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Liberals Proving Intelligence-Liberalism Connection (like conservatives proving god)


Pangloss
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So, would you listen to the science being presented by global warming skeptics rather than dismiss them because they work for "big oil"? I've seen that particular trend right here on SFN.

 

I do dismiss their claim, but because of science, not by making ad hominem arguments. Even when a bias is evident, I think we really need to focus on evidences. Of course, when gross errors are made, or when the scientists are dishonest, then we can ask questions about their behaviour, but otherwise...

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To return to the OP topic.

My hypothesis: Some far-left ideologues feel a compulsion to prove a connection between liberalism (though as Severian so neatly pointed out this morning, they really mean an enforced progressive agenda) and intelligence. And that this desire for a connection is fundamentally equivalent to the desire by some on the religious right to prove the existence of god through faux scientific evidence.

I've wondered similarly myself. I think it may be founded in the desire to prove superiority.

 

From the extreme Right's POV, if they could actually prove the existence of God then they have a trump card, one that really can't be argued against. It would show that those opposed to them (ie the Left) are automatically wrong and therefore their opinions should be devalued.

 

The extreme Left can't play that particular game, but if they could prove a link between Liberalism and intelligence then those opposed (ie the Right) are automatically less intelligent and therefore their opinions should be devalued.

 

It's an attempt to demonstrate that "my" group is intrinsically superior to "your" group. Neither our arguments or our slogans are superior, but "we" are, simply because we belong to "our" group. In short, Tribalism.

 

Different words but the same buttons get pushed. I guess it's a human thing.:D

 

I wouldn't get too hung up on intelligence anyway, any con man will tell you that people of above adverage intelligence are far easier marks than John and Mary Adverage.>:D

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Without the gobbledygook that reads "conservatives are rooted in inflexible, traditional thinking, and liberals are more open-minded and accepting of evidence".
That would make sense since conservatism means sticking with tradition and doing what has already been done, and so it doesn't really require any thinking. You simply emulate what is already done. What clothes do I wear? Just wear what they wore 100 years ago. Don't bother with evolution or science, just look to the bible.

 

On the other hand, liberalism means freedom, so you allow yourself to freely try new ideas and not be restrained by tradition. Hence in the world of clothing you are free to try the latest trends and in science you experiment with the latest hypotheses to fine-tune established knowledge.

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Riiiight. And liberalism means sticking with the politically correct, doing whatever they tell you, and so it doesn't require any thinking. You simply do what you're told. What clothes do I wear? Just wear what they tell me to wear. Don't bother with evolution or science, just ask Oprah.

 

We have to move past that sort of ideological stereotyping, in my opinion. Being conservative doesn't make you stupid. A conservative has to react to a new situation just as a liberal does, and BOTH have the difficult task of challenging their ideologies to make sure they don't filter out viable options in the face of that challenge.

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if you define conservatism as 'sticking with what we've allways done', then i'd say it's lazy and cautious, which isn't neccesarily a bad thing: why bother going through the effort and risk of changing our society if our society allready works well enough? an improvement isn't allways worth the cost and risk.

 

comparing conservatism with liberalism is like comparing cheese and chalk (or progressivism with bigotry) -- i think it's more the progressivism aspect of liberalism that is contrastable with conservatism. and, tbh, it's not surprising that someone who wants to see things how they are and not take any great effort/risk in changing them unless absolutely neccesary (i.e., conservative) would have different mental traits than someone who is more inclined to change things in order to improve them -- eg, i'd also guess that conservatives are more inclined towards realism, whilst progressives would lean towards idealism.

