If we can't agree on the same facts, then the air is poison

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beneficii
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17 Nov 2019, 1:48 pm

I've noticed something in all our discussions here: We can't even agree on the same set of facts. Normally, disagreements and differences of opinion generally involve in looking at what the facts mean and what we should do about them, but we recognize that we live in the same reality and so we can agree on the facts. But we can't do that, so it is as of we are shouting from completely separate mountain tops as loud as we can, but our voices fail to carry. Engagement is lacking, because we each present the facts as we understand them, but it fails to register with the other person because those are not the facts to them. And it just becomes shouting the facts over and over again. One side may present sources, but those become increasingly less and less relevant, as the other side doesn't trust them. Conversations just end up becoming disorienting.

In my view, if we can't even live in the same reality, then we can't even live in the same country, with facts and alternative facts.


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Last edited by beneficii on 17 Nov 2019, 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

beneficii
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17 Nov 2019, 1:56 pm

Maybe modifying Lincoln's words will help with putting this into context?

Quote:
A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half facts and half alternative facts. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of alternative facts will arrest the further spread of them, and place them where the public mind shall rest in the belief that they are in the course of ultimate extinction; or their advocates will push them forward, till they shall become accepted in both the parties — Democratic as well as Republican.


And right now, this country seems to be turning into the land of alternative facts. You have a Democratic Party that is hopelessly divided, you have a President who is pig-headed and spouts alternative facts over and over again and who can never be swayed from them, you have that same President appointing a multitude of judges who adhere to these alternative facts, you have a cynical power play where the Republicans will refuse to allow any judges that adhere to the facts go forward and are willing to do anything to maintain their power, and you have efforts by Republicans in the states to suppress the votes of those who adhere to the facts in favor of those who adhere to the alternative facts.

It is my belief, that if the country comes to adhere to the alternative facts, then it will take the course of destruction: Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad, as the saying goes. So this country must decide, do we take the path of strength and growth, or the path of decadence and destruction?


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naturalplastic
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17 Nov 2019, 2:31 pm

Yeah. That's about the size of it.



There isn't even a common currency of conversation.



Fnord
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17 Nov 2019, 2:34 pm

No, if we cannot agree on the same facts, the air is NOT poison!

The floor, however, is lava...


;)


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beneficii
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17 Nov 2019, 2:43 pm

Fnord wrote:
No, if we cannot agree on the same facts, the air is NOT poison!

The floor, however, is lava...


;)


:lol:


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17 Nov 2019, 2:56 pm

You know about the Great Oxidation Event?
The air is potentially quite toxic, just everything on Earth surface adapted to it.


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17 Nov 2019, 3:04 pm

The wisest thing I've ever heard Bill Maher say was something he said on Friday, I believe:

“We’re so divided, it’s no longer enough to just make a point. You have to destroy. You have to own people. Except the person who gets owned doesn’t change their mind. … We have to drop this fantasy that we can destroy the other side or crush or shred or pulverize them. Those aren’t real things. They’re the middle four settings on the blender that no one has ever used. America is a big country, filled with millions of people who don’t think the way you do and never will, and you can’t own, vanquish, or disappear them. We’re stuck with them, and they’re stuck with us.”

Know it. Accept it. Understand it. Live it. Everyone. No matter which 'side' you're on. Know it, know it, know it. Why is it so important to realize the fact that he explains? Because those who accept that fact can use more of the precious time that they have in this life on living their own lives to the fullest.

Actually, I believe the failure of many to realize this fact today is a root cause fueling the perpetuation of the divisiveness in this country. We should all proceed with extreme caution anytime we may have an urge to force our views on others or worse, try to force others to accept our views. History is rife with pathetic tragedy based on a person or group foisting their righteous ideology on others and it's happened on both 'sides'.


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Last edited by Magna on 17 Nov 2019, 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

beneficii
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17 Nov 2019, 3:08 pm

Magna wrote:
The wisest thing I've ever heard Bill Maher say was something he said on Friday, I believe:

“We’re so divided, it’s no longer enough to just make a point. You have to destroy. You have to own people. Except the person who gets owned doesn’t change their mind. … We have to drop this fantasy that we can destroy the other side or crush or shred or pulverize them. Those aren’t real things. They’re the middle four settings on the blender that no one has ever used. America is a big country, filled with millions of people who don’t think the way you do and never will, and you can’t own, vanquish, or disappear them. We’re stuck with them, and they’re stuck with us.”

