The "objectivity"/"subjectivity" spectrum: having one's cake and eating it too?

Paul Grobstein's picture

An interesting issue came up in my college seminar course today. Supposing one accepts that absolute "objectivity" is not achievable, ie that all understandings are "stories" that inevitably have a personal context dependence (some "subjectivity") to them. And one notices that many people are more attracted to stories with a personal element to them than they are to the "dry" stories told by scientists/academics. If absolute objectivity is unachievable, is there any rationale for putting up with (even aspiring) to "dryness", ie for preferring more objective stories to less objective things? for teaching students the virtues of trying to be more "objective"?

I think there in fact is but that it doesn't any longer lie along the obvious path of asserting that dryness is needed to get one to "Truth" or "Reality" .... those notions necessarily go out the window along with a recognition that the context-free view is not achievable. One needs instead to approach the matter from a different direction. Some thoughts about that direction ...

One of the more important lessons one learns as a professional scientist/academic is that the purely "subjective" doesn't play well in the marketplace of ideas. In fact, the more convinced one is from one's own perspective of the excitment/juciness/richness of one's understandings, the more critical it becomes to examine them skeptically, to step outside one's personal excitement and ask in what ways one's own observations and interpretations of them might be challenged by other people looking at them from perspectives other than one's own. To put it differently, a minimal reason to value a movement toward greater "objectivity" is to forestall criticism by others. Its better to onself find the problems that can be seen from other perspectives than to be embarrassed by someone else noticing and pointing them out.

On a somewhat larger but related scale, "I believe (feel/think/know/etc)" may be interesting to someone who is interested in finding out more about that person, or who already knows that person and trusts that they and oneself see things similarly. Its of no use whatsoever in trying to teach collective agreeements about what new avenues of exploration to pursue among people who don't start with similar presumptions. For that purpose, one wants descriptions of what one person has seen that provide as much assurance as possible that an arbiitrarily different person would also see the same thing under the same circumstances. To put it differently, the skill of examining and trying to eliminate one's own perspectival idiosyncracies is worth developing for the purpose of participating with the widest possible number of other people in a shared enterprise of ongoing collective inquiry. The "dryness" is a perhaps unfortunate but nonetheless necessary component of finding a common base of understandings from which group efforts can be productive. It is, I suspect, also a necessary component of creating within oneself a the kind of common basis of understandings from which new directions of inquiry can most productively emerge.

On a still related but also still broader scale., an aspiration to greater "objectivity" makes sense in terms of social interactions. Yes, individuals and social groups have coherent characterizations of "reality" based on their own experiences/interpretations. But its equally noteworthy that they are prone to dismiss, demonize, and even try to kill people with different, equally "objective" characterizations of "reality". I see no way to get out of this historically painfully obvious trap other than to encourage people (individuals and groups) to find a new perspective ("story") that doesn't deny the legitimacy of the stories developed from particular perspectives but encourages the creation of new stories that simultaneously make use of and transcend those developed form particular narrower perspectives. No, one cannot be "objective" in absolute terms, but one can indeed (and I think should) aspire to being less "subjective".

What's importantly similar in these three different scales is the idea that "Reality" and "Truth" are not abstract concepts that can serve as the arbitor among different "stories", but rather that "reality" and "truth" are important social constructions, and that the task of inquiry is to use the diversity of stories about both to achieve the best collective consensus that can be reached at any given time. The logic of aspiring to, and teaching, "objectivity" thus derives not only from our individual needs to make our individual ways in a mysterious world but equally from a recognition that we can better do so in state of the most effective exchange with people whose experiences/understandings are different from our own. In these terms, diversity is not a problem for "objectivity" (relative to where one is at any given time) but rather an asset to it.

Maybe "dryness" is easier to swallow in these terms? And that perhaps make sense, as well, of our interest also in the "personal" story? Maybe we can find in the idiosyncracies of others new directions for our own stories (as opposed to validations of its "rightness"?).

 

 

 

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Paul Grobstein's picture

more on objectivity ... and story telling

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Anonymous's picture

meaning

If Language in Thought and Action 5th ed of S I Hayakawa is still to be had, its assimilation by many contributors might assist in enabling a higher level of communicating.

max's picture

'Dryness' - Generalisation, Abstraction and Truth

Making a topic 'dryer' is taking it away from the immediacy of the individual experience and attempting to draw 'objective' generalised lessons from it.