 

otoh, you have to realise that the reason that the otherwize uncontrastable liberalism and conservatism get compared so often is that our societies, untill quite recently, have been bigoted, and so unselective conservatism will often work to conserve the bigoted aspects of our society (iow, conservatism can act like bigotry, which IS directly contrastable to liberalism) and if you happen to actually be bigoted -- say, a far-right christian who wants legally-enforsed adherance to aspects of the bible simply because it's what you believe -- what you'll want is often an aspect of our current/recent society, and thus you'll get labelled as a 'conservative' for wanting it; this is where, i would guess, the 'liberalism is more intelectual than conservatism' sentiment comes from -- not a comment on progressivism v conservatism (presumably, if our societies became truly liberal, then all the liberals would change to conservatism), but as a comment on liberalism v bigotry (which, i think, has some justification to the claim 'liberalism is smarter').

 

none of which implys that conservatives are stupid :P

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That neatly sidesteps the basic perjorative of ku's post, but it still resorts to crude stereotyping.

 

I find it disturbing and disappointing that a group as intelligent as this can't think of ANY positive aspects to conservatism.

 

I think you can, and I think you should, if for no other reason that to disabuse me of the notion that you're adhering to political correctness! Can anyone respond to this challenge?

 

(I'm gonna turn this car right around! Don't make me come back there!) :D

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I didn't know this thread was about masturbating conservatism's ego, but conservatism is an easy, cheap, low-risk 'if it aint broke, don't fix it' approach afaict, which is cool tho theres a time and place for it.

 

I mean, it's not as if i deside which knot would be ideal for tying my shoes each morning, i just use a double-bow-knott, 'cos that's how i've allways done it (and it's how my parents did it) and it works adequately :D theres a lot in favour of the less-effort/risk, lazy way of doing things.

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I didn't know this thread was about masturbating conservatism's ego

 

That's not what I'm suggesting and you know it. This thread has become about conservative-bashing against all reason and logic. And it's disturbing to see that kind of childishness in this forum. And it's hypocritical, because it wouldn't be allowed to stand if the same kinds of things were said about liberalism.

 

I find it astonishing that people can't think of a single positive aspect of being conservative. This in spite of the fact that conservatism is INHERENTLY NECESSARY in the pursuit of scientific endeavors. Hello, peer review? Hello, scrutiny of data? Hello, careful analysis of methods?

 

Left-wing hypocrisy at its worst, right here in this very thread.

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I find it astonishing that people can't think of a single positive aspect of being conservative. This in spite of the fact that conservatism is INHERENTLY NECESSARY in the pursuit of scientific endeavors. Necessary. Not optional.

 

Define "conservatism."

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The adjective in the broadest sense of the word, which is being attacked as a negative value across the board in this thread.

Could you please explain how it is necessary in science? I really can't see where you're coming from here.

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I think the problem with this thread is equivocation with the terms "liberal" and "conservative" that leads to misunderstandings. I think originally it was just referring to which party one tends to vote for, but we're going all over the map.

 

For example, what does "conservative" actually mean? It can mean closeminded, yes. Or it can mean cautious (which is not the same thing). Or it can mean neither, but adhering to a particular sort of new values. Nationalism, militarism, theocracy, and expanding executive power are all "conservative" trends, but I could also be considered "conservative" for expressing concern about those new trends, wanting everybody to slow down and not get carried away. Or in jurisprudence, a "conservative" opinion can mean either of two things, which are actually quite at odds with one another. The first just means a strict interpretation of the letter of the law. The other interprets the law in the spirit of a "conservative" agenda.

 

Similarly, liberal can mean other things as well. It can mean literally in favor of liberty, or progressive, or openminded. None of those things are the same. (They're not mutually exclusive, either.) To continue the jurisprudence example, a "liberal" opinion can either mean interpreting the law so as to give more weight to the spirit of the law (as opined by the judge) than the letter, or it can mean in line with a progressive agenda.

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There is often a difference between intelligence and common sense. Intelligence embraces the newest, yet to be proven, because it offers a way to expand the mind and exercise the intellect. Common sense may not stray as far, but tends to prefer time proven methods that work. When comparing intelligence to common sense, we are often comparing a prototype mentality with a traditional, fully functional, mentality. The prototype may have hope for the future, but often, the bugs have not yet be worked out, such that moving forward, often defies common sense.

