Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Race and Genes

Expand Messages
  • louise
    Jim, Thanks for drawing my attention to the sweeping nature of my allegations, which enables me to take a fresh look at what I was really meaning. In fact, my
    Message 1 of 26 , May 1, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Jim,

      Thanks for drawing my attention to the sweeping nature of my allegations, which enables me to take a fresh look at what I was really meaning. In fact, my sense of urgency has become only a handicap, at present. So, in brief, the remarks were in reference to the continuing frustration I feel that a radical critique of what makes it into the public domain, especially on the subject of race, would constantly encounter irrelevant objections instead of open enquiry. Now, I continue to dig in my heels here, partly because I continue so indignant at the charges that have been pushed my way. This is chiefly in connection with Wil, who always announces himself as list policeman on such occasions. Mary tends to support the mainstream use of certain phrases, and the need for 'denunciation'. As you say, I do not wish to muzzle anyone, am simply responding to your enquiry. When I refer to "populist political talk", my reference is quite wide, because the contemporary academic consensus tends to provide an armoury of terms that claim exclusive possession of the moral high ground. I would contend that supremacism by violence, on the streets, represents a particular attitude of mind, that may be accompanied by a rhetoric from left or right. Racism looks to me a far more ambivalent word, and as usual, context is all. If I were approached by a distressed individual who had been assaulted, and who claimed to be the victim of a racist attack, I would not wish to argue with their terminology, whether they were black, white, oriental, mixed race, or whatever. This is because I would be responding as a bystander, as a human being, not as any kind of investigator. If, however, the word 'racist' is used in a piece of journalism, say, to stir up hatred against peaceable white activists by left-wing thugs, I have no sympathy with this abuse of intellectual power. The same applies in the case of any use of language as weapon with the aim of inciting to physical intimidation. If a group want to agitate for a change in the law, to introduce capital punishment or corporal chastisement for certain offences, that is one thing; if individuals are inciting others to vigilante justice or lynching, that is quite another. The apparent literal meaning of racism is the belief that race is a meaningful concept, answerable to reasoned enquiry, and significant in the socio-political domain. Only to allow one meaning, a pejorative one, for the word, is to assent to the use of cliche, in my view.

      Louise

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
      >
      > Louise,
      >
      > I am rather surprised that you suggest that "the list is persistently hampered by populist
      > political talk" and that we ought to try to avoid "the cliches of public discourse".
      >
      > I haven't spotted any populist political talk on this forum and I do not think the members of this forum speak in cliches.
      >
      > I wonder which members you are referring to. Clearly not Bill, as he is "an honourable exception". I myself will try to improve the quality of my contributions up to Bill's high standard, but perhaps you can give some examples of bad practice so I can know what to avoid.
      >
      > An uncharitable interpretation of your post is that you are trying to muzzle those members who disagree with your own views. But that would be a depressive interpretation which I, myself, will not entertain.
      >
      > Jim
      >
    • jimstuart51
      Louise, Thank you for your considered reply. You put forward your view clearly and carefully. Let me comment specifically on the final sentences of your post:
      Message 2 of 26 , May 1, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Louise,

        Thank you for your considered reply. You put forward your view clearly and carefully.

        Let me comment specifically on the final sentences of your post:

        "The apparent literal meaning of racism is the belief that race is a meaningful concept, answerable to reasoned enquiry, and significant in the socio-political domain. Only to allow one meaning, a pejorative one, for the word, is to assent to the use of cliche, in my view."

        My understanding is that Wil has two strong objections to allowing the concept of race (and hence of racism) to be a fit concept for discussion.

        His first objection is that the concept of race has no genuine scientific credentials – from a scientific point of view we cannot identify races as natural kinds. `Race' is not a scientific concept.

        I think this may or may not be true, but in itself, this argument is no good reason for disallowing discussion of the concept.

        His second objection is that the concept is pejorative because once a person accepts the concept as meaningful and valid, they are unjustly discriminating between human beings in such a way that nothing but harm can result. Because of this resultant harm, Wil opposes all attempts to discuss `race' as if it were a valid concept.

        I am sympathetic to Wil's argument here. Imagine a similar situation. Suppose we lived in the eighteenth century at the height of the witch trials when there was `witch paranoia' and many women were been tortured and murdered (found guilty by the courts of law) for allegedly being witches. In such an environment, a discussion of the validity of the concept of a witch is itself a potential catalyst to further harm to innocent women. Eighteenth century Wil may well justly protested that `witch' is a pejorative term that should not even be allowed to be up for discussion.

        Jim
      • Exist List Moderator
        ... These are cultural differences, which affect IQ scores quantifiably. Anyone familiar with Talmudic tradition knows that debate and even heated argument are
        Message 3 of 26 , May 1, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          On Apr 30, 2009, at 18:00, devogney wrote:

          > You refer to your semetic heritage, and later say
          >
          >> What worries me is when someone tries to use differences to establish
          >> superiority intellectually
          >
          > To the extent that IQ,Nobel Prizes, or membership in professions is
          > indicative of intellectual superiority,the Jewish race is by far the
          > most intellectual as a group. I read recently of IQ studies which
          > found Jewish IQ to average 113,Oriental 107, and that of white
          > gentiles at 100.

          These are cultural differences, which affect IQ scores quantifiably.

          Anyone familiar with Talmudic tradition knows that debate and even
          heated argument are part of the culture. Even as a young child, you
          are expected to know some of the experts and quote them to defend or
          refute various claims during a discussion. The constant discussion and
          debate, especially around dinner tables, is learned by young people
          who take this skill to academic settings where, at least in the West,
          it is prized.

          The more you practice, the better you become at something. Asian
          cultures are curiously number oriented. In fact, the China Olympics
          were scheduled based on numerology (8.8.08 - the luckiest day of the
          century). Korean students are told repeatedly that anyone can do
          calculus. They never talk about "gifts" in math. Everyone is assumed
          capable. If you have to practice constantly to keep up, that's just
          the way it is.

          If you read Malcolm Gladwell or any of the newest books on genius /
          talent, we increasingly find that the "geniuses" and "talents" are
          simply the people with the most time on the clock. It seems the
          mastery value is about 10,000 hours for any particular skill.
          Researchers have even calculated how many hours young Mozart practiced
          music, Tiger practiced his swing, and so on.

          To spend time around my family is to learn how loud, animated, and
          argumentative a family can be. For an outsider, it can be appalling.
          It's like visiting Israel if you're from the quiet Midwest. People
          behind you in line at a cafe in Israel will tell you why your order
          was wrong, what you should have ordered, and demand an explanation
          from you. Heck, you can't shop for groceries without debating the
          cashier over your dietary habits.

          Meanwhile, (I am not certain of this) I assume you could shop in many
          Asian countries without hearing a single opinion or "suggestion" from
          clerks. They would defer to you, the customer. Culture would
          discourage the sport of conflict.

          On tests, cultural differences might be expressed as "IQ" or "EQ" and
          mean nothing about the actual mental capacities or abilities of our
          underlying neurologies.

          Curiously, a study of the children of converts to Judaism revealed the
          same higher verbal skills of other Jewish children. This points
          towards cultural factors. However, converting doesn't make you likely
          to have various genetic risks. It does make you more likely to be a
          lawyer or doctor. (Lawyers might be similar to a disease, I suppose.)


          - C. S. Wyatt
          I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
          that I shall be.
          http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
          http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
        • Herman B. Triplegood
          Louise: You are trying to make racism sound reasonable. But here are two problems that I have with that: 1. Purism. I ve brought this up before. How does one
          Message 4 of 26 , May 1, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            Louise:

            You are trying to make racism sound reasonable.

            But here are two problems that I have with that:

            1. Purism. I've brought this up before. How does one reconcile the argument in favor of ethnic purity with the obvious facts of biological diversity and cultural diversity? We know full well, within the framework of ecology, that the loss of biological diversity leads to species extinction. As far as I see it, the forced abolishment of ethnic diversity, anywhere at anytime, whether by overt violent means, or by more surreptitious means, is tantamount to ethnocide, if not outright genocide.

            It doesn't work in nature. Why should we expect it to work for society?

            2. Exclusion. How do we decide who or what gets excluded or included? History has taught us that the exclusion of entire ethnic classes is ultimately based, not upon reasoned judgment, but upon prejudice and distorted and even pathological emotion. Even to the point of the exclusion of the very facts of history itself.

            Amon Goeth narrated the long six hundred year history of the Jews in Poland on the morning of the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto. He gave a history lesson based upon acknowledged historical facts.

            But his final statement said all that needed to be said that day. The facts of history didn't matter:

            "Today, it never happened."

            That is what Amon Goeth said. Then, he and his men proceeded to massacre the Jews in the Warsaw gehtto.

            So...do we exclude truth as well?

            Pol Pot murdered three million of his countrymen in just under two years. Mao Tse Tung murdered thirty million for the sake of a cultural revolution over a period of about ten years. Stalin murdered about twenty million in the name of the Marxist/Leninist class struggle. And about fifty million "real" Americans were murdered in the name of manifest destiny. The litany of horror and violence, for the sake of ethnic purity, and exclusion, goes on even now. Rwanda. Darfur. The Taliban.

            Enough is enough. Don't you think?

            We are all on this planet together. We are all in this existential predicament together. There is no place left, really, for us to run off to and hide, because, most of us, for the most part, are too interdependent now to exclude ourselves from society for the sake of our so-called purity. Even the tree huggers know that. There is no "going back" to nature. The only way to go is forward. Not backward.

            We are all citizens of this one world first. Before all nationalities or patriotic sentiments. If that seems like a leftist kind of position, then so be it. There is a deep grain of truth in the heart felt need for cosmopolitansim, internationalism, and, above all, tolerance for what is always, inevitably, different, or unfamiliar.

            Doesn't the history of the twentieth century tell us something? Doesn't it tell us that the roads that lead toward ethnic purism, and exclusion of classes of any kind, the roads that take us farther away from the facts of diversity and multiplicity, plurality, go against the natural socio-political order in which we now, in fact, do find ourselves, and that they will lead, ultimately, to total holocaust?

            It isn't about us against them. It is about us, meaning, we the living, humanity as a whole, against the pernicious dichotomy that sets the us against the them in the first place.

            I cannot help but remember how repulsed I was by that web site in favor of the native British. The link to it was posted here a few weeks back. How is that kind of sentiment different from the sentiments that the Aryan Nation or Al Qaeda post on their sites? I don't see much of a difference.

            There is no such thing as "nice" racism.

            I was thinking, on the way home, about the strange catch phrases that we have been spoon feed to us over these past few years through the media:

            "War on drugs."
            "War against poverty."
            "War on terror."

            But what is the real war that is now being waged?

            I think it is this:

            "The war against personhood."

            If we lose the war against personhood, then I think we will lose freedom, and then, we will lose humanity itself, because, without freedom, humanity is pointless, and I firmly believe that freeddom is grounded, not in purity and exclusivity, but in mutual dignity, respect, and, above all, the beautiful diversity of the phenomena of life, and culture, to which we owe our existences and our histories.

            Have we really seriously looked at life in all of its profound diversity? I mean, through the metaphysical eyes of a philosopher like Aristotle? I think we have forgotten where we really came from. Man, the rational animal. A political animal. Hmmm... A human animal. Certainly. But, still an animal, like all the other animals.

            This, I believe, is Aristotle's profound metaphysical insight, right here:

            That there is nothing that is not life.

            And its corollary:

            Life is, par excellence, the diversification of form in action. There is no "one" without many.

            Hb3g

            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@...> wrote:
            >
            > Jim,
            >
            > Thanks for drawing my attention to the sweeping nature of my allegations, which enables me to take a fresh look at what I was really meaning. In fact, my sense of urgency has become only a handicap, at present. So, in brief, the remarks were in reference to the continuing frustration I feel that a radical critique of what makes it into the public domain, especially on the subject of race, would constantly encounter irrelevant objections instead of open enquiry. Now, I continue to dig in my heels here, partly because I continue so indignant at the charges that have been pushed my way. This is chiefly in connection with Wil, who always announces himself as list policeman on such occasions. Mary tends to support the mainstream use of certain phrases, and the need for 'denunciation'. As you say, I do not wish to muzzle anyone, am simply responding to your enquiry. When I refer to "populist political talk", my reference is quite wide, because the contemporary academic consensus tends to provide an armoury of terms that claim exclusive possession of the moral high ground. I would contend that supremacism by violence, on the streets, represents a particular attitude of mind, that may be accompanied by a rhetoric from left or right. Racism looks to me a far more ambivalent word, and as usual, context is all. If I were approached by a distressed individual who had been assaulted, and who claimed to be the victim of a racist attack, I would not wish to argue with their terminology, whether they were black, white, oriental, mixed race, or whatever. This is because I would be responding as a bystander, as a human being, not as any kind of investigator. If, however, the word 'racist' is used in a piece of journalism, say, to stir up hatred against peaceable white activists by left-wing thugs, I have no sympathy with this abuse of intellectual power. The same applies in the case of any use of language as weapon with the aim of inciting to physical intimidation. If a group want to agitate for a change in the law, to introduce capital punishment or corporal chastisement for certain offences, that is one thing; if individuals are inciting others to vigilante justice or lynching, that is quite another. The apparent literal meaning of racism is the belief that race is a meaningful concept, answerable to reasoned enquiry, and significant in the socio-political domain. Only to allow one meaning, a pejorative one, for the word, is to assent to the use of cliche, in my view.
            >
            > Louise
            >
            > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Louise,
            > >
            > > I am rather surprised that you suggest that "the list is persistently hampered by populist
            > > political talk" and that we ought to try to avoid "the cliches of public discourse".
            > >
            > > I haven't spotted any populist political talk on this forum and I do not think the members of this forum speak in cliches.
            > >
            > > I wonder which members you are referring to. Clearly not Bill, as he is "an honourable exception". I myself will try to improve the quality of my contributions up to Bill's high standard, but perhaps you can give some examples of bad practice so I can know what to avoid.
            > >
            > > An uncharitable interpretation of your post is that you are trying to muzzle those members who disagree with your own views. But that would be a depressive interpretation which I, myself, will not entertain.
            > >
            > > Jim
            > >
            >
          • devogney
            CS, The only real question is the amount of anthing that is genetic and acquiired. I read studies of siblings who were placed in different homes, and of
            Message 5 of 26 , May 1, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              CS,

              The only real question is the amount of anthing that is genetic and acquiired. I read studies of siblings who were placed in different homes, and of unrelated people in the same home. As I recall, the studies I read found more correlation with the genetic portion. But either way, its some combination.I also suspect that to some extent, genes create culture. I suspect that a Mozart playing music like a Bruce Lee in martial arts, their ability to improve gave them incentive to do it more.

