Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Dream, Aug 31, 2012.
Merely a simple example. I don't have gturner's enthusiasm for rebutting you.
Blaming bad behaviour on 'human nature' (or even genetics) is a tiresome cop-out that has been repeated over and over again by those who keep perpetuating the ridiculous myth in question (yourself included).
Humanity lived most of its time in scarcity-like environment (due to population explosion which was AFTER the hunter-gatherer times). Our ability to find technological solutions to scarcity (abundance) is fairly new... but very little has changed on a social level.
Oh and, in case you hadn't noticed, humans who received relevant general education (I'm not talking about industrialized academic education) are not prone to competitive behavior, selfishness, or greed.
How does your 'human nature' explain notions of people volunteering their free time, ideas an energy to help others expecting nothing in return and getting nothing in return?
How do you explain the premise that when I repair people's computers and assist them in certain educational aspects (and generally help other people because I like doing it) I don't ask for compensation of any kind (in fact I refuse it outright)?
If all humans were greedy and selfish by 'nature' (followed something that couldn't be changed), then I certainly wouldn't be doing anything of the above without asking for anything in return, nor would millions around the globe volunteer for nothing.
As I said... if human behavior couldn't be changed, we'd still be living in caves.
"Human nature" is quite simple, a fallacy.
Croatian T-com held a monopoly in the country for many years and overcharged the population while offering very poor services.
To this day, a lot of the country is on that same network because competitors didn't start arriving until the last 10 years or so, and expansion of their own networks was a painfully slow process.
A lot of people moved away from T-com as soon as they got the chance and are paying much lower prices (for same/similar or better services).
But greed and money are indeed the primary factors involved here and why internet isn't free for everyone (nor will it be under any monetary system).
If you try to connect to wifi hotspots, you will notice that viewing certain pages is impossible without paying, and whenever you go into a coffee shop, you for example pay for the drinks you order and can use the wifi while there which is touted as 'free' but they still offer a very limited service.
Libraries are a different story though.
I have no problem with a single payer internet than I do with single payer public highways. I consider it part of civilization, like libraries and what not
Or it could be that they appeared right at the end of the dotcom bubble and didn't have a sustainable business model. I used to use Juno. It was horribly slow and filled with pop up ads.
Ah, the ads, I have forgotten about those I also used a service called Compuserve 2000, while it wasn't free, it was only $19.95/month and was a great alternative to AOL. I thought it ran better and had better connection results then AOL at that time. Then we upgraded to Comcast, and have been with them ever since
So why do people form lynch mobs or riot? I can't recall a single class in grade-school or college called "rioting and looting 101". Police are increasingly trained to quickly suppress excessive behavior after college sporting events, to prevent riots and vandalism, yet none of the educated, upper-class, rioting students has ever even been in a riot before. How did they all learn a new and spontaneous group behavior, and how did they all simultaneously learn it in 30 minutes when they were drunk?
How come almost all college bars have bouncers when none of our schools teach fist fighting, brawling, or bottle bashing?
How come we routinely drive cars that could kill us, park and walk across street (traveled by cars that could kill us), to sit in a bar filled with smoke that could kill us, next to an outlet that could kill us, which power a neon sign that could kill us (10 to 15 kilovolts) , and do all of this without the slightest fear or anxiety, yet freak the f**k out when we see a spider or a snake? The answer is that our innate brains know the spider or snake is a potentially lethal threat, but doesn't have a clue about cars or electricity because those didn't exist when we finished evolving our fear instincts. In study after study, we can be taught to fear new things (with difficulty), but come to fear traditional threats with ease.
Other emotions, like anger and disgust, have similar cues (transgression for anger and toxins or "unclean" behavior for disgust), and those emotions in turn are wired to produce responses appropriate to our distant past. When you're suddenly angered by transgression, your first impulse is to punch the guy in the face, not sue him. When you see or smell something disgusting, your first impulse is to get away from it and vomit, not turn a control valve. That's because we didn't evolve with lawyers and chemical process equipment. When we drink, we're even more likely to rely on our innate responses, which is why most police calls involve people who'd been drinking (and either threatened somebody, punched somebody, smashed something, or stole something stupid).
