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Babies are bigots
Posted: 18 November 2012 07:30 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I just saw a 60 Minutes segment with Yale psychologist Karen Wynne (sp?) studies on babies, that suggests that as young as 3 months of age, they have some abilities to show preferences of social behavior of others (perhaps a subjective vestigial sense of right and wrong).  Also studies suggested that humans may inherit tendencies toward bias of similarities to one’s self, and an appreciation of vengeance, and a preference toward gaining more relative to others (win-lose) vs. gaining more for one’s self if the other gains as well (win-win).  (Though the latter tends to reverse in older children.)

This topic could go a lot of different ways (if it goes anywhere).  So I put it under philosophy.

One thought that occurs to me is that the underlying moral predispositions that humans appear to come equipped with, is relatively easily explained by evolutionary forces.  But one might wonder why a sentient deity would want its creations ready made, from the get go, with some sociopathic tendencies.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 18 November 2012 07:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Another thought that occurs to me, is that these studies might lead one to consider that humanists are made not born.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 18 November 2012 08:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Also, if babies naturally tend toward bigotry, it may follow that bigots are like unsocialized babies.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I can fit this research into my self-interest paradigm.  Self-interest (really survival of the species) is basic to all organisms, however, each organism has different methods of achieving it.  As new-borns we focus on ourselves, then we quickly see we are dependent on those close to us.  We see some value being given to outsiders, so we see them as competing, and we view them negatively.  As we continue to grow, our awareness of our interdependency field widens, that is, we get value from many others, and they give it in return for the value we give them. 

While Karen Wynne’s research isn’t at odds with reality, I don’t see it as providing much more than verification of the fact that we are a social species. smile

Occam

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Posted: 19 November 2012 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Occam. - 19 November 2012 11:51 AM

I can fit this research into my self-interest paradigm.  Self-interest (really survival of the species) is basic to all organisms, however, each organism has different methods of achieving it.  As new-borns we focus on ourselves, then we quickly see we are dependent on those close to us.  We see some value being given to outsiders, so we see them as competing, and we view them negatively.  As we continue to grow, our awareness of our interdependency field widens, that is, we get value from many others, and they give it in return for the value we give them. 

While Karen Wynne’s research isn’t at odds with reality, I don’t see it as providing much more than verification of the fact that we are a social species. smile

Occam

Thanks for responding.  I think that the implications are more significant than you think. Recognizing that we are biologically and/or developmentally pre-disposed to bigotry, while you might say is obvious in retrospect, is important to know.  You seem to suggest that this phenomenon will work itself out during the course of experience, and I agree that it typically does to some extent or another.  However, as you say “as we continue to grow, our awareness of our interdependency field widens”, this is more true for some than for others. So it seems to me that armed with this knowledge, it would behoove us to promote our children’s learning experiences in this regard.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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What are you planning on doing about the biological part, Tim? wink You know, mentioning the genetic influence in your first sentence only to later ignore it in the rest of your post is as good as not mentioning it at all.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 05:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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George, I am not ignoring it at all.  I reported it.  It is good to know.  It is simply clear to me that the best way to make a difference is to work with what natural selection has given us to this point, rather than trying to directly interfere with its process.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 06:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Chalk up another one for George.  A recent study I read indicated that those with liberal ideologies tended to have one part of the brain activated, while conservatives had a different part of the brain activated.  And, when small chiildren were tested, they had activation patterns similar to that of their parents.  The former focused on general society while the latter focused on local or family groups.

I guess my problem, Tim, is that “bigot” has a negative connotation, a conscious dislike for some other group. 

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Posted: 19 November 2012 06:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Occam. - 19 November 2012 06:18 PM

Chalk up another one for George.  A recent study I read indicated that those with liberal ideologies tended to have one part of the brain activated, while conservatives had a different part of the brain activated.  And, when small chiildren were tested, they had activation patterns similar to that of their parents.  The former focused on general society while the latter focused on local or family groups.

I guess my problem, Tim, is that “bigot” has a negative connotation, a conscious dislike for some other group. 

Occam

The term “bigot” was, somewhat, hyperbole to draw attention to the post, but the fact appears to be that a large majority of babies show preference for others who have even subtle similarities to self or bias against subtle differences. It is not too big of a stretch to consider that left unchecked, this early predisposition could reach the level of what we consider bigotry in adults.

[ Edited: 19 November 2012 06:40 PM by TimB ]
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Posted: 19 November 2012 07:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Lost another post. God, this makes me so angry…

I am inclined to go with Jonathan Heidt’s explanation on how genetic predispositions can affect if we later turn to become liberals or conservatives. Our big five psychological traits (plus IQ) are greatly determined by our genes (~50%) and these will help us choose what type of life we decide to follow. If, for example, one scores high on openness, there is a good chance that person will live in a big city and surround himself by like-minded people who are more likely than not to be liberals—although that’s kind of the simplified version of Heidt’s theory, but you get the idea.

And I imagine that’s probably how we acquire all of our behaviour. We are born with a simple “program,” which will dictate our next step where we are exposed to new experiences, affecting the following step, and on and on it goes.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 11:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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TimB - 18 November 2012 07:30 PM

This topic could go a lot of different ways (if it goes anywhere).  So I put it under philosophy.

As a philosopher, I take this as an insult… zipper

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Posted: 20 November 2012 12:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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GdB - 19 November 2012 11:33 PM
TimB - 18 November 2012 07:30 PM

This topic could go a lot of different ways (if it goes anywhere).  So I put it under philosophy.

As a philosopher, I take this as an insult… zipper

Sorry, as a non-philosopher, I had no idea it would be insulting.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 01:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I didn’t mean to imply that the possibility of the topic going nowhere, made it suitable for philosophy.  (If that’s what you found insulting).  That was simply an aside indicating that it could be that no one would be interested enough in the topic to respond.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 02:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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TimB - 20 November 2012 01:07 AM

That was simply an aside indicating that it could be that no one would be interested enough in the topic to respond.

And therefore put it into philosophy? That is insulting again! angry Everything that is not interesting enough goes into philosophy.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Don’t worry, GdB. If this discussion continues I am sure free will will get mentioned sooner or later. (Can’t add a smiley; there is something wrong with this website.)

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Posted: 20 November 2012 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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George - 20 November 2012 05:15 AM

Don’t worry, GdB. If this discussion continues I am sure free will will get mentioned sooner or later. cool grin  (Can’t add a smiley; there is something wrong with this website.)

Did I put in the correct one?

Try another browser… Or delete your browser cache.

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