Author Topic: Problems of being a Social Animal  (Read 257 times)

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Offline YRM_DM

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Problems of being a Social Animal
« on: July 21, 2017, 02:44:40 PM »
Questions and random thoughts about the messy problems of trying to achieve fairness or justice for most:

1 - Looking at religious people who are guilty of child abuse or child sexual abuse... it's easy to make fun of the church for covering it up, or to hate Joe Paterno for not doing enough about Jerry Sandusky.   But, if we were in that situation?  Would we do better?    Suppose you are friends with a pastor... you have him over for cookouts... you trust him... you've known him for years... you don't see any signs of weirdness.   Now a kid accuses the pastor of something horrible, and the kid is a troubled kid.  People are uncomfortable but some form of investigation happens and no charges are filed.

Wouldn't you feel like, "Ok, I know that was a crazy accusation, and, the X group investigated (campus police, church elders, therapists, whomever) and no charges were filed so... I guess that means the accusations were false, like I thought they were."

I'm not trying to excuse this behavior, but, I can think of people in my life that I trust and think highly of... it'd be very hard to believe an accusation like that about them.   False accusations DO happen, and I think it's more often than the statistical 8% you hear about, because some false accusations never get to the point where they are officially filed.

With religious people... they're already conditioned as well to accept weak arguments in defense of something they believe.    Apologetics is a weak defense of faith.   They accept weak defenses, so, a weak defense of a friend or pastor might also be accepted.

Many people believed Lance Armstrong was clean because he'd managed to pass so many drug tests... it was hard to know for sure if his accusers were just haters, or if he was the best in the world at beating drug tests (and a very good liar who mastered his body language well)... and it turned out to be the later.

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2 - Is the religious right something that does a better job than the skeptical left at standing up to extreme right-wing extremism?

I mean...  believers in the military... believers in the Republican party... are more willing to call out the abuses of Islam and ISIS and various farther right-wing groups than it seems many liberals (who are crippled by political-correctness in this double standard) are able to do?

If we want Democrats to win elections again against dog-shit Republican candidates, shouldn't it be the party where it's safe to debate and bring up critical points about the Q'uran in the same way that it's safe to do so about the Bible?

Additionally... I know, being an atheist, knowing this is my only life... while I'm still brave, and I'd still defend my family...  I'm a lot less likely to participate in anything I can avoid that is going to risk my life for little benefit.   We're also less likely to have big families, we spread our ideals through debate and talking.

Are we logical, skeptical thinkers less well equipped to defend our country than those with religious beliefs?    It seems harder for us to grasp and comprehend that some groups simply can not be reasoned with, at all...  their education level is too low and their delusions too great (see ISIS).

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3 - When trying to legislate for justice and safety and fairness, how do you avoid taking away personal freedom and motivation?

It seems like people are drawn to government jobs who are completely incapable of using common sense and judgment... and then we're asked to trust the government with providing the most important of services.

Little girl fined for lemonade stand.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/uk-girl-left-tears-shes-fined-selling-lemonade-48769122

Every law designed to promote fairness seems to end up with people finding new and clever ways to abuse that law in their favor (more-so if they are rich and can afford people to help them find loop-holes).

Without using religion and imaginary carrots and imaginary sticks... what is the best way to teach people that it's in their best interests to try to be fair and create a better world for everyone else?   How do you get more people to a higher, more charitable, more giving level of thinking without trying to force it there?



Just some random thoughts...   I'm hoping that smarter folks than I might be able to share some insights.




You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline Nick

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Re: Problems of being a Social Animal
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2017, 03:19:28 PM »
In my job I was required to report abuse.  Once when I did so nothing happened.  The abuse got worse and I reported again.  That time I was told if I kept reporting I could be hauled into court.  So I did not report any longer on that case.
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Offline junebug72

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Re: Problems of being a Social Animal
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2017, 06:49:44 AM »
Sad thing is a person that does this awful thing likely experienced it themselves as children.  At least that's what I read somewhere many years ago.
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Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: Problems of being a Social Animal
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2017, 11:26:43 AM »
I left my church in 2012 because 5 members were sexually abusing children and the church covered it up.  I was only at the church for 3 1/2 years though, so your point is valid.  I got in many screaming matches with congregation members who had been there for 30 years.  They just didn't want to let go of their long-time friends, and would do anything to protect them.  It was so sad - tribalism at it's most dangerous.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Problems of being a Social Animal
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2017, 11:53:49 AM »

2 - Is the religious right something that does a better job than the skeptical left at standing up to extreme right-wing extremism?

