Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science now

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Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science now

Postby thinker4life on July 4th, 2017, 4:25 pm 

I’d like to posit what I think will be a controversial hypothesis… That is, that we should be investing more in the “soft sciences” and less in the “hard sciences” for the foreseeable future.

Summary
Hard sciences are increasing in capability very quickly. The power to destroy at scale is falling into more people’s hands. I hypothesize that the power to destroy the human race will quickly fall into the hands of the normal citizen, if we’re not careful. We can solve for this, however, if you continue reading I’ll explain how.

Detailed Explanation of the Problem
We are advancing very quickly in the hard sciences. Our ability to influence nature is getting extraordinarily good. Our ability to create massive weapons has become extraordinarily good. However our ability to understand the psyche of the individual human being is relatively poor. Let me explain with a doomsday hypothesis:
Today, weapons so destructive they could kill all life on earth have already been created. Nuclear weapons.
As technology has advanced over the last millenium (from swords, bows and arrows a millenia ago, to nuclear weapons now), let us hypothesize about the next millenia (especially considering a large part of the scientific advancement happened in the last few hundred years… so it may happen much faster than the next millenia)
I hypothesize that science will advance to a point that a weapon of similar mass destructive capability to total nuclear warfare that could kill all human life will likely be in the hands of average every day citizens. If one of those citizens is not responsible enough to handle that (think of one of the people who went on killing sprees with automatic weapons, with the power to destroy all life on earth). If we don’t advance in the soft sciences enough to know how to use this technology responsibly and ensure that its only accessible to those who can wield it responsibly, the human race is likely to end abruptly.

My proposed solution (open to feedback)
I’m an optimist, however, I think we can solve this problem. How do we do it?

Invest in the “softer” sciences, with the hopes of doing the following
Come up with a common definition of who is responsible enough to handle power
Help society identify people who are not responsible enough to handle power early
Find ways to help all those who can be helped so they will be taught to be more responsible, so we can empower people up to the level of responsibility they obtain and no more
Isolate and take power/influence away from those who can’t be helped by society’s best efforts, limiting their influence to do harm to society with powerful “hard science” weapons that are invented
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Dave_Oblad on July 4th, 2017, 4:51 pm 

Hi thinker4life,

Unfortunately, the primary issue facing the Human Race is Ego. It is Ego that drives those on the lower intellectual levels to obtain Power in its many forms.. Wealth & Control going hand in hand. Personally, I thing Ego is the true source of all Evil. It doesn't matter if it is Racism, Nationalism or just stupid Billionaires that got lucky or have no remorse at being bullies to gain more Power and Wealth.

When we can learn to repress our Egos, we might have a chance to survive into the future IMHO.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Serpent on July 4th, 2017, 6:37 pm 

We already know what we should do. Those who could, won't.
Knowledge is not power, after all.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby thinker4life on July 4th, 2017, 8:04 pm 

Dave_Oblad » July 4th, 2017, 3:51 pm wrote:Hi thinker4life,

Unfortunately, the primary issue facing the Human Race is Ego. It is Ego that drives those on the lower intellectual levels to obtain Power in its many forms.. Wealth & Control going hand in hand. Personally, I thing Ego is the true source of all Evil. It doesn't matter if it is Racism, Nationalism or just stupid Billionaires that got lucky or have no remorse at being bullies to gain more Power and Wealth.

When we can learn to repress our Egos, we might have a chance to survive into the future IMHO.

Regards,
Dave :^)


Hi Dave,

First off I agree with you, I think ego is a huge part of it... Let's assume for a moment that it's 100% of the problem (I think its a bit more complex than that), then how do we identify who has an over-sized ego and doesn't know how to self correct earlier, and limit those people's influence/power so they can't do harm to society? I think some well-thought-through studies/experiments on the subject would be interesting... That's why I think soft sciences are more important than they're given credit for today. Admittedly I will openly criticize those already in the soft sciences as they do have significant resources and I don't see them tackling this -- what I believe to be the biggest issue of our times -- openly... so maybe it's not about needing more resources in the soft sciences its about helping them show their value with the resources they have... That may be the right answer too...