Whether dryer = truer is highly debateable.

We learned abstraction as a skill early - the 'truth' that we should stay away from leopards was derived from direct individual experience of claws and teeth.

Whether the generalised and dryer abstraction was more true than the experience of the person who encountered the leopard or of the people who had to care for them after the encounter is highly debateable, though it was certainly useful, those who would share this lesson however, would most likely tell the tale of 'Ug who was torn apart by the leopard' as their way of imparting the more generalised message of 'stay away from leopards!' to their children.

With generalisation and abstraction, truths are lost as well as gained.

Anne Dalke's picture

on aspiring to "dryness"/making it easier to swallow?

Another take on this, from Mary Midgeley's Science & Poetry
(or maybe: same take, another expression):

"The formal information-systems that interest cognition scientists are abstractions--collections of dried flowers drawn from the much richer and wllder woodlands that we call states of mind....these information-systems ...are not facts or events in the world, any more than Platonic forms are...but highly simplified patterns, highly selective maps of certain aspects of experience."

 

Rob Lockett's picture

More on Midgley...

Anne, after thinking some more about your comment, I think that I see what you meant. You were offerring Midgley's quote as a means of expressing Paul's position in a different way... Is that correct?

Either way, I found an interesting bit on Midgley's beliefs at Wiki. It goes right to the heart of the issues surrounding pluralism and it's hidden assuptions.

She argues against reductionism or the attempt to impose any one approach to understanding the world as the only right way to see things. She suggests that there are "many maps, many windows" on reality and argues that "we need scientific pluralism - the recognition that there are many independent forms and sources of knowledge - rather than reductivism, the conviction that one fundamental form underlies them all and settles everything" and that it is helpful to think about the world as "a huge aquarium. We cannot see it as a whole from above, so we peer in at it through a number of small windows ... We can eventually make quite a lot of sense of this habitat if we patiently put together the data from different angles. But if we insist that our own window is the only one worth looking through, we shall not get very far".

On one hand I think Midgley is right.... We cannot look at reality through only one window.

The confusion comes when we recognize that that is itself a (or the) 'one window'.

She says that 'we cannot see it as a whole from above'. That is a very Kantian idea and it is very inadequate because such a truth claim cannot be made with any authority, unless one has seen everything as a whole from above.

Here is the resolution as I see it...

Reality cannot be known by pure rationalism (ie. Rene Descartes).

Empericism on it's own is also inadequate and irrational (David hume).

We cannot trust our existential desires for peace and harmony exclusively (Jean-Paul Sartre).

All of these disciplines and clues must be united under a common and composite philosophical whole.

So... the one legitimate window... is the window that every culture strives to produce (some better than others). And that is... 'A coherent set of answers to the exitential questions that confront all human beings in the passage of their lives' ( Daniel Bell / http://www.rzim.org/slice/slicetran.php?sliceid=1020 )

Paul has already disavowed Pluralism in the absolute sense and wisely so... let me use that as an illustration for putting this principle into practice. But every worldview can be tested with this formula.

----------

Pluralism and relativism are not totally wrong. It is only when they are taken as an absolute that the post-modern worldview falls to pieces.

'Some things are relative... and some things are absolute'. That is the only logical way to state the equation.

Without a self-evident absolute or an axiomatic truth, there is nothing for that which is relative to be relative to.

In an 'absolutely relative' reality, everything becomes equal (not relative) as far as 'reason' is concerned; ie. Hitler is no better or worse than Jesus; cannabalism is the same as vegetarianism. This violates not only our need to incorporate 'reason' as a window, but also our existential moral desires as well.

Absolute relativism becomes nonsensical and incompatible with our existential dimension. So it with reason. It is antithetical to it.

It is only compatible with the physical universe (the emperical window)... and even then, that is only so if we exclude the problem of entropy and the reality of a material beginning with some philosophical explanation that is ultimately not emperical. So it really doesn't cohere even with the emperical world.

The point is, that we are all searching for the absolute. We all want to know what reality is... But we cannot define it subjectively. It is (by definition) objective. In fact, it 'is'... our objective.

Anne Dalke's picture

insistently searching

Yes, I thought Midgely's description of abstractions as "dried" versions of the rich woodlands in which we live was a (poetic, and richer) version of the "dry" stories told by academics, the kind that Paul's students were resisting reading and writing. Thanks for taking the time to see that. I was also writing elsewhere yesterday about (as you say) our insistent searching for the absolute. We do, we do...

and then (when we think we've found it) the problem is that we stop searching, yes?
Rob Lockett's picture

Searching for the absolute

This is for you too Paul...

