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Gay and African - Comments

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 1 by SaganTheCat

“If homosexuality is tolerated, very soon the human race will be extinct,”

the fact that people still say such things shows there must be no shortage of those who will listen. amazing the power a man can have just by putting on a silly dress

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 11:41:31 UTC | #856529

Robert Howard's Avatar Comment 2 by Robert Howard

Comment Removed by Author

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 12:46:08 UTC | #856544

Robert Howard's Avatar Comment 3 by Robert Howard

Here's a faster link to the full article and comments. I hope I did it right this time.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 12:54:35 UTC | #856548

keyfeatures's Avatar Comment 4 by keyfeatures

These attitudes truly are terrifying. As is the way the UK regularly refuses asylum to LGBT from these countries.

It's not just Africa, there are some seriously homophobic attitudes in the Balkans. Thankfully EU pressures are slowly starting to address these and give rights despite the prevalence of anti-gay thinking. It will take time but I'm cautiously optimistic.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 13:11:57 UTC | #856555

anonymous.shyster's Avatar Comment 5 by anonymous.shyster

Seriously, what is wrong with people?

UTDINYSTFU - Unless the dick is in you, STFU.
Acronym source (http://thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=bsitu_e03)

Peoples sex lives, or lives for that matter, are nobody else's business, except those directly involved.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 13:19:30 UTC | #856560

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 6 by Nunbeliever

Did you read the comments beneath the article? That was really disturbing! There are some crazy motherfuckers in Ghana! And people wonder why Africa is such a hopeless continent. One of the few places in the world that is actually getting poorer all the time. This is such a good example of what you get when you let superstition rule your society. You do not only get a very violent and unfair society. The whole society in itself will slowly rot in it's own filth.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 14:28:29 UTC | #856597

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 7 by AtheistEgbert

Did you see the comment "HOMOSEXUALS ARE EVIL PEOPLE" which is of course a terrible and awful comment to make, right? And yet, someone did exactly the same thing in a comment on Jerry Coyne's blog, but in reference to religious people, "Religious people are so evil."

That comment was overlooked and even justified by people. Conformation bias much?

Also, may I point out that some people (who I will not mention) made some rather disturbing comments about what they would like to do with Rupert Murdoch.

All of it pretty unacceptable, but it does show that bias and extremes happen even among so-called rationalists and atheists.

Although such comments are unacceptable, the sentiments shared are often the same by those within the same group. And few actually challenge such comments. This is just as disturbing.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 15:09:54 UTC | #856604

jameshogg's Avatar Comment 8 by jameshogg

^^^^

Maybe they can't challenge the extremes because a) they don't think there IS an extreme and b) for fear of being seen as giving religion "more respect than it deserves", perhaps?

It is quite a bad trap to fall into when you believe that you are always going to be right about everything, just because you have science and reason on your side. It is very unreasonable thinking, ironically enough.

“If homosexuality is tolerated, very soon the human race will be extinct,”

Nah. My eyes are on the nukes, and their deluded owners, to be honest. Just a thought.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 16:17:54 UTC | #856636

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 9 by AtheistEgbert

Maybe they can't challenge the extremes because a) they don't think there IS an extreme and b) for fear of being seen as giving religion "more respect than it deserves", perhaps?

I think you understand the point I'm trying to make. While I think religion is a great evil, so too is group mentality. It worries me that the atheist community is simply unaware and ignoring the potential pitfalls of falling into such a trap, a trap that simply plagues the blogs and institutions that atheists are now beginning to support and build.

It is quite a bad trap to fall into when you believe that you are always going to be right about everything, just because you have science and reason on your side. It is very unreasonable thinking, ironically enough.

It is a fascinating problem, and I'm afraid I can't fully back such a movement until we mature and realize our own tendency toward hierarchy, personalities, and the typical irrational group structures.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 16:43:13 UTC | #856645

Zelig's Avatar Comment 10 by Zelig

Appalling, but not, alas, surprising. Here again it is crystal clear how little a role reason plays in the life of man. Everywhere you look, stupidity, cruelty and suffering; some of it obvious, much of it sublimated. Must our reach always exceed our grasp?

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 17:14:04 UTC | #856659

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 11 by Neodarwinian

Religion again? Or, cultural practices from the Dark Ages?

