Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by CharonY

  1. Even that example is more complex than that. The model you are proposing contains one variable (i.e. reaction to temperature). But a temperature drop can create massive shifts in the environmental factors relevant for a given organisms. For example, food resources could become scarcer or more prevalent. Predatory pressures could change. Reproductive cycles may be different and so on. For each given species each of these pressures could be different. Some can easily switch to other prey/food. Others, may not. For some species predatory pressure may be a big shaping factor and if those increase or decrease it could massively affect the population. In others it may only be a secondary factor compared to food availability or intraspecies competition. It is easy to escalate complexity from a single factor, which makes prediction outside of simple systems very difficult.
  2. You would put it under a promotor that is active under the desired circumstances.
  3. Precise predictions are generally only possible under fairly controlled conditions (such as e.g. within a lab). Rough predictions are possible if there are a limited amount of known strong selective forces (such as Moontanman's example) but for more complex situations it is going to be difficult to impossible.
  4. Awesome! Congratulations!
  5. I think the issue is rather a presumption on what it could be. As outlined in OP and since then articulated is that it would be important to take a look at a) what types of wealth transfer has happened, b) policies that enabled those and thereby evaluate what could be reasonably owed. In fact, the equal opportunity argument is not one being made by Coates. The argument is bluntly speaking, you stole money, acknowledge and document it and then repair the damage. In the end it reads to me like a moral argument, you stole it, now give it back. I have perhaps a more practical view on it (i.e. I see the benefits of systematic inequalities being undone and if reparations are the way to do it, fine). But then I also understand the underlying sentiment and perhaps addressing that issue is as important as the practical ones.
  6. I think that is at the core of the social justice debate. I.e. providing folks with the same level opportunities. (The fact that this may not be straightforward is discussed in iNow's link, though I do think that the author is conflating several issues.) Nonetheless, the case for reparations is at least somewhat in line what you just wrote, MigL. Black folks are hindered to achieve similar goals as white folks, because their families have been structurally deprived over generations. Which means that to provide them the same opportunities, more must be done to make it work, even compared to a white family with a similar socioeconomic status. Once these barriers are gone (which again, is a case for reparations) purely income-oriented measures should provide similar benefits regardless of skin colour. The difficulty is that we need to look at outcomes to figure out where these barriers lie. For example, let's assume more black folks enter medical school, but a disproportionate amount dropped out. Is it because they work less, or is it because of other issues? Because the latter would also need to be addressed. For example, if a black student is more likely to have to care for their parents than a white student, we again have a structural issue. I.e. just providing them enough to enter an pipeline (be it medical school or another career), is often insufficient. And here again, the idea reparations is basically also overcome these issues.
  7. As mentioned, I doubt this is a fair characterization. And as a matter of fact, if you are for equal opportunity, you appear to be in favour of removing road blocks that may inhibit the opportunity for success. That, in turn would actually favour reparation and not be against it. As it stands, it is clear that equal opportunity does not exist, especially not when it comes to the vast majority of African American families who have lived through the historic black experience (more recent immigrants have a different trajectory). The equal outcome vs equal opportunity discussion seems to be misguided in my mind. After all, if the opportunities were the same you would expect largely similar outcomes aside from random fluctuations based on individual decisions. However, studies suggest that this not the case, there are structural differences (which means that opportunities are not equal). In short, if we give 1,000 to a black person and a white person with the same income, and monitor their trajectory, most studies suggest that the trajectory will be quite different. Historically, this was explained by the assumption that black folks make bad decisions, which obviously had a rather racist worldview at its heart. As we now know is that African American community structures have been systematically devastated by policies, some of which are still active now. Even when opportunities are provided, there are systemic differences. Looking at college graduates, for example, same income level, same degree but in a few years a white graduate will amass more fortune than a black counterpart. One important reasons is that black folks are embedded in a poorer network whom they might have to supported. Whereas the white person is more likely to have connections with folks of equal or higher income. This will also translate into later steps into the career where white folks outpace their black counterparts. In other words, if one really wanted to have the same opportunity the paths should not diverge so massively otherwise can we call the opportunity truly equal? Unless, of course, we are led to believe that folks with different melanin content are more prone to make errors in their career steps, but we are not going there, are we? Going back to Coate's article, the argument is made that not only are black folks held back, but rather there was material transfer from black to white communities (the equivalent to transfer of Jewish wealth in Nazi Germany was made) and that this is at the center of the call for reparations. There is a need to look how the transfer was made, which mechanisms still pertain to it and how it could be addressed. Again the call was for looking into it in more detail, whilst acknowledging that the patterns of white poverty are different from black poverty. Thus, addressing poverty intrinsically has to take that into account. This is borne from a slew of studies who have started to take finer grained look into poverty in the US, which have identified systematic disparities that alter trajectories. As such I feel the equal outcome argument rather tired, as it somehow implies that we should ignore the outcome and focus on opportunity. But how can you evaluate opportunity if you do not measure outcomes?