Anne writes: "and then (when we think we've found it) the problem is that we stop searching, yes?"

No, no, no... not the way I see it. There is always more to be found... but as with mathematics, we do not forsake addition and subtraction, even though we add dimensions to the game.

The legitimate single starting point is one (the 'one window') that brings all things into coherence. That is the absolute!

You see? Even Paul said, "Along another path is the idea that it is enough for things to be relative only to other things, that that alone is sufficient to give us the needed basis (albeit a continually changing one) for both rational and moral choices at any given point in time."

That is false, in my mind, because it does not acknowledge the absolute. It is 'another path' as Paul said. One that excludes the alternative...

The one that is true is the one that is less wrong (as you said Anne). And the one that is less wrong is the one that is most coherent.

There is no other path... there is only the one path. And it is consistent...

We all know that there are other paths (they are nfinite conceptually). But only one can be true. If we say that 'all paths' are correct (which neither of you have other than by unintentional implication) it is still only 'one path' and excludes it's competitors.

We cannot have it both ways because if we try to say that we can, then we necessarily infer that we cannot have it the 'other way', which is only 'one way' and not 'both'. It is self defeating...

Though it is very deep down below the suface of our thinking, it is actually quite simple. Even so, it's power to expose any bias in us is profound.

As Dr. Zacharius said, 'the law of non-contradiction cannot be challenged because if we try to challenge the law of non-contradiction we will end up proving the law of non-contradiction. Because by challenging the law, we end up inferring that 'we are right' and 'they are wrong'.

The fact is... someone is wrong. Remarkably, we can't even consistently say that 'we're all wrong', because that would infer once again that we are right...

John Pokinghorne, the quantum professor at Cambridge (a Christian btw...) said, 'There's no free lunch. Somebody has to pay'.

I think we know when we've found it Anne. And the reason is that we can then see through everything else that is false or incomplete...

There is no worldview that is 'all wrong' (excepting perhaps the unique vision of Charles Manson). No good truth claim is totally incoherent.

What cannot be beaten is one that is utterly coherent. Total coherence (wherever it leads) is Lord. It does no good, as Paul said, to imagine reason, empirisism, and intuition as being transcended in the human terms we are forced to examine reality under. And the reason is that reason itself must be abandoned (which cuts one window out of the picture). In fact, empiricism and intuition are only valid if the reasoning we use to say that is valid.

Put plainly, if 'The spoken Word' is not the ultimate authority, then nothing is. And it is, and is assumed to follow logically as does (coicidentally?) the intelligeable universe we somehow can comprehend.

In my opinion, that (and all of this reasoning) flows very naturally from the Christian worldview. It is frighteningly profound to me...

If you'll permit me... John said in Chapter 1 of his Gospel, In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God. Without Him, nothing that has been made was... The Word became flesh..."

Try reading those words with the definition of 'Word' being simply 'the logic' that transcends being period (from the atom, to the galactic).

I am not reducing God to logic. I am only trying to give you the proper context with which to interpret what John is saying.

Time for holiday travels...

Merry Christmas!

Paul Grobstein's picture

absolutes and relativities

Yep, I think Anne was indeed "offering Midgeley's quote as a means of expressing Paul's position in a different way." And I very much like the way you set a context for that position: there are limitations on the reach of rationality, of empiricism, and of "existential desires for peace and harmony" so we "cannot look at reality through only one window." For similar characterizations of limitations, see Writing Descartes and Fellow Traveling with Richard Rorty.

I agree with you as well that "pluralism and relativism are not totally wrong" but that one needs to avoid taking them as "absolutes," ie one needs to avoid the conclusion that "everything becomes equal ... as far as reason is concerned." The problem with that, as you say, is that we would have no grounds for either rational or ethical choices.

Here, though, there's a fork in the road and so some different paths to be explored. Along one is "Without a self-evident absolute or axiomatic truth, there is nothing for that which is relative to be relative to," and a resulting need to find somewhere else (beyond rationality, empiricism, and intuition) an "absolute." Along another path is the idea that it is enough for things to be relative only to other things, that that alone is sufficient to give us the needed basis (albeit a continually changing one) for both rational and moral choices at any given point in time.

