Page 15 of 20 FirstFirst ... 51314151617 ... LastLast
Results 281 to 300 of 382
  1. #281
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    310
    Censuring adults might even be more beneficial for youths than for the adults.

    /armchair sociology

  2. #282
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    978
    Quote Originally Posted by Jambe View Post
    I'm not in favor of the proliferation of female sex-object marketing; there should probably be less of that and a hefty hunk more male sex-object marketing.
    There already is. I can't remember the last time I saw a diet soft drink advert which didn't involve some Atlas getting his shirt off for some reason. In fact I'm pretty sure most of the celebrity gossip magazines these days feature enough scantily clad men they're borderline porn mags.

    Advertising is somewhat skewed though. As a general rule it's the products aimed at a specific gender which tend to utilise sex the most, and since advertisers like to target their advertising you're usually exposed to a lot more oriented on your own gender than the opposite.

  3. #283
    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    All this is really pointing out is that sexual dimorphism bears very little in the way of pertinence when it comes to the continuation of society because humanity's marked strength is in social connection, which men and women are more or less equal at manipulating.
    It proves sexual dimorphism isn't the only game in town. It proves that in this case, in one culture or the other, it has been overridden if it exists. It doesn't prove it isn't relevant at all. Our behaviour/personality/character (whatever you want to call it) is thought to be a consequence of both our genetic predisposition and our environment. To what extent each is important, nobody really knows, though speculation puts it at a 50/50 mix. There are psychological studies with very young children which suggest behavioural phenotypic differences between men and women. Thus, it is reasonably logical to hypothesise that these differences would still be extant in society at large, in some form or other, even if all other things were equal.

    The problem is, none of those sorts of studies - including the PDF linked - are particularly scientific. There is a reason experiments should be performed in a lab - in order to isolate dependent variables. Without doing that, correlation/causation errors are always a risk. I'm not saying such studies have nothing to tell us, but "real world" experiments are rarely definitive. You can show more passengers don't show up for train journeys on days when bad crashes occur. It doesn't prove we're precognitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    This is an important notion when we're talking about objectification because part of the issue when women are relegated to such roles is because men who have the privilege of position at this juncture cannot or will not view women as fully-fledged people but as mere holders of said roles. If you want the results of conservative thought pervading a culture, just look at Japan's rather regressive reticence in allowing women into the workplace on equal footing as men - pitting their career goals, as we have done forty years ago, against matrimonial and childbearing goals; ie: sure you can work, but only as a secretary until you get married, then you don't work any more.

    If you want to change that culture, you have to make it acceptable to view them as equals, which involves making it unacceptable to view them otherwise.

    Now, to bring it back around, I'm not about to say we should do away with pornography. I'd be a flaming hypocrite and would have to burn all my hard drives if that were the case. But it's not too much to ask that not everything be pornography, right? I'd imagine you could sell cars, vodka, website hosting, deodorant, chicken wings, comic books and video games without oozing tits all over them, after all. And while we're talking about pornography, I'm sure it wouldn't be terribly untoward were somebody to suggest that not every pornographic flick has to be demeaning towards the woman. After all, a little birdie once told me that women like sex too...
    I agree with this. I think the nature of physical sexuality is to objectify the subject of your desire to some extent. To desire sexual congress with a woman on account of her killer bod is to appreciate her for qualities derived purely from her physical nature (as an object) rather than for the full human complexity of her as a person. That's OK, just as it's equally OK for a woman to want to bump uglies with a guy for his rock hard abs or bulging biceps. These are innate, natural, healthy responses. The problem arises when this appreciation of a person occurs in isolation, as though that's all they are. The proliferation of sexualised marketing and the availability of pronography is in danger of creating a generation of young men who only see women as sexual objects, who believe - on some level - their only function is sexual utility.

    As you guys have both said in other posts, I think education of the young is the answer, and censure of the old.
    Last edited by RandomTangent; 13-05-2013 at 05:18 PM.