Know it. Accept it. Understand it. Live it. Everyone. No matter which 'side' you're on. Know it, know it, know it. Why is it so important to realize the fact that he explains? Because those who accept that fact can use more of the precious time that they have in this life on living their own lives to the fullest.


But what about things like universal health care, what about things like the kid who is left to die of cancer because of insurance, what about climate change and its building consequences?

You can't just ignore it and pretend everything is OK.


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17 Nov 2019, 3:09 pm

I'm pretty sure that this is just the side of Darwinian evolution that no one wanted to discuss, ie. that power and incentives triumph over truth and reason when power and immediate biological/emotional incentives don't coincide with reason or truth anymore. The goal for most is to successfully socially climb and get one's seed into the next generation and everything from the meaning of social status to how people treat each other (especially those they see themselves as superior to for socio-economic or other reasons) is derivative of this sort of market. Any 'truth' that frustrate's ones biological instincts enough tends to get canned because the immediate trade-offs are too painful to maintain. A particularly horrifying example of where evolution is trumping reason is with math and science being considered 'oppression' in certain sectors which means crazy religious reactionaries along with crazy identity reactionaries tag-teaming the institutions of science and education for short-term personal gains. The question isn't whether or not the claim is true so much as will it pull the right levers to get the desired immediate result? If yes then it's more evolutionarily fit than what it defeated.

On one level you do have moral panics which are a bit like social contagion (everyone trying to survive their social environment by cave-ins and conformity) but there's a source for these kinds of things. It has to do with there being winners and losers under any regime and when one is losing there are plenty of people who won't be altruistic enough to pick the best system for humanity based on what would yield the best future at their expense, their own brains are screaming at them all day if they aren't bending the world to fit their own needs and when those needs don't agree with the facts they'll come up with their own game to beat the facts and get what they feel they need out of the world which in some cases is stuff and in other cases it's actually evening a perceived score.

Important to consider too that the rational and discursive mind of a person is far more often a press secretary for the unconscious and the unconscious tends to be much more scrappy and pragmatic in the animal sense and it's been shown with everything from people with right-brain damage to split brain operations that the left-brain can backward-rationalize just about anything. This is also why you can get a whole bunch of people in a room all saying that they want to have an honest conversation but the degree to which they can actually do it will vary widely, the people who are reasoning in self-motivated ways will quite often be completely blind to it and even those who've successfully built some internal apparatus for catching most of these slips will never know when they'll lose ground to similar confabulations on some higher or more subtle point. If they're lucky they'll catch themselves afterward but nobody's perfect in this regard.


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17 Nov 2019, 3:13 pm

Perils of the "post-truth" world. No one trusts anyone.

I think it is good in discussions with those that disagree to try and establish a basis. Problem is people tend to be skeptical of this seeing it as some kind of "trick."

Pro-life justice nominees frequently get asked if they believe that Brown v. Board of Education was correctly decided. They will frequently decline to answer because they know that if they declare that Brown v. Board of Education was correctly decided they can't dodge a question on whether Roe v. Wade was correctly decided.

I have found a similar resistance in some people to agree to even very reasonable basis because they seem afraid that it will somehow lead to a rhetorical trap. Thing is debates should not be about winning. They should be about coming to the most reasonable conclusions. If someone causes your perspective to shift, because they introduced something you haven't thought about before, than it is actually you who have won.


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17 Nov 2019, 3:19 pm

Sometimes I wonder if perhaps Solipsism is a characteristic of the autistic/aspie mind. I mean, there seems to be “a lot” of aspies for whom belief is all that is needed to “prove” their belief is valid.

It’s as if Napoleon Hill’s statement “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve” actually means “If I can believe it, then it must be true”. This is further exemplified by the countless number of aspies who seem to accept even the most remote possibility of a claim being factual as absolute proof of its universal truth. Example: The claim that “The possibility that intelligent space aliens exists proves beyond all doubt that they visited Earth in the pre-historic past and seeded the primordial oceans with the genetic material that eventually evolved into Homo Sapiens” is one way of taking a possible condition and inflating it past the unproven into the realm of the unprovable as if the unprovable was empirical scientific fact.

What is so sad is that some people will use the example I just gave as de facto proof of the claims stated in the example itself — circular “logic” at its worst.


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17 Nov 2019, 3:20 pm

beneficii wrote:
But what about things like universal health care, what about things like the kid who is left to die of cancer because of insurance, what about climate change and its building consequences?