What are your thoughts?

Garrett
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby thinker4life on July 4th, 2017, 8:05 pm 

Serpent » July 4th, 2017, 5:37 pm wrote:We already know what we should do. Those who could, won't.
Knowledge is not power, after all.


Isn't up to each one of us to do what we can to do what we know we should do? I know I'm taking steps to move in that direction... are you? Do you want to coordinate/collaborate?
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby someguy1 on July 4th, 2017, 8:27 pm 

thinker4life » July 4th, 2017, 2:25 pm wrote:Come up with a common definition of who is responsible enough to handle power


Party members in good standing of course.

thinker4life » July 4th, 2017, 2:25 pm wrote:Help society identify people who are not responsible enough to handle power


Non-party members of course.


thinker4life » July 4th, 2017, 2:25 pm wrote:Find ways to help all those who can be helped so they will be taught to be more responsible


Re-education camps.

thinker4life » July 4th, 2017, 2:25 pm wrote:Isolate and take power/influence away from those who can’t be helped by society’s best efforts,


Room 101 for those types who can't be reeducated by other means.

Scratch a do-gooder, find a totalitarian torturer.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Serpent on July 4th, 2017, 9:12 pm 

thinker4life » July 4th, 2017, 7:05 pm wrote:Isn't up to each one of us to do what we can to do what we know we should do? I know I'm taking steps to move in that direction... are you? Do you want to coordinate/collaborate?

No. Independent private activities are almost nothing when done by a small minority. By conserving carefully, refraining from unnecessary travel, I save enough fuel in a year to lift one military aircraft ten meters off the ground one time. By using solar panels for light, hanging my laundry outside to dry, washing dishes by hand and cooling the house by opening windows (Yes - you can do that!!), I save enough electricity in a year to light up one downtown office tower for one night when nobody's in it and two dozen migrating birds bash themselves to death on its windows.

My turn's been and gone: whatever progress I helped to bring about is in danger of being undone. (See someguy1's response. I believe his ilk are in charge now.) My counterparts in the US and UK are probably feeling even more frustrated and disappointed.

And I don't see science of any consistency playing any part in the political process.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby someguy1 on July 4th, 2017, 9:20 pm 

Serpent » July 4th, 2017, 7:12 pm wrote: (See someguy1's response. I believe his ilk are in charge now.)


My ilk? Is that like an elk? Care to explain? OP suggested that people out of favor with official thinking should be reeducated. Is that your opinion too?

Out of curiosity, are you familiar with the works of George Orwell? The history of the Soviet Union? Chairman Mao's cultural revolution? In that latter event all the wrong thinkers did get sent to reeducation camps and it wasn't pretty.

I truly wonder how people can not know these things and not understand what "Find ways to help all those who can be helped so they will be taught to be more responsible ..." has meant in practice during the twentieth century.

Suppose you were in charge of this operation. Would you send me to a reeducation camp? Please provide a list off the top of your head of people you'd send for reeducation.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Serpent on July 4th, 2017, 10:17 pm 

someguy1 » July 4th, 2017, 8:20 pm wrote:My ilk? Is that like an elk?

No, elk are endangered.
Care to explain?

Not really. I found your response facile and a bit extreme - like much of millennial thinking. That's all I was going by - nothing personal.

OP suggested that people out of favor with official thinking should be reeducated.

I don't think it does, and, in any case, I prefer to respond to what is actually written than to what it might suggest.

Is that your opinion too?

There is a glibly begged question. 1. I don't think that accurately represents the OP, 2. at no point have I expressed an opinion even remotely like that and 3. saying you're in charge now promotes no kind of opinion regarding official thought.

Out of curiosity, are you familiar with the works of George Orwell? The history of the Soviet Union? Chairman Mao's cultural revolution? In that latter event all the wrong thinkers did get sent to reeducation camps and it wasn't pretty.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. How is it relevant?

I truly wonder how people can not know these things and not understand what "Find ways to help all those who can be helped so they will be taught to be more responsible ..." has meant in practice during the twentieth century.

I don't wonder how people can take up one interpretation of a post and run off with it to some political extreme when they could just ask for clarification, or make an alternative suggestion, or take exception to some particular - because it's all too common.

