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Bloggingheads 09-24-2010 11:29 PM

Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 

I'm SO awesome! 09-25-2010 12:51 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
culture can be a selective pressure on the genome. what if we're actually selecting for increased violence?
anyway, this issue is just so broad. you could raise several questions that Bob did: people's personalities are largely genetic; why only examine chimps' behavior when our genome has portions in common with many other older species?; given all of the archeological and historical data about cannibalism and constant warfare amongst humans why try to deny it?; you could be even more correct by saying war is simply a capability of humans but not an inevitability....etc. anyway, I'm not sure of the point of arguing that a behavior like war could even possibly be purely "cultural" when the genome is what creates culture in the first place. John needs to remind himself that all underlying personality characteristics are genetic. just thinking out loud....i guess my main point would be that i would say it's nearly impossible that warfare, not only among chimps but all species that contributed to our genome, has had a zero or a neutral selection pressure on our genome. it's just extremely unlikely.
finally, I'd strongly recommend watching David Attenborough's doc where tribes of monkeys are battling. you really don't need to see any more than that to make up your mind.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdvezGS8ohY#t=3m58s
if you watch all 6 parts you may be tilted to one side of this debate;)

re: buddhism
there's pretty good data backing up the benefits of meditation as far as combating stress and improving attention span but, really, you can do that any number of ways. i'd say it's the least bad of the major religions but, all in all, it's just a SWPL magnet and they just don't want to admit it. it's an activity that attracts a "certain" type of person. Sorry, Bob, the highest IQ humans just smile at people when they hear about religion or spirituality of any sort. and rightfully so...

Baltimoron 09-25-2010 01:00 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Horgan at first criticizes Rousseau for a caricature primarily foisted upon him by Voltaire, and then argues he can't find examples of warfare in the archeological record. Firstly, Rousseau doesn't argue that humans were peaceful, rather that they were indifferent and solitary. Secondly, it doesn't matter, because the rise of social living ended that behavior. Rousseau isn't making an empirical argument. He's creating a logical distinction between the group and the individual, in the way Rawls posited the "veil of ignorance". Horgan would have been fairer to Rousseau if he had argued that the lack of archeological evidence for warfare proves Rousseau's point, but still misrepresent him.

uncle ebeneezer 09-25-2010 02:11 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Haven't watched this yet, but when I read Carl Zimmer (or was it PZ Myer's) piece on George Williams, I though "wow, I hope bhtv does a segment on this fascinating guy." So just a quick kudos to John and Bob for granting said wish. Regular Aladdins you are, both!

Wonderment 09-25-2010 02:54 AM

Pessimism and peace
 
John goes to great pains to “clear the brush” on the accuracy of reports of chimpanzee coalitional violence. Perhaps just to set the scientific record straight, but he also seems to believe that optimism per se is peaceful.

I fail to understand why pessimism (or what Wrangham would call realism) about the possibility of war is an impediment to aspiring to or achieving peace.

I suppose the reasoning is that if people believe in the inevitability of the sword then they will live and die by it, and that people unmotivated by the prospect of successful outcomes will plunge into inertia and despair. (John also talks about a self-fulfilling prophecy mechanism.)

But I find that pessimism can be a sobering motivator and that optimism about peace may lead to a stupor of complacency.

I am extremely pessimistic, for example, about the possibilities for peace in the Middle East, but I’m actually motivated to work harder because it’s such a long shot, because I understand how high the stakes are, and because peacemaking is so difficult and daunting.

Ocean 09-25-2010 10:11 AM

Re: Pessimism and peace
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 180794)
John goes to great pains to “clear the brush” on the accuracy of reports of chimpanzee coalitional violence. Perhaps just to set the scientific record straight, but he also seems to believe that optimism per se is peaceful.

I fail to understand why pessimism (or what Wrangham would call realism) about the possibility of war is an impediment to aspiring to or achieving peace.

I suppose the reasoning is that if people believe in the inevitability of the sword then they will live and die by it, and that people unmotivated by the prospect of successful outcomes will plunge into inertia and despair. (John also talks about a self-fulfilling prophecy mechanism.)

But I find that pessimism can be a sobering motivator and that optimism about peace may lead to a stupor of complacency.