  8. The policy can be mechanistically race blind, yet in the outcome it can be heavily biased. For example, the decision to have higher penalties for consumption of cocaine vs crack seems to be independent of race. Yet, since cocaine is more commonly consumed by white folks, it created a huge disparity in drug-related penalties. In other words, if you want to employ fair policy that are race-neutral in outcome, it requires a mechanism that take race-differences into account. A measure that can elevate a white family out of poverty, can fail a poor black family. In contrast, certain other actions, including measures improving generational wealth, which could include criminal justice reform, could disproportionately benefit black folks. In other words, if we only use poverty as measure, the likelihood is high that specific issues pertaining to specific groups are simply not addressed, resulting in ineffective policies. Think of it that way, if I wanted to prescribe you medicine but only diagnose based on your body temperature, I will probably prescribe you stuff that actually won't help you. Whether folks like it or not, the difference between black and white has more factors than one (i.e. poverty). Poverty is only the culmination of many other factors, such as elevated temperature could be the result of all sorts of inflammation reactions. I order to find a cure, a diagnosis is needed.
  9. Indeed. Contrary to my initial understanding of the situation, there is an increasing body of evidence that African Americans have indeed faced rather unique challenges that were, for the longest time, not acknowledged before. One of the reasons being that often minorities were lumped together in previous studies (and there are metrics which appear very similar between, say, Hispanics and African Americans). Coates highlighted those with anecdotes but academic studies have shown that these effects very real repercussions.
  10. I think the cartoon does not really apply well to the case of reparations. After all, it is not about folks that are disadvantaged due to some intrinsic property (being short or even poor) but because there was and partially still is a system that has robbed them off their generational income (slavery, Jim Crow, redlining etc.). So the result is that they are not only held back, but due to a number of associated factors (e.g. predatory lending, worse access to healthcare and schooling, etc.) they are, in fact in a hole. That is the reason why throwing boxes at everyone or even lowering the fence disproportionately helps help white folks (and in some cases also new generation immigrants), but does poorly in addressing systematic issues of the African American population.
  11. What you do is vote for a different government (or even become part of it). But the argument of paying for someone's sin's is not a particularly strong one for several reasons. A) the labour and wealth stolen from African Americans was not transferred to a small part of the population nor ended it up in the hands of the government. It built the American economy and the USA as a whole entity benefited from it at the exclusion of African Americans. B) it is not simply a thing of the past as the repercussions are still there. It is like finding after decades that an sunken Exxon tanker is still leaking. But we don't address it because the folks who were on board are not working there anymore. The other arguments were at least partially also addressed in the article by Coates. I will just say A) race based policies are not the same as affirmative actions (more about that later) and as the fact that race-independent poverty countermeasures do not benefit African American much. As Coates wrote in his article: And he is right, studies show that almost all race-blind poverty strategies help lift poor whites (and other ethnicity to various degrees) but black folks tend to be left behind. Improving black neighborhoods by providing better schools and other opportunities would be more important. However, these neighborhoods are the in the state they are because of structural issues (theft of black wealth, marginalization, policies and policing), some of which are still ongoing (criminal justice reform is one of the battlegrounds). Policies targeting poverty in a would as likely target these areas as well as, say impoverished white rural communities. And history has shown rather consistently who would benefit more. The background is that many poverty measures are based on the majority experience, which differs from many minorities and especially African American ones. For policies to have an effect they would have to be adjusted specifically to the issues facing black communities. Also it is wrong to assume that if we just do not talk about race, all racial inequality would vanish. This is a very naive (if understandable view). For example, studies have shown that (white) folks are more positive about housing benefits when they see a white family on the pamphlets but much less so when it is an African American family. In other words, regardless what you think, biases exist in every step of theses decisions, so just ignoring them would do little to ease racial tensions. Also, I feel that you (and many folks to tbh) do not seem to clearly understand the scope of affirmative action. It is not simply a race-based benefit, nor is it a quota or something similar. SCOTUS decisions have made it really clear. What affirmative action can do is using race as a factor in the overall package as it relates to e.g. something in their CV (a common example is something like being in a black student union). And I do not blame you if you confuse those, as it is indeed a bit obscure and I myself only got a better understanding after talking to admission officers for a bit. Also it depends on the personal story you can tell. Since there are so few African American applicants as a whole, they may have background stories that are different from the majority, given them a bit of a boost. However, you will find that quite a significant proportion of black students are Africans, rather than African Americans, in a number of schools. Paradoxically the African experience is closer to the Asian student experience than to the African American experience (who went through Jim Crow and redlining, for example).