Suppose you were in charge of this operation.

What operation?
Would you send me to a reeducation camp?

Not even cub scout camps. I hate military type organizations.
Please provide a list off the top of your head of people you'd send for reeducation.

Sorry. That list is classified level 10 security clearance.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Sivad on July 4th, 2017, 11:20 pm 

someguy1 » July 4th, 2017, 6:20 pm wrote:Please provide a list off the top of your head of people you'd send for reeducation.


There are lots of people I'd send to reeducation camp and more than a few I'd like to put in a rocket and just launch into the void, but as you pointed out that would be starting down a slippery slope into madness. It would be fun at the outset but unlikely to end well.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby thinker4life on July 5th, 2017, 7:58 am 

Serpent » July 4th, 2017, 8:12 pm wrote:
thinker4life » July 4th, 2017, 7:05 pm wrote:Isn't up to each one of us to do what we can to do what we know we should do? I know I'm taking steps to move in that direction... are you? Do you want to coordinate/collaborate?

No. Independent private activities are almost nothing when done by a small minority. By conserving carefully, refraining from unnecessary travel, I save enough fuel in a year to lift one military aircraft ten meters off the ground one time. By using solar panels for light, hanging my laundry outside to dry, washing dishes by hand and cooling the house by opening windows (Yes - you can do that!!), I save enough electricity in a year to light up one downtown office tower for one night when nobody's in it and two dozen migrating birds bash themselves to death on its windows.

My turn's been and gone: whatever progress I helped to bring about is in danger of being undone. (See someguy1's response. I believe his ilk are in charge now.) My counterparts in the US and UK are probably feeling even more frustrated and disappointed.

And I don't see science of any consistency playing any part in the political process.


Yes I'll disregard the troll's response. I'd like to collaborate with like-minded people to have a broader impact on society and take back politics so its in the hands of people who use facts and majority opinion for decision-making. Sound like worthy cause?
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby thinker4life on July 5th, 2017, 8:01 am 

someguy1 » July 4th, 2017, 8:20 pm wrote:
Serpent » July 4th, 2017, 7:12 pm wrote: (See someguy1's response. I believe his ilk are in charge now.)


My ilk? Is that like an elk? Care to explain? OP suggested that people out of favor with official thinking should be reeducated. Is that your opinion too?

Out of curiosity, are you familiar with the works of George Orwell? The history of the Soviet Union? Chairman Mao's cultural revolution? In that latter event all the wrong thinkers did get sent to reeducation camps and it wasn't pretty.

I truly wonder how people can not know these things and not understand what "Find ways to help all those who can be helped so they will be taught to be more responsible ..." has meant in practice during the twentieth century.

Suppose you were in charge of this operation. Would you send me to a reeducation camp? Please provide a list off the top of your head of people you'd send for reeducation.


President Trump would be #1. He needs to be educated on what an "objective fact" is. I agree with you that what I said can be misconstrued and misused, but if used with a majority opinion shaping the action taken I think education can be used for good... certainly you can agree that the current system of keeping poor people uneducated and "ruling" them to the extent that the top 1% gain enormous wealth and all the rest stagnate or get poorer isn't the best possible outcome?
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby thinker4life on July 5th, 2017, 8:04 am 

someguy1 » July 4th, 2017, 7:27 pm wrote:
thinker4life » July 4th, 2017, 2:25 pm wrote:Come up with a common definition of who is responsible enough to handle power


Party members in good standing of course.

thinker4life » July 4th, 2017, 2:25 pm wrote:Help society identify people who are not responsible enough to handle power


Non-party members of course.


thinker4life » July 4th, 2017, 2:25 pm wrote:Find ways to help all those who can be helped so they will be taught to be more responsible


Re-education camps.

thinker4life » July 4th, 2017, 2:25 pm wrote:Isolate and take power/influence away from those who can’t be helped by society’s best efforts,


Room 101 for those types who can't be reeducated by other means.

Scratch a do-gooder, find a totalitarian torturer.


Ok I'm going to assume from your 2nd reply that you're not a troll, if you are I'll stop replying.