  4. #284
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    NY f'n C
    Posts
    9,917
    Quote Originally Posted by RandomTangent View Post
    It proves sexual dimorphism isn't the only game in town. It proves that in this case, in one culture or the other, it has been overridden if it exists.
    And that's all that needs to be proven. Statistically superior upper body strength, after all, isn't terribly important when it comes to surviving in society - ironically, the pre-agricultural societies in which such physical differences were important were far more egalitarian than societies today - and hormonal divergence isn't so uniform nor dominating enough to adequately explain this social phenomenon.

    We are a society which is, indeed, almost all nurture, and studies like the one linked are pointing out that it's not just a "women are naturally less competitive than men" answer. After all, if such were the case, it would have been impossible to reverse the course in just two generations, which is exactly what's been accomplished time and time again in history.

    Psychology is not particularly strong in solely explaining sociological concerns, any more than archaeologists are anthropologists. Hell, if you want to see how far a non-sociologist can go off-track when trying to delve into sociology, read Jared Diamond.
    Last edited by Nalano; 13-05-2013 at 07:18 PM.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
    Director of the Friends of Nalano PAC
    Attorney at Lawl
    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  5. #285
    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    And that's all that needs to be proven.
    I suppose whether you believe that depends how you define "equal" in the context of society. All it proves is that culture and society can potentially condition individuals to behave in a way which runs contrary to gene expression. It doesn't vindicate or advocate for that becoming a guiding principle of social engineering. If the point is simply that a woman can be just as good at any given task as a man, I would argue it's one liberal society has already accepted. The question is: is that the way we measure equality?

    It isn't about what people can or cannot do, or what people should or should not do. It's about what people are predisposed to be better at, and what they might prefer to spend their time doing. I think when we talk about an equal society, we're often in danger of applying conventionally masculine value judgements to individual accomplishments, as if they're objectively more important. We define equality in terms of the number of women behaving more like the stereotypical man. In many ways, I fear we're all victims of the patriarchal value system in which we were born and raised. There is no desire for convergence between traditionally sexually dimorphic behaviours - there is no drive to temper the competitive behaviour of men, only to encourage the competitive behaviour of women.

    Now, I'm not saying competitiveness has a gender-specific phenotypic underpinning to it, but let's imagine, hypothetically, it does. To measure social progress according to competitiveness, is to pick a metric which naturally disadvantages women. Worse than that, it betrays a sexist value judgement - that the things we should think are important in society are the things men think are important; the things which men are naturally predisposed to be good at. The message is that a woman's nature is inferior to a man's, and that she should work to overcome it - she should work to behave more like a man is naturally inclined to behave.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    We are a society which is, indeed, almost all nurture, and studies like the one linked are pointing out that it's not just a "women are naturally less competitive than men" answer. After all, if such were the case, it would have been impossible to reverse the course in just two generations, which is exactly what's been accomplished time and time again in history.
    Are we? How do you know? I agree that "women are less competitive than men" should never be used as an excuse for prejudice, or for inequality of rights and opportunities. We shouldn't seek to explain away genuine inequality in society by simply saying "men and women are different". The question is not: CAN women be as competitive as men? But: if all other things were equal, WOULD they be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Psychology is not particularly strong in solely explaining sociological concerns, any more than archaeologists are anthropologists. Hell, if you want to see how far a non-sociologist can go off-track when trying to delve into sociology, read Jared Diamond.
    Agreed - they're two different fields, with some natural crossover. Psychology doesn't solely explain any sociological phenomenon. How individuals behave and interact is an important component in understanding society at large, though. At least, that's my opinion.
    Last edited by RandomTangent; 14-05-2013 at 03:15 PM.

