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  #41  
Old 10-25-2008, 10:21 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Tolerance is not the same as Relativism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
I posted this before: [...]

Is that what you are talking about?
It catches some of the same spirit, yes.
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  #42  
Old 10-25-2008, 10:41 PM
SkepticDoc SkepticDoc is offline
 
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Default Birth Rates

I think both George and John fell into some logical traps/fallacies.

Birth rates are multifactorial, the USA birth rate after WWII had nothing to do with genes or the environment, but plenty with society and the optimism after a glorious military victory.

The declining birth rates in Japan and Western societies have more to do with education of the females and their pursuit of intellectual endeavors, not scarcity of resources.

I have heard that the birth rates among Muslims is among the highest, and other religious groups Christian and Non, also are high, some have dared to correlate religious fervor/fanaticism!
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  #43  
Old 10-25-2008, 11:41 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: No Utopias

Quote:
There's an enormous difference, in my opinion, between individuals deciding whether to produce 0, 1, 2 or 3 children; individuals intentionally producing as many children as possible; and individuals producing children with no form of planning whatsoever.
KS, you are sowing confusion again, as is your wont. Are you saying that even though every weed is a blessing, you do look with disfavor on the latter categories of people?

The discussion of weeds brings to mind this quote:
Quote:
“I know there is wilde love and joy enough in the world, as there is wilde Thyme and other herbes, but we would have garden love and garden joy, of Gods owne planting.”
- Rev. Thomas Hooker (1586 – 1647)
It seems to me the old Puritan favors family planning.
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  #44  
Old 10-25-2008, 11:54 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

Balderdash. There aren't two world views at all. Each of us is complex and multi-dimensional. We are born with a desire to look for simplification, so we have a tendency to try to collapse our many dimensions of comlexity onto a single dimension (lib/con). This is amplified in the US by the very sensible two-party tradition (sensible because it forces majority rule). But we should not let this simplification obscure our understanding of human nature.
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  #45  
Old 10-25-2008, 11:55 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

Wait a minute, Simon. Either you're with us or you're against us.

;^)
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  #46  
Old 10-25-2008, 11:56 PM
Ray Ray is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

Quote:
Originally Posted by fedorovingtonboop View Post
uh...what? when people use the word "patriotism" today they do not in any way mean "traitor."
Jesus.

That's not what I'm saying, so quit playing obtuse.

The word 'patriot' in American parlance does not have to do necessarily with nationalism or national pride.

It can also mean "someone who places adherence to an ideal above allegiance to his country".

The point is that there is a tradition of American Patriotism that runs directly counter to the commonplace notion of patriotism.

Let try another example to see if we can get this through your knobby skull.

There's a famous toast written by crazy American sailor Stephen Decatur: "Our country. In her intercourse with other nations may she always be right. But our country, right or wrong."

That's the patriotism you're thinking of, the kind you've been imprinted with to the extent that it's now exceedingly difficult to get across to you the idea that words can have more than one meaning.

But they can! And one of the other meanings of the word 'patriotism', especially in the American context, values republicanism (among other things) above national pride or fealty.

I know it will be hard for you to work your way through this complex reality of polysemic words, but it'll be worth it in the end. Good luck!
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  #47  
Old 10-25-2008, 11:58 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Wait a minute, Simon. Either you're with us or you're against us.

;^)
And which one exactly is the axis of evil?
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  #48  
Old 10-26-2008, 12:37 AM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default Re: Tolerance is not the same as Relativism

Hi Brendan,
I'm not really clear how your reply applies to the way I intended to use the word "tolerance". What I meant to do was to define tolerance as the refusal to use coercion to change people's minds, even when their views are wrong (or when we think they are wrong). Liberal tolerance (as opposed to mushy relativist "tolerance", which not really tolerance at all) allows the use of force to prevent actions harmful to others (including violations of their liberty). This seems to be an entirely consistent standard, something that the liberal can perfectly well apply to himself. If illiberal types try to coerce others into sharing their views, the liberal can stop them quite consistently, without stepping over the line and trying to coerce them into changing their beliefs. Their intolerance in no way requires that he step over his own line and try to force them to share his views on the matter at hand.
The tolerant person does not say "everybody is right" (someone who says that doesn't think there's really anything to tolerate). He's the person who refuses to use coercive means to get others to agree with the "right" views and who refuses to allow others to use such coercive means. Such a person rests his case on evidence and argument and the marketplace of ideas -- his case for everything, including his case for tolerance. And such a person also defends the marketplace of ideas from those who would try to bring coercion into it.
He is willing to use coercion to prevent others from forcing their views on other people, but that doesn't violate the principle of toleration. And there is no contradiction or inconsistency in that.
Tolerance is not the refusal to use any coercion ever for any purpose; it is just a strict limitation on the legitimate function of coercion. At a minimum it requires some better reason for coercing someone than that his belief is wrong. The tolerant person will tolerate those who believe that this is a legitimate reason for coercion -- up to the point where this person actually starts coercing someone else on this basis. But that doesn't mean that he doesn't try to change this illiberal person's mind by evidence and argument. Toleration is NOT the "polite" attempt to shut down debate; it's what creates the space for rational debate.

