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Re-introducing myself
JohnH wrote:
comfortable, I remain angry with you because you forced me to reread the entire thread.

I would point out to you that your comment on the uniformed having more progeny than the informed is a form of exclusion. It is very similar to comments I have been chastised for by a member of my tribe.

If you are upset with me, that's okay. (I think you're joking?...but still, either way, that's fine. You have a lot of company, then.)

As to me being guilty of "a form of exclusion", that's as may be. You can believe whatever you want, but I've never seen a demographics study that did not assert that those with educations choose to have fewer children than those without. Please share with me if you have any evidence to the contrary.
Among the various socioeconomic determinants of fertility, education, especially female education, has received considerable attention from scholars and researchers. Sharma and Ratherford [as described in Jeffery and Basu (5) P: 44] have argued that in India, "a 10 per cent increase in the female literacy rate seems to be associated with a 0.5 decline in total fertility rate"

etc....Or you may prefer Wikipedia http://en.wikiped...ility_rate
However, the fertility rates of immigrants to the U.S. has been found to decrease sharply in the second generation, correlating with improved education and income.

Watch the first 3 minutes of the movie "Idiocracy". It seems to be entirely true, both from the studies I've read, and my own personal experiences with couples who decide to have none, few, or many children.

If you don't agree with the premise, at least it'll be good for a good laugh!

At any rate, if making an observation of fact, complete with references, is some sort of no-no, then how can one make any choices in life? I cannot feel guilty or chastised for making an observation supported by research.

Edited by comfortable on 12/28/2010 20:42
The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
Yes comfortable, I am not or never was angry with you, I am not good at jokes but it was an attempt.

My comment on exclusion is a bit more difficult. I once made a comment in the presence of my elder sons partner along the lines of "the poor and working class in this country repeatedly act politically against their own self interest". I was severely chastised for that comment. She had an excellent point. If one dismisses others for their actions without understanding the reasons for those actions they play into the hands of those who control others.

I have 9 cousins, among us there are 21 children. All of these people are reasonably smart and almost all are college graduates. Two account for 9 of those children. Both of those are well educated, one is a MBA and the other is an optometrist. I will admit that I have always found the MBA a stupid person but that does ignore the fact that he did manage to complete two college degrees, both from fairly well thought of universities. The optometrist kept having children because he kept having daughters (all of them very beautiful if one cares) and the MBA because he married a mormon. Bad reasons, I think.

I will not dispute your evidence that the less educated have more children. I know that. I do not consider that their fault so much as I consider it societies fault. As I consider my cousins actions their fault. The problem is that separating individual actions from actions directed or at least encouraged by outside sources is difficult.

The problem, as you have said about tribalism, is in finding fault with the other and acting on that finding. It is incumbent on thinking people to find as much inclusion as possible. If one is comfortable with dismissing certain segments of the population because they behave in manners one does not accept one can become comfortable in dismissing all of the population.

This obviously is different than being comfortable in ones own self. I am glad you are and am working on it my own self.
Thank you for your well-considered and interesting reply.

You raise several issues which also concern me. I'm glad that your sons are egalitarian in spirit, as am I. Even if their understanding of the issues is limited by their lack of experience or perspective, they are good at heart and are the type of people that will help to raise the average when it comes to how people treat each other. Kudos for raising them so that they have these feelings and feel free to express them, even going so far as to feel free to criticize you. You must be a loving father indeed. (if his partner expressed it, I suspect that she had his tacit permission - just guessing). The fact that you allowed the discussion which called your position into question shows that you are large in spirit (no - not the immortal ghostly kind).

As to who's 'fault' it is - I don't go there. People form their own ideas and belief systems for many reasons. Some are more easily manipulated than others. Whatever the reasons, I take them at their word. (It is nearly impossible to reason someone out of an opinion which they were never reasoned into.) Also, the word 'fault' implies a value-judgement. Who am I to judge whether having more or fewer children is wrong? In poor countries, you might need 7 children to be born, just to see one of them survive until marriage. Then again, being extremely poor and having too many children, they might all grow up stunted with mental difficulties through malnutrition, whereas one might have stayed healthy because the poor mother had enough good food for one. I don't know and don't pretend to know, and so try to avoid judgments such as 'good' and 'bad' unless it's an obvious and direct threat such as it's 'bad' to break into my bedroom at 3:00 AM to try to rob me.

I agree with you that 'dismissing' groups or tribes is innocuous in itself, but can easily lead to taking actions against them - since they have been 'de-humanised' in the mind of someone truly dismissive.

My theory (and it's only a theory, but it seems to make sense to me so far) is that 'society' or 'culture' is what happens when multiple humans interact. Their innate drives, desires, emotions come into play; establishing the background in which new members must interact. So the root cause of 'society' is each and every individual who contributes to the social fabric. This is preserved and reflected back on newcomers (immigrants, toddlers) thus reinforcing itself. It can be changed, but slowly, and only in the presence of forces for change (war, famine, invading army, a new technology, etc.).

Here's one of my favorite examples. I use it to illustrate the corporate mindset (corporate culture within an organization) but it could just as easily be applied to a city, state, or nation.
In Harry Harlow’s experiment (which would not pass any ethics committee nowadays),
five monkeys were put into a regular monkeys’ cage, with a banana hanging high on a rope from the roof of the cage (outside the reach of the monkeys). The researcher then put a step ladder enabling the monkeys to reach the banana. However, whenever one of the monkeys attempted to climb and reach for the banana, ALL monkeys were sprayed with freezing ice cold water. After few attempts, they all learned the association between reaching for the banana and the group collective punishment of being sprayed with freezing ice cold water. If they want to stay warm and dry, they better not reach for the step ladder. From now on, none of the five monkeys tried to reach for the banana anymore. There was no need for the water treatment from that point on.

At this stage the researcher replaced one of the five monkeys with a new monkey. The new monkey, not aware of the icy water treatment, tried to reach for the banana. Within fraction of a second the other four monkeys pounced on him and beat the hell out of him – again and again, till he stopped and did not try anymore. Note, the icy water treatment was not used. The same process was repeated, one of the four monkeys who experienced the original icy water treatment was replaced by a new one, and again all the monkeys beat the new monkey to submission. Finally, the cage was populated by five monkeys of whom none have experienced the icy water treatment. The experimenter then introduced a new monkey to the cage. When this monkey tried to reach for the banana, all five monkeys jumped on him and beat the hell out of him. None of these monkeys knew about the collective punishment of icy water, none knew why they are not allowed to get the banana, but somewhere along the way they learned that reaching for the banana is not allowed. They became the guardians of this rule without knowing its purpose.

I think we are in agreement, and take any blame for not expressing myself better when using the pejorative term 'tribalism'. (pejorative in my dictionary)
Edited by comfortable on 12/29/2010 01:16
The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
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