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Margaret McGhee
May 10th, 2006, 02:30 PM
While I'm waiting for Carey to provide a more succint statement of his views over in the Summers Was Right thread, here's something that relates to behavior-choice. IMO the cognicentric view contributes to a great deal of misunderstanding about human nature that has serious - and even deadly consequences.

The recent letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Bush is a case in point. In almost every online discussion this overture is analysed in cognitive terms - as in this must be the result of a carefully calculated sinister plot to gain some advantage over the USA - although experts' speculations as to what that advantage might be vary all over the map. Reading between the lines of diploma-speak, that seems to be the view of Bush and Rice, as well. (Probably Cheney's call.)

Few, if any of the discussions acknowledge the underlying stong emotional (deterministic) forces that are at work here.

It is part of my SBCH that our belief systems are the source for some of the strongest emotions directing our behavior - and our higher level identity beliefs are the source of the strongest of those.

When a head of state insults or humiliates another head of state on the international stage, the people of the insulted state can feel extreme hatred and anger - and will rally around their leader no matter what political differences they may have with them. That is what the Bush / Rice response has done in this case. Ahmadinejad's status in his country has been greatly enhanced and he is now seen as the brave leader by his people - standing up to the Great Satan, who, they believe, now deserves serious punishment for it's sins against mighty Persia.

When Bush came into office I'd bet that a large part of Iran wished that they could have better relations with the USA. A modernisation was underway with the Ayatollahs' future ability to keep their grip on things in some doubt. Now, Iranians are almost united in their desire to see us get what we deserve - and, I suspect some of them have concrete ideas along those lines. To many Iranians-on-the-street, the Ayatollahs are now seen as the prophets they claimed to be.

My purpose is not to point out the obvious regarding international politics, but to show that our underlying identity emotions will not be denied. They are what ultimately determine our own behavior and the behavior of nations. We use our intellect to justify those behavior decisions or to optimize them for advantage - but those emotions will fundamentally direct our choices.

Millions have shown their willingness to kill others and die themselves to satisfy those emotions. I have seen few willing to kill and die for a logical conclusion. If they do it is because that conclusion has become part of their identity belief system.

It may take a little humility to offer some respect to a small nation that has you over the barrel and gloats about that - but a little humility and respect can go a long way when you are dealing with a proud and ancient people, especially when you hold most of the cards.

IMO the current state of danger and deadly tension in the world are largely the result of a failure to understand the emotional forces of personal and national identity - and use them to solve problems rather than enflame them. Instead, we assume that others will make logical decisions for their own benefit. We therefore make wrong predictions about our opponents' behavior (as we did with Saddam) and then when they do otherwise we assume they must be crazy.

That danger is compunded when the most powerful nation in the world seems to have the least interest in understanding that.

Margaret

Just saw this: Great Satan Park Planned (http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_1930302,00.html)

Fred H.
May 10th, 2006, 09:11 PM
MM: Few, if any of the discussions acknowledge the underlying stong emotional (deterministic) forces that are at work here….

IMO the current state of danger and deadly tension in the world are largely the result of a failure to understand the emotional forces of personal and national identity - and use them to solve problems rather than enflame them.
Well, if it’s all deterministic, then it’s all deterministic, end of story—all behavior, action, reaction, and the results thereof, of all humans, is ultimately as mindlessly predetermined as the behavior of pool balls, planets, insects, etc; and “understanding,” like autonomy, is, at best, an illusion.

But of course you don’t really believe that b/c you, perhaps unwittingly, have recognized here that we humans (unlike lesser creatures) are indeed capable of “understanding” these “emotional forces,” and that we humans are also capable of choosing to “use” that “understanding” to either “solve problems” or “enflame them”—it’s called freewill and/or moral responsibility, not to mention downward causation.

Carey N
May 11th, 2006, 05:06 AM
IMO the current state of danger and deadly tension in the world are largely the result of a failure to understand the emotional forces of personal and national identity - and use them to solve problems rather than enflame them.
How would this conversation actually take place? Do you think heads of state are going to sit down and talk about their emotions with each other . . . ?

TomJrzk
May 11th, 2006, 09:35 AM
Well, if it’s all deterministic, then it’s all deterministic, end of story—all behavior, action, reaction, and the results thereof, of all humans, is ultimately as mindlessly predetermined as the behavior of pool balls, planets, insects, etc; and “understanding,” like autonomy, is, at best, an illusion.

