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Everything posted by disarray

  1. So you don't think social environment affects mating behavior....are you serious?
  2. In short, the topic question may have what some would describe as sexist overtones. I reminded of the book, "Your Wife: The Effect of Female Promiscuity on American Culture and Human Morality'" in this regard, in which, according to the jacket, "the reader is left with deep introspection about staying the course or advocating reform." One can only wonder whether or not the person who originally posted this question supports female monogamy........ or why the issue of female monogamy was singled out from that of, as you say, brunettes, short people, etc.
  3. No, I was never suggesting that one can somehow come up with a "reasonable" moral worldview completely on ones own, anymore than a "wild/feral child" could. My emphasis earlier was to disagree with ultraconservative/fundamentalistic views that ones morality should just replicate that of previous generations. It is here that religion tends to slow down progress, critical thinking, personal creativity, tolerance, and concrete circumstances. In short, again, one must strike a balance between slavish adherence to tradition and sociopathic ignorance (ignoring) of it. To get back on topic, I would note that it is good to be intellectually open-minded as much as possible by entertaining a natural curiosity and interest in those outside ones own family, ones own circle of friends/relatives, and ones own city and nation, in an attempt to understand and accommodate them...this is indeed, a fundamental aspect of (universal) morality. If it ever became possible for me to add 'those on other planets in our galaxy, or those on other planets in other galaxies, or even those in other universes', I would be the first to do so. But yes, apart from adding to and integrating our present scientific body of knowledge, I would agree that spending too much time, money, and effort trying to determine if there is life on other planets somewhere or in other universes does not make a great deal of sense, particularly when there is so much here on earth in this universe to embrace and to nourish.
  4. If it is increasing, I would suggest, given the slowness with which genetic influence (e.g., mental hardwiring) would take place, that any changes are the result of changing and (less suppressing) social norms, though it is difficult to fully assess doing to what society says is the norm and what actually happens, e.g., now vs. Victorian England. ....................... One can only deduce/extrapolate by examining physical and social characteristics if one is searching for some sort of "natural" baseline. The go-to controversy here is that between Margaret Mead, who championed the role of the environment, and claimed that, in the natural social environment provided in Samoa at the time, women readily engaged in premarital sex and had a low degree of conflict with parents, judging from interviews with Samoan adolescent females. Freeman, perhaps wishing to underscore the need for society to enforce the naturalness of monogamy (and thus lack of premarital/ promiscuous/casual sex), and the need for parents to continually keep rebellious children under control claimed that the adolescents had lied to her, and that Mead’s methods were flawed and that she told the opposite of what was really the case. Wiki article seems reasonable here, and suggests that Freeman had unduly criticized Mead: “Adolescents are likely to be rebellious only in industrialized societies practicing neolocal residence patterns (in which young adults must move their residence away from their parents). Neolocal residence patterns result from young adults living in industrial societies who move to take new jobs or in similar geographically mobile populations. Thus, Mead's analysis of adolescent conflict is upheld in the comparative literature on societies worldwide...While many Samoan women would admit in public that it is ideal to remain a virgin, in practice they engaged in high levels of premarital sex and boasted about their sexual affairs among themselves” A book on the controversy was published: https://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/4614.htm In any case, it is difficult to find a baseline given the plethora of confounding factors: family dynamics, rebellion, poverty, welfare, isolation, tradition, patriarchy, honor, etc. etc.
