Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 111 (8738 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 04-25-2017 8:26 AM
411 online now:
AZPaul3, bluegenes, Chiroptera, CRR, edge, frako, JonF, kjsimons, PaulK, Percy (Admin), RAZD (11 members, 400 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: Jayhawker Soule
Post Volume:
Total: 805,170 Year: 9,776/21,208 Month: 2,863/2,674 Week: 287/961 Day: 17/134 Hour: 0/2

Announcements: Reporting debate problems OR discussing moderation actions/inactions


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Prev1234
5
67Next
Author Topic:   Stephen Jay Gould: The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magisterís Pox
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3427
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 61 of 92 (759849)
06-15-2015 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Faith
06-15-2015 10:27 AM


I'm sure Beethoven's 9th not only speaks to you personally but is really objectively speaking what you hear in it.

That personalization of my experience with the music, Faith, is the very definition of subjective. Nothing objective about an emotional response.

But, hey, you liked the Beethoven so I'm a happy camper.

Even that can be reduced to a mere psychological trick of course.

No psychological tricks, Faith. The response to pretty much everything inspiring is real. You feel it. Your mind and body react. Psyco-chemicals flow. The thing to recognize is that these responses are of you from within you. The emotion and the psych-chemicals that initiate them are not intrinsic elements of the artwork. The frame is not showering you with serotonin. The emotion is not being beamed at you from the canvas. And everyone reacts differently. Again, the very definition of subjective.

But, hey, you liked the Beethoven so I'm a happy camper.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by Faith, posted 06-15-2015 10:27 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 63 by Faith, posted 06-15-2015 7:32 PM AZPaul3 has acknowledged this reply

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5515
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.9


(1)
Message 62 of 92 (759864)
06-15-2015 5:06 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by MrHambre
06-15-2015 2:40 PM


I'm sure you can recognize the distinction between noticing what we're made of and defining ourselves as a collection of the chemicals that comprise the human body.

I have come across some people who try to define humans that way. They were all religious nuts or right wing crazies, attempting to ridicule science.

Real scientists know better than that.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by MrHambre, posted 06-15-2015 2:40 PM MrHambre has not yet responded

  
Faith
Member
Posts: 24400
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.0


Message 63 of 92 (759885)
06-15-2015 7:32 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by AZPaul3
06-15-2015 3:07 PM


If a tree falls in the forest when nobody is around does it make a noise? I say yes. I say Beethoven makes a noise whether anyone can appreciate it or not. Objective reality. If your subjectivity is able to participate in it, lucky you.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by AZPaul3, posted 06-15-2015 3:07 PM AZPaul3 has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by ringo, posted 06-16-2015 12:09 PM Faith has not yet responded

    
mikechell
Inactive Member


Message 64 of 92 (759903)
06-15-2015 10:06 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by MrHambre
06-15-2015 2:40 PM


... because her body contained organs for carrying a fetus, she's nothing more than a procreating machine. I presume everyone here would agree this is objectionable. But why isn't being reduced to a "bag of chemicals" just as bad?

Men and women both, are thinking, emotional creatures. Referring to women as procreating machines would be debasing and objectionable. But, biologically, it would be correct.
However, referring to humans as "bags of chemicals" is correct. It is not debasing or objectionable because it is not directed at any specific race, sex, age blah blah blah. Just like you shouldn't be insulted knowing that you're an animal ... just like all the other animals on this planet. The only difference ... you're ancestors developed a more analytical brain that then developed self awareness and intelligence.


evidence over faith ... observation over theory

This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by MrHambre, posted 06-15-2015 2:40 PM MrHambre has not yet responded

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3427
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.9


(1)
Message 65 of 92 (759907)
06-15-2015 11:56 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by MrHambre
06-15-2015 2:40 PM


because her body contained organs for carrying a fetus, she's nothing more than a procreating machine.

There is that "nothing more" crap again. Woman is an organic machine, just like man. She contains baby growing and survival mechanisms that man does not. That does not mean baby machine is her only attribute. Would you say she was "nothing more" than a composer because she had those cognitive skills? Would you say she was "nothing more" than a cosmologist because she was built with a more powerful cognition unit than you?