I am extremely pessimistic, for example, about the possibilities for peace in the Middle East, but I’m actually motivated to work harder because it’s such a long shot, because I understand how high the stakes are, and because peacemaking is so difficult and daunting.

It's all about degree of optimism and pessimism and some personality features interacting. If someone is 100% optimistic, he may fall in complacency (and inaction) because, the idea is that everything will be fine no matter what. If someone is 100% pessimistic, he may fall in despair (and inaction) because no matter what he does, the outcome will be bad. So there has to be a point in between those that is optimal as a motivator. And that will depend heavily on individual personality traits. Some people only get mobilized when there's a threat. Others get energized when they see the possibility of a better future.

In terms of our species becoming less bellicose, the way it works for me, for example, is that I see progress away from violence and towards peace and a fairer balance with others and our environment. I recognize that the progress isn't steady or homogeneous, but the possibility of continuing to make progress in that direction seems to be a powerful motivator. And indeed, by adopting principles of peace you set the expectations and the path to follow. It's the whole idea of the soft version of positive thinking/ self fulfilling prophesy. The way you position yourself is going to be different if the expected final outcome is peace as compared to ongoing eternal war.

badhatharry 09-25-2010 11:12 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
1) I am, as was URL="http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=180794#post180794"]]wonderment[/URL], troubled by the use of the terms 'pessimism' and 'optimism' in reference to the inevitability of war. It would seem that pessimism may be some kind of deterrent to war, just as the nuclear bomb is/was. This may be somewhat akin to the tragic view.

2) War is inevitable and so is peace.

3) We're seeing the end of classic international war, but we need to be looking out for those pesky non-state actors. Oh! for the good old days when people wore uniforms.

harkin 09-25-2010 11:45 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry
We're seeing the end of classic international war, but we need to be looking out for those pesky non-state actors.

Partially agree -large-scale country-vs-country war is at a fairly low point but every previous prediction that war was obsolete was wrong. And I would not call terrorists 'non-state' when they share the common goal of a one-state world religious subjugation (or death).

The inevitability of war also will be aided and abetted by the appeasers who will excuse irrational behavior (communism, radical islam, Palestinian missles, eco-warriors etc) when the perps partially share their ideology (anti-US). It's like earthquakes, little quakes release pressure and prolong the interval between 'big one's. Suspending free speech (critiques of Islam, printing of cartoons etc) is in reality only allowing the pressure to grow, enabling those who threaten to become more empowered.

Cede the Sudetenland, prohibit koran burning and pictures of Muhammed, different sides of the same coin.

badhatharry 09-25-2010 11:58 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Quoting harkin: The inevitability of war also will be aided and abetted by the appeasers who will excuse irrational behavior (communism, radical islam, Palestinian missles, eco-warriors etc) when the perps partially share their ideology (anti-US). It's like earthquakes, little quakes release pressure and prolong the interval between 'big one's. Suspending free speech (critiques of Islam, printing of cartoons etc) is in reality only allowing the pressure to grow, enabling those who threaten to become more empowered.
I think I disagree. The word inevitable, as I am using it, means just that. No matter what actions are taken, appeasement, aggression or balance of power tactics...war will eventually take place. Try as we might, we can't really ascribe war to any particular set of actions as in "WWII came about because of the Treaty of Versailles."...."Al Queda attacked the US because of its presence in the Middle East".

These are just attempts, after the fact, to provide some rationality to the tragedy that humans will always find reasons to war with each other. Those reasons are too complex, IMHO, to be able to plan for or eliminate. But I agree that the best offense is a good defense.

And, BTW, the burning of the Koran was not prohibited, thankfully.

Ocean 09-25-2010 01:37 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
I think that Bob and John referred to the "happiest man" when they talked about meditation and Buddhism. Here is a talk by the "Happiest himself"*, and an article about him.

* not to be confused with Florian. Not all French are alike, some dress more normally. ;)

ohreally 09-25-2010 01:39 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
To correct some common misconceptions about the "end of war" in Europe, this has nothing to do with globalization, economic ties, better knowing each other, etc. Europe before WWI was every bit as "globalized" as it is now. European elites knew each other just as much as they do now.

