Activity


  • Dan Dredger wrote a new post, The Perils of Writing a Provocative Email at Yale 4 years, 1 month ago

    By Conor Friedersdorf

    Last fall, student protesters at Yale University demanded that Professor Nicholas Christakis, an academic star who has successfully mentored Ivy League undergraduates for years, step down […]

    • The best thing about life (my life at least) was being young.

      I’d hate to be young today and have a long life with this sort of shit ahead of me.

      Maybe I’m just a grumpy old git suffering from “golden age syndrome”?

    • Whose business is it to control the forms of costumes of young people?
      It’s not mine, I know that.”

      Yale did not “control” their students costume choices. The article says that they “advised” them. That’s completely different and I feel that this Yale professor was just looking for drama when she worded her email they way she did.

      I agree that kids should be free to make some mistakes. However, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for adults to give guidance and advice.

      And on a side note – Notice that they chose to resign. From the wording in the article it’s easy to misinterpret (for me at least, on first read-through) that they were forced to resign. That’s not the case.

    • Free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society.

      This is what the USA is all about surely?

      My own mantra that we must “learn not to take offense before we learn not to give it” is built on this. A society so built is robust, open and fault tolerant. The untutored stranger, the eccentric, the florid, the bringer of hard truths are coped with. But the reverse spirals down into silenced truths and the appeals to victim-hood that mask the real victims and belittle, condescend to and emburqa the rest. Elsewhere I have engaged with those keen on doling out, and or assuming, victim status….

      Christina Hoff Sommers nails it, or its feminist expression.

      I could call down victim status of my own invoking my ownership of an LGBT letter, but old white male pretty much guarantees my speech as offensive whatever privilege badge I put on. A phone app would be helpful to fully compute victim-hood privilege.

      But don’t write off intersectionality. Professor Crenshaw its premier advocate does not use intersectionality to enable this self demeaning nonsense. She is, at least, focused entirely on the real victims.

      Lets have a round of low anxiety jazz hands for these sensible two women.

      link in ten minutes.

    • Katie

      I agree that kids should be free to make some mistakes. However, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for adults to give guidance and advice.

      What kids? I only see adults here. What are you talking about?

    • What kids? I only see adults here. What are you talking about?

      Very young adults. I see nothing wrong of Yale to suggest that their students be considerate of others.

      The professors email suggested that Yale was in the wrong by suggesting this. She could have elaborated on their smart advice by suggesting that they not let other peoples inconsiderate costume choices affect them, and perhaps to tell them so up front, but she chose not to take that approach. She wrote an email that accused Yale of “not having faith in the students emotional capacity”.

      There were smarter ways of making her point. Like just saying something like… That’s good advice! But if other people are crude/stupid/mean, don’t let it get you down. They don’t matter.

    • So essentially, Erika Christakis threw Yale under the bus needlessly, to make her point.

      Edit: And then she stomped out when things didn’t go her way.

    • Yale administrators sent an all-students email advising [them] to avoid “culturally unaware or insensitive choices” when choosing their Halloween costumes …

      What the dickens does that mean?

    • What does this debate about Halloween costumes say about our view of young adults …

      That the Admin staff think of them as children, not adults. I have to say that, given the student body’s response, the Administrators have a point.

      Peace.

    • What the dickens does that mean?

      I imagine it means maybe think twice about coming as a suicide bomber / ethnically-insensitive blackface /cruel caricatures of other students / etc.

    • You ask students to “look away” if costumes are offensive, as if the degradation of our cultures and people, and the violence that grows out of it is something that we can ignore

      Isn’t that jumping the gun: Did the students know of someone / some people planning deliberately provocative costumes?

      Or are the students saying that they would be so offended that there was no other option open to them than to retaliate with violence. It certainly looks that way. Yale clearly isn’t the intellectual powerhouse we’re led to believe: I’m offended – THUMP!

      Yeah … intellectual …

      Peace.

    • Hi Katie [#10],

      Wow, that’s quite an imagination you have there.

      One word: Haloween.

