Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Not just Southern Spain (Score 5, Insightful) 230

Indeed. I once met an environmentalist who worked advising on carbon credits. I asked, what if CO2 isn't a real problem and meanwhile other pollutants are worse? The person replied, "it doesn't matter if CO2 isn't a problem, because by forcing a reduction in CO2, you're forcing a reduction in production, and a reduction in consumption," and then they added with emphasis, "it's about reducing greed."

The whole climate change movement has unfortunately mixed together ethics and science. And used "science" as the "reason" to accept the ethics. You "MUST" cut CO2 and do it in the societal-changing ways we believe in.

So I really am of the opinion that, by using science to push forward a particular ethics, they are damaging science's credibility as a source of OBJECTIVE truths.

Ethics ARE indeed essential, and essential in a different domain: ethics are INTERSUBJECTIVE values. People get together and think about how they want to treat each other. It is subjective (you cannot "prove" that survival of the fittest is a better way to live than trying to help everyone be equal.) Ethical questions are things we reason out as a group, as a society, and so on. So it is inter-subjective whilst science focusses on objective truths.

But the moment you wrap your particular ethical beliefs inside science hypothesis, models, and observations, then anyone who ends up disagreeing with that set of science hypotheses, models, and observations, ends up on the wrong side of the ETHICS, which is why "denialist" is used to mean that that person is NASTY horrible uncaring and funded by some evil interest group.

I personally am all for a progressive humanity and humanism and more ethical living. It is morally ghastly that a human being born today might die in a war zone starving to death, or live a prosperous life, simply by accident of where they happened to be born on this rock. It is morally wrong also, that we don't seem to be able to organise around developing good abundant cleaner sources of energy (not windfarms, I said abundant) and instead are mired in decade-long politics and market crazy games. And, crucially, these are questions about ETHICS. They are not science.

Kennedy even said in his Moon speech that technology has no ethics. We should be able to debate ETHICAL questions as a society and lay them clearly on the table as ETHICAL problems. We should not be trying to wrap ethical questions into "science" and claim the science theory happens to DEMAND the particular ethical view which you or some interest group holds. This whole "we HAVE to act" mantra and that you're a "denialist" if you happen to question their view, is absolute rubbish. And it is damaging the public's view of science.

Separate ethics from science, and allow each to do their own job, by their own methods.

Comment Re:But what is a lie? (Score 1) 185

No but :-) see you explained and made clear why you added the "but". And the dictionary definition allows for that usage.

A problem is when people use "but" as a quick way to divert from something, as part of a smoke screen.

Yes I'd love to meet up, awesome, really great, that'll be fantastic, but not today.

Comment Re:But what is a lie? (Score 4, Insightful) 185

I consider myself to be on the Autism Spectrum scale. When I tell stories I want to be detailed; but I have learned that people don't want the full story and prefer summaries. Summaries so short that I more or less have to reinvent the scenario in order to get my point or question out and paid attention to. Since it's not the complete truth; it's a lie. But I want to tell the complete truth but people don't want to hear all the details and angles. It's a profound discrepancy in human communication that I have adapted to; the lie that communicates the essential but not exact truth. Is it a lie when people want/expect you to actually do it?

Lying isn't black and white. You have to interpret how much and what information a person is looking for. You are then lying only when you know what information a person is looking for and if they would care about the inaccuracy of the statement.

I agree it is a problem. I did a kind of psychological exercise where we had to pay attention to lying. The wording and precision really mattered. So even to start a sentence with, "Yes but..." was considered a lie, because the "but" negates the "yes" to some degree. It creates a sort of smoke screen, like, he is saying yes, whereas he really means no, and disguising it under the "yes".

If one learnt to pay attention to when one says "yes but" then one can go on to start to notice other inconsistencies. For example, how easily we invent excuses for things.

I guess when it comes to summaries, and having to make summaries, the issue may be, does the summary alter the person's response or decision? For example, if I have to meet someone and I arrive late and they are wondering whether to be upset with me, does my summary say: "I messed up, I'm late, I'm sorry" which leads them to the feeling that it was my fault, or is my summary worded to make a different effect: "I left on time, awful traffic" which leaves out the detail that I stopped for a grande latte mocha with raspberry syrup on the way?

In other words, does that detail matter? The issue is that most adults lie by telling the 95% of the story which is true, and leaving out the 5% detail which would land them in trouble. So if that detail is important, then it needs to be said.