  6. #286
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    NY f'n C
    Posts
    9,917
    Quote Originally Posted by RandomTangent View Post
    If the point is simply that a woman can be just as good at any given task as a man, I would argue it's one liberal society has already accepted.
    Except in the realm of hiring practices, compensation, child care or career viability.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomTangent View Post
    We define equality in terms of the number of women behaving more like the stereotypical man.
    Only if you define that role as a masculine one.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomTangent View Post
    there is no drive to temper the competitive behaviour of men
    Sure there is. I haven't gotten into a fight since middle school. Physical and vocal aggression are more or less taboo nowadays. I also don't define myself by how much money I make or how many people are employed under me. That's largely because of my upbringing. Liberal society's been pushing both ways - which is consequently why you see so many Mens' Rights groups going ape-shit over what they see as a loss of their manhood.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomTangent View Post
    But: if all other things were equal, WOULD they be?
    Let's make all things equal and find out.
    Last edited by Nalano; 14-05-2013 at 04:59 PM.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
    Director of the Friends of Nalano PAC
    Attorney at Lawl
    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  7. #287
    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Except in the realm of hiring practices, compensation, child care or career viability.
    I said the point had been accepted (by individuals), I didn't say it was in evidence in society at large. Perhaps you're under the misapprehension that I'm arguing we've already "made it" in terms of gender equality. I'm not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Only if you define that role as a masculine one.
    Which is why I said "stereotypical man" instead of just "man". And this is sort of my whole point: a study showing that in some cultures women are more competitive than men, is not proof that competitiveness is NOT part of the male phenotype. Indeed, you would have to explain why in the majority of cultures, men are more competitive than women if that were the case. As I said in my post, I'm not saying competitiveness IS a phenotypically male quality. I'm just saying if it is, and you choose to measure social progress in terms of gender equality by measuring it, then you pick a metric that 1) naturally disadvantages women and 2) demeans the feminine in favour of the masculine - implies women should be more like men.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Sure there is. I haven't gotten into a fight since middle school. Physical and vocal aggression are more or less taboo nowadays. I also don't define myself by how much money I make or how many people are employed under me. That's largely because of my upbringing. Liberal society's been pushing both ways - which is consequently why you see so many Mens' Rights groups going ape-shit over what they see as a loss of their manhood.
    You might not, but there have always been some men who didn't. A genetic predisposition for a particular gender to behave a particular way doesn't imply all that gender will behave that way, or that they're all inclined to the same degree to behave that way. I think we're talking about different social phenomenon when we talk about violence and aggression. Is chopping off a guys arm because he stole your horse about competitiveness? Maybe, to some degree - in so far as it's about males seeking to assert their authority or dominance over other males. I agree though, certainly in the uk, society is a far less violent and aggressive place than it was 400 years ago.

    What I meant is that there is no conscious will to make men more like stereotypical women. Instead, most social policy seems concerned with getting women to adopt stereotypical male qualities (we live in different countries - maybe we have different experiences of this). Some stereotypical female qualities might be a consequence of having been oppressed for thousands of years, but some may just be phenotypic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Let's make all things equal and find out.
    Indeed. You're missing my point though. If we use competitiveness, for example, as one of the measures of equality, we may never find out.

  8. #288
    Obscure Node
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    2

    body image?

    After two hours of thought and typing, it's still very difficult to articulate what I want to say. I'm all for mixing up gender roles, more female heroes, and realistic body types BUT, I still want to be able to play fantasy games where I can be/see Conan, The Kingpin (Marvel Comics), Geralt of Rivia, Catwoman, Xena or Ellie (Borderlands 2). Surely the answer is in a broader mix/range of characters (as in real life) of both genders. Just please, don't take away the option to have muscles or boobs (or both!).

  9. #289
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    NY f'n C
    Posts
    9,917
    Quote Originally Posted by RandomTangent View Post
    Which is why I said "stereotypical man" instead of just "man". And this is sort of my whole point: a study showing that in some cultures women are more competitive than men, is not proof that competitiveness is NOT part of the male phenotype.
    "It's not the realm of men, it's just the realm of men!"

    And that is why your argument doesn't go far.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
    Director of the Friends of Nalano PAC
    Attorney at Lawl
    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  10. #290
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,574
    Quote Originally Posted by "[B
    RandomTangent"[/B]]The question is not: CAN women be as competitive as men? But: if all other things were equal, WOULD they be?
    You also missed out SHOULD.

    For instance are some people more genetically pre-disposed to cancer, just because all things being equal they would be more pre-disposed to cancer doesn't actually make us just cave in to nature or shrug our shoulders.

    I.e. I think being ultra competitive makes you a dick, even if you showed me definitive evidence that it is caused by genes/hormones I'd still say you're a massive dick. Further to that I'd just say more work should be put into educating children out of it.