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 18:59:21 UTC | #856703

josephor's Avatar Comment 12 by josephor

Nothing like religion to turn people into primitive ignorant savages.Reverend Stephen Wengan is nothing more then a rabble rouser but unfortunately there is no shortage of rabble that are wiling to listen to his vile populist rhetoric.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 19:42:31 UTC | #856720

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 13 by Schrodinger's Cat

“If homosexuality is tolerated, very soon the human race will be extinct”

If any aliens are reading.......I deny being part of the same species as the cretin who made that comment.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 20:01:19 UTC | #856722

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 14 by Nunbeliever

All of it pretty unacceptable, but it does show that bias and extremes happen even among so-called rationalists and atheists.

Well visit Pharyngula and you will see exactly how irrational and outright fanatical some members of the atheist community can really be. Things can get ugly here on RD.net at times. I am not exactly innocent myself either. When we get emotional we sometimes say stupid things we regret. But on Pharyngula the level of nastiness is just exclusive. Especially regarding certain topics. They have taken as their mission in life to implement the dickward theory.

So I think you should really appreciate what a civilized forum RD.net really is. But, the point you are making is very important and one that should concern all of us. The moment we stop scrutinizing ourselves we are definately on the wrong track. We are all humans and as such beings vulnerable to confirmation bias and navel-gazing.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 21:20:42 UTC | #856741

Constantlearner's Avatar Comment 15 by Constantlearner

Wow, the comments on that article are some of the scariest things I've read in a while, which is saying a lot because I've been on Fox News a lot recently.

Comment 13 by Schrodinger's Cat :

“If homosexuality is tolerated, very soon the human race will be extinct”

If any aliens are reading.......I deny being part of the same species as the cretin who made that comment.

haha, I often think how cringily embarrassing it would be to have to explain all the religions/churches/superstitions to an alien species who visited us.

All groups are prone to falling victim to group thinking and illogical bias. Even ones based on rational thought. Definitely something worth taking note of. It could even do with its own thread

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 21:32:52 UTC | #856745

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 16 by Cartomancer

It is heartbreaking to hear the stories of gay people from such benighted places in the world, where ignorant, murderous homophobia has free reign. Even in this country, in the last 30 years, being gay has not always been straightforward. Quite how hard it must be when you are demonised by the authorities and in fear for your life I cannot begin to imagine.

I wish there were something we could do immediately to stop this sort of thing, I really do. There are a few sticking-plaster palliatives, such as sorting out the asylum situation, which are valuable in themselves and should be done, but will not solve the problem.

No, this one is a long-term problem, and it will only be solved when places like Ghana and Uganda achieve a sufficient level of wealth and stability and a quality of life for all such that education flourishes and the bleatings of the murderous religious hate-mongers lose their ability to inspire and inflame. There is a dreary and repetitive tendency for people who are poor, ignorant, stressed, frightened and suffering under appalling social conditions to scapegoat the vulnerable. In McCarthyite America it was Communists. In Nazi Germany it was the jews and the bohemians and the gypsies. In sixteenth-century Europe it was witches and nonconformists. In the thirteenth century it was the cathars and waldenses, and so on back through countless ages of victimisation and despair.

There lurks beneath the surface of all human societies this appalling tendency to turn on the vulnerable. It will not go away, it is rooted in our evolved group psychology. But its effects are not inevitable. It can be managed and suppressed and avoided. Societies can be trained not to turn on those who cannot defend themselves, and constituted such that people do not feel the need to turn on one another to satisfy a primal urge for vengeance. The best way to do this is to ensure that people are prosperous and happy, educated, aware of their social responsibilities and hopeful for the future. The anxiety of uncertainty, the prospect of poverty and war, must be held distant, through welfare provision and pacifism, education and sensible economic policies. Only then can humanity overcome its darker evolutionary baggage and avoid these sorts of atrocities, as much of the developed world has to a significant degree. The reason it does not happen here is because we are, comparatively at least, prosperous and educated and secure. It will not be until the Ghanaians and the Ugandans and the rest can say the same that progress will be made.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 22:39:24 UTC | #856757

Zelig's Avatar Comment 17 by Zelig

Comment 16 by Cartomancer :

No, this one is a long-term problem, and it will only be solved when places like Ghana and Uganda achieve a sufficient level of wealth and stability and a quality of life for all such that education flourishes and the bleatings of the murderous religious hate-mongers lose their ability to inspire and inflame. There is a dreary and repetitive tendency for people who are poor, ignorant, stressed, frightened and suffering under appalling social conditions to scapegoat the vulnerable.