      Nah, can’t see the link.

      Peace.

    • We were told to meet the offensive parties head on, without suggesting any modes or means to facilitate these discussions to promote understanding

      Because we need someone to help us have a real conversation with another human being – and we’re at Yale Bro!

      Ahh, didums.

      More grist to the Aministrators’ mill, eh.

      Kids, you gotta love ’em.

      Peace.

    • “In your position as master,” one student said, “it is your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students who live in …

      Yeah, and don’t forget to check my diaper and tuck me in at night.

      P-LEASE!

    • … the outcome will prompt other educators at Yale to reflect on their own positions …

      No biggie.

      Solution: Trick-or-Treat for Yale students. They must, of course, be chaperoned door-to-door by at least two professors.

      Wow, those Ivy Leaguers sure know how to party.

      Peace.

    • Katie-

      But if other people are crude/stupid/mean, don’t let it get you down. They don’t matter.

      Erika-

      “Nicholas says, if you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society.”

      Do you see the quality of what she has said compared to your own?

      Do you see how condescending your speech is to actual adults? How impoverishing to adult discourse?

      Yale thrown under a bus? By great, humanising, positive, empowering advice?

      Wow!

    • Hi Katie [#7],

      So essentially, Erika Christakis threw Yale under the bus needlessly, to make her point.

      No Erika Christakis was thrown under the bus by Yale administrators.

      Peace.

    • Hi Katie [#7],

      Hi Katie [#7],

      So essentially, Erika Christakis … stomped out when things didn’t go her way

      No, Erika Christakis was hounded out of her job for doing her job – challenging students to THINK.

      Peace.

    • Hi bonnie2 [#17],

      number 10 has a perfectly valid point

      No it isn’t – it doesn’t address the issues of free expression, political dialogue on a (supposedly) university campus, the anti-democratic effects of taking offense without initiating dialogue, the inability of the youth of today to debate, the thin political skins that are antithetical to a free polity …

      I would go on, and on, but I wouldn’t want to bore you. 😉

      Are you through flinging poo?

      I have no idea what you mean.

      The Yale students in this story deserve every invective that I can think of – Yale alumni are sold to the World as outstanding individuals who have passed through one of the most rigorous institutions of it’s kind. This story is a clear demonstration that this is mere hogwash. They deserve every take-down.

      Peace.

    • @ [l#16] I agree she said in more articulately. As I’ve said here [#2] and here [#6] . I’ve never disagreed with her message.

      @[#18] There’s no evidence the Yale administrators did anything to her at all.

      @[#19] No. She made a mistake. There was a constructive way to make her point. She chose a destructive one. – twisting well-intended advice to give her a sort-of jump off point. It was lazy of her.

      Being considerate of other people is good advice.

    • As an undergraduate, I failed my audition to win approval to major in the liberal arts. My plan was to follow the standard formalities of the degree, to take classes that interested me, and to look for great teachers, but the administration did not think it was a good plan. At the time I wanted to worry about work after I earned my Ph.D. Some administrators had their reasons for the audition, as one explained to me years prior to her implementation of the flawed scheme. It was a brand new program designed specifically for the major, to “discourage students from graduating with a degree in the liberal arts because . . . .” The program was soon discontinued, just shortly after I declared another degree to meet a deadline.

      As a teenager, for one of my last Halloween expeditions, I dressed up as a walking, talking, blind sleeping bag. A friend guided me around with a collar, leash, and a bag to collect treats. After an hour we split up about 5 lbs. of candy. It was a good costume, quite a few people laughed at it. The night was really cold and I felt I should conceal my age so as not to offend some home owners, to get candy. The previous year a few neighbors said, “aren’t you a little old to be trick-or-treating?”

      I still invent Halloween costumes, on occasions. My last one was for a costume party/concert. It was a cardboard and tinfoil, with lights, Bugs Bunny and Marvin the Martian spaceship.