You're assuming that the people in charge have negative intentions and are coercive. You also are failing to recognize that our "public education system" is what I mean by educating people... I just want it to be an effective institution. I'm not proposing indoctrination camps for a political ideology which is unsupported by a majority, I'm proposing teaching facts and critical thinking to children and valuable life skills to adults... There's a big difference, which hopefully you can see.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Braininvat on July 5th, 2017, 8:17 am 

In fairness, Someguy is not a troll. I think he raised genuine points on pitfalls of any monolithic Progressive program.

I would question your thesis that hard science necessarily generates more destructive capability. The science is neutral, and we can't really stuff our knowledge of how to make WMDs back in the genie bottle. It is more likely the politics and societal ethics and inter-cultural tolerance we need to work on, rather than the science. That happens with open conversations with everyone on the political spectrum, not just "collaboration with like-minded people." The Net has given the Left and the moderate Liberals lots and lots of like-mindedness to soak in....and look who is POTUS. Clearly, demonizing others and calling them "trolls" is not working.

Please hold off on the troll labeling. NOTE: Just saw the new post. Thank you!
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby BioWizard on July 5th, 2017, 8:25 am 

thinker4life » 04 Jul 2017 07:04 pm wrote:Hi Dave,

First off I agree with you, I think ego is a huge part of it... Let's assume for a moment that it's 100% of the problem (I think its a bit more complex than that), then how do we identify who has an over-sized ego and doesn't know how to self correct earlier, and limit those people's influence/power so they can't do harm to society? I think some well-thought-through studies/experiments on the subject would be interesting... That's why I think soft sciences are more important than they're given credit for today. Admittedly I will openly criticize those already in the soft sciences as they do have significant resources and I don't see them tackling this -- what I believe to be the biggest issue of our times -- openly... so maybe it's not about needing more resources in the soft sciences its about helping them show their value with the resources they have... That may be the right answer too...

What are your thoughts?

Garrett


Research suggests it's mostly the half of us with higher levels of testosterone:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/24/o ... /&referer=

Tongue in cheek, of course... Well, for the most part.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Serpent on July 5th, 2017, 10:17 am 

someguy1 -- -- Scratch a do-gooder, find a totalitarian torturer.

This is my problem. This is not the epitome of "raising a legitimate concern". How do you suppose it scans as a logical position?

Some bad people have done some bad things in the name of noble causes.
Therefore anyone who explores any avenue toward improving any situation must have a totalitarian agenda.
Therefore all good intentions must be opposed.

I'll grant the OP was ambiguous. So why not ask the poster to define his terms, outline his proposal, clarify his concepts... Or, you could simply dismiss his idea. But why accuse him of atrocity? When I expressed similar misgivings about a person actually in power who had actually made alarming promises and exhibited bad behaviours, I was reprimanded for jumping to extreme conclusions. Why is it laudable to leap to even worse conclusions on the basis of one vague, poorly articulated idea?
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Braininvat on July 5th, 2017, 10:31 am 

You could take his (Someguy's) pungent phrasing that way, but I took him to mean "do gooder" in the more pejorative sense of someone who is absolutely certain what is best for everyone else. I took him to be implying that science is not the discipline for determining what is the best way to live. And philosophy, well, requires free and open dialogue, aka dialectic, to define what is an improvement. So, no, I don't think anyone was opposing good intentions. So long as they are informed by an understanding of what others value and how they may perceive your intentions.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby BioWizard on July 5th, 2017, 11:30 am 

Braininvat » 05 Jul 2017 09:31 am wrote:You could take his pungent phrasing that way, but I took him to mean "do gooder" in the more pejorative sense of someone who is absolutely certain what is best for everyone else.