  5. As there is no preferred frame, some people might need an explanation as to why it is not symmetric. I have read various explanations....some say that acceleration is key (e.g., leaving earth and turning around), but others say it is only how fast one is going: presumably one could be going from Tokyo to Osaka on a bullet train at a speed of only 320 km/hr and ones watch (if it was super accurate) would be running slower simply because the (EM waves of the) train and everything on it are already moving at the speed of light. Typical explanation would be that a Japanese physics student might have a mirror in each hand facing the other and light could be bouncing back and forth between them: If one added the speed of light between the mirrors and the 320 km/hr of the train, the light between the mirrors would be covering a distance (in the direction that the train was going plus the distance between mirrors) that would imply that it was either going faster than the usual speed of light, or else time slowed down. I rehash this explanation because I wonder whether it matters whether the student left his Aunt on the train platform in Osaka on the train, went to Tokyo, and then returned, finding his watch slower in comparison to his aunts, or whether he just leaves Tokyo where he has lived for 8 years without leaving, and visits his aunt in Osaka (presumably both have atomic watches that keep time with great accuracy). My key point is to suggest that it doesn't matter whether one leaves a particular spot and then returns to it (e.g., in the twin paradox), or whether one just goes fast compared to another spot. For all I know, the student could have synchronized watches and then left his aunt, zig-zagged all over Japan at high speeds (or even near speed of light on some superfast hypothetical bullet train) for a period of time, and then come back to the aunt with his watch a second or two behind his aunts. OR I could suggest that the student synchronized his watch with his aunt. Walked slowly to Osaka (so there is little or no time dilation), stayed a year, then taken a near speed-of-light bullet train back to Osaka to compare watch times. In short....does the alleged time dilation rely upon leaving and coming back to the same inertial frame, or just going really, really, fast? As am aside, the scientific evidence supporting time dilation effects with respect to gravity seems much more substantial than that dealing with traveling at high speeds. I thought it was the length of the moving vehicle (i.e., the ship) that contracted, not the distance between departure and destination.
  6. I am not sure what conclusion of mine you are contesting? Of course, we can find similar social/physical parallels amongst much lower animals, e.g., ants have an elaborate system for gathering food and have different classes of workers. Ditto for bees. But I would think that it is pretty much a truism that the best place to look to attempt to understand human instincts and propensities is in our closest genetic relatives....are you disputing this?? I know that there is a range of variations between apes (Hominidae), but as I pointed out, evolutionary psychologists/biologists can extrapolate our own propensities by assessing a range of factors dealing with, as just one example, size and nature of sperm, genitals, and the body as a whole. I certainly did not say that humans were naturally monogamous nor polygamous. Rather I said that they were flexible in this regard. It does seem rather obvious that civilization has largely suppressed, or attempted to suppress human "promiscuity." Most evolutionists, suggest that modern humans are, if one has to choose a label, serial monogamists. But even then, I suspect that humans tend to be fairly polygamous (with variations) when left to their own devices....e.g., in primitive societies, communes, etc. But yes, I think that we should keep in mind that the topic question of this thread was whether women were monogamous, which, as I mentioned, seems to imply that the subtext question is whether (and perhaps why) women are more monogamous than men.
  7. Yes, though, in terms of logic, one can't be other than who one is, one can take certain steps towards expanding ones intellectual horizons: Travel, read, investigate ones upbringing and prejudices, listen to different opinions, etc. And yes, many claim to be objective when they are not...it is sort of an argumentative technique, much like claiming that what one believes is a fact rather than an opinion, or claiming that one must be right because your claims are in agreeement with some scriptural passage.
  8. I agree that religion has a lot to do with it. Some Christians, for example, identify sin with our "animalistic impulses," which seems like a doctrinal internal contradiction to me if one maintains as a Christian that humans were created completely separate from all other animals. I gather that most Christians don't believe that animals can go to animal heaven, despite what some might tell their kids when Fido dies. For one thing, they note, animals can't accept Jesus as their savior. If humans were just another type of animal, it would seem for many religious people that the idea of achieving immortality would be out of the question (At the rapture, many if not most Christians hold that Jesus/God raises those who have repented and have been saved from their graves in pristine physical condition, and escorts them to heaven....animals and the unrepented/unsaved rot or go to hell. I read somewhere that some guy, I think from England, had convinced Einstein after much debate that humans did not have instincts. Indeed, as little as 50 years ago, the idea that people's personalities were largely the result of their genetic makeup or that people had instincts much as animals did were generally considered to be absurd notions. In a way, denying our animal heritage is a result of centuries of cosmeticization so that we disguise our more basic activities: As one actress put it, I don't sweat, I glow. Our greatest human rituals are to cosmeticize/spiritualize death and sex via elaborate funeral and marriage ceremonies.
