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Prisoner’s Dilemma and fecundity among free thinkers
Posted: 16 August 2007 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Brad, are you suggesting having secularists breed more so that people in general will be able to breed less? Or what? I don’t get it…

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Posted: 16 August 2007 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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retrospy - 16 August 2007 11:23 AM

I don’t find it difficult to provide medical care, education, books & toys for 5 children on 1 income.  I think this is a matter of priorities, goals & motivation.

Well, not everyplace is USA. Although I have a nice living and while I could have another kid without any troubles, I would find difficult to provide five childrens with the confort I’d like. And at least till now, here college is free, but I did the figures thinking that maybe in 18 eighteen year it won’t be the case. Of course it’s matter of goals and priorities: I must be sure to be able to afford until college for all my childrens.

As far I as know, in Europe the trouble is the space: I would find almost impossible to raise a children in a fifty square meters apartament.

No doubt, but it doens’t mean that one could decide to go outside our culture.
I “go outside culture” every time I decide not to drink soda pop…

Well, sometimes I do this kind of contraculturals acts. But I don’t dare to go much beyond, as not paying for my kid recreational activities which integrate him into his comunity, for instance. Or I wouldn’t dare to deny to make a party in his birthday.

To take it another step, if scientists were convinced by scientific studies that collective idiocy would destroy the planet in X years in the future with equal certainty that we know the earth is round, would you support domesticating idiots via media, propoganda, business & government control? 

I really don’t know. I don’t have problems with ‘domesticating’ (really, I don’t like the word, I prefer ‘manui) through the media, propaganda and business… but ‘goverment control’? what does it means?. I guess we are approaching a hard question: what does ‘free will’ mean?. I don’t have any troubles with propaganda if it has any ground, and I understand that is very hard to tell if one is free from manipulation… but anyway, I think this goal would be achieve with a important level of freedom, or not achieved at all…

Keep in mind that to refuse on moral grounds would be claiming that domesticating animals is just as wrong, because we can’t know for sure that this act will lead to a better, safer, longer lasting world.

Well, I don’t know if I could call it ‘moral’, but my grounds are the fact that after a violent and extreme kind of ‘domestication’ ussually there is no turning back (or at least, no easy turning back). And I don’t like the idea of saving the world to the price of being a slave… because… how I could know that I would be in the master part of the population?.

Can you think of more effective methods to bring about goals in the example of this idiot populated world than through media, propoganda, business & government?

Idiot populate world?. I must admit that I feel far more confortable saying that ‘the vast majority of people behave like idiots much of time’ than saying ‘the vast majority of people are idiots’.

Well, and after all, I guess yes, there is a way. Maybe it is not as quickly as manipulation, but I have a strong confidence in education.

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Posted: 16 August 2007 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I don’t want to get into the part about idiots, but in Israel it’s pretty standard for parents to raise many children in 50 square meter apartments… on the other hand, the government pays them quite a lot of money for that, courtesy of the fundamentalist parties.

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Posted: 16 August 2007 02:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Do intelligent people find it morally & ethically acceptable to domesticate idiocy?  If the idiot mind threatens life, do we have a right to research propaganda & the human mind to the extent that the intelligent can domesticate the unintelligent?  Some could argue that this is what is happening today, think of the feudal system.  Or in respect of nature, do you you back and watch your predictions become evident and your dreams destroyed while hoping you are wrong, recognizing you are just as human as the idiots you label and thus, victim to error?

I think this question presumes a lot about the ability for the “intelligent” to know what is right and to coerce (gently through propoganda, or forcefully through government) the “stupid” into doing what the smart folks think they should. Apart from the question of how one defines “intelligent” (and I’ve already had long debates about what that word means-in general I think its meaning is less clear and useful than casual usage makes it), this embodies a kind of arrogance that has lead to atrocities repeatedly in history, wihtout actually bringing about the “better” world the actors sought. We may agree that much of the problem humanity faces has to do with overbeeding and irrational choices for how to manage our resources, but I suspect we disagree about what constitutes an apporopriate degree of self-assurance to permit coercion. And I still dispute, as I did above, the notion that the “better” people can change the world by outbreeding the others, so the ultimate question of whether it is moral to do so or choose not to do so is moot.

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Posted: 16 August 2007 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Israel is a good example of current trends as a microcosm.

nominal secular Jews 1.5 per female births
conservative Jews 3.0 per female births
ultra-orthodox Jews 6.0 per female births

The religious communities of the major faiths have growing populations, and are aggressively preaching larger families as a divine ideal.

The next several generations will be shifting in Israel from 85% secular to only 20%—over only three generations.

We do not know ,at what rates the children raised in devote religious homes and communities, will convert to secular views and lifestyles? The phenomenon is a global trend. The Muslims of Europe, have the highest birth rates in the European Union, and over only two or three generations could become a power force in politics…

The prisoner, who stays silent, while their partner cooperates with the police: receives the longest sentence and worst outcome? We are repeating this interaction with every generation?

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Posted: 16 August 2007 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Is extreme religious belief is genetically heritable? I’d say no. I mean, I do agree that it’s disconcerting that the religious families culturally inculcate more children into their belief system than do secular families. But if, as is almost certainly the case, there are no real genetic distinctions to be made, the whole issue remains one of proper enculturation, into a secularist cultural system.