  11. #291
    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    "It's not the realm of men, it's just the realm of men!"

    And that is why your argument doesn't go far.
    What argument? The passage of mine you've quoted in this post is simply a statement of fact. It isn't expressing a view one way or the other.

  12. #292
    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    You also missed out SHOULD.

    For instance are some people more genetically pre-disposed to cancer, just because all things being equal they would be more pre-disposed to cancer doesn't actually make us just cave in to nature or shrug our shoulders.

    I.e. I think being ultra competitive makes you a dick, even if you showed me definitive evidence that it is caused by genes/hormones I'd still say you're a massive dick. Further to that I'd just say more work should be put into educating children out of it.
    Well, quite. Should they be? Cancer is something which has a patently negative effect on one's life, so most rational people would seek to avoid it. Competitiveness is just a tendency to behave in such a way. It's neither "good" nor "bad" in isolation.

    Being ultra competitive might well make you a dick, but you've gone to an extreme to cast the argument in a more polarising light. I don't think we're talking about limitless competitiveness being a virtue.

    Let's imagine men and women ARE genetically predisposed, for the sake of argument, to differing levels of competitive behaviour. If that is the case, what defines an equal society? One in which those basic natural differences are expressed, or one in which men and women are socialised such that they share, on average, an equivalent level of competitive behaviour?
    Last edited by RandomTangent; 15-05-2013 at 04:55 PM.

  13. #293
    Network Hub MOKKA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    155
    If I may, I'm going to add some of my 'insights' (or what I believe are insights) in regards to the discussion between Nalano and Random Tangent. Sadly most of the things I read about this topic are in German and it's been in a while since I last read them.

    I think there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the questions which parts of our behaviours are determined by our biological heritage and which are determined by our culture. The thing is that it's actually not viable to simply dichotomize these two things (one of my Professors used to say 'it's not about nature vs. nuture, it's about nature via nuture').
    If we assume that we are indeed the product of some kind of evolutionary process via means of natural selection, than this means that every aspect of our behaviour is (to some degree) also the result of that process. This means that what we call 'culture' is also based upon this process.

    This doesn't mean however that we are completely fixed on certain traits. First of all there is the wonderous thing which is called 'human diversity' which you could also descirbe as simple genetic variation between each individual human being. This of course means that (depending on which kind of trait you're looking) you'll always going to find a certain degree of variation between a certain amount of individuals regarding one specific trait.

    Let's use an example and to make things a bit easier, let's use an example which is not related to our behaviour. Instead let us use the morphology of our cranial base instead. Why? Because people rarely get upset when you talk about bones instead of behaviour.

    Generally our cranial base is described via three seperate character. Its inclination in regards to a (fixed) horizontal plane, the inclination of the Foramen Magnum (that's the big hole at the bottom of your head) and the inclination of the nuchhal plane (this is the area where the muscles of your neck are attached).
    Now the important question here is, are these characters actually seperate entities, or do they correlate in one way or the other (e.g. is there a correlation between the degree of cranial base flexion and the inclination of the Foramen magnum).
    In order to answer this question we need to look at it from different levels. First we need to find out which genetical factors are repsonsible for the formation of the cranial base in general. Then we need to find out when how and in which order these factors are executed during each individuals ontogeny. But this isn't enough. We also have to take enviromental factors into account. High stress, malnutrition, weird activity patterns, all these are factors which could alter the phenotypic expression of a certain trait, even though its general morphology is based upon genetic factors.

    What does this mean in regards to behaviour?
    Even though there might be a biological predisposition for male individuals to express aggressive and dominant behaviour under certain circumstances, it does not imply that this predisposition is expressed in each an every male individual in the same way. The same goes for female individuals.

    The thing is however that we don't know very much about this at all. Even in regards to my morphological example, the true mechanisms how we come from the genotype to the phenotype is hardly understood, at leas when it comes to humans. This gets even more difficult when it comes to behaviour. Not only because our behaviour is insanely complex (or at least it appears to be) but also because it's a highly political topic. We all have different perceptions of what it means to be a human being we tend to project these things into research which tries to answer these questions.