Making war in Europe impossible was a political decision. The reason for creating the European Coal and Steel Community (which led to what is now the EU) was first and foremost to end war and ensure "eternal peace." This was stated explicitly at the outset and repeated ad nauseam by Monnet, Schuman and the Franco-German voices behind the move.

It worked because Europeans were ready for it. But it required political will (a great deal of it in fact). It was a highly contingent historical development, which does not point to any universal law (besides the obvious "when people are tired of war they stop fighting wars, etc").

Mansour is hardly the first one to make the comparison with 1910. Of course the 50 years preceding 1910 saw vastly fewer war deaths than did the 50 years preceding 2010, but the analogy is essentially sound and it seriously undermines Wright's reasoning.

propagandhi 09-25-2010 02:07 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Premier secular Buddhist Sam Harris: Killing the Buddha

Simon Willard 09-25-2010 02:27 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Bob explains why he diavlogs with John Horgan.

ohreally 09-25-2010 02:35 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by I'm SO awesome! (Post 180788)
Sorry, Bob, the highest IQ humans just smile at people when they hear about religion or spirituality of any sort. and rightfully so...

Well, if the high IQ folks say so, then that settles that.

ohreally 09-25-2010 02:40 PM

Re: Pessimism and peace
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 180794)
I fail to understand why pessimism (or what Wrangham would call realism) about the possibility of war is an impediment to aspiring to or achieving peace.


"Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will."

(Nothing like a little Marxist wisdom on a saturday morning.)

cragger 09-25-2010 02:41 PM

Re: Pessimism and peace
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 180809)
It's all about degree of optimism and pessimism and some personality features interacting. If someone is 100% optimistic, he may fall in complacency (and inaction) because, the idea is that everything will be fine no matter what. If someone is 100% pessimistic, he may fall in despair (and inaction) because no matter what he does, the outcome will be bad. So there has to be a point in between those that is optimal as a motivator. And that will depend heavily on individual personality traits. Some people only get mobilized when there's a threat. Others get energized when they see the possibility of a better future.

The first bit here seems a bit reminiscent of the Laffler curve - having two endpoints tells us not much about what the curve is really like between, though you of course don't go on to try to say the curve implies all sorts of things like the Laffies do. Anyhow, I suspect that while optimism to seek a better future and pessimism that might lead one to work to avoid a worse future can and do both motivate people, it seems likely that human bias toward loss avoidance means the latter impulse tends to be stronger. Of course, neither motivating impulse necessarily means that we take such actions as would actually improve future conditions. History tells us that deteriorating conditions and the fear of things getting worse can also lead to circling the wagons around the in-group, scapegoating others for problems, and so on.

Well, I'm quite the little ray of sunshine here. Time to go outside and get a refill.

Ocean 09-25-2010 02:58 PM

Re: Pessimism and peace
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cragger (Post 180844)
Anyhow, I suspect that while optimism to seek a better future and pessimism that might lead one to work to avoid a worse future can and do both motivate people, it seems likely that human bias toward loss avoidance means the latter impulse tends to be stronger.

Loss avoidance has a lower threshold and therefore more people are going to respond to it. That's why fear is so powerful in motivating people (for war or for other political gains). Motivation to improve and proactivity motivate fewer people. However, I suppose that's the kind of motivation that moves our civilization forward in all aspects of cultural political development and intellectual advancement.

Quote:

Of course, neither motivating impulse necessarily means that we take such actions as would actually improve future conditions. History tells us that deteriorating conditions and the fear of things getting worse can also lead to circling the wagons around the in-group, scapegoating others for problems, and so on.
I suspect those are the mechanisms that operate when people feel powerless.

Quote:

Well, I'm quite the little ray of sunshine here. Time to go outside and get a refill.
Good idea. At least here in NJ it's been ongoing summer. A walk in the beach is in order!

Ocean 09-25-2010 05:08 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by propagandhi (Post 180834)

Nice article. Talking about Buddhism creates a lot of confusion. Many people refer to it as a meditative practice without any religious component. Others follow it as a religion. Somewhere in between 'spirituality' enters the scene. Add a component of emergent moral and cognitive capacity and the topic is in total chaos.

If people decided what they want to find in it, it would be easier to follow a certain path without the need to make it more complicated with labels.