I certainly cannot think of an ethical manner to restrict religious family size or increase secular family size artificially.

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Posted: 16 August 2007 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I don’t think it is genetic, either.  I haven’t read anything scientific at least about it being genetic and I can hardly see it being genetic if one can be raised religious and then once they group up they end up being non-religious.  Dan Barker is a prime example.

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Posted: 17 August 2007 01:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Brad, Israel is exactly an example of why you’re wrong. Those birth ratios have been in place for about 50 years now. The Haredi percentage of the population is increasing, but slowly; it consists of about 9% of the population now, up from 7% 10 years ago. Its political power comes not from natural increase, but from the ability of one of the two Haredi parties, Shas, to tap into the Mizrahi lower class’s alienation from the society that has discriminated against it and kept it poor. Its political successes have been about identity-based machine politics, no different from Tammany Hall or Richard J. Daley’s: more child credit, more funding to and less oversight of religious schools, more privileges to yeshiva students. It’s fought every attempt to increase the degree of separation of religion and state in Israel, but all of the existing violations of separation have been there since independence, conceded to the (non-Haredi) religious party in exchange for its political support.

That, and Israel’s fertility rate is in free fall, losing about 0.1 points in two years. The data I’ve seen doesn’t distinguish between religious and secular Jews, but does say that the fertility rate is crashing among Muslim and Druze Arabs, whose fertility rates are almost as high as Haredi Jews’, while not changing at all among Jews.

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Posted: 17 August 2007 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Interestingly the average intelligence (albeit measured by intelligence tests) increased in many countries
during the 20th Century. Although this increase may now be slowing or stopping.
See the wikipedia entry on the Flynn Effect

I would prefer to tread lightly on this finitely resourced planet of ours. I’m concerned that we are already
too many in number. Especially given the majority of people living on the planet live in circumstances
where their continued existence is threatened daily though lack of infrastructure etc. and our impact on
other species.

On the other hand, I would feel more comfortable living in a world where more people
questioned what’s happening in their environment.

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Posted: 17 August 2007 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Wikipedia?  That’s not quite a reliable source I would not put much stock in everything it says.  I won’t disagree about IQ rising because I’m above average, but my older son is gifted.  Then again, I really don’t take a whole lot of stock in IQ tests either because they depend on a number of factors concerning the individual- good night’s sleep, breakfast, and alike, cultural things, and few other things even.  I don’t think progression has ended either.  It maybe at a plateu.  There is generally a temporary plateu in human development at one or more points of development, be it an individual or a group. What some maybe seeing is a temporary plateu.

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Posted: 17 August 2007 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Actually, I would have expected average IQ to have increased during the last couple of centuries, for two simple reasons. Better nutrition, better public health.

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Posted: 17 August 2007 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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[quote author=“retrospy”] To take it another step, if scientists were convinced by scientific studies that collective idiocy would destroy the planet in X years in the future with equal certainty that we know the earth is round, would you support domesticating idiots via media, propoganda, business & government control? 

The reason I brought this situation up, is because it has to do with the prisoner’s dilemma.  It was a global example of the problem of the commons.  The resources are finite and side A is claiming more than their share (Idiots as we are calling them).  Side B has the choice of backing down and hoping the Idiots stop being idiots (from B’s view) or Acting upon their beliefs that the lesser of 2 evils is controlling the Idiot population.  Any grey area, in this scenario, will lead to some degree of excess resource depletion.  It will not be the most efficient method.  If B sits back A takes more than their share of resources.  If B controls A and/or the resources then B has an enormous responsibility to be correct, but according to these factors has made the best long term decision.

What is interesting about the word intelligent in this situation, as Brennnen noted, is that both A & B think that they are the intelligent party and that the opposite view is the idiotic one.  The ability to predict is commonly used to measure intelligence.  If C is to D what is F to E?  So in our situation; if A doesn’t have a method for evaluating their errors and correcting wrong doing, and B does, then I think B has a responsibility to act on their intelligence.  Unfortunately the situations in life can’t always be as black and white as this example.  This is why I support the Secular humanist movement.  I see it as a “show of good faith” or a signal to cooperate in the prisoner’s dilemma.  I do realize that eventually, if the cooperative signal goes unanswered long enough, I’ll have a responsibility to act upon it.  The weird thing is; I am skeptical that the time to seriously act will come in my life time.

The reason I bring the black & white example up, is I want to know if others have let this or related scenarios play out in their head and come to similar conclusions?  If not, I want to see what variable would need to change for us to agree and if so, how are you going to act in the near future?

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Posted: 17 August 2007 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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dougsmith - 17 August 2007 09:31 AM

Actually, I would have expected average IQ to have increased during the last couple of centuries, for two simple reasons. Better nutrition, better public health.

Why do you think better nutrition and public health would affect IQ?

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Posted: 17 August 2007 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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George - 17 August 2007 09:44 AM

Why do you think better nutrition and public health would affect IQ?

I would expect them to affect IQ in the same way they would affect any human abililty. When people are on average well fed rather than undernourished, and healthy as opposed to ill, they are likely to perform better on all sorts of tests. (We do also know that chronic undernourishment affects brain function).

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Posted: 17 August 2007 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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doug,

I absolutely agree and think we should take it even further to other forms of social, economic and political “nourishment.”

any kind of malnourishment will produce a “braindrain” effect.

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