    To summarize: It's highly likely that our bahaviour, just like everything else, is somehow determined by our natural history. And if we consider sexual selection (which is an entirely different and confusing issue by itself) it's likely that this also means that men and women have different genetical predispositions in regards to certain kinds of behaviours. However this does not mean that we are 'predetermined'. It just means that under certain circumstances there is a certain likelihood that individuals from one sex (I'm using the term 'sex' here because 'gender' is a cultural term and inappropriate in this context) express a certain kind of behaviour. This however is heavily determined by numerous factors from which our culture probably is one, if not the strongest.

    Sorry for interfering with this discussion in such a manner. It's just that always when somebody brings up human behaviour and biology I have a strong urge to say something, because it's usually full of misconceptions and false assumptions

  14. #294
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,574
    Quote Originally Posted by RandomTangent View Post
    Well, quite. Should they be? Cancer is something which has a patently negative effect on one's life, so most rational people would seek to avoid it. Competitiveness is just a tendency to behave in such a way. It's neither "good" nor "bad" in isolation.

    Being ultra competitive might well make you a dick, but you've gone to an extreme to cast the argument in a more polarising light. I don't think we're talking about limitless competitiveness being a virtue.

    Let's imagine men and women ARE genetically predisposed, for the sake of argument, to differing levels of competitive behaviour. If that is the case, what defines an equal society? One in which those basic natural differences are expressed, or one in which men and women are socialised such that they share, on average, an equivalent level of competitive behaviour?
    I was over exaggerating for effect, it's not a direct comparison with cancer. However the point that we should inform how we expect people to behave within society from actual morality/reason and not just go "oh it's natural" is the one I favour.

    i.e. Society isn't equal when men and women all behave the same, nor would that be the aim. But that's no excuse for dickhead behaviour, just because it's a natural expression of anything.
    Last edited by Zephro; 15-05-2013 at 05:11 PM.

  15. #295
    Quote Originally Posted by MOKKA View Post
    I think there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the questions which parts of our behaviours are determined by our biological heritage and which are determined by our culture. The thing is that it's actually not viable to simply dichotomize these two things (one of my Professors used to say 'it's not about nature vs. nuture, it's about nature via nuture').
    If we assume that we are indeed the product of some kind of evolutionary process via means of natural selection, than this means that every aspect of our behaviour is (to some degree) also the result of that process. This means that what we call 'culture' is also based upon this process.
    Indeed. And as you say, our culture is the product of our biological heritage to some extent, so even if one could seperate them ostensibly, they would still be intertwined.

    Quote Originally Posted by MOKKA View Post
    What does this mean in regards to behaviour?
    Even though there might be a biological predisposition for male individuals to express aggressive and dominant behaviour under certain circumstances, it does not imply that this predisposition is expressed in each an every male individual in the same way. The same goes for female individuals.
    Exactly. Our genetics give us a tendency or a predisposition. Environment determines to what extent that genetic predisposition is expressed. That said, I took it as red we were talking about "males" and "females" on average in the context of this discussion. I.e. overall, are there phenotypic female and male behaviours which one would expect to be extant in society if all individuals were treated "equally"?

    Quote Originally Posted by MOKKA View Post
    The thing is however that we don't know very much about this at all. Even in regards to my morphological example, the true mechanisms how we come from the genotype to the phenotype is hardly understood, at leas when it comes to humans. This gets even more difficult when it comes to behaviour. Not only because our behaviour is insanely complex (or at least it appears to be) but also because it's a highly political topic. We all have different perceptions of what it means to be a human being we tend to project these things into research which tries to answer these questions.
    You have summarised here why I think discussing and evaluating sexual equality is an extremely complex issue. I'm not saying we shouldn't try, but I find the idea of simply comparing how competitive (substitute this with any other behavioural tendency you like) the sexes each are on average, and expecting them to be the same - striving for them to be the same - is overly simplistic. I believe we should strive for a society in which the male phenotype and the female phenotype are equally valued, rather than one in which they are intentionally homogenised into an average of the two.