Just because we are bags of chemicals does not mean we lack several individual skills, feelings and dreams. Yes, dreams. Bags of chemicals do that.

But why isn't being reduced to a "bag of chemicals" just as bad?

That isn't "bad" at all. That is exactly what we all are. And you have not been reduced to that. It is what you have always been. If that takes some special joy out of your life then you'll have to live with that sad existence for the rest of your chemical baggy life.

If you think being a bag of chemicals is bad, well, guess what? You're also an ape! That's right. You're a bag of chemicals and an ape! You're a bunch of chemicals in an ape bag!

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by MrHambre, posted 06-15-2015 2:40 PM MrHambre has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15753
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 66 of 92 (759909)
06-16-2015 12:14 AM
Reply to: Message 60 by MrHambre
06-15-2015 2:40 PM


I'm sure you can recognize the distinction between noticing what we're made of and defining ourselves as a collection of the chemicals that comprise the human body.

But who has? If I say that I am a collection of chemicals, I do not imply that I am interchangeable with any other collection of chemicals, that my properties are no more interesting or valuable than those of an equal weight of magnesium sulfate. And who does say or mean such a thing?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by MrHambre, posted 06-15-2015 2:40 PM MrHambre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by MrHambre, posted 06-16-2015 6:17 AM Dr Adequate has responded

  
MrHambre
Member (Idle past 13 days)
Posts: 1493
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 67 of 92 (759916)
06-16-2015 6:17 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by Dr Adequate
06-16-2015 12:14 AM


Dr Adequate writes:

If I say that I am a collection of chemicals, I do not imply that I am interchangeable with any other collection of chemicals, that my properties are no more interesting or valuable than those of an equal weight of magnesium sulfate. And who does say or mean such a thing?


Ask the poster above you, our buddy AZPaul3, who made the claim. For some reason, he's desperate to push this notion of our biochemical bagness. Insofar as I've disputed the idea, I just pointed out that that's what we are in a scientific sense. It just seems comically naÔve to imagine that this is a new and original idea, or that it constitutes the entirety of human worth. And AZPaul3 is a lover of Beethoven (as am I), so his emphasis on our biochemistry seems a little misplaced. But the science-equals-truth delusion does funny things to people.

AZPaul3 writes:

That isn't "bad" at all. That is exactly what we all are. And you have not been reduced to that. It is what you have always been. If that takes some special joy out of your life then you'll have to live with that sad existence for the rest of your chemical baggy life.

If you think being a bag of chemicals is bad, well, guess what? You're also an ape! That's right. You're a bag of chemicals and an ape! You're a bunch of chemicals in an ape bag!


Deep breaths, amigo. You'll be fine.

This is what I call New Atheist nihilism. You can check my posting history and chuckle at how infatuated I was with Dawkins and Harris ten years ago, and their dogmatic literalism. As a nonreligious person in the USA during the Dubya era, I thought it was my responsibility to be a nasty, immature jerk and affirm that science was the true measure of everything. But then I realized that there used to be pop science writing that recognized the cultural and historical context of science. Stephen Jay Gould and Loren Eiseley talked about science as a tool that had a downside, something that could destroy as well as create, and whose use has to be monitored responsibly to make sure it isn't deluding or enslaving or dehumanizing us. It's no wonder Dawkins and Krauss still insult Gould whenever they get the chance, because he represented a view of science that is a lot less idealized than the one they push.

This pop science nihilism defines humanity in a way that has consequences for society. I'm a humanist, and I'm skeptical of ideologies that tell us we don't matter, regardless of whether they're religious or secular in nature. We've traded religious oppression for a different kind, one that fits the neoliberal agenda of privatization, deregulation, and consumerism. The benign neglect of the Big G has been replaced with the pitiless indifference of a purposeless universe, and private capital has dominion over the lot. We're nothing more than what science tells us we are, and we shouldn't expect anything better than exploitation with brief periods of diversion in our lives. If you need meaning or morality, you create or procure them yourself, like a tasty omelet or a nice Ikea coffee table. And anyone who looks at this definition of humanity as lacking something is probably just some religious nut or a sentimental crybaby.

Welcome to the millennium! Now get to work!