But of course you don’t really believe that b/c you, perhaps unwittingly, have recognized here that we humans (unlike lesser creatures) are indeed capable of “understanding” these “emotional forces,” and that we humans are also capable of choosing to “use” that “understanding” to either “solve problems” or “enflame them”I don't know if you're choosing to miss the point or just can't get the point. But I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my views whenever possible:

The minds of humans are a part of the deterministic universe. So, yes, "we humans are also capable of choosing to “use” that “understanding” to either “solve problems” or “enflame them”". I haven't seen anyone argue that point. The question is, "What causes us to choose to solve or enflame?" I say it's the current state of the chemicals in our brains. Again, there is no "freewill". Unless, of course, you or someone else can prove otherwise.

Fred H.
May 11th, 2006, 10:58 AM
TomJ: The minds of humans are a part of the deterministic universe. So, yes, "we humans are also capable of choosing to “use” that “understanding” to either “solve problems” or “enflame them”".
If indeed it’s all “deterministic,” then any “understanding” and “choosing to use” is as inevitable as the predetermined behavior/action/reaction of algorithms and/or billiard balls—all the "inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs." IOW Tom, your brain is essentially a billiard table, and you’re the eight ball, apparently unable to comprehend the distinction between determinism and choice.

TomJrzk
May 11th, 2006, 11:23 AM
If indeed it’s all “deterministic,” then any “understanding” and “choosing to use” is as inevitable as the predetermined behavior/action/reaction of algorithms and/or billiard balls—all the "inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs." IOW Tom, your brain is essentially a billiard table, and you’re the eight ball, apparently unable to comprehend the distinction between determinism and choice.Here we go again! Actually, as much as I'd like to blame Fred, it was Margaret who added the "(deterministic)" that sparked his flame.

Fred, you were doing so well until the IOW. Has your wife tired of editing your posts?

So, you can prove that you're able to override the billiard balls in your brain to choose something that your brain doesn't determine? How do you do that and why does your behavior depend so much on how many meds you've taken?

Freewill is an illusion, albeit a powerful and useful one.

Fred H.
May 11th, 2006, 12:42 PM
TomJ: The minds of humans are a part of the deterministic universe. So, yes, "we humans are also capable of choosing to “use” that “understanding” to either “solve problems” or “enflame them”".

TomJ: Freewill is an illusion, albeit a powerful and useful one.
Make up your mind, Eight-ball; can’t have it both ways—either we humans are actually capable of understanding and choosing, or it’s all inevitably, mindlessly, deterministic, in which case your “understanding” and “choice” are illusions, tales told by idiots, signifying nothing. And your only point is that you have no point.

Margaret McGhee
May 11th, 2006, 01:33 PM
I moved this reply to the correct dangler, below.

Margaret McGhee
May 11th, 2006, 01:40 PM
Carey, you ask How would this conversation actually take place? Do you think heads of state are going to sit down and talk about their emotions with each other . . . ?

Thanks for the chance to steer this thread back on-topic.

If two parties have opposing needs that must be resolved (like, because they must share the same Earth) then they can engage in negotiation. The goal for each party in negotiation is to help your opponent realize that their view of the world actually supports your goals - as far as possible. It is not to force your opponent to accept your position by threat, ridicule or intimidation. All that does, even if temporarily successful, is create a stronger and more embittered enemy in the future.

BTW - This stuff works just as well for dogs, children, spouses and co-workers as it does for heads-of-state. You don't need to discuss emotions. You do need to understand them while negotiating. Having done some negotiation in life I don't claim to be any expert. I'm better at talking about it than doing it. :rolleyes:

In order to realize one's goals one does not disrespect or humiliate their opponent. It is called diplomacy. It requires acknowledging the goodness in your opponent's position and personhood. That can be difficult when they have a lot of badness as well. But then, don't we all?

The problem is that diplomacy is a cool, intellectual process that requires the diplomat to subjugate their emotions to the ultimate goal of winning something more valuable for their side than their personal strong feelings of the moment. It is easily wrecked by strong, angry emotions such as those that come from our identity beliefs. Ideologues are terrible negotiators and often belittle the process (Bush the decider). By acknowledging your opponent's goodness and stressing commonality of goals you are allowing your opponent to admit you emotionally into their own identity belief system - as far as possible.

That's typically the only way an intransigent opponent will yield ground in negotiations. They must come to see you as not such a bad person after all - and so your goals can become mutual goals.