SkepticDoc 09-25-2010 09:57 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
My Apollo diavlog with Alworth was a predominantly secular discussion, we specifically covered the issue that it can be an atheist practice.

If Mr. Horgan were to even glance at the multiple URL links I posted, he would gain a better understanding of Buddhism and personal/medical applications without even spending time listening to well intentioned amateur diavloggers.

Who knows, if he even tried to practice mindfulness meditation, it could help him sleep without the use of antihistaminics...

Maybe if Mr. Horgan just visited http://www.chademeng.com/ ,

read Meng's Huffington post articles http://www.huffingtonpost.com/searchS/?q=chade+meng

or watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nwwKbM_vJc ,

he would gain a better understanding.

Ocean 09-25-2010 10:36 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SkepticDoc (Post 180870)
My Apollo diavlog with Alworth was a predominantly secular discussion, we specifically covered the issue that it can be an atheist practice.

If Mr. Horgan were to even glance at the multiple URL links I posted, he would gain a better understanding of Buddhism and personal/medical applications without even spending time listening to well intentioned amateur diavloggers.

Who knows, if he even tried to practice mindfulness meditation, it could help him sleep without the use of antihistaminics...

Maybe if Mr. Horgan just visited http://www.chademeng.com/ ,

read Meng's Huffington post articles http://www.huffingtonpost.com/searchS/?q=chade+meng

or watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nwwKbM_vJc ,

he would gain a better understanding.

Whoa! Some hurt feelings over there?

I don't think the issue is about not knowing that meditation is a practice that's separate from any religious connotations it carries. Not everybody likes meditation. That's why it's important for people to have an idea of what they're looking for when they start trying meditation, don't you think?

I haven't looked at the above links yet. Thanks.

Baltimoron 09-26-2010 06:51 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Footnote 17 of this Wikipedia entry on "Meditation" is very interesting.

Disclaimer: My wife is a Buddhist, and I cannot distinguish her behavior from mine. We were raised in two*different reputable religions.

SkepticDoc 09-26-2010 06:54 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
The only people that should not try meditation are Psychotics...:)

I recently heard a lecture by John Shook, a leading secular humanist ( http://shook.pragmatism.org/ ) and directly asked him if there was any conflict with Secular Buddhism and he responded that as long as we don't believe in "Supernatural" forces or agents it is OK.

We have plenty of "Jewish Atheists" in our communities and nobody raises any eyebrows, why should "Secular Buddhists" be treated any different?

Ocean 09-26-2010 10:09 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SkepticDoc (Post 180889)
The only people that should not try meditation are Psychotics...:)

I recently heard a lecture by John Shook, a leading secular humanist ( http://shook.pragmatism.org/ ) and directly asked him if there was any conflict with Secular Buddhism and he responded that as long as we don't believe in "Supernatural" forces or agents it is OK.

We have plenty of "Jewish Atheists" in our communities and nobody raises any eyebrows, why should "Secular Buddhists" be treated any different?

Jewish Atheist are people who have Jewish ancestry and belong to Jewish culture, but are Atheists. I can imagine that there are many people of Buddhist ancestry and culture, that are atheist too. So far, those two concepts are equivalent.

When people who don't have a cultural background of Buddhism, decide to adopt meditative practices that are common in Buddhism, but they are not going to adopt the religious aspects of Buddhism, perhaps it would be better to call it something else. I think that there's also a Buddhist philosophy of sorts, and that's another factor in the mix.

The main reason to separate those ideas would be to avoid confusion, mainly for those who usually don't get too deep in making those distinctions and get tangled up with the terminology.

Ocean 09-26-2010 10:13 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baltimoron (Post 180888)
Footnote 17 of this Wikipedia entry on "Meditation" is very interesting.

Disclaimer: My wife is a Buddhist, and I cannot distinguish her behavior from mine. We were raised in two*different reputable religions.

Yes, it seems very interesting. I wonder whether we could have someone come in and talk about the Baldwin effect. Is it similar to inherited meta-abilities?

