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Old 09-24-2010, 02:33 PM   #101
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Interesting read. Parents basically disowned one dysfunctional younger brother after numerous years of financial support. Smart programmer with absolutely zero social skills (go figure). The second they cut the support he unleashed his anger. I haven't spoken to him in 2 years and have lost interest in doing so. Still stay in touch with his 2 kids but not as easily as before (ashame since against all odds, they are great kids).

Slight recent strain with older bro who has turned into a Tea Party fanatic. Nothing against the Beck groupies, but the cause completely dominates his personal life so it is a bit tough to just talk to him. Anyone else experience that? I'm sure we'll work thru it over time. I still really admire him.

Otherwise very good relationship with parents, DW's only sibling and my youngest brother. Compared to some of the stories here I feel lucky
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:49 PM   #102
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Interesting read. Parents basically disowned one dysfunctional younger brother after numerous years of financial support. Smart programmer with absolutely zero social skills (go figure). The second they cut the support he unleashed his anger. I haven't spoken to him in 2 years and have lost interest in doing so. Still stay in touch with his 2 kids but not as easily as before (ashame since against all odds, they are great kids).

Slight recent strain with older bro who has turned into a Tea Party fanatic. Nothing against the Beck groupies, but the cause completely dominates his personal life so it is a bit tough to just talk to him. Anyone else experience that? I'm sure we'll work thru it over time. I still really admire him.

Otherwise very good relationship with parents, DW's only sibling and my youngest brother. Compared to some of the stories here I feel lucky
My sister is into all sorts of voodoo 'medicine'. Had all her amalgam fillings removed, thinks vaccines are evil, is into 'cleansings' and all sorts of crap.

It's just not worth the trouble.
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:48 PM   #103
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I think one of the results of small families is that the intensity of relationships increases. On random chance some families will have more than their share of social outliers.

Stress and fear also drive folks to cling to something that promises certainty - hence the Tea Party phenomenon.

In our group, over the years, we have lamented the lack of financial education. I think also there has been a lack of education about the essence of a con job. The naivety of the public is incredible. Have we always had such a low % of critical thinkers?
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:04 PM   #104
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A couple of annoying family members on both my side of the family tree and also LH's. I limit my contact with these people when I can and try not to let them rile me up too much as it is not worth it.
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:09 PM   #105
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My sister is into all sorts of voodoo 'medicine'. Had all her amalgam fillings removed, thinks vaccines are evil, is into 'cleansings' and all sorts of crap.

It's just not worth the trouble.
I worked for a woman for years who was into the same kinda crap. Unfortunately, I couldn't disown her. She had a major better than thou attitude and was unbearable to be around. She's also the one who, at the last minute, told me to go on an out of town trip. When I said I'd have to check my schedule to see if I could so, she said: "I own you. You're going". Another reason it's good to be retired.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:14 PM   #106
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I think also there has been a lack of education about the essence of a con job. The naivety of the public is incredible. Have we always had such a low % of critical thinkers?
People like Oprah promoting Mommy Intuition over good science doesn't help.

My niece is incredibly naive and she gets a lot of misinformation from the Internet.

Education is watered down in the face of political and parental pressure.

People seem to have forgotten that not everything is a matter of opinion and not every opinion is valid. To quote Harlen Ellison:

Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Well, thatís horsepuckey, of course. We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, itís nothing. Itís just bibble-babble. Itís like a fart in a wind tunnel, folks.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:19 PM   #107
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I think one of the results of small families is that the intensity of relationships increases. On random chance some families will have more than their share of social outliers.
I think this is true, I'm one of 8 children...we have had the option of "picking our friends" from within the family. There are at least 2 of my siblings that I'm not close to / wouldn't choose to know if they weren't related to me. But we all hang together as a relatively functional family because each of us has some friends within the family.
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Old 09-24-2010, 11:50 PM   #108
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The naivety of the public is incredible. Have we always had such a low % of critical thinkers?
I agree it's bad, but I can't say if it's worse/better than the past.

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People like Oprah promoting Mommy Intuition over good science doesn't help.
Way off topic I guess, and I'll risk offending any Oprah lovers here, but 'right on!'. The few hours I've wasted watching her show have saddened me. She has the power, the audience, charm and communication skills to do so much good. Yet she just takes the cheap shots to get the "ohhs" and "ahhs" and the heck with actually providing her audience with anything of value. It's all for effect, facts be dammed.


