Debra Smith


This conversation is closed.

What is it that you guess someone is thinking when s/he holds an opposing view to yours? What's the hang up ? Choose your favourite topic.

What is it that you think someone is thinking when s/he hold an opposite opinion to yours on your most strongly held belief? If you give them credit for being intelligent and sincere what do you think the obstacle might be to seeing things the same way- on global warming, on terrorism, on plutonomy, on education?
Do they know something that you don't?
Are they just stubborn or under educated on the topic?
Are they putting too much weight on one set of facts?
Are they protecting something that they hold dear?
Are they failing to integrate an important piece of intormaiton?
Do they have an advantage for themselves in holding that opinion?
Please share any reasons or insights of your own.

Closing Statement from Debra Smith

There are 10 steps.
Most crucial is the tenth so it is where I begin:

10. That still small voice that starts to niggle and ask us if it is WE who have the rigid schemas or stereotypes of flaw in the logic. What signals us to an invalid schema? Where the conversation (and our personal growth) goes from there is determined by how we answer this- the BIG question.

1. Our understanding of misalignment usually dawns to us in stages.

2.If we are not in instant alignment we usually assume that we have not expressed ourselves clearly or that we are talking about different things. We remind ourselves that words are inaccurate things and try harder for better metaphors or better logic.

3. We assume we would agree if we were on the same page.

4. We have individual styles of communicating with some believing that you speak less when you know more and others believing that you should keep trying to change the words, the metaphors and the logical approach.

5. We may reach a stage where we remind ourselves that no one knows the definative truth. We ask if their information is accurate, is it salient to the discussion is it an important piece of the puzzle.

6.But -confirmational biases creep in and we begin to feel as " I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant" Now I can easily confront myself- language still can be a precise, perfect tool. We try some more.

7. We begin to suspect that something else is at work in this process. We may start to feel emotions like anger, frustration, or sadness. We wonder what's wrong with us or our communication abilities or what's wrong with them?

8. We start to wonder about their world view. What is there schema like? How do they construct their world view?

9. We wonder how diligently they have constructed their world view. We may wonder about their built in traits - are they an introvert or an extravert, are they by nature open to information. are they conscientious in gathering the information and is it valid, are they basically an agreeable person or a curmudgeon Or maybe they're just plain neurotic?


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    May 10 2011: Good people...................In my World, everyone is of value. I think this is a wonderful informative thread and I am sorry that I cannot discuss these scientific points of view as I do not have the training nor vocabulary to do so. I assure you that I take everything with a grain of salt. It has to resonate with me in order for me to consider it. Just as music can be dissonance so can concepts and ideas not strike a beautiful chord in my soul. There is a BIG difference in arguing and discussing. I note that some of the later posts refer to being non-judgemental. I have seen the word ...humility....used only once in this discussion. Remembe thatr when you pass judgement on another, all you are doing is displaying your own convictions. "Judge not lest ye be judged". Read the writings of the poet, Rumi. He is very insightful. I don't have any idea why, but I was just wondering about the composer Wagner.......I have read that Adolph Hitler was an ardent admirer of Wagner and his music.As an aside, it took me years to adopt the philosophy I hold to.........I have been in psychoanalysis for 17 years and I am far from where I would like to be. Peace to all
  • May 7 2011: Debra, in general terms, I have difficulty with the whole concept of trying to get someone to re-evaluate their thinking based on mine. I have mentioned before on this forum that I think we all see the world through a different straw. We see a tiny fraction of the whole, but we each think that ours is the true view. The true reality is the agglomeration of all these views plus all the ones we do not see. I prefer to accept all views, process them over time and look for patterns and groupings, threads which link them, and try to ascertain the meaning of the broad spectrum of ideas - the bigger picture

    To use an analogy, suppose you have a pet dog and I have a cat. You think that your dog is the only true animal, I think my cat is the only true animal. The reality is that someone else may have a budgie, or a fish, turtle, worm, spider, iguana, whatever. They are all valid animals and this menagerie is only a tiny fraction of all the animals, known and unknown, that make up the animal kingdom. Then we can see groupings as birds, reptiles etc or threads of similarities between dinosaurs and birds, for example.