    Quote Originally Posted by MOKKA View Post
    To summarize: It's highly likely that our bahaviour, just like everything else, is somehow determined by our natural history. And if we consider sexual selection (which is an entirely different and confusing issue by itself) it's likely that this also means that men and women have different genetical predispositions in regards to certain kinds of behaviours. However this does not mean that we are 'predetermined'. It just means that under certain circumstances there is a certain likelihood that individuals from one sex (I'm using the term 'sex' here because 'gender' is a cultural term and inappropriate in this context) express a certain kind of behaviour. This however is heavily determined by numerous factors from which our culture probably is one, if not the strongest.
    Indeed. As I said above, it is not a question of what men and women are capable of, but rather what they are naturally predisposed to be better at - or how they are naturally predisposed to behave. This naturally leads to the question, as i mentioned in the post before this one: if we know we can override sexual dimorphism, should we? Should we strive for a society in which we attempt to socialise the sexes to be, other than physically, all but indistinguishable?

    Quote Originally Posted by MOKKA View Post
    Sorry for interfering with this discussion in such a manner. It's just that always when somebody brings up human behaviour and biology I have a strong urge to say something, because it's usually full of misconceptions and false assumptions
    No need to apologise dude! It's an open forum and an open discussion. New insights and perspectives are always welcome, especially when they are well informed. Cheers!
    Last edited by RandomTangent; 15-05-2013 at 05:22 PM.

  16. #296
    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    I was over exaggerating for effect, it's not a direct comparison with cancer. However the point that we should inform how we expect people to behave within society from actual morality/reason and not just go "oh it's natural" is the one I favour.

    i.e. Society isn't equal when men and women all behave the same, nor would that be the aim. But that's no excuse for dickhead behaviour, just because it's a natural expression of anything.
    Yeah, I agree with that. I.e. if men were naturally predisposed to take by force whatever they wanted from whomever they were able to take it from, it wouldn't be an acceptable way to behave in "civilised" society. Censure has a role to play in moderating more extreme behaviours. Ultimately though, I agree with you. I wouldn't expect men and women to be on average the same in what i would call an equal society. I would expect them to demonstrate, to some extent, their phenotypic differences.
    Last edited by RandomTangent; 15-05-2013 at 06:02 PM.

  17. #297
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    145
    Yes, but even if there IS a natural predisposition, that isn't necessarily meaningful.

    Any genetic tendencies I've seen examined, which show a difference in male/female distribution, do so to far less an extent than the natural variance exhibited by humans anyway. So while there might be a slight bimodality to any given trait, it's not statistically significant when considering any one individual.

  18. #298
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    NY f'n C
    Posts
    9,917
    Quote Originally Posted by MOKKA View Post
    To summarize: It's highly likely that our bahaviour, just like everything else, is somehow determined by our natural history.
    I think you're sorely underestimating the complexity of classic human societies. It'd be like using phrenology to explain basketball.
    Last edited by Nalano; 15-05-2013 at 07:01 PM.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
    Director of the Friends of Nalano PAC
    Attorney at Lawl
    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  19. #299
    Network Hub MOKKA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    155
    (This going to be a very long Post and I fear it's going to be very vague...)

    Indeed. And as you say, our culture is the product of our biological heritage to some extent, so even if one could seperate them ostensibly, they would still be intertwined.
    To quote (and poorly translate) Christian Vogel, who was the founder of German sociobiology (and modern primatology): 'Culture is on the leash of nature'

    Exactly. Our genetics give us a tendency or a predisposition. Environment determines to what extent that genetic predisposition is expressed. That said, I took it as red we were talking about "males" and "females" on average in the context of this discussion. I.e. overall, are there phenotypic female and male behaviours which one would expect to be extant in society if all individuals were treated "equally"?
    This is a very hypothetical question. One which I don't think is really possible to answer, since I don't know whether or not we can imagine such a society. We're all socialised in a different way, and most of us probably have a different understanding of what 'equality' means. The problem also is that we are always formed by our surroundings. In order to create this hypothecical society we need to establich some kind of almost dystopian like society, where Children are not raised by their parents or families but through other means (maybe via some kind of 'evil' A.I.?)