Last edited by Bloggin' Noggin; 10-26-2008 at 12:48 AM..
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  #49  
Old 10-26-2008, 01:25 AM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

I have met the enemy, and he is, uh, partly me.
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  #50  
Old 10-26-2008, 01:44 AM
thwood3 thwood3 is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

John, I'm at the point in the diavlog where you are expressing upset that haidt asks liberals to be the understanding ones in trying to reach some kind of consensus w/ conservatives. I don't think haidt really means that liberals have to give up their own values. I think what he mostly means is to understand what you are dealing with here. Conservatives simply aren't going to find liberal values salient. Haidt is giving you the capacity to at least understand conservatives from their own perspective. Now the question is, what can we do with this knowledge? People like Dan Kahan at the cultural cognition program at Yale is working on the same sort of things trying to figure out common ground where both sides can be happy. THere is some overlap or at least areas where the compromises are not too egregious.

Haidt shows us that we really are different. I think it probably comes down to very basic social neuroscience differences. Conservatives tend to be dispositionalists and liberals situationists. The liberal theory of mind seems to have a more accessible meta-level where one can jump outside of the immediate reaction to another as a friend of foe and look at her as a nexus of situational forces. Why are conservatives so dispositional? Perhaps its as basic as a genetic or very early developmental difference. I think conservatives they have a different theory of mind that finds personal responsibility extremely salient and situational explanations much less so.

In any case, don't sell haidt short. After you've played around with the ideas for a while you may start to realize that a lot of very mysterious conservative behavior can be explained. Theory of mind is an odd thing in the first place. How in the world do we know from a very early age that people are intentional beings? Is it such a stretch that perhaps people could develop two different kinds of theory of mind?--one which optimizes group cohesion and another that is much more exploratory and curious? Liberals tend to be very "open to experience" and conservatives, not open to experience. What accounts for such basic differences? They seem very, very basic. I don't think its a stretch to think that haidt has identified two endophenotypes. Some cultural anthropologist, Douglas(?) Wildofsky identified the same dichotomy. And there are many other people working on very similar models like Dan Kahan at Yale and John Hanson at Harvard. You've probably seen his blog The Situationist. John Jost at NYU also...

Anyway, I was getting frustrated with the naysaying. Not suggesting that you accept everything at first blush but Haidt has put a lot of work into this model and you've just begun to think about it. Haidt's done cross cultural work too in developing his theory. I don't think its pop psychology. That really is dismissive, you know.

Anyways, keep the diavlogs coming, and see if haidt's schema doesn't start to seep into your experience. I'm the lone liberal in a family of 5 so I have a lifetime of arguments to draw on and this schema is the only thing that makes sense the disagreements. I used to think they were all bat sh*t crazy. Now I know they are just captured by some wacky way of thinking about other people, victims you might say. I've even tried to share Haidt's theory with them... It gets chalked up to bad liberal thinking.

And, oh yeah, you say that haidt makes liberals come off looking like the good guys. That's because you are a liberal too! Conservatives would look at values one and two and proclaim us liberals naive and sappy!

Tom

Last edited by thwood3; 10-26-2008 at 01:56 AM..
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  #51  
Old 10-26-2008, 01:53 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Tolerance is not the same as Relativism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloggin' Noggin View Post
Hi Brendan,
I'm not really clear how your reply applies to the way I intended to use the word "tolerance". What I meant to do was to define tolerance as the refusal to use coercion to change people's minds, even when their views are wrong (or when we think they are wrong). [...]
Okay, I see the distinction. Curses. Foiled by polysemy again.