 

If you look at the difference between the intellectuals and the common sense folk, the common sense folk are the doers, since they have the time proven foundation that allows extrapolation into practical reality. The intelligent are more talk that action, which is good, since many of their prototypes are not quite fully baked.

 

Let me given an example of intelligent prototype thinking losing the race with practical utility and common sense. The basic family unit has been around for thousands of years. This would suggest that it may be part of our genetics. In other words, one does not do the same thing for 5000+ years, without some unconscious or maybe even genetic impact. The intellectual goes after the latest fad, since there is more room for free thinking to help exercise the mind. The conclusion of this brain storm, this 5000 years of programming is causing inequality among the sexes. So we need to promote equality by redefining the family.

 

Common sense would say disrupting 5000+ years of programming is going to cause an instability, unless the new prototype thought this all the way through and has made all the needed provisions. Common sense would also say, many women and most of the children of broken homes are going to get screwed by this prototype, since their 5000+ year programming is going to unconsciously need a family unit in place. These broken families could end up stuck in poverty. Many children may also be loss to the streets and gangs looking for a father figure. This might also cause the males-female premiscuity, leading to deadly diseases.

 

As history showed, this prototype by the intelligent people, has led to some cultural gains, for some women, but a lot of social problems. The intelligent approach is to act like the prototype was a complete success. Now we have to fix all these mysterious problems, that came out of nowhere, with a whole new range of new and improved prototypes. If they had common sense, they would backtrack, using cause and affect and retrofit their first prototype to include some of the traditional strengths. But intelligence only looks forward. This may be intelligent, since half baked ideas, without any common sense, gives intelligence new problems to solve.

 

Since the intelligent ones, have taken over the public education system in America, away from the more traditional common sense crowd who ruled up to the 1960's, not only has the cost risen but the quality is down. The intelligence solution is to keep running prototyes until one finally works. The common sense crowd should think, the intelligent ones are useful to the future vision of culture, but they lack common sense. Maybe we need to take the factory back over and restrict them to only pilot studies. If one of their prototypes finally works with common sense. we will integrate it.

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Whew, I knew Sisyphus would come to my aid.

 

To answer yourdadonapogos' question, one example of conservatism in science is peer review, as mentioned above. We don't just fly off the reservation every time we hear something that sounds like a great idea. Look at how many drugs have had to be recalled after further studies were done. Look at how many times we've gotten excited about breakthroughs of all kinds, only to find out later that somebody made a mistake. Conservatism is IMPORTANT.

 

And I like how he balanced liberalism into the equation -- that's very true in my opinion. This is what I think has made our society great -- not our ideologies, but our abilities to find common ground BETWEEN them, and still find a way to move forward even though it often feels like dire and dangerous compromise.

 

We're GOOD at it. And recognizing what we're good at is an important part of moving society forward.

 

-------

 

By the way, I don't talk very often about those things which SFN has changed my mind about over the years, but it seems like a good time to mention one of them. Between SFN and my own return to academia (finishing my bachelors, completing a masters, and now working on a PhD), I have rediscovered something I had forgotten about liberalism and the moderate left, which is that it has an element of common sense that the right wing likes to pretend is in their own domain.

 

Don't get me wrong: I actually think Rush Limbaugh and CTR (conservative talk radio) has done a great service to this country in re-awakening common sense and critical thinking (yes, critical thinking) amongst the masses -- far more than academia and the left-wing elite have done in recent years! I know I'm practically alone in this crowd in thinking this, but my opinion on it is unswayed.

 

That having been said, there's a HUGE difference between the kind of left-wing ideologues that show up for anti-war protest rallys and the kind of moderate lefties and liberals that typically congregate in the halls of academia and the research labs of this country.

