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TomF
02-28-2012, 09:14 AM
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/02/27/science-class-ethics.html

The link will take you to a news report on a study just published, which after doing a series of different experiments, concluded that rich, better educated people are more likely to lie and cheat than other folks. Both in terms of observed behaviour (watching behaviour of cars in traffic, and noting that more expensive cars tended to do more unethical .. and sometimes illegal things), and in terms of self-reported indications on some questionnaire studies.

Of course, while the study's authors were rather amazed at the consistency of the results, they said that it doesn't predict the behaviour of individuals. Just the tendencies of groups - and that the behaviour is malleable, and can be affected by various interventions.

Mentioned this to SWMBO this morning, and she expressed her total lack of surprise. And said that in her opinion, many stereotypes emerged exactly because they have tended to be at least partly descriptive. She mentioned gender stereotypes, for instance ... and observed that most of the students she teaches actually do express gender stereotypes to a degree ... the girls may as a group be more social and nurturing, the boys may as a group be more aggressive and apparently autonomous. Though there's a lot of variation within and between genders.

I can think of other stereotypes, and of people I know who express them ... and others who blow them out of the water entirely. But again, there's something in the stereotype - the German guy I was in university with really was stereotypically analytical, precise, and massively athlethic. Many of the Asian kids my children have become friends with are almost ridiculously studious, and technically competent. Many of the musicians and theatre people I spent time with in my 20s were creative as hell, massively fun ... but hopelessly indolent, self-destructive, and self-indulgent.

Of course, this verges on prejudice. I also know imprecise Germans, indolent Asians, and disciplined and workaholic Artists. But if I had to put my bet on something ... I can't in all honesty say that I'm unaffected by stereotypes. That I'd expect a 25-year-old Fine Arts grad student specializing in improv-theater to pay their rent as regularly as a 25 year old Japanese grad student in Chemistry. With my history, I'd cut them both some slack ... and probably rent to the theater student, expecting to lose money :D.

But this quickly becomes untenable. It's on a direct line towards racism, xenophobia, even genocide. And even when it doesn't go anywhere near that, stereotypes influence who you'll hire, lend money to, promote ... take a chance to befriend ... or even marry.

How does one deal with both elements of truth responsibly? The truth that stereotypes can be simply observational data about groups, and also the truth that individuals are not determined by the stereotypes of any groups to which they seem to belong ... and have individual rights which supercede any "shorthand" from stereotyping, which must be respected.

Even individuals who end up expressing the stereotype have those rights - and need to be treated as if the stereotype has no validity whatsoever. But in my heart - and in the evidence reported by the study described in the link above - I think they often do. How to reconcile those things is an ethical dilemma.

George.
02-28-2012, 09:25 AM
Stereotyping is how we deal with reality. We have to categorize, or we would be overwhelmed by particulars and never make a simple decision unless we had a long time to analyze the case.

People who are different tend to be more unpleasant to deal with than people whose behavior is familiar (literally, "like our own family's), because they are more unpredictable to us, which is stressful, and because they hold different values, which causes cognitive dissonance.

As for the rich being (mostly) arseholes - which is cause, and which is effect? ;)

Ian McColgin
02-28-2012, 09:30 AM
Wouldn't have the stereotype were it not true at least 10% of the time.

I like the point in the study that the statistical trend has no predictive utility for individual behavior. All too many people - even physicists who all too often don't understand Heisenberg - have a problem with maintaining the integrities of multiple frames of reference.

George.
02-28-2012, 09:47 AM
I like the point in the study that the statistical trend has no predictive utility for individual behavior.

Right. Also, groups and individuals behave differently. A group of people from another race/culture/religion can be very annoying, while any one of them may be very pleasant company individually.

George.
02-28-2012, 09:50 AM
Thus, the stereotype of Jews as greedy money-grubbers, in the early and mid 20th century, was a misconstruction of the fact that many European Jews were indeed involved in the financial industry as bankers...

And while we all know that the stereotype of Jews is unjustified, that of bankers in the financial industry is another matter... :D

TomF
02-28-2012, 09:56 AM
I can't remember the name of the school of ethics anymore, but it presumed that many ethical choices are detemined by rules of thumb ... exactly because we'd be overwhelmed and paralyzed by needing to rigorously examine every minute decision individually on its own merits. Essentially, it said what George did - that stereotypes are ways of managing life in the real world, in real time.

As a descriptive tool, and for one's own utility, that makes logical sense - though it necessarily does violence to people whose individual behaviour is different from the stereotype. The tipping point even for the individual using stereotypes this way comes, I suppose, when the negative impacts of those shorthand choices outweigh the time-saving benefits. The entrepreneur who hires one person rather than another influenced by a stereotype ... and loses out on the contributions that an utterly brilliant analyst could have made to his organization.