  9. I think that what you are describing has more to do with subjectivism (see current thread on solipsism). That one (as an individual or as part of a group) cannot get out of ones own perspective at any one given moment in time is something of a tautology. If anything, you are suggesting here that morality and culture are relative, be it on an individual or a group level.
  10. Despite the hype, there is scant information about humans who actually grew up in the wild (e.g., raised by animals) without human contact, there are cases where some have reached a certain age with virtually no human contact (e.g., parents stuffed them in a locked room), with the result that they behave much like wild animals. Apparently, once one reaches a certain age, (say, around 7), there are some things that one just cannot learn, much like the brain stops growing in such a way that it easily absorbs language. Although, as people such as Darwin and Wilson have pointed out, many animals express altruism. empathy, and reciprocation, the human brain is much more advanced in this regard. It is good to keep in mind that there is no clear cutoff point between the evolution of modern humans and earlier hominids, and of course, between other animals. From a less scientific approach, I personally find it ironic that many people have little time for those who are mentally disabled or who are, for example, thought to be intellectually or emotionally immature, yet will say with all sincerity that they adore their cat or dog more than any other person in the world. Um....what is the comparative IQ or EQ of a cat?
  11. Typically, solipsism refers to either the notion that we can’t know for certain that other people have consciousness, as opposed perhaps, to just being figments of our imagination or automatons (which is a logically airtight contention, but ridiculous even from a scientific standpoint), or that we can’t know for certain that things exist when we are not conscious of them. The latter problem was addressed by Berkeley who suggested that things are sustained by the consciousness of God when we are, for example, asleep. From a scientific standpoint, this is not a satisfactory answer. Indeed, just whether and how things exist when we are not aware of them, other than in some vague state of probability, was a major bone of contention between Einstein and Bohr, and thus between a rather classical understanding of causality and a quantum one (cf Copenhagen Interpretation). To be flippant, it would be silly to ask this question and believed that you were the only person with consciousness. In all practicality, though, the term “subjectivism” has taken over in modern use, suggesting that other people’s minds do exist, but that we cannot escape our own perspective, complete with its prejudices, social background, personality, instincts, emotions, etc.
  12. Yes, thank you, I recall the discussion. It would seem then that the length of a returning spaceship (or ruler) would be back to what is generally called 'normal' length and weight, but that the actual decomposition of the spaceship, ruler, and travelers is irreversible, though less 'severe' than their earthbound counterparts, and thus we could say that they had undergone a definite physical transformation. I understand that, from the earthbound frame of reference, the reality for us is that the ruler has shortened (though I don't know how we would get information about the length of the ruler while it is hypothetically traveling near SoL). Nevertheless, the ruler returns intact and has a length comparable to other rulers on earth. Whatever change in length we might think or perceive it to have, however functional that perception might be from different frames such as that of earthlings, the change was only temporary (for the duration of the trip). Had the ruler physically changed length, however, when coming and going, then, just as it had decomposed in an irreversible manner, one would think that the ruler would be a bit worse for the wear of being stretched. (I think it was agreed earlier that the ruler does not physically change, particularly in its own frame). Can I then conclude that, although different estimations of the mass and length of the ruler are, for all practical purposes or even in some ontological sense, just as "real," from all frames of reference, all such variations are more like (functional/useful) appearances, rather than physical variants, since they do not, unlike the state of decomposition (age), retain any changes once returning to earth. Good information. I was going to ask about that, actually, and presumed that was the answer.
