Simon Baron-Cohen's claims dismembered (thank goodness)

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FireyInspiration
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29 Sep 2014, 12:22 pm

YourMajesty wrote:
I liked this response on the site:

Girls and boys, come out to play,
But shoo the neighbours? kid away.
He?s awkward, shy and very smart:
That?s proof enough he has no heart.
The grownups say: ?No empathy?
And schedule him for therapy.
They hope that all the high-cost fuss
Will make him like empathic Us.
Then he?ll do all the things we do,
And be Quite Normal, through and through.
WE are empathic ? think of that! ?
Right now, we?re torturing a cat.


Beautiful



BuyerBeware
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29 Sep 2014, 12:52 pm

To be quite perfectly frank, SB-C's observations are accurate. Autistics DO lack empathy, where empathy is strictly defined (as SB-C defines it) "to feel as someone else." Not "to feel for," "to care about," or "to wish to help or comfort." Strictly defined, empathy is NOT the ability to "put yourself in someone else's shoes." Empathy is the ability to crawl inside their mind, look out through their eyes, see what they see as they see it, feel as they feel, and know what they would want because you would want the same thing.

WE CAN'T DO THAT. Any more than someone with only an NT experience of the world can, strictly defined, empathize with us. They have no idea what it's like to experience a tickle as a burning pain, eye contact as a rectal exam, a scratchy sweater as being bitten by an army of ants, a whining child as a jackhammer six inches from one's eardrum, or a cocktail party as a combat zone.

To be quite unkindly frank, the victim in this case IS to blame (at least, if you accept human behavior as largely reflexive and hardwired, and "majority" as a benchmark for "normal"). "Michael" would not be harassed if he took interest in what the other children were interested in, in the same way and to the same degree in which they took interest in it (or at least did a good job of pretending to, and kept his mouth shut about snowflakes-- pretty much behavioral training in a nutshell). If he played as they played, reacted as they reacted, spoke as they spoke, and thought as they thought, he would, in fact, not have a problem interacting with them. He would not then be an autistic child.

No matter how cruel the behavior of the other children may be, it is easier to change one "Michael" than to change 38 "normal" children. Therefore it is "Michael" with the problem. No amount of warm-fuzziness, or obsession with fair treatment for everyone, is going to change the fact that we are, when you take away the gadgets and strip off our clothes, apes with highly developed social mechanisms and relatively little physical strength or body hair.


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androbot01
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29 Sep 2014, 1:01 pm

BuyerBeware, I think society is capable of mass change when it comes to issues like this. Disabled people used to be treated far worse than they are today. An unrelated example is society's attitude to smoking. It wasn't so long ago that smoking in restaurants was acceptable, now you can't even smoke on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. Change is possible. People just need to be made aware of what they don't understand.



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29 Sep 2014, 1:06 pm

androbot01 wrote:
With regard to empathy, I think it is a mistake to confuse a lack of reading cues with a lack of caring. Autistic people may be slow to catch on, but can be very emotionally affected when we do. He may try to clarify this with his little chart comparing psychopaths and autistics, but most people won't get the distinction and it leaves us looking uncaring and possibly dangerous.


Simon-Baron Cohen actually does not say that we lack empathy. What he is doing is differentiating between he calls "cognitive empathy" and "affective empathy". Cognitive empathy is defined as the ability interpret the other person's state of mind via reading facial expressions, body language, tone of voice and other nom-verbal cues, while affective empathy is the ability to respond to the other person's feelings (caring). What Simon-Baron Cohen is actually saying iOS that we tend to lack the cognitive empathy but not the affective empathy. I think that the terminology is actually misleading, I don't think that cognitive empathy is what most people actually think of as empathy, it's just non-verbal communication, that's all, and it's what leads to the misconceptions of ASD's that we have no feelings or don't care about other's feelings.



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29 Sep 2014, 1:09 pm

BuyerBeware wrote:
To be quite perfectly frank, SB-C's observations are accurate. Autistics DO lack empathy, where empathy is strictly defined (as SB-C defines it) "to feel as someone else." Not "to feel for," "to care about," or "to wish to help or comfort." Strictly defined, empathy is NOT the ability to "put yourself in someone else's shoes." Empathy is the ability to crawl inside their mind, look out through their eyes, see what they see as they see it, feel as they feel, and know what they would want because you would want the same thing.


We can do that, that's what SB-C refers to as "affective empathy" and is in fact where the "caring" comes from. It's rather the reading of other people to know what they're feeling that we find difficult.



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29 Sep 2014, 1:11 pm

androbot01 wrote:
BuyerBeware, I think society is capable of mass change when it comes to issues like this. Disabled people used to be treated far worse than they are today. An unrelated example is society's attitude to smoking. It wasn't so long ago that smoking in restaurants was acceptable, now you can't even smoke on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. Change is possible. People just need to be made aware of what they don't understand.


I fully concur. Think of the attitude toward homosexuality. In the late 1960's the vast majority of Americans believed gay people should be locked up. Liberals tended to believe they should be locked up in mental hospitals while many conservatives believed they should be locked up in prison. Today, 58% of Americans support full equal marriage rights for gay people. - Here is a trip to how the world used to think:

http://youtu.be/n2UNcDHa5ao

If society can change its attitude so dramatically about something that was once considered by the overwhelming majority of Americans an absolute life of shame - There is no reason why they can not change their attitude about toward autism and other non-neurotypicals.


