some Muslim countries have legal systems that are explicitly based on religious law in a way that, as far as I know, few if any Christian countries do (with a caveat about recent worrying developments in Russia). Why isn't there a colour on this map for 'Christian law' in the way there is for 'Islamic law'?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/21/LegalSystemsOfTheWorldMap.png/800px-LegalSystemsOfTheWorldMap.png

Is there a country that's basically the Christian equivalent of Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan or Iran? I'll take it all back if you can provide an example.
ok i was being a wee bit silly there, but if you ask an iranian whether uk is a christian country, they will give the same misinformed response, based on that slim evidence, that you're coming up with on saudi - which is a monarchy, run by the royals who style themselves defenders of the faith, just as the brits do.
I think that religion, or at least an ethics based on understandings historically derived from whatever religion, is fairly fundamental to most legal systems, west or elsewhere.
So as for why the map has not got "christian legal system" on it, that's a case in point; it's cos it was (presumably) done by a xtian - wikipedia is chronically blind to it's own lack of conciousness of such matters (cf their culturally insensitive treatment to complaints about putting up pictures of the prophet). What you call 'the legal system' a non-christian would call 'the christian legal system'.

Sorry if that all sounds a bit patronising, but i expect a high level of ideological sophistication from you, Tea!!

Anyhow, I had been considering starting up a thread on 'stuff science can't explain' for a while, & this one was nicely heading in that direction, so apologies to divert from that interesting convo with this culture warrior stuff that has been fairly well rinsed on many other threads...

Mr. Tea
07-11-2013, 11:17 PM
surely you're not saying that the reason that many southern countries, (regardless of their religion), are poor, is simply down to their culture?


Well it's part of it, isn't it? If you have a culture where education for boys consists mainly of studying religious scripture and for girls is non-existent, that's not very conducive to having a developed economy. What chance does a young would-be scientist, doctor or engineer stand in a part of Nigeria that's under the influence of Boko Haram ("Western knowledge is forbidden")?

luka
08-11-2013, 09:57 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilPn8hVmjCM

Mr. Tea
08-11-2013, 10:02 AM
ok i was being a wee bit silly there, but if you ask an iranian whether uk is a christian country, they will give the same misinformed response, based on that slim evidence, that you're coming up with on saudi - which is a monarchy, run by the royals who style themselves defenders of the faith, just as the brits do.

Alright, the UK is of course a culturally Christian country. More people celebrate Christmas than Eid, yadda yadda. But when was the last time someone in Britain was prosecuted for blasphemy? Yes there are bishops in the House of Lords they have rather less sway over how laws are made than the ayatollahs in the Guardian Council. I think you're well aware that you're arguing from false equivalence for the sake of having an argument, if you're totally honest with yourself.

(Although it's interesting - several Iranians have told me that most of the people they know back home aren't any more religious than the average English person; it's the regime, rather than the populace at large, that's religious. But I expect it's the usual case of educated people in cities becoming secular while faith remains more important out in the country. The Church of England these days is an almost exclusively rural/small-town phenomenon.)


I think that religion, or at least an ethics based on understandings historically derived from whatever religion, is fairly fundamental to most legal systems, west or elsewhere.
So as for why the map has not got "christian legal system" on it, that's a case in point; it's cos it was (presumably) done by a xtian - wikipedia is chronically blind to it's own lack of conciousness of such matters (cf their culturally insensitive treatment to complaints about putting up pictures of the prophet). What you call 'the legal system' a non-christian would call 'the christian legal system'.

I can see where you're coming from but I think there's a big question of timescale here. Laws were once explicitly based on Christian teachings, sure, and there were laws that stipulated the subordination of women to men, that forbade blasphemy, banned non-Christians (or the wrong sort of Christians) from holding certain positions and so on. And over the centuries those laws have gradually changed from reflecting Christian values to being based on universal humanitarian ideals. A Muslim might call the laws of the UK 'Christian laws' because it's a (traditionally, culturally) Christian culture and because practicing Christians form the largest religious minority, but that doesn't make it true.


Anyhow, I had been considering starting up a thread on 'stuff science can't explain' for a while, & this one was nicely heading in that direction, so apologies to divert from that interesting convo with this culture warrior stuff that has been fairly well rinsed on many other threads...

OK, point taken, but to me the statement that religion plays no greater part in the legal system of majority-Muslim countries as a whole than it does in majority-(culturally)-Christian countries as a whole is so patently untrue that it can't go unchallenged in a discussion about religion, reason and culture.

Mr. Tea
08-11-2013, 10:04 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilPn8hVmjCM

Finally, the voice of reason.