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People seem to have forgotten that not everything is a matter of opinion and not every opinion is valid. To quote Harlen Ellison:

Everybody has opinions: ... Without research, without background, without understanding, itís nothing. Itís just bibble-babble.
Great quote! I occasional have this 'argument' with DW - she says "well, it's their opinion", and I say "no - that's BS, they are WRONG!".

I love the line that Jack Black gives from "School of Rock" - he asks the kids to think about their musical influences, who do they like? One kid answers "Puff Daddy", and Black shoots back "WRONG!".

Also off-topic....
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Stress and fear also drive folks to cling to something that promises certainty - hence the ###### phenomenon.
Getting a little partisan there, aren't you? Careful, I think that blank could be filled in with other phenomenons who made promises that attracted a large following.

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Old 09-25-2010, 12:05 AM   #109
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Slight recent strain with older bro who has turned into a Tea Party fanatic. Nothing against the Beck groupies, but the cause completely dominates his personal life so it is a bit tough to just talk to him. Anyone else experience that?
Yes, it is tough finding some common ground when you don't share those types of views.
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:07 AM   #110
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People seem to have forgotten that not everything is a matter of opinion and not every opinion is valid.
LOL! I agree 100% with everything you have said here, the quoted part being only the most salient. I would say that it is almost being legislated and judicated into our culture that there are no legitimate discrimations. To discriminate is to harbor prejudice, according to today's ethos.

In fact this is ridiculous. The way any system improves its functioning is to to high-grade. To high grade, a system or society must be able to make discriminations between what is better and what is worse. Once a system stops this process, progress stops and like the USA today we descend into a free-for-all of idiocy, with every part of our culture reaching for the bottom, and in America the bottom is pretty low.

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Old 09-25-2010, 04:53 PM   #111
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LOL! I agree 100% with everything you have said here, the quoted part being only the most salient. I would say that it is almost being legislated and judicated into our culture that there are no legitimate discrimations. To discriminate is to harbor prejudice, according to today's ethos.

In fact this is ridiculous. The way any system improves its functioning is to to high-grade. To high grade, a system or society must be able to make discriminations between what is better and what is worse. Once a system stops this process, progress stops and like the USA today we descend into a free-for-all of idiocy, with every part of our culture reaching for the bottom, and in America the bottom is pretty low.

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Old 09-26-2010, 07:08 AM   #112
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People seem to have forgotten that not everything is a matter of opinion and not every opinion is valid.
Well that's just your opinion.

This opens quite a can of worms...
Is there an objective truth?
Can we know it?
Who is capable of deciding what is objectively "wrong"?
When is one informed enough?
Is it possible to have a valid opinion affirming the existence of devine beings that do not manifest themselves in any measurable way?
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:17 AM   #113
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Speaking of opinions (or like the old saying goes "opinions are like A-holes - everybody has one"), is also the way general "communication" has changed over the last 25 years or so.

As it was with the telephone (over mail), we now have cable/satellite, 24x7, along with the net, where all people's opinions are posted (like this one).

The idea of opinions are as old as the caveman; IMHO, it's just that individual opinions are more widely/easily communicated these days and naturally, we have more opportunity to disagree (thus driving up our blood pressure).
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:40 AM   #114
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Slight recent strain with older bro who has turned into a Tea Party fanatic. Nothing against the Beck groupies, but the cause completely dominates his personal life so it is a bit tough to just talk to him. Anyone else experience that? I'm sure we'll work thru it over time. I still really admire him.
Spouse and I don't pay a lot of attention to politics, but her parents are incredibly political. It's probably from 30 years of working in the CBS Washington bureau. They spend the day with CSPAN on the TV and read mainly political news/analysis as well as watching/discussing all the Sunday shows (for which FIL used to do camera/audio work). My MIL's letters to the editors are marvels of grammar and phrasing but her treatment of the subject would immediately get her banned from a discussion board like this.

Their political focus tends to turn them into one-topic conversationalists, and they're extremely bitter/cynical about the most inconsequential political decisions/trends.

For many years we couldn't discuss landscaping or gardening in her presence for fear that someone would accidentally use the word "bush"...
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:09 AM   #115
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One of my former neighbors was a news producer at NBC, was on the air in LA when Kennedy was assassinated. He did not loose his skill of story telling after retirement.
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:58 AM   #116
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Is it possible to have a valid opinion affirming the existence of devine beings that do not manifest themselves in any measurable way?
If I understand your question correctly, yes, it is. To ensure we're both on the same page, are you asking
(1) Must a divinity manifest to be real? That is, would a non-manifesting divinity be self-contradictory and therefore not exist, or are you asking
(2) I see no measurable manifestation; therefore is it possible to validly hold the opinion that a divine being (or beings) exist?

