Cynicism

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Lance Kennedy
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Cynicism

Postby Lance Kennedy » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:32 pm

This is the Skeptic forum. Not the cynical forum. Cynicism and skepticism are two quite different things, and we need to be well aware of it.

Yet there are a lot of people out there who firmly believe that cynicism is smart. They genuinely believe that by being cynical they are being wise. They fail fo realise that cynicism is a barrier to clear thinking. In this sense, a cynic cannot be a skeptic, since clear thinking is the mark of the capable skeptic.

The thing that stimulated me into this post is an article in the NZ Listener magazine, about today's teenagers. Turns out that the present day teenagers, as an overall average, are living up to every parents ideal. They are drinking less alconol, smoking less, engaging in less sex, less marijuana, fewer teenage pregnancies, less dangerous driving or other reckless activities. Less bullying and more attention to parents.

Of course, the media are the arch cynics, and this new trend (almost) never appears in newspapers and magazines. As Prof. Steven Pinker says, journalists are innumerate. In other words, they tell stories and never bother with the statistics, which might actually tell the truth.

I was interested to read the explanations for this social trend given by social researchers. They have assorted ideas, from the invention and widespread use of smart phones, to law changes. Nothing positive. My own view is that if you dump your cynicism and think about this from a fresh perspective, minus that cynicism, you might actually have a chance at the truth.

My own hypothesis is that this is another aspect of human learning. Our species is called sapiens, meaning wise. There is actually some truth in that description, meaning that humans can actually learn , and in learning make a better world. Our methods of raising children have not always been that great. But they are getting better. Still not perfect, but a small improvement may be the cause of emotionally healthier teenagers today.

Are you still one of those who thinks that being cynical is being smart ? Or are you able to rise above that silliness and actually demonstrate a little of that sapiens quality ?

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:29 am

cynical: Believing the worst of human nature and motives; having a sneering disbelief in e.g. selflessness of others

skeptical: Denying or questioning the tenets of especially a religion

Looks to me like a whole bunch of overlap, leading me to suspect YOUR cynicism is merely my skepticism you disagree with. and why are todays kiddies not as rebellious as previously? I say: society has taken away their motivation to make anything of themselves.....or the hope and dreams that they could. OR..........has reality stayed pretty much the same over the past 300K years and its only the environment (social and physical) or the measuring tools that have changed?
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Re: Cynicism

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:33 am

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeptic ... skepticism

Just a small correction to your definitions, Bobbo. The skeptical movement, of which this forum is part, is based on scientific skepticism, not philosophical skepticism. Check the definition and comments on scientific skepticism in the reference above.

Scientific skepticism relates to beliefs, which includes religion but is not just religion, while cynicism relates to people, as in believing the worst of people.

Cynics tend to be negative thinkers, whereas a scientific skeptic is a realist, accepting both that which is positive and that which is negative, as long as the evidence is there to show the idea to be true.

Sadly, Bobbo, your comment on today's teens is negative, and supports the idea that you are more cynical than skeptical. You say they are less rebellious, which may be true. But an equally correct statement is to say they are smarter.
Last edited by Lance Kennedy on Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:35 am

Ok. Fair point.

Is there a lot of overlap?
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Re: Cynicism

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:37 am

I would not say that the cynic and the scientific skeptic overlap. In many ways they are quite different. Just my opinion.

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:40 am

Hah, hah. You crack me up Lance. Please............never change.

Edit: thats probably too cynical for you. I'll nudge since the definitions don't make it clear.

YOU SAY: "In many ways they are quite different." This MEANS THERE IS OVERLAP. Will you now consider the two concepts are different IN EVERY WAY?

So............................................ unimaginative/inflexible/stuck on the first idea had.
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Re: Cynicism

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:40 am

A bit the same or different in every way ?
Possibly not entirely relevant. But cynical and scientifically skeptical are not the same where it counts.
I do not think that the cynical stance is very helpful, but having a good skeptical outlook is useful.

Here is a question for you.
When you think of the term Homo sapiens, what is your view of the descriptor 'sapiens ' , meaning wise ? Is it cynical ?

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:48 am

Well Lance, let's not lose track of what overlap means....or skepticism either.

Yes or No: is there overlap?
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Re: Cynicism

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:01 am

Bobbo

Cynicism is about believing the worst in people. Scientific skepticism is about applying evidence to sort out which beliefs are likely to be correct. Not really much overlap there. Cynicism is a kind of "faith " without needing evidence.

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Re: Cynicism

Postby Gord » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:44 am

I'm a skeptical cynic: I would believe the worst of people, but I doubt my beliefs too much.
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
"Nullius in verba" -- The Royal Society ["take nobody's word for it"]
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Re: Cynicism

Postby xouper » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:24 am

Here's my opinion:

Cynicism and skepticism do not overlap at all.

Perhaps the illusion of overlap is a result that sometimes both are used at the same time.

Cynicism is a distrust of motives.

Skepticism is a method for questioning assertions of fact.

There is no overlap.

Example of both used at the same time, thus causing the illusion of "overlap": Someone might be skeptical of the claims made by John Lott because they are cynical about his motives.

Skepticism says, "I don't believe you because you haven't given any evidence."

Cynicism says, "I don't believe you because you are biased."

