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Murray is simply wrong here. - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
Murray is simply wrong here.
Charles Murray writes:
Data can bear on policy issues, but many of our opinions about policy are grounded on premises about the nature of human life and human society that are beyond the reach of data. Try to think of any new data that would change your position on abortion, the death penalty, legalization of marijuana, same-sex marriage or the inheritance tax. If you cannot, you are not necessarily being unreasonable.
I can easily imagine new data that would change my position on abortion, the death penalty, legalization of marijuana, same-sex marriage or the inheritance tax. What I can't imagine is that that data will be forthcoming anytime soon: I cannot imagine that someone will prove, successfully and soon, that a three-week-old blastocyte has the full moral agency of a born human being; I cannot imagine that someone will prove, successfully and soon, that legalizing marijuane would result in a policy disaster similar to the legalization of alcohol; I cannot imagine that someone will prove, successfully and soon, that legalizing gay marriage will result in the downfall of civilization. But I can imagine the conditions under which I would entertain changing my mind. So yes, if you can't imagine those conditions, you are unreasonable.

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atheorist From: atheorist Date: February 8th, 2012 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
This is an example of taboo-based thinking.

In a small tribe where X is taboo, talking about X is probably also taboo, as is talking about talking about X and on up the chain. Similarly thinking about X, meta-thinking about X, and so on.

There might be a signalling story about why we have the capacity or tradition of taboo-based thinking around cleanliness-and-morality issues. According to this story, you're not his audience - rather, he's trying to signal to his allies that his internal morality censor is very strong and generally applicable, editing wrong thoughts and wrong meta-thoughts equally.

It's a bit like the Dr. Bronner's label - it's clearly the work of a crazy person, but craziness about cleanliness and purity might be a trustworthy quality in a manufacturer of concentrated cleaning agents intended to be broadly applicable.

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