    I suppose this also includes the many negative and destructive ideas. The outcomes of those are apparent but I don't always understand the reasons. Maybe they are part of the human reality but it would be nice if they were not.
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      May 7 2011: Julie Ann, I have always enjoyed every post that you have shared and this one is no exception. Maybe part of the reason is that they are so well thought out and reasonable. May I ask if you can always maintain this stance? Do you ever debate in fun or seriously to change someone's mind? I have to tell you that in my long 28 year marriage my husband and I sure did. Many of the issues we faced were not just' OK we'll agreee to disagree'- they needed a concrete decision.

      The point of this dialogue is to explore the reasons behind the urge to change someone else's opinion and to discover the stages we go through to make the thought processes more immediately obvious for some of us who are not so egoless. If you have a chance to read through the thoughtful voices on this thread - I think you will see some great insights and people taking responsibility for their approach.
      • May 7 2011: HI Debra, I understand and appreciate the viewpoints presented here. I certainly engage in discussions but do not do so with the objective of changing anyone's mind whether it be politics, religion, the environment, human nature or anything else. What is interesting, however, is to understand what influences their viewpoint. The influences are likely to be their environment in broad terms - upbringing, physical environment etc - and experiences. There is a feedback loop: environment/experiences to ideas and beliefs back to environment/experiences. But there is another influence and that is individuality, because people brought up in the same environment and with similar experiences can have very different ideas (siblings, for example). We do not necessarily understand that individuality.

        Also, ideas are dynamic and the fluidity arises from the constantly changing input and individual awareness. The input may include discussions which present different viewpoints and which they may need time to process, integrate with other input and adjust the viewing angle, so to speak. So, at any given moment in time, one set of ideas may prevail, and another set may prevail at another time, but that adjustment comes from within and may take time.

        So in short, the influences and the individual behind the ideas are most fascinating. I hope this is not too muddled :-) Cheers.
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          May 7 2011: No, it is not muddled at all. I hear a strong ethic of respect for everyone and their opinions.Can I propose a situation: You are tasked at work (or University) with producing a product (or project) upon which the outcome of your future will depend. You must do it with a person who has a very different world view, work ethic and set of standards than you do.Can you imagine in this scenario that some important and persuasive discussion would have to take place? If you can, how would you go about it?
      • May 8 2011: Sounds like quite a task - I hope I am up to it :-). Essentially it comes down to any situation of teamwork. Compromise, in an atmosphere of fairness and respect, and perhaps tempered egos, is essential. Cheers.
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          May 8 2011: Julie Ann, how to people get to compromise without the attempt to share views, comparet them and perhaps influence each other?
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          May 8 2011: Julie would you take a moment to consider the summary of our dialogue just below our conversation and give me some feedback when you have the chance?
      • May 8 2011: Ahh.. this is exactly what happens - with flexibility of ideas, not rigidity. A branch which flexes with the wind is stronger and will be more "successful" than the rigid one :-) Happy Mother's Day btw.
      • May 9 2011: Re: "..take a moment to consider the summary.". OK, will do when I have a lot more time. Cheers
  • May 5 2011: I found two major obstacles for people to agree if they both sincerely try to agree and don't have any hidden agendas or emotional attachments to the subject.

    One is lack of information about what is being discussed. People make assumptions or use common sense to create their beliefs. This can be relatively easily solved by looking together for more information and discussing the findings but it can be harder to do so for historic events with less evidence.

    Second problem is how people come to believe that x is the truth. Basically, people have different thresholds of how much evidence they need and what kind of evidence they require in order for their mind to start believing in something. For example, some people believe in miracles while others do not. These people differ in how much "evidence" they need to make a conclusion about whether something is a miracle or not. It is then very difficult to prove to someone that there is no miracle because of the low threshold they have in accepting miracle as a fact? For some, a picture with a fuzzy "ghost" is all they need.

    I hope that makes some sense.

    Most likely there are other things that affect this.

