View Single Post
Old September 3 2012, 09:50 PM   #54
Location: Kentucky
Re: Why isn't Internet free for everyone yet?

Deks wrote: View Post
Sigh... you are merely spinning in circles.

In 1986 scientists from around the world got together and shared psychological and biological evidence until they came to the conclusion that 'human nature' is no excuse for violent behavior.
Which is a clue. It's not an excuse for violent behavior (or you could cite your genetics in court), but they also don't say that it's not a cause of or significant factor in violent behavior.

The findings that were released came to be known as “The Seville Statement”. This statement made 5 propositions, which are:

1. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that we have inherited a tendency to make war from our animal ancestors."
Which is also not saying that we didn't inheret a tendency to make war from our more direct ancestors, like homo neanderthalis, homo rhodesiensis, and early homo sapiens, none of which scientists consider to be animals (other than in the sense that we are still animals). They could've omitted the word "animal" but didn't, because there wouldn't have been good agreement on that point.

2. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that war or any other violent behavior is genetically programmed into our 'human nature'."
Because it's also scientifically incorrect to say genes are "programmed", and it's scientifically incorrect to say that our nature is absolutely hard-coded, as opposed to tendencies and capacities.

3. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that in the course of human evolution there has been a selection for aggressive behavior more than for other kinds of behavior."
And boy has there been selection for other kinds of behavior, like talking! Note that they could've said there hasn't been any selection for aggressive behavior, but they didn't say that at all. What they said is that aggressive behavior wasn't predominate among the selected traits. It's trivial to give examples of natural selection for aggressive traits, left-handedness being one of them. As murder rates drop the percentage of lefties in a population later drops, too. Left-handedness give an advantage in hand-to-hand combat, and is usually accompanied by changes favoring more aggressive or dominant behavior.

4. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that humans have a 'violent brain'."
It's not even good writing to say we have a violent brain. I've never been attacked by a brain, have you? What we have is a brain that's wired for survival and sometimes benefit in violent situations, and one big enough to plan and execute violence, and one rather obsessed with thinking about violence (which is why Hollywood moves are so violent).

5. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that war is caused by 'instinct' or any single motivation."
Of course. It's not like generals and their armies are suddenly hit with an intense, overwhelming urge to migrate into the enemy's territory, like wildebeast. There is never a single motivation for war, there's more of what you'd describe as an emotional and logical calculus that goes on.

Interesting fact. When WW-I broke out, all the press-reports and period diaries record almost everyone as being overwhelmed with euphoria, like the freakin' Olympics had kicked off or something.

As I said... blaming 'bad behavior' on genetics or 'human nature' is nothing more than a cop-out.
No, a cop-out is seeing the same behavior occuring over and over and over again in similar situations, and pretending against all reason that there's not something common to all the occurances, and wanting to understand what the triggers and mechanisms are. A cop-out is being presented with evidence of how the human machine works, and insisting that it works merely through the will of God or hand of angels or some driving spiritual force, or is just a mirror that reflects the environment (why isn't my cat a good enough mirror to operate a can opener by himself?)

Electricity was once believed to come in two types, natural (created by God to animate living beings) and artificial, created by man in high-voltage experiments with static electricity. The debate was intense, and the natural electricity forces conducted some brilliant experiments and demonstrations, but finally Volta had an insight and showed they were exactly the same thing, just with a difference in voltage and current (inventing the battery while he was at it). Thus he revealed part of how our control system works, how we are built. I'm sure some clerics claimed this was also a cop-out in understanding the infinite potential of a human.

It may seem like 'human nature' because such behavior became 'standardized' in the developed world (and children [even infants] are exposed to it which influences them on a subconscious level) and was passed down as such to new generations (not via genetics) through exposure - but that doesn't mean its 'accurate' to say that its 'human nature'.
Sorry, but first born children who've been kept at home, never watched TV, and never even seen an act of violence, are notorious for bashing their newly arrived siblings as soon as there's a toy to fight over.

Adopted dogs and kittens, who've never once hunted or seen an animal hunt, hunt. Often they're not very good at it at first, but they quickly master the skill. All animals are able to engage in violence, whether predators or prey, and with few exceptions they don't have any culture to transmit these tendencies.

Claiming that man, alone, is a glaring exception to this rule, when an innate ability to handle violent encounters is extremely beneficial to survival, is like throwing Darwin out the window and claiming we're descended angels created in a seperate act from the rest of God's creation.