I mean...  believers in the military... believers in the Republican party... are more willing to call out the abuses of Islam and ISIS and various farther right-wing groups than it seems many liberals (who are crippled by political-correctness in this double standard) are able to do?
are they that concerned about the abuses of Islam and ISIS because of the abuses or that they are not Christian?
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Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: Problems of being a Social Animal
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 09:36:16 PM »
Questions and random thoughts about the messy problems of trying to achieve fairness or justice for most:

1 - Looking at religious people who are guilty of child abuse or child sexual abuse... it's easy to make fun of the church for covering it up, or to hate Joe Paterno for not doing enough about Jerry Sandusky.   But, if we were in that situation?  Would we do better?    Suppose you are friends with a pastor... you have him over for cookouts... you trust him... you've known him for years... you don't see any signs of weirdness.   Now a kid accuses the pastor of something horrible, and the kid is a troubled kid.  People are uncomfortable but some form of investigation happens and no charges are filed.

Wouldn't you feel like, "Ok, I know that was a crazy accusation, and, the X group investigated (campus police, church elders, therapists, whomever) and no charges were filed so... I guess that means the accusations were false, like I thought they were."
Hah, hell no I wouldn't think that. Having worked for Child Protective Services, and having been married to someone who experienced a lot of horrific abuse, I can tell you that it can be very hard to nail someone for sexually abusing a child. I had a case where there were three intellectually disabled teenage girls living with their (maybe not really) intellectually disabled mother in a rather poor neighborhood. There was a neighbor who was friends with the mom and her husband, who had passed away a few a while ago. When he passed away, this creep starting coming around more often, offering them support in little ways, or bringing gifts for the girls, or taking them out to ice cream. It seemed innocent enough at first, but others started to notice a rather bizarre relationship developing. He would spend extensive amounts of time with these girls, alone. In his house. He, a grown ass man, would have them over for sleepovers. Mom was aware of and approved all of this. She was told by social workers, therapists, psychiatrists, and a lot of people at their church (where he also went)  that this relationship was entirely inappropriate and needed to cease at once. She ignored them for years. Since there was no direct evidence of anything actually happening and there was no disclosure from any of the girls, nothing could be done.

Then, one day, the shit hit the fan. One of the girls, the youngest, was caught filming other girls in the shower and locker room at school with a cell phone camera, a cell phone that he had provided for her to use for this purpose. A state police investigation was opened, and there was an extensive evidence gathering process, all while they were trying to pin the case down as tightly as possible. At this point he had not been arrested yet. Well, one day, I was scheduled to visit this family. I parked just around the corner a bit from their house to organize some of my papers and do a few quick notes as I was like 20 minutes early. Digging through my work bag on my passenger seat I happened to see someone open the door in the house on the opposite side of the street. The perpetrators house. It was the youngest girl. I watched in shock as she walked around the corner to their house. I immediately called their case manager from another agency who was also on her way. We went in and I confronted the girl and the mother, asking where she had been that day. They initially tried saying that she was home all day, but I then mentioned that I saw her leave the perp's house. Mom said that she had told her daughter that she shouldn't go over there. I was able to get those girls out of that house (which was unbelievably disgusting) and the neighborhood and into a foster home together on the other side of the county where they would immediately improve.

What's my point? These kids were being molested and raped by this creep for YEARS all but under plain sight and nothing could be done.

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I'm not trying to excuse this behavior, but, I can think of people in my life that I trust and think highly of... it'd be very hard to believe an accusation like that about them.   False accusations DO happen, and I think it's more often than the statistical 8% you hear about, because some false accusations never get to the point where they are officially filed.
What is the first thing that happens when a serial murderer/rapist/crazy person is exposed? The media finds the neighbor with the least teeth and smallest vocabulary and ask them what the person was like. The response is inevitably "He was a nice guy. He had a tractor and would clear my driveway in the morning after he did his. He had a good job and a college degree. He was always visiting his old mom at the nursing home. Etc. etc." The scariest thing about monsters is that they are just like you and me. Except evil.

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With religious people... they're already conditioned as well to accept weak arguments in defense of something they believe.    Apologetics is a weak defense of faith.   They accept weak defenses, so, a weak defense of a friend or pastor might also be accepted.
Sadly these sheeple are as you say conditioned to accept weak arguments. I would also add that they are generally less educated, more credulous, and more inclined to insulate authority figures from blame.


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2 - Is the religious right something that does a better job than the skeptical left at standing up to extreme right-wing extremism?

I mean...  believers in the military... believers in the Republican party... are more willing to call out the abuses of Islam and ISIS and various farther right-wing groups than it seems many liberals (who are crippled by political-correctness in this double standard) are able to do?
I would actually tend to agree that they happen to recognize right wing Islam as an issue. The problem is that have absolutely ZERO self-contemplation and are thus unaware that their own beliefs are, in many ways, indistinguishable from ISIS. I would agree though that there is a certain faction of the left that has really become kind of a mockery of itself, where we can't talk honestly about ANYTHING without someone throwing a tantrum. I would say that at least a majority of Christian moderates fall on the left, and therein lies the problem. They are all sitting here like "why can't we just all get along?" and we're like "Because Religion" and they are like "OMG you can't attack people's beliefs! Fascist! Racist! Sexist!" because sadly, though our side generally has more intellectuals and intellectualism, we have some people who are on the left in the intelligence bell curve as well.