  13. Well yes, one hears a lot about the appropriateness of our (hunter-gatherer) instincts in modern society, and the need to either freely express or cautiously repress them, c.f., Freud's "Civilization and its Discontent." Are you suggesting that we can't look to bonobos, oragutans, and gorillas in order to get clues about human sexual proclivities since other animals quite unlike us, such as some birds, also practice polyandry (not to mention monogamy)? Of course one can find all sorts of parallels and dissimilarities if one examines insects, fish, etc., but apes and earlier hominids with a high degree of genetic similarity are the best place to look to find out about our own instincts. From a strictly genetic/anthropological standpoint, I fail to follow your logic.
  14. It appears that you are arguing both ways...on the one hand you are talking about the manner in which hormones and imprinting affect us, perhaps often in ways that we are not aware of. On the other you say that little is hard-wired in the strictest sense. Perhaps you could qualify what you mean by "strictest sense." I realize that humans have certain biological-based, behavior patterns that may be mediated (triggered) by the presence of environmental cues, and otherwise lie dormant. I realize that our instincts are malleable and can take on different forms depending on the social/physical environment, but just where one draws the line between strict and lax hard wiring is up for grabs as far as I know. I could give a few examples as to the multifarious impact of instincts on the human psyche, but Steven Pinker has already done this for me by writing his book, "The Blank Slate."
  15. I think that there are extremes in the nature/nurture question. At one end you have people such as Sartre who will tell you that people are 100% free to think and do whatever people choose regardless of upbringing, social roles, education, etc. On the other extreme you have people such as Skinner who think that people are 100% conditioned by a combination of their genes and their environment so that they have no free choice at all. Psychological observations tend to suggest that our hard-wired desires often trick us (our prefrontal cortex thought processes) into thinking that we are really choosing what these desires wanted us to choose all along via such things as rationalizations, denial, repression, etc. Indeed, scientific studies show that we make the vast majority of decisions as to what to believe and do on a subconscious level, and only assume that we have made these decisions on a conscious level. This is an argument made by evolutionary psychologists that no doubt has a grain of truth to it, but I think that the prevailing scientific opinion is that both men and women are hard-wired to be both monogamous and polygamous, given certain chronological and environmental triggers, e.g., women are more open to "casual relations" with rugged men in certain stages of their cycle, men produce less testosterone once they get married and get into family mode, etc. etc. Also, the social "etiquette" whereby men are expected to initiate courting apparently, according to studies, means that women will be choosier. In the study, women go around choosing men and the men can only either accept or reject the women's initiatory moves....In this scenario it was found that men became much choosier. But in general, patriarchal societies have perpetuated a series of beliefs about women's lack of desire in comparison to men, the age at which desire peaks, the frequency with which they experience desires, the number of men that they can be attracted even while being in a monagamous relationship, etc. Again, imo, science tends to be dismantling these myths in favor of an approach that finds greater equality and similarity between men and women. For one thing, male and female organs are homologous. Many (e.g., psychologists, anthropologists) claim that the degree to which a particular hominid might be said to be monogamous or polygamous can be ascertained with a reasonable degree of confidence by measuring such things as dimorphism (difference in male/female body build), size of testes, shape of sperm, etc. The very fact that the question of this thread is to ask whether women are monogamous by nature rather than to ask whether men are monogamous by nature seems to reflect widespread social assumptions that there is a significant difference in this regard.
  16. That's what I meant....There is no rabbit (real measurement of the ruler), just what one might call functional appearances (ducks) or 'realities' if you like, that are real in ones own frame (and never mind about other frames). I see you mention that there are an infinity of other frames, thereby agreeing I presume with my comment that there is no real (or more standard or preferred or definitive frame) even if one says that such a hypothetical real frame is the sum of the infinity of other frames (which, as I said, would be impossible to calculate anyway). As an aside, I find it interesting that cubism developed at a similar moment in history as Relativity: "The genius of Cubism is that it allows the viewer to escape from this “system of reference” of our three-dimensional spatial and one dimensional time dependent world. In Cubist artwork, objects are analyzed, broken up and reassembled in an abstracted form—instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context." http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/cubism-and-those-four-dimensions-of-einstein-s-theory-of So the ruler comes back to earth and it will be the same length as a similar (say, 1 foot) ruler that had stayed on earth (that is, their ends will line up when you put them side by side). Presumably one might say the same things about its mass....it may be heavier while traveling (in comparison with the earthly inertial, frame), but have the same weight as a similar ruler that stayed on earth. A wooden ruler will decompose with time; that is, it can age, though it would take several centuries (or even millennia) I suppose for it to turn to what amounts to dust. But the point is, would a ruler that had traveled through space at near SoL for, say, a century, be less decomposed (younger) than a ruler made at the same time from the same materials on earth? If the answer is yes, then it seems inconsistent that the length and mass would be the same on returning, but its molecular integrity (age) would be different.