There lurks beneath the surface of all human societies this appalling tendency to turn on the vulnerable. It will not go away, it is rooted in our evolved group psychology. But its effects are not inevitable. It can be managed and suppressed and avoided. Societies can be trained not to turn on those who cannot defend themselves, and constituted such that people do not feel the need to turn on one another to satisfy a primal urge for vengeance. The best way to do this is to ensure that people are prosperous and happy, educated, aware of their social responsibilities and hopeful for the future. The anxiety of uncertainty, the prospect of poverty and war, must be held distant, through welfare provision and pacifism, education and sensible economic policies. Only then can humanity overcome its darker evolutionary baggage and avoid these sorts of atrocities, as much of the developed world has to a significant degree. The reason it does not happen here is because we are, comparatively at least, prosperous and educated and secure. It will not be until the Ghanaians and the Ugandans and the rest can say the same that progress will be made.

I'm sorry, but I just don't buy this analysis. "Prosperous", "happy", and "educated" are rarely found together, and with good reason. Pareto is more useful here than Marx, but less romantic . . .

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 22:59:25 UTC | #856762

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 18 by AtheistEgbert

@14 (Nunbeliever)

Yes, I appreciate your honesty. I have falling into the same error on many occasions.

I think the atheist blogs are starting to become more bias, where people simply start agreeing with articles while bullying anyone who disagrees. There's certainly been some explosive and destructive arguments recently, but these have not yet been resolved rationally, so the problem remains.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 23:35:53 UTC | #856772

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 19 by Cartomancer

I'm sorry, but I just don't buy this analysis. "Prosperous", "happy", and "educated" are rarely found together, and with good reason. Pareto is more useful here than Marx, but less romantic . . .

I disagree. "Prosperous", "happy" and "educated" are so heavily connected that they are almost never found in isolation from one another. Happiness is a product of societal stability and a result of freedom from anxiety, problems, danger and threats. Prosperity also stems from this, and contributes to happiness. Education costs money, and is more feasible in prosperous societies. It also ensures prosperity. I find it impossible to see how the three could exist independently, to be honest.

And I'm not sure where I invoked Marx, or what statistical analysis has to do with this. This is not a statistics problem - the solution is to be found in historical analysis, not some bizarre jiggery-pokery with numbers.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 23:58:37 UTC | #856777

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 20 by Nunbeliever

To AtheistEgbert:

I think the atheist blogs are starting to become more bias, where people simply start agreeing with articles while bullying anyone who disagrees.

Yes it's quite interesting, and I really think this is a modern form of tribalism at work. It's just amazing how people who agree which other on a certain topic often stick together and create what I would like to call an in-group. And they fiercely protect each other against intruders, which is quite interesting since they are often complete strangers to each other as well. These intruders are often labelled "fair game" and you really don't have to show them any respect. You are free or even to some degree expected to call them horrible things without feeling any guilt. I don't think it's all that wrong to say this is a form of dehumanizing and I think the mechanism at work is not all that different from more conventional forms of tribalism. I think this shows how vulnerable we are as human beings to tribalism and how we constantly seem to interpret the world in terms of "us" and "them". It seems like we unconsciously are constantly trying to define whom our allies and enemies are. I think you can see this in every kindergarten or school, at every work place or dinner party, and even to some extent in our homes. Most of the time it really isn't all that dramatic. But, as we can see on the internet these tendencies can create quite nasty situations when strangers stick together and viciously attack anyone who dares to disagree with them. This is of course not only bad for the people who get attacked. The in-group also suffers due to the fact that they often develop an arrogant attitude that makes them vulnerable to confirmation bias. It is of course quite ironic when you see these same tendencies among people who call themselves skeptics.

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 00:21:18 UTC | #856785

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 21 by Steve Zara

I think the atheist blogs are starting to become more bias, where people simply start agreeing with articles while bullying anyone who disagrees.

