What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:22 am

This just sounds like the claims from 42 which you regularly dismiss as hyperbole. There's no doubt there are some extreme-ish blank slatists out there. But I see no evidence from either you, 42, or Pinker that they are large in number. Literally the only example I can think of is that gay professor who debated Jordan Peterson I think, who argued that there is no such thing as biological sex. Kind of ironic given he is gay, and would probably have a conniption if someone tried to tell him there was no such thing as biological sexuality.
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:34 am

Would be interesting to know if separated identical twins where one was gay we found that both were gay. I suppose someone has already done that research.
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by JimC » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:38 am

I don't think he is targeting an absolute extreme, merely that the dominant academic humanities default explanation of the human condition invokes socialisation as the main contributor, with perhaps a grudging admission of some basic biological "urges" underneath. This default condition is a long way from recognising important aspects of our hominid heritage. The other extreme, of crazed evolutionists who dismiss the effects of socialisation (real as they are - Pinker does not dismiss them) are very, very thin on the ground...

So, perhaps he over-eggs the evolutionary pudding, but it is to redress many, many years of the dominance of the "standard sociology model", which does a fair job of mimicking Lysenko..
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by JimC » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:45 am

pErvinalia wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:34 am
Would be interesting to know if separated identical twins where one was gay we found that both were gay. I suppose someone has already done that research.
Everything I have read about the identical twin research emphasises that the contribution of genetic effects to the variance between individuals, in both physical and cognitive dimensions, is real and extensive. And yes, I know, that some deluded racists have tried to use genetic studies to back white supremacy doctrines, but the real facts show that variance within "races" is much more extensive than the average variance between, which should dismiss concerns that gene studies are inherently racist...

As for the gay thing, I think the jury is still out, but that the betting should be on the usual combination of genetic and environmental factors...

The critical thing is that whatever the causal factor may be does not alter one jot of the social justice issues or their freedom to be whatever they want in a sexual sense...
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:46 am

JimC wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:38 am
I don't think he is targeting an absolute extreme, merely that the dominant academic humanities default explanation of the human condition invokes socialisation as the main contributor, with perhaps a grudging admission of some basic biological "urges" underneath. This default condition is a long way from recognising important aspects of our hominid heritage. The other extreme, of crazed evolutionists who dismiss the effects of socialisation (real as they are - Pinker does not dismiss them) are very, very thin on the ground...

So, perhaps he over-eggs the evolutionary pudding, but it is to redress many, many years of the dominance of the "standard sociology model", which does a fair job of mimicking Lysenko..
He states specifically that he is targetting the extreme. So far it seems that he does it by largely arguing for the polar opposite, with some qualifications that he adopts a middle-ish position sneaked in from time to time.

He's still going on about the Noble Savage as if it argues for a blank slate. It categorically doesn't, as it states that in our natural state we are inherently cooperative and sociable. It's only when we introduce the toxic environment of modern society that it all goes pear shaped. It's clearly an argument for a mix of genetic and environment. I'm not sure how he doesn't see this.
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:51 am

JimC wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:45 am
pErvinalia wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:34 am
Would be interesting to know if separated identical twins where one was gay we found that both were gay. I suppose someone has already done that research.
Everything I have read about the identical twin research emphasises that the contribution of genetic effects to the variance between individuals, in both physical and cognitive dimensions, is real and extensive.
This is another point that has just annoyed me in his writing. He spent pages saying that identical twins share so many behavioural traits so often, but then he slips in an almost forgettable qualifier in parentheses some pages later stating that it's actually only even chance that identical twins will share any one behavioural trait. So he spent pages making it sound like genetics plays a massive influence on our behaviours, and then admits at the end of it that it's actually only a coin-toss (so a good mix of genes and environment).
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by JimC » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:56 am

pErvinalia wrote:

He's still going on about the Noble Savage as if it argues for a blank slate. It categorically doesn't, as it states that in our natural state we are inherently cooperative and sociable. It's only when we introduce the toxic environment of modern society that it all goes pear shaped.
I think that the "Noble Savage" concept is a deep fallacy, and that it at least partly intersects the blank slate hypothesis. Our evolutionary heritage gives us a complex mix of selfish and cooperative motivations and emotions, with a major fault line being the in-group/out-group divide. I accept that aspects of the way society is organised encourage one aspect or the other, and that capitalism in general is a good fit with that part of our natural psyche which is selfish and competitive - fair enough to call such aspects toxic, I suppose. Equally, it may well be that social democratic societies are more likely to resonate with the co-operative aspects of our evolutionary heritage. But psychologists or social scientists who don't see that our nature has a complex structure before any socialisation occurs are not playing with a full deck...
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by JimC » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:57 am