    Good topic =)
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      May 5 2011: Zdenek, thanks for your excellent analysis of this. So you are saying that lack of information is solvable and understanding the level of proof each person needs to be convinced helps as well.

      Genuine thanks for your insights.
      • May 6 2011: Thank you Debra.

        I mentioned how some people don't need much proof or evidence to believe in something. I also realized that sometimes it is the other way around.

        For example, a few conspiracy theorist do not believe that NASA landed on the Moon. They don't believe despite the enormous size of evidence from all fields of science, from actual samples brought back, from scientists around the globe that participated or observed that mission and from world powers like Russia who would never recognize this if it was not a fact.

        I am still trying to understand why these people believe that the Moon mission videos we have happened in Hollywood studio? Do they have a hidden agenda? Do they want to feel important that they know something we do not? What do you think? =)

        How can you make them believe?
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          May 6 2011: Hi Zdenek, Thanks so much for coming back to update your thoughts!

          Evidence is an important part of what we are considering here. What is considered evidence and what is enough evidence? It really appears to have different criteria for many people. This is in part why I am so grateful for my educaton. I do not think that you have to be educated to be wise but I think education sure helps many of us learn how to think critically. I also helped me to be OK with just not knowing the answer. I just chalk it up to not having enough data. It doesn't mean that i am stupid or unworthy- there's just not enough data. I have gotten very comfortable with saying "i don't know."

          This may be odd but I think it often has a lot to do with people's sense of authority. Some people will not trust anything from 'official sources' while others trust them implicitly. Some people blindly follow authority while others will follow anything from any other unofficial source.

          In our knowing personal experience can be over or under estimated just as it can be for everyone else.
      • May 8 2011: Hi Debra, thank you for your insights and I agree with your observations.

        I think it should be taught in schools that saying "I don't know" is acceptable or even encouraged if one does not have enough knowledge or understanding.
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    May 4 2011: I only learned about this recently. Perhaps from TED. Maybe from somewhere else. But it does explain a lot about how we reason:
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      May 4 2011: Nice addition Tim, thank you.
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        May 4 2011: Debra: Your topic I find very interesting.

        The confirmation bias aspect seems like part of a bigger picture. It seems that what we all do is construct a story in our mind that explains life to us. Each aspect of that story is a piece of a puzzle. If any piece is threatened, then we will need to reconstruct the whole puzzle. So we do what we can to sustain each element just as it is.

        What do you think?
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          May 5 2011: Yes, Tim, That is exactly what I percieve to be true. We work hard all of our lives to make sense out of our experience and what we have been taught. Sometimes we feel like we have a handle on our world view and sometimes we do not. Most of us will never feel threatened when we are faced with new information in an area that is not very informed. Its just another piece of the puzzle. For example if you were to give me a new piece of info about Chinese vases- I would be all ears and open to anything you told me. It would go into my mind and heart as new and interesting information. If however, you talk to me about things I have been studying for many years- that I was initially an open book about- but that I worked very hard to assemble, construct and test my model- the information would go through a rigorous testing process. Does it fit? Is it credible? Is it valid? Is it consistent? If I were very lucky, you would have offered me a new piece of information. That's when the anxiety might ramp up. 'What do I do with this' I would ask myself. If it passed all my tests- my anxiety might ramp up further because even if I wanted to - I could not forget it and be intellectually honest with myself. I would have to determine what to do with it. IF the piece did not fit with my 'story' of the field I am faced with two choices (and a few possible reactions). I can reject the information and have to hide it from myself or pretend it is not what it is. Or I can take the really courageous and hard road of disassembling the entire structure that I have built and rebuilding it into something new. That is called schema destruction. It often comes with pain because giving up an old world view leaves us uncertain and vulnerable to the winds of change.
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          May 5 2011: I disagree that we try to trap others in our narratives. There is nothing so sinister going on I think that there is a lot of integrity in honest disagreement. It is in having the courage to challenge different beliefs that we have the opportunity to break through to the truth.
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        May 5 2011: But can we live without a narrative? Don't we perhaps think through narratives?
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          May 5 2011: I'm not sure Tim that schemas and naratives are exactly the same. Schemas are more like individual structures or units. You used the word puzzle and I did too. Some people have a story of their life but not all find that very satisfying or consistent. We do all have ways of viewing the world though that are not always as obvious and usually fairly unique to each individual. That's what I think the subconscious is all about. As we build up ways of thinking about things, we also develop heuristics and stereotypes that are designed for efficiency so we are no longer consciously aware of them. These can be great but they are also the sticking points. This is where a previously made decision or resolved thought process glosses over or ignores new information (part of the confirmation bias). Once informaton starts falling through the cracks- that's when we are in trouble. We over identify with the stuff that we agree with and miss or dismiss the stuff we do not- and it could be crucial to discovering a fuller version of the truth.
          This is also where the anxiety and or pain can arise. It takes something that hits and breaks those filters to change our minds unless it comes from some hugely credible source which can simply be a major epiphany. It is often referred to almost spiritually as: seeing the light.
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        May 5 2011: Yeah, I can see where you might distinguish schemas and narratives. But in the end aren't they both just metaphors for what occurs in the sentient mind? If you think of it, the brain is a complex physical network functioning via electro-chemical processes to somehow store and model the outside reality. It's logical that it would do so symbolically. Pictures, words, shapes, sentences, stories, narratives, schemas are all just symbolic representations. The building blocks of thought?