"Maybe its time to seriously entertain the possibility that looking for a single solid starting point just isn't the right way to go, that one has to find another, different way to proceed ... Maybe then the starting point one is looking for to ... is wherever one is at any given time based on all of these [empiricism, rationality, intuition, stories of other people]."

Its an interesting choice point. Thanks for helping me see it more clearly.

 

 

Rob Lockett's picture

A single starting point just isn't the right way...

Paul, if I were 100% healthy, I could let all of this go for at least the holidays. But honestly, it consumes me...

I want to respond to what you had to say without trying to combine it with what Anne had to contribute.

I want to point out that you did it again... look carefully at what you said. I've broken it into two parts:

"Maybe its time to seriously entertain the possibility that looking for a single solid starting point just isn't the right way to go, that one has to find another, different way to proceed...

Don't you see that that would then be the 'one starting point'? The fact is, we cannot affirm 'anything'... without implying an absolute. Without it, nothing can be true!

The second half of your comment is much more refreshing to my way of thinking:

"Maybe then the starting point one is looking for... is wherever one is at any given time based on all of these (reason, empiricism, and intuition)"

Well, it is not the thing we are looking for in my mind, because we are looking for more than the place we are. Where we are... is simply where we are. I agree that we must proceed from there, but I don't think it is right to say that that is what we are looking for.

We must proceed by making all of those entities converge into a coherent fabric.

Forgive me for saying this, but I don't think your struggle is an intellectual one. It appears to be a moral one.

And just so you know you're not alone brother... such is the case for us all.

Reason will take us to reality if it is made to cohere with the other entities given to us as clues. What we try to do, is try to find a way to make reason comply with what 'we want' (bias) the moral (existential / intuitive)reality to be...

And 'that' is our fall from grace as I see it. We distort reason, so as to make reality conform to our image, instead of surrendering ourselves for the sake of reality. And in the process we sacrifice absolute peace, reason, and true empiricism... in exchange for a moment of 'perceived' and 'relative' pleasure.

Do you like cliches? 'The mind that alters, alters all'. As Lewis opined, 'science is only valid if reason is valid'.

Reason, is the absolute, but it is not complete without the others. Reason alone cannot take us there. But it is the Spirit that brings all of reality (even affirming itself) into focus.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind... Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Thank you for permitting my incessant preaching...

Rob Lockett's picture

Making ideas easier to swallow...

Hi Anne,

I don't know if Mary Midgley has helped much there...

Personally, I don't find it palatable let alone worthy of ingestion. But of course you must weigh the fact that I find Jesus' words to be 'real food' and 'real drink'. I like straight talk that doesn't appear deep on the surface, but vacuous under the pounding waves of confusion.

When analyzing (listening) to Midgeley's words I found myself questioning, 'How does she know (or why does she assume) that these 'formal information systems' are abstractions'?

How can she expound 'an idea' as real (an idea in the Platonic sense), while that idea itself hinges upon the denial of Platonic realities?

Good God...

It's as though the premise for the whole concept, is that the whole endeavor of science is only a guess. Yet that asumption is considered to be 'real' and reflecting reality. The metaphysical assumptions of Midgeley are smuggled in through the back door. To me, it is the same old tune...

I give her the benefit of the doubt. I believe that most ambitions, with regard to seeking an understanding of reality, are motivated by genuine motives. So, I must conclude that the problem is that she cannot see or find a coherent philosophical fabric by which to reconcile what appears to be loose abstractions which are often in contradiction. So (if I am correct) she assumes therefore that everything is in flux; and that even facts are suspect. Yet again, she must take that idea itself as fact (ie. reality).

Anne, I really don't know what you mean by 'same take, another expression'... Your response was a reply to me no?

I see no same-ness in your reply to the points I made in that last post... especially when taking them into context with Lewis' exhortation.

Midgeley's is a totally different position (a take)from which to express an observation of reality. It is not a different side of the same coin. It is a view that cannot presume to acknowledge a coin. It cannot even legitimize it's own powers of observation.

Midgeley has said nothing that means anything. I have to say it appears utterly meaningless. Perhaps that is how she views reality... as meaningless.

Perhaps that is how you view reality. If so, can you actually say that that is itself meaningful? What does such a view of reality offer?