  12. And of course they have to be. They are the ones making and/or enforcing the rules, after all (the IRS commissioner is a Trump appointee, for example). Enhanced scrutiny to inform voting decisions are the only tool folks have as a counter-balance.
  13. No I said that you have been ignoring of facts pertaining to your question. Not being aware of them at the beginning is fine, as long as you acknowledge incoming info. Instead, you dismissed them and just made up your own story. And personally I have little interest speculating in the confines of your beliefs, you may as well talk to yourself. Ultimately a speculation has to be grounded in some level of facts that we can agree to use as basis. I would probably characterize the use of nebulous, quantifiable and unverifiable concepts as evidence as not being really straightforward. Or put it that way, it is straightforward for you, because you already declared it to be true without the need for actual evidence. To an outside observer it is very much not so. That one is tricky and I would probably need the full study when I got time, by wealth is also correlated with a host of other factors (such as e.g. education) and it would depend on how much their models have taken that into account. Another thought is of course how religion is organized. In the Western hemisphere religiosity is often associated with one of the Abrahamic traditions. However, even in pre-modern times other cultures had a variety of non-theist traditions that in some variations are closer to philosophical and/or spiritual thought systems compared to the more stringent religious doctrines of Christianity, for example. While folks can have a mixed belief system that does include gods, the impact can be quite different (Buddhism comes to mind). In these countries, a reduction of adherence to either the spiritual or religious system could, presumably have different roots than atheism in Christian countries. Especially since in the Abrahamic traditions religion and adherence to their rituals are key to moral behaviour, departure from it often had negative societal connotations. It is quite a bit different in other traditions (to various degrees) and thereby would offer different selective factors for or against observing religious traditions, for example.
  14. To be fair, the can is a big hint, isn't it?
  15. A) that is not a think tank but brain storming. B) Please take a look at the rules in the Speculations sections C) Most importantly, that is not what you have been doing. You have stated a series of specific assumption as facts in OP, then you speculated on possible connections. When challenged regarding these assumptions, you introduced the nebulous concept of atheist products which you claim that a) they cannot be quantified but b) they certainly have increased in abundance and declared that c) those are apparently better measures than polls on people's beliefs. In other words, you obfuscate matters by making claims that are unsubstantiated. For a proper brain storm (we are not even on the level of hypotheses) these would have to be dismissed first. Since the only data point I have seen so far is the timeline of late 60s increase, stagnation in the 90s and then increase again, I think so far swansont's initial assumption of the action of specific movements that broadened acceptance of non-religiosity is so far the best explanation.
  16. So if you think that it is difficult to measure how can you be certain that the numbers have increased. How do you know that they have not decreased or remain the same? Each case would have different consequences. How are you certain that your premise is correct, while at the same time acknowledge that there is not way to provide evidence for it? See, you are asking a question based on certain premises and if those are not valid, one has to step back and figure out what the real situation is. The reason is that without that, we cannot speculate about possible mechanisms. An increase of atheism in a rapid fashion within a short time frame has likely other reason, than a gradual increase over decades, for example. Thus, as long as we do not define what we take as a premise and make vague assertions, I doubt that a meaningful discussion is to be had.
  17. In addition, the largest increases were in the 21st century (which is also true for the UK from the looks of it). Ultimately what seems to happen is that first fewer people associate themselves tightly with their respective religion (things like church attendance dropped first), then folks were more prone to question faith entirely. It is fair to assume that those parents are also less likely to bring up their children religiously, which leaves only other venues (e.g. peers, school) to get children into religion. At the same time there is more social acceptance of being less or not religious which coincided with a reduced influence of church and parishes on daily social life.
  18. That does not answer my question at all. Besides, with such a vague description, how would you determine quantity? Just to make it clear what I am talking about here the US data for percentage of folks claiming no religious affiliation in the US. And again, this if for the question of being unaffiliated. If you really ask about being an atheist, the rate is still around 3% (perhaps a bit surprisingly).
  19. What exactly is an atheist product and what are the quantities? Besides that I mentioned, that irreligiosity increased over time but flattened out in the 90s. I.e. higher in the nineties but not increasing much until way into the 2000s. It is mostly a rebuttal to the claim that there was an exponential trend since the second half of the 20th century.
