Author Topic: A predjudice revealed!  (Read 5032 times)

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Offline stickman

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A predjudice revealed!
« on: March 18, 2007, 07:21:59 PM »
Well, that's humbling.

I consider myself to be an unpredjudiced person.  It seems I was wrong.

Richard Feynman is perhaps my favorite person in the history of the world.  If you haven't read "Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman", and "What Do YOU Care What Other People Think?", you should.  I have read much about and by this great man, but have never before encountered audio or video of him.  In retrospect, that seems kind of odd.

In any case, i just discovered this lecture series, which I highly recommend if you're at all interested (and/or ignorant about) physics.  Feynman is an entertaining speaker, and has an incredible skill for making physics comprehensible.

Now I knew Feynman was from Queens, but somehow it was still a surprise when I started the first lecture and heard that thick accent, I experienced a moment of cognative dissonance.  "This is undeniably a fricken genius." I said to myself.  "Why does he sound like a complete  idiot?"

Yes, I have discovered that when i hear a Queens accent (though I had always associated it more with NJ), I assume the speaker is stupid.

Lesson learned.  The first step to overcoming a predjudice is to recognise the faulty assumption.  Hopefully, by the time I've heard the rest of the lectures, I'll have overcome it.

It's a good day when you learn something about yourself.  Even (perhaps especially) if what you've learned is appalling!
The best debates are the ones in which I'm proven wrong.  Then I've learned something.

Offline cosmicvagabond

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A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2007, 07:36:37 PM »
Strange, it was just the opposite for me. I saw Feynman on TV before I ever heard of him (I can't remember the program). He impressed me enough to start reading some of his lectures, and when I read them I heard that unmistakeable voice in my head.
Bold ideas, unjustified anticipations, and speculative thoughts are our only means for interpreting nature... Those among us who are unwilling to expose their ideas to the hazard of refutation do not take part in the scientific game.    ---Karl Popper, "The Logic of Scientific Discovery"

Offline Øyvind

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A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2007, 09:00:43 AM »
I love Feynman, he was a genius, through and through.

Anyways, my first encounter with him was this video, which is just 40 minutes of him talking about life, the universe and everything.

As for the accent, I always find it amusing, and some of the girls in my physics class insist that it's very attractive. Then again, they're Norwegians.  :D
"Some people say 'How can you live without knowing?' I do not know what they mean. I always live without knowing. That is easy. How you get to know is what I want to know." -- Richard Feynman

"Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science." -- Agatha Heterodyne

Offline Apeiron

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A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2007, 10:16:12 AM »
Quote
about life, the universe and everything.


Where have I heard that phrase before?  :wink:

Offline Joe Shmoe

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Re: A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2007, 10:55:48 AM »
Quote from: "stickman"
...I consider myself to be an unpredjudiced person...


I hate this line.  Of course you're prejudiced, we all are. Knowing that you are is key to our understanding of human nature.

Offline widdowquinn

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Re: A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2007, 12:01:43 PM »
Quote from: "Joe Shmoe"
Of course you're prejudiced, we all are.


As I pointed out in my diversity training seminar last week, that in itself is a prejudice.
img]http://widdowquinn.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/sigimage/sigimage.jpg[/img]

"Uranus is out of order" - Neal Adams, ep #51

Offline Joe Shmoe

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A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2007, 01:07:10 PM »
Of course it is.  This is not a hypocritical statement.

It is entirely possible that there exists a person or persons entirely devoid of prejudice, but I would argue that person would also be entirely devoid of reasoning, logic and imagination.

Prejudice is an evolutionary tool.  We learn early on that fire is hot, so all things like fire, despite it's myriad and constantly shifting forms are also hot.  Lions like to claw and bite, so it is wise to give them a wide berth.  Some lions surely defy that norm, but it is plain silliness to assume that you're dealing one of the few that are toothless and clawless until that fact is demonstrated for you.

In order to be truly devoid of prejudice you would have be omniscient (or near enough to it such that it hardly matters) or so unutterably ignorant that you have no prior knowledge of anything including your own self identity.