I personally didn't get "absolute certainty" from his post. If anything, I took his agenda to be more about group exploration than any kind of enforcement, per say. In other words, I took his approach to be more about improving the tools rather than imposing the outcomes. Granted that was my personal take and it could very well turn out to be wrong. Though can it be argued that my take was less logical/valid than some1guy's at this point in time?
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Serpent on July 5th, 2017, 11:56 am 

Braininvat » July 5th, 2017, 9:31 am wrote:You could take his pungent phrasing that way, but I took him to mean "do gooder" in the more pejorative sense of someone who is absolutely certain what is best for everyone else. I took him to be implying that science is not the discipline for determining what is the best way to live. And philosophy, well, requires free and open dialogue, aka dialectic, to define what is an improvement. So, no, I don't think anyone was opposing good intentions. So long as they are informed by an understanding of what others value and how they may perceive your intentions.

Should we perhaps define "do-gooder" before scratching one?

Anyway, what's the kerfuffle over torture? Hasn't torture of its enemies been official policy of duly-constituted US governments, ever since they started declaring "war" of unspecified objectives on ill-defined concepts?
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Braininvat on July 5th, 2017, 12:32 pm 

Maybe another term than "do-gooder" would be better. I have only heard it used pejoratively. "Humanitarian" seems better, maybe. For one thing, it doesn't contain the problematic concept of "good." Entire philosophy threads have foundered on the rocks of what is the Good. This is my half-baked impression, but it seems like humanitarians are more focused on alleviating what is demonstrably evil and inimical to life and liberty, than on the Platonic pretzel of The Good. Starvation, oppression, sexism, racism, poverty, fear, and illiteracy seem easier to define than whatever numinous Good appears in their absence. This is just off-the-cuff stuff, don't anyone take this as a rejection of the search for Goodness. I am more practical, than philosophic. :-)
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Serpent on July 5th, 2017, 1:42 pm 

Braininvat » July 5th, 2017, 11:32 am wrote:Maybe another term than "do-gooder" would be better. I have only heard it used pejoratively. "Humanitarian" seems better, maybe.

Do you think so? Would "Scratch a humanitarian and find a totalitarian torturer" work better?
One problem is that "do-gooder" has been the standard pejorative applied to humanitarians and progressives or every type and stripe, by conservatives of the strident right. Up until recently, it was a relatively benign, dismissive term for reformers and for advocates of any aspect of social justice.
In recent times, however, the escalating hostility of rhetoric has taken a steep upward curve.
It's not all in good fun anymore.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Braininvat on July 5th, 2017, 4:01 pm 

Well, it wouldn't work better as something to attach that extreme negative to. That was sorta my point. I thought you were asking about a term that was less pejorative, less liable to be hijacked by those who would mock social justice. I thought the rest of my post conveyed that.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby someguy1 on July 5th, 2017, 4:56 pm 

Braininvat » July 5th, 2017, 2:01 pm wrote:Well, it wouldn't work better as something to attach that extreme negative to. That was sorta my point. I thought you were asking about a term that was less pejorative, less liable to be hijacked by those who would mock social justice. I thought the rest of my post conveyed that.


I don't mock social justice. If you gave me a list with the top 100 agenda items of the social justice movement I'd be in agreement with probably 80 or 85 percent of them. I say top 100 instead of top ten because I would want a detailed and nuanced list. I've been a liberal all my life.

However I do believe in individual freedom. A "do-gooder" is someone who knows better than you what's best for you. A horrifying case in current news is the plight of eight month old Charlie Gard, a British baby with a rare disease. His parents have raised 1.8 million dollars in private funds (not a nickel of public funds involved) for experimental treatment available only in the US. A European commission has refused to allow the parents to take Charlie to the US and instead decreed that Charlie Gard must die. Those are do-gooders. People who think THEY know what's best for YOU, even to the extent that they decide that what's best for you is to die. This is the end result of an all-powerful state that usurps individual liberty.

By the way, two people who have expressed support for Baby Charlie: Donald Trump and the Pope. If those two agree, you know the commissars are in the wrong. Rather than supply links you can Google Charlie Gard and see hundreds of articles written from every political perspective. This is a huge case happening right this moment that illustrates what happens when the State has the power of life or death over private citizens using private funds to save the life of their baby.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Braininvat on July 5th, 2017, 5:37 pm 

I don't mock social justice....