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29 Sep 2014, 2:40 pm

r2d2 wrote:
androbot01 wrote:
BuyerBeware, I think society is capable of mass change when it comes to issues like this. Disabled people used to be treated far worse than they are today. An unrelated example is society's attitude to smoking. It wasn't so long ago that smoking in restaurants was acceptable, now you can't even smoke on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. Change is possible. People just need to be made aware of what they don't understand.


I fully concur. Think of the attitude toward homosexuality. In the late 1960's the vast majority of Americans believed gay people should be locked up. Liberals tended to believe they should be locked up in mental hospitals while many conservatives believed they should be locked up in prison. Today, 58% of Americans support full equal marriage rights for gay people. - Here is a trip to how the world used to think:

http://youtu.be/n2UNcDHa5ao

If society can change its attitude so dramatically about something that was once considered by the overwhelming majority of Americans an absolute life of shame - There is no reason why they can not change their attitude about toward autism and other non-neurotypicals.


The thing that really blew my mind was that gays went through the same numerical issues are currently going through.

We take it for granted that almost everyone has a gay member of their extended family.

Yet in the mid 1950s, the number by many was believed to be much lower.




Back to the point, I don't think many read SBC book. You can't say he has a narrow view when your ignoring the 100 pages before and after that quote.

You can pick apart any language based argument based on its grammatical logic, it's a parlor trick far from anything real. Human languages based on associations and not logical connectives.




This victimization crap really is starting to get old. Don't get me wrong nts are a threat to our security at almost every turn.

However, embracing a pro aspie culture will hold back many nts.

We have to do the dirty deed, and acknowledge that our cultures have very very different needs.



B19
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29 Sep 2014, 5:10 pm

Often on WP I've seen a conflict of ideas and opinions forms into two opposed factions, between apologists and challengers. That's ok. Then instead of remaining a debate of ideas, disagreement turns into personal attacks on the messengers, not the message. I'm hoping that won't happen with this thread too. Most people are passionately attached to their own point of view, including me, and in my experience it is no different in the ivory tower of academia.

So far so good.



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29 Sep 2014, 5:26 pm

B19 wrote:
Often on WP I've seen a conflict of ideas and opinions forms into two opposed factions, between apologists and challengers. That's ok. Then instead of remaining a debate of ideas, disagreement turns into personal attacks on the messengers, not the message. I'm hoping that won't happen with this thread too. Most people are passionately attached to their own point of view, including me, and in my experience it is no different in the ivory tower of academia.

So far so good.


I like to think were natural skeptics, able to quickly agree on a arguments value by opposition



B19
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29 Sep 2014, 5:40 pm

I am inclined to think it's also a spectrum, ranging from total believers to total doubters and the rest (nearly everyone) distributed between those two polarities? Maybe the Bell Curve also applies to this too...



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29 Sep 2014, 6:58 pm

Stoek wrote:
Back to the point, I don't think many read SBC book. You can't say he has a narrow view when your ignoring the 100 pages before and after that quote.


Damn, I will read the book.

Stoek wrote:
We have to do the dirty deed, and acknowledge that our cultures have very very different needs.


Do you mean autistic culture and neurotypical? If so, I think it would have to be considered that there may be other cultures. For example, deaf, blind, schizophrenic and so on. But I'm not sure that's what you meant. However, I think that would be great!



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29 Sep 2014, 8:38 pm

I think people fail to understand what the majority means.

You can be doing nothing wrong, and the majority can deem you as odd and worthy of bullying/exclusion due to doing things differently.

Yes, it's not "right" that the majority does this, but it's their "right" to do this.

It's not "right" that I can't buy a hand grenade (I wouldn't harm a fly with it), but it's also "right" that the majority say I can't.

That's democracy and society.

That Japanese saying of the lone nail gets hammered down fits here.



androbot01
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29 Sep 2014, 9:03 pm

Dillogic wrote:
I think people fail to understand what the majority means.

You can be doing nothing wrong, and the majority can deem you as odd and worthy of bullying/exclusion due to doing things differently.

Yes, it's not "right" that the majority does this, but it's their "right" to do this.

It's not "right" that I can't buy a hand grenade (I wouldn't harm a fly with it), but it's also "right" that the majority say I can't.

That's democracy and society.

That Japanese saying of the lone nail gets hammered down fits here.


I think you are saying that their status as a large number of people determines that their morality (rights) are strongest - "survival of the fittest" extrapolated to include group behaviour. But this is only true with law not morality. And I think that what is at issue here is culture; which is more fluid than either of those.

Co-operation also works as does communication. And the more diverse the population the better - no clear majority.



FireyInspiration
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29 Sep 2014, 9:30 pm

Stoek wrote:

However, embracing a pro aspie culture will hold back many nts.



We're not looking for a 'pro-aspie' society, we're looking for an 'aspie accommodating' society. We don't want to be 'better' than nts, we just want to be treated as equals



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29 Sep 2014, 9:48 pm

Agreed. Equality is what we want, need as well, as respect regardless of our neurological difference.