I'm sure all those Ivy League educated people on Wall Street will be delighted to hear they're not greedy.
Academics, even clerics, are some of the most competitive, selfish people out there (if nothing else, look at their salaries and their competition for better postings, tenure, etc). Even Soviet academics were intensely competitive and hoarded every perk they could get.
Because it's human nature. Earlier I talked about how we evolved to help members of our hunting party and tribe because that in turn benefits us. Instead of wiring us with a very complex understanding of how this benefits us, evolution just took a short cut so helping others makes us happy. Also keep in mind that what we're wired to do for a small group, helping and sharing, does not work at all well with large groups where free-rider problems occur, along with insurmountable difficulties to to keep personal mental notes of who owes what favors to whom.
And if you opened a website where thousands of strangers sent you their computers so you'd fix them for free, some of them sending your computers that they were charging their own customers to repair, you'd quickly stop, realizing you were being exploited by people who were not part of your social circle and network of friends (your tribe). If you opened a business where a constant stream of strangers walked in with computer problems, you'd quickly start charging them. As I said, many ideas that work well in tribe sized groups break down when the group gets large.
We are all greedy and selfish by nature, and we are also all compassionate and sharing by nature. These are emotions that are triggered by particular thoughts and circumstances, and in turn these emotions trigger particular responses (helping, sympathizing, listening, etc).
We still live in caves, but now we build them with wood, brick, and stone, because the supply of caves was extremely limited and because caves actually suck. I'm a caver. They are drafty, often wet, often cold, always dark, and not expandable. But they do get you out of the rain.
They also tend to be quite small, and thus aren't very well adapted to whole tribes. However a cave is great protection for small groups (singles, family sized, and sometimes extended family sized) where the group doesn't have enough members to maintain an adequate watch and defense against predators.
There are some interesting dynamics at work with camping. I'm one of the few people I know who will just lay down in the woods alone and go to sleep (whisky helps). Almost everyone wants to sleep in a tent, even if there's not the slightest threat of rain, and even though rain doesn't actually hurt you if you're dressed for it. On most expeditions the tent is just dead weight, but very few hikers will chuck the tent in their quest to shave every last ounce from their packs.
Many people won't sleep in the open (just lay down and close your eyes) unless they're part of a defensible group, because when we were evolving it would put them at risk of attack. The tent is a make-shift cave, and offers the illusion of security with walls and a roof, even though almost any dangerous animal can tear right through it. A good tree can offer almost as good a protection against rain and wind, but a tree doesn't seem like a cave. So we have a thriving tent industry.
But even with the illusory protection of tents, most campers still cluster together in campgrounds or prepared camping areas where other campers will be setting up, and even armies group their tents together for mutual protection. But people in an RV will stop and sleep just about anywhere, as will truckers, because they're traveling with a cave, and nobody feels dangerously exposed in a hotel room, even if they're the only guest in the whole place.
With modern, synthetic materials like Goretex and hollow-fill, boots and helmets, flashlights and cook stoves, and a nice Browning pistol, we don't actually need shelter. But we evolved knowing we need shelter and feeling quite naked and exposed without it, as if some cat or other beast, or an enemy scout, is sure to tear us apart in our sleep. We can't shake that feeling because it's hard-wired into us, and so we'll always build shelters.
Without them, we'll always sleep in groups, usually around a fire like they did in the old West. By day, hunters will split up and wander the woods alone, but they always return to the campsite and their friends to sleep - even though it involves extra walking and is an inefficient way for modern people to conduct a hunt, even in areas where the most dangerous animal is a rabbit.
In our minds, the dark night is still prowled by big cats, jackals, bears, spiders, snakes, and enemy raiding parties, and there's not much we can do about that except make our tents lighter and easier to pack. Education doesn't work.