More when I get back from church.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:04 AM   #117
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Well that's just your opinion.

This opens quite a can of worms...
Is there an objective truth?
Can we know it?
Who is capable of deciding what is objectively "wrong"?
When is one informed enough?
Is it possible to have a valid opinion affirming the existence of devine beings that do not manifest themselves in any measurable way?
Should I go here?

I don't think about truth with a capital T much as I don't see learning as having an end point. That is why I like science, it is the search for answers that work, that make sense of the world, and it builds on itself. I am inclined towards a naturalistic view of the world, that nature is all there is, and all basic truths are truths of nature. I don't mean to make this sound dour. Nature is awe inspiring.

It appears that with some exceptions, like the psychopaths mentioned in this thread, humanity as a social species has an ingrained sense of right and wrong, supplemented with learning. Whether you are an atheist or a devoted theist, we desire love and caring in our lives and we know that it is wrong to steal from our neighbors, to cheat, to murder, to rape, etc. We also know that there is something seriously amiss when someone doesn't have that understanding. Morality is how social groups function, it is not surprising that humans have evolved a moral sense.

I am not sure what you mean by a "valid opinion." I do know that it appears most people believe in some kind of deity. Society validates this opinion, this faith, in a wide variety of ways. Is there evidence which shows the probable truth of that opinion? No. Does it matter? Sometimes.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:14 AM   #118
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Should I go here?
humanity as a social species has an ingrained sense of right and wrong, supplemented with learning. Whether you are an atheist or a devoted theist, we desire love and caring in our lives and we know that it is wrong to steal from our neighbors, to cheat, to murder, to rape, etc. We also know that there is something seriously amiss when someone doesn't have that understanding. Morality is how social groups function, it is not surprising that humans have evolved a moral sense. .
I'm sorry but I have to most strongly disagree. Humans have culture with some of the attributes you mention, which is passed on generation to generation but there is not one iota of evidence that it is "evolved" or "ingrained". As to stealing murder rape etc, what we do is create notions of each that that we are happy with to avoid confronting some of our more morally questionable behaviors. Hypocrisy is a fundamental part of our culture. We maintain published norms of behavior for the underlings and then try to acquire the wealth and power which allows us to evade them.
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:12 PM   #119
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Should I go here?

It appears that with some exceptions, like the psychopaths mentioned in this thread, humanity as a social species has an ingrained sense of right and wrong, supplemented with learning. Whether you are an atheist or a devoted theist, we desire love and caring in our lives and we know that it is wrong to steal from our neighbors, to cheat, to murder, to rape, etc.
I think this is rather easily demonstrated to be something we woujld like, but that has not yet arrived on earth. It is true that all societies have rules, but they are not the "universal rules" that we might hope for. Genocide, both historically by western european countries and currently or recently by various African, Balkan, and Asian goups show that pretty basic things like murder, torture and rape are quite easily redefined, usually by classifying those on the receiving end of these acts as not human, or at least "not human like we are human." And I am not referring to possible enemy combatants or agents. Try children, for example.

Jihadists define their targets as infidels, and far from regretting that they have killed innocent men, woman, and children, they celebrate these events. When England invaded Ireland during the reign of Elizabeth I, the (Roman Catholic) inhabitants were defined as "not Christian, no different from heathens", which allowed very prominant people like Drake to butcher them. Again, no child or woman that they could find was spared. This technique of redefinition was so powerful that during this same time some Catholic Spaniards attacked English positions in Ireland, and when they were forced to surrender they were (uncharacteristically by the war rules of that time) summarily shot. Now although their had been wars between Catholics and Protestants for many years, no one dared proclaim that Spaniards were not Christian. The excuse? These particular Spaniards must not be Christians or they would not be in Ireland.

I could give many examples, (rape of Nanking, various Balkan cleansings during the 90s, Congo, Nigeria, etc. etc.), but I think the point is made.

As regards cheating, people do seem to be quite sensitive to perceived cheating by others. Most unfortunately, we seem much less sensitive to our own cheating.

Ha
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:36 PM   #120
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Regarding the plethora of opinions...is it any wonder so many families are dysfunctional? Of course, that's just my opinion.
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