      I would prefer a censorship free Halloween costume policy. If someone, or a group, is dressed in an offensive costume (i.g. racist KKK outfit) the individual has revealed aspects of their character that may be otherwise hidden from the greater community and/or not easily observed. I would prefer to know my enemy, so to speak, and, if it seemed an appropriate and a safe activity, to civilly challenge the “offender” to try to help mature their senses.

    • Katie, I know of some folks who would take great offense if they saw a woman dressed as a cat on Halloween, seeing the neck, arms, legs of a woman.

    • Katie, I know of some folks who would take great offense if they saw a woman dressed as a cat on Halloween, seeing the neck, arms, legs of a woman.

      This is a logical fallacy called a slippery slope.

      I would prefer a censorship free Halloween costume policy.

      If you’re suggesting that censorship is mentioned in the Yale case, you’re mistaken. There was no censorship – Only advice from admins to students.

    • Hi Katie [#6],

      I see nothing wrong of Yale to suggest that their students be considerate of others

      The administrators were just doing their job. I get that.

      The Professor’s email suggested that Yale was in the wrong by suggesting this

      No she didn’t. From the original e-mail:

      Erika Christakis responded with an email of her own, acknowledging “genuine concerns about cultural and personal representation”

      Katie: She could have elaborated on their smart advice by suggesting that they not let other peoples inconsiderate costume choices affect them

      She did better than that, she gave a full briefing on the best way forwards. From the original story:

      Erika Christakis: “if you don’t like a costume someone is wearing … tell them you are offended. Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society”

      She wrote an email that accused Yale of “not having faith in the students emotional capacity”.

      From the original story: [Erika Christakis]: question[ed] whether students were well-served by administrators asserting norms rather than giving them space to shape their own …

      So yes, if Yale is its administrators. Given that the academic staff did not defend their colleagues on a point of principle it would seem that the administrators are Yale so I guess you’re right.

      Perhaps the student body fails to present themselves to all the Yale academic staff in an adult way so frequently that the academic staff think the administrators are right: Best to treat them as children?

      Either way, it is not how a university is supposed to be. A university is supposed to induce, inspire and instigate critical thinking. This is clearly lacking at Yale. The evidence is in the students’ reaction to being asked to think and debate, the administrators’ lack of support for academic staff and their treatment of adult students as if children and the remainder of the academic staff hiding under the duvet.

      There were smarter ways of making her point. Like just saying something like… That’s good advice! But if other people are crude/stupid/mean, don’t let it get you down

      Read the original story, that’s exactly what Erika Christakis was doing. She was saying: Don’t be a victim, stand up for what you believe in in the spirit of democracy.

      The Yale students all failed the test.

      Peace.

    • @ [l#16] I agree she said in more articulately. As I’ve said here [#2] and here [#6] . I’ve never disagreed with her message.

      But, Katie you complained she didn’t deliver the perfect advice and gave an example of what she should have said, which I reproduced. In fact she did far better than this.

      From any perspective this combination of email and later speech did the job. We all wish we had got it perfect first time, that our point was clear. But we all fall short and need to make it up. These errors are why we should not be quick to take offense. It is nearly always wrong to believe that the intent behind a comment is simple malice. I myself have never encountered malice. My parents were diligent in pointing me (when I was a vulnerable kid) to the fact that no-one sane has anything to gain from malice as a source for action and anyone mad is to be pitied and helped.

      My ability with people is a bit below par. I’m a bit theoretical in my understanding. But I have, in fact, filled my life with trying to understand folk and why they do things. My folks were right. No one does things from malice, ignorance, misunderstanding, maybe, but not malice. Even children are bastards (as I later discovered) only to get attention and mostly giving them none fixes things like nothing else. The Yale advice was dismally wrong.

      Forced to resign? Given the lack of intellectual and moral rigor in the Yale response and support of these two moralists, then yes, I’m sure they felt obliged…..

    • Hi Katie [#22],

      Ref. [#18] There’s no evidence the Yale administrators did anything to her at all

      By not taking action to defend academic staff who were just doing their jobs (the story seems clear that they were just hung out to dry) administrators left the Christakis’ no option but to bow to student pressure.