It's not everywhere. There is much firm but civilized debate on Butterflies and Wheels, Ophelia Benson's site. I also think that this site is better that it used to be, partly thanks to (and I have to eat my own words here) the moderation.

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 00:47:05 UTC | #856790

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 22 by AtheistEgbert

@Comment 20 (Nunbeliever)

Oh yes, spot on, I agree (hehe no irony there).

@Cartomancer & @david2

Happiness? Wow, what a worthy topic to discuss. Wealth brings happiness? I thought it was morality that brought happiness, considering it is about caring for others. In fact, I think wealth brings the opposite to happiness, because to become wealthy, you must not care about others. An interesting contradiction no?

Anyway, a fun discussion that would make. Yes, it's about time we discussed economics, morality and happiness (hopefully someone could start it).

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 00:49:01 UTC | #856792

Robert Howard's Avatar Comment 23 by Robert Howard

Stephen K Amos, the gay Nigerian-British comedian, made a documentary a while back about black communities' attitudes towards homosexuality here in Britain and in the rest of the world, particularly Africa. It was an eye-opening and at times dispiriting programme. At one point Stephen interviewed a bunch of black British kids in their mid-to-late teens. These were typical British teenagers: funny, irreverent, thoughtful, clever; and yet their attitude to homosexuality was antediluvian.

I think there's a belief in black culture that 'gay' is an affliction peculiar to caucasian people only. Many homosexual African-American men, for example, are on the down low, which means they present a heterosexual front to their communities, having girlfriends, wives, entire families. And boyfriends on the side.

Anyway, the programme was called 'Batty Man', and it's well worth watching if you happen across it.

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 01:09:21 UTC | #856796

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 24 by Steve Zara

It's easy to get complacent. I do. I am a fully out gay man, and I have faced almost no problems of any kind because of my sexuality. I am very fortunate as well in that I share my life with a wonderful man, who my friends and I insist on calling my husband and not the rather strange 'civil partner'. I am fortunate because I live my full life without needing to worry about being gay. So, I do get complacent.

It's important therefore that people keep highlighting the problems that gay people face in the world, and even in supposedly civilized countries like the UK.

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 01:22:02 UTC | #856801

RDfan's Avatar Comment 25 by RDfan

Black people this, black people that. Africa this, Africa that. WTF!?

Will we give up on the simple generalization of "black" people and "Africans"? As a so-called "black African" I'm so tired when I hear all this talk about how black people think and how Africans think about this and that. It's crap! I get equally frustrated when I hear someone trying to pigeon-hole "Americans" or "Europeans" or "Arabs" or "Asians". What it tell me is "this person is lazy; he or she has not bothered to think any further about the issue than reach for the nearest pre-judice they hold about X". Sure there is wide-spread homophobia in Africa; but just how that translates to the entire continent's doom is beyond me.

I'm glad that I've had the chance to live in several countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. It has, to a large extent, cured me of simple generalizations about place or race. Having met tonnes of Americans, I now know more about that country, too, and my previous prejudices about it have dissipated. As someone said, being an atheist is no immunity against prejudice and bias.

Long live Africa! After all, "We are all Africans", right?

(BTW, I'm all for gay equal rights, and so are all my family, including, in the main part, my Dad who is a reverend (As a Christian he feels obliged to follow his stupid holy book, but as a human being he has nothing but love for everyone including gay people ).)

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 01:32:59 UTC | #856807

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 26 by Nunbeliever

To RDfan:

Yes, well of course there is a lot of cultural diversity in Africa since it is a continent with over fifty nations. Nonetheless studies reveal a quite sad picture of Africa as a whole. This report by The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is quite an eye-opener (link). They state: "Approximately half of Africa's nations maintain laws that specifically criminalize same-sex conduct." And if we take into account not only direct criminalization but discrimination and inequality under the law for homosexuals the sitaution is really disastrous. When this report was written 2007 only South Africa and to a much lesser extent Namibia had "included protections based on sexual orientation in their legal systems". Two countries out of 53. I really don't think I make a gross generalization when I say that homophobia is an enormous problem in Africa. I don't think it's all that unfair to say that this homophobia in large stems from lack of education and superstition. And what about Africa as the "lost continent"? Well, I think this article sums that up pretty well (link). If the vast majority of the European countries made no efforts to protect sexual minorities and half of them maintained the position that homosexuality is a crime I would not hesitate to say that Europe is a hopeless geopgraphical region in this regard either, regardless of the fact that of course not all Europeans were homophobes.