(Thanks for the new word, Ray!)
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  #52  
Old 10-26-2008, 01:56 AM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: A Drop of Rosewater in a Bowl of Poison.

Quote:
Do American schools teach Hooker, Winthrop, and Wigglesworth?
No, I doubt it. Well, maybe at Harvard. There's a stone in Harvard yard, part of Boylston Hall, inscribed to indicate the location of Hooker's first house which is, coincidentially, about 20 feet away from Wigglesworth Hall. I didn't attend Harvard, I just know this stuff 'cause Hooker is my ancestor.

There are impossibly many things for a modern student to learn. I'm waiting for a silicon chip brain implant that will hold the contents of Wikipedia.
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  #53  
Old 10-26-2008, 02:23 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
I have met the enemy, and he is, uh, partly me.
Yes, sure. But the game is to take turns. Who's turn is it to be the axis of evil?
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  #54  
Old 10-26-2008, 02:37 AM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default You're a moron

what are you even talking about? that comment makes no sense in response to what i said. are you responding to the right post? if you disagree with something i said then you should specifically address it rather than getting really angry and insulting me. why don't you actually use the knowledge you claim to be so familiar with to actually respond by using facts and reasons. you truly sound like poser when you get really angry for no reason, infer you know about stuff I don't without actually using it to address anything I said and then post a link to some book I don't care about. which comments are inane? are they as inane as a talking point like "Every child is a blessing."?
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  #55  
Old 10-26-2008, 03:26 AM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Don't care to read?

dude, are you actually going to say anything as far as facts and figures or examples go or is that all you've got? making extremely broad inferences doesn't leave me anything to respond to. why don't you use some of the info from this amazing book to enlighten me. everyone knows poor people have kids because they need farmers and because they die a lot, need to sell them, need to be cared for when old, etc.

Last edited by fedorovingtonboop; 10-26-2008 at 03:31 AM..
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  #56  
Old 10-26-2008, 03:50 AM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

wow, such condescension from someone with so little to offer. anyway, this is what you said:

"The definition you're using--pride in the traditions and accomplishments of people who belong to the same nation as you--fits the word 'loyalist', which remains a slur in the U.S. to the present day."

and then I responded by saying it's definitely not a slur. who could see what else you could possibly be saying there.
this argument you started should make no sense, even to you, because I never said "this is the only definition of patriotism." in fact, you just made up the definition of loyalist (which is hardly relevant since no one uses that word) as far as M-W.com is concerned. all i did was give an example why one would be reasonable in being patriotic. i understand you'd like to find a use for your knowledge but it's really of no use in relation to what i said and isn't, at all, the core of what i was saying to John. here's the MW def. of patriotism:
"love for or devotion to one's country"
most importantly, since you (so generously) pointed out that words can have more than one meaning(wow!), why did you even bother to make an argument in the first place? not only was that not the most relevant part of the initial post, I'm pretty sure my definition should be covered under
"...words can have more than one meaning."
my examples of things to be patriotic about are pretty much the most generic examples of things to be patriotic about. they are actions that show that the people that did them place ideals over anything else. an example of a person placing ideals over their nation could be a conscientious objector. fine, no one cares. my point is that you're trying to show off by bringing in over-educated nuance where it isn't needed. why would you bother to argue that being proud of soldiers is not an example of being patriotic? and as i've said before, these were just broad examples that i don't really care about because i was trying to argue-->(main point, watch close that it's ok to be patriotic....even though my definition easily fits in to the way the word is used today, not in the 18th century, i don''t care about the many possible definitions of patriotism. i appreciate your irrelevant argument, though, it's been a fun exercise. "redneck" didn't always mean "hillbilly"....and no one cares.
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  #57  
Old 10-26-2008, 06:15 AM
JIM3CH JIM3CH is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

I agree with bkjazfan to some extent. Although I love to listen to John and George I do take umbrage at their incessant, sometimes vitriolic, hatred of religion. I can understand one being put off by proselytising, but to be against religion in any form, which they both frequently admit, seems to me to be woefully wrong minded.