DenvilleSteve 09-26-2010 11:13 AM

I say the world is about to explode, they say peace in our time
 
In the parts I listened I heard both John and Bob saying, what, the world is getting more peaceful? Where do they come up with this stuff? People fight over land and resources. They fight to survive. I am sure in hunter gatherer times there was a limited amount of territory which could sustain a large population. Possibly you had to control a river or other locations where there was fresh water.

The population of the world is booming. At the same time, the resources of the world which sustain a modern lifestyle are being depleted and becoming scarce. Have we all heard of "rare earth minerals" lately? My prediction is water shortages are going to be the spark that causes the next crop of wars.

Totally nuts for the US to be allowing so many immigrants into the country what with the coming age of resource shortages.

taxman10m 09-26-2010 12:40 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Cool video:
http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/life...ops-clash.html

SkepticDoc 09-26-2010 12:45 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 180891)
... perhaps it would be better to call it something else...

Would you accept Mindfulness, the first word in one of the Apollo diavlogs...? :)

Meditation is the central practice of Buddhism, according to the basic story of Siddhartha, the Sangha is the cultural/religious institution for Buddhists. There is no Buddhism without meditation IMHO.

When you consider the non-violent precepts, Bob's use of the word "Buddhism" is perfect in the context of their discussion

DenvilleSteve 09-26-2010 01:32 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by taxman10m (Post 180923)

I wonder why baboons did not evolve the intelligense to make and use weapons to use with their hands to beat the heck out of other baboons?

taxman10m 09-26-2010 02:01 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve (Post 180939)
I wonder why baboons did not evolve the intelligense to make and use weapons to use with their hands to beat the heck out of other baboons?

Looking at that video, the intent of the baboons seems to be to only harm other baboons. Introducing a weapon makes it more likely to kill or cause serious harm. So maybe it's actually a disadvantage for the group as a whole to use weapons?

Ocean 09-26-2010 03:14 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SkepticDoc (Post 180925)
Would you accept Mindfulness, the first word in one of the Apollo diavlogs...? :)

Meditation is the central practice of Buddhism, according to the basic story of Siddhartha, the Sangha is the cultural/religious institution for Buddhists. There is no Buddhism without meditation IMHO.

When you consider the non-violent precepts, Bob's use of the word "Buddhism" is perfect in the context of their discussion


Okay.

look 09-26-2010 03:45 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by I'm SO awesome! (Post 180788)
culture can be a selective pressure on the genome. what if we're actually selecting for increased violence?
anyway, this issue is just so broad. you could raise several questions that Bob did: people's personalities are largely genetic; why only examine chimps' behavior when our genome has portions in common with many other older species?; given all of the archeological and historical data about cannibalism and constant warfare amongst humans why try to deny it?; you could be even more correct by saying war is simply a capability of humans but not an inevitability....etc. anyway, I'm not sure of the point of arguing that a behavior like war could even possibly be purely "cultural" when the genome is what creates culture in the first place. John needs to remind himself that all underlying personality characteristics are genetic. just thinking out loud....i guess my main point would be that i would say it's nearly impossible that warfare, not only among chimps but all species that contributed to our genome, has had a zero or a neutral selection pressure on our genome. it's just extremely unlikely.
finally, I'd strongly recommend watching David Attenborough's doc where tribes of monkeys are battling. you really don't need to see any more than that to make up your mind.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdvezGS8ohY#t=3m58s
if you watch all 6 parts you may be tilted to one side of this debate;)

re: buddhism
there's pretty good data backing up the benefits of meditation as far as combating stress and improving attention span but, really, you can do that any number of ways. i'd say it's the least bad of the major religions but, all in all, it's just a SWPL magnet and they just don't want to admit it. it's an activity that attracts a "certain" type of person. Sorry, Bob, the highest IQ humans just smile at people when they hear about religion or spirituality of any sort. and rightfully so...

We very well may be what with all the violent video games, movies, reality shows that play on cutthroat tactics, violent hip-hop/rap lyrics being lauded, etc.

look 09-26-2010 03:49 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baltimoron (Post 180888)
Footnote 17 of this Wikipedia entry on "Meditation" is very interesting.

Disclaimer: My wife is a Buddhist, and I cannot distinguish her behavior from mine. We were raised in two*different reputable religions.