      Ref. [#19] No. She made a mistake

      Maybe …

      Ref. [#19] There was a constructive way to make her point

      … and she did – read the F*&^%$£ e-mail!

      Ref. [#19] She chose a destructive one. – twisting well-intended advice to give her a sort-of jump off point. It was lazy of her

      That it was destructive is, ultimately, unarguable. Using the administrators’ e-mail to bounce off was probably her big mistake – many administrators are known to have had a lobotomy or, at the very least, a humor-bypass [/sarcasm]. The fact that other academic staff appear not to have assisted their colleagues is a mystery. I guess tenure is a just a comfy chair. No-one in this pig-sty comes out smelling of roses, that’s for sure.

      Being considerate of other people is good advice

      It is. It has nothing to do with what Erika Christakis was talking about – AND she even made that clear in the e-mail.

      Gah!

      Peace.

    • Hi bonnie2 [#27],

      Don’t hurt yourself.

      bonnie you care!

      Peace.

    • Comment #25 – correction:

      Katie: She could have elaborated on their smart advice by suggesting that they not let other peoples inconsiderate costume choices affect them

      She did better than that, she gave a full briefing on the best way forwards. From the original story:

      Erika Christakis: “if you don’t like a costume someone is wearing … tell them you are offended. Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society”
      .
      Katie: She wrote an email that accused Yale of “not having faith in the students emotional capacity”.

      From the original story: [Erika Christakis]: question[ed] whether students were well-served by administrators asserting norms rather than giving them space to shape their own …

    • Stephen of Wimbledon writes, “[by] not taking action to defend academic staff who were just doing their jobs (the story seems clear that they were just hung out to dry) administrators left the Christakis’ no option but to bow to student pressure.” The quote infers the policy is creating an environment of self-censorship, a place where people will act accordingly to fit into the micromanaged norm, aka an insidious form of censorship.

      A similar situation occurred in a local educational institution known for its writing seminars, but in this case there was a happy ending. The faculty and staff stood behind and supported their fellow teacher and the curriculum remained intact. A few individuals reacted to a teacher’s reading, took offense to it (a rape story), and the downstream effects nearly altered what poem/essay content would be allowed at a performance, and/or that a warning should be given prior to a reading. [If I recall correctly, one news article noted that during the same semester the teacher had a student struggling to express herself with writing due to the difficult nature of her experiences. She wasn’t offended by the reading.] Public debate pointed out that managing a student’s feelings could lead to other problems. I could imagine one such problem taking form during the process of selecting which teacher(s)/administrator(s) is hired, by choosing a person who will best comply to not rock the boat, using inconsistent criteria loosely based upon the subjective opinions of staff/administrators.

      Beware of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Catch-22, The Catcher in the Rye, To kill a Mockingbird, The God Delusion . . . and a bunch of Halloween costumes!

      Someone creative should invent a special graphical character mark for sarcasm, to add to the question mark, and exclamation mark.

    • I’m corrected. I read the full email and you’re right – she does nothing wrong. The students involved are being ridiculous.

      … and she did – read the F*&^%$£ e-mail!

      You okay, buddy? Don’t give yourself a hernia.

    • @Katie #32

      Not often we see here – or anywhere – such a simple clear declaration of being corrected. Even though it’s just a web posting, it’s not all that easy to admit you’d been mistaken. Well done. And thank you.

    • Hi Katie [#32],

      Like OHooligan I thank you for that. I’ve had to apologize a couple of times myself online, I’d like to think it’s a sign of a good person.

      I’m feeling much better now, thanks for asking.

      I really did get my knickers in a twist for a moment there but, really, how are we to treat Yale’s claim to be a good university after this?

      Peace.

    • Aside, the photo by Shannon Stapleton, I like the composition.

    • It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so what.

    • There is a sort of mood of censorship in the air. I have had pictures of the Iraq war and Abu Ghraib torture on my website since about 2003. These pages were ad-free. But just now Google has decided they all have to come down. If I fail to comply, they will cut off all my advertising revenue.

