0764: "One Two"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
SirMustapha
Posts: 1302
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:07 pm UTC

Re: Self-Referential 1 2 many sentences

Postby SirMustapha » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:41 pm UTC

scarletmanuka wrote:Clicking the random button ten times, the first result I got was Trebuchet. The fourth result was Packages. The sixth was Swingset. The seventh was Nerd Sniping. The eighth was Sleet. The ninth was Babies. To me, those are all ones where Randall is making fun of himself. Six out of ten is a pretty high proportion.


This may be a matter of personal view, but I don't think any of those comics quality. Off the top of my head I remember Search History, in which Randall takes his "Raptor" obsession and genuinely mocks it, but even that obsession reached the point of being a "quirky" and "different" geeky quality. In those comics you mentioned, Randall is just taking his interests and using them to make jokes; he's not mocking them. In fact, in "Trebuchet", he's praising his interest in childish toys by turning the girl into a "strawman" character; in "Packages" the character (Randall?) it not at all the butt of the joke. Perhaps "Sleet" gets close, but the set-up is so exaggerated and charicatured that it's just probably meant to have an inverse effect -- the "lol I do that sometimes too!" identification.

Besides, when Randall is not directly trying to please his fanbase, he's VERY bitter and preachy. Check out this one; even though I agree with the basic sentiment, that's a very obnoxious way of putting it. I think that is the overall feeling I get from him, and even if the attack at anthropologists was meant as just a friendly jibe, it didn't come across as that. Sometimes a joke betrays an actual sentiment; I think most of us have been through that. Things like that happen: nobody said making comedy was easy.

The problem now is that, since Randall has admitted it was Just A Joke, what will become of the people who were using the comic as an excuse to genuinely insult other fields? "Yeah, those anthropologists have a very easy time! Woe is me and my extremely hard science!" How will that stuff sound now?

grol4
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:11 pm UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby grol4 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:17 pm UTC

XbHW_TestEngr wrote:Also, I've noticed that Math/Physics/EE building(s) are at the opposite end of the campus from the "Arts" (dance, music, theater, ceramics) building(s). I think it is a grand scheme to prevent cross-breeding between the groups.

Which, I tell from experience, doesn't work. Almost every student-couple I know is cross-breeding.

On the alt-text itself: I laughed my but off.
I could already imagine the rage from some random Anthropologist who didn't got the joke :)

mandor
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:18 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby mandor » Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:22 pm UTC

"Hard" scientist engineers, physicists, informaticians (cs is a stupid term), mathematicians, et cetera are constantly being mocked as socially inept sociopaths and losers (even by Randall) without complaining yet some social scientists seem to get very defensive when they get mocked. Of course one mocking does not justify another but it seems pretty irreasonable. I even agree that Randall wasn't really joking in his alt-text so of course you guys may feel offended. The post-zinging and his other comics clearly hints at this.

I am also in agreement that "hard" scientist are often being arrogant towards other academics and have on average much less knowledge of epistemology and it's history than social scientists. That is our fault and I often stress to fellow students how important I feel knowledge about this is. Hell, it's the fucking basics. I am an informatician (with a psychology minor - oh my!) and considering getting a bachelor's degree in philosophy next year so I have a soft side for the humanities and social sciences.

Having said that... I have some reservations about the grip that some kind of postmodernist "anything goes"-all-encompassing-relativism-hard-science-is-bogus thought seems to have on certain fields. I don't want to re-open that discussion because there was a lengthy discussion about that very topic one on this board (and I am not an expert on that topic). But I think that many reservations and the arrogance of hard scientist stems from this exact matter. Some things can only be researched with quantitative methods (I am even working on a informatics project right now where this is the case) and "hard" scientists need to respect that. What many of them will not respect is some english-major showing up," deconstructing" their thesis to show that it's about phallus-driven auto-erotica and that the progress or knowledge found in the thesis is futile or just another power-instrument for the mighty. There is a legitimate space between vulgar "hard" science positivism and "anything goes" in my opinion.

I will also tell a small anecdote here because the topic of "hardness" of studying certain fields came up: Of all the humanities/social science students (friends, acquaintances) I know not a single on had to drop out because of failing their courses. From all those people I started studying with about 70% had to drop out early because of failing exams. Without context and further information this is no proof or not even a good indication. But it certainly evokes a small hunch in me.

And on the topic of cultural progress and intelligence: if we can't objectively measure cultural progress or intelligence we certainly can't rank them. To assume that they are equal like one poster did is a huge a stretch IMHO. I see no logical foundation for such an assumption.

SuperfluousFluteMusic
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:52 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:00 pm UTC

mandor wrote:I will also tell a small anecdote here because the topic of "hardness" of studying certain fields came up: Of all the humanities/social science students (friends, acquaintances) I know not a single on had to drop out because of failing their courses. From all those people I started studying with about 70% had to drop out early because of failing exams. Without context and further information this is no proof or not even a good indication. But it certainly evokes a small hunch in me.