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. 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."
2. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that war or any other violent behavior is genetically programmed into our 'human nature'."
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."
4. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that humans have a 'violent brain'."
5. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that war is caused by 'instinct' or any single motivation."
As I said... blaming 'bad behavior' on genetics or 'human nature' is nothing more than a cop-out.
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'.
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]).
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.
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.
Who are the scientists you speak of? What fields? The sad truth is study of cultures without an organized structure of government have demonstrated that the Hobbsean view is not far off. Homicide is the number one cause of death, usually in inter-tribal raiding/violence (and this is in an area where tribes are a couple dozen at most and you have to travel to another tribe to find a wife).
There have been studies on the behavior of new borns and young children and the results were that they are kind, helpful and understanding. They learn the concepts of greed, suspicion, mistrust, xenophobia and aggression, they don't inherit them. It was a multi part BBC feature on human behavior, I believe. Suspicion develops when you made bad experiences. These experiences are caused by abusive behavior of older people, the social environment. It's a vicious learning cycle, but it's not human nature.
Deks has a point.
Pictures or it didn't happen.
Guys, I don't think you're going to solve the age-old "nature vs nurture" question any time soon. Why does it have to be exclusively one or the other anyway? My view would be that some behaviours and responses are innate and hard-wired (call it human nature if you want - what exactly constitutes it is definitely debatable) and we can't just magically "erase" them, but we can build societies and environments that minimize the negative sides of that nature and maximize the positive sides. Yes, we can build better environments that will influence people to be "better" but we can't just naively discount the nature side of the equation, we have to take it into account if we want to find workable solutions.
That's very interesting. But is it really proof that those behaviours are purely learned? Or is it that certain experiences and environments bring some hard-wired instincts to the surface while others don't? What I mean is - when a child develops suspicion or agression, etc, does it really always "learn" it (by say, watching and mimicking others; how do you define learning anyway?) or is it simply built into our brains to have a tendency to react that way to certain experiences? I suspect it's a bit of both.
Even if all internet service was like that, it would not be free. You will pay more in taxes to cover it. That sound 'free' to you?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 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).
For the OP: Actually, you can still get free Internet. It's only dial-up, and you only get 10 hours a month, but it's still free:
NetZero For Free
I thought they stopped this service all-together. Nice to know some companies are still offering free Internet
Yes, exactly. It wasn't greed that killed the free services; it was speed. I had some experience with Juno and I could barely stand to use for anything other than checking my email once in a while. Since they weren't charging for their service, they didn't have the money to run a fast, high-capacity system (which costs money, contrary to the belief of some in this thread). Their business model was to get money through ads rather than from subscribers. In effect, subscribers paid for their service by suffering through ads rather than opening their wallets. However, the advertisements weren't very productive, so they couldn't charge much for it and therefore they didn't have much money. People left them because they got sick of all the ads and because the service was so horrible they couldn't use it for anything productive. Basically, the business model failed.
As to the original question, the reason there aren't free ISPs anymore is for exactly the same reason. Providing the service isn't free. The internet doesn't just run itself and provide a pure profit stream for ISPs. It costs money to build/maintain/upgrade the networks and to keep them running. Someone has to pay for that. Currently that's paid for by subscribers. If you want free internet, you need to find another source to pay for that.
Sometimes I feel like people treat the internet like its a natural resource. The internet isn't water. You can't just go down to the well and pump yourself some internet. The internet was made by people, and people have to maintain it. They're not gonna do that for free!
I used to be a socialist, Then reality hit me. As Winston Churchill once said "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery".
I remember Juno. I actually preferred them over NetZero (though they were owned by the same company), though I payed the $9 a month premium service, which wasn't bad at the time!
There were a few decent dialup ISPs at the time that were also offering services for $3 a month, though they limited you to 200 hours a month, which was more than enough for most people.
Which is nothing more than a bunch of bullshit.
Churchill also thought India couldn't govern itself.
Separate names with a comma.