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Author Topic:   When is a belief system a Mental Disorder?
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 166 of 252 (289003)
02-21-2006 6:09 AM
Reply to: Message 162 by crashfrog
02-20-2006 11:28 PM


Re: Shortness of life
The idea that our mate choice is simply a function of our own preferences operating in a vacumn, or a function of finding a "soulmate", is beyond naive. Absolutely that's the way life works - we choose the mates we do largely to provide the most advantageous combination of our genes and theirs avaliable, and to ensure the greatest avaliability of resources for our children.

I didn't have a soul-mate concept in mind. I just didn't think we worried too much about what some theoretical children in the future were going to look like and be like. When I was young I wanted to marry someone who was intelligent, goodlooking, and sweet. Admittedly, it's rather hard to get all that in one package. But I wasn't thinking about some supposed children we might or might not have. I just wanted such a person so I myself would be happy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 162 by crashfrog, posted 02-20-2006 11:28 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 169 by nator, posted 02-21-2006 8:07 AM robinrohan has responded
 Message 174 by crashfrog, posted 02-21-2006 9:42 AM robinrohan has responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 336 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 167 of 252 (289022)
02-21-2006 7:56 AM
Reply to: Message 162 by crashfrog
02-20-2006 11:28 PM


Re: Shortness of life
quote:
Even newborn infants prefer the faces of supermodels to the super-ugly.

And, conversely, studies also show that the cuter and more attractive an infant is, the more attention their mother will give to them, even to the point of being more likely to ignore a less-attractive baby who wanders off in a grocery store compared to keeping a careful watch over the cure one.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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nator
Member (Idle past 336 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 168 of 252 (289024)
02-21-2006 8:01 AM
Reply to: Message 163 by Faith
02-21-2006 5:44 AM


Re: Shortness of life
quote:
But of course if someone marries someone completely different, say from a different race, that can be genetically rationalized too, right?

Hybrid vigor.

Of course, genetics are not destiny. We are strongly influenced by them, of course, but since we have consciousness as well, our actions and decisions in mate selection are a mix of the two.

It is both nature and nurture, so to speak.

quote:
All I can say to the whole thing is: How unromantic.

I think it's pretty interesting, actually.

Nothing about understanding such things makes my feelings for my husband any less.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 163 by Faith, posted 02-21-2006 5:44 AM Faith has not yet responded

    
nator
Member (Idle past 336 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 169 of 252 (289027)
02-21-2006 8:07 AM
Reply to: Message 166 by robinrohan
02-21-2006 6:09 AM


Re: Shortness of life
quote:
I just didn't think we worried too much about what some theoretical children in the future were going to look like and be like.

Like crash has explained already, we don't have to consciously, actively, literally think about future children for it to influence our behavior.

There is a genetic basis for lots of behavioral tendencies that you don't think about on a conscious level but they are at work, nevertheless.

We can see this in disordered behavior, such as addiction or OCD. People with these genetically-influenced tendencies can more easily succomb to destructive behaviors than those without them. Yet few people who suffer from these disorders are consciously aware of the tendency until it negatively affects their lives. They just follow their desires and their impulses.

This message has been edited by schrafinator, 02-21-2006 08:10 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 166 by robinrohan, posted 02-21-2006 6:09 AM robinrohan has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 171 by robinrohan, posted 02-21-2006 8:31 AM nator has responded

    
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 1133 days)
Posts: 3808
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 170 of 252 (289033)
02-21-2006 8:15 AM
Reply to: Message 167 by nator
02-21-2006 7:56 AM


Re: Shortness of life
schrafinator writes:

[S]tudies also show that the cuter and more attractive an infant is, the more attention their mother will give to them, even to the point of being more likely to ignore a less-attractive baby who wanders off in a grocery store compared to keeping a careful watch over the cute one.

A study done some years back (I'll look for it) adds an interesting angle to this, Schraf.

By having people rate the likenesses between adult men and their progeny, the study found that a peak perception of paternal likeness, i.e., "looks just like Daddy," occurred at just about the time the infants became toddlers and thus capable of rug-ratting around under their own power, outside the arms of maternal protection.

Conclusion: The genes were advertising themselves to their progenitor--I really am yours, you can invest in me with confidence.