Edited by MrHambre, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-16-2015 12:14 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by nwr, posted 06-16-2015 10:08 AM MrHambre has not yet responded
 Message 69 by AZPaul3, posted 06-16-2015 10:43 AM MrHambre has responded
 Message 73 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-16-2015 1:03 PM MrHambre has not yet responded

    
nwr
Member
Posts: 5515
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.9


(2)
Message 68 of 92 (759941)
06-16-2015 10:08 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by MrHambre
06-16-2015 6:17 AM


Ask the poster above you, our buddy AZPaul3, who made the claim. For some reason, he's desperate to push this notion of our biochemical bagness.

No, he isn't.

He is saying that if you insist on making an absurdly literalistic reading of what scientists say, then here's a way of making it even more absurd.

He is not recommending that sort of literalistic reading. He is ridiculing it.

Whatever happened to the principle of charity?

Edited by nwr, : No reason given.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by MrHambre, posted 06-16-2015 6:17 AM MrHambre has not yet responded

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3427
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.9


(1)
Message 69 of 92 (759944)
06-16-2015 10:43 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by MrHambre
06-16-2015 6:17 AM


From Dr. A

I do not imply that I am interchangeable with any other collection of chemicals, that my properties are no more interesting or valuable than those of an equal weight of magnesium sulfate. And who does say or mean such a thing?

From Hombre

Ask the poster above you, our buddy AZPaul3, who made the claim.

Stop this crap, Hombre. I never said such a load of tripe.

You're the one claiming the "bag of chemicals" analogy means women are "just" baby machines, "no more than" procreating machines. That this "bag of chemicals" analogy somehow insults us all and detracts from our "meaning".

Bull.

quote:
Message 43 The mechanism of squirts, the science of squirtology, does not rob the experience of your "meaning" whatever you might give it.

Knowing the mechanism (reducing to physical phenomena) does not reduce the beauty nor the individual meaning.


quote:
Message 49

No matter that we know these things, no matter that we can cause them to happen or not happen under strict laboratory conditions, to have some such experiences are as real as anything else humans can feel and their meanings are as personal and as valuable as any aspect of life can be. The fact that the science has digested the how's and why's, the squirts and squiggles, does not negate the power of the experience.


quote:
Message 53

Are you still trying to say that understanding the mechanism, the how and why of the thing, robs it of its legitimacy as an experience? How can our understanding of the neurochemical basis of feeling "sad" lessen the meaning of the experience to someone who suffers a loss?


Shall I go on quoting myself? Are you deliberately misrepresenting my position or can you not comprehend what you read?

Stephen Jay Gould and Loren Eiseley talked about science as a tool that had a downside, something that could destroy as well as create, and whose use has to be monitored responsibly to make sure it isn't deluding or enslaving or dehumanizing us.

Uhh, no. Science is a tool with no downside. The products of science, the discoveries of science, may have (and have had) grave downsides once they get into the hands of the military-industrial complex. The tool cuts wood. Whether we make a cabinet or a club is not the choice of the tool.

Science cannot delude or enslave. Only people can.

We know that to you "dehumanizing" means taking away your anthropocentric delusion. Too bad. Suck it up.

It's no wonder Dawkins and Krauss still insult Gould whenever they get the chance, because he represented a view of science that is a lot less idealized than the one they push.

Then you misread Dawkins and Krauss. Gould's view of science was to lop off huge chunks of the universe and claim them off-limits to science. That is what science today rejects. No limits. And if you read their words free of your emotional bias then you will find reasoned disagreement not insult.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by MrHambre, posted 06-16-2015 6:17 AM MrHambre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by MrHambre, posted 06-16-2015 12:20 PM AZPaul3 has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 12912
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 70 of 92 (759966)
06-16-2015 12:09 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Faith
06-15-2015 7:32 PM


Faith writes:

I say Beethoven makes a noise whether anyone can appreciate it or not. Objective reality.


The distinctions between "noise", "sound" and "music" are highly subjective. Only the vibrations in the air are objective.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Faith, posted 06-15-2015 7:32 PM Faith has not yet responded

  
MrHambre
Member (Idle past 13 days)
Posts: 1493
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 71 of 92 (759968)
06-16-2015 12:20 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by AZPaul3
06-16-2015 10:43 AM


AZPaul3 writes:

Shall I go on quoting myself? Are you deliberately misrepresenting my position or can you not comprehend what you read?