Comment Re:fallacy (Score 2) 176

Because the human mind is incapable of bias and groups of minds are incapable of systematic bias?! There's a reason we say a real test of a prediction requires waiting for the real future. And this should be obvious to everyone. And before anyone tells "troll", smart intelligent honest people are as subject to bias as anyone, except because they know they are smart and honest, they are also subject to what's called "expert bias". It's just one more thing to be aware of as we pursue greater knowledge and insight. And it is unfortunate that many will dismiss experts purely because the experts say something inconvenient to various selfish interests and ignorance, but that's also just one more thing to bear in mind. Gaining knowledge is hard.

Comment Authoritarian rule (Score 1, Troll) 652

The great thing about authoritarian rule is it is efficient and forces compliance.

The bad thing is when it enforces a wrong policy and causes more harm.

And the trouble is, in life we can never really know whether an idea is correct. So there is always a risk.

Which is why flexibility is needed to some extent, and you always have to step back and say, ok, how can we be so sure?

Right now for example, Australia has been banning a surgeon who has been saying that maybe it isn't such a good idea that diabetics eat sugar.

So whilst vaccinations may seem a perfectly good example of a place where the authorities must take control and implement a view for public safety, it doesn't mean that's always the right call, by default.

It is always and often a risky call. Group-think bias is common amongst anyone who is a human being, expert or not.

Whilst taking action, we need ways to keep checking and keep open the possibility that the experts might be wrong. And we need to take action. And they could be wrong. Anything other than that is just more group-think.

It really isn't enough to say "it is science". You always need to ask, what specifically did they do to figure that thing out? In plain language. How realiable was that method of figuring it out?

Then be as authoritarian as you like in enforcing it.

Comment Re:against traditional American values (Score 3, Interesting) 228

I think there's a lot about our old values which may need changing in the face of better understanding. Even now, left wing tend to assume that if someone is poor, it is because the social system is oppressing them, whilst right wing tend to assume that if someone is poor, it is because the individual lacks good character. And not only is it obviously a combination of both, but it is a complex combination involving genes, family upbringing, sub culture, and so on, as well as the local opportunities which were available. Plus, free will.

And then there's complicated issues around how we define what's "fair". Is it fair that someone ends up poorer just because they didn't win the genetic lottery, either in looks or brains or some other marketable asset? And what if one day, say we discover a mechanism that proves reincarnation, as a sort of information transfer through some newly detected energy field. And then we realise, oh the capacity to be good and ethical and compassionate actually builds across lifetimes! So if you're "poor" as you're a "thief" then it is your lack of being willing to grow ethically across your lifetimes! And I'm not saying that's what is, I'm just saying, a lot of what we discover may challenge all sorts of assumptions.

But one thing about those traditional values is that they can always be bent to interpret some fact to suit an agenda. So if genes really do play a big part, then they can see it as part of "good breeding" and how "hard work" can help you succeed enough to marry into a good family and so raise the genetic quality of your children. They can frame it as, a quality of being rich and smart is being careful and selective in who you sleep with so as to gain a genetic reward, ie. still conservative hard-work values.

Comment Re:Anita Sarkeesian: Destroyer of Shareholder Valu (Score 4, Interesting) 313

Yes and there's a very simple model to make it clearer: pre-modern, modern, and post-modern.

Modern is the start of humanistic values. Pre-modern is old empires enforced with mythic and religious identity and so on. Post-modern is currently half baked, a step towards global but still in its early phase, and hasn't worked out yet.

So for example, post-modern often champions the rights of islamists to not be offended because it wants to avoid western cultural imperialism, even though the islamists are trying to return us to the pre-modern Middle Ages. And of course there was no post-modernity back in the Middle Ages, so post-modernity ends up trying to destroy itself. And taking us all down with it.

Personally I think we all just need to re-study modernity and understand what its core value for is for the world, the stuff it advanced and got right, such as the individual and humanistic values and education and so on. And figure out how the world as a whole can configure to develop towards modernity.

Once most of the world is practicing and working at a modern humanistic level, then a real post-modernity can emerge. The current version of post-modernity is a fuckup.

But it doesn't have to be depressing. Many recoil against modernity because it is godless or lacks rules for living. But Buddha already 2500 years ago said you have to cast off the old myths and figure out for yourself, as an individual, what works, including, what's the answer to happiness and compassion. Depending on how you read it, Buddha was teaching humanistic values thousands of years ago.

  Pre modern empire structures, basically weaponise religion to control followers and gain power. But if people just put on humanistic glasses, many of these weird cross cultural issues become very clear.


Slashdot Top Deals

The end of labor is to gain leisure.