        Which gets back to my point. Can we think without narratives? Or substitute symbols. Can we think without symbols?
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          May 5 2011: Tim, such a great and penetrating question again. I will try to address your central focus.I can tell that you have been reading Heidegger and some of the existentialists.If I try to integrate all I have learned in neuroscience and in psychology- my honest answer is I do not think so- but as in all fields the further you move along in your understanding the less certainly you can assert an opinon. I think we are wired to think in symbols as our brains develop. There are people who never pass a concrete stage of thinking and yet they are the most likely to be supersticious (ruled by symbols). If you look at Joseph Campbells work you can see how pervasive symbolism is to every culture.We can destroy the symbol to get at greater truth step by step but even the discoverer of DNA had the revelation come to him as an image/symbol. My guess would be that the symbols are our mind coughing up a holistic metaphor for the whole that our conscious mind cannot yet grasp. Yes, I think that symbols can be destroyed but I think that new ones take their place.Remember too that while they might prevent you from having that 'firm grasp' feeling- they make communication with others far, far easier (even if they sometimes complicate things).I so appreciate the conversation.
          Addition; Tim- I do think that some people doing science at the cutting edge of their field can experience a reversion to a sort of openness that takes them back to a way of thinking that can be very accomodating to new information. It is as though a few reach a stage of getting a more powerful microscope so that there is more room to see the spaces where new things fit. -Another metaphor- I know.
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          May 5 2011: Hey Tim, I just had another thought. Given that you are reading Wittgenstien, are you aware of synethesias? There is a theory that human thought begins with all the senses fully integrated. Sounds have colours, tastes have shapes (There is a book called The Man who Tasted Shapes). As babies grow the senses 'untangle' and become separate. This might be the origin of this symbolic way of thinking and experiencing the world.rr
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          May 6 2011: i have no idea if this is relevent to all of this but terrence mckenna had a theory that a new for of evolution in humans would happen in how we communicate, and that we would vissually see what a person is trying to say, not so much litterally to what they are seeing but something we would understand, removing language barriers.

          on another note i think we NEED some form of symbols to rationalize the world around us.
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          May 6 2011: Tim Blackburn! Thanks for joining the conversation!
          I am not familiar with Terrence McKenna. Can you tell us who he is and what filed he is in? The idea you present is interesting though.
          I invite you to tell us more about symbols and rationalizing the world.
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        May 5 2011: Debra: Makes sense to me. You mentioned filters before. My background is in electrical engineering and part of my grad studies was investigating neural networks. Now, there is debate over whether electronic neural networks are an accurate model of the brain, but it does seem like there is a lot of overlap. So if we think of the brain as a giant filter composed of neural networks which get programmed by experience, then it only makes sense that similar structures could be used to filter (partition) numbers or colors.