Freedom from actual knowledge and it's implications?

ashaffer's picture

An interesting point of view

I ran across an interesting quote in the assigned reading for this week that seems to fit in nicely with this topic. It can be found in the 1935 bulletin:

On discussing two sides to a controversial issue, "Those of us who are not entirely committed to either of these views must be careful lest our efforts to be rational and just lead us into a detachment so complete as to be sterile and futile. We must be willing to suffer the pangs of our [opinion/position/bias] without recourse to the soothing intellectual aspirin of an "impartiality" so pure as to be paralyzing."

One thought that I have on something that might be missing from a more impartial and dry presentation is a certain level of earnestness and conviction that can be useful in persuading others to a certain position. Sometimes well-argued, logical, passionate arguments can win over more dispassionate and factual ones, so, if the goal is to convince people of an idea, one can be preferable. (Of course, an argument can also be rejected by an audience on the basis of how it is argued- emotionally/biased as well.)

I think it may be better to try to define WHAT we are trying to accomplish in our communication before examining HOW this can best be accomplished.

Paul Grobstein's picture

conversations past and future

Some background for the interesting quotation Ashton provides might be useful. It comes from an "Open Letter on Workers' Education" that appeared in the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin in May of 1935, and relates to a controversy at that time about whether the College should or should not continue to host the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers. The letter continues beyond the portion Ashton quoted (speaking initially of "Radicals").

We must be willing to work with those whose far-sighted social philosophy we do not entirely believe, and be glad that they will in some degree work with us; we must accept the intolerance and propagandist vehemence of some of them, even though at moments they remind us of the same qualities, focused on different ideas, that we shrank from in the Conversatives. We must do this because the conditions of our society force us to see the issues plainly, and assure us that changes come to opinions and institutions. And there is a need for change and no escape from some responsibility for its direction and quality.

Perhaps, as Ashton says, "passionate" arguments can win out over "dispassionate" ones. On the other hand, as Ashton also says, the same arguments may be discounted because of their passion. The writers of the Open Letter "shrank from" both "Radicals" and "Conservatives" on this count. They were, on the other hand, willing to listen to both "because the conditions of our society force us to see the issues plainly, and assure us that changes come to opinions and institution. And there is a need for change ..." To both "opinions and institutions."

I agree one needs to define what one is trying to accomplish before deciding how best to (try to) accomplish it. If one's objective is "persuading others to a certain position", passion may (or may not) be needed. If one's objective is to satisfy a need for change, to both opinions and institutions ... then perhaps passion has even less to recommend it. The point of communication/exchange is to find the common ground in different perspectives from which emerge new perspectives, directions of change preferable to everyone than any of those with which they started. In this case, one wants to avoid as much as possible anyone shrinking form any one else, so as to maximize the likelihood that new and more satisfying perspectives will emerge, and change, rather than stalemate, will result (for more along these lines see "Testing or Comparing" and "The How of Story Sharing").

Rob Lockett's picture

Objectivity...

Paul, thank you for tolerating my presence here. And I do appriciate the ability to participate though I am not affiliated with Bryn Mawr or any other accepted establishment of higher learning within the academic community. We are from two different worlds...

I want to give you some my thoughts (as feedback) for your own comments in the opening post of this segment of your blog. There was not a reply option for that post, so I have given it here...

You said, "What's importantly similar in these three different scales is the idea that "Reality" and "Truth" are not abstract concepts that can serve as the arbitor among different "stories", but rather that "reality" and "truth" are important social constructions, and that the task of inquiry is to use the diversity of stories about both to achieve the best collective consensus that can be reached at any given time."

To me, the idea that 'Reality and Truth' are only social constructs, is itself subject to the same criterion as any other claim to truth and reality.

Is the idea itself only a social construct? Or are you advocating that we accept and embrace it as reality and truth? Are you seeking a new and improved 'one way' to peace?

The other thought I had was in response to your opening suggestion that (and I paraphrase) 'assuming and accepting the fact that 'objectivity' is unachievable'.

Forgetting about the inspiration for the idea, if that idea itself were so, then we could not believe in that idea either...

I am honestly perplexed at the inability of a professor like yourself to perceive the futile contradictions in this kind of doubletalk. And I am not here attempting to insult or impune anyone. It really goes to the heart of the disconnect between the common citizen and the intellectual class.

As it is, I am a truck driver with a high school degree, and you are an educated man. You and I are an example of the disconnect.

Would you be willing to tolerate my constant nagging and simple (or dry) logical questions, in order to make me a test case as to how you and your brethren might reach the lost?