The problem for nations like our's is that strong and angry emotions can be used to unite the masses behind an ideological candidate for public office - or in totalitarian states it can unite the masses behind "our great leader".

One path (negotiation) leads to peace and both sides getting at least some of what they want. The other path leads to war (or perhaps schizophrenic dogs and neurotic, unhappy children).

The question is - does our Republican government see war as a way to perpetuate their control - and so their behavior is chosen to reach that Machiavellian end - or, do they really believe that threats, ridicule and intimidation is the way to win something (security, economic dominance, whatever) for the USA.

I'd guess that Bush is in the latter category. He just isn't in Machiavelli's league, IQwise. He's been consistently ideological and non-intellectual. Also, I don't think it's easy for an ideological person to switch over to an intellectual decision-making mode.

I don't see Rove as a Christian true-believer at all. He seems to be valued by Bush for his Machiavellian abilities. However, they are both ideologues - persons who have organized their lives and personalities around the strong emotions of their identity beliefs.

Bush's ideology seems to be centered around some vague, non-intellectual notion of rich privilege and God's will. Rove's is centered around a hatred of liberals that I suspect he acquired in college and high school. They make an effective pair.

I have a strong distaste for ideology - not conservatism per se - even though conservatism these days is very far from any intellectual (non-ideological) justification. Much of my distaste for conservatism is now emotional. The trick is to not allow my anti-conservative emotions to become my ideology - I know I get close to that line at times. But, that's the enigma that ideology brings to human conlict. The emotions of ideology are far straonger than human intellect so it is impossible to combat an ideology position without eventually erecting one's own stronger ideology in opposition. How can you effectively combat bigotry without eventually becoming an anti-bigotry bigot? :rolleyes:

People don't die for their intellectual conclusions but they will gladly die for their ideology. That's why we have wars. And, that's why wise persons are very cautious about allowing ideology to infect their minds - even though it is sometimes necessary.

Margaret

PS - I'm still looking forward to your restatement of your premise on equality and discrimination. ;)

TomJrzk
May 11th, 2006, 01:51 PM
And your only point is that you have no point.I have a huge point, which you can't understand: our brains process information and 'make' decisions but our brains are completely dependent on their chemical state to make those decisions; that chemical state is what it is and so our decisions are what they are. We still process information coming from reading intelligent posts (as well as non-intelligent ones) and those can affect our ultimate, deterministic decisions. Further, we can understand the importance and fallibility of our decisions, this understanding can guide us to make 'better' decisions and accept others' limitations.

It just doesn't jibe with your ideology of a make-believe 'god', and it shouldn't.

Margaret McGhee
May 11th, 2006, 02:03 PM
In my post above I tried to claim some distance from liberal ideology. One of my favorite blogs is The Daily Howler (http://www.dailyhowler.com/) where Bob Somerby each day has taken to skewering the pundit ideologues on the left. Today's issue is especially good.

While Bob is generally correct in his observations, I wish he'd try to understand the emotions that are driving this. This is where long ideological fights have to end up - as I mentioned above.

Margaret

Fred H.
May 11th, 2006, 02:29 PM
. . . . our brains process information and 'make' decisions but our brains are completely dependent on their chemical state to make those decisions;

Yeah Eight-ball, your “huge point” is that human “decisions,” like the behavior/actions of algorithms and billiard balls, are dependent on, and simply the inevitable consequence of, the antecedent states of affairs—you’re an eight ball with algorithms generating illusions of understanding to an illusion of “self”—a “self” unable to understand that it’s unable to “understand”; a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing.

TomJrzk
May 11th, 2006, 02:39 PM
a “self” unable to understand that it’s unable to “understandI would understand scientific proof. That you're not offering any supports my point: you can't understand what you're missing because of the illusion. The regret module alone shows that the impetus for humans to do the 'right' thing is physical and fallible; there can be no free-will-morality as long as this is so. Even you said that the mentally impaired can not be held morally responsible; why not, if 'morals' are not dependent on the brain??????

I am sorry, though, that I made you so angry that you feel justified in being so rude.

Fred H.
May 11th, 2006, 02:54 PM
MM: In order to realize one's goals one does not disrespect or humiliate their opponent. It is called diplomacy. It requires acknowledging the goodness in your opponent's position and personhood. That can be difficult when they have a lot of badness as well.
Yeah, appeasement—worked great for Neville Chamberlain.

