by Chris Billowsin Spirit Speculations0 commentstags: Comprehensive Analysis, Defining Life, Foolishness, Human Condition, Human History
Being intrigued by the title, I picked up this book to learn finally once and for all which side was right – Are humans a product of biology of genes or social environment? Spoiler Alert: Its both. As a society we have witnessed a longstanding feud between two camps – one set of people believes that genes and nature determines our destiny while their opponents insist that socialization and nurture is our sole determinant. Like the title suggests and as Ridley states almost immediately, it is both nature and nurture that affects human development. The two sides may have valid contributions to understanding human development, but neither side gets it completely right because of sectarian/institutional thinking. The problem is that we are all victim of a media that thrives on reporting the controversial and extremist positions of the Naturists and Nurturist camps. That debate has been an ivory tower battle that has spilled over into Pop-psychology books that teach parents how to parent, how to find a partner, etc. This book proves the level of inanity that academics can resort to. Ridley demonstrate how neither side got it right and how humans are both genes and social mores wrapped together […]
by Chris Billowsin Mental Mischief0 commentstags: Comprehensive Analysis, Defining Life, Human Condition, Religion, Self Determination
I have been musing the importance about Jerry Pournelle’s political matrix and believe that his one index concerning the ability to improve on human nature is probably one of the most critical questions that divides people. Think about it. Everything we do or stand for is related to one’s understanding of what makes ourselves and others human. How we define what a human being is is how we define our morals, ethics, economics, and politics. I think there is a simple continuum that can be teased out from Pournelle’s political matrix. It would be: 1) Human Nature is corrupt. Everyone else is out to make a buck, is dishonest, etc. The person who believes this will also believe they need to act the same to keep up. Some religious and social conservatives would subscribe that there are lots of people who are corrupt and will never change. Scott Adams humors us with his view that all people are idiots in his Dilbert books. 2) Human Nature is corrupt but is improvable. Most religions would be based on this philosophy. It would be the view that we have Original Sin and need to find salvation to correct it. 3) Human Nature […]
by Chris Billowsin Mental Mischief0 commentstags: Defining Life, Foolishness, Human Condition
There are a bunch of books and videos talking about the impending end of the world in 2012 as predicted by the Mayans. The Mayans are a long dead culture who appeared to have died themselves. You would think that given their perceived aptitude to prophecy, they could have avoided their own fate. Anyways, supposedly we have only four pieces of what were thousands of ‘books’ that talk about the cosmological system. It is like guessing the end of a book with only the first few pages. How can we be sure? Well, I guess pretending to be sure that the world will end in 2012 helps to sell lots of books To demonstrate the absurdity about predicting the end of the world, I pledge to give $1,000 Canadian to the author/blogger who is closest to correctly predicting the end of the earth in 2012. After the world ends, and your date is the closest to the date the world ends, you can contact me and I will Paypal you the money. No gimmicks or trickery here. Not only will you have the money but the personal satisfaction in being right.
by Chris Billowsin Business Beller0 commentstags: Customer Service, Defining Life, Human Condition
I just dealt with a situation where my financial institution originally said no to me when I tried open up a new business savings account. I expressed my frustration, then went ahead and asked another branch manager to do the same thing – he said yes. It just proves to me that people are more important than institutions. One person interprets rules one way, the other a different way. The thing to remember is not to ask for something that is unreasonable or illegal. In my case it was about the interpretation about a specific banking package. I explained to both how both the documentation and the staff below them interpreted the account the same way I did. That reasoning did not work with the person who said no, but thankfully worked with the person who said yes. Of course, I am more interested in bringing my personal business to the reasonable branch manager. Giving the answer the customer expects is easily the simplest way to retain them.
by Chris Billowsin Spirit Speculations0 commentstags: Comprehensive Analysis, Defining Life
There remains in science and other segments of society (the legal & art critic communities) a conviction that objectivity is a worthwhile goal. We see this in our legal system where entire cases are thrown out because of a smidgen of faulty evidence. We see this in our art system where critics approve or reject artists based on self-aggrandized opinions. Judges and critics are expected to be objective and thus fair. The question then becomes, is it possible to be truly objective? One scientist says that objectivity is a myth. Richard D. Jarrard wrote a eBook called Scientific Methods which elegantly and convincingly argues that objectivity is a myth. Does this mean that we should no longer have judges, lawyers, and critics? No. Jarrard reminds us that we all need to become more aware of our own biases. By being aware and accepting our limited perceptions, we then focus on what is relevant and necessary. The goal is not objectivity so much as to fully disclose and accept that our perceptions of law, art, or life in general is based on uniquely skewed and reinforced experience. Once done, then we move onto making the best judgments and decisions we can, […]
by Chris Billowsin Mental Mischief0 commentstags: Comprehensive Analysis, Defining Life, Human Condition
Through my collective experiences from learning about religious values to developing program guidelines, I see the existence of a continuum of guidance. It is as follows: Instinct – the basic guidance system that functions at our biological & survival levels. The rules of the jungle. Intuitive Guidance – how we interact with others through feelings. The rules of emotional and social intelligence. Ethical Guidelines – a critical analysis about how we treat others and what we value. Also known as a Statement of Values which is just a more refined and wordsmithed summary and is typically public shared. The rules of values. Morals & Social Mores – an established set of rules about moral conduct with a clearly defined set of consequences. Tends to be based around religious scripture. The rules of philosophy and religion. Common Law – an evolving set of laws that is enforced by judges who create precedent by their interpration of society’s values. Also known as Case Law. The rules of society. Legislative Law – political forces and individuals who consciously create and enforce law based on a combination of societal and political values. The rules of nation states. Regulatory Law – institutions that further enforce […]