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Old 10-02-2019, 11:43   #406
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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So true. We seem to have forgotten that rights have always come with responsibilities. In some ways, I think what is happening on campuses is a reaction to this loss of responsibility.

But on the whole, I think shouting down or physically blocking people from attending lectures is more dangerous than having a few wing nuts yelling hateful words from their personal pulpits (here I’m thinking of things like the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church).
I agree that's where the often difficult balance should err, and it's also in sync with US Supreme Court rulings and longstanding Western traditions. One of the responsibilities of such freedoms is learning how to be tolerant of the full "marketplace of ideas" (as the Founders referred to it), thereby allowing bad ideas to be rejected based on their lack of merit rather than their suppression by mob rule or govt fiat.

Unfortunately, the latter approach has rather ironically become more a feature of the 'Progressive Left' than what some might call the 'Fascist Right.' Justifiably or not, the criticism directed towards a relatively small subset of university students has been extended to more 'classical' liberals and, by extension, the Democratic Party as a whole. Some of this is unduly hyped by conservative media no doubt, but some of it is well justified by the failure of mainstream liberals to speak out against it. And of course some Dems bring it on themselves by their outright advocacy for silencing or even prosecuting those with contrary opinions on contentious issues like AGW. And then there's the constant shaming, stereotyping, and claims to moral superiority that seem so vacuous, alienating and counter-productive. But liberals certainly have no monopoly on that one.

Although I was raised in a (classic) liberal Democrat family, from an almost monolithic liberal Democrat region of the US, and remained solidly liberal through young adulthood, the intolerance I see from left-leaning quarters has probably steered me away from my political roots more than any other issue. And I know I'm not alone. In a country as large and diverse as the US, I see the values embodied in the First Amendment as a requisite foundation to reaching consensus on anything else. And maybe now more than ever. To the extent intolerance can be justified, I've become completely intolerant of those who are themselves intolerant of other peoples' opinions. Provided, of course, that they are sincerely held, well reasoned, and consistent with commonly held values. People need to develop thicker skins, be more tolerant of other opinions, and learn how to disagree without being so disagreeable. And I certainly don't exempt myself from one of those that unfortunately still has plenty of learning to do!
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:48   #407
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

Time to end the idea that all "journalism" should strive for (impossible & useless) "objectivity".

We're just getting back to the original idea of a free press

https://www.wired.com/story/journali...-its-roots/amp
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Old 10-02-2019, 12:06   #408
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Time to end the idea that all "journalism" should strive for (impossible & useless) "objectivity".

We're just getting back to the original idea of a free press

https://www.wired.com/story/journali...-its-roots/amp
Interesting. Wasn't fully aware of the historical context. As Mike pointed out, there was a time when the "news" seemed to be what was on the front and ensuing pages, and the "op-eds" confined to their own section, but maybe that was just the way I saw it at the time. Seems we're on our own, and have a responsibility to ward off being pushed into the conformity of group-think.

From the article:

"By now the savvy media consumer knows to wait 24 hours before making any conclusion about a scoop, to cross-check at least a handful of sources and two dozen Twitter accounts for takes across the political spectrum."
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Old 10-02-2019, 12:17   #409
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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I haven't quite finished the thing but I had to throw it in here. Kind of fascinating.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...factor/580465/
It is fascinating, and there are strong parallels with a lot of current research in psychology. Jon Haidt (who is both a credible researcher and a good communicator) has spent a lot of time researching and writing about this subject.

He, and many others, have been working with a theory of a five-tier moral landscape for humans. Each of these tiers is really a spectrum. They are:

1) Care/harm
2) Fairness/cheating
3) Loyalty/betrayal
4) Authority/subversion
5) Sanctity/degradation

(and they are working on adding a sixth factor: Liberty/oppression)

What the research suggests is that liberal-minded people score high on first two factors, but lower on the other three. Conservative folks tend to score more evenly across all five.

In the case of the disgust reaction LE’s paper is referencing, this is part of the sanctity-degradation spectrum. Again, conservatives rank this higher than liberals.

For those not wanting to slog through the many papers and books on the subject, Haidt provides a nice TED talk. It’s about 20 minutes long, but you can jump to around 5:15 to get into the meat of the matter.

https://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_h...ge=en#t-303398
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Old 10-02-2019, 12:50   #410
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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I agree that's where the often difficult balance should err, and it's also in sync with US Supreme Court rulings and longstanding Western traditions. One of the responsibilities of such freedoms is learning how to be tolerant of the full "marketplace of ideas" (as the Founders referred to it), thereby allowing bad ideas to be rejected based on their lack of merit rather than their suppression by mob rule or govt fiat.


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Unfortunately, the latter approach has rather ironically become more a feature of the 'Progressive Left' than what some might call the 'Fascist Right.' Justifiably or not, the criticism directed towards a relatively small subset of university students has been extended to more 'classical' liberals and, by extension, the Democratic Party as a whole.
I think you’re right about a certain aspect of the extreme left. But they are certainly not the “progressive left.” They represent a new breed; the Regressive Left if you will. Some far right voices attempt to make the connection between the antics of these regressive, and actual progressives. We should all push back on this equally regressive narrative.

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... People need to develop thicker skins, be more tolerant of other opinions, and learn how to disagree without being so disagreeable. And I certainly don't exempt myself from one of those that unfortunately still has plenty of learning to do!
I might not phrase it in quite the same way, but I basically agree. In fact, I think we need to RE-develop “thicker skins”, if you will. The psychological research I am currently engrossed in suggests this turn to become more fragile is a fairly recent phenomena. Hopefully it is just a blip.
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Old 10-02-2019, 13:11   #411
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Time to end the idea that all "journalism" should strive for (impossible & useless) "objectivity".