              About a year ago, I heard or read someone say that gayness is the only thing that conserevatives dont maintain is inherited; and the only thing liberals maintain is inherited.Of course, the assumptions fit into their agendas. I can certainly understand the various political motives that create dogma, but among friends lets honestly seek a movement toward greater truth.

              I believe its best whither for individuals or races to appreciate their strengths and have compassion for their weaknesses.
              Tom



              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator <existlist1@...> wrote:
              >
              > On Apr 30, 2009, at 18:00, devogney wrote:
              >
              > > You refer to your semetic heritage, and later say
              > >
              > >> What worries me is when someone tries to use differences to establish
              > >> superiority intellectually
              > >
              > > To the extent that IQ,Nobel Prizes, or membership in professions is
              > > indicative of intellectual superiority,the Jewish race is by far the
              > > most intellectual as a group. I read recently of IQ studies which
              > > found Jewish IQ to average 113,Oriental 107, and that of white
              > > gentiles at 100.
              >
              > These are cultural differences, which affect IQ scores quantifiably.
              >
              > Anyone familiar with Talmudic tradition knows that debate and even
              > heated argument are part of the culture. Even as a young child, you
              > are expected to know some of the experts and quote them to defend or
              > refute various claims during a discussion. The constant discussion and
              > debate, especially around dinner tables, is learned by young people
              > who take this skill to academic settings where, at least in the West,
              > it is prized.
              >
              > The more you practice, the better you become at something. Asian
              > cultures are curiously number oriented. In fact, the China Olympics
              > were scheduled based on numerology (8.8.08 - the luckiest day of the
              > century). Korean students are told repeatedly that anyone can do
              > calculus. They never talk about "gifts" in math. Everyone is assumed
              > capable. If you have to practice constantly to keep up, that's just
              > the way it is.
              >
              > If you read Malcolm Gladwell or any of the newest books on genius /
              > talent, we increasingly find that the "geniuses" and "talents" are
              > simply the people with the most time on the clock. It seems the
              > mastery value is about 10,000 hours for any particular skill.
              > Researchers have even calculated how many hours young Mozart practiced
              > music, Tiger practiced his swing, and so on.
              >
              > To spend time around my family is to learn how loud, animated, and
              > argumentative a family can be. For an outsider, it can be appalling.
              > It's like visiting Israel if you're from the quiet Midwest. People
              > behind you in line at a cafe in Israel will tell you why your order
              > was wrong, what you should have ordered, and demand an explanation
              > from you. Heck, you can't shop for groceries without debating the
              > cashier over your dietary habits.
              >
              > Meanwhile, (I am not certain of this) I assume you could shop in many
              > Asian countries without hearing a single opinion or "suggestion" from
              > clerks. They would defer to you, the customer. Culture would
              > discourage the sport of conflict.
              >
              > On tests, cultural differences might be expressed as "IQ" or "EQ" and
              > mean nothing about the actual mental capacities or abilities of our
              > underlying neurologies.
              >
              > Curiously, a study of the children of converts to Judaism revealed the
              > same higher verbal skills of other Jewish children. This points
              > towards cultural factors. However, converting doesn't make you likely
              > to have various genetic risks. It does make you more likely to be a
              > lawyer or doctor. (Lawyers might be similar to a disease, I suppose.)
              >
              >
              > - C. S. Wyatt
              > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
              > that I shall be.
              > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
              > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
              >
            • Exist List Moderator
              I have a more simple reason to avoid some discussions... they don t reflect directly enough on philosophy. That is why you have to ask how a discussion
              Message 6 of 26 , May 1, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                I have a more simple reason to avoid some discussions... they don't
                reflect directly enough on philosophy. That is why you have to ask how
                a discussion reflects back on personal choices, personal
                consciousness, etc. If a discussion is nothing more than "Pub
                Chatter" (minus the joy of dark beer), then it probably doesn't need
                to continue. If you can contextualize (uhg) the chatter, then that's
                different.

                Issues of race, religion, and gender, can be found in the works of
                various philosophers. The question for me is if any philosophers
                claims are countered or complemented by science. Does current research
                support or debunk some philosophers? When I think race and
                existentialism, I end up with Buber, Heidegger, and Camus -- each for
                a different reason.

                Camus was definitely French, and proud of it, but acutely aware of
                racism and classism within French colonial society.

                Heidegger was a strange mix of anti-Semite and lover of at least two
                Jewish students. Go figure. I still need to read some of the
                biographical works I purchased over the last two years.

                Buber started as a Jewish racist, ended up being an activist for
                Palestinian equality. Buber himself admitted that his extremely
                religious upbringing had adversely affected his views of other people
                until he moved to Israel and realized people turn out to be amazingly
                similar.

                If intelligent, sometimes reasonable people, cannot discuss something,
                then I fear that prejudices are only allowed to continue and fester.
                Until someone engages in the debate, "What is a witch?" nothing
                changes. (Not that I think "reason" is infallible or trustworthy.)

                As for science, if we couldn't map people by genetics, I'd agree there
                are no ethnic differences. However, we can demonstrate where people
                migrated, when, and with whom they interacted. Ethnic groups are quite
                genuine and unique, but they are nothing more than physical
                characteristics. I must pay attention to those differences in my
                research, since they are statistically important. If If I ignore race,
                I could very well miss a key to helping thousands of families.

                The philosophical questions that arise are actually ethical questions.
                For example, does a study of medications that are more effective on
                one race than another feed social biases? Because of past racism and
                horrible science, some groups don't want to participate in clinical
                trials. What is the moral / ethical implication of not testing a
                medication on some groups? Even if that omission is well intentioned?

                There are heart medications that work well with some ethnic groups,
                but have no or even contra-indicative results in other groups.
                Unfortunately, because we test most medications on white males, we
                missed that some of these are damaging to women and minorities. We
                didn't test on these groups for all the "right reasons" (past abuses).

                I admit that I still wonder what influence racism, even unconscious
                racism, has on the diagnoses of autism and ADD/ADHD. If you enter a
                special education class in Minnesota, the odds are that the majority
                of students will be male and of African descent. In a state with 2 to
                4 percent minority population, nearly 60 percent of special education
                is for minority students. Something is wrong. Why should I not ask
                about racism? What about genetics? What a mess. No easy answer.

                Philosophers, ideally, keep science from running amok. I can at least
                dream of that ideal. Unfortunately, philosophers are no better than
                everyone else and, worse, can justify warped views with supposed
                reason. (I think Peter Singer makes horrible views sound reasonable.
                Then again, I'm an "advocate" for the disabled. But he is an "ethics"
                expert, so he must be reasonable. Sure.)

                So, any topic should be open to discussion -- but only if you can
                associate it with philosophical concerns.

                - C. S. Wyatt
                I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                that I shall be.
                http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
              • Exist List Moderator
                A well stated point.. ... I disagree with a few of the numbers, but does a million or two (+/-) matter when we are talking about life? And rather it is racial
                Message 7 of 26 , May 1, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  A well stated point..

                  On May 01, 2009, at 11:08, Herman B. Triplegood wrote:

                  > Pol Pot murdered three million of his countrymen in just under two
                  > years. Mao Tse Tung murdered thirty million for the sake of a
                  > cultural revolution over a period of about ten years. Stalin
                  > murdered about twenty million in the name of the Marxist/Leninist
                  > class struggle. And about fifty million "real" Americans were
                  > murdered in the name of manifest destiny. The litany of horror and
                  > violence, for the sake of ethnic purity, and exclusion, goes on even
                  > now. Rwanda. Darfur. The Taliban.

                  I disagree with a few of the numbers, but does a million or two (+/-)
                  matter when we are talking about life? And rather it is racial purity
                  or ideological purity, it is horrendous.

                  Purity tends to weaken a group over the long term. Witness the
                  political parties rushing towards "purity" in the United States. The
                  extremes end up small (but loud) groups, resorting to force and
                  coercion to retain power. (Middle ground? What's that?) Demands of
                  purity end up being impossible to meet, so a few hard-line radicals in
                  the faith, political party, or whatever, remain... living fossils.

                  In terms of my own field, it is the desire to create a better humanity
                  that worries me. Parents wanting to cherry-pick the traits of their
                  children. They treat children as one might purebred canine breeding.
                  (I'm not a fan of purebred dogs, either, because they aren't fit.)

                  Eugenics are a serious concern to me. That's why I am troubled by some
                  issues of ethnic difference and genetic "frailty" we have detected.
                  What is a "weakness" today could be an adaptive advantage tomorrow.
                  What if some obstacles are benefits in certain situations? I know I
                  wouldn't mind a doctor with mild Aspger's Syndrome if he/she had
                  focused obsessively on my condition.

                  This week is the Autism Society of Minnesota's state convention, where
                  I am one of the many presenters. There is a growing movement against
                  the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (http://www.agre.org/), led by
                  autistic adults. They fear parents will be tested and then decide to
                  not have children or abort a child likely to be autistic. So, we have
                  two very vocal groups in direct philosophical conflict: the Autism
                  Speaks group, working "End Autism Now!" and those with autism
                  disorders who think of the condition as something potentially valuable.

                  I worry about any attempt to "fix" or "repair" the human population by
                  selectively deciding who will or won't exist. Yet, I also understand
                  how a parent told that a child will be disabled could feel that the
                  life won't be "valuable" in some way.

                  The Progressive Movement of the 1920s embraced eugenics, thinking that
                  the majority of humans would be better off if we could eliminate the
                  weak or flawed. That was a time when too many Progressives had
                  complete, dangerous, faith in science. It was a modernist perspective,
                  almost an Enlightenment faith in mankind to improve itself.

                  When we start thinking of humans as flawed things, or if we think of
                  society has a "machine" to be programmed and controlled, we run too
                  many moral risks to ponder. Our need to think and analyze in
                  generalities is essential to human decision making, but it compounds
                  the risks.

                  Mutts are probably best, genetically. Diversity is a great thing... of
                  beliefs, cultures, ideals, and even genetics.


                  - C. S. Wyatt
                  I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                  that I shall be.
                  http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                  http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                • devogney
                  -Jim, Actually, witches go back before Christianity. At present, they refer to it as Wiccan, but its really the old religion. Of course, at times a person
                  Message 8 of 26 , May 1, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment
                    -Jim,

                    Actually, witches go back before Christianity. At present, they refer to it as Wiccan, but its really the old religion. Of course, at times a person could be killed for being a witch, obviously they were more discreet. In the middle ages, the Church accused witches of celebrating their day of evil on the same days as Christian holy days just to be blasphemous. Actually, the Church had originally changed pagan days to their own holy days.
                    Tom-



                    - In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Louise,
                    >
                    > Thank you for your considered reply. You put forward your view clearly and carefully.
                    >
                    > Let me comment specifically on the final sentences of your post:
                    >
                    > "The apparent literal meaning of racism is the belief that race is a meaningful concept, answerable to reasoned enquiry, and significant in the socio-political domain. Only to allow one meaning, a pejorative one, for the word, is to assent to the use of cliche, in my view."
                    >
                    > My understanding is that Wil has two strong objections to allowing the concept of race (and hence of racism) to be a fit concept for discussion.
                    >
                    > His first objection is that the concept of race has no genuine scientific credentials – from a scientific point of view we cannot identify races as natural kinds. `Race' is not a scientific concept.
                    >
                    > I think this may or may not be true, but in itself, this argument is no good reason for disallowing discussion of the concept.
                    >
                    > His second objection is that the concept is pejorative because once a person accepts the concept as meaningful and valid, they are unjustly discriminating between human beings in such a way that nothing but harm can result. Because of this resultant harm, Wil opposes all attempts to discuss `race' as if it were a valid concept.
                    >
                    > I am sympathetic to Wil's argument here. Imagine a similar situation. Suppose we lived in the eighteenth century at the height of the witch trials when there was `witch paranoia' and many women were been tortured and murdered (found guilty by the courts of law) for allegedly being witches. In such an environment, a discussion of the validity of the concept of a witch is itself a potential catalyst to further harm to innocent women. Eighteenth century Wil may well justly protested that `witch' is a pejorative term that should not even be allowed to be up for discussion.
                    >
                    > Jim
                    >
                  • devogney
                    --C.S. You wrote -Mutts are probably best, genetically. I say it works for Obama. As for eugenics of various sorts, regardless of what you or I might prefer,
                    Message 9 of 26 , May 1, 2009
                    • 0 Attachment
                      --C.S.

                      You wrote

                      -Mutts are probably best, genetically.

                      I say it works for Obama.

                      As for eugenics of various sorts, regardless of what you or I might prefer, once the genie is out of the bottle, powers will be used. I could certainly see a new super elite genepool forming in time. Whither its legal or illegal, as the technology becomes available it will be done, certainly by the economic elite. If genetic engineering were legal, it might become increasingly prevalent among affluent couples with family incomes of two or three hundred thousand a year. If illegal, it would probably only be available to the very rich. Of course, nuclear energy etc is likeise a case of the facts that once knowledge is obtained, it will result in radical changes on the ecosphere and humanity.

                      Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal." Einstein


                      Of course, there is also the fact that genetic success[as measured by
                      offspring produced] is no longer correlated with fitness; as the poor often reproduce at faster rates than those more adapted in terms of work skills etc. To the extent that natural selection has been the biggest factor in the ongoing life process,the political, economic, and social changes that have occured will certainly would create a new ball game.