We may not reach a concensus... but perhaps one of us will be converted entirely.

The third chapter of C.S. Lewis' book, 'Miracles' gives us the entire premise for anything to be accepted as true; that our reasoning (even about reasoning) is valid.

The following is only a small sample of the simple clarity that I am trying to convey:

"...Unless human reasoning is valid, no science can be true.

It follows that no account of the universe can be true unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight. A theory which explained eveything else in the whole universe but which made it imposssible to believe our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory itself would have been arrived at by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed it's own credentials. It would be an argument which proved no argument was sound -a proof that there are no such thing as proofs- which is nonsense."

(C.S. Lewis 'Miracles', chap 3 'The cardinal Difficulty of Naturalism' pgs 21, 22)

Rob Lockett's picture

Change...

Paul, my apologies for sounding so reactionary. I recently offered a point of view that I believe is the correct resolution (middle ground) to the appearent dichotomy of issues in the ID vs. EVO Culture War. That post was ignored and not even given the dignity of public consumption. That is why I asked what definition of conversation was being imposed.
It is strange reading Ashton's words really... One could take the same posture (from an opposing point of view) without changing any words. As such, I think Ashton is right. It is only his disposition that may have been transposed with my own.
Institutions must change. And I particularly like the last line that you quoted from Ashton; 'And there is a need for change and no escape from some responsibility for its direction and quality'.
What bothers me about his comments as a whole, is that he infers, implies (or otherwise makes an absolute of) the idea that there must be some common ground between philosophies. That is simply not possible in some circumstances. It is actually a self defeating inference. But that is not the course I want to pursue here...
In this case; the ID vs. Evolution controversy... there is, in fact, a commmon denominator. That denominator was quite well defined by Mike Gene with the advertisment of his book, though he was rather vague on the details.
I wrote what I thought was a thoughtful and more detail oriented description of how that mechanism might work. It does not necesarily agree with Mike Gene's details other than in concuring that such an explanation exists.
I will endeavor to rewrite the explanation in the oppropriate thread. And maybe the details will be given the opportunity to be seen the next time around. Perhaps (as Anne Dalke might contend) it was a simple and innocent misunderstanding. I cannot claim to know...
Nevertheless, since the institution of evolutionary theory (which is a philosophy mind you) is (as Ashton exhorts us) 'responsible for direction and quality of change', we should all undertake to discuss these matters with the highest level of respect for differing views.
And as Ashton so eloquently inferred, even creationists like myself must, 'be willing to work with those whose far-sighted social philosophy we do not entirely believe, and be glad that they will in some degree work with us; we must accept the intolerance and propagandist vehemence of some of them, even though at moments they remind us of the same qualities, focused on different ideas, that we shrank from in the Conversatives.'
After-all Dr. Grobstein, the shoe has definitely been on the other foot. As you well know, there was a time in which it was the church who resisted any attempt to expand the boundaries of scientific inquiry. It seems that fate has a sense of irony.
In terms of evolutionary establishment, I find myself being supported by the soles of Liberal shoes. And in light of such, Ashton's use of the word 'Conservative' I find very illuminating.
Websters: 1: Preservative 2: tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions
I try as hard as my current level of maturity allows to present my point of view with both passion and a respect for the differing opinions of others. I listen very carefully, both to my own arguments, and those of others.
I want to understand the truth in all of it's dimensions. We can keep our arithmatic and still learn algebra.

Paul Grobstein's picture

Wearing each other's shoes ...

is a good way to find productive common ground. No apologies needed.

There's no way you could have known it but, for the sake of the record Ashton is a "she" rather than a "he." And she should could credit for putting the quote here but not for the words themselves. The writers, in the Bryn Mawr Alumane Bulletin in 1935, were Gertrude Bancroft and Bettina Lin.

Rob Lockett's picture

Are you invoking gender bias Paul?

Lol!

Well Paul, it seems that sexism is alive and well? There is some truth to the feminist posture to be sure. Good, sound thinking is obviously gender neutral.

Anyway... she is correct.

Btw, I re-wrote my response to Mike Gene in the Intelligent design thread and submitted it this morning. There is a place of compromise in the conflict for those who really seek it. And I don't mean for the sake of compromise.

I believe it is a legitimate reconciliation between natural selection and design.

Of course others must decide that for themselves, assuming they are able to read it... as of yet, it exists only in the hands of whoever moderates that thread and imposes what is seen and what isn't.

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