Skepticism is about knowledge and issues, whereas cynicism is about the person.

There is no overlap.

Your Mileage May Vary TM

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:43 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Bobbo

Cynicism is about believing the worst in people. Scientific skepticism is about applying evidence to sort out which beliefs are likely to be correct. Not really much overlap there. Cynicism is a kind of "faith " without needing evidence.


Fourth Time: Well Lance, let's not lose track of what overlap means....or skepticism either.

Yes or No: is there overlap?

what is it with you Lance?????? Heh, heh: here's a clue: provide a definition and link if you think proper instead of just holding to your humble opinion. You know: objectify your knowledge base instead of proceeding on faith.
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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:45 am

X--why would you question the assertion of facts?
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Re: Cynicism

Postby xouper » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:07 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:X--why would you question the assertion of facts?


Because sometimes such an assertion is false, and I wish to evaluate if such an assertion is true or not by asking for supporting evidence.

Example: If you say you have more than 10,000 hours of flight time, that is an assertion of fact. A skeptic might legitimately ask for evidence to support that claim.

If I say that I jumped out of a perfectly good Piper Navajo at 18,000 feet MSL, that is an assertion of fact. A skeptic might legitimately ask for evidence for my claim.

Does that answer your question?

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:00 am

X: no. You perfectly demonstrate cynicism. Lots of overlap.

Ahem: EVERYTHING IS "LIKE" everything else. Just a matter of degree limited by knowledge, imagination, intelligence. No overlap at all you say?====special case.
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Re: Cynicism

Postby xouper » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:16 am

:roll:

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:56 am

Yes...........its true. Or.............. even if not true........its Pragmatic. Same as recognizing that unless two things are exactly the same thing, there will be differences between them. Lots of people fail to recognize this and commit the SIN OF CONFLATION. AKA: failing to recognize the similarity and differences of things.

You know: like a bigot.
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Re: Cynicism

Postby Phoenix76 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:28 am

Lance said:

The thing that stimulated me into this post is an article in the NZ Listener magazine, about today's teenagers. Turns out that the present day teenagers, as an overall average, are living up to every parents ideal. They are drinking less alcohol, smoking less, engaging in less sex, less marijuana, fewer teenage pregnancies, less dangerous driving or other reckless activities. Less bullying and more attention to parents.


Gee Lance, do you really believe that? If it's true, then please pass on to the rest of us what your magic formula is to get today's teenagers to abide by these norms. Don't know about America, but does not hold up here in Australia. The only thing I'll agree on is the fewer teenage pregnancies. And why not, they have better access to contraception these days than ever before. Someone's head is in the sand.

And I am not being cynical, although I can be, I am questioning the evidence for that statement. Show me some causation. Gee I love that word.

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Re: Cynicism

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:51 pm

Phoenix

I am quoting a magazine article. If you want the evidence, you would need to talk to the writers. As I understand it, the results are from surveys.

But what you need to be very, very careful of, Phoenix, is believing journalists.

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:29 pm

Phoenix---I agree with Lance. Also, what you need to be very, very careful of, Phoenix, is believing anyone who won't answer direct questions. Lots of mischief going on there.
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Re: Cynicism

Postby Phoenix76 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:19 am

Can't argue with either of you. I don't believe journalists just because they are journalists, and yes Bobbo, not answering a direct question immediately must put one on alert. And as for surveys, what the hell are those? What causation can they provide.

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Re: Cynicism

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:42 pm

Bobbo frequently repeats his complaint about me not answering questions. But in fact, I do. Just not the way he wants me to.

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:47 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Bobbo frequently repeats his complaint about me not answering questions. But in fact, I do. Just not the way he wants me to.

.........and here Lance is where you tread on being disingenuous if not dishonest. its clear for everyone to see, so the only live issue is what you think you are accomplishing by NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTION.

When the question calls for a yes or no response any answer other than yes or no is simply not answering the question. There is no "way" about it. Hence: your error. The third response you are perhaps looking for is: "I can't answer that question yes or no." That has its attendant errors as well.

Its can be, but is usually not, a trick question. It cleans away the debris of fuzzy and dishonest thinking.

Try it.
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Re: Cynicism

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:16 am

Wrong.
There are always numerous ways of answering questions. Yes and no are frequently not appropriate.

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:10 am

Thats what I already said Lance.

This is how someone holding a false notion is left to respond.

Yes or No..........or I can't answer Yes or Not. Anything else is spin.

Why the spin Lance?
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Re: Cynicism

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:14 pm

I answered your question without spin. Just not with a yes or no.

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:25 am

No.............you did not. You answered outside the parameters. Like answering True or False to a multiple choice question or vice versa.....or marking outside the boxes on a machine graded exam: you flunk.

As stated: there is something fuzzy or dishonest you want to hold on to.

................................being able to come to a yes/no position in an ambiguous scenario is a huge psychological tell and often part of certain intelligence tests.

I'll put you down as a fail.

Mind the gap.
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Re: Cynicism

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:08 am

My answer was that there was minimal overlap. How is that spin ?

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Re: Cynicism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:18 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:I would not say that the cynic and the scientific skeptic overlap. In many ways they are quite different. Just my opinion.


Like I said.
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