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This message is a reply to:
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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 171 of 252 (289039)
02-21-2006 8:31 AM
Reply to: Message 169 by nator
02-21-2006 8:07 AM


Re: Shortness of life
Like crash has explained already, we don't have to consciously, actively, literally think about future children for it to influence our behavior.

Oh, it's on an UNCONSCIOUS level. I see. I'm not sure how we could know that since it's unconscious.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 169 by nator, posted 02-21-2006 8:07 AM nator has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 172 by NosyNed, posted 02-21-2006 8:37 AM robinrohan has not yet responded
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 Message 175 by crashfrog, posted 02-21-2006 9:44 AM robinrohan has not yet responded

  
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 172 of 252 (289043)
02-21-2006 8:37 AM
Reply to: Message 171 by robinrohan
02-21-2006 8:31 AM


Unconscious behavior
I'm not sure how we could know that since it's unconscious.

As noted, it is possible to test unconscious behaviours. Of course, you don't do much testing of your own unconscious behavior. :)

That is, however, likely to get a bit off topic so I suggest that is about enough.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 171 by robinrohan, posted 02-21-2006 8:31 AM robinrohan has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 336 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 173 of 252 (289067)
02-21-2006 9:27 AM
Reply to: Message 171 by robinrohan
02-21-2006 8:31 AM


Re: Shortness of life
quote:
Oh, it's on an UNCONSCIOUS level. I see. I'm not sure how we could know that since it's unconscious.

If you did some reading on basic human psychology you would know about it.

It's a common human conceit that we are in control of and are even aware of all of our impulses, desires, reasoning, and motivations.

There's lots of good evidence that shows that we are not.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 171 by robinrohan, posted 02-21-2006 8:31 AM robinrohan has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 174 of 252 (289072)
02-21-2006 9:42 AM
Reply to: Message 166 by robinrohan
02-21-2006 6:09 AM


Re: Shortness of life
When I was young I wanted to marry someone who was intelligent, goodlooking, and sweet.

Right. And those traits appeal to you because they connote a facility towards parenting. An intelligent parent is able to respond better to threats; a good looking parent is likely healthy and fit and lacks disease; and a sweet parent is not likely to abuse or harm their children.

But I wasn't thinking about some supposed children we might or might not have.

Irrelevant. The fact that it did not occur at the level of your conscious intellect is not contradictory with the fact that your mate choice was based on what would be best for your children.

Or did you think that you're just attracted to certain characteristics at random?

I just wanted such a person so I myself would be happy.

Why do you think you need those characteristics in a mate - and not, say, ugliness, denseness, or a sour disposition - to be happy in the first place? Random chance?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 166 by robinrohan, posted 02-21-2006 6:09 AM robinrohan has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 187 by robinrohan, posted 02-22-2006 2:45 PM crashfrog has responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 175 of 252 (289074)
02-21-2006 9:44 AM
Reply to: Message 171 by robinrohan
02-21-2006 8:31 AM


Re: Shortness of life
I'm not sure how we could know that since it's unconscious.

It's not always unconscious. But we can test it with statistics, as I've already stated. We find strong correlations between what people report as "attractive" and what would indicate strong genetic advantages in a mate.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 171 by robinrohan, posted 02-21-2006 8:31 AM robinrohan has not yet responded

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 3320 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 176 of 252 (289077)
02-21-2006 9:51 AM
Reply to: Message 173 by nator
02-21-2006 9:27 AM


Re: Shortness of life
Yes Scraf, it is common for people to infer conscious decision-making from discussions of adaptive behaviors. It is important to remember that organisms expressing particular behaviors need have no conscious appreciation for their choices - they are behaving in a particular way more often than in alternative ways because individuals expressing these behaviors in a similar context have left more offspring than those behaving differently. Conscious choice never enters into it. (This comment more for RR than for you).

For example, females of some stalk-borers I study always lay their eggs in the plants with the fattest stalks available. They respond to stalk girth as a stimulus, but they don't KNOW that choosing fat stalks will make their offspring bigger. However, I know that because I weigh larva every year and measure plants. Females responding to this particular stimulus have been successful leaving progeny, so the response has been selected in females over time. It's much the same with lots of human behaviors, but you are never going to be conscious of *why* you respond in a certain way to a particular stimulus. And that does NOT imply determinism of behavior or lack of free will either.