I can illuminate the issue for you, at least a bit. The difficulty may actually be identical, but people perceive certain subjects to be harder than others, which at least may explain it. When matching task difficulty, people both perform worse on tasks considered to be "hard" science, and perceive them as harder as well. (I forget whether the study included testing whether their perception accounted for the effect entirely) Interventions changing perceptions can reduce this, as well.

This isn't a scientific result, but I think people who aren't as confident have this effect magnified. Part of the issue could also be that people in certain subjects are less likely to be informed on psychology that relates to education for example, and consequently don't construct classes in a manner as conducive to the students, even if the subject matter itself is the same in difficulty.

I would have to say that I simply don't know that the difficulty is identical, but clearly there is no reason to believe not, and there are plausible, even somewhat scientifically supported alternatives.

And on the topic of cultural progress and intelligence: if we can't objectively measure cultural progress or intelligence we certainly can't rank them. To assume that they are equal like one poster did is a huge a stretch IMHO. I see no logical foundation for such an assumption.


In accordance with what you are saying, even if you can rank intelligence, that isn't a justification for social stratification based on it. Proper social intelligence dictates that.

mandor
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:18 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby mandor » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:37 am UTC

Interventions changing perceptions can reduce this, as well.

That is in an interesting study I must say. Do you remember the name of the study? It would be interesting to know if the change in perception can eliminate them completely.

and consequently don't construct classes in a manner as conducive to the students

But couldn't this be said to be a form of difficulty? It is certainly unnecessary difficulty and I share the same sentiment that a low pedogical level seems to be more prevalent in "hard" science courses.

I would have to say that I simply don't know that the difficulty is identical, but clearly there is no reason to believe not, and there are plausible, even somewhat scientifically supported alternatives.

I am not a fan of that line of reasoning. Just because we do not know we can not assume it is identical. In contrast. Study courses are complex social structures that can differ in many variables - it would be very weird if they share the same difficulty characteristics. These might be different to different people but if you factor in the amount of people that find this or that difficult you can set a difficulty ranking. Which I am sure exists. Determining it in a scientifically sound way is another story though - on that I agree with you.

In accordance with what you are saying, even if you can rank intelligence, that isn't a justification for social stratification based on it. Proper social intelligence dictates that.

No it wouldn't be a justification for it (and I don't advocate it). But it also wouldn't be a justification against it.
Is there a definition for "proper" social intelligence? Who defines what that is?

Faranya
Posts: 259
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:10 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Faranya » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:49 pm UTC

[quote='XbHW_TestEngr']Also, I've noticed that Math/Physics/EE building(s) are at the opposite end of the campus from the "Arts" (dance, music, theater, ceramics) building(s). I think it is a grand scheme to prevent cross-breeding between the groups.[/quote]

Pfft, our entire Engineering faculty gets its own (small) campus. So does the medical faculty. Everyone else (including Comp-Sci) is stuck on the same campus.
Image

cedra
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:40 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby cedra » Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:51 am UTC

Side stepping the debate about whether anthropology is a kind of tea-cosy:

Research out of the University of Melbourne (Dr Fiona Reynolds) addressed Whorf's theory that language limits cognition by getting indigenous Australian people in urban (English speaking) and more traditional settings (where the languages display the same tendency as this comic refers to, number words are "one' "two" "more than two/many") and found no significant difference in non-verbal numeracy in children in either setting.

So, the words are not present but the understanding is.

Anyway, back to the important arguing you were doing.

SuperfluousFluteMusic
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:52 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:35 am UTC

mandor wrote:That is in an interesting study I must say. Do you remember the name of the study? It would be interesting to know if the change in perception can eliminate them completely.


I started to look for it, and gave up. I found it on Psychinfo about 4 months ago. It should not be too hard to find, but I was busy, and automatic logout got to me. I will edit this later with the citation.

mandor wrote:But couldn't this be said to be a form of difficulty? It is certainly unnecessary difficulty and I share the same sentiment that a low pedogical level seems to be more prevalent in "hard" science courses.


That is definitely true. Some people would try to use that to say that the subject matter is more difficult, and therefore superior, though, and I wanted to debunk that.

mandor wrote:I am not a fan of that line of reasoning. Just because we do not know we can not assume it is identical.


I was actually agreeing with this line of thought. I meant to point out there is not strong reason to believe either way, at least based on research. I also meant to say that there are plausible (but not very certain) alternatives to the difficulty being the same.

mandor wrote:In contrast. Study courses are complex social structures ... is another story though - on that I agree with you.


That is true.

We can gauge task complexity with the Model of Hierarchical Complexity. It would require a pretty exhaustive examination of the different aspects of each class in order to judge, though.

Though I suppose that is not a complete examination of difficulty. Still, it might be possible to examine other issues by varying them. (perhaps not in a classroom setting, but education techniques are experimented with all the time, so I am not sure it is that big of a deal)

mandor wrote:No it wouldn't be a justification for it (and I don't advocate it). But it also wouldn't be a justification against it.
Is there a definition for "proper" social intelligence? Who defines what that is?