Actually, a key is discerning which “opponents” are truly a threat and dangerous, and which are just perhaps annoying, but not necessarily all that threatening. Understanding the biology of emotion and motivation is undoubtedly necessary in all negotiations, and is already intuitively, if not consciously, appreciated/understood by our more astute leaders/diplomats. My own view is that the Reagan Administrations generally negotiate more effectively that the Jimmy Carter Administrations.

Fred H.
May 11th, 2006, 03:10 PM
I am sorry, though, that I made you so angry . . .
Yet another example of another one of your illusions/delusions, and, alas, a reality you seem entirely incapable of grasping. Have you considered an anti-psychotic?

Fred H.
May 11th, 2006, 04:59 PM
MM: PS [to Carey] - I'm still looking forward to your restatement of your premise on equality and discrimination.
Interpretation of Margaret’s disingenuous request:
Oh boy, I just can’t wait for Carey’s restatement on equality and discrimination, so that I can then reveal the veiled racism of all white males, like him and JimB, deceitful enough to not overtly justify discrimination based on IQ differences, but instead they justify it in more politically acceptable ways, like by the scientific discussion of racial IQ differences and any other racial differences, and then justify their despicable discrimination using loftier means, like freedom of association and freedom of thought….

Well Carey, if you play her game, you lose. Anyway, you’ve already more or less provided your “restatement”—perhaps MM missed it, so I’ll cut-n-paste it for her: Carey noted: [Everyone being created equal is perhaps a useful illusion, but apparently not reality] Yes, this is essentially my point . . . the government and social collective are responsible for granting "unalienable rights". This hasn't yet been reached in practice, and probably never will, but the goal itself has nothing to do with biological differences and should not be affected by them. It's meant to be an agreement that everyone receives the same rights and privileges despite the fact that we are born with different native abilities.

Margaret McGhee
May 24th, 2006, 07:07 PM
In a previous post I decried our culture's commercialization and fetishization of competition. This NYT article seems to bear out some of my worries about this:

Edmund Hillary Blames Climbers for Everest Death (http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-life-newzealand-everest.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)

I interpret this as a cultural influence that provides us with the belief that being seen as a winner by others is more important than being seen as a good and moral person - or perhaps, more important than knowing that you are a good and moral person even if others are not aware of it. It is a matter of the strong emotions produced by our social or personal identity beliefs, respectively.

Our culture provides these weighted beliefs for us. If they are prevalent when we form our personalities then we have little choice but to incorporate them into our identities. Even fifty years ago, a climber who failed to provide assistance to another climber who was still alive, would have been soundly condemned by everyone in the sport - and would die a disgraced man.

Today, giving up the summit for the life of a climber in another party is seen as a foolish mistake - especially by corporate sponsors who would never fund another one of your expeditions. He would probably be accused of the mountaineering equivalent of political correctness.

These win at all costs values (actually emotionally weighted inputs to our decision mechanism) have so pervaded our culture that we even see them echoed in our foreign policy. The willingness to kill thousands of innocent civilians, and even a few thousand American soldiers, in order to obtain some political win - is seen by many Americans as pragmatic hardball politics. It's what you do if you want to keep your party and friends in power. Our full cultural embrace of these values is shown by the fact that Bush's handling of the war is getting low marks in the polls - not because he has used war for political gain, but because he isn't winning it.

One reason I find my hypothesis so compelling is that it provides such clear explanations for so much behavior (like this) that would otherwise seem perplexing or even unexplainable.

Margaret

Margaret McGhee
June 4th, 2006, 05:26 PM
Somatic Behavior Choice is the hypothesis that behavior choice is mediated by a resolution of emotional forces in our minds - and not by intellect directly.

Intellect can participate in bahavior decisions but is not always called on for that purpose. When it is called upon it provides an emotional marker proportional to the confidence we feel for a particular logical solution, while we hold the conclusion in working memory. But, that marker must be strong enough, or be in concert with the other emotional forces impinging on a behavior decision - for it to prevail. i.e. our logical conclusions must compete with other, more primitive sources of emotion, for the control of our behavior.

One of the most important implications of Somatic Behavior Choice is that we often do not follow our reason when making important decisions. This should seem obvious to any observer of human behavior. Yet, due to the prevailing cognicentric view of human behavior choice, we vehemently deny this. (People even get mad at me when I suggest this might be the case.) When someone does something obviously stupid, or when they disagree with us about something important, we accuse them of not thinking properly or we like to say they do not possess critical thinking skills. When we do something stupid we say, "What was I thinking?"