Patriotism, like any of the isms, can be taken to extremes. There is a fine line between patriotism, nationalism, and racism; but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad to wear a flag pin, or to be proud of America’s positive contributions to the world community. I attribute John Horgan’s cynical view of patriotism to the fact that he is, in part, a “60’s throw back”…, or in other words a geriatric hippie.
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  #58  
Old 10-26-2008, 08:27 AM
JIM3CH JIM3CH is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

One of the most tribal epithets that I have ever heard/seen during my long life is the phrase “I am a Jewish atheist”. Jonathan Haidt, a liberal, has made this very statement about himself right here on Blogginheads TV. Never let it be said that liberals are not tribal.


Apolgies in advance to Wonderment..., and any others who might be offended.

Last edited by JIM3CH; 10-26-2008 at 09:51 AM..
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  #59  
Old 10-26-2008, 11:00 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

I think the term 'tribal' has been used in a rather loose way here. My interpretation is that is being used as identification with a group and a certain degree of rivalry towards those that don't belong to the group. As to whether that is negative or not, of course, is arguable, and most likely depending on the circumstances. Part of the current argument, though, seems to be about whether liberals tend to be less 'tribal' than conservatives. This follows the five dimensions identified by Haidt for liberals and conservatives. Conservatives 'scored' higher in 'loyalty to the group'. The bottom line, I think, is that these concepts are relative and the differences are mostly quantitative and not qualitative.
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  #60  
Old 10-26-2008, 11:02 AM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

Ocean,

Well, from watching this and other diavlogs by John and George is where I got the impression of their condescending attitudes toward religion. Granted, their stance on patriotism is a little fuzzy and I probably spoke out of turn.

I am touchy on the military issue since I did serve and found it to be a good experience. Also, in the early 90's when I was having severe mental and personal problems the VA Hospital was the primary helping hand in getting me off the streets and aiding me in the rehabiliatation process.

Thank you for your response,

John
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  #61  
Old 10-26-2008, 11:07 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkjazfan View Post
Ocean,

Well, from watching this and other diavlogs by John and George is where I got the impression of their condescending attitudes toward religion. Granted, their stance on patriotism is a little fuzzy and I probably spoke out of turn.

I am touchy on the military issue since I did serve and found it to be a good experience. Also, in the early 90's when I was having severe mental and personal problems the VA Hospital was the primary helping hand in getting me off the streets and aiding me in the rehabiliatation process.

Thank you for your response,

John
You are welcome and thank you for following up.
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  #62  
Old 10-26-2008, 11:54 AM
JIM3CH JIM3CH is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

As Ocean observed in her comment above, I was trying to give a common, albeit controversial, example of what I would identify as liberal tribalism.

As to why I pick on the phrase “Jewish atheist”: Firstly I find that the two words together reduces the word Jew so abruptly and absolutely to its tribal meaning, free from any religious, or even historical context, and secondly because Jonathan Haidt uses the phrase.

Tribalism, just like patriotism, nationalism and racism, I suppose, can have a negative sense to it. I don’t mean to imply that it is always bad. My thesis, again, is that liberals can be as tribal as conservatives.

The phrase “I’m an observant Jew” sounds to me much less tribal than the other phrases that you offer. Why is that? Because, correct me if I am wrong, anyone can become an observant Jew, whereas the population of Jewish atheists is highly exclusive.

Last edited by JIM3CH; 10-26-2008 at 02:06 PM.. Reason: typo--probably one of many
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  #63  
Old 10-26-2008, 12:59 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Congratulations!

you're being condescending because you figured out that, technically, there's enough resources in Africa? wow, that's not something to be proud of. as AemJeff already pointed out right at the beginning of the thread:

"By the same argument, since my glass of lemonade has not overflowed up until now, I can fit an infinite amount of lemonade in my glass. I'd be careful of accusing others of an "offense against reason," if I were you."

Anyone can see that we can cram billions more onto the continent. So, the only definition for overpopulation that would have any use is that there's too many people effectively for what's currently available. Just like we could fill the earth with billions more deer but instead, when we start hitting too many of them on the road, we call it over population. Otherwise the concept of overpopulation wouldn't exist at all because you could just keep saying there's technically more available. Stephen Hawking did a semi-famous calculation where he computed how many people it would take to completely fill the earth shoulder to shoulder. By your logic you could just say "Yeah, well there's water under Antarctica, they just haven't harnessed it as a resource yet."
You're actually making the argument that Africa doesn't have resource problems and you're being aloof about it?
Have you seen pics of Africa? Region and history are irrelevant. No one cares that Botswana is pretty good and Zambia used to be oppressed by whoever and you're definitely not doing them any favors by ignoring the problem. In general, Africa is a disaster zone that clearly does not have the ability to serve its people. Hence the millions of starving children. You're effectively saying that there's no definition of overpopulation or sustainability.
You've been great, though, don't hold back on telling everyone that "Africa's a-ok." You should be careful thinking you know better about something that's already intuitively obvious to just about every world leader on the planet. You're right! The one thing that Africa definitely needs is more people! How could I have been so stupid?
here's Wikipedia on "Overpopulation":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpopulation.....yeah....
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  #64  
Old 10-26-2008, 01:08 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