That is absolutely true, but I was taking it as a given that social stratification based on arbitrary rules is essentially always wrong. Basically, you are draining resources from and restricting opportunities to people or fields and producing no benefit for anyone, instead just weakening that group, ultimately weakening the larger social group as a whole.

Without examining a quantifiable basis, there is. Of course, it is not that certain, just as judgments of other forms of intelligent are not certain. People with social intelligence will understand better the issue of social intelligence itself, also. It is basically a recognition of how good someone is at various social tasks.

It can also be judged with the Model of Hierarchical Complexity, which is more objective.

Turing Machine
Posts: 98
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:48 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Turing Machine » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:43 pm UTC

cedra wrote:Side stepping the debate about whether anthropology is a kind of tea-cosy:

Research out of the University of Melbourne (Dr Fiona Reynolds) addressed Whorf's theory that language limits cognition by getting indigenous Australian people in urban (English speaking) and more traditional settings (where the languages display the same tendency as this comic refers to, number words are "one' "two" "more than two/many") and found no significant difference in non-verbal numeracy in children in either setting.

So, the words are not present but the understanding is.

Anyway, back to the important arguing you were doing.


I figured moving to the city did not affect mean IQ, thanks for confirming!

:hifive:

secretmurph
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:00 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby secretmurph » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:03 pm UTC

i was wondering when you'd get the guts to pick on us anthro majors. ;)

User avatar
RockoTDF
Posts: 582
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:08 am UTC
Location: Tucson, AZ, US
Contact:

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby RockoTDF » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:49 pm UTC

phantomb wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:You aren't getting what I mean. I totally understand that we can't rank cultures. But that doesn't mean that we have to assume that they are all equal.


Yeah, it sort of does, in that if there is no objective way to rank something, the term equal is meaningless. This is what anthropologists mean when they say that cultures are equal. They don't mean that the cultures in question are equivalent in every possible way, they just mean that there's no objective way to say that one is better than another, and that to try and do so is to invite ethnocentrism into your perspective.


Saying that "they are equal" is a meaningful statement based on information that you claim is meaningless. So this argument makes no sense.

RockoTDF wrote:For example, there is no way to objectively measure intelligence. There are many kinds of intelligence (mathematical, linguistic, artistic, etc), just like there are many aspects of a culture/civilization that one can consider (technology, religion, life expectancy, women's rights, etc). Do we assume that all people are of equal intelligence? Definitely not.


Yes, we do (or should), and for the same reason. I can look at an artist and say that I'm more intelligent because my mathematical skill is better than his, and he can look at me and say that he's more intelligent because he has superior visual-spatial skills, but ultimately no one person is better than another at everything, and lacking an objective way to decide which kinds of intelligence are better than others, it becomes meaningless to try and rank people by intelligence. Right now our society tends to say that the mathematician is more intelligent than the artist, but this is a bias. In another society or at a different time, the majority of people might agree that the opposite is true.


It does become meaningless to rank people by intelligence when you are comparing two people with incredibly different skills (artist vs. mathematician). However, no one assumes that a mediocre mathematician is equally as intelligent as a Field's medal winner, which is basically what your argument about culture would claim if applied to intelligence.
Just because it is not physics doesn't mean it is not science.
http://www.iomalfunction.blogspot.com <---- A collection of humorous one liners and science jokes.

SuperfluousFluteMusic
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:52 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:09 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:Saying that "they are equal" is a meaningful statement based on information that you claim is meaningless. So this argument makes no sense.


I am not claiming to represent phantomb, or argue for him, but this just stood out to me as glaring. You did not even address his argument.

His claim was essentially that no objective, logical comparison could be made that would allow the term equal to be used. However, because ethnocentrism should be rejected, terming cultures as equal is important. He was also crediting Anthropologists with that idea.

You are confusing a social argument with a semantic one. Both are important, and relevant, but they are also separate.

One cannot draw a distinction between ranking cultures, and viewing them as unequal. Unless by unequal, one merely means not equivalent. Still, that is not what most people think of when the term equal is used in a social context, so that is misleading. People in general will not actually make this distinction. They will include it as a singular idea without reforming their viewpoint in general, and then instead will use it to justify their current state. (which may include ethnocentrism. Many people who are ethnocentric will also gravitate towards that idea) A demonstration of that is you using that idea to make an argument for social inequality.

I am not quite sure that is what you meant to say, though. I agree with your original logical point, which was that you cannot assume equality logically (as mentioned above), but I think phantomb agrees with you there. So do I, really.

You then cross into equating it to intelligence, though, which brings up a point I am not sure you wanted to. We do want to judge intelligence within our own society in order to favor better judgments, but that does not equate to judgments of cultures, because that simply causes oppression of other cultures.

You may have just stumbled into working with that logic, though I think that the viewpoint about culture you demonstrated is also real and should be addressed.