These are not cases of persons losing their minds or lacking critical thinking skills. These are most likely cases where other emotional forces simply were stronger than the emotional markers from their logical conclusions. This can happen when a person doesn't have much confidence in a logical conclusion - such as when it is a very difficuly logical problem or when there is not enough data to have a lot of conficence in a conclusion. Or, it can happen even when one's logical confidence is high, but opposing emotions from other brain regions, like from instincts or beliefs, are very strong.

A source of very strong emotions for our behavior decisions is our personal belief system. Beliefs are things we learn about the world and integrate into our identity. They are arranged in a hierarchy with the strongest beliefs, those at the top that express the kind of person we believe ourselves to be and want others to recognize us as, commonly generating emotions strong enough to overpower almost any logical conclusion we might have.

For a vivid example, it seems that some American GI's in Iraq don't have too much problem with killing Iraqi civilians - because they hold the very strong identity belief that they are there to seek revenge for Iraq's role in 9/11. Revenge is an act of retribution for an assault on one's identity - or being. It is found in human nature as a preventative for such egregious acts in the future. It's effectiveness depends on others knowing that it (the revengeful act) happened.

An article in todays Guardian bears this out: Article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1789986,00.html?gusrc=rss) The first paragraph: American veterans of the war in Iraq have described a culture of casual violence, revenge and prejudice against Iraqi civilians that has made the killing of innocent bystanders a common occurrence.

There is no requirement that our beliefs be rational. This belief (that Iraq had something to do with 9/11) defies logic, yet it provides such powerful emotions for their behavior decisions that they can kill innocent civilians and not feel that they have done anything wrong. There is nothing wrong with their logic as I'm sure they know it makes no logical sense. After they return from the emotionally charged reality of combat, they will feel the guilt that their reason will place on them - and they will suffer for that - as many GI's still suffer now for things that happened in Viet Nam.

It is my premise that such strong identity-based emotions are responsible for much of the tragedy in human affairs. Little progress will be made in reducing the widespread violence of war and crime in the world and the unhappiness that causes to millions - until we accept the determinative role that emotions from brain regions other than intellect play in human behavior choices. This can not happen as long as we incorrectly insist that behavior choice is an intellectual process - that just by "thinking correctly" people will make good behavior choices - or that education alone will produce wise or moral behavior.

Margaret

Margaret McGhee
June 5th, 2006, 12:51 PM
These vivid illustrations of the SBC hypothesis at work happen every day. You can go to any news site on the web, at any time of the day, and just about pick a story at random. But occasionally, you find something that so clearly shows this process at work - that it cries out for notice.

KIEV (Reuters) - A man shouting that God would keep him safe was mauled to death by a lioness in Kiev zoo after he crept into the animal's enclosure, a zoo official said on Monday.

"The man shouted 'God will save me, if he exists', lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions," the official said.

"A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery."


The lesson that I would propose from this example is that behavior-causing emotions produced by identity beliefs are potentially far stronger than those produced by intellectual conclusions. It is crucial for parents and teachers to help children form identity beliefs around a respect for reason and rationality - as a core principle. From those can flow a complete moral view as well - rational and enlightened ways to treat others - without the need to invoke some supernatural God-daddy - who may not be there to protect you when reality imposes itself.

This particular example puts Christian belief (I assume) in a bad light. But, any non-rational belief system can cause the same kind of disfunctional (even suicidal) behavior. It's also good to remember that rational belief systems, such naturalism and scientific explanations, are no guarantee of happiness in life. It's a cruel world and none of us are going to survive it. But, belief systems based on irrational (non-natural) causation have little or no connection to reality - and are therefore the most likely to run afoul of it.

An irrational belief shared by many (perhaps most) psychologists and scientists is that humans generally make behavior decisions as the result of some intellectual process - and that if they make poor decisions - it is because they suffer from poor thinking.

This may be true for inconsequential decisions such as which off-ramp to take for Home Depot. That's because such decisions have little consequence for one's survival - and therefore generate almost no emotional forces from non-intellectual sources in the mind. This leaves the relatively weak force of our intellectual conclusions to take control of our behavior for these utilitarian decisions. It is certainly not true for survival-dependent decisions that subconsciously generate strong emotional forces - like whether to trust that God will protect us from lions.

Failure to understand that the emotions produced by identity beliefs (and other non-intellectual sources in the mind) are the key to understanding significant human behavior decisions - and that intellect is a weak bystander in those decisions (for probably 90 percent of humanity) - will result in continued scientific confusion and ineffectiveness in understanding and describing human nature and behavior.