It becomes almost like an investment strategy - how much risk are you willing to live with, in order to potentially get better returns.

hanleyclifford
02-28-2012, 10:01 AM
The best propaganda always has a kernal of truth in it. The challenge is to prevent things like stereotyping, generalization, prejudice, being extrapolated into dogma, genocide and bigotry.

George.
02-28-2012, 10:10 AM
Are you saying that you can't use stereotypes to accurately predict the behavior of groups?

TomF
02-28-2012, 10:27 AM
The problem here, Tom, is your use of the term "stereotype." Note the author of the report doesn't use the word. By definition, there is no "truth in stereotypes." There may be truth in the commonality of certain characteristics and behaviors among certain sociological groups, but they don't become stereotypes until one attempts to predict characteristics and behaviors based on the commonalities.Maybe so.

The problem is though, that apparently certain characteristics and behaviours are objectively more highly represented in certain sociological groups. And that data-point likely will logically lead one to predict a greater likelihood that those would show up in individual members of the groups. It's not deterministic, but it is probabilistic. The conflict is over whether it is appropriate to allow even accurate probabilistic data to influence one's attitudes towards individuals - and if not, how to prevent it.

hanleyclifford
02-28-2012, 11:04 AM
We can certainly do our utmost to control our attitudes, but should we try to regulate the attitudes of others?

TomF
02-28-2012, 11:17 AM
We can certainly do our utmost to control our attitudes, but should we try to regulate the attitudes of others?That's a different discussion than the study's suggested - or than I have.

Societies do regulate the attitudes of others - the USSR regulated attitudes towards capitalism, while America regulated attitudes towards communism. You observed in your earlier post that the best "propaganda" has a kernel of truth in it - all societies indulge in it, to my knowledge at least.

All said though, I'm more interested in determining how to recognize and stop doing things which I don't condone ... but which I apparently do behind my own back.

George.
02-28-2012, 11:17 AM
You certainly may, if you don't care about being accurate with your predictions.

Then I wouldn't be accurately predicting, would I?

You are mistaken. For instance, today we have a Costa ship on the island (yes, there is one still running). The beach is full of Argentinians. I accurately predict there will be much more garbage than normal at the end of the day. This does not mean all Argentinians, or all cruise ship passengers, are litterers. It doesn't mean any particular passenger on this ship is. But the group certainly is.

ron ll
02-28-2012, 11:25 AM
First, I admit I didn't read the entire article. But the thing that jumps out at me is that they are using the group, "rich, better educated." Since when are those two categories one and the same?

ETA: Okay, now I have at least scanned the article and my objection is even more emphatic. They start by defining "class" as "wealthier, better educated, more successful people". Then the rest of the studies seem to look for differences based on this level of "class". My brother made a LOT of money in his life, but he barely escaped from high school after 14 years at it. I have much more education than he, but I've been effectively broke all my life. We couldn't be more different in our politics, values and morals. Yet by this study we would be lumped together. Balderdash I say.

George.
02-28-2012, 12:09 PM
This prediction isn't based on stereotyping. It's based on direct observation.


No it isn't. I have never seen any of these people before.

tigerregis
02-28-2012, 12:10 PM
TomF. When you say herring-chokers are "fiesty", are you referring to Yvon Durelle?

TomF
02-28-2012, 12:13 PM
First, I admit I didn't read the entire article. But the thing that jumps out at me is that they are using the group, "rich, better educated." Since when are those two categories one and the same?...Education levels do tend to correlate with income, though as your experience shows, there's nothing determinative there either. Lots of rich folks with little education, and lots of poorer folks with plenty. But you can't become a prosperous engineer, physician or lawyer without paying your education dues.

ron ll
02-28-2012, 12:29 PM
But you can't become a prosperous engineer, physician or lawyer without paying your education dues.

They based the study on what kind of cars these people were driving, implying that indicated level of class. :D My brother drives a Cadillac and I drive a Porsche. Which one of us is more likely to cheat? (I'd tell you, but I may be biased. :) )

TomF
02-28-2012, 12:36 PM
Part of the study, to be sure. Other parts were self-reported, on questionairres

ron ll
02-28-2012, 12:37 PM
The conflict is over whether it is appropriate to allow even accurate probabilistic data to influence one's attitudes towards individuals - and if not, how to prevent it.

Insurance companies do it all the time. Why isn't it illegal based on bias?

ron ll
02-28-2012, 12:42 PM
And another thing :D. (Sorry, I seem to be in a frivolous mood this morning. ) Maybe they are confusing cause and effect. They say that rich people are more likely to cheat. Did they consider that cheaters my be more likely to be rich?

George.
02-28-2012, 01:46 PM
You don't have to have seen something in the past to observe it in the present.

OK, maybe you'll understand this example: I predict that a group of Long Island Republicans, which I have observed in neither the past nor the present, will outweigh a control group of moderate Brazilians, as long as sampling is random and N>100.