RockoTDF wrote:For example, there is no way to objectively measure intelligence. There are many kinds of intelligence (mathematical, linguistic, artistic, etc), just like there are many aspects of a culture/civilization that one can consider (technology, religion, life expectancy, women's rights, etc). Do we assume that all people are of equal intelligence? Definitely not.


At the very least, we cannot view non-objective evaluations as strong. The problem is that you have to be intelligent in a specific area to truly recognize intelligence in that area, subjectively at least.

Judgments of intelligence also may not take into account every factor. For example, depression can lower what intelligence people seem to have, but that does not necessarily tell us ultimately their ability or how their brain would function if not bogged down by the parts involved in depression. (in other words, those parts, the ones that truly define intelligence, may be functional, but other parts may be restricting their functioning)

As for cross-culture subjective evaluation of intelligence, it is the same as a mathematician trying to judge an artist. Systems of ideas in other cultures are the same as another domain within the same culture. The distinctions between areas you mentioned are themselves arbitrarily based on cultural history. In fact, if you look at some artists nowadays, they are blurring the boundaries between music(in the most traditional sense), art (likewise), programming, movies, installation art, and many other domains. Domains are created, and intelligence in them as deep as the greatest genius that worked in them.

RockoTDF wrote:It does become meaningless to rank people by intelligence when you are comparing two people with incredibly different skills (artist vs. mathematician). However, no one assumes that a mediocre mathematician is equally as intelligent as a Field's medal winner, which is basically what your argument about culture would claim if applied to intelligence.


Actually, if a mathematician is merely viewed as mediocre in his or her lifetime, that may be unimportant. Some great geniuses are only recognized after their death.

This also is wrong because of the social argument made before, though you missed that, so I suppose citing that again is not fair. Still, it is relevant.


phantomb wrote:Yes, we do (or should), and for the same ... that the opposite is true.


The social context of judging other cultures is not really relevant when applied to intelligence. Oppression of cultures is very different from evaluating ideas within your own culture, which has value.
Last edited by SuperfluousFluteMusic on Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:22 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.

Ghona
Posts: 246
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 1:28 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Ghona » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:12 pm UTC

SuperfluousFluteMusic wrote:One cannot draw a distinction between ranking cultures, and viewing them as unequal.

Why should cultures be equal?

East German culture, we can all agree, was pretty crappy.
If you're taking me too seriously, you probably are making a mistake.

SuperfluousFluteMusic
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:52 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:18 pm UTC

Ghona wrote:Why should cultures be equal?

East German culture, we can all agree, was pretty crappy.


Cultures should be viewed as equal because declaring them unequal leads to hierarchy and ultimately oppression.

Not everyone thought East German culture was crappy, either. A good portion of people did not. Though, it goes along with the narration of the domination and spread of "democracy" to say otherwise. Taking a specific example does not change the general issue, regardless.

There are other issues here, but I would have to think about it. I have to go, so I cannot spend time on it.

Turing Machine
Posts: 98
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:48 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Turing Machine » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:38 am UTC

SuperfluousFluteMusic wrote:
Ghona wrote:Why should cultures be equal?

East German culture, we can all agree, was pretty crappy.


Cultures should be viewed as equal because declaring them unequal leads to hierarchy and ultimately oppression.

Not everyone thought East German culture was crappy, either. A good portion of people did not. Though, it goes along with the narration of the domination and spread of "democracy" to say otherwise. Taking a specific example does not change the general issue, regardless.

There are other issues here, but I would have to think about it. I have to go, so I cannot spend time on it.


Even if they really are unequal, viewing them that way leads to bad results, so, screw science?

That was sort of the point of this comic, wasn't it? Anthropology is more concerned with causing no offensive and its pre-approved PC narratives than with what is actually true.

Vindication!

User avatar
BioTube
Posts: 362
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:11 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby BioTube » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:59 am UTC

SuperfluousFluteMusic wrote:A demonstration of that is you using that idea to make an argument for social inequality.
Define "social inequality". Railing against that phrase has caused far too much suffering.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

SuperfluousFluteMusic
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:52 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:35 am UTC

Turing Machine wrote:Even if they really are unequal, viewing them that way leads to bad results, so, screw science?

That was sort of the point of this comic, wasn't it? Anthropology is more concerned with causing no offensive and its pre-approved PC narratives than with what is actually true.

Vindication!


I was not talking about anthropology. I was making an argument that was rather separate from science. Also, that is not what I said. There is no way to really know whether they are equal as far as science is concerned, since there is no objective standard. Anthropologists do make a similar argument to what I made, but they do not claim it to be a scientific argument (well, the social part they do not claim to be scientific. The argument in the sentence directly preceding this one is scientific). It is more about ethics surrounding the science, which have evolved, and improved. That leads into my next point, actually. Anthropology originally was extremely poor as far as ethics goes (its precursors were as well), with extremely prevalent racism, but is that way no longer. It has maintained continuity despite that, which further dismantles the idea that it is some kind of vehicle for PC. A comparison equivalent to the one you are making would be declaring biology less of a science because of bioethics.