Added on reflection: How dumb and/or intellectually disfunctional would an adult have to be to lower himself into a cage of lions? Even our instincts cry out that large carnivores with sharp teeth and claws can be dangerous to one's health. In this case this person's belief system produced emotions stronger than both his intellect and what must have been very strong instinctive protective emotions. The relative power of identity beliefs in one's mind can truly be awesome. All the more reason to work hard throughout one's life to keep them on a rational basis, IMO.

Margaret

Carey N
June 7th, 2006, 09:49 AM
But, belief systems based on irrational (non-natural) causation have little or no connection to reality - and are therefore the most likely to run afoul of it.
Belief systems don't have to be mechanistically correct representations of reality in order to provide an effective means by which to survive in it. Have a look at D.S. Wilson's "Darwin's Cathedral" for some good examples of this point.

Fred H.
June 11th, 2006, 12:24 PM
[MM (June 4)]: For a vivid example [of your “Somatic Behavior Choice hypothesis”], it seems that some American GI's in Iraq don't have too much problem with killing Iraqi civilians - because they hold the very strong identity belief that they are there to seek revenge for Iraq's role in 9/11.
Well MM, that is clearly what you yourself believe—that the only reason our military is there is, as you allege, for “killing Iraqi civilians,” and to “seek revenge for Iraq’s role in 9/11”—and you somehow have managed to project that belief unto American soldiers.

MM: An article in today’s Guardian bears this out: Article The first paragraph: Quote: “American veterans of the war in Iraq have described a culture of casual violence, revenge and prejudice against Iraqi civilians that has made the killing of innocent bystanders a common occurrence.”
Your article begins with this allegation: In the wake of the Haditha massacre come further allegations of outlaw killings in Iraq.” It then claims that, “‘Some’ American veterans have expressed little surprise at the latest [alleged] ‘revelations.’” Also as noted in your article, the primary source being quoted is “Camilo Mejia, a US infantry veteran who served briefly in the Haditha area in 2003,” and “who has served time in jail for refusing to return to Iraq for a second tour of duty.”

Your article is speculation by authors that are obviously biased against American soldiers/involvement in Iraq—the article lacks any substantial objectivity/credibility, and yet you cite it as a "vivid example" of your so-called “Somatic Behavior Choice hypothesis.”

However, ironically, in one sense perhaps your “example” is a "vivid example," but only of your own “emotions” and “personal belief system” (and your disregard for objectivity and/or truth) hijacking any “reason” that you may possess.

Regarding the so-called “Haditha massacre,” I’ll not be surprised if it is ultimately determined that it's something similar to the now infamous Dan Rather forged memo-gate—but I feel bad for our guys putting their lives on the line and then having to put-up with the histrionics and allegation coming from various Left leaning Americans, and various Iraqis, all of whom obviously have other agendas, and little respect for truth/reality. (Plus the fact that our current military, having to deal with an immensely difficult and dangerous situation, and having to deal with an enemy that is unimaginably brutal, is probably one of the most responsible/restrained/professional in human history.)

TomJrzk
June 11th, 2006, 01:16 PM
Well MM, that is clearly what you yourself believe—that the only reason our military is there is, as you allege, for “killing Iraqi civilians,” and to “seek revenge for Iraq’s role in 9/11”—and you somehow have managed to project that belief unto American soldiers.Yikes, it looks like I'll have to agree with Fred on this one.

It's much better to use apparently simple examples like the lion mauling than such complex examples like war to make points (unless they're intentionally political). There were several reasons for starting the war, all of which should allow our soldiers to be extremely proud of what they accomplished. The 9/11 tie-in was just the one that would take advantage of the current emotions to sway fence-sitters. And Saddam DID send $40K to the families of suicide bombers so it wasn't completely without basis (even IF he didn't also support the actual 9/11 guys).

Fred H.
June 14th, 2006, 02:02 PM
[TomJ, Originally Posted by Fred H.] Well MM, that is clearly what you yourself believe—that the only reason our military is there is, as you allege, for “killing Iraqi civilians,” and to “seek revenge for Iraq’s role in 9/11”—and you somehow have managed to project that belief unto American soldiers.