If you peer back up the thread, you will see that I wasn't suggesting you were. If you do, you will find points of agreement between us. Like Thoreau, if I see a man approach my door, bent on doing me some good, I will run for my life.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby thinker4life on July 5th, 2017, 5:44 pm 

BioWizard » July 5th, 2017, 10:30 am wrote:
Braininvat » 05 Jul 2017 09:31 am wrote:You could take his pungent phrasing that way, but I took him to mean "do gooder" in the more pejorative sense of someone who is absolutely certain what is best for everyone else.


I personally didn't get "absolute certainty" from his post. If anything, I took his agenda to be more about group exploration than any kind of enforcement, per say. In other words, I took his approach to be more about improving the tools rather than imposing the outcomes. Granted that was my personal take and it could very well turn out to be wrong. Though can it be argued that my take was less logical/valid than some1guy's at this point in time?


As the person posting the question I can validate that you were much more correct than someguy, thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt.

Kind regards,
Garrett
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby someguy1 on July 5th, 2017, 6:16 pm 

thinker4life » July 5th, 2017, 3:44 pm wrote:
As the person posting the question I can validate that you were much more correct than someguy, thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt.


Oh I understand your intentions perfectly. You are supposing some kind of ideal world. I'm simply noting the actual historical results of the kind of system you propose.

When you say, "Come up with a common definition of who is responsible enough to handle power ...," exactly how do you think a thing like that is decided in the real world? By "nice" people? Or by totalitarian thugs? Who will make such a decision? You come before some board of "nice" people and they say, Oh, this one is responsible and that one isn't.

You are naive enough to not understand that such decisions are inevitably political and must result in human rights abuses?
Last edited by someguy1 on July 5th, 2017, 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby thinker4life on July 5th, 2017, 6:17 pm 

someguy1 » July 5th, 2017, 3:56 pm wrote:
Braininvat » July 5th, 2017, 2:01 pm wrote:Well, it wouldn't work better as something to attach that extreme negative to. That was sorta my point. I thought you were asking about a term that was less pejorative, less liable to be hijacked by those who would mock social justice. I thought the rest of my post conveyed that.


I don't mock social justice. If you gave me a list with the top 100 agenda items of the social justice movement I'd be in agreement with probably 80 or 85 percent of them. I say top 100 instead of top ten because I would want a detailed and nuanced list. I've been a liberal all my life.

However I do believe in individual freedom. A "do-gooder" is someone who knows better than you what's best for you. A horrifying case in current news is the plight of eight month old Charlie Gard, a British baby with a rare disease. His parents have raised 1.8 million dollars in private funds (not a nickel of public funds involved) for experimental treatment available only in the US. A European commission has refused to allow the parents to take Charlie to the US and instead decreed that Charlie Gard must die. Those are do-gooders. People who think THEY know what's best for YOU, even to the extent that they decide that what's best for you is to die. This is the end result of an all-powerful state that usurps individual liberty.

By the way, two people who have expressed support for Baby Charlie: Donald Trump and the Pope. If those two agree, you know the commissars are in the wrong. Rather than supply links you can Google Charlie Gard and see hundreds of articles written from every political perspective. This is a huge case happening right this moment that illustrates what happens when the State has the power of life or death over private citizens using private funds to save the life of their baby.


By my definition of good and evil, the people who made that decision are doing evil, not good, and I can't see how what they're doing is well-intentioned which is required for someone to be a do-gooder. You can see my definitions here (my other thread on the topic was shut down by our friendly administrator):
https://goo.gl/kSajGC
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Serpent on July 5th, 2017, 7:10 pm 

I wasn't concerned with the terminology so much as the presumption of guilt. Someguy1 did attach that extreme to the word he used.
I don't agree with thinker4life on several particulars.
But I don't see where he's proposed a "system", or advocated an all-powerful state overriding individual decisions over babies' health care options - I'm pretty sure he's not even working for any agency of a state, let alone control one single-handedly - or in any other way resembled Mao or Stalin. What I object to is characterizing people as arch-villains on tenuous evidence and without a hearing.
Isn't that what totalitarians do?
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby someguy1 on July 5th, 2017, 7:45 pm 

Serpent » July 5th, 2017, 5:10 pm wrote:I wasn't concerned with the terminology so much as the presumption of guilt.