    You have summarised here why I think discussing and evaluating sexual equality is an extremely complex issue. I'm not saying we shouldn't try, but I find the idea of simply comparing how competitive (substitute this with any other behavioural tendency you like) the sexes each are on average, and expecting them to be the same - striving for them to be the same - is overly simplistic. I believe we should strive for a society in which the male phenotype and the female phenotype are equally valued, rather than one in which they are intentionally homogenised into an average of the two.
    What do we define as male and female phenotype? As I said, the phenotype can vary drastically and is influenced by numerous aspects. I think we need to be careful not to simply assume that what we see in our present day society is the 'normal' phenotype.
    However recently I asked myself the same question. Are we really trying to achieve equality or do we simply want everyone to behave like men?
    But I am a man (although a very confused one) and I don't know how much I'm asking myself this just because I think I perceive this discussion in such a way.
    This is also one of the reasons I normally try to stay away from those debates. I don't trust my own judgement.
    I do have an opinion about this, it's mostly based on my general dislike of typology and the general tendency of humans to judge people based upon superficial characters rather then upon what they do. I don't think that anyone should ever have to justify themselves for doing what they want to do or even have to face adversity, just based upon things which lay outside their own control. But in regards to everything beyond that? There's just too much confusion in my head in order for me to formulate anything resembling an actual opinion. So I'm not even going to try.


    Indeed. As I said above, it is not a question of what men and women are capable of, but rather what they are naturally predisposed to be better at - or how they are naturally predisposed to behave. This naturally leads to the question, as i mentioned in the post before this one: if we know we can override sexual dimorphism, should we? Should we strive for a society in which we attempt to socialise the sexes to be, other than physically, all but indistinguishable?
    How do you define 'better'? In what context? Is biology even a good way to measure that? Isn't this also a completely subjective thing? Doesn't this change depending on what kind of society you life in, what kind of economical situation you are, how the society you live in is structured demographically?
    Don't get me wrong, I think evolutionary biology could tell us a lot about ourselves but in order to do that, we need to understand it better then we do now. As I said: We might know our Genome and it's possible for everyone with enough money to get his or her own sequence, but this sequence doesn't tell you much about who you are and it won't tell you much about how you became who you are.
    You're also running at risk of commiting a natural fallacy by assuming that the 'natural' state is the ethically better one and it's best to avoid that completely. Nature is a very bad when it comes to moral guidance, since there is no moral in nature. We just happen to have the tendency to project these things into it in order to justify or own ideologies.

    In regards to your other points. I think it comes down to whether you want a more individualistic or collectivistic society (the eternal struggle between freedom and equality, here it is again). I would like for people to be able to do what they want, irregardless of their predispositions; whether they're biological or cultural, or both or something else.


    Wow that was a lot of stuff. I don't even know if any of this makes any sense. I probably contradicted myself a few time, but I'm a very confused person so that tends to happen.

    Anyways, let's get to the next one:

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    I think you're sorely underestimating the complexity of classic human societies. It'd be like using phrenology to explain basketball.
    And I think you're overestimating the complexity of human societies in general. I think most of our behaviour (especially group behaviour) is very similar to what you see in other primates as well. It's just that we have coated everything in cultur and tradition that it's hard to see the ultimate reasons why humans behave (under certain circumstances) in certain ways. However what's interesting, and that's certainly something worth adressing, is that humans, in contrast to other primates show a wide variety of different group compositions. Right now I'm asking myself if this has, to some degree, to do with the fact that humans live a wide variety of different habitats (I'm not sure if I'm using the right term here so please don't take this too literally) whereas most other primates inhabit only one certain area. If I'd had the time I would try to dig a bit deeper into it, just out of curiosity. But of course this is me trying to find a completely biologistic explanation for something which maybe might not be possible to be completely explained wiht biology afertall.

    However, I still think those are question we need to adress, if we want to learn anything about ourselves which (at least to some degree) goes beyond simple ideological believes and assumptions. It's those questions which drove me into evolutionary Anthropology (and somehow into a dead-end jobwise but who cares) and I think it's an interesting thing to talk about.

    If we want to understand who we are, then we must understand every apsect of our existence and this includes our natural history, our biological heritage and how this history influences our lifes. And if everything I said here turns out to be horribly wrong than so be it, but you'll never learn anything if you're just repeating what's already known.