  20. There are different reasons for different countries. It is interesting that you mentioned US as religion is still fairly high. Also it depends whether you are strictly use the term "atheist" or take into account everyone without a specific religious affiliation. If we only look at self-declared atheists pew data from 2014 only show 3% being atheists, 4% agnostic. That is hardly an explosion of any sort. Taking all unaffiliated we get around 23%. Looking at historic Gallup data we see that up to the 60s the percentage of folks claiming not adherent to any religion to be quite stably around 2% and increasing slowly throughout the 70s and 80s. Interestingly, in the 90s we see it plateauing out (even slightly decline) before increasing again around 2007 until now. So in other words, not only is the increase not exponential, it is also not steady and quite not an explosion. In other countries the influence of authoritarian socialist governments who basically banned religion had a big influence. But as it stand, being religious is still seen as a default in many countries though the relevance is weakening. However, if we disregard authoritarian countries the data I can see indicates that she sharpest increase in non-religious affiliation occurred sometime in the last 10-20 years (and not so much in the 20th century; gosh I feel old) . Specifically self-declared atheism is still fairly low, but I suspect part of it is due to how folks interpret the various terms. I am not sure that these elements are necessary related. Especially as many minority groups are quite religious and religion played an important role in the civil rights movement. However, the first wave started in the 70s so there are some cultural shifts relevant to it. Edit: I just realized that movements have started in the late 60s to advocate for rights of non-religious folks in the US, so while perhaps somewhat independent from the "big" civil rights movements, it is one of the things that were also happening as part of the overall cultural change. There is a whole can of worms with the term "enlightenment" which I try not to touch (at least not without having two disposable historians and a flame retardant philosopher at hand).
  21. "Ignore existing knowledge that has experimental and/or mathematical foundations and only listen to what I say without supporting evidence". How is that no soap boxing? "You will only be healed from disease if you forget all medical research and biological knowledge and instead listen to my words (plus a a small contribution to my recently funded church of perpetual healthiness)."
  22. Assuming the link is a fair representation of the article I would take bets that the author might be a physicist or engineer. From experience many tend to focus on narrow mechanisms and kind of neglect the rest of the biology (unless they have extensive interdisciplinary experience, which usually renders them somewhat even more cynical).
  23. So that is an interesting claim that I have not hear before. I am aware that chimpanzees are predators of other animals and that they are also prey to some large predators (there quite a few studies out there describing e.g. defensive strategies against leopards). . There are also observational studies that, as you implied, deadly intergroup violence has been reported, often the actions of small groups of male chimpanzees. However, while persistent, the occurrence is very low , even when their territories are very small due to human actions and in cases of limited resources. I am not sure whether leopard predation rates are higher (considering that they are also getting extinct). However, considering the overall rarity it does not make it terribly likely that it is a significant selective pressure. Considering the constraints on chimpanzee habitats, it is not unlikely that their population density was lower than early hominids and probably also hominins. I stand corrected. However, considering the lack of usage in our cousins it does seem to imply that weapon use may have developed relatively late in hominid evolution, though. So if we move away from innerspecies violence, there is apparent evidence for predation ca. 1.9 million years ago. That, IIRC has been associated with access to more proteins and improved brain development (or at least it has been speculated as such). Bipedalism on the other hand most likely evolved ca. 6-7 million years ago. Predating the increase in skull size by a fair bit. I do not believe we do have tools older than ~4 million years ago, so these various developments (bipedalism, tool use for feeding, tool use for hunting, skull size increase) seem to have occured in waves. Though certain aspects are likely to have affected subsequent developments. I.e. bipedalism could have freed up hands for tool use.
  24. That is an interesting hypothesis, however to my knowledge there is not a lot of evidence of weapon use. The oldest identified tools were pounding tools, mostly associated with food acquisition and preparation. I doubt that there is sufficient evidence to properly assess selective pressure due to predation or competition for that time frame. The oldest artifact that could be considered a weapon of sorts was found ca. 280,000 years ago, a spear tip which was presumed to be used for hunting. But this is of course way later than when bipedalism occured. That at least make a direct co-evolution of these factors not very likely (or at least there is little evidence for it),
  25. And yet I think that just assuming things to be right, even if they are not, is what prevents us from getting anywhere. Most projections assume that the population is likely going to stabilize beteen 9,6- 12.5 billion. Meanwhile you are assuming impossible numbers, use conspiracy theories to support your point. That, however, is not helpful in developing strategies. If you plan for a population that may never arrive, you are not planning for the right thing. Also, since you do not understand the connection between fertility and education (especially women's education), it means that you are missing out that in high-fertility countries increasing the standard of living and increasing women's education may be stabilize the world population at the lower end of the prediction. In other words, if one wants to make a proper risk assessment and develop appropriate strategies, the most important bit is getting familiar with the actual situation and look at mechanisms that are relevant to them. Bold assumptions without any evidence is helping no one.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.