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If we want Democrats to win elections again against dog-shit Republican candidates, shouldn't it be the party where it's safe to debate and bring up critical points about the Q'uran in the same way that it's safe to do so about the Bible?
Absolutely.

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Additionally... I know, being an atheist, knowing this is my only life... while I'm still brave, and I'd still defend my family...  I'm a lot less likely to participate in anything I can avoid that is going to risk my life for little benefit.   We're also less likely to have big families, we spread our ideals through debate and talking.
I know this is true for me. Not a big risk taker, especially after having been brained on a water slide. I want to have as many years as possible. And we definitely breed less. I think about people on my facebook friends, if you were to separate into religious and atheist and make a ratio of children to adults, the religious side would be like 3 children per adult whereas the atheist side would be like 1 child per three adults. Religious people breed like rabbits and indoctrinate them from birth.

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Are we logical, skeptical thinkers less well equipped to defend our country than those with religious beliefs?    It seems harder for us to grasp and comprehend that some groups simply can not be reasoned with, at all...  their education level is too low and their delusions too great (see ISIS).
I don't think so. While I could certainly never be in the military because I am already a coward with PTSD, there are plenty of atheists in foxholes, and I think that in some ways atheists tend to fight these things on an ideological level rather than an actual "let's go kill the bastards" level, which ultimately is the better battle, as we are really at war with bad ideas, and of course the people who hold them. But if I had to defend myself I would definitely do so. And Pat Tillman was rather famously an out in the open atheist in the military, who, in spite of serving honorably in the badass Army Rangers, opposed the war on ethical grounds, and was seemingly murdered for this and his atheism. General Wesley Clark thinks so. I should point out that Tillman, a non-believer, turned down a multi-million dollar NFL career to serve his country after 9/11. I haven't seen Tim Tebow in fatigues, have you?

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3 - When trying to legislate for justice and safety and fairness, how do you avoid taking away personal freedom and motivation?
By keeping religion out of government, and crucifying people like Kim Davis when they thrust it in.

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It seems like people are drawn to government jobs who are completely incapable of using common sense and judgment... and then we're asked to trust the government with providing the most important of services.
This is definitely true at the upper levels. Most people deciding policy have no idea what it is like to be the low level employees implementing that. I think that there are actually a lot of clever people in government, they just happen to be the working class folks who actually know how to tackle problems because they actually have to in their own lives.

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Little girl fined for lemonade stand.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/uk-girl-left-tears-shes-fined-selling-lemonade-48769122

Every law designed to promote fairness seems to end up with people finding new and clever ways to abuse that law in their favor (more-so if they are rich and can afford people to help them find loop-holes).
No system will ever be perfect. And particularly in the US, laws and law enforcement are primarily aimed at petty crimes and shit that doesn't really matter: traffic violation, non-violent drug offenses, non-payment of support, retail theft, stuff like that. They come down hard on those folks because they are easily visible and there are lots of them and they can make it look they are being tough on crime, when they are just raking in money while ruining peoples lives for dumb shit. Meanwhile. Hobby Lobby people smuggle a ludicrous amount of valuable, stolen relics into the country, and get a measly fine. Seriously? It's even more pathetic when you consider that they are a self-righteous holier than thou gay hating Jesus company. If corporations are now people why can't we execute them for their crimes? or imprison them? Sure, they put Bernie Madoff away, but only because he scammed OTHER RICH PEOPLE.

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Without using religion and imaginary carrots and imaginary sticks... what is the best way to teach people that it's in their best interests to try to be fair and create a better world for everyone else?   How do you get more people to a higher, more charitable, more giving level of thinking without trying to force it there?
It's honestly not hard. I have taught my son to be fair and honest and generous without religion. It's a matter of teaching kids about empathy, compassion, a sense of responsibility to others, and a drive to exceed. He is on the honor roll. He is a very talented musician. He has the vocabulary and language skills of an adult. he never gets in trouble in school. he helps others without being asked. All that has to be done is to show a child that you should treat other people well in hopes that they will also treat you well. You don't need fairy tales for the golden rule. and its not perfect either, but its very easy to see. Kids can tell when people are being treated unfairly. Hell, animals show evidence of moral behavior. Dolphins and elephants will rescue people and other animals. So will some other primates/monkeys. There are lots of evidence of moral behavior outside of us, and it is because the better we get along and work as a group, the stronger each of us is individually.