The change is not all ethics, either. In fact, you could claim that ethics is not the largest part of it. Evolution's increased prevalence and theoretical development helped to overwhelm hierarchical theories of human advancement. It is actually a biological principle that evolution is not a ladder.

People who refer to Basic Human Decency as you did almost invariably do it to justify racism, and it rarely has any validity. Racists get a lot of crap, and I suppose they want a break, but really, I can't do that, and neither can anyone else. You don't get to express racist viewpoints without a response. Basic Human Decency is certainly not applicable in this case. Whether or not it is Basically Decent has nothing to do with the the fact that defining hierarchies and sponsoring them leads to exploitation and abuse of the cultures people view themselves as dominant over, and which they trivialize. Ultimately, I pointed this out, and you decided to deflect that, instead attacking anthropology as Basically Decent. I can grant that distraction to an extent, because that is related to the original point of this thread, but even so, it seems to me to be avoiding arguments that might actually debunk your viewpoint.

User avatar
RockoTDF
Posts: 582
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:08 am UTC
Location: Tucson, AZ, US
Contact:

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby RockoTDF » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:50 am UTC

SuperfluousFluteMusic wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:Saying that "they are equal" is a meaningful statement based on information that you claim is meaningless. So this argument makes no sense.


I am not claiming to represent phantomb, or argue for him, but this just stood out to me as glaring. You did not even address his argument.


I can't address an argument that is illogical.

His claim was essentially that no objective, logical comparison could be made that would allow the term equal to be used. However, because ethnocentrism should be rejected, terming cultures as equal is important. He was also crediting Anthropologists with that idea.

You are confusing a social argument with a semantic one. Both are important, and relevant, but they are also separate.


To say they are separate is also not logically consistent.

One cannot draw a distinction between ranking cultures, and viewing them as unequal. Unless by unequal, one merely means not equivalent. Still, that is not what most people think of when the term equal is used in a social context, so that is misleading. People in general will not actually make this distinction. They will include it as a singular idea without reforming their viewpoint in general, and then instead will use it to justify their current state. (which may include ethnocentrism. Many people who are ethnocentric will also gravitate towards that idea) A demonstration of that is you using that idea to make an argument for social inequality.


I really hope that the "you making an argument for social inequality" was a collective you and not an accusation.

If anthropologists have a problem with the social meaning of the words "equal" or "unequal" they should do as scientists do and make up their own terminology so that the lay public doesn't read their work (or read about their work) and get the wrong idea.

I am not quite sure that is what you meant to say, though. I agree with your original logical point, which was that you cannot assume equality logically (as mentioned above), but I think phantomb agrees with you there. So do I, really.


Ok, so why not say "no culture is superior or inferior, they are all different" which is how we discuss individual people, taste in art, or pretty much any other subjective quality?

You then cross into equating it to intelligence, though, which brings up a point I am not sure you wanted to. We do want to judge intelligence within our own society in order to favor better judgments, but that does not equate to judgments of cultures, because that simply causes oppression of other cultures.


I wasn't talking at all about intelligence across cultures. I'm talking about within cultures.

You may have just stumbled into working with that logic, though I think that the viewpoint about culture you demonstrated is also real and should be addressed.


Huh?

RockoTDF wrote:It does become meaningless to rank people by intelligence when you are comparing two people with incredibly different skills (artist vs. mathematician). However, no one assumes that a mediocre mathematician is equally as intelligent as a Field's medal winner, which is basically what your argument about culture would claim if applied to intelligence.


Actually, if a mathematician is merely viewed as mediocre in his or her lifetime, that may be unimportant. Some great geniuses are only recognized after their death.


Now you are just splitting hairs.

SuperfluousFluteMusic wrote:
Cultures should be viewed as equal because declaring them unequal leads to hierarchy and ultimately oppression.


Does declaring an individual to be more intelligent automatically create a hierarchy? Am I oppressing the janitors because I am a grad student? I understand the social problems caused by bad anthropology, but I don't think it is really ok to replace one bad way of doing science with another bad way of doing science.

Turing Machine wrote:Even if they really are unequal, viewing them that way leads to bad results, so, screw science?

That was sort of the point of this comic, wasn't it? Anthropology is more concerned with causing no offensive and its pre-approved PC narratives than with what is actually true.

Vindication!


That is partially what I am getting at. You can't call anthropology (at least this branch in question) a science as long as it tries to ignore science to remain PC. There are plently of ways to study sensitive issues and differences between groups without being racist or oppressing other cultures.
Just because it is not physics doesn't mean it is not science.
http://www.iomalfunction.blogspot.com <---- A collection of humorous one liners and science jokes.

mystictxe
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:32 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby mystictxe » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:26 am UTC

Simetrical wrote:This is an exercise from the first subsection of the logic textbook I studied as an undergrad:

"Give an example of a homomorphism that is one-one and onto but not an isomorphism....