We're just getting back to the original idea of a free press

https://www.wired.com/story/journali...-its-roots/amp
Interesting read. A bit myopic in the sense that nothing is necessarily predetermined. We are heading back to a more traditional form of “news” media, BUT, it doesn’t HAVE to be this way. Just like it’s not NECESSARY that "high-school-educated labor” cannot afford middle-class lives. These are choices that our society makes. We can choose otherwise.

But it is absolutely true that vast majority of “news” history was spent in the days of yellow journalism. Muckraker used to be a badge of honour.

There is no such thing as perfect objectivity — never has been, never will be. Just like there is no such thing as perfect fairness, or equality or lack of bias. BUT, that doesn’t mean these are not useful aspirational goals which can drive improvements.

Just because things have always been one way, does not mean they must forever be this way, or that we have no control over driving change.

Objectivity doesn’t exit in news media, but the aspiration to such an ideal has helped create techniques and skills within the craft of journalism to help recognize and counter this bias. The basic tenants of double-checking facts, getting multiple sources, and always finding the other side of the story, are simple tools defend against human bias.

Of course, these tools also produce distortions of their own. But that’s a different point...
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Old 10-02-2019, 15:58   #412
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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... There is no such thing as perfect objectivity — never has been, never will be. Just like there is no such thing as perfect fairness, or equality or lack of bias ...
And, just try to get a group of people to even agree to a simple definition of fairness.
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Old 10-02-2019, 16:39   #413
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Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

Fairness is a good topic. It’s like beauty, I know it when I see it but can’t easily define it.

Nature cares not at all for fairness. It’s not in any of the equations that describe how the universe works. It is mainly a theological concept that a few secular humanists have appropriated as their own.

Fairness is not sameness. Neither is fairness what some would call equality. Nor is fairness defined by results but rather it is about the equality of opportunity. I wish a lot more people understood what fairness is and what it is not.
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Old 10-02-2019, 17:00   #414
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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And, just try to get a group of people to even agree to a simple definition of fairness.
So true, as Dan then points out.

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Fairness is a good topic. It’s like beauty, I know it when I see it but can’t easily define it.

Nature cares not at all for fairness. It’s not in any of the equations that describe how the universe works. It is mainly a theological concept that a few secular humanists have appropriated as their own.

Fairness is not sameness. Neither is fairness what some would call equality. Nor is fairness defined by results but rather it is about the equality of opportunity. I wish a lot more people understood what fairness is and what it is not.
I’m not sure if this was in response to my comment Dan, but I wasn’t raising “fairness” in any specific sense, as you seem to be doing here. I don’t think there is any definitive way to understand fairness — not in any absolute sense.

Your reference to nature is interesting though. There are some great psychological experiments with babies, and even with other primates and other mammals, that demonstrates how early our sense of fairness seems to originate. This research shows babies as young as 15 months have as sense of what is fair. In this light, some parts of Nature do seem to care about fairness (but I get your more general point).

Babies show sense of fairness, altruism as early as 15 months

But all of this quite tangential to the comment I was making regarding the media and the effort to achieve objectivity. I could add other aspirational examples, such as justice, truth, honesty… None of these exist as some sort of absolute. But all of them are useful as guiding principles.
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Old 10-02-2019, 17:01   #415
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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_____
Also relevant, and not just wrt our current President.

> According to Stenner's theory, there is a certain subset of people who hold latent authoritarian tendencies. These tendencies can be triggered or "activated" by the perception of physical threats or by destabilizing social change, leading those individuals to desire policies and leaders that we might more colloquially call authoritarian.
In the real world of global unrest, I would think that having a leader who is authoritarian (but not stupid)...
is a good thing!
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Old 10-02-2019, 17:05   #416
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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In the real world of global unrest, I would think that having a leader who is authoritarian (but not stupid)...
is a good thing!

The best form of government is a benevolent dictator. The problem is they are really hard to find. And once identified they don’t stay benevolent for long.
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Old 10-02-2019, 17:45   #417
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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The best form of government is a benevolent dictator. The problem is they are really hard to find. And once identified they don’t stay benevolent for long.
Yes I've heard that said many times before and here in the Philippines, there are many who miss Marcos.


Admitting you are wrong is a strength, not a weakness....(so that you can then move on to a better path)

I guess if you have a strangle hold on power as a dictator, it is easier to admit you are wrong.
So from a Utilitarian Philosophical perspective, Dictatorship is good.

However, the other branches of Philosophy are based on constantly challenging accepted beliefs, so it is difficult for those practitioners to truly believe they can be wrong
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Old 11-02-2019, 03:59   #418
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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... I guess if you have a strangle hold on power as a dictator, it is easier to admit you are wrong.
So from a Utilitarian Philosophical perspective, Dictatorship is good...
I've never heard of a dictator admitting they were wrong, about anything, ever.
I don't recall the last time I heard any politician admit they were wrong, though that may just reflect on my memory.
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Old 11-02-2019, 06:36   #419
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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I've never heard of a dictator admitting they were wrong, about anything, ever.
I don't recall the last time I heard any politician admit they were wrong, though that may just reflect on my memory.
Hi Gord,
Doubt they would ever allow the public to hear of thier mistakes but inner circles of policy makers would be told.

I am interpolating this idea from reading autobiographies of long term founding leaders like Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew.
While a democracy, leaders like him ruled with an iron hand.

Also, the best and most powerful leaders / owners of multinational companies are not afraid to admit they were wrong.
That is true power!
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Old 11-02-2019, 06:42   #420
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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... Also, the best and most powerful leaders / owners of multinational companies are not afraid to admit they were wrong.
That is true power!
A Google search on “CEO admits mistake” generates about 3,310,000 results (many duplicates, but still a huge number), so I certainly can’t say you’re wrong.
https://www.google.com/search?client...admits+mistake
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