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#903513 - 02/26/05 08:17 AM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Nina - I've read Hrdy and Goodhall. Any other good primate studies you know about? Its been a while since I have read about this topic.

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#903514 - 02/26/05 08:41 AM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
RZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 515
Loc: Anaheim, CA
I often wonder why there is so much hair splitting and discussion about what animals do when homosexuality is discussed, but never when heterosexuality is discussed.

Why must homosexuals justify the physical expression of their love for each other based on what animals do, when heterosexuals would be aghast if someone said they have the right to physically express their love for their spouse because apes engage in the same activity.

Intimately sharing one's body with another is a beautiful and sacred expression of love. How can anyone see such an expression as wrong?

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#903515 - 02/26/05 12:08 PM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
ivorythumper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: The Great American Southwest
*bump*

Jeff: above I posted in response and asked a couple of questions back to you.

I hope your flu is clearing up.

I am off for a hike in the sunny and balmy desert, \:\) so I'll take a look back later.

Cheers,

Steve
_________________________
Estonically yours,

Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"

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#903516 - 02/26/05 01:10 PM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
ivory: What questions? About consciousness and social behavior in non-human primates? About the relevance of facts about primate sexuality to moral arguments on human sexuality?

Enjoy the desert. I am stuck at home with only my Pete Johnson cds for company. The Tamiflu and fluids seem to be working. I got it within the first 12 hours of symptoms.

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#903517 - 02/26/05 03:44 PM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
ivorythumper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: The Great American Southwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
ivory: What questions? About consciousness and social behavior in non-human primates? About the relevance of facts about primate sexuality to moral arguments on human sexuality?
[/b]
 Quote:


My questions back to you are:
(1) how do you know that this is what is really going on? (the problem of anthropomorphizing);
and (2)what is going on here that cannot be explained through a classical rat-psych understanding of the powers of the imagination and emotions, quite short of interiority, self reflection, volition and intellection?
 Quote:


Again (for the sake of argument) how would you answer the charge that
bi-sexual/ homosexual behavior in lower primates is actually a bad trait--an aberrant phase in evolution-- that homo sapiens sapiens has begun to evolve out of? Sort of like the way we no longer accept infanticide though the lions still kill the pride of the vanquished? Why privilege a certain interpretation?
And the point about Oakham's razor applied...
_________________________
Estonically yours,

Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"

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#903518 - 02/26/05 04:31 PM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
ivory: Briefly, the social organization of higher primates is far more complicated than of rats. Observation or reading some primate studies should demonstrate that. If it does not to you, I have no original information to add beyond the studies cited and the Bronx Zoo. What studies have you read that indicates otherwise??

I don't think animal analogies prove anything w/r/t the morality of human behavior (except that dolphins and higher primates can show inter-species altruism, and we probably owe them some back). It was raised to show that the aetiology of homosexuality is likely to be the same in both (i.e. a natural and normal part in the variation of sexual desire in higher primates.) I see no reason to respond to your straw men about lion infanticide in this context. If those examples seem compelling to you, go for it.

One could just as well reverse the argument: there are things that only humans do that are wrong - e.g. sadism and war, where non-human animals seem "better". I believe we are the only species that systematically and regularly kills large numbers of our own kind in war. The fact that animals do or don't or that humans do or don't do something is not a moral argument for or against it. The fact that homosexuality exists in other higher primates does, however, seem like biological evidence that it is a normal and evolutionarily sound part of the sexual drive in higher primates. You are the one who must argue (and no argument has yet been forthcoming except for some nonsense about teen rape) that it is anything different.

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#903519 - 02/26/05 04:39 PM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
ivorythumper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: The Great American Southwest
Jeff: Before going any further -- rat-psych is short hand for rational psychology, and has nothing to do with rat lab.

Got to go out to dinner, but thought that should be cleared up lest you fail to address my concerns...
_________________________
Estonically yours,

Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"

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#903520 - 02/26/05 04:48 PM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
ivory: Then I confess I don't see what your concerns are either with Okham or rational psychology. You must expand your point if my post does not seem relevant.

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#903521 - 02/26/05 10:44 PM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
ivorythumper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: The Great American Southwest
Since you began talking about the social organization of rats, I wanted to clear up that misunderstanding.

OK, very briefly, you posit all sorts of higher mental processes in lower animals -- altruism and intelligence for instance -- things that require ideation and volition. Now in classical rational psychology (philosophical anthropology), these are functions of the mind (intellectus). Yet, I have not seen anything in lower animal behavior that cannot be simply attributed to the imagination and simple emotions(such as dolphins "counting" or "spelling", dogs "dreaming" or "grieving", etc), which we would say that lower animals have since they gain external sense data through their sensory organs and contain these as phantasms in the imaginal memory (the imagination). Hence, Oakham's razor Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate (popularly, 'one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain something') would suggest that if there is no need to ascribe intelligence to dolphins or primates then one ought not do it.