        But with that model we could think not so much as untangling, but simply as fine tuning of the filters.
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          May 5 2011: Yes, Tim, i think you are right. Fine tuning is better than untangling. Maybe as they are tuned (and grow) the distance between the fitlers gets wider and the signals do not jump. There are adults who continue to have synesthesias and they are often artists and creative persons

          .Addition: Tim, I have been going about my work thinking about your ideas and questions about symbols. What if at the very end of the neuronal branch dedicated to a concept or group of concepts there are the inputs that are subliminal- in precise meaning below the threshhold- are milling about- something someone said, a bit of reading you once did, a bit of stimulus your brain isn't sure how to categorize- and they coalesce in a metaphor- or a first guess at what something is or could be? Maybe it is in metaphor because it is the language of image before we learned to talk? This might be just ramblings so just flush it out of your mind if it isn't helpful.My own research in psych and neuro had to do with 'gut reaction' and what that actually was in terms of what was happening in the brain. My Honours Thesis advisor was the head of the computer science department and we did some fascinating stuff.

          A link to Ramashandran talking about synesthesia (courtesy of Krisztian - with thanks)

          second half:

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          May 5 2011: Thanks for these insights. I love them, Birdia.

          Revision: I am SLIGHTLY acquainted with Kandinsky's work through a documentary I once watched about his life. Would you happen to have access to an image or a poem that we could share here? It would be great to have that included in the discussion to see if it infomrs our ideas of the affects of synesthesias.

          Did you ever experience synesthesia? Most people still have some residual even if we never notice it. For example when asked to draw something like the sound Uluuulu- almost everyone draws a curvy shape. If asked to draw a shape for Wittgenstien it would likely be much sharper and pointier. I would love to hear any experiences you or acquaintences have had pertaining to this.
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          May 5 2011: God! I love what happens when people enjoy playing with ideas. Thanks!

          Please- anyone who is reading- jump in and help us to play with these ideas!
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          May 5 2011: Birdia, It does my heart so much good to hear you talk about your experience! I can imagine you there with the tears in your eyes recognizing something important.

          I would invite you to illustrate or add to any of the threads I start with anything- video,poetry or art that you choose to anytime because I know it would add so much to all of our experiences and broaden our knowledge and understanding.

          There is a great book that will help you understand much more about your experience if you ever wish to explore it. It is called "The man who tasted shapes"

          EDIT: The name of the author is Richard E. Cytowic, MD. It is an easy read of less than 250 pages.
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          May 6 2011: Birdia, How beautiful.
          I wish we could have the pictures open in the midst of the discussion so that our brains could have this food for thought.
          More than that, the vividness that I can see must be magnificent in real life. It must have been wonderful to stand before the canvasses.

          I wish you pale blue spots in the glare of morning lights when you wake up!
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          May 6 2011: ****Birdia****
          I hope it is alright that I cut and posted your first posting about Kandinsky to a new thread that I have started on synesthesias. I did not post your next and more personal expression but I hope that you will join there too and add those experiences if you are comfortable to do so. I think the artists among us need a place to colour our world and this thread might be a start.
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        May 5 2011: OK. Consider this for a model. The mind is a massive, generic, adaptive filter starting out as a tabula rasa. It adapts to our environment based on pleasure/pain conditioning. In general good things (those that give pleasure) are round, blue, low pitch, soft. Bad things (those which give pain) are pointy, red, high pitch, hard.

        The brain adapts to some foundational principles such as these to build up higher level constructs. Perhaps the same filter structures are used for stimuli of different types (color, shape, sound, etc). Thus the phenomena of synesthesia. Metaphors upon metaphors leading to complex thought.
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          May 5 2011: side note: about that tabula rasa thing, watch this talk:

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          May 5 2011: OK, this is wonderful (almost said awesome). I really like what you are suggesting.

          I have to cogitate on it for awhile but let's add the idea that the mind is never tabula rasa. It comes with a temperment at least. There is a lot of credible evidence that the brain is prewired for tendencies toward (OCEAN) openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion/intraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
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          May 5 2011: Kristian! Please jump in any time. I love this addition because it brings so much that is immediately available!

