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South Park trashes Dawkins!
Posted: 25 November 2006 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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Sigh

Doug said: Once again, Barry, you are discussing your reconstructions of their political ideas and not the science itself. At least you note that the people involved are not right-wingers in any important or universal sense, and that EP itself does not lead necessarily to conservative conclusions. At this point the discussion has gotten pretty silly. My feeling is that if you want to discuss politics start up another thread in the political folder. But please let’s stick with facts and not keep throwing around innuendo, e.g., taking quotes about pop songs out of context.

Hmph.  My last post was surely the best and most clear in this thread yet.  Oh well.  You still don’t get that you simply can not divorce science from the human adventure.  What you call “reconstructions” are nothing of the sort.  But then again, if you have not understood my points by now, you probably won’t.

As for your saying that I am saying that EP does not lead necessarily to conservative conclusions… well, I never said that.  And if you reread what I HAVE said, you’d see what I AM thinking on all this.  Deal is, EP IS closely attached to ideas about human nature, and it seems that some (Pinker, Dawkins, etc) are reading INTO EP (which is not a real science yet) that which they want to emphasize AS the sociopolitical nature and implications of EP.  This much is very clear in their writing. Problem is, others have very different takes on what EP IS able to say and actually implies. This is what happens in religion because religion is not a “science.” 

(And as for Imagine, it is - as you know - not merely a pop song, but a statement of Lennon’s thoughts on human nature itself.  Pinker himself clearly does not dismiss it as only a pop song because he KNOWS it speaks of a human nature he does not want to promote.. and he thinks EP backs his opinion(s) of human nature.  But others see EP quite differently.. and they are no slouches.  So this ain’t about innuendo, dearest Doug.  You can’t hide behind “pure science” in these matters as Dawkins and Pinker also seem to want to.  Sorry, Charlie.)

PS:  My original problem with these forums - which I made clear to DJ Grothe and others long ago - is that you can not seperate the topic on these forums as neatly as many seem to think is possible.  Humanism - which is the main umbrella I see all this under - is such that science, politics, economics, social issues, skepticism, and much more are all so interconnected that crossover is inevitable.  It may seem organized to seperate all these topics as is done in these forums, but it actually serves to create the false notion that these things are somehow meaningfull apart from each other (in the long run), when this is simply not the case.

For a while, as one learns of atheism or science or political theory or religion or whatever, it is useful to focus on specfic details… but when one wants to interpret human society, and the reasons ANY of these things are important, one MUST look at all of this holistically.

Doug: At any rate, tarring these people as lunatic reactionaries—which they clearly are not—is just rhetorically worn out.

Hmph.. again.  Like Pinker, you are misstating what I have been saying.  When have I called anyone of these folks “lunatic reactionaries?”  You are making my (and others) legitimate concerns seem radical.  Done like a true propagandist, if I may say so.  :evil: 

Doug: And also BTW, the Skoyles piece appears to have been written by a nut. Pinker talks about neural plasticity time and again, as does everyone in the field. Plasticity is no refutation of evolutionary psychology, and the claim that Pinker’s views are “criminal” because they would take money away from brain injury patients is so base as not to deserve response

.

Right, Shoyles must be an idiot (and Dorian Sagan - his co-author - too)  :?

Here is another “idiot” who may yet not be .. and this guy is positive about EP!

Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature (Bradford Books) - David Buller -
“The dominant view in evolutionary psychology holds that it was—that our psychological adaptations were designed tens of thousands of years ago to solve problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. In this provocative and lively book, David Buller examines in detail the major claims of evolutionary psychology—the paradigm popularized by Steven Pinker in The Blank Slate and by David Buss in The Evolution of Desire—and rejects them all. This does not mean that we cannot apply evolutionary theory to human psychology, says Buller, but that the conventional wisdom in evolutionary psychology is misguided.” - Amazon.com

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Barry F. Seidman
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Posted: 26 November 2006 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Re: Sigh

[quote author=“Barry”]Hmph.. again.  Like Pinker, you are misstating what I have been saying.  When have I called anyone of these folks “lunatic reactionaries?”  You are making my (and others) legitimate concerns seem radical.  Done like a true propagandist, if I may say so.

Your points throughout have been politically based and motivated. You have called Pinker’s and Dawkins’s views conservative, Hobbesian, anti-liberal, anti-progressive, r-Libertarian, et cetera. That is the propaganda, especially since it is not accompanied by any actual attack on the science. The Skoyles piece you quoted was particularly egregious in that it got Pinker’s view so wrong that anyone who’d actually read any of Pinker’s works could see the problem with it.

Now, as I have been saying throughout, the project of evolutionary psychology is only nascent, and I do agree with you that it remains at this point little more than proto-scientific. There are certainly many good people arguing against it on scientific grounds, which I welcome. The David Buller book you cite looks like it could be an interesting one.

I do, however, note the last part of the paragraph you cited: “This does not mean that we cannot apply evolutionary theory to human psychology, but that the conventional wisdom in evolutionary psychology is misguided.” Fair enough. I do think it would be interesting to see what Buller had to say, as well as other people who want to focus on the actual scientific data and its proper interpretation. And of course, I would also want to see the response from Pinker, Dennett, Buss, et al., as well, since it rarely happens that one side in these debates has all the answers.

I should add that I am not wedded to any one point of view on the matter of evolutionary psychology. Nobody interested in truth and accuracy ever should be wedded to one particular view, ‘come what may’. The sorts of arguments that will convince come from evidence and careful theoretical interpretation. If someone has new and better evidence, that’s all to the good. Then let the various sides hash it out. In time, what is now nascent will be established, due to a range of evidence from a number of interrelated fields, e.g., biology, paleontology, ethology, cognitive psychology, et cetera.

What I don’t want us doing is substituting political invective for empirical arguments. Just as there is no such thing as Jewish science or women’s science, there is no such thing as conservative or liberal science. There is just good science and bad science. And which is which cannot be decided a priori on political grounds. That is what I have been continually arguing against.

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Posted: 27 November 2006 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Both are good

I ended up skipping most of the discussion on this, I noticed that people were harping on one another and just felt like adding another opinion on the South Park episode that I saw with Dawkins.  I really enjoy South Park and am in agreement with very nearly everything I’ve heard R. Dawkins say as well. 
One of the reasons I haven’t ever grown tired of watching South Park though, is that it is able to always push the envelope and to show how ridiculous it is to get all uptight about one’s beliefs.  I get bent out of shape all the time when listening to things I disagree with, and this show is a nice, relaxing counterbalance to that for me.

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Posted: 27 November 2006 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Re: Both are good

[quote author=“matts30”]I ended up skipping most of the discussion on this, I noticed that people were harping on one another and just felt like adding another opinion on the South Park episode that I saw with Dawkins.  I really enjoy South Park and am in agreement with very nearly everything I’ve heard R. Dawkins say as well. 
One of the reasons I haven’t ever grown tired of watching South Park though, is that it is able to always push the envelope and to show how ridiculous it is to get all uptight about one’s beliefs.  I get bent out of shape all the time when listening to things I disagree with, and this show is a nice, relaxing counterbalance to that for me.

There is something to be said for being passionate about what you believe in.

While I love South Park, the cynicism can go overboard. I also love the Jon Stewart show, and I hope that people can appreciate the humor of these shows without becoming apathetic.

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