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Thank you for your interesting critical remarks. I was really trying to make the point that once we are dead, "we" no longer exist, except in memory or in the lasting results of our actions, which I think is the sense you are referring to. I don't think Hitler was right to use gravestones as paving-slabs, but not because it was disrespectful to the dead. The dead are not people. They have no rights to respect or anything else, because a dead corpse is not a human being. I know this may sound harsh, but think about it logically: Does it make sense to think about a dead corpse's feelings being hurt? When we worry about the state of a gravestone, unless we are religious and believe in an afterlife (which I do not), I think we are actually concerned for the family's feelings, rather than those of the deceased.
MY ARGUMENT FOR AN ELEMENT OF FREE CHOICE IN ADDICTION
Premise 1: Addiction had physiological and psychological components, as well as numerous other components. I agree with DiClemente's definition of addiction, summarized here in three components:
(a) "the development of a solidly established, problematic pattern of an appetitive [...] behavior"
(b) and "physiological and psychological components [...] that create dependence"
(c) and "the interaction of these components [...] that make the behavior resistant to change."
Premise 2: A Person may not choose the physiological aspects of addiction, but (limited) choice is still involved in the other components of addiction.
Obviously we do not choose our physiology or our genetics, but it seems to me that we can still have choice in other aspects of addiction. I think this has been clearly established by neuroscience and psychology. We have (admittedly limited) freedom to choose to initiate drug use, we have the freedom to choose to recover from addiction, and we have the freedom to choose to change aspects of our lives. This is a fundamental tenet of humanistic psychology and psychotherapy--that change is possible.
Premise 3: If a person has limited choice in any matter, then he or she can be said to have free will in regards to that matter To me, this seems clear. The very definition of free will includes the concept that we can make choices.
Conclusion: Therefore, people have free will with regards to addiction.
Please keep in mind that I am not arguing that we are totally free, but that we have a significant measure of limited freedom, which is enough to establish the existence of free will with regards to addiction
The challenge however, is that racism exists in us at a deep level, regardless of whether the idea of racism is consciously present as an "idea" in our minds. Cognitive science has demonstrated that our tendency to prefer those who look like us is an innate trait, rather than a learned behavior. It has also demonstrated that racist biases exist in most of us, regardless of our conscious attitudes. Implicit cognition studies have shown that even Whites who believe in the fundamental equality and humanity of all races still exhibit racial biases at an unconscious level. For this reason, it is important to teach children about racism, because ignoring a problem does not render it unproblematic. In this case, ignorance is not bliss.
First, I find it interesting that you have chosen to criticize my methodology here. Specifically you have chosen to criticize the article I referenced (which you seem to have only read the first page of). Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, you have not provided any evidence for your position except for 1) a conversation you had with your nephew, and 2) your subjective reflections on your own childhood experiences. While these experiences may be relevant, they are far less scientific than the evidence I am presenting. Below are my responses to your criticisms.
"Here you are admitting that it is conveyed. Would race consciousness develop into racism without the social conditioning and implicit messages? I tend to think it wouldn't. At least not as often."
Based on this response, I'm guessing we need to review the definition of the word "implicit." The word means to express a message without directly stating it. In the context of cognitive psychology, the word refers to subtle messages conveyed and perceived unconsciously, which can influence cognition and therefore behavior. This definition should clarify the apparent problem you are taking issue with here, as my point is that racist attitudes and beliefs can be implicitly conveyed to children regardless of whether they are explicitly stated as well.
"Which is odd because the title and headline mention children as young as six months, but the article only mentions children of reading age who were exposed to implicit messages as a "first step""
I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here and suggest that perhaps you didn't notice that the article I provided is six pages long. If you read past the first page, you'll see where six month olds were tested. Also, the messages you are referring to are not implicit, they are explicit. Children in these studies were also tested prior to being spoken to about race.
"The people at the "Children's Research Lab at the University of Texas" who set up this study are woefully unaware of child psychology and drew worthless conclusions from a pathetically flawed study."
Any article will seem pathetically flawed if you read only one of six pages. I'm sure the well-educated researchers at the University of Texas would be curious to hear about how your methodology of talking to your nephew and recollecting your own experiences is superior to their empirical peer-reviewed study involving one-hundred families. To me it seems that until you provide more evidence for your own position, your criticism here is left somewhat neutered.
"I wonder what other "expert studies" helped you to draw this absolutist conclusion. "
I shouldn't have used the word "only" here, but I stand by the heart of my assertion. The work I use to justify my position is based in multicultural psychology. Janet Helms' model of White Racial Identity stipulates that one's relationship to one's race develops over time as a result of interaction with members of other races. The implicit beliefs one holds (based not only on explicit parental messages, but also implicit messages and societal conditioning) interact with the realities of one's lived experience of race and culture, producing a racial identity. This racial identity changes over time in concert with broader psychological changes and in response to critical events in a racial context.
If children are not exposed to their status as racial beings, they run the risk of falling into what D.W. Sue refers to as "ethnocentric monoculturalism," in which one denies the existence of racism yet nevertheless believes one's one racial and cultural worldview to be superior to others'. The danger here is that those who are not taught about racism would potentially be at a greater risk of acting racistly without awareness.
"Being racially aware and being racist are not the same thing."
I don't think I said anything like this. I agree with you on this point, but I don't see the relevance to the present discussion.
Racism exists unconsciously, and is conveyed to children early on via social conditioning and implicit messages via society, the media, and parents.
Here is a link to a very interesting study, which not only found evidence of racist attitudes in very young children, but also found that these attitudes were prevalent among children of parents who had never talked to their kids about race:
Teaching children about racism and its history can only serve to inform them of what is already going on inside them, and help them to resolve this issue for themselves.
While children may be consciously unaware of racism prior to learning about it from their parents, they are certainly aware of it unconsciously long before that.
Students should learn about all religions, including Christianity, in their history and social studies courses. Because of the enormous impact this religion has had on the course of human history, it would be irresponsible not to teach our students about it.
Some body fat is necessary for physical health. It aids in regulating the body's temperature, as well as surrounding and protecting internal organs. The stored fat in our bodies helps provide energy between meals, and is necessary for producing certain hormones.
"Atheists do make the effort to thoroughly research something before believing in it."
First, that seems like an awfully broad generalization. Of course, that is what this debate is about: Making an absurdly broad judgment about an ideological group.
Secondly, I believe your argument is logically invalid. This is how I interpret your argument:
Premise 1: Whichever group, atheists or theists, conducts more thorough research when generating beliefs, is doxastically superior to the other
Premise 2: Atheists conduct thorough research into the basis for there beliefs.
Conclusion: Therefore, Atheists are doxastically superior to theists.
Premise 2 seems to be the critical point you are trying to make. Your assertion would be logically true if at least two atheists conducted thorough research, since the word "atheists" is plural and nonspecific about the exact number of atheists being referred to. I do not doubt the truth of your premise, as I personally know at least two atheists who conduct their research thoroughly when forming beliefs. I myself am an atheist who tries to conduct detailed research in this regard.
However, since I also happen to know at least two people who belief in God, and yet are also very thorough in their research regarding their beliefs, you have presented insufficient evidence that atheists are more thorough than theists. Therefore, while your premise is true, the premises do not lead logically to the conclusion. The argument is invalid. You need to provide evidence that atheists put more effort into their research.
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