I base this on my stereotype that Republicans are disproportionately obese compared to Brazilians. And my prediction would prove accurate if tested. :D

ron ll
02-28-2012, 02:22 PM
I base this on my stereotype that Republicans are disproportionately obese compared to Brazilians. And my prediction would prove accurate if tested. :D

Well of course. Because all Americans know that all Brazilians are "...tall and tan and young and lovely." :D

ChaseKenyon
02-28-2012, 02:36 PM
I bring the MONKEY WRENCH TO THE FRAY!

Tom where you "trolling for me and maybe ElJay as well? Oh well, GET YOUR GOOGLE ON!

Philosophy 101;
how to recognize a winning epistemological proposition as shown in a quite accurate simple visible format.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2b/Classical-Definition-of-Kno.svg/800px-Classical-Definition-of-Kno.svg.png


I am not saying that this would not apply to Democrats if they were the ones trying to "Re-gain" political control of the county. However this here and now the Republicans (GOP), are in that position. We can take the videos from this weekend of both of the leaders as a standing fact this is what they said and to whom as documented on video at the scene and time of their spoken delivery of what they considered important.

Sorry but they are out of date and do not grasp intellectually or instinctively and not of their belief universe that they cannot play to individual crowds and venues saying something different, as a sop to each group on a single topic or question. We have truly arrived at the age of knowledge and the internet gives us the "cloud" where all of the latest news and facts and the journalists "who, what , where, how , and why" is instantly available to anyone anywhere in the world with a cell phone, iPad, laptop,blackberry, pc, or smart phone.

So moving on we have Mitt delivering a speech in Michigan mostly blue collar attitude and beliefs (even if they have a degree their parents worked in manufacturing and so on) about how we would be better if the auto companies and all the industries and jobs they are the main market for should have been allowed to go under. And he goes on to say at several points how the POTUS is at fault and killed manufacturing by doing a structured "bailout".

When things are such that the people he is talking to personally have experience and hands on knowledge that those things he is saying are a lot of "bunk'. So he is presenting such things as "fact or truth" and claiming such as his belief even when he knows it can never get to the yellow zone. He also is taking those "talking points to try and negate the opposition's statements and points proven to be in the pinkish (actually a -1 light shade of indian red HTML code #D26C6C) by his obviously greater and better (as a 1%er) and higher status makes his knowledge of more value.

It sometimes seems like he thinks his experience is worth ten years of anyone else's experience in business, world affairs, government and more. His fortune proves it.

So that claim is like Uncle Vinnie's 2D house of cards. Most of his claims fall into the I just made that up but because it is from 2% or the 1% ME you can believe it as a fact. He must have delusions of being the return of his faith's savior the Jesus embodied (to use teir speech forms).

So with Mitt we can not even hope to get to the purple zone let alone the yellow circle of true knowledge.

Then we have the righteous Mr "leap of faith" Santorum. He claims that we are not and never have been a country without a large religious presence as a key part of the Government. He claims he wants to take us back to the "Christian" state as created by the founders. He seems to not be aware that a majority of them were not Christians, but were "Deists'" as the most popular version of "faith" amongst most of the world's intelligentsia at that time.

So that claim is like Uncle Vinnie's 2D house of cards. Most of his claims fall into the I just made that up but because it is from ME you can believe it as a fact. He must have delusions of being the return of his faith's savior the Jesus embodied (to use teir speech forms).

Then we hear him say that others o the other "so called"Christian Faiths" are not real Christians. So his words say that only his "Catholic faith has the Real Christians. He then goes on to state, as fact mind you, That absolute separation of church and state as in the constitution is not "religious freedom". Religious freedom requires a major active part of religion in the government (by true Christians imp-lied). He ev en goes as far as picking the only Catholic president's (JFK) speech about separation of church and state and says it makes him puke in disgust. He really, really , really ,wants a theocracy with him in charge of it.

For emphasis of how right he is and how serious he is he trots out not his his 1% er card like Mitt but his "holier than thou" and no one is Christian except my kind of Christian card. Sounds to me quite a bit like Iran's theocracy by the Ayatolla's. Well he does by the numbers and the provable facts that could become knowledge maintain a position that we "IMMEDIATELY"need to attack and start a war with Iran or the country is not safe.




So we have the GOP mess and the Dems seem to be content sitting in the pink zone and sipping afternoon tea.

As a moderate left leaning social progressive fiscal conservative GOP member and I expect there are as many Dems with me in the purple zone.

In conclusion people need to intentionally (Google everything first) move to the purple zone and then figure out the yellow themselves.

Absolutists can never ever get to the purple Zone, and as you can see you have to do that before you can have even a vision of the yellow zone or "KNOWLEDGE".:cool:

Think about the last statement and the chart for a minute and you can see why having winning epistemological proposition is very very important to me , you and everyone.

Chase

P.S. Class dismissed, quiz on Friday.
(make sure to Google everything at least 3 layers deep, remember to count the stereotypes... ST1 ST2......);):d