Quote:
Originally Posted by JIM3CH View Post
....Never let it be said that liberals are not tribal.
that's actually a really good point to make. I haven't read the whole thread so maybe someone already said this but tribalism definitely has a good side. It's what provides a barrier between rogue states and non, good citizens and criminals, me and Conn Carroll/Jonah Goldberg....
what if there were only one country on Earth? then you would be subject to their laws and values and you couldn't move if you didn't like them. in fact, that's pretty much the point of being liberal or a vegetarian or whatever...you're doing things your own way. It can provide freedom!
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  #65  
Old 10-26-2008, 02:19 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: sacred vs pragmatic views

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Originally Posted by cragger View Post
I suspect that research would reveal a good case that human population has essentially reflected the carrying capacity of the various regions of the earth for most of human history. Recall for example Dr. Homer-Dixon's analysis of the collapse of the Roman Empire, which could no longer produce enough food to maintain the complexity of its civilization with so many members who were not involved with food production, given the agriculture of the time. (Can't recall the title of that BH episode right off.)

It is only recently that reliable birth control has been a factor in limiting population size. Previously, premature death by various causes was the significant limiting factor as it remains in many parts of the world today.
Have you read Homer-Dixon's book? It's really terrific. Blew my mind. (Thanks BHtv!)

I think everybody agrees there's a point where there's too many people on Earth. Even if you think 7 billion is peachy, you'd have to have doubts about 70 billion.
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  #66  
Old 10-26-2008, 04:15 PM
JIM3CH JIM3CH is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

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Originally Posted by mvantony View Post
You interested? :-)
Actually I am a Christian, and therefore have my own tribal baggage to carry around. Thanks anyway. :-)
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  #67  
Old 10-26-2008, 04:45 PM
osmium osmium is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

Despite my politics, every time I buy Kellogg's Corn Flakes I smile, just like George. Good one, George.
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  #68  
Old 10-26-2008, 04:53 PM
Blackadder Blackadder is offline
 
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Default Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You

Quote:
Originally Posted by fedorovingtonboop View Post
that's an honorable thing to say but the reality is that almost every underdeveloped country, especially places like Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, etc. just don't have the physical or financial structure in place to support the amount of people they have. to me, that qualifies as overpopulation.
This is a silly way to define overpopulation (perhaps there is no non-silly way to do so, but that doesn't make this definition any less ridiculous). I suppose that, under this definition, the problem with Ukraine in the 1930s was overpopulation. It wasn't that Stalin's awful policies had caused widespread famine. No, the problem was there were too many people. I mean, it's obvious. Just look at all the suffering. Q.E.D.

Likewise, presumably one would have to conclude that places like South Korea were overpopulated 50 years ago and now are not, despite the fact that there are a lot more people in South Korea now than there were 50 years ago. Paradoxically, then, population growth seems to be associated with a reduction in overpopulation.
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  #69  
Old 10-26-2008, 04:59 PM
JIM3CH JIM3CH is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvantony View Post
For some reason I was assuming you are an atheist. Hope I didn't offend.
Not in the least.
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  #70  
Old 10-26-2008, 05:02 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

Quote:
Actually I am a Christian, and therefore have my own tribal baggage to carry around. Thanks anyway. :-)
Actually, that's the problem, Jim, which I may have mentioned last time around. You are seeing Judaism through a Christian lens. People don't usually say, "I'm Christian" unless they believe in Christian tenets.

Jews, on the other hand, are literally a tribe. If you think of Jews as you think of the Cheyenne or the Apache, you'll have a better grasp of the issue. (I hope I'm not repeating myself from last time.)

If you met a Cheyenne surgeon in New York City, and he mentioned to you that he's an atheist (or a Christian), his identity would make perfect sense to you. It's unlikely that you'd write a post saying, "Hey, I met this really weird guy who claims to be a Cheyenne atheist."