[TomJ to Fred] Yikes, it looks like I'll have to agree with Fred on this one.
Hmmm, well, since Margaret seems to be MIA, perhaps your concurrence, Tom, has effected what you’ve accused me of having caused, all by myself, in times past (as noted in your 2/16/06 post below, to MM no less, at http://www.behavior.net/bolforums/showpost.php?p=2864&postcount=9):
[TomJ to MM on 2/16/06] However, before he frustrates you out of this forum as he did so many others….
However Tom, you also more or less accused me of having frustrated Carey—Margaret’s “fawning undergrad psych student”—among others, out of the forum, and he’s still around. But still, your concurrence with me—resulting from your, using MM’s words, “strong identity-based emotions?”—was probably hard on someone of MM’s ideology, so perhaps now you, Tom, have permanently frustrated MM, our Somatic Behavior Choice guru, out of this forum. Congratulations.

TomJrzk
June 14th, 2006, 03:31 PM
Hmmm, well, since Margaret seems to be MIA, perhaps your concurrence, Tom, has effected what you’ve accused me of having caused, all by myself, in times pastWhile I seriously doubt you actually believe this, I'm sure anyone who's read the past posts understand how far from reality your world is. Carey IS back, and he's handling you so well now that I didn't have to comment on your last battle.

Besides, my post did not insult MM's honesty, objectivity or even her ability to reason. That's another difference between you and me, Fred. Maybe you could learn something.

Excellent use of the word 'effected', though ;).

Fred H.
June 14th, 2006, 06:39 PM
TomJ: Carey IS back, and he's handling you so well now that I didn't have to comment on your last battle.
Yep, Carey is back, and JimB agrees, more or less, with me regarding the circularity of natural selection—so that makes you more or less mistaken on all counts. Did you have to lookup my use of “effected?”

TomJrzk
June 15th, 2006, 09:12 AM
Yep, Carey is back, and JimB agrees, more or less, with me regarding the circularity of natural selection—so that makes you more or less mistaken on all counts. Did you have to lookup my use of “effected?”Maybe you ought to try writing something without ading the phrase 'more or less', which invalidates whatever statement you're making. I'd have to choose Door #2: I'm 'less' mistaken on all counts. Obviously.

No, I didn't have to look up the word 'effected'. I always liked how 'effect' is a noun except for this case, which is why so many people confuse affect/effect.

It's just like you to return a compliment with a back-handed insult, that's what everybody has been trying to tell you these many years. Another to add to my long list. Thanks!

Margaret McGhee
June 15th, 2006, 01:26 PM
Just in case anyone here is actually interested, it occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that I was spending far too much time carefully composing posts for a forum where I was just about the only one doing that.

It became obvious that my motives here were different from almost every other member - which I noted in my last post. I'll check back every few days to see if anything changes for the better - but it's silly for me to spend so many hours contributing to a forum where once a month someone else might write a few intelligent sentences that might actually have something to do with evolutionary psychology.

Don't worry about insults getting to me. Their emotional basis serves more to prove my thesis than detract from my focus.

Fred H.
June 15th, 2006, 02:06 PM
TomJ: No, I didn't have to look up the word 'effected'….

It's just like you to return a compliment with a back-handed insult, that's what everybody has been trying to tell you these many years.
I usually have to look it up, so don’t go all sulky on me.

BTW, seems that your “insult” didn’t get to MM after all b/c, she claims, its “emotional basis serves more to prove [her] thesis than detract from [her] focus”; and besides, she declares, her “motives here were different from almost every other member.” Wow, maybe it’s her insults you should be whining about?

Carey N
June 16th, 2006, 11:22 PM
Yep, Carey is back, and JimB agrees, more or less, with me regarding the circularity of natural selection—so that makes you more or less mistaken on all counts.
I was going to write a response in the circularity thread that Jim started, but Todd wrote a post that pretty much encapsulated my thoughts, and more, on the matter . . . you didn't seem to address Todd's post in detail . . .

Fred H.
June 17th, 2006, 01:52 AM
Carey: . . . you didn't seem to address Todd's post in detail . . .
Regarding my post on the unavoidable circularity and/or tautological aspects of natural selection, Todd responded with a thumbs up and wrote: “I agree with your general principle here.” Best I can tell, that indicates that Todd, along with JimB, more or less sees things as I do regarding the circularity of natural selection.

Carey N
June 17th, 2006, 04:01 AM
... but you have to read the rest of his post, Fred - there were other important points regarding why the circularity you perceive in natural selection isn't important for the big picture. I still think there's a solid case for the argument that natural selection in practice - the process that actually occurs in the real world - is completely non-circular. The bare-bones, generalistic concept of selection as survival of the fittest has always been circular, as you and many other people in the past have repeatedly pointed out, but as soon as you begin to consider ecological detail, that apparent circularity just isn't important at all.