Okay, fine, calm down. You were kidding, you were exaggerating, stuff had brackets, whatever. Let's move on.

Science is a tool with no downside.

Science cannot delude or enslave.


Like I said, you have this hyper-idealized notion of science that's so sanitized and de-historicized that it's kind of funny. The scientific method isn't just a method of gaining the all-important Truth. It has been instrumental in helping humanity eradicate disease and explore space, but it has also represented a tool whereby humanity has made war more efficient and oppression more comprehensive. It's a tool that serves the powerful in helping perpetuate their power. It's a human endeavor that's just as riddled with cultural and personal bias as any other.

We know that to you "dehumanizing" means taking away your anthropocentric delusion. Too bad. Suck it up.

Unlike you, when I use words I mean them. When I say "dehumanizing," I mean degrading and trivializing human experience with machine fantasies that objectify us. I've already said it, but you ignored it: this kind of ideology has consequences in society, and it serves political ends.

Gould's view of science was to lop off huge chunks of the universe and claim them off-limits to science. That is what science today rejects. No limits.

I dispute that you've read anything Gould wrote, apart from the crass caricature Dawkins has made of his ideas. The immature way you talk about science makes it sound suspiciously religious: it's an answer for everything, it's the way and the truth and the light, and no one should say anything bad about it. Gould was a celebrated scientist, and he wrote very authoritatively on its historical and cultural context. It's too bad you don't have a nuanced enough understanding of the phenomenon to appreciate what Gould wrote.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by AZPaul3, posted 06-16-2015 10:43 AM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 72 by mikechell, posted 06-16-2015 12:52 PM MrHambre has not yet responded
 Message 74 by ringo, posted 06-16-2015 1:19 PM MrHambre has responded
 Message 80 by AZPaul3, posted 06-16-2015 7:22 PM MrHambre has responded

    
mikechell
Inactive Member


Message 72 of 92 (759973)
06-16-2015 12:52 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by MrHambre
06-16-2015 12:20 PM


The immature way you talk about science makes it sound suspiciously religious: ...

So, you're admitting that religious people talk about their gods in immature ways. Cool, I agree with that statement.
... it's an answer for everything ...

Well, it will be, if we live long enough for science to advance that far.
... it's the way and the truth and the light ...

It's not ALL that, but it's going a long way to showing us all that.
... and no one should say anything bad about it.

It's not so much that you shouldn't say anything bad about it ... more that saying anything bad about it is like complaining about sunshine. You might not like it shining in your eyes, but you'd miss it in the middle of a cold, dark winter night.

Edited by mikechell, : No reason given.


evidence over faith ... observation over theory

This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by MrHambre, posted 06-16-2015 12:20 PM MrHambre has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15753
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 73 of 92 (759977)
06-16-2015 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by MrHambre
06-16-2015 6:17 AM


Ask the poster above you, our buddy AZPaul3, who made the claim.

No he didn't.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by MrHambre, posted 06-16-2015 6:17 AM MrHambre has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 12912
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 74 of 92 (759981)
06-16-2015 1:19 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by MrHambre
06-16-2015 12:20 PM


MrHambre writes:

When I say "dehumanizing," I mean degrading and trivializing human experience with machine fantasies that objectify us.


I like to quote Joni Mitchell:
quote:
We are stardust
We are golden

Stardust isn't such a bad object.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by MrHambre, posted 06-16-2015 12:20 PM MrHambre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by MrHambre, posted 06-16-2015 2:27 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply

  
MrHambre
Member (Idle past 13 days)
Posts: 1493
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 75 of 92 (759994)
06-16-2015 2:27 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by ringo
06-16-2015 1:19 PM


Stardust isn't such a bad object.

And a procreating machine would be awesome. Think about it!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 74 by ringo, posted 06-16-2015 1:19 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by mikechell, posted 06-16-2015 3:11 PM MrHambre has not yet responded
 Message 84 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-17-2015 12:20 AM MrHambre has not yet responded

    
Prev1234
5
67Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2015 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2017