:roll: :roll: :roll:

SuperfluousFluteMusic
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:52 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:40 am UTC

RockoTDF wrote:I can't address an argument that is illogical.


His argument seemed illogical to you because you did not understand it. Nothing is expressed in a way perfectly clear to every reader. Nonetheless, it certainly was valid.

There was reasoning behind his argument, and you failed to debunk it other than call it illogical and ignore it. If the way he is going about making arguments is wrong, if it does not fit into your ideas of logic, then point out how and why his ideas of reasoning are wrong.

RockoTDF wrote:To say they are separate is also not logically consistent.


That's not true. Viewing other people as "equal" socially is a different idea than viewing them as "equal" logically. They are different ideas, different functions of your brain. This is another meaning of the word, basically. Actually, if you look it up in a dictionary, that becomes even more evident.

RockoTDF wrote:I really hope that the "you making an argument for social inequality" was a collective you and not an accusation.


Actually, that one was not collective. I did not mean it to be that biting, though. I apologize. It was an accusation, nonetheless, and one I endorse. It is true.

You do believe in social equality, I am pretty sure (you have not used those words specifically), but you also have beliefs contrary to social equality. No one is an exception in that, and I am not claiming that I am an exception either. In fact, in some regards, I am rather awful in that, I would say. I am working on it.

If I were to be clear, though, you would not be the strongest case of someone with beliefs contrary to social equality. Certainly, you aim for social equality.

I am just meaning to correct you in this case, and say that your belief is not ideally supportive of social equality.

RockoTDF wrote:If anthropologists have a problem with the social meaning of the words "equal" or "unequal" they should do as scientists do and make up their own terminology so that the lay public doesn't read their work (or read about their work) and get the wrong idea.


I was not talking about anthropologists actually, but just looking at the difference between these two arguments. (though Anthroprologists do use that social argument)

RockoTDF wrote:Ok, so why not say "no culture is superior or inferior, they are all different" which is how we discuss individual people, taste in art, or pretty much any other subjective quality?


That would be fine. Perhaps this is just a semantic argument, then. I suppose not entirely, though.

This is a long-standing definition of the word "equal," also, and I am not sure it needs to be changed. I guess it is somewhat confusing, however. Unfortunately for elucidation, it also may be important regardless.

RockoTDF wrote:I wasn't talking at all about intelligence across cultures. I'm talking about within cultures.


I meant to say that you were using intelligence difference within cultures as an analogy to examine cultural differences.

RockoTDF wrote:Huh?


Basically, I was saying that you happened to use that analogy. More clearly, it may have just been a mistake or a lack of careful choice (we can't make careful choices all the time, though maybe that is just me), though not actually part of what you think. I still thought that it lead into a demonstration and sponsorship of a cognitive scheme that sponsors hierarchy of civilization.

RockoTDF wrote:Now you are just splitting hairs.


Sorry, the only point of that was a fine, minor correction. I should have made that clear.

SuperfluousFluteMusic wrote:
Cultures should be viewed as equal because declaring them unequal leads to hierarchy and ultimately oppression.


RockoTDF wrote:Does declaring an individual to be more intelligent automatically create a hierarchy? Am I oppressing the janitors because I am a grad student? I understand the social problems caused by bad anthropology, but I don't think it is really ok to replace one bad way of doing science with another bad way of doing science.


Yes, it does. We take judgments of intelligence to mean that someone is lesser than us, or below us. It is included in the idea of intelligence, really. At the least, that is true for so many people that everyone will take someone using the idea of intelligence as meaning it in that sense. Basically, a new idea has to be created

Your actions in life are numerous. Someone who holds a viewpoint that sponsors a hierarchy with janitors as higher or lower than themselves will differ in their day-to-day interaction with janitors, how they respond to public initiatives to help out janitors in various ways. (like unionization. Or a political group or organization of janitors looking for donations) If you were someone's boss, you would make hiring decisions that differ depending on the prior job of the applicant. One may be less likely to vote for a politician who supports unions, or reforms of the hierarchy. One may change whether or not they decide to be friends with someone, because they are a janitor. It is also likely that if you ever talked with someone else about the issue, you would influence them towards your viewpoint. (you are part of the culture. You help to create and maintain it) Intelligence is a panacea of an idea for those defining hierarchy, because it is associated with so many things. Janitors are viewed as less intelligent, which is how that plays into this issue. Janitors in our society may be less intelligent, or even just act less intelligent, because they also fill the class roles themselves. It does not necessarily have to be that way, and is not in every culture. Janitors could even be seen as wise advisors who happen to work as sweeps. (they could sweep slowly, and think deeply) I suppose the limitation is that their time and focus is spent on tasks other than thinking, yet that is far from entirely excluding the possibility. (especially not when taking into account free time) I am tempted to say that it does limit it somewhat, though.