  17. Well, yes, obviously an individual is not alone, if you are going to interpret the title of this thread in that way...no man is an island, sort of thing. We do become civilized by becoming enculturated, by learning the laws, language, customs, beliefs, etc. of the society into which we are born. But we of course need not passively accept everything our society tells us. Nowadays in the U.S., parents are not shocked or even outraged if their children don't grow up to accept their political and religious beliefs. But it was not always that way. Even a few decades ago parents were puzzled and annoyed if parents who were Protestant and Democrats had a child who decided at some age to adhere to Catholocism and vote Republican. In day to day living, we also hear the phrase that one should always have a bit of 'alone' time for oneself. Similarly, cultural relativism and multiculturalism encourages us to explore and seek to understand cultures that have different customs and beliefs. It is certainly a good point that one focuses on ones own needs as opposed to others needs in varying proportions, even in any given day. We might spend the first two hours dashing around trying to get the kids off to school, and then take an hour off to just watch ones favorite t.v. program before starting to fix the midday meal for oneself and ones partner, for example. We play a variety of roles...wear a variety of hats, as they say. I think that one has to have a balance....those who become too self-focused (narcissists, megalomaniacs, hardened criminals) or too other-focused (martyrs, self-victimizers, obsessive self-sacrificers) tend to be neurotic or even psychotic. So I agree we are on the same page here, though I suspect we are straying from the topic of this thread which is whether the universe is alone or is created alone. But obviously, it matters a great deal more that we are not alone as individual humans on this planet in comparison with the speculative question as to whether there are intelligent beings on other planets or in other universes.
  18. Forgive me if I am stating the obvious, but doesn't that last comment just emphasize the notion that the "size" of the ruler in its own frame (aka, inertial or rest frame?) is no more 'real' than it is from other (non-inertial) frames. That is, Relativity states that a rabbit is just as real as any number of ducks. In other words, we might state that there is no standard as to how long the ruler is, or what its mass is (for that matter), and perhaps even what its "true" velocity is. Well this is way above my head, but it seemed to me that these comments from Wiki might be relevant: "But the world lines of our Rindler observers are the analogs of a family of concentric circles in the Euclidean plane, so we are simply dealing with the Lorentzian analog of a fact familiar to speed skaters: in a family of concentric circles, inner circles must bend faster (per unit arc length) than the outer ones.....In fact, in the close neighborhood of a black hole, the geometry close to the event horizon can be described in Rindler coordinates. Hawking radiation in the case of an accelerating frame is referred to as Unruh radiation. The connection is the equivalence of acceleration with gravitation." In any case, is it fair to say that one should think in terms of a clock that is 'lower' in the gravitational well as being in a different spacetime frame from one that is lower, so that that being in an "inner circle" means that the inner clock (closest to earth) is taking a different path through spacetime than a clock at a greater distance.....much like skaters of different distances from the hub in the center of a skating rink are in different frames as they travel around it (as if centripetal or centrifugal force is relevant, e.g., escape velocity, perhaps) ? Note: If this is an inane question and I have lost the plot owing to lack of mathematical knowledge, please ignore, and I will move on to a different issue. I guess what I am getting at is to ask if it is more accurate to say that equivalence (i.e., in example of twin paradox and gravitational well and black holes) is the result of variations in energy/momentum, or whether it is more accurate to say that equivalence is the result of variations in space time. But wouldn't this sum be infinite?....so that we could never say what such a sum might actually be? Can the universe be described in terms of a finite number of Planck units (each with their own frame of reference or perspective perhaps?) in some way as if spacetime is a pixelated "fabric," and, if so, wouldn't the continual expansion of the universe at (approx.) speed of light also be a confounding factor so that even if we could find such a sum that it would be continually changing at the speed of light?
