Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Blog: Gene Expression
Topic: Jonathan Haidt & Robert Wright: crazy delicious
Comment: I do not usually indulge in a debate myself. I prefer to get what view the other person has and offer my own.  Debates quite often though, are really pitches to the audience.

    12.   AndrewV Says:
    April 4th, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Razib said:

    “People need to know your motives are pure, and, they need to not be stupid and ignorant (the latter is a problem). Once those preconditions are met then it is not impossible to work through difficult topics, whatever they may be”.

The issue I have with this statement is that in my experience, and here I commit an obvious sin myself, is not so much that that people have to be convinced of the purity of your motive, but the chance that the person is incapable of discussing it in a meaningful way in the first place.

I am arguing, that it is not just the “stupid and ignorant” that you have to be wary of, but also the “superficially educated”.

A 13 year old who can quote Chaucer, and will passionately denounce a modern translation of the Miller’s Tale as lacking poetry and nuance (and I was that child), is nontheless incapable of the appreciation of the work that only a mature sensibility can bring.

Eventually I achieved a “first” in English Literature. In reality, my score was based on my ability to impersonate an erudite appreciation, when the fact of the matter was that I had only a superficial understanding of the material at best.

You may be well advised to take that under consideration when selecting who you debate with.

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