You're only finding it weird with Jews because you were taught growing up that Judaism is a religion, like Christianity.

As for the positive/negative aspects of tribalism, I don't have a strong opinion either. Extreme tribalism is one of the worst qualities of people and the basis of all war. It's exclusionary (white folks in the Segregationist South) or simply "stupid" (as John put it, regarding Yankee fans).

But when tribes are respectful and loving of one another, you get the best of mutliculturalism -- cooperation instead of competition among tribes. A thousand (different) flowers bloom.
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  #71  
Old 10-26-2008, 05:31 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You

nice try. what is wrong with you people? I can't believe you so smugly dismiss the most obvious, basic definition of overpopulation there is. Thank you wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpopulation
please update wikipedia with your definition of overpopulation since you haven't shared it yet.
dude, read the first few paragraphs of this. I can't believe I actually have to try to explain this let alone put up with the turned up noses. have you seen pictures of India's slums?
um, the cause of the Ukranians' plight was probably Stalin. s. korea was just poor. as is vietnam today; they're functioning but poor. their living standard is low but sustainable.
god, next i'm gonna have to explain the earth is round...

Last edited by fedorovingtonboop; 10-26-2008 at 06:00 PM..
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Old 10-26-2008, 06:05 PM
JIM3CH JIM3CH is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing

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If you met a Cheyenne surgeon in New York City, and he mentioned to you that he's an atheist (or a Christian), his identity would make perfect sense to you. It's unlikely that you'd write a post saying, "Hey, I met this really weird guy who claims to be a Cheyenne atheist."
This seems to be a very apropos example. I can think of no group of people who would be more unlikely to consider themselves atheists than indigenous Americans. Were I to meet a surgeon of Cheyenne descent who happened to confide in me that he were an atheist, I would in fact find it strange.

I realize that you are simply trying to point out to me that a tribe is a tribe is a tribe. But an atheist of Cheyenne descent is, to me, as discordant as an atheist of Jewish descent.
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Old 10-26-2008, 06:42 PM
Blackadder Blackadder is offline
 
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Default Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You

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please update wikipedia with your definition of overpopulation since you haven't shared it yet.
I don't consider overpopulation to be a terribly useful concept. If you want to use the definition you gave earlier, you're free to do so. But you should remember that, under your definition, the fact that a given area is overpopulated tells us nothing about whether increases in population in that area are good or bad (indeed, given the long term correlation between population growth and improvements in living standards, one might see population growth as a means of alleviating overpopulation, rather than of exacerbating it).

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have you seen pictures of India's slums?
Sure. But as I said, looking at pictures of Indian slums no more proves that there are too many people in India than looking at pictures of the Ukrainian famine would prove that Ukraine was overpopulated in the 1930s.

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um, the cause of the Ukranians' plight was probably Stalin.
No kidding. That was precisely my point. The problem in Ukraine in the 1930s wasn't overpopulation. It was bad policies. Likewise, the problem in places like India isn't that there are just too many people to be sustained on a given area of land. Plenty of places in the world have higher population densities and fewer natural resources, yet maintain a much higher standard of living. There's nothing magical about India that prevents the same from being true there as well.
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Old 10-26-2008, 07:20 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You

"the fact that a given area is overpopulated tells us nothing about whether increases in population in that area are good or bad"

I'm pretty sure the word "overpopulated" tells us plenty...it's overpopulated.

"...that there are just too many people to be sustained on a given area of land."

hey, a breakthrough!

"There's nothing magical about India that prevents the same from being true there as well. "

what you're essentially saying is "if everything were working well then...everything would be fine." it's kinda like saying: "I wish it were 7 o'clock."
it really is of no use. as i've argued with the other guy in this thread, everyone knows that we can technically support billions more people on the earth of we can only get our resource allocation corrected. but as of right now many places on earth (like Lagos) are overpopulated. otherwise there's no definition of overpopulation at all. it's just "some day things will be fine." you can't make no judgment about it at all, otherwise there'd be no reason to keep track of populations. the why is irrelevant. if resources are outstripped because of bad policies, which is almost always the cause, this is still contained under the definition of "exceeds carrying capacity." plus, a sound financial structure, etc. could be considered a resource anyway. any person can intuitively see this: mongolia is not overpopulated; parts of india are overpopulated; canada is not overpopulated, etc.
why would you define the concept of overpopulation on a desired imaginary future structure for a country rather than the one it has right now? fantasy doesn't make for good policy.

