Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Cultures and violence

464 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 15 16 17 18 19 Newer→ Last

  • David Hood,

    Steven, before typing a key hit one of the shift keys on the keyboard to toggle out of the capitalised first letter.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Attachment

    I see that capitalism has provided a solution to school shootings. Great work! (Note: this product really exists and it's not from the Onion.)

    Post-Newtown, Sales Boom for Kids' Body Armor

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Lilith __,

    This stuff makes me want to bite my desk, frankly.

    High five. Although my laptop is on a formica table and I think I might chip a tooth.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to David Hood,

    I tend to view pop evolutionary psychology explanations as the equivalent of phrenology in the 1800s or social Darwinism in the 1920s- a justification for the social world being as it is.

    Yes! I find them frustrating for precisely that reason. Thank you, David, I'm finding your posts very edifying.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lilith __,

    I’m not a neuroscientist, but surely this is NONSENSE. Brains are plastic. They wire and rewire in response to the purposes for which they’re used.

    I'm sorry, I really wasn't attempting to start an argument and I;m somewhat distressed to have done so. I don't have any view on Witelson's social commentary, but she is an internationally respected neuroscientist (I gather her paper on Einstein's brain, published in The Lancet, was regarded as a gamebreaker) and I remembered the part about responses to stress, which seemed relevant to the discussion, as did the other link about differences in the manifestation of depression. Which are, in Bart's words, at the extreme end of the graph.

    And Simon Baron Cohen, the leading British autism researcher, has written quite a bit about sex differences in the brain as they might relate to autism. There must be a reason that so many more boys than girls are on the autism spectrum, and that their experience with autism is markedly different. It's not social conditioning.

    Anyway, sorry again for starting the argument. I don't really have the energy to carry on with it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m sorry, I really wasn’t attempting to start an argument and I;m somewhat distressed to have done so. I don’t have any view on Witelson’s social commentary, but she is an internationally respected neuroscientist (I gather her paper on Einstein’s brain, published in The Lancet, was regarded as a gamebreaker) and I remembered the part about responses to stress, which seemed relevant to the discussion, as did the other link about differences in the manifestation of depression. Which are, in Bart’s words, at the extreme end of the graph.

    Oh, I’m not upset, and I have no issues at all with how Bart put it. As long as we can acknowledge that for most of the population their gender probably doesn’t determine their thoughts.

    I’ve no problem with very specific issues being gender-linked,
    but I have major issues with the pop-psychology “this is why men can’t load the dishwasher; this is why girls can’t do math” version.

    And I’m surprised that a renowned neuroscientist is speaking in this absurdly reductive and deterministic way.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I've also noticed a disproportionate number of bell ends are male.

    Brains are plastic

    Zombies do not eat plastic. Their good taste extends that far.


    Seriously. Brains, and thinking generally, are both well and poorly understood. Well, in the sense that the underlying mechanisms of the componentry have physical properties following known laws. Poorly in the sense that the emergent properties of putting together billions of them means potential interconnections may be unique in every single case. Indeed, you hardly need billions to get that effect.

    Well, in the sense that "laws of thinking", basic methodologies of thought, have been the subject of intense study for thousands of years, and the properties of these systems are well understood. Poorly in that we don't really seem to use any of them consistently, indeed, if we do actually follow any of the proposed systems, we're more likely to be labelled non-neurotypical than if we just randomly humanly do stuff.

    Well in that it is entirely possible to form a completely coherent description of the way the human brain works, just like it is possible with the weather. Poorly in that we may have no more ability to detect when a human is going to go on a killing spree than we do of knowing when and where a tornado will strike.

    We can, and should, (and will and are) continue our search for understanding of human mentality. But we needn't wait until we get that done to consider whether less people might die if less people have access to devices designed expressly for the purposes of ending human life.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    This year, I found out that there are men – and not just a few men – who will consciously alter their behaviour or the route walking home at night so they don’t frighten women.

    Heh. I may have told you my story about walking up Ponsonby Road at night many years ago and steadily picking up my pace to put some distance us between when I realised there was a woman walking behind me, so she wouldn't feel threatened.

    Turned out, she was simultaneously trying to catch up with me so she'd have someone to walk with and feel safer. She eventually had to call out and get me to slow the hell down so she could catch up. That was funny.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to ,

    This is a no hitting forum.

    Gently caressing?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Lilith __,

    I’m not a neuroscientist, but surely this is NONSENSE. Brains are plastic. They wire and rewire in response to the purposes for which they’re used.

    I don't think we know either way. I think saying it's nonsense is too strong as well. Right now we are learning a lot about how the brain works how memories are established how patterns are established and disestablished in the brain. We know hormones (not just sex hormones) play important roles but we don't know for certain how the details work and the details are very important.