                      Peace,
                      Tom


                      In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator <existlist1@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > A well stated point..
                      >
                      > On May 01, 2009, at 11:08, Herman B. Triplegood wrote:
                      >
                      > > Pol Pot murdered three million of his countrymen in just under two
                      > > years. Mao Tse Tung murdered thirty million for the sake of a
                      > > cultural revolution over a period of about ten years. Stalin
                      > > murdered about twenty million in the name of the Marxist/Leninist
                      > > class struggle. And about fifty million "real" Americans were
                      > > murdered in the name of manifest destiny. The litany of horror and
                      > > violence, for the sake of ethnic purity, and exclusion, goes on even
                      > > now. Rwanda. Darfur. The Taliban.
                      >
                      > I disagree with a few of the numbers, but does a million or two (+/-)
                      > matter when we are talking about life? And rather it is racial purity
                      > or ideological purity, it is horrendous.
                      >
                      > Purity tends to weaken a group over the long term. Witness the
                      > political parties rushing towards "purity" in the United States. The
                      > extremes end up small (but loud) groups, resorting to force and
                      > coercion to retain power. (Middle ground? What's that?) Demands of
                      > purity end up being impossible to meet, so a few hard-line radicals in
                      > the faith, political party, or whatever, remain... living fossils.
                      >
                      > In terms of my own field, it is the desire to create a better humanity
                      > that worries me. Parents wanting to cherry-pick the traits of their
                      > children. They treat children as one might purebred canine breeding.
                      > (I'm not a fan of purebred dogs, either, because they aren't fit.)
                      >
                      > Eugenics are a serious concern to me. That's why I am troubled by some
                      > issues of ethnic difference and genetic "frailty" we have detected.
                      > What is a "weakness" today could be an adaptive advantage tomorrow.
                      > What if some obstacles are benefits in certain situations? I know I
                      > wouldn't mind a doctor with mild Aspger's Syndrome if he/she had
                      > focused obsessively on my condition.
                      >
                      > This week is the Autism Society of Minnesota's state convention, where
                      > I am one of the many presenters. There is a growing movement against
                      > the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (http://www.agre.org/), led by
                      > autistic adults. They fear parents will be tested and then decide to
                      > not have children or abort a child likely to be autistic. So, we have
                      > two very vocal groups in direct philosophical conflict: the Autism
                      > Speaks group, working "End Autism Now!" and those with autism
                      > disorders who think of the condition as something potentially valuable.
                      >
                      > I worry about any attempt to "fix" or "repair" the human population by
                      > selectively deciding who will or won't exist. Yet, I also understand
                      > how a parent told that a child will be disabled could feel that the
                      > life won't be "valuable" in some way.
                      >
                      > The Progressive Movement of the 1920s embraced eugenics, thinking that
                      > the majority of humans would be better off if we could eliminate the
                      > weak or flawed. That was a time when too many Progressives had
                      > complete, dangerous, faith in science. It was a modernist perspective,
                      > almost an Enlightenment faith in mankind to improve itself.
                      >
                      > When we start thinking of humans as flawed things, or if we think of
                      > society has a "machine" to be programmed and controlled, we run too
                      > many moral risks to ponder. Our need to think and analyze in
                      > generalities is essential to human decision making, but it compounds
                      > the risks.
                      >
                      > Mutts are probably best, genetically. Diversity is a great thing... of
                      > beliefs, cultures, ideals, and even genetics.
                      >
                      >
                      > - C. S. Wyatt
                      > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                      > that I shall be.
                      > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                      > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                      >
                    • chris lofting
                      From a neurological perspective, ANY form of focus on differentiating will naturally elicit an increase in competitiveness and introduce issues of paradox
                      Message 10 of 26 , May 1, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment
                        From a neurological perspective, ANY form of focus on differentiating will
                        naturally elicit an increase in competitiveness and introduce issues of
                        paradox processing etc., and so argument. The social demands to ask
                        questions forces differentiating of consciousness and the focus on
                        mediation. This leads into biases to attraction of those disciplines that
                        most question - such as doctors (GPs and psychiatrists etc), lawyers,
                        scientists, agents etc etc and so an overall focus on the mediating
                        positions of a culture.

                        If a specialist culture FORCES debate, is proactive about such and makes it
                        a ground for cultural development, then that culture can benefit from such
                        overall when working in other cultures - especially in the areas of
                        mediation dynamics. The issues then become that of the expressed
                        competitiveness being interpreted from other cultures as if intentionally
                        'aggressive' when it is more a property of nurture in that an emergent
                        property of differentiating is border creation and complexity/chaos dynamics
                        and the sensation of being competitive within the family etc. This
                        perspective of being 'aggressive' is especially so by any cultures that
                        lack a focus on mediation - there is no 'say' within the culture, rigid
                        beliefs are not questioned etc or more so there is no pressure when young to
                        'get involved'.

                        The whole middle east position is about borders, the differentiating of, the
                        maintaining of, the extension of. The focus on differentiating will
                        naturally elicit competitive dynamics and so paradoxes and so our brain
                        instinctively moves into a mediation role to resolve the apparent paradox
                        but to never totally complete it since a focus on argument is a focus on
                        mediation and so a grounding in uncertainties. Thus if there is nothing
                        'real' to argue about then something is created 'as if' real to maintain the
                        focus on mediation dynamics; when an agreement is made it is then
                        immediately open to closer questioning and so more argument due to the
                        nature of the grounding of the culture in argument. Thus a natural
                        disposition to argue is interpreted from outside as a natural disposition to
                        being competitive and so not conducive to 'living in peace' - but to the
                        natural, LOCAL, context state of argument, of eternally in some dispute,
                        that IS 'living in peace'!

                        One can see how living around a culture so focused on mediation can elicit
                        interpretations of the apparent hostility as if intentional rather than as a
                        'way of living' that can be ignored, the argumentative culture can go on
                        being such as long as they stay argumentative within their borders. Failure
                        to understand the dynamics means an increase in hostility towards that
                        argumentative culture - all due to the demands for being more
                        differentiating now placed on the less argumentative cultures!

                        Chris.

                        > -----Original Message-----
                        > From: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                        > [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Exist List Moderator
                        > Sent: Saturday, 2 May 2009 2:05 AM
                        > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Race and Genes
                        >
                        > On Apr 30, 2009, at 18:00, devogney wrote:
                        >
                        > > You refer to your semetic heritage, and later say
                        > >
                        > >> What worries me is when someone tries to use differences
                        > to establish
                        > >> superiority intellectually
                        > >
                        > > To the extent that IQ,Nobel Prizes, or membership in professions is
                        > > indicative of intellectual superiority,the Jewish race is
                        > by far the
                        > > most intellectual as a group. I read recently of IQ studies which
                        > > found Jewish IQ to average 113,Oriental 107, and that of white
                        > > gentiles at 100.
                        >
                        > These are cultural differences, which affect IQ scores quantifiably.
                        >
                        > Anyone familiar with Talmudic tradition knows that debate and
                        > even heated argument are part of the culture. Even as a young
                        > child, you are expected to know some of the experts and quote
                        > them to defend or refute various claims during a discussion.
                        > The constant discussion and debate, especially around dinner
                        > tables, is learned by young people who take this skill to
                        > academic settings where, at least in the West, it is prized.
                        >
                      • Herman B. Triplegood
                        I have been engaged in a rather interesting mix of reading over the past few months. I mentioned a week or so ago that I had read Isaacson s interesting
                        Message 11 of 26 , May 2, 2009
                        • 0 Attachment
                          I have been engaged in a rather interesting mix of reading over the past few months. I mentioned a week or so ago that I had read Isaacson's interesting biography on Einstein and Gaddis' short history of the Cold War. And I have also been reading Joe Sachs' translations of Aristotle's Metaphyscis, Physics and On the Soul.

                          Here is another book I have been reading that, I think, throws a lot of light on how the drive toward purity, namely methodological purity, has played itself out in at least one branch of philosophy, namely, the philosophy of science. It is George Reisch's "How the Cold War Transformed Philosophy of Science: To the Icy Slopes of Logic."

                          That whole bit about how the unity of science movement came out of the Vienna Circle and the logical empiricism of the nineteen thirties is a fascinating and disturbing story.

                          Here is a snippet from the Vienna Circle's manifesto, Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung, written by Rudolph Carnap, Otto Neurath, and Hans Hahn, back in 1929:

                          "Neatness and clarity are striven for, and dark distances and unfathomable depths rejected. In science there are no "depths"; there is surface everywhere: all experience forms a complex network, which cannot always be surveyed and can often be grasped only in parts. Everything is accessible to man; and man is the measure of all things."

                          I, for one, do not see how there can be such complexity without depth, and, I would certainly take issue with the obvious reference to the Protagorean position that man is the measure of all things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man. What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was a member of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels Bohr, both of which imply that not everything is accessible to man, precisely because the indeterminacy of observation, according to Bohr and Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.

                          So, it would seem that the Vienna Circle and the unity of science movement were out of step with the most recent experimental results and theoretical developments that they, themselves, professed to hold in such high esteem.

                          But the ideals that were behind the Vienna Circle and the unity of science movement seemed noble enough. Help science to do the most good for humanity. The whole project was conceived, in the early days, pretty much along Enlightenment lines. Science and philosophy ought to contribute toward making this world a better place to live. Progress is a good thing.

                          But the project morphed over a period of several decades into a dry logical inquiry that ceased to have much relevance to humanistic concerns. Reisch believes this had much to do with the political environment. McCarthyism. Be that as it may. But I think, too, that it had a lot to do with the untenability of a purist methodological approach to science, and to philosdophy.

                          Clear over at the other end of the historical and methodological spectrum, you have Aristotle. Yes, Aristotle places a lot of value on coming up with clear philosophical explanations. We want to figure these things out. But Aristotle was realistic about it. You don't really begin with clarity. You begin with obscurity. And an interesting thing tends to happen along the way. You realize that underneath this drive to go from obscurity to clarity there is something that never really goes away, and that something is the inherent ambiguity of the subject matter that is under investigation. The word "being" for example ends up meaning different things in different ways. You can't reduce it to just one single meaning. The same goes for other things like motion and life.

                          Even philosophical first principles are not unambiguous. The ambiguity constitutes the richness of such concepts. But we easily mistake that richness for indeterminacy. Or, perhaps, we get confused ourselves, because we want a pure and simple explanation of a thing that, itself, is never pure and simple, no matter how determined it may be.

                          It doesn't surprise me that Aristotle ended up placing a lot of importance on such things as ambiguity and diversity. He was a biologist, a naturalist, a profound investigator of nature, and he clearly recognized the value of diversity and the inevitable ambiguities that have to come into play when we try get a metaphysical grip on nature.

                          In many ways, I think, what happened after the Enlightenment, as scientific method took hold and became the ruling metaphysical paradigm is that we took methodological purity to heart and raised it to the level of an ideology. There is no doubt that we have gained much by keeping things methodologically pure and simple. It is obvious. But there is also little doubt that we have lost a lot too.

                          How to strike a balance? That is the question. In many ways, maybe, the existentialists kind of rebelled against the ruling scientific ideology because they took to heart what we all know deep down inside. Despite the allure, and the benefits to be incurred, by the pure and simple approach, life really isn't simple that way.

                          Besides, it is also pretty obvious, I think, that in spite of its methodological simplifications, the scientific picture of the world that we have ended up with, when it comes right down to it, isn't really all that simple, but rather complicated.

                          This all goes to the arguments about racism and racial purity too. The National Socialists prided themselves on having, supposedly, a scientific basis for their eugenics programs. That is why they started euthanizing the mentally ill. They felt that they had pure and simple scientific reasons for strengthening the German race by getting rid of the so-called genetic failures. Of course, there was a lot more going on than that. The genocide against the Jews may have been rationalized along such scientific lines as well. They were considered an inferior race. But we know that unacknowledged resentments and hatreds, irrational and unscientific beliefs, also played their role.

                          I think that we have to ask ourselves a question here. In spite of the successes and positive results to be attained by such sciences as psychology, sociology and anthropology, does it really make sense to say that there can be such a thing as a science of man? I do not think that it was the intention of the major Enlightenment thinkers to promote the institution of a science of man. Rather, I think that it was their intention to promote the utility of science as an instrument that can further the the humanistic as oppsoed to the ecclesiastical interests of man. It was not about science for its own sake. It was about science for the sake of man. The underlying motives were humanistic motives, not positivistic scientistic motives.

                          This is quite clear in Kant's first Critique. He clipped the wings of Newtonian scientism in order to leave room for a sense of trust in our humanistic moral concerns, as he said in the preface:

                          "I have had to deny knowledge [i.e., of certain things, as far as Newtonian science is concerned], in order to make room for faith [i.e., our trust in the moral/practical interests of reason]"

                          Kant wasn't talking about moral theology there. He was talking about humanism versus scientism. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be; if, that is, you read Kant's true intentions correctly. He felt that freedom needed to be saved from an encroaching scientism. Most commentators ignore that aspect of Kant because it doesn't fit into their scientistic distortions of Kant. The academic Kantians are the worst of all.

                          But all of that Kantian Enlightenment sentiment got lost in the translation during the ensuing nineteenth and early twentieth century developments that did, indeed, supplant the humanistic concerns with the frankly scientistic ones.

                          And then we ended up here...