Not guilt. Hopeless naivety.

I took OP's exact phrase: "Help society identify people who are not responsible enough to handle power
..."

I thought of some examples. African-Americans weren't thought to be "responsible enough to handle power" in the American south before the Civil War. The so-called "enlightened" northerners, those whom you and the OP would presumably call the good guys, decided that blacks were worth 3/5 of whites for voting purposes.

After the Civil War, these pillars of society in the US government committed genocide on the native Americans. Again, a case of society identifying people who are not responsible enough," etc.

Hitler was a great student and admirer of the old west and reportedly based his genocide of the Jews on the US's genocide of the native Americans. You remember the Jews in Germany. One day the powers that be decided that they weren't "responsible enough to handle power" and denied them the right to own stores, marry non-Jews, and eventually even to live.

Must I really go on?

You are flogging a strawman argument, pretending that I am accusing the OP of having genocidal ambitions. Nothing could be further from the truth. OP is a classic do-gooder, someone who thinks we can use the power of State to reform human nature. OP thinks that if only State power were used wisely and benevolently, then we could rid society of those "not responsible to handle power" and so forth.

History shows otherwise. Reality shows otherwise. The moment you separate society into the favored and disfavored, politics appears, often followed by genocide.

OP is a nice guy. Hasn't got an evil bone in his body. I do understand that. He's probably hurt that I'm throwing these examples in his face.

All I've got on my side is several millennia of human history. "The rode to hell is paved with good intentions." This is what that old saying is talking about. We want to categorize our fellow citizens as those worthy of holding power and authority and those not. Well hey how about those blacks. Or how about those Jews. Or how about those pesky Armenians genocided by the Turks? Must I really go on with these examples? And must you continue to pretend I impute evil motives to the OP? I impute to the OP nothing more than the terminal and hopeless naivety of all the do-gooders of the world who thought they knew best who was good and who wasn't.

Only Santa Claus knows that. And he doesn't exist.

If you or the OP would present a rational argument or evidence as to how society would categorize people into deserving and undeserving, I would like to hear it. I would like to hear a rational argument, not just another complaint that I'm miscontruing the OP by quoting his actual words.
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Re: Why "soft" science is more important than "hard" science

Postby Serpent on July 5th, 2017, 9:29 pm 

All of those things happen.
Lots of people think they know better than other people. Some are correct, some are mistaken.

Take the case of poor little Charlie Gard that you brought up. What does the child want?
It seems to me, he's just the football in the middle of a scrimmage of people who all think they know what's best for him.
The parents have proprietary rights.... Should parents always have the right to do as they wish with their children? Or only sometimes? What's their motivation? On what do they base their conviction of knowing what's best?
The doctors have medical knowledge on which to base their prognosis. On the one side, the doctors' motivation is unclear; the doctors on the other side have something to gain from an expensive experiment.... Should either of their opinions be paramount?
The court has to decide between them, because that is its job. Courts have been called upon to decide thousands of cases where relatives and medical personnel - who all thought they knew best - couldn't agree on how a comatose, brain-damaged or terminal patient was to be handled. They have to decide on the basis of evidence presented to them, and presumably according to a law and/or mandate that had been established long before this particular court was empaneled. Those laws and mandates were known to all the litigants who brought a case before a court.
If we don't like the verdict, we rail at the court - and yet we rely on the rule of law.
Trump and the pope have no stake or part in the matter - just their own axes to grind. Their opinion is exactly equal in importance to yours and mine.

There are plenty of people in nurseries, schools, prisons and mental institutions who are not deemed responsible enough to handle weapons of any kind, let alone nuclear ones.... or cars or bulldozers.

Somebody decided that about each and every one of those people, on some basis. Somebody had to know what's best for them. Societies take this for granted. They wrangle and debate, argue and fight over how it's going to be done, what the rules will be, who will make the decisions, who will give the orders.
Politics doesn't suddenly enter when a decision is to be made; politics we have always with us.
Yes, most societies do it badly, most of the time.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, where does the road paved with bad intentions lead?
Why does that mean it's wrong to think or talk about?
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