    P.S.: What I also want to clarify a bit. All I'm trying to do here is to give an explanation. I'm not using biology to morally justify sexism or inequality or anything like that. I'm always a bit afraid to talk about things like that, because it always attracts a certain degree of hostility(?). And rightfully so, a lot of people did some very horrible things and used biological arguments to justify their actions.

    P.P.S.: Just in case you're confused. My whole worldview is like some kind of ramshakle hut and consists of a weird mixture of materialism, a lot of relativism, a bunch 'antiismism' (you know, the ideology which thinks that ideologies are evil) combined with a good dose of cynicism and a lot of misanthropy which is probably based upon my general fear of other human beings.
    The roof has a bunch of holes and it will probably collapse in a storm. But it's mine and sometimes it's quite cozy. In any way: If I happen to contradict myself, feel free to point that out. I won't be able to make a witty response, but at least it will help me to plug all those nasty holes.

  20. #300
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    310
    Well that was interesting. Prepare for incoherent jamramblin:

    Tangentially: nurture doesn't seem distinct from nature. If minds are physical products of causal (if probabilistic and chaotic) systems, then all social phenomena are "nature".

    I've never seen "free will" formulated meaningfully even by eloquent compatibilists such as Dennett and Blackford. Individualistic or self-based shoring-up of the nature/nurture divide just isn't persuasive to me.

    It's comforting to conceive of oneself a special snowflake, as a distinct and uniform "me". I personally don't cherish that idea though; I picked up meditation and learned that if I'm mindful and quiet for a while "I" eventually stops being noticeable (along with attendant problems of the will e.g. joy & suffering, love & hate, etc). It's also become acutely obvious to me that the running conception I have of myself outside of meditation (my "I") is a constantly-morphing amalgamation of influences, some of which are internal but most of which are extrinsic to my body and indeed beyond my direct control.

    That may sound like woo but such a perspective doesn't require any nonsense or leaps of faith. There's plenty of ongoing (secular) research into mindfulness, for those interested.

    Back OT: this is roundabout, but bear with me: should we force our modern dislike of capital punishment on foreign cultures which promote capital punishment? We must moralize to answer that question. The secular morality would look something like, "human lives have innate value and should not be forcibly ended". I don't think this claim is true in a strict sense, but nonetheless I think it has pragmatic value. But is it better than other competing ideas?

    I think secular moral notions are better than religious ones by a sort of Occam's Razor virtue; they make the fewest assumptions possible. The assumption in this case is "human lives are self-justifying" as opposed to "deities and/or dogmas justify human lives". So in a strict sense, the most stripped-down assumption about the value of life is superior to all others, therefore, yes, we should force the view on foreigners.

    Inevitably, though, one must decide between strict adherence to a moral principle and a utilitarian interpretation of it and this complicates the crap out of things. For example: is it preferable to intervene in foreign genocides if it requires killing of belligerents? Should we force our cultural values on foreign societies if it entails prolonged social unrest in said societies? More broadly: how much subsumption of the individual into the collective is proper?

    To me these sorts of things are take-them-as-they-come irresolvable issues, and (bringing things back to feminism) I think the same is true of our conception of gender. In other words, "what it means" psychologically to be a man or woman (as opposed to being physiologically male or female) is fluid and irresolvable in universal terms and therefore must be considered case-by-case in contextual frameworks. ofc physiology is also fluid but that only reinforces the point, to wit: some generalizations may be useful and prevalent in culture but we shouldn't treat them as universally or absolutely true (e.g. "killing is bad" and "distinct notions of gender are useful" and "females have vaginas and males have penises").

    That was a long way to say not a lot. I guess a concise formulation of the ethical prerogative would be: we should strive for a society in which sex and gender aren't unfair roadblocks and in which body types and sexual preferences are not unfairly shamed or discriminated against. That's not as succinct as "thou shalt not murder" but "sexism and puritanism are counterproductive" doesn't seem adequately illustrative.

    Apologies for blathering. This is a fascinating topic!
    Last edited by Jambe; 16-05-2013 at 08:42 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •