SocialistPunk

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Viewing 15 posts - 1,426 through 1,440 (of 1,441 total)
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  • in reply to: The Religion word #89219
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Wow! I see northern light has set the cat amongst the pigeons with this one! A good thing I think.It seems that some SPGB members think you have to be an atheist to be a socialist. Although I am an atheist and a socialist I see a problem with this mode of thinking.I am going to ask a question which may or may not have been addressed in the party before.Do the SPGB members who are against any one with a spiritual belief joining the party, think that a socialist revolution will be made up entirely of atheists?Billions of atheists?

    in reply to: The Religion word #89189
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    I see the human nature debate has been brought here for some unknown reason? OGW was indeed right to say it was not a tired subject. Why Jonathan has chosen to continue here and not in the relevant thread is any ones guess? As I am quite new to this forum I was wandering if it is customary to go completely off topic on a subject to a subject that already has it’s own thread? I know subjects evolve into others but this is not the case? Surely the forum exists as it does to allow many topics to be dicussed without encroaching on one another? 
     

    Jonathan Chambers wrote:
     I’m very pleased that the subject of rationality has loomed so large of late.  Avid readers of this forum will have witnessed attempts by some of the more dogmatic amongst us to discredit me personally by suggesting that they are rational.  The implication, of course, being that I am not rational since I don’t agree with them…

    It was not my intention to imply anyone as being irrational. I bare no ill will to anyone on this forum and wish to dicredit no one. Whether you believe me or not may rest upon how suspicious a person you are. As it turns out I need not have been so cautious. I do not claim to be 100% rational, humans are very often irrational, but where science is concerned rational discussion is essential.

    Jonathan Chambers wrote:
        Irrespective of what a couple of members think, the SPGB is going to have a debate about whether or not the revolution will increase production and it is going to have a debate about the mythology of primitive societies.  How do I know this?  I happen to hold this seriously fucking irrational belief – for which I’ve seen scant supporting evidence – that if you can’t have a proper debate in a democratically organised group of people then you just can’t have a debate.

    Jonathan’s post is essentially about human nature.I seem to remember debating this very issue and providing evidence as well as asking relative questions along side several other members, that Jonathan never replied to on the thread “Human Nature! Whoopee!” I am open to rational debate. It is precisely what I have been doing on this subject. It is not I that refrains from answering critiscisms only to appear on a different thread arguing the same subject from a different angle. If he wishes open debate, I suggest he answers the critiscisms posted in the human nature thread. If a topic so central to the socialist case as human nature is debated and defeated among a democratic organisation such as the SPGB, that holds rational analyisis and thought as vital to the case for socialism, it is reasonable to expect the defeated party to hopefully learn from their error. After al,l socialists expect everyone else to.
    As Jonathan refused to answer his critics in the relative thread, it is not unreasonable to see his lack of response as a sign that his arguments are flawed and unsuportable.

    Jonathan Chambers wrote:
    (Incidentally, and just as an afterthought, how would my opponents have reacted if I’d suggested that human nature consisted of nothing more than a handful of instincts that could be characterised as shagging, socialising, squabbling and shitting?)

    I would react the same!
    Instinct:- inborn complex patterns of behaviour that must exist in every member of the species and that cannot be overcome by force of will.
    Let us leave this thread to what it was set up for and continue if desired on the relevant thread?

    in reply to: Predistribution #89150
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    So Eddy wants to encourage employers to be nicer to their workers and pay a “living wage”.
    Sniff, sniff! I think I can smell reformist bullshit!

    in reply to: Ecology, environment and socialism #89156
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Hi OGW,I don’t disagree with you on the issue of ending poverty if a socialist revolution ever came to fruition.Again I see the ending of poverty and trying to avert environmental disaster as being achievable at the same time.Imagine if the scientists warning us of global warming are correct. We could see vast areas of this planet becoming uninhabitable very rapidly, with huge numbers of people unable to cope with severe climate change and simply dying. It may even happen in our lifetime.At the end of the day humans die and life goes on, if our environment dies we as a species could cease to be.

    in reply to: Ecology, environment and socialism #89154
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Hi OGW,
    Like you I have been absent from the party for a while.
    I think I am a little rusty on certain areas, but as far as I see on this subject I don’t see why the two could not be done simultaneously?
    It is obvious, even to many non socialists, that there is tremendous waste in modern society. So if certain things eg food, shelter, medicine need to be made more available via increased production then I don’t think it is beyond our capabilities as a species to do so while at the same time curbing needless production in other areas.
    With regards to environmental destruction, if scientists are correct, (it is so hard to wade through the sea of conflicting opinions) and our planet’s environment is in the danger that is being reported, (albeit rather lamely I might add) then it is the single most important issue we as a species are faced with immediately.
    If we get this one wrong it could threaten most of our species with destruction.
    What is obvious to us, is that capitalism with it’s sickening inept politicians, will not address this issue with any degree of seriousness.
    Same old story, profits first everything else last. Capitalism could happily lead our species into extinction.
    Another pressing reason why we need socialism. 

    in reply to: SPGB Membership #89146
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Thanks gnome,
    I am seriously considering rejoining and so far I am leaning towards a yes.
    A little bit more arm twisting might sway it.
    But to promote socialism I don’t think it is compulsory to be a party member?

    in reply to: Human Nature? Whoopee! #89066
    SocialistPunk
    Participant
    Jonathan Chambers wrote:
    So what we’re talking about is handful of evolutionary instincts that we have in common with each other.  To wit: Fucking, Fighting, Friendship and Feeding.  It’s that simple.  The rest is human behaviour ….. 

    Ahh! Instinct, such a wonderful word.Inborn complex patterns of behaviour that must exist in every member of the species and that cannot be overcome by will.Or simply put, non-learnt, unalterable behaviour. Examples being spiders web building and sea turtles heading for the sea after hatching.When combined with other letters such as H U M A N, it sounds even better.But wait, what about our experiences, we all know about the female maternal instinct? Sex drive, that’s gotta be instinctual? The big one, our instinct for survival? Aggression or fighting, we know all too well about that we, see it everyday, gotta be instinct calling the shots? Our need for food, the hunger instinct?Yep! No denying humans are riddled with nonlearnt, unalterable behaviour.Ever heard of women that don’t want children, or that abuse even kill their offspring? Absurd! And who’s ever heard of non procreation sex,  homosexuality, celibacy? Ridiculous! And I certainly have never heard of suicide, self immolation? Preposterous! As for the idea we are not naturally agressive, I have never heard of pacifists, political or religious refusing to fight despite risk the threat of violence or death. Or that soldiers are indoctrinated and de-humanized in preparation for fighting and there certainly are no veterans returning from conflict with serious mental problems? Just doesn’t happen! Have you ever heard such nonsense as self starvation as a form of protest? Couldn’t be done!Isn’t it obvious to all that we are an instinctual species?But in all seriousness, please, please, please provide us with some hard evidence on this matter. We are rational, politically aware people on this forum capable of digesting and understanding a wide range of topics. If we are wrong and can be supplied with the proof then I am sure we will be wiling to accept the truth (I know I would).Just for the record I am not a hippy, or a pacifist, but I can sometimes be an ass. 

    in reply to: Human Nature? Whoopee! #89044
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    I was wondering what others think of the party argument on human nature?It can be found on this site, under publications – pamphlets – “Are We Prisoners of Our Genes?”Seems spot on to me.

    in reply to: Human Nature? Whoopee! #89038
    SocialistPunk
    Participant
    Hud955 wrote:
    For me anyway, the socialist case is primarily a vehicle for getting people to see beyond the ideologies that are fed into their brains through the education system and the media and to experience what is actually going on in the world all round them and what their place is in all of it.  

    Hi Hud955,
    Well put, couldn’t agree more. I have tried a few approaches over the years, and I think you said previously for different people we often need different tactics.
    When I was younger I was convinced socialists had the right answer for everything. Then I got to  experience the problems of communicating the idea to others, for myself. It’s far from easy.
    Like you I don’t wade in with the intention of trying to convert people anymore. If we can make people question and think about society from a different point of view, then we have succeeded. It’s why I like Chomsky. 
    In my time I have met some socialist fanatics and it seemed to put people off. It’s why I have never used Marx in debates. I’ve seen people switch off when his name is mentioned.
    Maybe, Marx and our approach would be a good topic for further discussion. I like the idea of looking at and challeging things we take for granted.
    But it has been good to discuss this topic with you, and sharing our ideas here is what this place is all about. See you around.   

    in reply to: Human Nature? Whoopee! #89036
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Hi Hud955,
    I think you have a good point about popular  “scientists” having a monopoly with their version of truth. And you are right about the stalemate scenarios. But isn’t that always the way when you try to change minds. I have found it with regard to class and race.
    However I am optimistic that the likes of Steven Pinker, who has made a good living out of EP, has had his day, and the new growing research, will bury his bullshit once and for all.
    Here’s an extract from a column in, The New York Times by David Brooks (2009).
    “Evolutionary psychology has had a good run. But now there is growing pushback. Sharon Begley has a rollicking, if slightly overdrawn, takedown in the current Newsweek. And “Spent” is a sign that the theory is being used to try to explain more than it can bear.
    The first problem is that far from being preprogrammed with a series of hardwired mental modules, as the E.P. types assert, our brains are fluid and plastic. We’re learning that evolution can be a more rapid process than we thought. It doesn’t take hundreds of thousands of years to produce genetic alterations.
    Moreover, we’ve evolved to adapt to diverse environments. Different circumstances can selectively activate different genetic potentials. Individual behavior can vary wildly from one context to another. An arrogant bully on the playground may be meek in math class. People have kaleidoscopic thinking styles and use different cognitive strategies to solve the same sorts of problems.
    Evolutionary psychology leaves the impression that human nature was carved a hundred thousand years ago, and then history sort of stopped. But human nature adapts to the continual flow of information—adjusting to the ancient information contained in genes and the current information contained in today’s news in a continuous, idiosyncratic blend.
    The second problem is one evolutionary psychology shares with economics. It’s too individualistic: individuals are born with certain traits, which they seek to maximize in the struggle for survival.
    But individuals aren’t formed before they enter society. Individuals are created by social interaction. Our identities are formed by the particular rhythms of maternal attunement, by the shared webs of ideas, symbols and actions that vibrate through us second by second. Shopping isn’t merely a way to broadcast permanent, inborn traits. For some people, it’s also an activity of trying things on in the never-ending process of creating and discovering who they are.
    The allure of evolutionary psychology is that it organizes all behavior into one eternal theory, impervious to the serendipity of time and place. But there’s no escaping context. That’s worth remembering next time somebody tells you we are hardwired to do this or that.”
    (“Spent” is by (E.P.) Geoffrey Miller)
    If an establishment paper like The NYT seems to be airing the “new” views, then there is some hope at least.
    Let us hope it continues.

    in reply to: Human Nature? Whoopee! #89034
    SocialistPunk
    Participant
    SocialistPunk wrote:
     While I have experienced people who are willing to just flat out deny evidence, my point was that the research that I have come across was from mainstream sources and not obscure scientific journals. And as such carries more weight for the everyday person.

    Hi Hudd955,I apologize for my opening paragraph, it suggests my post you replied to made a specific point whereas in reality I was not clear and I did not specify the research I referred to.I should have said “my point is”.Very sorry for that. I am aware misunderstandings can arise on forums, socialist or not, and lead to bad feeling. I wish to avoid such mistakes and offer you my sincerest apologies.

    in reply to: Human Nature? Whoopee! #89033
    SocialistPunk
    Participant
    Hud955 wrote:
    The problem with this whole area of discussion is that it is a hotly contested field (or range of fields), involving a huge array of empirical research and complex argument.  Most people you engage don’t want to go there.   And the fact is we are not experts either.  So it is dead easy for anyone to cite a piece of evidence selectively, and equally easy for someone else just to deny it. 

     
    While I have experienced people who are willing to just flat out deny evidence, my point was that the research that I have come across was from mainstream sources and not obscure scientific journals. And as such carries more weight for the everyday person.
    I first came across one piece of research in a television documentary earlier this year (I can’t remember if it was Panorama or Horizon). It showed very young toddlers watching puppet shows with characters behaving in certain ways, selfish and helpful. The toddlers were then given opportunities to select a puppet to play with. The vast majority of the subjects opted for the helpful characters. Another experiment I have come across demonstrates young toddlers being attentive and supportive to strangers in  helping them finish tasks.
    These experiments are pointing towards that which socialists have maintained for years, that humans are more cooperative, empathic and altruistic than selfish and aggressive. It makes sense from an evolutionary survival view.
    Now I understand that experiments can be flawed and torn to pieces. Further research over time by different scientists is required before solid conclusions can be drawn with any confidence. But the fact is that a growing number of scientists are coming to these conclusions through experiments, and their results are finding their way to the mainstream media.
    If people are willing to deny a growing body of scientific evidence, then that is their prerogative. That surely can only support our arguments further among observers, as most people are turned off by blinkered idiots.
    Also as socialists our whole approach and arguments are based upon logical analysis, which means we should be eager for fresh scientific ammunition that supports our views.
    The key to success is in how we use that information.

    in reply to: Human Nature? Whoopee! #89029
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Your right Hud955, some people are open to logic and rational thought, I suspect those are the ones who end up joining the party. Whereas others are perhaps too close minded and distracted by everyday issues.
    Luckily there are a growing number of scientists taking on the subject of human nature, with some very intereting results, that suggest humans are hardwired with empathy, cooperation and altruism. Rather than the greed and agression that is so often the accepted view. 
    Hopefully the research will continue to grow and end once and for all the bullshit we have to contend with from those whose frail arguments collapse under logical scrutiny.

    in reply to: Why Work? #88984
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Truer words could not be spoken. SS and HollyHead.
    I think I detect the beginning of a call to arms.
    I was reminded by a party friend that I was in the party for about 6 or 7 years. It could be time for me to come back.
    I am seriously considering.

    in reply to: Why Work? #88981
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Hi ALB and The Old Grey Whistle,
    I still live in the North East.
    As I stated I still consider myself a socialist and I still read the Standard.
    Recently I have found myself becoming more and more pissed off with what is going on in the world and the inability of people to realise they are being screwed big time.
    There is a lot of frustration and anger out there, that much I do know which is kinda encouraging. Although it seems mainly aimed at bankers.
    Given that we are in a world wide recession, a big one at that.  If the SPGB and companion parties around the world can’t make significant progress with the case for socialism, then I fear it may never be achieved.
    That could be me being pessimistic?  

Viewing 15 posts - 1,426 through 1,440 (of 1,441 total)