                          Hb3g

                          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator <existlist1@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > I have a more simple reason to avoid some discussions... they don't
                          > reflect directly enough on philosophy. That is why you have to ask how
                          > a discussion reflects back on personal choices, personal
                          > consciousness, etc. If a discussion is nothing more than "Pub
                          > Chatter" (minus the joy of dark beer), then it probably doesn't need
                          > to continue. If you can contextualize (uhg) the chatter, then that's
                          > different.
                          >
                          > Issues of race, religion, and gender, can be found in the works of
                          > various philosophers. The question for me is if any philosophers
                          > claims are countered or complemented by science. Does current research
                          > support or debunk some philosophers? When I think race and
                          > existentialism, I end up with Buber, Heidegger, and Camus -- each for
                          > a different reason.
                          >
                          > Camus was definitely French, and proud of it, but acutely aware of
                          > racism and classism within French colonial society.
                          >
                          > Heidegger was a strange mix of anti-Semite and lover of at least two
                          > Jewish students. Go figure. I still need to read some of the
                          > biographical works I purchased over the last two years.
                          >
                          > Buber started as a Jewish racist, ended up being an activist for
                          > Palestinian equality. Buber himself admitted that his extremely
                          > religious upbringing had adversely affected his views of other people
                          > until he moved to Israel and realized people turn out to be amazingly
                          > similar.
                          >
                          > If intelligent, sometimes reasonable people, cannot discuss something,
                          > then I fear that prejudices are only allowed to continue and fester.
                          > Until someone engages in the debate, "What is a witch?" nothing
                          > changes. (Not that I think "reason" is infallible or trustworthy.)
                          >
                          > As for science, if we couldn't map people by genetics, I'd agree there
                          > are no ethnic differences. However, we can demonstrate where people
                          > migrated, when, and with whom they interacted. Ethnic groups are quite
                          > genuine and unique, but they are nothing more than physical
                          > characteristics. I must pay attention to those differences in my
                          > research, since they are statistically important. If If I ignore race,
                          > I could very well miss a key to helping thousands of families.
                          >
                          > The philosophical questions that arise are actually ethical questions.
                          > For example, does a study of medications that are more effective on
                          > one race than another feed social biases? Because of past racism and
                          > horrible science, some groups don't want to participate in clinical
                          > trials. What is the moral / ethical implication of not testing a
                          > medication on some groups? Even if that omission is well intentioned?
                          >
                          > There are heart medications that work well with some ethnic groups,
                          > but have no or even contra-indicative results in other groups.
                          > Unfortunately, because we test most medications on white males, we
                          > missed that some of these are damaging to women and minorities. We
                          > didn't test on these groups for all the "right reasons" (past abuses).
                          >
                          > I admit that I still wonder what influence racism, even unconscious
                          > racism, has on the diagnoses of autism and ADD/ADHD. If you enter a
                          > special education class in Minnesota, the odds are that the majority
                          > of students will be male and of African descent. In a state with 2 to
                          > 4 percent minority population, nearly 60 percent of special education
                          > is for minority students. Something is wrong. Why should I not ask
                          > about racism? What about genetics? What a mess. No easy answer.
                          >
                          > Philosophers, ideally, keep science from running amok. I can at least
                          > dream of that ideal. Unfortunately, philosophers are no better than
                          > everyone else and, worse, can justify warped views with supposed
                          > reason. (I think Peter Singer makes horrible views sound reasonable.
                          > Then again, I'm an "advocate" for the disabled. But he is an "ethics"
                          > expert, so he must be reasonable. Sure.)
                          >
                          > So, any topic should be open to discussion -- but only if you can
                          > associate it with philosophical concerns.
                          >
                          > - C. S. Wyatt
                          > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                          > that I shall be.
                          > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                          > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                          >
                        • louise
                          ... Chris, In this instance I find your contribution highly polluting. It literally makes me want to retch. You appear to be referring to political
                          Message 12 of 26 , May 2, 2009
                          • 0 Attachment
                            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "chris lofting" <lofting@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > From a neurological perspective, ANY form of focus on differentiating will
                            > naturally elicit an increase in competitiveness and introduce issues of
                            > paradox processing etc., and so argument. The social demands to ask
                            > questions forces differentiating of consciousness and the focus on
                            > mediation. This leads into biases to attraction of those disciplines that
                            > most question - such as doctors (GPs and psychiatrists etc), lawyers,
                            > scientists, agents etc etc and so an overall focus on the mediating
                            > positions of a culture.
                            >
                            > If a specialist culture FORCES debate, is proactive about such and makes it
                            > a ground for cultural development, then that culture can benefit from such
                            > overall when working in other cultures - especially in the areas of
                            > mediation dynamics. The issues then become that of the expressed
                            > competitiveness being interpreted from other cultures as if intentionally
                            > 'aggressive' when it is more a property of nurture in that an emergent
                            > property of differentiating is border creation and complexity/chaos dynamics
                            > and the sensation of being competitive within the family etc. This
                            > perspective of being 'aggressive' is especially so by any cultures that
                            > lack a focus on mediation - there is no 'say' within the culture, rigid
                            > beliefs are not questioned etc or more so there is no pressure when young to
                            > 'get involved'.
                            >
                            > The whole middle east position is about borders, the differentiating of, the
                            > maintaining of, the extension of.

                            Chris, In this instance I find your contribution highly polluting. It literally makes me want to retch. You appear to be referring to political questions, with an astonishing degree of ignorant posturing, having shown yourself quite unable to 'live in peace' when your own arguments here have been exposed to the rigours of debate. How can you seriously, or anyone else here tolerate taking seriously, a 'neurological perspective', when we are talking about human subjectivity and its real-world complications? Maybe this is a question of list politics, or list policing. Louise

                            The focus on differentiating will
                            > naturally elicit competitive dynamics and so paradoxes and so our brain
                            > instinctively moves into a mediation role to resolve the apparent paradox
                            > but to never totally complete it since a focus on argument is a focus on
                            > mediation and so a grounding in uncertainties. Thus if there is nothing
                            > 'real' to argue about then something is created 'as if' real to maintain the
                            > focus on mediation dynamics; when an agreement is made it is then
                            > immediately open to closer questioning and so more argument due to the
                            > nature of the grounding of the culture in argument. Thus a natural
                            > disposition to argue is interpreted from outside as a natural disposition to
                            > being competitive and so not conducive to 'living in peace' - but to the
                            > natural, LOCAL, context state of argument, of eternally in some dispute,
                            > that IS 'living in peace'!
                            >
                            > One can see how living around a culture so focused on mediation can elicit
                            > interpretations of the apparent hostility as if intentional rather than as a
                            > 'way of living' that can be ignored, the argumentative culture can go on
                            > being such as long as they stay argumentative within their borders. Failure
                            > to understand the dynamics means an increase in hostility towards that
                            > argumentative culture - all due to the demands for being more
                            > differentiating now placed on the less argumentative cultures!
                            >
                            > Chris.
                            >
                            > > -----Original Message-----
                            > > From: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                            > > [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Exist List Moderator
                            > > Sent: Saturday, 2 May 2009 2:05 AM
                            > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                            > > Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Race and Genes
                            > >
                            > > On Apr 30, 2009, at 18:00, devogney wrote:
                            > >
                            > > > You refer to your semetic heritage, and later say
                            > > >
                            > > >> What worries me is when someone tries to use differences
                            > > to establish
                            > > >> superiority intellectually
                            > > >
                            > > > To the extent that IQ,Nobel Prizes, or membership in professions is
                            > > > indicative of intellectual superiority,the Jewish race is
                            > > by far the
                            > > > most intellectual as a group. I read recently of IQ studies which
                            > > > found Jewish IQ to average 113,Oriental 107, and that of white
                            > > > gentiles at 100.
                            > >
                            > > These are cultural differences, which affect IQ scores quantifiably.
                            > >
                            > > Anyone familiar with Talmudic tradition knows that debate and
                            > > even heated argument are part of the culture. Even as a young
                            > > child, you are expected to know some of the experts and quote
                            > > them to defend or refute various claims during a discussion.
                            > > The constant discussion and debate, especially around dinner
                            > > tables, is learned by young people who take this skill to
                            > > academic settings where, at least in the West, it is prized.
                            > >
                            >
                          • chris lofting
                            ... ... Louise - I find you ignorance, vanity, and arrogance astonishing at times - you really should see someone about it. Your focus on subjectivity
                            Message 13 of 26 , May 2, 2009
                            • 0 Attachment
                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                              > [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of louise
                              > Sent: Saturday, 2 May 2009 11:05 PM
                              > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: [existlist] Re: Race and Genes
                              >
                              <snip>
                              >
                              > Chris, In this instance I find your contribution highly
                              > polluting. It literally makes me want to retch. You appear
                              > to be referring to political questions, with an astonishing
                              > degree of ignorant posturing, having shown yourself quite
                              > unable to 'live in peace' when your own arguments here have
                              > been exposed to the rigours of debate. How can you
                              > seriously, or anyone else here tolerate taking seriously, a
                              > 'neurological perspective', when we are talking about human
                              > subjectivity and its real-world complications? Maybe this is
                              > a question of list politics, or list policing. Louise
                              >

                              Louise - I find you ignorance, vanity, and arrogance astonishing at times -
                              you really should see someone about it. Your focus on subjectivity fails
                              miserably in that you obviously have no understanding at all about the
                              unconscious and its influence on the 'subjective' - you seem to believe that
                              there is no tie of neurological function and human subjectivity and
                              real-world issues! LOL! The NATURAL consequence of a DEMAND to
                              differentiate, to DOUBT, will elicit an increase in refined consciousness
                              that is grounded in mediation and uncertainty.

                              To follow an existentialist perspective without understanding the dynamics
                              that seed such is reflective of a lack of depth in thought, a knee-jerk
                              existence and so reflecting behaviours that focus on stereotyping and
                              symmetric thinking - traits you keep demonstrating.

                              cordially,

                              Chris.
                            • devogney
                              - Herman, I agree very much with the gist of your post.Reductionistic materialism emerged in the political battle with Catholic dogmatism; and ironically what
                              Message 14 of 26 , May 2, 2009
                              • 0 Attachment
                                -


                                Herman,

                                I agree very much with the gist of your post.Reductionistic materialism emerged in the political battle with Catholic dogmatism; and ironically what we are battling often influences what we become[a good example of that was the fact that Einstein and the inventor of the atomic bomb, Szilard, sent the letter to FDR proposing the bomb, because they hads heard Hitler had men working on it, otherwise neither Einstein or Szilard would ever have proposed such a bomb. In similar fashion, science had its beginnings in opposition to Catholic dogmatism, and produced a tradition that often was as dogmatic in their reductionistic materialism as the Church was in it's theism.

                                The fact that the tenents of the reductionist, materialistic science was in general quite successful in terms of making practical inventions was quite impressive. I have heard that Newtonian theory was for practical purposes close enough to being correct for terrestrial purposes; but the superiority of Einstenian over Newtonian assumptions became relevent when launches into outer space began.