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        May 5 2011: Agreed. Tabula media rasa.
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        May 6 2011: Debra: I really appreciate having someone who has studied neuroscience to bounce these ideas off of. I've been thinking about this topic for a long time.

        Let's continue the line of reasoning and see if we can work our way back to your original question.

        So, again, our brain is a complex adaptive filter which is programmed by experience to recognize basic elements - shapes, colors, smells, sounds. And further programmed to create more complex filters which use these elements as building blocks to recognize more complex things - trees, horses, houses, etc. In software there's a concept called object-oriented programming which does a similar thing. Simple objects are combined in a hierarchical fashion to construct more complex objects.

        Does this make sense so far?
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          May 6 2011: Yes, perfectly, I am in hopeful anticipation of your next post!

          PS I loved the Tabula Media Rasa - it really made me think back to my latin classes 9 million years ago.
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        May 6 2011: OK. Let's move on to a higher order example. Suppose we get a new job in a new place and need to learn the route home (assume pre-GPS). At first it is all new. We drive carefully, approaching unfamiliar intersections cautiously and check the map often. After a few days the route becomes familiar. And after a year we drive unconsciously. Sometimes even forgetting that we passed certain sections. This brings up the idea of conscious and unconscious thinking (what Heidegger refers to as Present-at-Hand vs Ready-to-Hand). If the mind is a complex, space-time, multisensory adaptive filter then it's principle output (other outputs are unconscious reactions) is conscious thought.

        Think about the ride home. Normally we cruise along in autopilot. The outputs to the conscious mind are only the exceptions to the typical trip. A bird flying across our view. A car stopping suddenly in front of us. But our adaptive filter has internalized the standard route and only deviations from the norm are addressed. And the filter has absorbed every sensory pattern. The images. The feel of each curve. The smells at each stage.

        Hopefully that makes sense.

        Now take it to a higher level. Apply the filter to our world-view. Our internalized map of life.
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          May 6 2011: Exactly. In psych the phenomenon is called autonomic learning. Driving a car is a perfect example. It is as though a rut develops in the brain and instead of having to exert any thinking power on the set of behavioiurs they go onto automatic pilot.

          This is a great boon to allowing the brain to grow and to use energy wisely. It also represents an interesting development in our thought process.Initially stimuli from the environment can be - sub limen- below threshold. When they demand enough attention of us they reach threshold or limen.

          Then we divert attention to the issue at hand- you didn't ay much attention to routes when your Mom was driving. Then it is our turn and suddenly we wondered HOW THE HECK DO WE DRIVE? Do you remember first getting behind the wheel? I initially wonderd how I could steer AND put on the directional signal!

          Once we get to mastery (mastery is that rut I was referring to or a pathway so worn in the brain that all the neurons just fire in sequence) it appears that we begin to allow those stimuli to go back below the limen of attention. Just as you said, only the exceptional things then drag attention to the activity.

          OK - Your turn!
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          May 6 2011: Birdia! Another great contribution because of a different perspective!

          You bring up a very important observation. Did you know that many Native Americans are phenomenal at working at great heights? That is believed to be because the were raised in the woods (I am not sure it remains true in this generation- I learned this 25 years ago). Stucies indicated that their brains were formed by the environment in which they grew up and it allowed them to have no fear of heights and to be able to be stable and confident on the small beams.

          This speaks, I think to your point about grids within grids. Those grids shape us just as we shape them. Maybe it is a self verifying and closing processes.

          Great stuff- keep your insights coming!
        • May 6 2011: Hi Birdia, it is interesting that your observations are very different from mine. =)

          My understanding is that the further we go back in time, the more rigid kind of thinking we will encounter (with some differences between cultures and places).

          For example, early people had many rules and traditions to protect a way of life because certain rituals and rules worked for them for centuries and allowed them to survive. For example, cattle was part of family's wealth so a great deal of effort went to pass all information about what exactly to do with cattle, how to trade it, what to expect when a women was to be married (how many cows were traded) and so on. National Geographic has some great stories about tribes in Africa that do so even today.