 

To be more specific, I feel that this board represents that important part of our culture which is so often ignored by the popular culture: Intelligent, thoughtful, introspective, critically-thinking people who support societies community efforts while embracing the culture of individualism.

 

There are a few nut cases who invariably get mixed in with this crowd, and we've seen that right here on SFN (just drop by the Pseudoscience board and see). But they don't represent the majority of this culture, and Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh can't change my mind about that anymore than this crowd can change my mind about that CTR contribution.

 

I think that's terrific, and frankly it's what's kept me hanging around here over the years. I don't get that point of view *anywhere* else.

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I find it astonishing that people can't think of a single positive aspect of being conservative.

 

did you not see my bit about it being less risky and less effort? and the bit where i pointed out those are good things?

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Conservation is important. The environment needs us like we need it. Trees grow faster if you clean up the dead ones instead of leaving them there.

 

Yes. This is a very good point, and an important discussion to be had. However, I think Pangloss is asking about conservatism, or the tendency to be conservative, which is a different concept really when discussed in political terms.

 

However, I can appreciate how you could be a bit confused since the definition given for conservatism was:

 

The adjective in the broadest sense of the word, which is being attacked as a negative value across the board in this thread.

 

I was confused also. :rolleyes:

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No, I didn't miss it, I ignored it because it was dissmissive, pejorative, and irrelevent.

 

so in other words, you're going to ignore anything good said about conservatism, assume anything else said about conservatism is bad, and complain about a persieved bias against conservatism on this board? :rolleyes:

 

well then, pangloss, give me an example of what you'd accept as non-dismissive, non-pejorative, relevent compliments of conservatism. what would you say conservatism's good points are? just so i know how to word it for future refference to make it clear im 'doing my bit for PC' and 'being fair' to conservatism.

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Without the gobbledygook that reads "conservatives are rooted in inflexible, traditional thinking, and liberals are more open-minded and accepting of evidence".

 

The 'bullshit' is necessary, as an alternative reading might be "conservatives think and act decisively yet with a caution rooted in experience, whereas liberals are wishy washy and prone to seizing on any new thinking regardless of its merits." Does anyone doubt that Jost et. al. are poltiical liberals? No. Does that fact color some of the commentary in the paper? Yes. That doesn't mean that their findings aren't rooted in facts. After two rounds of objections and answers in the journals, the original research holds up as well as you can expect something to in the cognitive sciences without reaching the level of DSM authority.

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After two rounds of objections and answers in the journals, the original research holds up as well as you can expect something to in the cognitive sciences without reaching the level of DSM authority.

 

do i take it you get nature and have read these arguments and answres? if so, was the age factor that pangloss(?) D H brought up earlyer mentioned? i.e., that both conservatism and the mentioned mental traits correlate with age?

 

ta.

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A few years ago I would certainly have labeled myself as a 'liberal'. But as I get older I am finding myself getting more conservative. Does that mean that I am a less 'critical' thinker than I was before? No, it is quite the opposite; I have become more critical.

 

To a certain extent this is because I have seen what 'change' can do. Being in higher education, I have seen the unbelievable drive in recent years of the 'liberals' to make education more 'inclusive'. This has undeniably led to a reduction in standards which make everyone suffer. We now have much more difficulty finding students capable of doing scientific research than we did before.

 

So conservatism is often rooted in a desire to preserve systems that work. Once something has been broken by tinkering liberals, it may never be the same again, and everyone will be worse off.

 

I now find myself as somewhere between liberal and conservative. I would like to see change in many areas, but that shouldn't be knee-jerk 'lets have a group hug' change. It should be well thought out, reasoned and motivated change, with honest tests and safety measures put in place to ensure the change is an improvement and a facility for changing it back if it is not.

 

Ironically enough, I am finding that some of the things I want to change most (so in some sense I am least 'conservative' about) and the things that the 'liberals' have introduced into our society in the guise of progress.

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