      It is like people think they have the right to dictate to others what they may read and see. It does not seem to dawn on them that a social system that offers that also gives the right to censor what you may read and see.

    • Hi Roedy,

      What reason did Google give – what did they give as a motivation for requesting the takedown?

      Peace.

    • i think there is a difference between respect and being overly sensitive, also being overly sensitive about things have other drwabacks that could have worst repercussion like censoring history or facts for fear that someones feelings might get hurt, so there really is no benefit to this kind of behaviour, still if people think this might be the case why not let them? they should write a list of all offensive things and give them an offensive grade, categorized by offensivness depending on the country, otherwise it might be offensive.

      Once this list its finished another list should be made with the possible drawbacks of this behaviour and its benefits, and see what happends.

    • I’m putting a link to a video here.

      I have often talked of the flip side of empathy and oxytocin, specifically the visceral reaction to a perceived injustice or harm and the subsequent automatic granting of underdog/victim status that comes from the intuitions of the hyper pro social empaths. Professor Simon Baron Cohen was wrong in his book Zero Degrees of Empathy when he declared empathy (often absent from his subjects the autistic with their super male brains) could never be over-supplied.

      The intellectual understanding of suffering, or sympathy, is the stuff we really need now we have a thriving culture. For those of us born without so much of its visceral variant and precursor (men and worse, aspie men), sympathy is a wonderful cultural tool that, if parents and educators have done their job and with evidence and reason engaging, can still hit you hard in the midriff and prick those tear glands. The video…

      http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/474588/why-empathy-is-a-bad-thing/

      Why here? Because viscerally identified victimhood often screws things up, not least ultimately for the victim.

    • Hi Phil [#42],

      Interesting video you linked to.

      I like a good hug. I’m not on the ASD. I largely agree.

      … the visceral reaction to a perceived injustice or harm and the subsequent automatic granting of underdog/victim status that comes from the intuitions of the hyper pro-social empaths …

      We are all emotional creatures to some degree, and a great many of our individual interactions are based on this. Theramin Trees, on YouTube, has a series of videos exploring transactional analysis which I recommend as a primer on how we employ learned emotional responses in our everyday lives and how to recognize our own behaviours and rise above conditioned responses by applying adult, mature, thinking.

      When our emotional responses are not being magnified, (for their own purposes) by the mass media, it seems to me that we more easily understand the context in which we experience visceral reactions to images, news and so on. So-called ’social’ media – which in this case is demonstrably anti-social media – is, if anything, worse. People who share one’s emotions are lauded and anyone with the temerity to demonstrate a cool head in a crisis is shouted down and vilified as cold-hearted and vile – barely human at all. I always find it interesting that so many ’social’ media comments contain the word think, when the rest of what is said is fine evidence of a distinct lack of thinking, but I digress.

      In the context of a University one would expect that the Professors’ messages would be read by students with an eye to discerning an out-of-hours challenge. The very thing, in fact, that defines a higher quality of University life.

      No doubt some administrator at Yale (assuming they read my comment above) would demur: The University cannot be expected to counter the broad and ubiquitous influences of media (mass and so-called ’social’): Thus, the visceral reaction resulting from any student’s personal view of a potential future injustice means that under-dogs have to be identified via prediction and, where this is not possible, the broadest possible rules applied to ensure that victim-hood is extolled – nay, shouted from the rooftops. What a cop-out.

      I apologize for providing a straw man. Nevertheless, if it is true that actions (in this case, inaction) speak louder than words, I stand by my earlier position (posted above) that the Christakis were hung out to dry by the administration.

      Such a policy is, of course, undermining the very nature of Yale as a University. If I were an alumnus, or a member of the faculty, I would be very annoyed indeed – my own reputation would rest on Yale being an institution that demonstrates leadership in creative thinking and a source for learning thinking skills. This story strongly suggests that Yale is neither.

      Why here? Because viscerally identified victim-hood often screws things up, not least ultimately for the victim

      Agreed.