This is a very brief encapsulation. You might look at Henry Koren, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animate Nature, St. Louis: B. Herder, 1955 for a fuller understanding of the structure of the human person according to St Thomas. This is my preferred model for psychology amd anthropology, so I imagine it will probably inhibit dialogue since our frames of reference and language are so different about these matters.
_________________________
Estonically yours,

Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"

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#903522 - 02/26/05 11:17 PM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
ivorythumper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: The Great American Southwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
[QB] I see no reason to respond to your straw men about lion infanticide in this context. If those examples seem compelling to you, go for it.
This is not a straw man, for one thing I did not ascribe it to you or suggest it was the least bit germane to your argument. It was simply an example that you might not agree with, but was meant to indicate that there behaviors that (interspecies evolution assumed for the sake of argument) humanity has only recently begun to (possibly)evolve beyond.
 Quote:


One could just as well reverse the argument: there are things that only humans do that are wrong - e.g. sadism and war, where non-human animals seem "better". I believe we are the only species that systematically and regularly kills large numbers of our own kind in war. The fact that animals do or don't or that humans do or don't do something is not a moral argument for or against it.
Not really reversible since war and sadism both involve higher functions than lower animals have. A thing does what it does according to its nature. And I am not sure that you want to suggest that homosexuality is a higher function in line with these other bad things. War and sadism might be deficient manifestations of higher functions, but no claim has been made by me that we humans are "better" or "more moral" (a silly construct) than lower animals which are strictly amoral. Even granting your reversal for the sake of argument, it does not answer the question as to why should not allegedly bi/homo/sexual behaviors in lower animals be seen as the aberrant behavior that humanity is evolving out of? Why is this not a plausible explanation?


 Quote:


The fact that homosexuality exists in other higher primates does, however, seem like biological evidence that it is a normal and evolutionarily sound part of the sexual drive in higher primates.
The evidence for "homosexual" behavior in lower animals is not all that clear as you suggest it to be. Some forms of frottage, nonintromissive mounting, etc occur in bonobos and other groupings. Whether these are for bonding or social dominance (and bonobos seem to be a matriarchal dominant social grouping) or pleasure or some other purpose is not clear. Scientist have yet to find a bonobo bath house. ;\)

Present research can't grant your notion that true "homosexuality" is a naturally occurring phenomenon among lower animals. Which leads me to the questions about the anthropomorphisizings that humans tend to do when looking at animals. How do you really know what is going on? In short, you don't and you can't.

It seems to be a matter of transference -- you see what you want to and hope to see. Not particularly good science, and a very weak foundation for deciding that every one else who doesn't live in Jeffreyland is a bigot and a sadist and displays vulgar ignorance, double standards, and misinformation.

Yours,

Steve
_________________________
Estonically yours,

Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"

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#903523 - 02/27/05 07:52 AM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Ivory - Dolphins, for example, sometimes endanger or sacrifice their lives to save drowning human swimmers. This strongly implies both intelligence and altruism. Since "intelligence" is not an entity, but due to synapse connections in the brain, I see no relevance for Ockham.

Re: Koren - I see no reason why a book written in 1955, based on a philosophy from 1300 or so, is relevant to the latest scientific findings in animal behavior.

"I am not sure that you want to suggest that homosexuality is a higher function"

This appears to have been Plato's view. I believe the derisive homosexual term is "breeder". *shrugs*

"Present research can't grant your notion that true "homosexuality" is a naturally occurring phenomenon among lower animals."

Actually, it is. Nina provided but one link. But I am sure you will find some convoluted chain of reasoning to declare yourself unconvinced. You don't want to believe that homosexuality is normal and healthy, so you won't find it even when evidence is pointed out to you. There is no point in discussing things with someone who won't look at the evidence.

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#903524 - 02/27/05 09:09 AM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
ivorythumper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: The Great American Southwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
Ivory - Dolphins, for example, sometimes endanger or sacrifice their lives to save drowning human swimmers. This strongly implies both intelligence and altruism. Since "intelligence" is not an entity, but due to synapse connections in the brain, I see no relevance for Ockham.

Re: Koren - I see no reason why a book written in 1955, based on a philosophy from 1300 or so, is relevant to the latest scientific findings in animal behavior.