As for whether you oppress janitors, you do not by being a graduate student, though you might by holding certain viewpoints in combination with holding certain positions of power. Even without being in a position of particular power, being a citizen in many (or perhaps all, in some form or another) countries is a position with some degree of power in itself. If you never voted or talked to anyone about the issue at all, you would not be reinforcing the hierarchy.

You have inadvertently said that grad students are more intelligent than janitors, though. That reveals the hierarchy, and another way in which it manifests in you. Though maybe you did not actually mean that.

Hierarchy based on intelligence is not wrong, but it does exist. When it comes to cultures, though, the same kind of hierarchy is wholly inappropriate. That was my point. Hierarchies based on defining certain classes or jobs to be less intelligent or less worthy of consideration are definitely wrong.

Citizens that believe in cultural hierarchies will not protest invasions, intrusions, or exploitation of groups of people belonging to other cultures, or vote against politicians who support these kinds of actions.

To bring an idea here that I mentioned before (not in a reply to you), it is more about anthropology ethics than anthropology. Though, there is also the relation to evolution: evolution is not a ladder. In that way, it is also scientific. If you want to claim that anthropology is less of a science because of the ethics surrounding it, you should also claim that bioethics means that biology is less of a science.

Anthropology has also remained continuous despite a shift in ethics from extremely racist to more racially egalitarian. The idea that it is based on supporting PC is implausible based on that.


BioTube wrote:Define "social inequality". Railing against that phrase has caused far too much suffering.


I was specifying a case of social inequality. The case is summarized as imperialistic viewpoints that create hierarchies between nations.

It does not need to be called social inequality

User avatar
BioTube
Posts: 362
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:11 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby BioTube » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:12 pm UTC

SuperfluousFluteMusic wrote:Citizens that believe in cultural hierarchies will not protest invasions, intrusions, or exploitation of groups of people belonging to other cultures, or vote against politicians who support these kinds of actions.
It's entirely possible to believe a culture inferior without accepting the murder of its members or destruction of their property.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

brownbat
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:31 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby brownbat » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:27 pm UTC

Simetrical wrote:Provide some series of sense data that would falsify this statement: "Everyone has a soul, which is not physically detectable...

(Don't try to weasel out of it by saying that you might die and find out that you have a soul which is physically detectable, or anything like that. You get my point.)


I'll provide a generalized solution:

You eventually become convinced of a reliable and knowledgeable third party, who affirms x is true (or false, as the case may have it).

You might balk here. Because you said that the souls were undetectable, you have grounds to question the knowledge of the third party. But this guy is really reliable about everything else. Having some grounds to question him is insufficient to effectively convince you that he's wrong anymore. In fact, say there've been grounds to question him dozens of times, but he's always come out right in the end. Did I say dozens? I meant millions. Your doubts always seem silly in hindsight, the game is getting old, you just implicitly trust him now.

Maybe he claims to be able to derive these facts from first principles. Maybe he demonstrates how you can do the same. Maybe he gives you a rigorous education in the nature of souls with plenty of testable demonstrations, and explains all the situations which could possibly cause souls to be undetectable, and the framework required for understanding how these aspects of consciousness works renders the idea of undetectability absurd.

Or maybe you become convinced that things which fall outside Popper's falsifiability criterion must be false, because of the way you have come to understand what it means to be a fact about the world or existence. At this point, you either believe me that you can someday falsify the claim via authority, or you don't believe me, which in turn falsifies the claim.

Or maybe you take LSD and develop an internal sense that x is false.

Or maybe you wake up in a strange world, and someone explains that your understanding of consciousness in your dream of this life was way off the mark in the actual world, so to have an undetectable copy of your consciousness becomes completely absurd.

Or maybe you realize that someone just made up this hypo for a debate in an online forum, and your understanding of true claims about the world is that they are not to be discovered by consulting disposable hypos used in forums.

Ok, now let's step back a second. Maybe you still don't buy my arguments for this pet hypo, and want to respond down the line. Before you do that, stop a second and think of all the work logical positivists are trying to get out of falsifiability. They're trying to cover religious truths that are way easier to falsify than your problem. Wine is blood, for one. Or say Thor comes down from the clouds tomorrow, tosses a mighty hammer around, and insists all other gods are false. Sooner or later you take him at his word. If a man builds a magical time machine and shows you Jesus sneaking out of the grave to live a happy life, you've falsified much of Christianity.

Don't get me wrong, I maintain my primary position, that falsifiability gets you nowhere as a criterion of meaning. But my fallback position is that falsifiability doesn't get you nearly as far as Popper would like. I hope I've at least explained why such a position is defensible?

It seems like all the "criterion of meaning" projects face a sheep and goats problem. They tend to either kick out too many good statements or leave in too many bad ones. So Quine suggested that statements vary in degree, but not in kind. It's really not that crazy of a position to hold, especially once you realize that acknowledging the possibility of evidence which might revise your claims is the bedrock of empiricism anyway.