Quote:

^ Matt J. Rossano (2007). "Did meditating make us human?". Cambridge Archaeological Journal (Cambridge University Press) 17 (1): 47–58. doi:10.1017/S0959774307000054. This paper draws on various lines of evidence to argue that "Campfire rituals of focused attention created Baldwinian selection for enhanced working memory among our Homo sapiens ancestors.... this emergence was [in part] caused by a fortuitous genetic mutation that enhanced working memory capacity [and] a Baldwinian process where genetic adaptation follows somatic adaptation was the mechanism for this emergence" (p. 47).
That is a fascinating thought.

bkjazfan 09-26-2010 08:20 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
8 shot, 3 stabbed, 1 dead at a Saturday night Los Angeles house party.

John

Ocean 09-26-2010 08:26 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bkjazfan (Post 180996)
8 shot, 3 stabbed, 1 dead at a Saturday night Los Angeles house party.

John

I'm sure there were many more people who were just enjoying the evening peacefully at home. Looking at the bright side...

bkjazfan 09-26-2010 09:14 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 180997)
I'm sure there were many more people who were just enjoying the evening peacefully at home. Looking at the bright side...

Agree, I was out last night and had a nice time. The talk about no more wars got me thinking of all these little "conflicts" for lack of a better term that are happening. Where I live there are these gang drive by shootings that go on seemingly on a weekly basis.

John

Ocean 09-26-2010 09:19 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bkjazfan (Post 181005)
Agree, I was out last night and had a nice time. The talk about no more wars got me thinking of all these little "conflicts" for lack of a better term that are happening.

John

Yes, I interpreted it that way. I just wanted to give a sense of perspective. Although there's still plenty of violence going around, it is still a minority of people that engage in it, while most people do not. Being intoxicated doesn't help either.

bkjazfan 09-26-2010 09:25 PM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 181006)
Yes, I interpreted it that way. I just wanted to give a sense of perspective. Although there's still plenty of violence going around, it is still a minority of people that engage in it, while most people do not. Being intoxicated doesn't help either.

I appreciate that. It brings to mind the quote by the Paul Newman character in the movie "Absense of Malice": "It's the news isn't it."

John

grits-n-gravy 09-27-2010 02:32 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/311...9:01&out=39:26

Now who would've thought that John's entire journalistic and/or intellectual project boils down to:

http://photoshopcontest.com/images/f...uz1c7sw1pv.jpg

Markos 09-27-2010 05:21 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
It seems like World War II was extremely beneficial to the United States. It got us out of the Depression and brought us an era of unprecedented prosperity.

Not that I'm a proponent of war - I'm not at all - but John's point about war not being beneficial to anyone does seem to be false.

Florian 09-27-2010 05:33 AM

Re: Science Saturday: War of the Doves (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baltimoron (Post 180789)
Horgan at first criticizes Rousseau for a caricature primarily foisted upon him by Voltaire, and then argues he can't find examples of warfare in the archeological record. Firstly, Rousseau doesn't argue that humans were peaceful, rather that they were indifferent and solitary. Secondly, it doesn't matter, because the rise of social living ended that behavior. Rousseau isn't making an empirical argument. He's creating a logical distinction between the group and the individual, in the way Rawls posited the "veil of ignorance". Horgan would have been fairer to Rousseau if he had argued that the lack of archeological evidence for warfare proves Rousseau's point, but still misrepresent him.

Excellent point Baltimoron. "Rousseau's "myth of the noble savage" is itself a myth. First of all, because Rousseau never used the word "noble" to characterize man in the state of nature; second, because, as you say, the state of nature is a logical construction, a thought-experiment. Rousseau only says that man is innately "bon," good in the sense that he has no desire to inflict gratuitous harm on other members of his species as long as his amour de soi (self-love) is not in conflict with his "amour-propre" (pride, self-esteem). That conflict, however, can only arise in society or civilisation.

I would add that the terms of this whole discussion---nature (innate) vs. culture (acquired)--suffers from a long-standing conceptual confusion between innate and instinctive. Something can be innate without being instinctive, i.e. immutable. We innately love ourselves and seek our own good, but what appears good to us and makes us happy can obviously change and obviously has changed in the course of history. Likewise, self-love need not involve pride (rivalry and aggression), but, as we all know, it almost inevitably does.


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