"I am not sure that you want to suggest that homosexuality is a higher function"

This appears to have been Plato's view. I believe the derisive homosexual term is "breeder". *shrugs*

"Present research can't grant your notion that true "homosexuality" is a naturally occurring phenomenon among lower animals."

Actually, it is. Nina provided but one link. But I am sure you will find some convoluted chain of reasoning to declare yourself unconvinced. You don't want to believe that homosexuality is normal and healthy, so you won't find it even when evidence is pointed out to you. There is no point in discussing things with someone who won't look at the evidence. [/b]
OK Jeff, let's just drop it. You refuse to look at a highly integrated model of human action because it is "from 1300 or so", and yet you hold Plato's view from 2400 years ago since it suits you.

I did read Nina's evidence, which is an interpretation of data and does not prove anything. Other scientific journals and academics are not so willing to draw the conclusion, and even if you read Nina's link much of the claims are subjunctive and conditional and admittedly interpretive.

You still did not answer any of questions about why other interpretations of events are not plausible, and all you can do is resort to ad hominem arguments that your opponent must have convoluted logic to not agree with you.

So continue holding your own unsupported biases against anyone who disagrees with Jeff and just dismiss them as bigots and sadists -- it seems unduly narcissistic to me but, hey, if it works for you -- go for it

Steve -- who has virtually lost all hope of having a courteous and rational discussion with someone who can only pleasantly discuss pianos, Malevich, and the Roman Baroque with him.
_________________________
Estonically yours,

Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"

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#903525 - 02/27/05 10:36 AM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
ivory - I'm just not that interested in discussing Catholic philosophy of mind with you. I know the topic is of deep importance to you, but I find your discussion of it dull. I am used to more professional discussions of the philosophy of mind. (A basic undergraduate textbook is Rosenthal's Philosophy of Mind. This book would give us a basic commonality of language and historical reference.)

Read nothing more into my post than that.

My comment on Plato was ironic (though accurate as an interpretation of Plato). I don't think any form of voluntary informed consensual sexual behavior is any better, morally speaking, than any other. It is uninteresting to discuss things with people who almost intentionally misquote me, repeatedly. If I don't reply to you much in the future, again, read nothing into it other than my lack of interest in discussing with someone who can't read what I write.

All observation in science is theory laden: of course if you assume certain weird premises you can interpret the data in different ways. The basic data shows non-human primates engaged in same sex interaction to orgasm frequently and repeatedly, just as the data shows human primates engaged in same sex interaction to orgasm frequently. Interpret these facts as you wish, and draw any moral conclusions from it as you wish.

As for courteous and rational discussion: bigotry against homosexuals, or any other minority group, is not a pleasant topic, and should not be expected to provoke pleasant banter in response. You're the one who waves the flag of 'hating Catholics' anytime anyone disagrees with you. Again, look at the mote in your own eye.

Perhaps we should have a pleasant and courteous discussion of whether Catholic marriage is the manifestation of evil in the modern world? Or whether the Devil is really behind the Papacy? Or whether one becomes Catholic only if one is raped by a priest when young. Surely, these are pleasant and interesting topics that should provoke much rational and courteous discussion within the PW community. They are exactly the same as the topics you want courteous and rational discussion of, when applied to homosexuals.

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#903526 - 02/27/05 12:10 PM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
ivorythumper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: The Great American Southwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
I am used to more professional discussions of the philosophy of mind. (A basic undergraduate textbook is Rosenthal's Philosophy of Mind. This book would give us a basic commonality of language and historical reference.) [/b]
I assume you mean Rosenthal's "Nature[/b] of the Mind", but never mind -- I find Aquinas' and his epigone's understanding of the psyche and their investigations of the mind-body problem to be much more interesting, integrated, and systematic than the various and disjointed post enlightenment interpretations found in Rosenthal.

Cheers, and I hope you're on the mend.

Steve
_________________________
Estonically yours,

Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"

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#903527 - 02/27/05 01:17 PM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Steve - I just checked my shelf. You are correct as to the title of Rosenthal's anthology. Perhaps some other time we can debate pre- vs. post-Enlightenment philosophies of mind. Terence Irwin's Aristotle's First Principles defends Aristotle's philosophy of mind from various modern objections. Since Aquinas took Aristotle as a model, you might find the book of interest. I have made no specific study of Aquinas's philosophy of mind. I find the view called "functionalism" in Rosenthal's book basically correct.

I think the analogies made between minds and computers are incorrect - we process information differently, even though we are both purely material systems.

Again, some other time.

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#903528 - 02/27/05 01:31 PM Re: Bush's Sex Scandal
ivorythumper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: The Great American Southwest
OK, Jeff. Some other time...

Best,

Steve
_________________________
Estonically yours,

Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"

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