                                The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.Einstein

                                Tom







                                -- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > I have been engaged in a rather interesting mix of reading over the past few months. I mentioned a week or so ago that I had read Isaacson's interesting biography on Einstein and Gaddis' short history of the Cold War. And I have also been reading Joe Sachs' translations of Aristotle's Metaphyscis, Physics and On the Soul.
                                >
                                > Here is another book I have been reading that, I think, throws a lot of light on how the drive toward purity, namely methodological purity, has played itself out in at least one branch of philosophy, namely, the philosophy of science. It is George Reisch's "How the Cold War Transformed Philosophy of Science: To the Icy Slopes of Logic."
                                >
                                > That whole bit about how the unity of science movement came out of the Vienna Circle and the logical empiricism of the nineteen thirties is a fascinating and disturbing story.
                                >
                                > Here is a snippet from the Vienna Circle's manifesto, Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung, written by Rudolph Carnap, Otto Neurath, and Hans Hahn, back in 1929:
                                >
                                > "Neatness and clarity are striven for, and dark distances and unfathomable depths rejected. In science there are no "depths"; there is surface everywhere: all experience forms a complex network, which cannot always be surveyed and can often be grasped only in parts. Everything is accessible to man; and man is the measure of all things."
                                >
                                > I, for one, do not see how there can be such complexity without depth, and, I would certainly take issue with the obvious reference to the Protagorean position that man is the measure of all things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man. What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was a member of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels Bohr, both of which imply that not everything is accessible to man, precisely because the indeterminacy of observation, according to Bohr and Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.
                                >
                                > So, it would seem that the Vienna Circle and the unity of science movement were out of step with the most recent experimental results and theoretical developments that they, themselves, professed to hold in such high esteem.
                                >
                                > But the ideals that were behind the Vienna Circle and the unity of science movement seemed noble enough. Help science to do the most good for humanity. The whole project was conceived, in the early days, pretty much along Enlightenment lines. Science and philosophy ought to contribute toward making this world a better place to live. Progress is a good thing.
                                >
                                > But the project morphed over a period of several decades into a dry logical inquiry that ceased to have much relevance to humanistic concerns. Reisch believes this had much to do with the political environment. McCarthyism. Be that as it may. But I think, too, that it had a lot to do with the untenability of a purist methodological approach to science, and to philosdophy.
                                >
                                > Clear over at the other end of the historical and methodological spectrum, you have Aristotle. Yes, Aristotle places a lot of value on coming up with clear philosophical explanations. We want to figure these things out. But Aristotle was realistic about it. You don't really begin with clarity. You begin with obscurity. And an interesting thing tends to happen along the way. You realize that underneath this drive to go from obscurity to clarity there is something that never really goes away, and that something is the inherent ambiguity of the subject matter that is under investigation. The word "being" for example ends up meaning different things in different ways. You can't reduce it to just one single meaning. The same goes for other things like motion and life.
                                >
                                > Even philosophical first principles are not unambiguous. The ambiguity constitutes the richness of such concepts. But we easily mistake that richness for indeterminacy. Or, perhaps, we get confused ourselves, because we want a pure and simple explanation of a thing that, itself, is never pure and simple, no matter how determined it may be.
                                >
                                > It doesn't surprise me that Aristotle ended up placing a lot of importance on such things as ambiguity and diversity. He was a biologist, a naturalist, a profound investigator of nature, and he clearly recognized the value of diversity and the inevitable ambiguities that have to come into play when we try get a metaphysical grip on nature.
                                >
                                > In many ways, I think, what happened after the Enlightenment, as scientific method took hold and became the ruling metaphysical paradigm is that we took methodological purity to heart and raised it to the level of an ideology. There is no doubt that we have gained much by keeping things methodologically pure and simple. It is obvious. But there is also little doubt that we have lost a lot too.
                                >
                                > How to strike a balance? That is the question. In many ways, maybe, the existentialists kind of rebelled against the ruling scientific ideology because they took to heart what we all know deep down inside. Despite the allure, and the benefits to be incurred, by the pure and simple approach, life really isn't simple that way.
                                >
                                > Besides, it is also pretty obvious, I think, that in spite of its methodological simplifications, the scientific picture of the world that we have ended up with, when it comes right down to it, isn't really all that simple, but rather complicated.
                                >
                                > This all goes to the arguments about racism and racial purity too. The National Socialists prided themselves on having, supposedly, a scientific basis for their eugenics programs. That is why they started euthanizing the mentally ill. They felt that they had pure and simple scientific reasons for strengthening the German race by getting rid of the so-called genetic failures. Of course, there was a lot more going on than that. The genocide against the Jews may have been rationalized along such scientific lines as well. They were considered an inferior race. But we know that unacknowledged resentments and hatreds, irrational and unscientific beliefs, also played their role.
                                >
                                > I think that we have to ask ourselves a question here. In spite of the successes and positive results to be attained by such sciences as psychology, sociology and anthropology, does it really make sense to say that there can be such a thing as a science of man? I do not think that it was the intention of the major Enlightenment thinkers to promote the institution of a science of man. Rather, I think that it was their intention to promote the utility of science as an instrument that can further the the humanistic as oppsoed to the ecclesiastical interests of man. It was not about science for its own sake. It was about science for the sake of man. The underlying motives were humanistic motives, not positivistic scientistic motives.
                                >
                                > This is quite clear in Kant's first Critique. He clipped the wings of Newtonian scientism in order to leave room for a sense of trust in our humanistic moral concerns, as he said in the preface:
                                >
                                > "I have had to deny knowledge [i.e., of certain things, as far as Newtonian science is concerned], in order to make room for faith [i.e., our trust in the moral/practical interests of reason]"
                                >
                                > Kant wasn't talking about moral theology there. He was talking about humanism versus scientism. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be; if, that is, you read Kant's true intentions correctly. He felt that freedom needed to be saved from an encroaching scientism. Most commentators ignore that aspect of Kant because it doesn't fit into their scientistic distortions of Kant. The academic Kantians are the worst of all.
                                >
                                > But all of that Kantian Enlightenment sentiment got lost in the translation during the ensuing nineteenth and early twentieth century developments that did, indeed, supplant the humanistic concerns with the frankly scientistic ones.
                                >
                                > And then we ended up here...
                                >
                                > Hb3g
                                >
                                > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator <existlist1@> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > I have a more simple reason to avoid some discussions... they don't
                                > > reflect directly enough on philosophy. That is why you have to ask how
                                > > a discussion reflects back on personal choices, personal
                                > > consciousness, etc. If a discussion is nothing more than "Pub
                                > > Chatter" (minus the joy of dark beer), then it probably doesn't need
                                > > to continue. If you can contextualize (uhg) the chatter, then that's
                                > > different.
                                > >
                                > > Issues of race, religion, and gender, can be found in the works of
                                > > various philosophers. The question for me is if any philosophers
                                > > claims are countered or complemented by science. Does current research
                                > > support or debunk some philosophers? When I think race and
                                > > existentialism, I end up with Buber, Heidegger, and Camus -- each for
                                > > a different reason.
                                > >
                                > > Camus was definitely French, and proud of it, but acutely aware of
                                > > racism and classism within French colonial society.
                                > >
                                > > Heidegger was a strange mix of anti-Semite and lover of at least two
                                > > Jewish students. Go figure. I still need to read some of the
                                > > biographical works I purchased over the last two years.
                                > >
                                > > Buber started as a Jewish racist, ended up being an activist for
                                > > Palestinian equality. Buber himself admitted that his extremely
                                > > religious upbringing had adversely affected his views of other people
                                > > until he moved to Israel and realized people turn out to be amazingly
                                > > similar.
                                > >
                                > > If intelligent, sometimes reasonable people, cannot discuss something,
                                > > then I fear that prejudices are only allowed to continue and fester.
                                > > Until someone engages in the debate, "What is a witch?" nothing
                                > > changes. (Not that I think "reason" is infallible or trustworthy.)
                                > >
                                > > As for science, if we couldn't map people by genetics, I'd agree there
                                > > are no ethnic differences. However, we can demonstrate where people
                                > > migrated, when, and with whom they interacted. Ethnic groups are quite
                                > > genuine and unique, but they are nothing more than physical
                                > > characteristics. I must pay attention to those differences in my
                                > > research, since they are statistically important. If If I ignore race,
                                > > I could very well miss a key to helping thousands of families.
                                > >
                                > > The philosophical questions that arise are actually ethical questions.
                                > > For example, does a study of medications that are more effective on
                                > > one race than another feed social biases? Because of past racism and
                                > > horrible science, some groups don't want to participate in clinical
                                > > trials. What is the moral / ethical implication of not testing a
                                > > medication on some groups? Even if that omission is well intentioned?
                                > >
                                > > There are heart medications that work well with some ethnic groups,
                                > > but have no or even contra-indicative results in other groups.
                                > > Unfortunately, because we test most medications on white males, we
                                > > missed that some of these are damaging to women and minorities. We
                                > > didn't test on these groups for all the "right reasons" (past abuses).
                                > >
                                > > I admit that I still wonder what influence racism, even unconscious
                                > > racism, has on the diagnoses of autism and ADD/ADHD. If you enter a
                                > > special education class in Minnesota, the odds are that the majority
                                > > of students will be male and of African descent. In a state with 2 to
                                > > 4 percent minority population, nearly 60 percent of special education
                                > > is for minority students. Something is wrong. Why should I not ask
                                > > about racism? What about genetics? What a mess. No easy answer.
                                > >
                                > > Philosophers, ideally, keep science from running amok. I can at least
                                > > dream of that ideal. Unfortunately, philosophers are no better than
                                > > everyone else and, worse, can justify warped views with supposed
                                > > reason. (I think Peter Singer makes horrible views sound reasonable.
                                > > Then again, I'm an "advocate" for the disabled. But he is an "ethics"
                                > > expert, so he must be reasonable. Sure.)
                                > >
                                > > So, any topic should be open to discussion -- but only if you can
                                > > associate it with philosophical concerns.
                                > >
                                > > - C. S. Wyatt
                                > > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                                > > that I shall be.
                                > > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                                > > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                                > >
                                >
                              • devogney
                                -CS, In addition to the genetic evolution, certainly the last century and more so the last half century has certainly produced cultural and intellectual
                                Message 15 of 26 , May 2, 2009
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  -CS,

                                  In addition to the genetic evolution, certainly the last century and more so the last half century has certainly produced cultural and intellectual integration as east and west have increasingly interacted. I have heard the term "Mid Pacific Man" used for people who have spent enough time in both the east and west, so that the paradigms of both are seen as less absolute and more relative. And Obama is great poster child for the expansion beyond race, region etc. With his mixed ancestory,and growing up largely out side the continental US he brings a welcome change from "the Decider".
                                  Tom



                                  -- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator <existlist1@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > A well stated point..
                                  >
                                  > On May 01, 2009, at 11:08, Herman B. Triplegood wrote:
                                  >
                                  > > Pol Pot murdered three million of his countrymen in just under two
                                  > > years. Mao Tse Tung murdered thirty million for the sake of a
                                  > > cultural revolution over a period of about ten years. Stalin
                                  > > murdered about twenty million in the name of the Marxist/Leninist
                                  > > class struggle. And about fifty million "real" Americans were
                                  > > murdered in the name of manifest destiny. The litany of horror and
                                  > > violence, for the sake of ethnic purity, and exclusion, goes on even
                                  > > now. Rwanda. Darfur. The Taliban.
                                  >
                                  > I disagree with a few of the numbers, but does a million or two (+/-)
                                  > matter when we are talking about life? And rather it is racial purity
                                  > or ideological purity, it is horrendous.
                                  >
                                  > Purity tends to weaken a group over the long term. Witness the
                                  > political parties rushing towards "purity" in the United States. The
                                  > extremes end up small (but loud) groups, resorting to force and
                                  > coercion to retain power. (Middle ground? What's that?) Demands of
                                  > purity end up being impossible to meet, so a few hard-line radicals in
                                  > the faith, political party, or whatever, remain... living fossils.
                                  >
                                  > In terms of my own field, it is the desire to create a better humanity
                                  > that worries me. Parents wanting to cherry-pick the traits of their
                                  > children. They treat children as one might purebred canine breeding.
                                  > (I'm not a fan of purebred dogs, either, because they aren't fit.)
                                  >
                                  > Eugenics are a serious concern to me. That's why I am troubled by some
                                  > issues of ethnic difference and genetic "frailty" we have detected.
                                  > What is a "weakness" today could be an adaptive advantage tomorrow.
                                  > What if some obstacles are benefits in certain situations? I know I
                                  > wouldn't mind a doctor with mild Aspger's Syndrome if he/she had
                                  > focused obsessively on my condition.
                                  >
                                  > This week is the Autism Society of Minnesota's state convention, where
                                  > I am one of the many presenters. There is a growing movement against
                                  > the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (http://www.agre.org/), led by
                                  > autistic adults. They fear parents will be tested and then decide to
                                  > not have children or abort a child likely to be autistic. So, we have
                                  > two very vocal groups in direct philosophical conflict: the Autism
                                  > Speaks group, working "End Autism Now!" and those with autism
                                  > disorders who think of the condition as something potentially valuable.
                                  >
                                  > I worry about any attempt to "fix" or "repair" the human population by
                                  > selectively deciding who will or won't exist. Yet, I also understand
                                  > how a parent told that a child will be disabled could feel that the
                                  > life won't be "valuable" in some way.
                                  >
                                  > The Progressive Movement of the 1920s embraced eugenics, thinking that
                                  > the majority of humans would be better off if we could eliminate the
                                  > weak or flawed. That was a time when too many Progressives had
                                  > complete, dangerous, faith in science. It was a modernist perspective,
                                  > almost an Enlightenment faith in mankind to improve itself.
                                  >
                                  > When we start thinking of humans as flawed things, or if we think of
                                  > society has a "machine" to be programmed and controlled, we run too
                                  > many moral risks to ponder. Our need to think and analyze in
                                  > generalities is essential to human decision making, but it compounds
                                  > the risks.
                                  >
                                  > Mutts are probably best, genetically. Diversity is a great thing... of
                                  > beliefs, cultures, ideals, and even genetics.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > - C. S. Wyatt
                                  > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                                  > that I shall be.
                                  > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                                  > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                                  >
                                • louise
                                  Chris Lofting. Just to make clear that I have no respect whatever for your criteria of respect. Whenever you post your inanities to the group, I must consider
                                  Message 16 of 26 , May 2, 2009
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Chris Lofting.

                                    Just to make clear that I have no respect whatever for your criteria of respect. Whenever you post your inanities to the group, I must consider whether to intervene, and this situation will continue unless the moderators find my responses unacceptable. Your condescending and juvenile attitude led me into much false confession. You should take a look at your own insufferable vanity.

                                    Louise

                                    --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "chris lofting" <lofting@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > > -----Original Message-----
                                    > > From: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                                    > > [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of louise
                                    > > Sent: Saturday, 2 May 2009 11:05 PM
                                    > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                                    > > Subject: [existlist] Re: Race and Genes
                                    > >
                                    > <snip>
                                    > >
                                    > > Chris, In this instance I find your contribution highly
                                    > > polluting. It literally makes me want to retch. You appear
                                    > > to be referring to political questions, with an astonishing
                                    > > degree of ignorant posturing, having shown yourself quite
                                    > > unable to 'live in peace' when your own arguments here have
                                    > > been exposed to the rigours of debate. How can you
                                    > > seriously, or anyone else here tolerate taking seriously, a
                                    > > 'neurological perspective', when we are talking about human
                                    > > subjectivity and its real-world complications? Maybe this is
                                    > > a question of list politics, or list policing. Louise
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    > Louise - I find you ignorance, vanity, and arrogance astonishing at times -
                                    > you really should see someone about it. Your focus on subjectivity fails
                                    > miserably in that you obviously have no understanding at all about the
                                    > unconscious and its influence on the 'subjective' - you seem to believe that
                                    > there is no tie of neurological function and human subjectivity and
                                    > real-world issues! LOL! The NATURAL consequence of a DEMAND to
                                    > differentiate, to DOUBT, will elicit an increase in refined consciousness
                                    > that is grounded in mediation and uncertainty.
                                    >
                                    > To follow an existentialist perspective without understanding the dynamics
                                    > that seed such is reflective of a lack of depth in thought, a knee-jerk
                                    > existence and so reflecting behaviours that focus on stereotyping and
                                    > symmetric thinking - traits you keep demonstrating.
                                    >
                                    > cordially,
                                    >
                                    > Chris.
                                    >
                                  • Herman B. Triplegood
                                    Tom: Yeah, Einstein stepped away from his original pacifist position. But that, I think, was a right choice at the time. He saw very clearly the grave threat
                                    Message 17 of 26 , May 2, 2009
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Tom:

                                      Yeah, Einstein stepped away from his original pacifist position. But that, I think, was a right choice at the time. He saw very clearly the grave threat that was posed by the Nationalist Socialist movement in Germany.

                                      One of things that we don't usually look at, however, is this. The intensity of the threat posed by fascist regimes was increased by the advances in technology.

                                      Remember Clausewitz? He theorized that if total war ever did become possible, it could subvert all political agendas. Gaddis mentions this in his history of the Cold War. Either the attempt to achieve the political end by extra-political means succeeded, or it did not.

                                      Clausewitz saw the gathering storm on the horizon: the possibility of total war. The relationship between war and politics became reversible. War can, and still does, serve political ends. But now, politics also serves military ends.

                                      This is not only frightening, but also seemingly inexplicable.

                                      Why has this happened?

                                      What is going on?

                                      It is as if the impulse to wage war has really taken on a life of its own. That was the threat posed by those weapons of mass destruction during the Cold War. Everybody knew that. Once the nuclear genie was let out of the bottle, the escalation to total war would be inevitable.

                                      The threat has not gone away. If anything, looking toward the near future, the threat of total war may very well increase as we stare down the spectre of some individual, like Bin Laden, getting his hands on a nuclear weapon. We can still pretty much depend upon governments to, in most cases, do the right thing, as long as the way to dialogue remains open, and cooler heads can still prevail.