    From my reading and it is NOT my field of expertise, I would not be surprised to see a real mixture of regualtory mechanisms in play simultaneously. In short, everyone could be right at the same time.

    One thing I will say is that given the speed with which we are developing tools to actually experiment on human brains while people are alive and healthy we are looking at some really rapid advancement of knowledge in the next decade or so. It is entirely possible that we could be using our understanding of brain biology in our schools in a relatively short time.

    These discussions, as fun as they are, could actually become informed by data!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to David Hood,

    "all apes seem to want to raise kittens and puppies, which suggests domestication may not have been a sudden, radical step"

    the internet was bound to happen

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    everyone could be right at the same time

    nature AND nurture

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I don’t think we know either way. I think saying it’s nonsense is too strong as well. Right now we are learning a lot about how the brain works how memories are established how patterns are established and disestablished in the brain.

    Jus to be clear: the bits I object to are the sweeping generalisations which say ppl can't do things because gender. I'm not suggesting sex/hormones have no effect.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Lilith __,

    I have major issues with the pop-psychology “this is why men can’t load the dishwasher; this is why girls can’t do math” version.

    Let's not dismiss it as pop-psychology though. One of the main proponents of "girls can't do math" is Steven Pinker, who is about as big a name in the field as they come. You could say that evolutionary psychology is practically wired to make those kinds of arguments.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    One of the main proponents of “girls can’t do math” is Steven Pinker, who is about as big a name in the field as they come.

    But girls DO do math. Lots of girls excel at math! And probably many more would if everybody weren’t telling them, “you can’t do that, you’re a GIRL!”

    We all have different aptitudes. I’d like a world where we could freely explore what they are.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Lilith __,

    But girls DO do math. Lots of girls excel at math! And probably many more would if everybody weren’t telling them, “you can’t do that, you’re a GIRL!”

    I was agreeing with you.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Men are more violent than women. Except they're not. Men seem to enact violence in a very different way to women, most of the time. Which is nothing to do with testosterone, and everything to do with what behaviour society condones in each gender. As a teacher of junior citizens, I can tell you that boys are not more violent than girls - and this is anecdata purely - they simply learn that expressing it more physically is more acceptable in their world.

    I wouldn't be so 100% sure there's only nurture as an explanation.

    Our society tolerates verbal violence over physical. Interestingly there seems a shift in that in family violence circles where men have been verbally violent. Others may know more about the reasoning there.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    One of the main proponents of "girls can't do math" is Steven Pinker, who is about as big a name in the field as they come.

    3 out of 4 of my lecturers in math this year were girls. By which I mean middle-aged women, of course.*

    *Temper that by saying 100% of my tutors were strange withdrawn boys. By which I mean boys.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    We all have different aptitudes. I’d like a world where we could freely explore what they are.

    'violent' agreement here

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I'm not really sure how that particular incident reflects on the usability or otherwise of feminist theory for blokes, though.

    I can give you my absolute assurance that the person in question would not have behaved that way to a woman, and that she used 'feminism' as the justification for her behaviour. I... will shut up now, before I use the phrase "pissing contest".

    All I'm really trying to say is that a lot of people (myself included) have genuine negative experiences of trying to engage in discussions on feminist websites, and those negative experiences will inevitably shade the next discussion on a similar topic they try to have.

    Heh. I may have told you my story about walking up Ponsonby Road at night many years ago and steadily picking up my pace to put some distance us between when I realised there was a woman walking behind me, so she wouldn't feel threatened.

    So then I told the story to Matthew, and he was all, "Yeah, I do that all the time."

    I would not be surprised to see a real mixture of regualtory mechanisms in play simultaneously. In short, everyone could be right at the same time.

    Because biology. It's always everything.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Evolutionary psychologists have ruined the word "hard-wired" for me forever and ever, amen.

    (This discussion is making me wish I'd got to the end of Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences, which was, I thought, pretty eye-opening about how even some science is a bit... dodgy about this stuff. But I didn't finish it, because babies. Oh, the irony.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    “this is why men can’t load the dishwasher

    that sounds like a mighty convenient line, but I can't even see a plausible mechanism there

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Lilith __,

    Anna Notherthing...

    But girls DO do math.
    Lots of girls excel at math!

    ..and lotsa other stuff as well
    - that's why they're called Pollymaths...
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I was agreeing with you.

    Oh, I missed that. ;-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Danielle,

    This discussion is making me wish I'd got to the end of Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences, which was, I thought, pretty eye-opening

    See also her Let's say goodbye to the straw feminist, in convenient blog-post-length.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 15 16 17 18 19 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

This topic is closed.