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Leading with values

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libertygrl
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Posted 04/21/11 - 5:14 PM:
Subject: Leading with values
Here's an essay that I found thorougly compelling:

m.motherjones.com/politics/...enial-science-chris-mooney

Lots of interesting thoughts, including an examination of how being an individualist vs. communitarian, or hierarchical vs. egalitarian, will largely influence your position on certain issues, regardless of what statistics may be presented to sway you one way or another.

Certainly the idea is not new, that perhaps what we think of as reasoning is no more than rationalization. And we've touched on the topic from all different directions. But I'm curious to know what you guys think on the points presented in this essay: are reason and evidence pretty useless most of the time? Or do you think people in general are more reasonable than this article would have you believe? Any thoughts?
Nihil Loc
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Posted 04/21/11 - 9:04 PM:

Didn't read the entire article but find myself in agreement about how forcibly opinionated people can be. Research and fact checking is a kind of work we pass off onto others. All we have to do is filter through and choose what supports our point of view. Yet a lot of people can do this to an absurd degree.

We find ourselves in a situation where truth isn't exactly available to us (transparency). Sometimes I read an article or book that inspires a desire in me for some mad revolution. It revises or reorients value and vision for a moment then I'm back and lose myself in some other distraction which does require much investment, revolution of self.

Truth cannot help but succumb to the jaws of the socio-political machine and to the momentum of individuals. Democracy gives as much voice to untruth as truth and obfuscates all.
henry quirk
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Posted 04/25/11 - 9:03 AM:

"are reason and evidence pretty useless most of the time?"

Yep: useless (both reason and evidence are good starting points for discussion/diplomacy/debate...the end point, of course, is usually the fist, the knife, the gun, the bomb).

An example: let's say it's proven conclusively the human animal is nothing but a social creature (a cog), that without the context of 'community', the human animal will dry up and blow away, and -- ultimately -- human beings are meant to evolve into some kind of ass-to-mouth super-organism.

Further: let's say any human individual who actually views him- or her-self as an agent unto him- or her-self is simply psychotic, sociopathic, insane, and needs to be culled.

Even if all that is true, proven conclusively by science and confirmed by the booming Voice of God Hisself as it thunders out from the sky, even if all that comes to pass and the information is shown to be encoded in the very Fabric of Space and Time, specifically: that there is no human 'individual' (no 'I', only 'WE') and that any notions of idiosyncrasy are just plain lunacy and "for Christ's Sake, why are you lot not sewn together yet!?!" Even if all this happens: I will still (for the sake of orneriness alone) claim myself as 'mine', will still move in the world as though my will is 'mine', will still deny the agendas of cogs, communitarians, and other ass-to-mouthers.

In other words: where 'science' and 'reason' stand in conflict with my own thinking (my own reason, reasoning, reasons), 'science' and 'reason' can eat it... wink
Thinker13
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Posted 04/27/11 - 1:35 AM:

henry wrote:
Even if all that is true, proven conclusively by science and confirmed by the booming Voice of God Hisself as it thunders out from the sky, even if all that comes to pass and the information is shown to be encoded in the very Fabric of Space and Time, specifically: that there is no human 'individual' (no 'I', only 'WE') and that any notions of idiosyncrasy are just plain lunacy and "for Christ's Sake, why are you lot not sewn together yet!?!" Even if all this happens: I will still (for the sake of orneriness alone) claim myself as 'mine', will still move in the world as though my will is 'mine', will still deny the agendas of cogs, communitarians, and other ass-to-mouthers.


Eloquently expressed. thumb up
smokinpristiformis
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Posted 04/27/11 - 7:22 AM:

I think we've all found ourself having an almost instinctive reaction to a certain statement, starting to rationalize it away when we didn't like it ... Then, in the best case, after about 5 or 10 seconds, you might have forced your brain to 'reset' and look at all the facts. Usually arriving at the conclusion that certainty about any subject is hard to acquire, unless you go all the way and look for the factual, experimental evidence.

Good read, Susan, thanks.
libertygrl
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Posted 04/28/11 - 12:17 AM:

thumb up
Nihil Loc
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Posted 04/28/11 - 1:17 AM:

Quirk wrote:
In other words: where 'science' and 'reason' stand in conflict with my own thinking (my own reason, reasoning, reasons), 'science' and 'reason' can eat it...


Unashamedly honest Quirk.

It's the rationalizing element of will (desire) that brings to the table what we feel we ought to do given what is.

We may encounter a problem in that to know 'what is' requires a full investment of our will in a more dispassionate, disciplined, unbiased process of reason. Still that doesn't give us what we ought to do (Is-Ought connundrum). Yet we often feel such a grand endeavor is impossible given our obviously limited nature (the cited tendency to rationalize truth from our fears and wants).

The problem here is that I know I'm rationalizing from feeling right now.

In other words, why reason when we are all living in an insane asylum?

If the lie is as powerful or even more powerful than the truth, or just as useful, why not?
libertygrl
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Posted 04/28/11 - 1:25 AM:

NL wrote:
In other words, why reason when we are all living in an insane asylum?

ha, that has consistently been my question as well after reading this article. my answer would be that we build structure - connecting the dots, making paradigms - to insulate ourselves from chaos. that which seems most durable, consistent, cohesive - insulates us best.
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