Standardized behavior due to past environmental impact and 0 social progress (that does't take into account technological progression) while perpetuating highly abberent behavior due to the socio-economic system in place is NOT 'human nature' - its merely human behavior that was created due to environmental conditions of the past, which some humans took to exploit under the monetary system so it would benefit them (and are now in power and have kept majority of the planet in a state of perpetual ignorance - relying on passed down traditions and biased opinions - as opposed to the scientific method [which incidentally shots over 90% of culturally established 'norms' into dust]).
So you have standarized behavior due to environmental impact and 0 social progress perpetuating highly abberant behavior. Good so far. Now keep that pressure applied for long periods of time. Those who engage in the abberant behavior because of innate "abberant" tendencies tend to survive and reproduce slightly better than those who lack those tendencies, such as those who see a lion and think it's cute enough to approach, those who think snakes are fun, those who just stand there when someone with a big sharp stick charges at them, those who think spiders are tasty (I dare you to eat a big spider and tell us what it tastes like. No one has told you not to, so if you don't have any innate programming it should easy).

Which traits get weeded out? And remember, this is happening before culture is sophisticated enough to pass information. This is going on before complex language develops. This is going when when we're not really very bright yet. And these selection pressures don't just magically disappear the instant a person first conjugated a verb.

That's why there's an entire scientific field called "evolutionary psychology". It flies in the face of much more leftist thoughts about the mind benig a blank slate (which Marxism and some other forms of socialism require if there's to be a transition to a new socialist man), so many academics are adamant that the field must be nonsense, but the evolutionary psychologists have the advantage of evidence from MRI scans and genetic studies.

For example, we have language genes. Some of them are very specific. We have a gene that lets us form plurals. A few families lack the gene and can't do it. Isn't that amazing?

As for your statement that some of the highly educated people are most competitive:
They live in an environment that FORCES them to be competitive in the first place (capitalism) - and just because they received 'high education' doesn't mean they received 'RELEVANT general education' (there is a difference).
Change the environment and you can change human behavior.
Um, no, communist academics were just as competitive as capitalist ones, if not more so. When you're blaming capitalism for communist behavior, you're way, way out in the weeds. The communists insisted up and down that changing the environment changes human behavior. Hundreds of millions of them devoted their lives to making that happen. They devoted enormous academic research to the problem, the best minds they could muster, sincere in their belief of the proposition. Aside from the obvious (people who are well fed are more content, people who need to pee feel better if there are bathrooms nearby), they utterly failed. After 70 years, the new communist man was exactly like the capitalist man, except in a cheaper suit in a concrete apartment block driving a crappy car, and afraid to voice an opinion.

Ever wondered why small-time felons who basically had next to 0 affinity for violence (or even wrongly accused) and were not a threat to anyone and became extremely dangerous to society after spending time in a prison?
Behavioral alterations due to their prolonged stay in a very damaging environment (prison).

My... we have direct observations based on the scientific method that environment can/does change individuals and their behavior (for better or worse) and others still continue to perpetuate myths such as 'human nature' which have been passed down for generations.
Ever notice that your example is of how easy it is to make a person more violent, and how nearly impossible it is to make them less violent? Otherwise we wouldn't throw murders in jail for 30 years, we'd make them sit in a corner for 30 minutes. Otherwise we wouldn't focus so much on criminal gangs, which easily bring out the violent tendencies of young members.

The other interesting aspect of jail time is that violent people, almost all of them, become vastly less violent in their 50's. Gee, since they're in an institutiuon where they're exposed to violence, committing violence, and learning more and more and more about violence, why would all that learning suddenly get undone when their testosterone levels drop and their brain and body movies from the prime of adulthood (when we fight and establish territories and position) into late middle age?

Under your learning theory the older inmates should be the most violent people in prison. They're not. They sit around reading books and playing cards, as if there's some pattern to the human life-cycle where teenagers do crazy, violent, aggressive things to impress mates, intimidate rivals, and build their reputations as powerful warriors and fierce foes, end up in jail, and then eventually mellow out after their "establish-dominance through physical violence" period is over. It's like you could predict it just by watching a tribe of hunter-gatherers.

Understanding who we are and how we got here is so much easier than trying to reason with a vast conspiracy theory involving the Rothchilds, fiat currency, and how the entirety of modern social behavior is due to the lack of some sort of magical "RELEVANT" education.

Campus cops will be arresting drunk college students until the sun runs out of hydrogen and turns into a red giant, and never once will the student's major affect their arrest rate, whether some magically relevant subject (I assume Marxist psychology and economics) or American style business and marketing, unless the student happens to be attending a Bible college, military, or police academy (imagine that for irony!).

Eventually this discussion might even get to the subject of capitalism, and even what "capital" is. (Marx didn't have a clue, and Adam Smith could only make some stabs at the question).
gturner is offline   Reply With Quote