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 02:15:16 UTC | #856817

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 27 by Steven Mading

Comment 7 by AtheistEgbert :

Did you see the comment " HOMOSEXUALS ARE EVIL PEOPLE" which is of course a terrible and awful comment to make, right? And yet, someone did exactly the same thing in a comment on Jerry Coyne's blog, but in reference to religious people, " Religious people are so evil."

That comment was overlooked and even justified by people. Conformation bias much?

Also, may I point out that some people (who I will not mention) made some rather disturbing comments about what they would like to do with Rupert Murdoch.

All of it pretty unacceptable, but it does show that bias and extremes happen even among so-called rationalists and atheists.

Although such comments are unacceptable, the sentiments shared are often the same by those within the same group. And few actually challenge such comments. This is just as disturbing.

Whats more disturbing is when some self-proclaimed arbiter of reason can't seem to tell the basic difference between these comments where the group being maligned was actually declared illegal to exist versus these comments where the group being maligned has not been declared illegal and is in fact explicitly protected under the law. Furthermore, to declare the malignments identical when in one case the group is defined by a property that does not affect moral beliefs while the other group is defined by a property that does affect moral beliefs, also makes the comments very different.

To consider them equal is a basic failure of reason.

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 03:30:46 UTC | #856839

jameshogg's Avatar Comment 28 by jameshogg

Comment 20 by Nunbeliever :

Yes, and I shall add.

The most obvious, fundamental principle that people miss time and time again is that people are fallible. Nobody really takes notice when I stress such a missed point. The fact that every single person on this planet makes mistakes is one of the most character-building, mature and wise prospects you are most likely going to come across in life.

It can break you free: from the hopelessly lost utopian dream of a civilisation where nobody gets anything wrong, from tribal instincts to outcast individuals on the sole basis of disagreement, from trying so hard to convince everybody to change, from expecting so much from your friends and family, from having your heart being needlessly broken again and again as a result of witnessing the stupidity of the human race.

On that last point, I can only say that the privileged, educated and downright lucky of us here wjp witness the absurd and ridiculous behaviours of our brothers and sisters again and again and again, really have no choice but to get over it. Humanity is, without a doubt, overrated. And some are luckier than others. We really may as well make things easier for ourselves and our well-being by accepting it, moving on, and doing what we can to help whoever we encounter. It is unhealthy obsessing over what you cannot change. If there really is "no limit" to the level of stupidity, then so be it, already!

I also know this to be an enlightening prospect on the count of my knowledge into magic and conjuring. The area of misdirection here is, by definition, exploiting the senses and producing a stupendously difficult puzzle for the audience to solve (without cheating and going online for the solution). This understanding ultimately shows that we are a very hopeless lot indeed, where the only thing stopping the mind from going crazy is the knowledge at the back of one's mind that there is something up the sleeve. Little do we know that there are many illusions in the universe, both as nature and nurture, that do not declare themselves as illusions because there is nobody nearby wearing fancy clothes and a top hat. It is not only inevitable that such conditions can cause a conscious species such as ours to fall for delusions just about everywhere, even the supposedly "few" of those who despise the very idea of being tricked, but also predicable and inescapable.

If there is any sort of truly powerful movement that is going to hammer home the points of wisdom in this way, then I would put a good amount of money on the subjects of Illusion and Psychology. The lessons that can be learned in those topics are many of the core building blocks of reason and skepticism. They cannot be overlooked so easily. You could learn more from a magic or mind-reading show than you ever could from a book on the subject of enlightenment.

In terms of the atheist (lets say, for sake of avoiding the herding of cats, one who happens to be an atheist) who goes further than he should be saying that "all religious people are evil", it is only evidence enough that the lack of a belief in God fails to guarantee a flaw-free mindset. But my response here is unreservedly resounding: you should have learned that nobody is perfect ages ago, ideally when you were growing up.