You can't just ignore it and pretend everything is OK.

I don't want to speak on Magna's behalf but I have some thoughts on these examples - they're power problems. While it doesn't serve anyone's interests directly for these things to happen the causes of these sorts of absurdities have some type of beneficial payout to people who have power over the situation and those people, so long as they're obeying the laws as they exist, are very difficult to do much about.

A lot of this comes down to perverse incentives. For example there's a lot about public trading of company stock and boards of directors that creates significant fallout. A CEO of a company is bound to the board of directors and if they don't serve the interests of the board of directors they're fired. The board of directors is interested in earnings and dividends primarily and I've noticed that 'holding company' seems to be the corporate equivalent of red supergiant because the incentives of the company are no longer about long-term success, or at least any non-linear calibration that won't show up directly as quarterly progress, and are much more geared toward quarterly earnings, valuation, and dividends. It's complex stacks of this kind of myopia that keeps us from getting things done properly on health care and a wide range of issue - climate is a wonderful example where the commons are abstract, everyone wants a piece of them, and thus destroyed because no one is directly in charge of preserving them unless you're able to set them aside as government park land and the like.


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17 Nov 2019, 3:26 pm

Well...in a nation where almost half are terrified that democracy itself is threatened because "Theyre gonna stage a soft coup of a lawfully elected POTUS!", and just over half are terrified that "democracy itself is threatened because "the POTUS doesn't even understand the rule of law, much less respect the rule of law" where is theyre for dialogue?



beneficii
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17 Nov 2019, 3:38 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
beneficii wrote:
But what about things like universal health care, what about things like the kid who is left to die of cancer because of insurance, what about climate change and its building consequences?

You can't just ignore it and pretend everything is OK.

I don't want to speak on Magna's behalf but I have some thoughts on these examples - they're power problems. While it doesn't serve anyone's interests directly for these things to happen the causes of these sorts of absurdities have some type of beneficial payout to people who have power over the situation and those people, so long as they're obeying the laws as they exist, are very difficult to do much about.

A lot of this comes down to perverse incentives. For example there's a lot about public trading of company stock and boards of directors that creates significant fallout. A CEO of a company is bound to the board of directors and if they don't serve the interests of the board of directors they're fired. The board of directors is interested in earnings and dividends primarily and I've noticed that 'holding company' seems to be the corporate equivalent of red supergiant because the incentives of the company are no longer about long-term success, or at least any non-linear calibration that won't show up directly as quarterly progress, and are much more geared toward quarterly earnings, valuation, and dividends. It's complex stacks of this kind of myopia that keeps us from getting things done properly on health care and a wide range of issue - climate is a wonderful example where the commons are abstract, everyone wants a piece of them, and thus destroyed because no one is directly in charge of preserving them unless you're able to set them aside as government park land and the like.


You make a good point here. The 2 most important things in the world to a corporation are the law and shareholder value. This is actually the problem with deregulation, because it diminishes the role of the law and gives the advantage to the shareholders. Without the law providing the input of the other stakeholders in the system (e.g. the employees, those affected by externalities, the customers, the environment), the only interest that matters is that of the shareholders. This greatly increases the power of corporations in relation to the customers, especially as they grow into oligopolies and monopolies, bringing about that power imbalance you mention.

I know this might sound a bit hyperbolic, but I actually think this metaphor fits, so please bear with me. But in a way, in this system, very large corporations are like cancer. And I don't say that lightly. In cancer, you have a group of cells that are growing out of control because the body's regulation mechanisms have failed to control them. They are now increasingly sucking up the body's energy and resources at the expense of all the other cells. And that seems to be what's happening here with the increasing failure of the law in regulating corporations. Of course, how do you treat cancer? Through excision and eradication.

Yikes.


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17 Nov 2019, 3:41 pm

Antrax wrote:
I have found a similar resistance in some people to agree to even very reasonable basis because they seem afraid that it will somehow lead to a rhetorical trap. Thing is debates should not be about winning. They should be about coming to the most reasonable conclusions. If someone causes your perspective to shift, because they introduced something you haven't thought about before, than it is actually you who have won.

This is more in line with the IDW, Jordan Greenhall, Rebel Wisdom, etc. way of looking at it.

What worries me is that a lot of people who are against it will not put their principles on the table for examination, and it seems like when people won't do that it's not a sign of good faith or even fundamental honesty wedded to paranoia and distrust, it could be that in some cases but it smells more like self-centered machinations quite often.


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