      But Yale’s crime is far worse than that. There was no actual victim – only potential victims. There was also no recognition by the administration that taking offence is essentially a political move to shut down potentially useful and interesting debate (you know, an actual learning scenario), and that it is motivated by selfishness.

      You highlight, Phil, another missed opportunity to learn; that there was no exploration of what it means to be a victim, the relationship of a true victim to someone merely offended and the potentially damaging effects of over-empathizing. By-the-by, here is Paul Bloom – of Yale, wow! there’s irony that’s got to sting – talking about how empathy fits into our overall psychology, and how being empathetic doesn’t necessarily make you a good person.

      Yale administrators (and, seemingly, the rest of the faculty and some alumni) also failed to support free expression which one would hope would be automatic for a University in a democracy. Sadly not.

      The Christakis couple wanted to use the students time out of the lecture hall as a fun learning environment, the administration wanted the students to go to class, then go to an after-school supervised activity.

      I don’t know what Yale is – but a University it ain’t.

      Peace.

    • SoW

      I was trying to extend the discussion beyond the specific, my usual mod-aggravating ploy. Hence also my Christina Hoff Sommers video at the top. Otherwise violent agreement.

      But Yale’s crime is far worse than that. There was no actual victim.

      Sympathy is indeed a learned encultured thing, something refined through our life and educational experiences We take from our empathetic base of suffering in concert with the suffering of our nearest and dearest and as-if-kin and our sense of fairness and culture multiplies it up. A recent study shows all kids have a well developed sense of fairness and complain if they are short changed in any handout. But only those kids from richer countries, perhaps a situation of sufficiency, seem encultured to complain of unfairness to others. In a sense, experiencing fairness breeds fairness.

      In these kids, I’m not so sure the process is still happening. I think a certain self-centred, mind set is taking hold. The internet is not widening people’s experiential horizon. The internet facilitates self absorption and quick, little rewards, shallow investments. I have always described myself as an low level anarchist. I propose we hack Google and insert a 5% random return rate with a minimum screen time to tease people a little more out of their self pitying shell.

      The victim is all the third world victims and voiceless (tweetless) first world sufferers in a spectacularly iniquitous society. Dare I whisper Dear Muslima? Yes.

      (Pace, Rebecca Watson. RD scaled things wrongly for your modest observations, just as you then scaled his response wrongly. But the bun fight was kissed well enough better.)

      For a deep neuro-psychological (but humanistic) insight into empathy (its quite complex) I must recommend the Baron Cohen though he gets its overall value wrong IMO.

      It is indeed Paul Bloom you hear on the theAtlantic.com link.

    • Hi Phil [#44],

      I was trying to extend the discussion beyond the specific, my usual mod-aggravating ploy

      Ah yes, the road less travelled is always far more interesting. There is moderation, then there are The Mods. I find a good tactic is to insert a reference to the main story, however disconnected it may be from your thinking. However, in this case I don’t have to do that because I’m finding it hard to let go – if a university with Yale’s (former) reputation can fail in such a spectacular way then just how devalued is all university education?

      In these kids, I’m not so sure the process [experiencing fairness breeds fairness] is still happening. I think a certain self-centred, mind set is taking hold

      Perhaps Yale isn’t taking its responsibility to attract top-draw undergraduates seriously? I hear that Ivy League Schools (and after this story who can argue with that label) are keen to find people they can ~milk~ er, guarantee will be probably be future donors ~and suppliers of kids that can afford the high fees~. The kids’ (and parents’) sense of unearned deference would be feeding what amounts to an after-high-school programme that certifies them as members of the American Aristocracy. No actual education needed?

      The internet is not widening people’s experiential horizon. The internet facilitates self absorption and quick, little rewards, shallow investments.

      Teach kids about privacy and they’ll use a browser that protects theirs – and they’ll remember to wipe their Browser History once in a while. No paper required.

      I have always described myself as an low level anarchist

      Careful Phil, the US Government is watching.

      I propose we hack Google and insert a 5% random return rate with a minimum screen time to tease people a little more out of their self pitying shell.