Last edited by fedorovingtonboop; 10-26-2008 at 07:28 PM..
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Old 10-26-2008, 07:57 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You

"... one might see population growth as a means of alleviating overpopulation, rather than of exacerbating it ..."
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Old 10-26-2008, 07:59 PM
Blackadder Blackadder is offline
 
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Default Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You

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everyone knows that we can technically support billions more people on the earth of we can only get our resource allocation corrected. but as of right now many places on earth (like Lagos) are overpopulated. otherwise there's no definition of overpopulation at all. it's just "some day things will be fine." you can't make no judgment about it at all, otherwise there'd be no reason to keep track of populations.
Arguing that we have to define overpopulation in a certain way because otherwise it wouldn't be an important concept doesn't cut much ice with me, as I don't consider it an important concept.

Thinking about social problems in terms of "overpopulation" will only lead to silly and or harmful responses (for details, I would recommend Matthew Connelly's book Fatal Misconception). It's as if people looked at the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, and concluded that we needed to send condoms to New Orleans to deal with the overpopulation problem that had suddenly developed there.
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:23 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You

I've been following this thread and I can't quite figure what your argument is.

There are countries where the lack of resources and wealth determine that, besides whatever potential productivity the land may have, any further population growth will not be sustainable. Some countries have already reached that point. Again, even if there are untapped resources, the reality is that whatever wealth they have isn't enough for everybody. This seems to me is a 'relative' overpopulation, meaning that there are too many people for the available resources (regardless of why resources aren't available).

The more 'absolute' concept of overpopulation would refer to the number of people in a region that can't be sustained even when resources are at their optimal availability.

I didn't see what aspects you include when you talk about 'sustainability'. I would imagine you are including food, but also health, education, and a reasonable quality of life. Is that right?
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Old 10-26-2008, 09:39 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You

i don't really care how specifically it's defined. the problem is that you are implying it may not even exist! you don't consider it an important concept? -->have you heard of China's "One Child" policy????<--
you may want to mull that over for a while 'cuz I'm pretty sure the Chinese gov't thought it was pretty important
also, the hurricane katrina analogy doesn't really make any sense at all. that fact that i'm getting support on this from others while being, pretty much, one of the least liked people on this board does not bode well for you
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Old 10-26-2008, 10:19 PM
Blackadder Blackadder is offline
 
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Default Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You

Mr. Ocean,

You are treating wealth and other resources as if they were fixed quantities, when in fact they aren't. More people may mean more mouths to feed, but it also means more people who can labor to produce food or to produce other things that can be exchanged for food, etc. If a country is set up such that people are able to make productive use of their talents and abilities, then more people will serve to increase the amount of wealth and progress that the society enjoys. On the other hand, if a society is structured so that people are not able to do this, then life is going to be hard no matter how few people there are. If you waved a magic wand tomorrow and made half the people in India disappear, this would not significantly improve the standard of living of those who remained in anything but the extreme short term (I'm talking weeks).

For people in a given area to have enough resources, it is not necessary that they be able to produce all of those resources within that given area. If that were so, then every city and town (even small towns) on the planet would be overpopulated, as no urban area produces enough food within the city limits to feed all of its population (and if you want to expand the notion of necessary resources to include things other than food and water, then farms are overpopulated too, as most of the resources used there are not and could not be produced there). Places like Japan, or Hong Kong, or Switzerland have very few natural resources (and in the case of Hong Kong they very recently had very little wealth). Yet they have a very high standard of living while many countries with rich stores of natural resources are mired in poverty. The problem isn't too many people, and if thinking about the problem in terms of "overpopulation" is only going to mislead.

Someone earlier mentioned Julian Simon's Ultimate Resource 2. That's probably as good a primer as any on the economics and statistics that are involved here. But I would also be happy to try and elaborate on any given point, if people so desire.
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Old 10-26-2008, 10:26 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You

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You are treating wealth and other resources as if they were fixed quantities, when in fact they aren't.
Some are, some aren't. Arable land has a finite limit. Available energy at sustainable cost is a complex problem whose solution doesn't obviously arise from throwing resources at it. Crowding is an issue. You're arguing a strawman, and deeply oversimplifying the argument against your point of view.

(Ocean, I hope you don't mind me jumping in here!)
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