                                      But how do we counter the irrational threat of the apocalyptic visionary? Such a visionary could topple governments with just a few well placed nuclear weapons. Then who know what will happen next?

                                      It is not at all clear to me that, in the end, this wonderful gift of technology that we have given to ourselves will not ultimately be our total undoing.

                                      Things like racism, and the tendency to supplant old ecclesiastical authoritarianism with new scientistic authoritarianism, or even the tendency to want to reinstate ecclesiastical authoritarianism, make it very clear to me that, when it comes down to reason and rationality, there is no guarantee that cooler heads will, in fact, prevail.

                                      All the more reason why, as far as I am concerned, we should take very seriously the threat posed to our survival, as a species, by the wide spread tendency to reduce reason to raw emotion, and the tendency to reduce human freedom to mere mechanism.

                                      This machine that we have created is very real, and it is blind, and if we let it go, if we lose our control over it, it will do what it does, automatically, without regard to either life or freedom, because, it isn't us, it is, indeed, the absolute antithesis of every thing that we, ourselves, really are.

                                      Hb3g

                                      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "devogney" <tsmith17_midsouth1@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > -
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Herman,
                                      >
                                      > I agree very much with the gist of your post.Reductionistic materialism emerged in the political battle with Catholic dogmatism; and ironically what we are battling often influences what we become[a good example of that was the fact that Einstein and the inventor of the atomic bomb, Szilard, sent the letter to FDR proposing the bomb, because they hads heard Hitler had men working on it, otherwise neither Einstein or Szilard would ever have proposed such a bomb. In similar fashion, science had its beginnings in opposition to Catholic dogmatism, and produced a tradition that often was as dogmatic in their reductionistic materialism as the Church was in it's theism.
                                      >
                                      > The fact that the tenents of the reductionist, materialistic science was in general quite successful in terms of making practical inventions was quite impressive. I have heard that Newtonian theory was for practical purposes close enough to being correct for terrestrial purposes; but the superiority of Einstenian over Newtonian assumptions became relevent when launches into outer space began.
                                      >
                                      > The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.Einstein
                                      >
                                      > Tom
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > -- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@> wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > > I have been engaged in a rather interesting mix of reading over the past few months. I mentioned a week or so ago that I had read Isaacson's interesting biography on Einstein and Gaddis' short history of the Cold War. And I have also been reading Joe Sachs' translations of Aristotle's Metaphyscis, Physics and On the Soul.
                                      > >
                                      > > Here is another book I have been reading that, I think, throws a lot of light on how the drive toward purity, namely methodological purity, has played itself out in at least one branch of philosophy, namely, the philosophy of science. It is George Reisch's "How the Cold War Transformed Philosophy of Science: To the Icy Slopes of Logic."
                                      > >
                                      > > That whole bit about how the unity of science movement came out of the Vienna Circle and the logical empiricism of the nineteen thirties is a fascinating and disturbing story.
                                      > >
                                      > > Here is a snippet from the Vienna Circle's manifesto, Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung, written by Rudolph Carnap, Otto Neurath, and Hans Hahn, back in 1929:
                                      > >
                                      > > "Neatness and clarity are striven for, and dark distances and unfathomable depths rejected. In science there are no "depths"; there is surface everywhere: all experience forms a complex network, which cannot always be surveyed and can often be grasped only in parts. Everything is accessible to man; and man is the measure of all things."
                                      > >
                                      > > I, for one, do not see how there can be such complexity without depth, and, I would certainly take issue with the obvious reference to the Protagorean position that man is the measure of all things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man. What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was a member of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels Bohr, both of which imply that not everything is accessible to man, precisely because the indeterminacy of observation, according to Bohr and Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.
                                      > >
                                      > > So, it would seem that the Vienna Circle and the unity of science movement were out of step with the most recent experimental results and theoretical developments that they, themselves, professed to hold in such high esteem.
                                      > >
                                      > > But the ideals that were behind the Vienna Circle and the unity of science movement seemed noble enough. Help science to do the most good for humanity. The whole project was conceived, in the early days, pretty much along Enlightenment lines. Science and philosophy ought to contribute toward making this world a better place to live. Progress is a good thing.
                                      > >
                                      > > But the project morphed over a period of several decades into a dry logical inquiry that ceased to have much relevance to humanistic concerns. Reisch believes this had much to do with the political environment. McCarthyism. Be that as it may. But I think, too, that it had a lot to do with the untenability of a purist methodological approach to science, and to philosdophy.
                                      > >
                                      > > Clear over at the other end of the historical and methodological spectrum, you have Aristotle. Yes, Aristotle places a lot of value on coming up with clear philosophical explanations. We want to figure these things out. But Aristotle was realistic about it. You don't really begin with clarity. You begin with obscurity. And an interesting thing tends to happen along the way. You realize that underneath this drive to go from obscurity to clarity there is something that never really goes away, and that something is the inherent ambiguity of the subject matter that is under investigation. The word "being" for example ends up meaning different things in different ways. You can't reduce it to just one single meaning. The same goes for other things like motion and life.
                                      > >
                                      > > Even philosophical first principles are not unambiguous. The ambiguity constitutes the richness of such concepts. But we easily mistake that richness for indeterminacy. Or, perhaps, we get confused ourselves, because we want a pure and simple explanation of a thing that, itself, is never pure and simple, no matter how determined it may be.
                                      > >
                                      > > It doesn't surprise me that Aristotle ended up placing a lot of importance on such things as ambiguity and diversity. He was a biologist, a naturalist, a profound investigator of nature, and he clearly recognized the value of diversity and the inevitable ambiguities that have to come into play when we try get a metaphysical grip on nature.
                                      > >
                                      > > In many ways, I think, what happened after the Enlightenment, as scientific method took hold and became the ruling metaphysical paradigm is that we took methodological purity to heart and raised it to the level of an ideology. There is no doubt that we have gained much by keeping things methodologically pure and simple. It is obvious. But there is also little doubt that we have lost a lot too.
                                      > >
                                      > > How to strike a balance? That is the question. In many ways, maybe, the existentialists kind of rebelled against the ruling scientific ideology because they took to heart what we all know deep down inside. Despite the allure, and the benefits to be incurred, by the pure and simple approach, life really isn't simple that way.
                                      > >
                                      > > Besides, it is also pretty obvious, I think, that in spite of its methodological simplifications, the scientific picture of the world that we have ended up with, when it comes right down to it, isn't really all that simple, but rather complicated.
                                      > >
                                      > > This all goes to the arguments about racism and racial purity too. The National Socialists prided themselves on having, supposedly, a scientific basis for their eugenics programs. That is why they started euthanizing the mentally ill. They felt that they had pure and simple scientific reasons for strengthening the German race by getting rid of the so-called genetic failures. Of course, there was a lot more going on than that. The genocide against the Jews may have been rationalized along such scientific lines as well. They were considered an inferior race. But we know that unacknowledged resentments and hatreds, irrational and unscientific beliefs, also played their role.
                                      > >
                                      > > I think that we have to ask ourselves a question here. In spite of the successes and positive results to be attained by such sciences as psychology, sociology and anthropology, does it really make sense to say that there can be such a thing as a science of man? I do not think that it was the intention of the major Enlightenment thinkers to promote the institution of a science of man. Rather, I think that it was their intention to promote the utility of science as an instrument that can further the the humanistic as oppsoed to the ecclesiastical interests of man. It was not about science for its own sake. It was about science for the sake of man. The underlying motives were humanistic motives, not positivistic scientistic motives.
                                      > >
                                      > > This is quite clear in Kant's first Critique. He clipped the wings of Newtonian scientism in order to leave room for a sense of trust in our humanistic moral concerns, as he said in the preface:
                                      > >
                                      > > "I have had to deny knowledge [i.e., of certain things, as far as Newtonian science is concerned], in order to make room for faith [i.e., our trust in the moral/practical interests of reason]"
                                      > >
                                      > > Kant wasn't talking about moral theology there. He was talking about humanism versus scientism. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be; if, that is, you read Kant's true intentions correctly. He felt that freedom needed to be saved from an encroaching scientism. Most commentators ignore that aspect of Kant because it doesn't fit into their scientistic distortions of Kant. The academic Kantians are the worst of all.
                                      > >
                                      > > But all of that Kantian Enlightenment sentiment got lost in the translation during the ensuing nineteenth and early twentieth century developments that did, indeed, supplant the humanistic concerns with the frankly scientistic ones.
                                      > >
                                      > > And then we ended up here...
                                      > >
                                      > > Hb3g
                                      > >
                                      > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator <existlist1@> wrote:
                                      > > >
                                      > > > I have a more simple reason to avoid some discussions... they don't
                                      > > > reflect directly enough on philosophy. That is why you have to ask how
                                      > > > a discussion reflects back on personal choices, personal
                                      > > > consciousness, etc. If a discussion is nothing more than "Pub
                                      > > > Chatter" (minus the joy of dark beer), then it probably doesn't need
                                      > > > to continue. If you can contextualize (uhg) the chatter, then that's
                                      > > > different.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > Issues of race, religion, and gender, can be found in the works of
                                      > > > various philosophers. The question for me is if any philosophers
                                      > > > claims are countered or complemented by science. Does current research
                                      > > > support or debunk some philosophers? When I think race and
                                      > > > existentialism, I end up with Buber, Heidegger, and Camus -- each for
                                      > > > a different reason.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > Camus was definitely French, and proud of it, but acutely aware of
                                      > > > racism and classism within French colonial society.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > Heidegger was a strange mix of anti-Semite and lover of at least two
                                      > > > Jewish students. Go figure. I still need to read some of the
                                      > > > biographical works I purchased over the last two years.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > Buber started as a Jewish racist, ended up being an activist for
                                      > > > Palestinian equality. Buber himself admitted that his extremely
                                      > > > religious upbringing had adversely affected his views of other people
                                      > > > until he moved to Israel and realized people turn out to be amazingly
                                      > > > similar.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > If intelligent, sometimes reasonable people, cannot discuss something,
                                      > > > then I fear that prejudices are only allowed to continue and fester.
                                      > > > Until someone engages in the debate, "What is a witch?" nothing
                                      > > > changes. (Not that I think "reason" is infallible or trustworthy.)
                                      > > >
                                      > > > As for science, if we couldn't map people by genetics, I'd agree there
                                      > > > are no ethnic differences. However, we can demonstrate where people
                                      > > > migrated, when, and with whom they interacted. Ethnic groups are quite
                                      > > > genuine and unique, but they are nothing more than physical
                                      > > > characteristics. I must pay attention to those differences in my
                                      > > > research, since they are statistically important. If If I ignore race,
                                      > > > I could very well miss a key to helping thousands of families.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > The philosophical questions that arise are actually ethical questions.
                                      > > > For example, does a study of medications that are more effective on
                                      > > > one race than another feed social biases? Because of past racism and
                                      > > > horrible science, some groups don't want to participate in clinical
                                      > > > trials. What is the moral / ethical implication of not testing a
                                      > > > medication on some groups? Even if that omission is well intentioned?
                                      > > >
                                      > > > There are heart medications that work well with some ethnic groups,
                                      > > > but have no or even contra-indicative results in other groups.
                                      > > > Unfortunately, because we test most medications on white males, we
                                      > > > missed that some of these are damaging to women and minorities. We
                                      > > > didn't test on these groups for all the "right reasons" (past abuses).
                                      > > >
                                      > > > I admit that I still wonder what influence racism, even unconscious
                                      > > > racism, has on the diagnoses of autism and ADD/ADHD. If you enter a
                                      > > > special education class in Minnesota, the odds are that the majority
                                      > > > of students will be male and of African descent. In a state with 2 to
                                      > > > 4 percent minority population, nearly 60 percent of special education
                                      > > > is for minority students. Something is wrong. Why should I not ask
                                      > > > about racism? What about genetics? What a mess. No easy answer.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > Philosophers, ideally, keep science from running amok. I can at least
                                      > > > dream of that ideal. Unfortunately, philosophers are no better than
                                      > > > everyone else and, worse, can justify warped views with supposed
                                      > > > reason. (I think Peter Singer makes horrible views sound reasonable.
                                      > > > Then again, I'm an "advocate" for the disabled. But he is an "ethics"
                                      > > > expert, so he must be reasonable. Sure.)
                                      > > >
                                      > > > So, any topic should be open to discussion -- but only if you can
                                      > > > associate it with philosophical concerns.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > - C. S. Wyatt
                                      > > > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                                      > > > that I shall be.
                                      > > > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                                      > > > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                                      > > >
                                      > >
                                      >
                                    • Exist List Moderator
                                      ... I have heard a few analytical philosophers discuss this paradox and they argue it is not a paradox at all. How science views precision and known to
                                      Message 18 of 26 , May 2, 2009
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        On May 02, 2009, at 7:16, Herman B. Triplegood wrote:

                                        > things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man.
                                        > What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was a member
                                        > of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the
                                        > accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently
                                        > discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the
                                        > Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels
                                        > Bohr, both of which imply that not everything is accessible to man,
                                        > precisely because the indeterminacy of observation, according to
                                        > Bohr and Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.

                                        I have heard a few analytical philosophers discuss this "paradox" and
                                        they argue it is not a paradox at all. How science views "precision"
                                        and "known to man" is not the same as philosophy. This confusion is
                                        understandable, though. Philosophers have tried to borrow from
                                        science, with sometimes odd results.

                                        Even the Uncertainty Principle is actually "certain" once you study
                                        Schrodinger's mechanics.

                                        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/

                                        The issue is if the theories of Heisenberg described a quality, a
                                        principal, a perception, or something else. There are definitely gaps
                                        in the mathematics. However, just because we can't do the math, or
                                        locate it yet, does not mean the mathematics do not exist.

                                        I certainly don't think science gives meaning, nor do I think mankind
                                        will ever have "all the answers" to understand the natural world. But,
                                        the question is if science should even be looked to for some
                                        questions? Maybe science is the wrong discipline for some questions.