But to return to the question posited by the OP, I would say that a belief system becomes mental illness whenever it prevents you from acknowledging facts, causes you to deny the obviously true, or causes your consciousness to become significantly displaced from tangible reality. So basically all forms of religious mythology are capable of producing mental illness in their most ardent and extremist followers. Hence the suicide bombers.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 173 by nator, posted 02-21-2006 9:27 AM nator has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 177 by nator, posted 02-21-2006 12:59 PM EZscience has responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 336 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 177 of 252 (289163)
02-21-2006 12:59 PM
Reply to: Message 176 by EZscience
02-21-2006 9:51 AM


Re: Shortness of life
quote:
For example, females of some stalk-borers I study always lay their eggs in the plants with the fattest stalks available. They respond to stalk girth as a stimulus, but they don't KNOW that choosing fat stalks will make their offspring bigger. However, I know that because I weigh larva every year and measure plants. Females responding to this particular stimulus have been successful leaving progeny, so the response has been selected in females over time. It's much the same with lots of human behaviors, but you are never going to be conscious of *why* you respond in a certain way to a particular stimulus. And that does NOT imply determinism of behavior or lack of free will either.

I just thought of another example for humans.

Back in the day when we were still quadripedal and before we wore clothing, the female buttocks was the main sexual attractant.

Now that we are bipedal and face each other and wear clothes, the males can't really see the buttocks any more, so larger breasts began to be selected for as a substitute buttocks.

Breasts don't have to be protruding at all to be functional; indeed, they are probably only recently been considered sexual parts at all instead of mommy parts. In some cultures where people wear little clothing, breasts are not considered sexual at all.

So, all of you who like big breasts, it's really big buttocks you are sticking up there on a woman's chest.

:)

This message has been edited by schrafinator, 02-21-2006 01:01 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 176 by EZscience, posted 02-21-2006 9:51 AM EZscience has responded

Replies to this message:
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EZscience
Member (Idle past 3320 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 178 of 252 (289200)
02-21-2006 2:12 PM
Reply to: Message 177 by nator
02-21-2006 12:59 PM


Sexual signal traits in humans
Yes, Desmond Morris has written quite a bit about the monkey-human shift in traits signally sexual attractiveness. It also has much do with 'frontal' signaling as opposed to 'rear end' signalling accompanying the change in position of sex to a face-to-face orientation. It bears noting that what remains consistent is the clear association of sexual attractiveness traits with features directly indicative of female reproductive fertility.

Human males still find all the following female features attractive.

1. body shape (related to actual child-bearing ability).
2. breasts (related to child-nurturing ability, even if representing tranposed buttocks).
3. hair and skin textures and coloration (signals of overal health).
4. general indicators of youthfulness (directly correlated with potential future reproductive effort.

These correlations have a lot to do with why we find these features attractive, but we don't *decide* to find them attractive because of the correlations. Rather, the correlations of these features with actual female fitness over thousands of generation have caused preferences for these features to become relatively fixed tendencies in the human population. No conscious decisions are required - we just 'feel' that way.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 177 by nator, posted 02-21-2006 12:59 PM nator has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 179 of 252 (289307)
02-21-2006 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 177 by nator
02-21-2006 12:59 PM


Re: Shortness of life
Back in the day when we were still quadripedal and before we wore clothing, the female buttocks was the main sexual attractant.

Some guys like big butts, and they cannot lie (you other brothers can't deny), so I'm not sure all that much has changed. Who knew Sir Mix-A-Lot was an evolutionary throwback? (Besides everybody that ever listened to his music, I mean.)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 177 by nator, posted 02-21-2006 12:59 PM nator has not yet responded

  
Larni
Member
Posts: 3976
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 180 of 252 (289465)
02-22-2006 6:38 AM
Reply to: Message 122 by Murphy
02-17-2006 9:02 PM


Re: The problem identified?
"We're still trying to understand the human mind and it's still more an 'art' than a 'science', assuming that 'science' has all the answers!" - Murphy

Incorrect on both counts. Psychology is a science (we are trained in hypothesis testing befor we get to the good stuff). Science does not have all the answers but can be used to find them.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 122 by Murphy, posted 02-17-2006 9:02 PM Murphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 181 by Murphy, posted 02-22-2006 10:44 AM Larni has responded

    
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