Fred H.
June 17th, 2006, 11:40 AM
Carey: I still think there's a solid case for the argument that natural selection in practice - the process that actually occurs in the real world - is completely non-circular.
I’d say that the “process that actually occurs in the real world,” that makes evolution possible, first of all requires a universe with a beginning low entropy. Why beginning entropy was low, while usually taken for granted, remains a profound mystery; and most would agree that the second law of thermodynamics—essentially that entropy only increases—a statistical law, is not circular. And while I’m inclined to agree that evolution does seem to entail various concepts/mechanisms, such as emergence, self-organization, selection, etc., any additional understanding that those concepts actually provide tends to be somewhat superficial and circular, unlike, for example, the understanding and predictability that, say, Einstein’s general relativity provides regarding gravity and space-time.

That shi-tzus evolved from wolves as a result of selection, albeit “artificial” selection, seems to be undeniable, so I can understand why “selection” is so compelling (it certainly persuaded Darwin). Plus natural selection is the current orthodoxy, so it’d be risky behavior for anyone employed in your field to openly entertain possibilities of circularity, unless they had tenure and were willing to endure the abuse that would inevitably follow from the Darwinian establishment. So my advice, Carey, is that when you yourself begin to suspect the circularity of natural selection, and I expect that you eventually will, keep it to yourself, unless you have tenure of some sort and/or plan to marry a rich woman.

Carey N
June 18th, 2006, 01:13 PM
Way to avoid the point I made, Fred! Impressive!

Fred H.
June 18th, 2006, 07:55 PM
Carey: Way to avoid the point I made, Fred!
And this from a guy who, just in his previous post, discharged the following rhetoric:
I still think there's a solid case for the argument that natural selection in practice - the process that actually occurs in the real world - is completely non-circular. The bare-bones, generalistic concept of selection as survival of the fittest has always been circular, as you and many other people in the past have repeatedly pointed out, but as soon as you begin to consider ecological detail, that apparent circularity just isn't important at all.
OK Carey, I give up, you win: Natural selection’s “apparent circularity just isn't important at all.” Wow, that was painful.

Carey N
June 19th, 2006, 05:43 PM
I did not dismiss your point . . . on the contrary, I acknowledged that your perception of natural selection at the most general level possible - namely, as "survival of the fittest" - is indeed circular. I then moved on to point out that your emphasis on this general interpretation is not appropriate, considering that it is the details of ecological interaction that determine reproductive success for each individual species.

So - the phrase "survival of the fittest", where the fittest are those which survive, is obviously circular, but as soon as one considers the natural history of any given example of evolution, it's quickly apparent that there is nothing circular about the process of natural selection in the real world. Todd articulated this point in his post within the circularity thread, but you didn't address it, instead only embracing the part in which he agreed with the over-generalized, "survival of the fittest" conception of selection is circular.

Fred H.
June 19th, 2006, 10:30 PM
Carey: Todd articulated this point in his post within the circularity thread, but you didn't address it, instead only embracing the part in which he agreed with the over-generalized, "survival of the fittest" conception of selection is circular.
Well Carey, having reread Todd’s post several times, I’m not seeing this point being clearly “articulated.” Perhaps you’re referring the paragraph in Todd’s post where he mentioned the, “bizarre notion that centrifugal force is an illusion,” “intuitions,” and where he quoted the Bush view regarding if “scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic.”

But as I noted in my subsequent post in that thread, there is actually an “Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Science,” (and of course w/o mathematics real science would be impossible); and frankly I’m a bit nonplussed by Todd’s centrifugal force is an illusion/intuitions example. Be that as it may, I guess we’re at an impasse, and I suppose we’ve beat this thing to death, so I’ll not disagree that Todd “articulated the point”—perhaps his thumbs-up was just one of his typical nice guy “can’t we all just get along” gambits.

Anyhoo, changing course, regarding TomJ’s “repression module” hypothesis and the article that he thinks proves it (“Freud Returns,” by Mark Solms), as discussed in the Gore’s Inconvenient Truth thread, here— http://www.behavior.net/bolforums/showpost.php?p=3768&postcount=7, and assuming you have a bit of time to kill, I think Tom might benefit from your POV, and of course I’d be interested too.