We have all got our share of mistakes. I for one probably, no, definitely have my own. I have to have the courage to face the fact that I may be quite wrong about my opinions: drinking coffee might be bad for me, the idea that the Sex Pistols might have actually given something worthwhile to music, the dismissal of ultimate guilt, the rejection of any true ability to control what one believes in, the notion that ridicule and laughter does little to sway the opinions of those who matter*, that being a polemicist and a contrarian is overrated.

*(It's funny. I can never suggest that notion without being branded an accomodationist, even although I probably defend freedom of speech and expression a lot more passionately than my accuser, who seems to be assuming otherwise. Suggesting ridicule doesn't work is quite different from suggesting that ridicule should be censored from public discourse. That's some more tribal mentality for us to shake our heads at.)

Do you know what the hardest trait to achieve in life is? Modesty. Modesty by admitting the plausible fallibility in your arguments. It has to be by definition, considering how you are staring an idea in the face that on occasion must have the same level of conviction that the sky is blue, and having the courage to throw that conviction away, even if every urge inside your mind is rebelling against it. Even after all of my awareness on how necessary such an approach is in order to maintain wisdom, I still have great difficulty doing so. If humanity ends up evolving to the point where this skill, this pinnacle, can be learned and mastered, that would indeed be one of our all time greatest achievements. It really is a race between the evolution of that prospect and the alternative: our own destruction in the name of our stubbornness.

And I know what can help that along... watching the likes of this every now and then.

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 04:04:01 UTC | #856845

Net's Avatar Comment 29 by Net

you do have to wonder what planet we live on and what century it is when you learn about stuff like this. GLBT hurt nobody, do not convert or evangelise, love just like everyone else, and yet, there are people who will not look passed what they imagine goes on in the bedroom. And it's these very same people who want to lead their countries? shudder!!

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 04:46:38 UTC | #856850

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 30 by Nunbeliever

To jameshogg:

It can break you free... ...from trying so hard to convince everybody to change, from expecting so much from your friends and family, from having your heart being needlessly broken again and again as a result of witnessing the stupidity of the human race.

Damn, you say you know a lot about conjuring. I would easily have mistaken you for a true mind-reader ;-) No, just kidding! But, I can't deny that this very paragraph adequately describes certain aspects of my personality.

I guess I find your comment a bit too cynical for my taste, but of course you are right when you say that we are all fallible. Although I essentially agree with most of the things you say I do not agree with your conclusions.

We really may as well make things easier for ourselves and our well-being by accepting it, moving on, and doing what we can to help whoever we encounter. It is unhealthy obsessing over what you cannot change.

You talked earlier about embracing the fact that we are all fallible and all make mistakes. You also state that embracing this can break you free. You will be redeemed from a constant disappointment in the human race since you have a more realistic view of humans and not a purely idealistic or even "hopelessly lost utopian dream" as you poetically chose to put it.

Still, there is a problem with this statement. How do you know when we have reached the limits of human potential or even how do you even identify such a limit? You say that one shall not be obsessed with things you cannot change, but how do we know what we can change and cannot change. Yes, of course we can say that there will never come a day when humans are infallible. But, at the same time we can say that there will never come a day when humans are wrong about everything either. The limits of our potential lies somewhere between these extremes and as infallible beings we can't really be sure where. My point is that the claim that we should not strive for infallability is something of a nonsequitur since that is something only a madman would strive for. Hence, I think what we are really discussing here is where the limits of human potential lies and whether or not we have actually reached these limits or not.

The optimist tends to say that the sky is the limit while the pessimist points out that any progress we seem to make is just an illusion based upon wishful thinking. Still the main problem remains. We don't know what the limits of human potential are. I like to think of myself as more of an optimist than a pessimist although as said earlier I have my moments of dispair. And I think we have good evidence that it is (at least in theory) possible to make this world a much better place. I think that the main problem with the pessimist position is that it tends to be self-fulfilling in that sense that progress rarely comes by itself. Hence, I really see it as defeat. Yes, accepting defeat might be a relief for the individual. But for humanity as a whole it can't really lead to nothing but disatser in my opinion. Still we ironically need both pessimists and optimists. We need optimists who are not afraid to think out of the box and dare to dream. At the same time we need pessimists who can keep our brains from falling out of our heads.

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 05:40:12 UTC | #856854