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Just some random thoughts...   I'm hoping that smarter folks than I might be able to share some insights.
"A resurrected person who is also the son of a virgin could still be talking nonsense. There's no logic that says he must be right. " Christopher Hitchens

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Problems of being a Social Animal
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 06:15:59 AM »
Wouldn't you feel like, "Ok, I know that was a crazy accusation, and, the X group investigated (campus police, church elders, therapists, whomever) and no charges were filed so... I guess that means the accusations were false, like I thought they were."

I'm not trying to excuse this behavior, but, I can think of people in my life that I trust and think highly of... it'd be very hard to believe an accusation like that about them.   False accusations DO happen, and I think it's more often than the statistical 8% you hear about, because some false accusations never get to the point where they are officially filed.

I think that in addition to the unwillingness to believe, there is also a significant element of being more likely to apply mitigation (and in greater amounts) and willingness to "forgive and forget" where the perpetrator is closer to home.  And that applies to everyone, not just to the religious.

Its pretty well documented that when we describe why we personally did stuff, we talk about how we were responding to the situation - "I crashed because the road was slippery".  When we talk about others, we ascribe mistakes to character - "he crashed because he was a bad driver".  In the same way, there is a tendency where the more removed we are from a person, the less likely we are to allow (or seek) mitigation.

Seriously consider: would we accept the same level of evidence of a crime where our son or daughter was the alleged perpetrator, compared to someone we don't know at the other end of the country?  Would we push for more mitigation for their previous character?  Leaner sentencing?  Would we be more, or less likely to immediately call the police if we saw a random stranger breaking into a car, than if we saw our son doing it? 

Like you say - harder to believe accusations against those we know.  I don't really think that the religious can really be held to be significantly different in how they react to such accusations, especially those made against people in authority. 
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Jag

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Re: Problems of being a Social Animal
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 01:53:57 PM »
^^^We judge others by their outcomes, but judge ourselves by our intentions
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Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Problems of being a Social Animal
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2017, 12:40:02 PM »
Wouldn't you feel like, "Ok, I know that was a crazy accusation, and, the X group investigated (campus police, church elders, therapists, whomever) and no charges were filed so... I guess that means the accusations were false, like I thought they were."

I'm not trying to excuse this behavior, but, I can think of people in my life that I trust and think highly of... it'd be very hard to believe an accusation like that about them.   False accusations DO happen, and I think it's more often than the statistical 8% you hear about, because some false accusations never get to the point where they are officially filed.

I think that in addition to the unwillingness to believe, there is also a significant element of being more likely to apply mitigation (and in greater amounts) and willingness to "forgive and forget" where the perpetrator is closer to home.  And that applies to everyone, not just to the religious.

Its pretty well documented that when we describe why we personally did stuff, we talk about how we were responding to the situation - "I crashed because the road was slippery".  When we talk about others, we ascribe mistakes to character - "he crashed because he was a bad driver".  In the same way, there is a tendency where the more removed we are from a person, the less likely we are to allow (or seek) mitigation.

Seriously consider: would we accept the same level of evidence of a crime where our son or daughter was the alleged perpetrator, compared to someone we don't know at the other end of the country?  Would we push for more mitigation for their previous character?  Leaner sentencing?  Would we be more, or less likely to immediately call the police if we saw a random stranger breaking into a car, than if we saw our son doing it? 

Like you say - harder to believe accusations against those we know.  I don't really think that the religious can really be held to be significantly different in how they react to such accusations, especially those made against people in authority.

Agreed on all fronts.  However religious are less likely to believe accusations against fellow religious and vice versa.

Additionally, many actual victims are afraid to speak up while liars are quite willing to make false accusations, because they're not afraid... because nothing has actually happened to them and it's really hard to prove that they're lying.   I've seen it go both ways to the point that I'm skeptical of all claims.  I've seen innocent managers fired by HR, even after several of us approached HR with contradictory evidence.   I've seen this stuff happen where someone loses a job or whatnot just on unproven, unreasonable claims.

There are people who've come up so easy that any confrontation or socially assertive situation is too hard for them.  They see "abuse" in a raised voice or raised eyebrow.  Body language scares them.  They can not handle any adversity because they've been spoiled and don't even know what real adversity is.  They want validation for their selfish behavior.

Think about the victim complex Christians portray in movies like God's Not Dead, or God's Not Dead 2... but it applies to any group who wants to feel persecuted simply because discussion is too hard for them.   How many atheists over the decades have been fired or demoted due to over-zealous, over-protective Christian parents?

Then there are people who've come up so hard that they're afraid to ask for help and actually need it.  They see "abuse" as just a normal thing they deal with.  Getting hit or called swear words or having things thrown at them is part of their daily life.   They can handle adversity but are afraid of the consequences of asking for help.

The average person just has to hope that people in Social Services or other support systems can tell the difference.
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.