You should consider reading Two Dogmas of Empiricism. Rejecting those dogmas will only make you a better empiricist.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5474
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:53 am UTC

On the subject of the meaning of the world "equality" (and tangentially on the subject of whether acknowledging quantitative differences between people, e.g. intelligence, implies discarding the idea of equality of moral worth), how's this sort of thing sound?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that the moral worths of different persons are incommensurable..."

It's not saying that people are equal in every way. It's not even talking about what people are like aside from their moral worthiness. But it's not even saying everyone has the same moral worth. It's saying the moral worths or any two people can't be compared; there's no way of saying whether or not they are equal.

Seems that is the kind of idea you all are gesturing toward with this talk of whether to call things "equal" or not, and I thought I'd point out that there's already a word for it: incommensurable.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

CogitoSum
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:27 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby CogitoSum » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:24 am UTC

Addendum

Coloured by still images seen
Through the frames of a greyscale sea
The diorama of a cut-out life
Fashioned by a dull, blunt knife

Holds no red, no blood to let
Moves but when it's set
Follows the carousel's cruel twist
Strings released and left to drift

Upon the ocean's subtle swell
Until her final, resounding knell.

--------------------------------------------


Hopefully that settles it.

SuperfluousFluteMusic
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:52 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby SuperfluousFluteMusic » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:10 pm UTC

BioTube wrote:It's entirely possible to believe a culture inferior without accepting the murder of its members or destruction of their property.


Merely citing "murder" and "destruction of property" can be sort of iffy, because there are lots of other ways to exploit or oppress cultures. Sometimes merely interfering can create societal changes that lead to chaos.

If you honestly sponsor those along with almost any mention with a culture being inferior, then I agree. Otherwise, though, at certain points you will be reinforcing imperialism. It seems to me that you honestly think this though, so you must not sponsor imperialism.

Edit: I was wrong. Creating a hierarchy does naturally lead to oppression. Perhaps we can try not to interfere, but the reality is that there will always be a temptation to act based upon perceived superiority. There is even a logical reason to do so if you believe in superiority. As long as one can view any certain intervention as more important than not interfering, it can be allowed, and harm can be done if one is mistaken. This is also very probable, given that most reasons to interfere are based in cultural difference alone, and there is often quite a degree of misunderstanding involved. More than that, these are frequently overambitious attempts at cultural change that can never work because of the sheer distance from the current culture and unlikelihood of timely acceptance. This problem does go beyond cultural hierarchy, though. Do you interfere in the case of a natural disaster? (I would have to say that the answer is yes, though generally those interventions are considerate because they are often not primarily based on perceived superiority)

Pfhorrest wrote:On the subject ... incommensurable.


Equal is also used in the sense we are talking about, though, and has been for a long time. Incommensurable is a good word to describe part of the phenomena, but the point is that cultures are incommensurable, and that therefore they are social equals.

justaguy
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:00 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby justaguy » Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:12 am UTC

RockoTDF wrote:
If anthropologists have a problem with the social meaning of the words "equal" or "unequal" they should do as scientists do and make up their own terminology so that the lay public doesn't read their work (or read about their work) and get the wrong idea.


I'm an anthropologist. I would never say that two cultures are equal, or unequal and I suspect that most anthropologists would find any discussion of quantifying or comparing cultures in that way completely meaningless. Are there any anthropologists who say that different cultures are equal in a quantitative sense?

I don't know why every conversation about different cultures with folks in other sciences turns to issues of comparison and quantification, but its something that anthropologists are, in general, thoroughly uninterested in. That is not, as you suspect, for PC purposes but empirical ones. On the one hand, the framework within which you would attempt to quantify cultures tells you more about your own preconceptions than the phenomena that you're studying. On the other, we tend to be more interested in looking at social groups as interrelated parts and seeing how they function holistically.

Black
Posts: 81
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:24 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Black » Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:14 pm UTC

This is how you make fun of anthropologists (SMBC):

Spoiler:
Image


The delivery of this joke is good, and the actual content of the joke itself is unoffensive regardless the context. "Anthropologists take risks interacting with potentially hostile cultures in order to understand them." It is all delivery and hyperbole.

On the other hand, the alt-text is offensive under many interpretations, and its delivery is flat. When you build a joke around an insult, you don't get a free pass, you have to deliver it well or you get burned, because a bad insult joke is just an insult.

User avatar
suffer-cait
Yes, that's my perfectly normal house cat, why do you ask?
Posts: 2575
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:01 am UTC
Location: da aina
Contact:

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby suffer-cait » Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:59 am UTC

so no one's mentioned this but the squigim in bruce coville's Unicorn Chronicles counts 'one, two, many, many, many...' probably still a refrence to that tribe, but still
ImageImageImageImageImage

Yuri797
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:00 pm UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Yuri797 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:19 am UTC

from canada wrote:
They get to write letters like that because when you're not getting a real science degree you have a lot of free time.





FUCKERS XD


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 92 guests