      Teaching them about privacy is both more urgent, and simpler.

      The victim is all the third world victims and voiceless (tweetless) first world sufferers in a spectacularly iniquitous society. Dare I whisper Dear Muslima? Yes.

      Yes, the special privileging of hurt feelings trumps actual repression and pain.

      Rebecca Watson

      Who?

      RD scaled things wrongly for your modest observations, just as you then scaled his response wrongly. But the bun fight was kissed well enough better

      I think this was adressed to Rebecca Watson?

      I must recommend the Baron Cohen …

      If you must you must.

      … though he gets its overall value wrong IMO

      Like you I have a long reading list. I’ll put it in but psychology doesn’t usually make it to the top of my list.

      It is indeed Paul Bloom you hear on the Atlantic.com link

      Sorry if I doubled up there.

      Peace.

    • Hi Phil [#44],

      It (human social support) is not all down to empathy and reciprocity. Sexual selection and reputation play roles too.

      I think you’ll find this video very interesting.

      Peace.

    • Interesting vid. Thanks, Stephen.

      This is why I talk of Badges of Goodness. These are signifiers of reproductive fitness along with surplus (waste-able) wealth, and, I like to think, artistic prowess.

      Badges of Goodness and Surplus Wealth are particularly effective in iniquitous societies. Ostentatious religiosity*, hyper pro social posturing, even, and irrational levels of wealth acquisition….horses for courses, of course. Where do we find these together?

      One interesting point related to the end of her presentation is that we are mostly pants at mind reading others moods and intentions, and, as Professot Nicholas Epley demonstrates, though we are only just above chance mind readers, we have very high confidence in our judgments of others. We are pretty much wide open to being misled.

      (*Ostentatious religiosity, I propose, nicely meets the requirements of implying do-gooding but those acts are properly concealed. And indeed need not be done at all.)

    • Hi Phil [#47],

      Badges of Goodness … signifiers of reproductive fitness along with surplus … wealth, and, I like to think, artistic prowess

      Percy Bysshe may have had an effete name but he had no problem getting laid.

      Badges of Goodness and Surplus Wealth are particularly effective in iniquitous societies

      Well, people produce TV shows with names like Gold Digger and Proud of it – I think you may be on to something.

      Ostentatious religiosity, hyper-pro-social posturing … irrational levels of wealth acquisition … Where do we find these together?

      TV evangelism?

      One interesting point related to the end of her presentation is that we are mostly pants at mind reading others moods and intentions, and, as Professor Nicholas Epley demonstrates, though we are only just above chance mind readers, we have very high confidence in our judgments of others

      Yees … it’s not like we humans have a great track record of matching our confidence levels with our intuitions. It seems to me that when it comes to reading minds Epley has discovered an angle on the Dunning Kruger effect. I’ve lived with my Wife for 22 years, therefore I know her mind almost as well as my own.

      NOT!

      In reality I sometimes wonder how well I know my Wife. Before anyone accuses me of hubris, with regard to my own level of intelligence, allow me to just add that I only present the case, I present no concluding argument other than to say: I believe my experience is common (being surprised by my partner) and that the prevalence of over-confidence of the other mind in relationships is evidenced by divorce rates.

      We are pretty much wide open to being misled

      True. The story of Cheryl and Frank Abagnale (of bouncing check fame) is a fascinating insight into the way that mixed psychological signals, preconceptions and differences in social standing can be used for fraud.

      Ostentatious religiosity, I propose, nicely meets the requirements of implying do-gooding but those acts are properly concealed. And indeed need not be done at all.

      It’s interesting that Dr. Raihani’s presentation covered the fact that the best do-gooding is done anon.. Does the average Pastor actually meet this standard? My perception is not. Perhaps that’s a reason I’m not taken in – ostentation of any kind turns me off.

      A more interesting question is why some people are impressed by ostentation. This also relates to those who are impressed when someone else is offended. Showy, kitsch, demonstrations of emotion are in. Why?

      Peace.