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Ideological topics: Wealth Redistribution, Equality, Universal Health Care are quite contentious. Is there common ground for common good?

How do you obtain common ground in an ideological argument? What methods have proved fruitful in the past? Is there even a solution?

I am still working through Rousseau’s Origins of Inequality but, this statement stood out.

“Thus, as the most powerful or the most miserable considered their might or misery as a kind of right to the possessions of others, equivalent, in their opinion, to that of property, the destruction of equality was attended by the most terrible disorders. Usurpations by the rich, robbery by the poor, and the unbridled passions of both, suppressed the cries of natural compassion and the still feeble voice of justice, and filled men with avarice, ambition and vice.”

What methods do you use to sway the idealist who in reality means no harm yet causes harm with each keystroke?


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    Feb 6 2014: Joe,
    I don't even try. Nadav had it right. I have only been involved with TED Conversations for a short time and at first I thought it was about conversation. But, I learned soon that it could be a platform for very committed idealists (aka fanatics).
    I saw patterns forming as when a comment was with rife absolutes and only referred to data that was generated by promoters of the subject matter concept. When a challenge was presented, it was immediately disregarded as idiocy and your sources were irrelevant. I once tried to find common ground between "scientists" and "creationists"... I got slaughtered. I was called names I had to look up. I must say though, the Christians were more charitable then the scientists.
    All in all, I back off when I run into "committed commentators". Although, I still say to all you cosmologists.... the moon is made of green cheese....
    • Feb 6 2014: Mike
      It seems that the amount of time invested in an idea correlates to self identity.

      Having to reframe their views is a direct assault on their lives. I can see how that would bring out the singled minded pursuit and hostility.

      That is a tough nut to crack. Does a break from the conversation help when you return?
      In other words did some in the conversation realize the damage done and welcome you back?
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        Feb 8 2014: As you can see below, Joe, Darrell makes my point. But, he was nicer about it then most.
    • Feb 7 2014: The source of frustration is easy to understand.

      Some people believe only that which there is data and evidence to support belief in.

      Other people believe whatever they want to be true.

      When they collide, you have the irresistible force (logic, data, cogent argument) bumping into an immovable object (faith).

      The frustration comes from both sides. If you would let go your dogma and look at the data.... If you would just stop focusing on the data and listen to your "common sense" of what everyone knows...

      I have seen this situation in a more literal sense. I have sat on a beach in Hawaii and watched the irresistible force of a volcano colliding with the immovable object in the form of the Pacific Ocean. The result, of course, is a LOT of steam and noise.
      • Feb 9 2014: This brings us full circle, with the boiling sea and fiery lava, the end is a land mass teaming with life. An agreement between nature.

        Yet as men we flounder.
      • Feb 10 2014: There is insufficient data to support belief in inferential reasoning. David Hume pointed that out centuries ago. Nevertheless, scientists (like me) use inferential reasoning.
        • Feb 10 2014: Because deductive reasoning requires perfect data, which we do not have in regards to reality. Therefore, inferential, while flawed, is the best available regarding knowledge of reality.

          This is the essence of the spit between pure philosophy and natural philosophy that occurred a couple hundred years ago.
    • Feb 7 2014: And for the record, there is no middle ground between science and creationism.

      Science teaches us to believe only that which there is sufficient data to support belief in, and then only as strongly as the evidence supports.

      Creationism is the story of one particular religious faith. It requires that you accept without data, despite data, simply because some people 5000 or so years ago made it up.

      Science starts from the foundation that there is no magic. There are natural processes that we do not yet understand, but all must fit without a few basic laws such as the conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, probability and chance.

      Creationism starts with magic, has magic running through its every fiber and is completely inseparable from magic.
      • Feb 10 2014: What fields of science are you published in? Are yo the D Shimel who published on tuberculosis? I'm asking because the extremity and severity of your statement is generally more common among science groupies than actual working scientists. Most of my work has been in neuroscience. I can tell you from direct experience working in science that what you describe as "science" is some kind of public school nonsense. Science teaches us to construct models that are temporarily useful and then discard them as they become untenable. All models are wrong. One is to "believe in" none of them--merely use them as long as they aren't too unwieldy. Science does NOT "start from foundations that there is no magic". Science doesn't even address that question. It's a non-issue.

        Thus, I must ask, what journals are your publications in? I can be looked up in Pubmed or the other life science indeces. Are you a scientist or merely a science groupie?
        • Feb 10 2014: These working models... They accommodate the possibility of magic?

          Nothing... magic... something.

          Is that a viable scientific working knowledge?

          I ask, because as a computer programmer that doesn't work in science, my public school understanding of science is that scientific models require natural processes rather than magic, to be viable.

          If magic has no place un scientific models, is that not the same as assuming it is not real?

          All that IS real does have a place in scientific models, does it not?

          If real, then accounted for in scientific models.
          Magic not accounted for in scientific models.

          I'm, no scientist, but my basic critical thinking class from public school taught me:

          If A then B.
          Not B.

          Therefore, not A.
      • Feb 10 2014: Models that neither include nor exclude something say nothing at all about it. Lack of inclusion is not necessarily explicit exclusion. A model for idiopathic neurological disorder etiology doesn't explicitly include gravity. Does that mean the model explicitly REJECTS gravity?

        Your "logic" is extremely simplistic and simple-minded.

        Again, I must ask, are you a scientist or merely a science groupie?
        • Feb 10 2014: But science is not a single model. Science is the sum of all models.

          There are scientific models that incorporate gravity, therefore, science as a whole treats gravity as real.

          Again, I will state, I only have a public school understanding of science...

          And again I must ask, is a scientific model viable if it incorporates magic?

          You seem to be attempting 2 things here:
          Appeal to unqualified authority. You are a scientist, so you have a better definition of science than a university (even public university) text book.

          Rationalizing. Your argument that some models ignore gravity therefore all science does, is so specious that it reflects greatly on you. I suspect you are suffering from cognitive dissonance.

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