                                        Because I do believe in cognitive sciences, especially neurology, I
                                        struggle with questions of free will and reason. I tell myself that
                                        having a tendency, an underlying predisposition, is not destiny.
                                        Genetics and birth are only starting points. Sure, they matter, but we
                                        do have the ability to reason, the ability to overpower / overcome our
                                        natures.

                                        The notion of science revealing everything is just uncomfortable for
                                        me. At the same time, I am not mystical or religious... so I end up
                                        wavering on issues of life and meaning. It's all quite confusing,
                                        which it probably should be.


                                        - C. S. Wyatt
                                        I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                                        that I shall be.
                                        http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                                        http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                                      • chris lofting
                                        ... Consideration of the neurology research leads into the focus on mediation dynamics and the creation of specialist perspectives and their accompanying
                                        Message 19 of 26 , May 2, 2009
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          > -----Original Message-----
                                          > From: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                                          > [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Exist List Moderator
                                          > Sent: Sunday, 3 May 2009 12:40 PM
                                          > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                                          > Subject: Re: [existlist] Purity and Philosophy
                                          >
                                          > On May 02, 2009, at 7:16, Herman B. Triplegood wrote:
                                          >
                                          > > things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man.
                                          > > What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was
                                          > a member
                                          > > of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the
                                          > > accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently
                                          > > discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the
                                          > Copenhagen
                                          > > interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels
                                          > Bohr, both of
                                          > > which imply that not everything is accessible to man, precisely
                                          > > because the indeterminacy of observation, according to Bohr and
                                          > > Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.
                                          >
                                          > I have heard a few analytical philosophers discuss this
                                          > "paradox" and they argue it is not a paradox at all. How
                                          > science views "precision"
                                          > and "known to man" is not the same as philosophy. This
                                          > confusion is understandable, though. Philosophers have tried
                                          > to borrow from science, with sometimes odd results.
                                          >
                                          > Even the Uncertainty Principle is actually "certain" once you
                                          > study Schrodinger's mechanics.
                                          >
                                          > http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/
                                          >
                                          > The issue is if the theories of Heisenberg described a
                                          > quality, a principal, a perception, or something else. There
                                          > are definitely gaps in the mathematics. However, just because
                                          > we can't do the math, or locate it yet, does not mean the
                                          > mathematics do not exist.
                                          >
                                          > I certainly don't think science gives meaning, nor do I think
                                          > mankind will ever have "all the answers" to understand the
                                          > natural world. But, the question is if science should even be
                                          > looked to for some questions? Maybe science is the wrong
                                          > discipline for some questions.
                                          >

                                          Consideration of the neurology research leads into the focus on mediation
                                          dynamics and the creation of specialist perspectives and their accompanying
                                          languages. See diagrams/comments in the intro to my IDM abstract domain
                                          model page - http://members.iimetro.com.au/~lofting/myweb/AbstractD.htm

                                          ALL acts of mediation, regardless of scale, are acts grounded in uncertainty
                                          such that ANY meta-level analysis of these perspectives will reveal this
                                          fact. Lack of understanding of what is going on in our brains has led to the
                                          perspectives of physics/mathematics etc on uncertainties AS IF a ground for
                                          all reality - when the fact is the ground is in the mediating alone. Once
                                          mediation is complete we have a result but such is made unconscious in the
                                          form of habit/memory available for recall when prompted by some context.

                                          > Because I do believe in cognitive sciences, especially
                                          > neurology, I struggle with questions of free will and reason.

                                          How?

                                          > I tell myself that having a tendency, an underlying
                                          > predisposition, is not destiny.

                                          Certainly not for your singular being, but an issue for your particular
                                          being that is pushed by context to achieve its purpose(s). The emergence of
                                          consciousness covers the emergence of mediation skills and the capability to
                                          work top-down in limiting the degrees of freedom possible in bottom-up
                                          activities. Ss such the development of consciousness benefits the
                                          achievement of purpose of the particular but the success of consciousness
                                          has generalised that formally local focus where we think out of context
                                          through the use of mediations in the form of symbols that we then take
                                          literally rather than figuratively.

                                          > Genetics and birth are only starting points. Sure, they
                                          > matter, but we do have the ability to reason, the ability to
                                          > overpower / overcome our natures.
                                          >

                                          Reason is hard-coded, it is not free of our biology and so neurology. It is
                                          the DEGREE of reasoning capabilities that make the difference between us and
                                          other neuron-dependent life forms. Lower life forms can consider the
                                          previous few contexts to influence the current, the extremes in us allow us
                                          to work backwards to some originating context eons ago and use that to
                                          influence the current and predict the next.

                                          We can even focus on consciousness as emerging to regulate reason as reason
                                          has emerged to regulate instincts/emotions. IOW we can reason ourselves into
                                          a corner such that, for example, a suicidal position is 'logical'!
                                          Consciousness allows us to CHOOSE to be unreasonable and so transcend such
                                          paradoxes.

                                          > The notion of science revealing everything is just
                                          > uncomfortable for me.

                                          Science is not so much a thing, it is more a methodology. Its current issues
                                          are in its grounding in symmetry through its demands for repeatability etc
                                          (and so making the subjective 'unscientific') and so a focus on sameness.
                                          See Deleuze etc for a focus on an emerging logic/mathematics of difference.
                                        • devogney
                                          -CS, I think science can certainly play a part in putting us in greater touch with various realities, both external and internal. I think the only real danger
                                          Message 20 of 26 , May 2, 2009
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            -CS,

                                            I think science can certainly play a part in putting us in greater touch with various realities, both external and internal. I think the only real danger is tendencies to assume that all other methods of learning are useless, or at least second rate. Science assumes results that can be replicated, but most of our life experience is not something that can be replicated numerous times for statistical sampling. Science in recent years has in many cases confirmed many things by brain scans etc that previously were subjectively experienced, although in many cases there were traditions of such experiences. Science being able to note correlations in brain activities with reported subjective states makes what was subjective more objective, what was more occult more scientific. I believe science can be a very good servant in human psychological and philosophical evolution, but allowing reductionist, materialistic paradigms to limit your imagination and inquiries is not conductive to becoming all that we can be.

                                            Religious views
                                            Hawking has repeatedly used the word 'God' (in metaphorical meanings)[34] to illustrate points made in his books and public speeches. Having been described as an atheist by various people, including his former wife Jane,[35][36] Hawking has stated that he is "not religious in the normal sense" and he believes that "the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws."[37]


                                            Imagination is more important than knowledge...
                                            Albert Einstein
                                            - More quotations on: [Imagination]
                                            It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
                                            Albert Einstein

                                            My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
                                            Albert Einstein

                                            Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
                                            Albert Einstein


                                            The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
                                            Albert Einstein
                                            US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

                                            The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.
                                            Albert Einstein


                                            The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.
                                            Albert Einstein

                                            Tom





                                            -- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator <existlist1@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > On May 02, 2009, at 7:16, Herman B. Triplegood wrote:
                                            >
                                            > > things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man.
                                            > > What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was a member
                                            > > of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the
                                            > > accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently
                                            > > discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the
                                            > > Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels
                                            > > Bohr, both of which imply that not everything is accessible to man,
                                            > > precisely because the indeterminacy of observation, according to
                                            > > Bohr and Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.
                                            >
                                            > I have heard a few analytical philosophers discuss this "paradox" and
                                            > they argue it is not a paradox at all. How science views "precision"
                                            > and "known to man" is not the same as philosophy. This confusion is
                                            > understandable, though. Philosophers have tried to borrow from
                                            > science, with sometimes odd results.
                                            >
                                            > Even the Uncertainty Principle is actually "certain" once you study
                                            > Schrodinger's mechanics.
                                            >
                                            > http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/
                                            >
                                            > The issue is if the theories of Heisenberg described a quality, a
                                            > principal, a perception, or something else. There are definitely gaps
                                            > in the mathematics. However, just because we can't do the math, or
                                            > locate it yet, does not mean the mathematics do not exist.
                                            >
                                            > I certainly don't think science gives meaning, nor do I think mankind
                                            > will ever have "all the answers" to understand the natural world. But,
                                            > the question is if science should even be looked to for some
                                            > questions? Maybe science is the wrong discipline for some questions.
                                            >
                                            > Because I do believe in cognitive sciences, especially neurology, I
                                            > struggle with questions of free will and reason. I tell myself that
                                            > having a tendency, an underlying predisposition, is not destiny.
                                            > Genetics and birth are only starting points. Sure, they matter, but we
                                            > do have the ability to reason, the ability to overpower / overcome our
                                            > natures.
                                            >
                                            > The notion of science revealing everything is just uncomfortable for
                                            > me. At the same time, I am not mystical or religious... so I end up
                                            > wavering on issues of life and meaning. It's all quite confusing,
                                            > which it probably should be.
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > - C. S. Wyatt
                                            > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                                            > that I shall be.
                                            > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                                            > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                                            >
                                          • louise
                                            ... Herman, Not at all. In the context of this particular discussion list, we have not arrived at any clarification of the term. In my opinion, bigotry still
                                            Message 21 of 26 , May 4, 2009
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > Louise:
                                              >
                                              > You are trying to make racism sound reasonable.

                                              Herman,
                                              Not at all. In the context of this particular discussion list, we have not arrived at any clarification of the term. In my opinion, bigotry still reigns, just as it does in the real political world. As somebody who has suffered from the mental violence which self-justifying delusions about superior selfhood incite in the racially-ignorant, I am still struggling to believe in the extremity of what is involved. Jesus. It is all too much. I truly love the honesty of your statements, and wish to reply at more length to this particular posting when I become capable.
                                              Louise
                                              ... quite sick of irrational righteousness

                                              >
                                              > But here are two problems that I have with that:
                                              >
                                              > 1. Purism. I've brought this up before. How does one reconcile the argument in favor of ethnic purity with the obvious facts of biological diversity and cultural diversity? We know full well, within the framework of ecology, that the loss of biological diversity leads to species extinction. As far as I see it, the forced abolishment of ethnic diversity, anywhere at anytime, whether by overt violent means, or by more surreptitious means, is tantamount to ethnocide, if not outright genocide.
                                              >
                                              > It doesn't work in nature. Why should we expect it to work for society?
                                              >
                                              > 2. Exclusion. How do we decide who or what gets excluded or included? History has taught us that the exclusion of entire ethnic classes is ultimately based, not upon reasoned judgment, but upon prejudice and distorted and even pathological emotion. Even to the point of the exclusion of the very facts of history itself.
                                              >
                                              > Amon Goeth narrated the long six hundred year history of the Jews in Poland on the morning of the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto. He gave a history lesson based upon acknowledged historical facts.
                                              >
                                              > But his final statement said all that needed to be said that day. The facts of history didn't matter:
                                              >
                                              > "Today, it never happened."
                                              >
                                              > That is what Amon Goeth said. Then, he and his men proceeded to massacre the Jews in the Warsaw gehtto.
                                              >
                                              > So...do we exclude truth as well?
                                              >
                                              > Pol Pot murdered three million of his countrymen in just under two years. Mao Tse Tung murdered thirty million for the sake of a cultural revolution over a period of about ten years. Stalin murdered about twenty million in the name of the Marxist/Leninist class struggle. And about fifty million "real" Americans were murdered in the name of manifest destiny. The litany of horror and violence, for the sake of ethnic purity, and exclusion, goes on even now. Rwanda. Darfur. The Taliban.
                                              >
                                              > Enough is enough. Don't you think?
                                              >
                                              > We are all on this planet together. We are all in this existential predicament together. There is no place left, really, for us to run off to and hide, because, most of us, for the most part, are too interdependent now to exclude ourselves from society for the sake of our so-called purity. Even the tree huggers know that. There is no "going back" to nature. The only way to go is forward. Not backward.
                                              >
                                              > We are all citizens of this one world first. Before all nationalities or patriotic sentiments. If that seems like a leftist kind of position, then so be it. There is a deep grain of truth in the heart felt need for cosmopolitansim, internationalism, and, above all, tolerance for what is always, inevitably, different, or unfamiliar.
                                              >
                                              > Doesn't the history of the twentieth century tell us something? Doesn't it tell us that the roads that lead toward ethnic purism, and exclusion of classes of any kind, the roads that take us farther away from the facts of diversity and multiplicity, plurality, go against the natural socio-political order in which we now, in fact, do find ourselves, and that they will lead, ultimately, to total holocaust?
                                              >
                                              > It isn't about us against them. It is about us, meaning, we the living, humanity as a whole, against the pernicious dichotomy that sets the us against the them in the first place.
                                              >
                                              > I cannot help but remember how repulsed I was by that web site in favor of the native British. The link to it was posted here a few weeks back. How is that kind of sentiment different from the sentiments that the Aryan Nation or Al Qaeda post on their sites? I don't see much of a difference.
                                              >
                                              > There is no such thing as "nice" racism.
                                              >
                                              > I was thinking, on the way home, about the strange catch phrases that we have been spoon feed to us over these past few years through the media:
                                              >
                                              > "War on drugs."
                                              > "War against poverty."
                                              > "War on terror."
                                              >
                                              > But what is the real war that is now being waged?
                                              >
                                              > I think it is this:
                                              >
                                              > "The war against personhood."
                                              >
                                              > If we lose the war against personhood, then I think we will lose freedom, and then, we will lose humanity itself, because, without freedom, humanity is pointless, and I firmly believe that freeddom is grounded, not in purity and exclusivity, but in mutual dignity, respect, and, above all, the beautiful diversity of the phenomena of life, and culture, to which we owe our existences and our histories.
                                              >
                                              > Have we really seriously looked at life in all of its profound diversity? I mean, through the metaphysical eyes of a philosopher like Aristotle? I think we have forgotten where we really came from. Man, the rational animal. A political animal. Hmmm... A human animal. Certainly. But, still an animal, like all the other animals.
                                              >
                                              > This, I believe, is Aristotle's profound metaphysical insight, right here:
                                              >
                                              > That there is nothing that is not life.
                                              >
                                              > And its corollary:
                                              >
                                              > Life is, par excellence, the diversification of form in action. There is no "one" without many.
                                              >
                                              > Hb3g
                                              >
                                              > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@> wrote:
                                              > >
                                              > > Jim,
                                              > >
                                              > > Thanks for drawing my attention to the sweeping nature of my allegations, which enables me to take a fresh look at what I was really meaning. In fact, my sense of urgency has become only a handicap, at present. So, in brief, the remarks were in reference to the continuing frustration I feel that a radical critique of what makes it into the public domain, especially on the subject of race, would constantly encounter irrelevant objections instead of open enquiry. Now, I continue to dig in my heels here, partly because I continue so indignant at the charges that have been pushed my way. This is chiefly in connection with Wil, who always announces himself as list policeman on such occasions. Mary tends to support the mainstream use of certain phrases, and the need for 'denunciation'. As you say, I do not wish to muzzle anyone, am simply responding to your enquiry. When I refer to "populist political talk", my reference is quite wide, because the contemporary academic consensus tends to provide an armoury of terms that claim exclusive possession of the moral high ground. I would contend that supremacism by violence, on the streets, represents a particular attitude of mind, that may be accompanied by a rhetoric from left or right. Racism looks to me a far more ambivalent word, and as usual, context is all. If I were approached by a distressed individual who had been assaulted, and who claimed to be the victim of a racist attack, I would not wish to argue with their terminology, whether they were black, white, oriental, mixed race, or whatever. This is because I would be responding as a bystander, as a human being, not as any kind of investigator. If, however, the word 'racist' is used in a piece of journalism, say, to stir up hatred against peaceable white activists by left-wing thugs, I have no sympathy with this abuse of intellectual power. The same applies in the case of any use of language as weapon with the aim of inciting to physical intimidation. If a group want to agitate for a change in the law, to introduce capital punishment or corporal chastisement for certain offences, that is one thing; if individuals are inciting others to vigilante justice or lynching, that is quite another. The apparent literal meaning of racism is the belief that race is a meaningful concept, answerable to reasoned enquiry, and significant in the socio-political domain. Only to allow one meaning, a pejorative one, for the word, is to assent to the use of cliche, in my view.
                                              > >
                                              > > Louise
                                              > >
                                              > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
                                              > > >
                                              > > > Louise,
                                              > > >
                                              > > > I am rather surprised that you suggest that "the list is persistently hampered by populist
                                              > > > political talk" and that we ought to try to avoid "the cliches of public discourse".
                                              > > >
                                              > > > I haven't spotted any populist political talk on this forum and I do not think the members of this forum speak in cliches.
                                              > > >
                                              > > > I wonder which members you are referring to. Clearly not Bill, as he is "an honourable exception". I myself will try to improve the quality of my contributions up to Bill's high standard, but perhaps you can give some examples of bad practice so I can know what to avoid.
                                              > > >
                                              > > > An uncharitable interpretation of your post is that you are trying to muzzle those members who disagree with your own views. But that would be a depressive interpretation which I, myself, will not entertain.
                                              > > >
                                              > > > Jim
                                              > > >
                                              > >
                                              >
                                            • Herman B. Triplegood
                                              Louise: I do empathize with your past experiences. Maybe mine are not the same. I don t know. But just so you know... I was always picked on as a kid. Maybe
                                              Message 22 of 26 , May 4, 2009
                                              • 0 Attachment
                                                Louise:

                                                I do empathize with your past experiences. Maybe mine are not the same. I don't know.

                                                But just so you know...

                                                I was always picked on as a kid. Maybe because I was different. Too sensitive. Too much in my head and heart, and not much into playing kick ball and such. And, quite probably, it had a lot to do with my being a military brat. We moved around quite a bit. I never had much of a chance to settle down and socially integrate during my youngest years. And, during my junior high school years, I was ostracized by many of my young peers for declaring that I was an atheist. Some of the schools I went to were predominantly blacks and hispanics. I was "jumped" once during junior high school because I was white. But I dodn't end up being racist on account of that. And I was marginalized, while I was in the military, because I married a Korean.

                                                Some of us go through these kinds of things. Others don't. What really matters is what we do with all of that. I do have a bit of a curmudgeon streak in me. I wouldn't say that I am misanthropic. certainly not. But I have seen too much of the bad side of human nature to really believe that everybody always wants to do the good.

                                                And then, when my step daughter was murdered by her own father back in 2005, well, that really took the cake. She was only ten years old. That damaged my spirit. It certainly did. And it "broke" my wife in two. She will never be the same. And my life has changed because of that.

                                                It was then that I picked up the philosophy books and began to really read them. Everything that went on before that was mere flirtation. Just dabbling. I missed my chance to be an academic a long time ago. And maybe that was for the best after all. I would have probably ended up being a snooty intellectual anyway.

                                                You know, in some ways, I think that philosophy has been a refuge for me these past four years. Deep down inside I still hope for the victory of truth and beauty over falsehood and ugliness in this world. It is a real mess. There is no doubt about that. And the things that I have gone through are nothing compared to what some have had to go through. Vietnam veterans. Holocaust survivors. Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Targets of serial rapists and murderers. The poor and hungry. The homeless.

                                                Overall, I think I have dodged most of the bullets. Except for one or two. But the tragedies that life can bring have certainly made a deep impression upon me. It can't all be for nothing. And there has to be something higher, something profounder, than the endless trivialities and banalities that we see played out and acted out around us every single day.

                                                I am convinced that the something higher, or profounder, is NOT some god that is beyond all life and all reasonability, but simply life itself, something that is so close to us, so intimate, so a part of us, that we really hardly know it. We take it for granted. We miss its profound significance, precisely because it is so obvious, precisely because we are so engaged in it.

                                                But its being obvious doesn't mean that it isn't deep.

                                                No pain no gain. That is what I say. What good would life be if we didn't have to struggle to make it better? To make it mean something more?

                                                Hb3g

                                                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@> wrote:
                                                > >
                                                > > Louise:
                                                > >
                                                > > You are trying to make racism sound reasonable.
                                                >
                                                > Herman,
                                                > Not at all. In the context of this particular discussion list, we have not arrived at any clarification of the term. In my opinion, bigotry still reigns, just as it does in the real political world. As somebody who has suffered from the mental violence which self-justifying delusions about superior selfhood incite in the racially-ignorant, I am still struggling to believe in the extremity of what is involved. Jesus. It is all too much. I truly love the honesty of your statements, and wish to reply at more length to this particular posting when I become capable.
                                                > Louise
                                                > ... quite sick of irrational righteousness
                                                >
                                                > >
                                                > > But here are two problems that I have with that:
                                                > >
                                                > > 1. Purism. I've brought this up before. How does one reconcile the argument in favor of ethnic purity with the obvious facts of biological diversity and cultural diversity? We know full well, within the framework of ecology, that the loss of biological diversity leads to species extinction. As far as I see it, the forced abolishment of ethnic diversity, anywhere at anytime, whether by overt violent means, or by more surreptitious means, is tantamount to ethnocide, if not outright genocide.
                                                > >
                                                > > It doesn't work in nature. Why should we expect it to work for society?
                                                > >
                                                > > 2. Exclusion. How do we decide who or what gets excluded or included? History has taught us that the exclusion of entire ethnic classes is ultimately based, not upon reasoned judgment, but upon prejudice and distorted and even pathological emotion. Even to the point of the exclusion of the very facts of history itself.
                                                > >
                                                > > Amon Goeth narrated the long six hundred year history of the Jews in Poland on the morning of the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto. He gave a history lesson based upon acknowledged historical facts.
                                                > >
                                                > > But his final statement said all that needed to be said that day. The facts of history didn't matter:
                                                > >
                                                > > "Today, it never happened."
                                                > >
                                                > > That is what Amon Goeth said. Then, he and his men proceeded to massacre the Jews in the Warsaw gehtto.
                                                > >
                                                > > So...do we exclude truth as well?
                                                > >
                                                > > Pol Pot murdered three million of his countrymen in just under two years. Mao Tse Tung murdered thirty million for the sake of a cultural revolution over a period of about ten years. Stalin murdered about twenty million in the name of the Marxist/Leninist class struggle. And about fifty million "real" Americans were murdered in the name of manifest destiny. The litany of horror and violence, for the sake of ethnic purity, and exclusion, goes on even now. Rwanda. Darfur. The Taliban.
                                                > >
                                                > > Enough is enough. Don't you think?
                                                > >
                                                > > We are all on this planet together. We are all in this existential predicament together. There is no place left, really, for us to run off to and hide, because, most of us, for the most part, are too interdependent now to exclude ourselves from society for the sake of our so-called purity. Even the tree huggers know that. There is no "going back" to nature. The only way to go is forward. Not backward.
                                                > >
                                                > > We are all citizens of this one world first. Before all nationalities or patriotic sentiments. If that seems like a leftist kind of position, then so be it. There is a deep grain of truth in the heart felt need for cosmopolitansim, internationalism, and, above all, tolerance for what is always, inevitably, different, or unfamiliar.
                                                > >
                                                > > Doesn't the history of the twentieth century tell us something? Doesn't it tell us that the roads that lead toward ethnic purism, and exclusion of classes of any kind, the roads that take us farther away from the facts of diversity and multiplicity, plurality, go against the natural socio-political order in which we now, in fact, do find ourselves, and that they will lead, ultimately, to total holocaust?
                                                > >
                                                > > It isn't about us against them. It is about us, meaning, we the living, humanity as a whole, against the pernicious dichotomy that sets the us against the them in the first place.
                                                > >
                                                > > I cannot help but remember how repulsed I was by that web site in favor of the native British. The link to it was posted here a few weeks back. How is that kind of sentiment different from the sentiments that the Aryan Nation or Al Qaeda post on their sites? I don't see much of a difference.
                                                > >
                                                > > There is no such thing as "nice" racism.
                                                > >
                                                > > I was thinking, on the way home, about the strange catch phrases that we have been spoon feed to us over these past few years through the media:
                                                > >
                                                > > "War on drugs."
                                                > > "War against poverty."
                                                > > "War on terror."
                                                > >
                                                > > But what is the real war that is now being waged?
                                                > >
                                                > > I think it is this:
                                                > >
                                                > > "The war against personhood."
                                                > >
                                                > > If we lose the war against personhood, then I think we will lose freedom, and then, we will lose humanity itself, because, without freedom, humanity is pointless, and I firmly believe that freeddom is grounded, not in purity and exclusivity, but in mutual dignity, respect, and, above all, the beautiful diversity of the phenomena of life, and culture, to which we owe our existences and our histories.
                                                > >
                                                > > Have we really seriously looked at life in all of its profound diversity? I mean, through the metaphysical eyes of a philosopher like Aristotle? I think we have forgotten where we really came from. Man, the rational animal. A political animal. Hmmm... A human animal. Certainly. But, still an animal, like all the other animals.
                                                > >
                                                > > This, I believe, is Aristotle's profound metaphysical insight, right here:
                                                > >
                                                > > That there is nothing that is not life.
                                                > >
                                                > > And its corollary:
                                                > >
                                                > > Life is, par excellence, the diversification of form in action. There is no "one" without many.
                                                > >
                                                > > Hb3g
                                                > >
                                                > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@> wrote:
                                                > > >
                                                > > > Jim,
                                                > > >
                                                > > > Thanks for drawing my attention to the sweeping nature of my allegations, which enables me to take a fresh look at what I was really meaning. In fact, my sense of urgency has become only a handicap, at present. So, in brief, the remarks were in reference to the continuing frustration I feel that a radical critique of what makes it into the public domain, especially on the subject of race, would constantly encounter irrelevant objections instead of open enquiry. Now, I continue to dig in my heels here, partly because I continue so indignant at the charges that have been pushed my way. This is chiefly in connection with Wil, who always announces himself as list policeman on such occasions. Mary tends to support the mainstream use of certain phrases, and the need for 'denunciation'. As you say, I do not wish to muzzle anyone, am simply responding to your enquiry. When I refer to "populist political talk", my reference is quite wide, because the contemporary academic consensus tends to provide an armoury of terms that claim exclusive possession of the moral high ground. I would contend that supremacism by violence, on the streets, represents a particular attitude of mind, that may be accompanied by a rhetoric from left or right. Racism looks to me a far more ambivalent word, and as usual, context is all. If I were approached by a distressed individual who had been assaulted, and who claimed to be the victim of a racist attack, I would not wish to argue with their terminology, whether they were black, white, oriental, mixed race, or whatever. This is because I would be responding as a bystander, as a human being, not as any kind of investigator. If, however, the word 'racist' is used in a piece of journalism, say, to stir up hatred against peaceable white activists by left-wing thugs, I have no sympathy with this abuse of intellectual power. The same applies in the case of any use of language as weapon with the aim of inciting to physical intimidation. If a group want to agitate for a change in the law, to introduce capital punishment or corporal chastisement for certain offences, that is one thing; if individuals are inciting others to vigilante justice or lynching, that is quite another. The apparent literal meaning of racism is the belief that race is a meaningful concept, answerable to reasoned enquiry, and significant in the socio-political domain. Only to allow one meaning, a pejorative one, for the word, is to assent to the use of cliche, in my view.
                                                > > >
                                                > > > Louise
                                                > > >
                                                > > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
                                                > > > >
                                                > > > > Louise,
                                                > > > >
                                                > > > > I am rather surprised that you suggest that "the list is persistently hampered by populist
                                                > > > > political talk" and that we ought to try to avoid "the cliches of public discourse".
                                                > > > >
                                                > > > > I haven't spotted any populist political talk on this forum and I do not think the members of this forum speak in cliches.
                                                > > > >
                                                > > > > I wonder which members you are referring to. Clearly not Bill, as he is "an honourable exception". I myself will try to improve the quality of my contributions up to Bill's high standard, but perhaps you can give some examples of bad practice so I can know what to avoid.
                                                > > > >
                                                > > > > An uncharitable interpretation of your post is that you are trying to muzzle those members who disagree with your own views. But that would be a depressive interpretation which I, myself, will not entertain.
                                                > > > >
                                                > > > > Jim
                                                > > > >
                                                > > >
                                                > >
                                                >
                                              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.