Offline Kayto

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A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2007, 01:07:47 PM »
I was listening to the Infidel Guy show. A listener, that self-identified as an atheist, called in with a question. This atheist had a very thick Southern U.S. accent (just like a Southern Baptist Minister!) It was pretty funny, for me, to hear atheist statements spoken with an accent that I associate with Southern Baptist’s Ministers!

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Thanks for the recommendations of the Feynman books and lectures. I will check them out.
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Offline SkepThickHeaded

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A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2007, 03:00:18 PM »
Quote from: "Kayto"

Thanks for the recommendations of the Feynman books and lectures. I will check them out.


You might be surprised to find that one of the greatest scientific minds of modern times is also a highly skilled humorist as well.  "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" is the ONLY book I've ever read that had me spontaneously bursting into laughter.
"When push comes to shove, you've got to do what you love...even if it's not a good idea"  Hermes Conrad

Offline Dave The Drummer

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Re: A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2007, 03:04:17 PM »
Quote from: "Joe Shmoe"
Quote from: "stickman"
...I consider myself to be an unpredjudiced person...


I hate this line.  Of course you're prejudiced, we all are. Knowing that you are is key to our understanding of human nature.


http://www.newscientist.com/channel/being-human/mg19325952.000-are-we-born-prejudiced.html

I didn't want to cut an paste the entire article.
Humans are prejudcied by default. It is one of the things that gives rise to our cooperative behaviour counter intuitive that that may seem.
There is no such thing as an unprejudiced human.
I suppose one could tie one's mind into such a convoluted knot of social and political correctness that one might appear without prejudice but one would, in that state, be unable to function.
Reaching out to embrace the random, reaching out to embrace whatever may come.

Offline widdowquinn

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A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2007, 04:19:26 PM »
Quote from: "Joe Shmoe"
Of course it is.  This is not a hypocritical statement.


I had no intention of implying otherwise.  However, the immediate defensive response that seems to follow me pointing it out, both in your subsequent post and in the classroom, is interesting.  It highlights that there's a common sense that to be prejudiced is to be flawed or wrong in some way or, at the very least, that the word is used in an indiscriminately perjorative sense - ironically, just like the word 'discrimination' (even though 'indiscriminate' carries the negative overtone in this post ;) ).

However, unlike the diversity seminar, you haven't told me that your goal is to eliminate prejudice.  Indeed, I agree with your argument entirely.  I recently read this, which discusses (with variable success) the evolutionary origins of belief and, inevitably, prejudice.  If you haven't already read it, you might like it.
img]http://widdowquinn.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/sigimage/sigimage.jpg[/img]

"Uranus is out of order" - Neal Adams, ep #51

Offline Joe Shmoe

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A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2007, 04:27:48 PM »
Quote from: "widdowquinn"
Quote from: "Joe Shmoe"
Of course it is.  This is not a hypocritical statement.


I had no intention of implying otherwise.  However, the immediate defensive response that seems to follow me pointing it out, both in your subsequent post and in the classroom, is interesting.  It highlights that there's a common sense that to be prejudiced is to be flawed or wrong in some way or, at the very least, that the word is used in an indiscriminately perjorative sense - ironically, just like the word 'discrimination' (even though 'indiscriminate' carries the negative overtone in this post ;) ).

However, unlike the diversity seminar, you haven't told me that your goal is to eliminate prejudice.  Indeed, I agree with your argument entirely.  I recently read this, which discusses (with variable success) the evolutionary origins of belief and, inevitably, prejudice.  If you haven't already read it, you might like it.


I actually went back in and added that line (and only that line) in an edit.  I felt that the post was not sufficiently offensive as it was. :P  There was also the possibility that you were some kind of super-sensitive neo-hippie who actually believed that it is possible expunge all sense of identity and/or prejudice.

Offline richard blaine

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A predjudice revealed!
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2007, 12:39:03 AM »
My wife finds my Queens accent very attractive...

Actually, when I interviewed for my first teaching job (in the Midwest), the administrator hesitated to hire me because he was worried that the students would not understand me.

Nowadays, everybody understands Queens dialect from watching the Sopranos. They talk just like my family.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman

 

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