pErvinalia wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:51 am
JimC wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:45 am
pErvinalia wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:34 am
Would be interesting to know if separated identical twins where one was gay we found that both were gay. I suppose someone has already done that research.
Everything I have read about the identical twin research emphasises that the contribution of genetic effects to the variance between individuals, in both physical and cognitive dimensions, is real and extensive.
This is another point that has just annoyed me in his writing. He spent pages saying that identical twins share so many behavioural traits so often, but then he slips in an almost forgettable qualifier in parentheses some pages later stating that it's actually only even chance that identical twins will share any one behavioural trait. So he spent pages making it sound like genetics plays a massive influence on our behaviours, and then admits at the end of it that it's actually only a coin-toss (so a good mix of genes and environment).
The key point being that the chances of random individuals sharing a given trait are much less than 50%, showing that genetic factors, while not deterministic, are statistically real...
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by JimC » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:59 am

By the way, rEv, this is, by Ratzian standards, an interesting and productive debate. It has encouraged me to re-read Pinker, with possibly a little more critical attention than before...
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:01 am

...
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:04 am

JimC wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:56 am
pErvinalia wrote:

He's still going on about the Noble Savage as if it argues for a blank slate. It categorically doesn't, as it states that in our natural state we are inherently cooperative and sociable. It's only when we introduce the toxic environment of modern society that it all goes pear shaped.
I think that the "Noble Savage" concept is a deep fallacy, and that it at least partly intersects the blank slate hypothesis.
It is a fallacy, but it categorically isn't an argument for the blank slate hypothesis. It argues that we have an inherent natural state of behaviour. That literally can't be a blank slate argument.
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"Socialized medicine is just exactly as morally defensible as gassing and cooking Jews" - Seth. Yes, he really did say that..
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:04 am

JimC wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:59 am
By the way, rEv, this is, by Ratzian standards, an interesting and productive debate. It has encouraged me to re-read Pinker, with possibly a little more critical attention than before...
:td:
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by JimC » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:22 am

pErvinalia wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:04 am
JimC wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:56 am
pErvinalia wrote:

He's still going on about the Noble Savage as if it argues for a blank slate. It categorically doesn't, as it states that in our natural state we are inherently cooperative and sociable. It's only when we introduce the toxic environment of modern society that it all goes pear shaped.
I think that the "Noble Savage" concept is a deep fallacy, and that it at least partly intersects the blank slate hypothesis.
It is a fallacy, but it categorically isn't an argument for the blank slate hypothesis. It argues that we have an inherent natural state of behaviour. That literally can't be a blank slate argument.
OK, fair point. But it does form an underlying background for the view that everything that is fucked up with humans in modern times is due to social structures, which if altered (usually in a Marxist direction) will allow a paradise on Earth to ensue... Human reality is darker and more complex than that...
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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by Hermit » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:34 am

JimC wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:03 am
The key here is something you are not seeing. Elements of the academic left have for many years wedded themselves to a model of sociology and human behaviour which is utterly opposed to any biological or evolutionary account of human behaviour
Having spent three years studying at the University of Sydney's department of General Philosophy, which was peppered with outright Marxists of one flavour or another (John Burnheim, Wal Suchting and György Márkus (the latter having earnt his PhD in Moscow) being among the more prominent elements of the academic left), I can assure you that they argued very cogently why the influence of biological or evolutionary aspects of human behaviour and societies are vastly overegged. And they certainly are vastly overegged by evolutionary behaviourists, of whom Harris, Pinker and (to a lesser extent) Dennett are part.

This is not the only way they show their conservatism. All three of them focus on individualism at the expense of society. It's their locus. In Dennet's case it's not so much evolutionary behaviourism, but his fixation on intentionality and freedom of choice. That is old style liberalism. Also profoundly conservative. There is not a great deal of philosophical difference between their liberalisms and those of Churchill and Menzies, except for the element of racism and tinge of elitism that can be found in the latter two.

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Re: What are you reading now? (Chapter 2)

Post by JimC » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:03 am

The marxist academic left has been in denial for a long while about the implications of human evolutionary history; it does not fit their ideology, so must be not only wrong, but a tool of reactionary forces... :roll:

Strange bedfellows, with the evangelical christian creationists...
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