  19. Yes, when it comes to needless aggression, religion often acts as a catalyst. It is absurdly myopic to gloss over centuries of violence fueled by Christian zealotry (e.g., British and Spanish Imperialism, as well as U.S. attempts to "convert" Native Americans) and to focus on contemporary upheavals in Islamic countries, as if the past did not matter or as if past Christians were not really Christians: According to Jake Meador, "some Christians have tried to make sense of post-colonial Christianity by renouncing practically everything about the Christianity of the colonizers. They reason that if the colonialists’ understanding of Christianity could be used to justify rape, murder, theft, and empire then their understanding of Christianity is completely wrong. Meador, Jake. "Cosmetic Christianity and the Problem of Colonialism..." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_colonialism#cite_note-7 To cherry pick those things about Christianity that are flattering and to lemon pick those things in Islamic history is absurd, particularly since both religions grew from the same Abrahamic tree. The problem with this particular tree of knowledge is that it resists progress on the basis that its doctrine is allegedly based on the inerrant and eternally valid word of a deity, albeit the deity of primitive tribes flourishing a couple of thousand years or so ago, so that to even question its appropriateness for contemporary society is seen as a sacrilegious act.
  20. I can somewhat imagine this if I think of the universe (i.e., spacetime) expanding in accordance with typical light cone illustrations. However, in keeping with the Equivalence principle, it doesn't seem that one can explain the time dilation related to being in a gravitational well in a similar way, i.e., by suggesting that one clock at one distance from the surface of, say, a planet, is taking a different path through spacetime than a clock at a greater distance.
  21. Religion either comes from the people (i.e., God is an anthropomorphic social construct), or else it comes from some transcendental realm (i.e., from God). If the latter, we should be blaming God, but I don't think that is the case here. If the former, than you can blame religion for being so conservative and resisting any advancements without blaming the people who originally devised the religion. Religion is only a tool for maintaining power. Even though many people do not personally hate gays, for example, they publicly express and act out hatred for them because their religion dictates that they should do so. But again, one should not criticize any particular religion in this regard: Many people in South America either adhere to their religion's ban on birth control with the result that they have children that they can't afford to support, or use birth control and (secretly) ignore the teachings of the Church. But humans themselves are not really all that different from one country to the next. For example, I suspect that many people secretly feel like throwing gays or adulterous wives from the rooftops and would probably do it if they lived in a culture in which the country's religion encouraged (or at least allowed) such behavior. So the real issue is that many religions are not flexible, shut the door on critical thinking, and do not advance in tandem with advancements in culture.
  22. As I mentioned, Kohlberg himself was hesitant about the highest stage, since he agreed that it is difficult if not impossible to substantiate claims that there are absolute or universal moral truths....and I agree, one can't. I would liken it to the scientific attitude and the notion that one should always be open to further explanations and better paradigms (as per Kuhn). Indeed, as well as the term moral paradigm shift, one might cite the existence of moral paradigm paralysis, in which people prone to confirmation bias are so conservative that they only acknowledge information that confirms and conforms to their moral worldview. Some people find that relying on absolute and unchanging moral traditions (e.g., Catholocism until recent decades) comforting and detest ethical and cultural relativism as if it repudiates any higher ethical touchstone provided by religion and therefore leads to moral chaos, and other people detest the notion of absolute ethical codes for being too rigid, too general, too anti-critical thinking, etc. But yes, unless one wants to have a closed mind and to let others do all the thinking for you, I think that ones values, attitudes, and beliefs should always be open to "construction."
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