We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We humans flatter ourselves when we claim to "think" things through, because often our starting point is our conclusion. We rationalize our conclusions and biases, and are attracted to information which confirms them. However, that does not mean that our thoughts are always misguided or wrong.
"Objectivity cannot be equated with mental blankness; rather, objectivity resides in recognizing your preferences and then subjecting them to especially harsh scrutiny—and also in a willingness to revise or abandon your theories when the tests fail (as they usually do)."
yea ... but you have to understand what the author said to get to that point. even to agree, you have to understand what he said, that's not inherent as much as you think it is, especially in human society, with our large brains, et al, yet, it is true we inherit these things. When you tell you Mother, when you are older, that you like the smell of bbq, for example, u r telling somebody of whom knows when you might of 1st expressed that sentiment, a few years b 4 u remember anything, and hence, sometimes things convey different things, yet again ... that doesn't mean there aren't languages that have meaning.
The comments to the review of Shermer's book are interesting in themselves. I like this one quite a bit: "It would be difficult to imagine how Shermer could relate any information or opinion that wasn't tainted by his militant atheism."
Shermer was probably enjoying a little dopamine buzz as he wrote his book. I'm enjoying one right now, although I am willing to re-evaluate my conclusions and stand corrected, (but for me that's unusual in a comment section on a blog).
I was attracted to the title, and then, as I saw I was linked, thought "Well, of course I'm going to like the topic, then."
My post was written after receiving yet one more email from my elderly, very liberal uncle, who is bright enough at times, but is simply locked in a rather tribal liberalism. It gives him great pleasure to be among the smart ones, and to look down at The Others. So I attempted to make the general case, and put some energy into reminding myself what gains I get from beliefs myself.
I fancy it is one of the things Jesus was referring to when he insisted we count the cost. But that may be more my thought than his.
Assistant VIllage Idiot
Coming into adulthood I held one set of beliefs that didn't jive with the real world. I learned that they didn't work and had to painfully relearn and reconstruct my belief system to survive. Reason and observation were the tools I had to use.
So, perhaps in the short run Dr. Bliss is correct but there is hope that people can adjust, given a motivator like pain or pleasure. Perhaps that's why alkies and dopers have to hit bottom before they can improve or our political system needs a crisis to change.