          Also, people were afraid of many natural phenomenas like illnesses and disasters so they had strict rituals and rules to follow in order to please gods or minimize the risks.

          In this century people have access to array of information and they learn so much more about the world (Wikipedia, TED, blogs, Twitter and so on are a few examples) which allows them to change their beliefs (not everyone does). Workplace is also changing at ever greater speed. Unlike in the past where most people had one or two jobs their whole life (or attended their little farm/field) nowadays people change job even every year. In personal life the impact of smart phones, the way we communicate with each other and government forces people to constantly adapt. That change seem to be increasing over time.

          Of course, there are exceptions in both the past and in the present. Today, some people try to resist change by not using the Internet much, moving out of larger cities and going back to nature. However I see most people are making more connections, engaging in changing the world through science or social media?

          Perhaps you are more referring to freedom people in the past theoretically had to discover unknown paths or places that no one ever went? =)
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        May 6 2011: Now, let's consider reality vs. our internalized model of reality.

        Assuming there is an external reality, do we really internalize reality or merely build an internal model of it? And what is our model built of? Isn't it merely an heirarchical, or perhaps a mesh of simpler elements (shapes, words, stories, etc...)? And can we say that our model is true? What does it mean to be a true model?

        In science a true model is one which can predict an outcome. Couldn't a true model of reality be defined as one which yields desired results? In science every model has it's limitations. Newtonian physics yields to quantum physics yields to ___? In life every model has it's limitations. Myth yields to religion yields to enlightened self interest yields to ___?

        And the thing is that even today Newtonian physics is useful much more often than quantum physics.

        In the end, I don't think there is any universal, true model of reality. But I like mine. And I'll defend it against anyone who can take me on.
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          May 6 2011: Well you won't need to defend anything today because i just love what is happening here!

          I agree that we can only model the external reality- after all we only have one tiny peephole view into the universe from one lonely place in geography. How could we have more than a model?

          Everything we do not experience first hand is even more removed from 'felt knowledge' (have you come across that phrase in your reading?)I think our model is a matrix built within the physical limitations of our endowments. If our Mom's ate well and were not poluted with toxins we have a pretty good shot of getting a good set of organs including a healthy brain. Some of us will inherit a brain that is bigger in some areas, more well developed in others and less fertile in some areas. Within those endowments we begin to layer the heirarchy you refer to. Guesses and metaphors are layered on the structure that we have. Metaphor and words interact and reinforce each other.

          As to your quesiton about a true model- I guess I think its a lot moe like art. It is a representation of the universe. It is an impresionist or a Picaso or a Coubert but it is not a photograph and it is not a 3d hollogram.
          Edit: Well maybe it is a hollogram!!!

          Your serve!
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        May 6 2011: Birdia: That's a really interesting observation on modern thought.

        I think our rigidness evolved out of necessity. Yet a life of spontaneity is such an appealing thought. And there is definitely much need to think outside the box to solve the world's problems.

        How do you think we can achieve balance?
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        May 6 2011: Debra:

        That's about all I had to say on this topic...

        ... but there is one thing I might add.

        Perhaps Revett's model is newtonian and your's is quantum. But it seems like he's had a lot of success at achieving his goals with his model. And you've had a lot of success at achieving your goals with your model.
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          May 6 2011: Never truer words spoken. Don't think that I wasn't aware of that. He was very successful in many ways and thus he had some real knowledge that I was hoping to gain. I still feel rotten for having challenged him to that point. I consider it a personal failure in my communication style. He was a decent person and I was not able to bridge the gap. That really bothers me. My goal was to explore where his model and mine intersected and I caused him too much dissonance. In your terms: I shorted out his wiring!
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        May 6 2011: I guess I misunderstood your original question. You wanted to know if you were to blame? Naw. He's just a wuss is all.
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          May 10 2011: Tim.................why do you call him a wuss.?
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      May 5 2011: Indeed, I think confirmation bias together with cognitive dissonance[1] sheds very much light on how our views are shaped. Social psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with many interesting concepts that has to do with our person-person, person-group interactions. For example is the fundamental attribution error[2] an interesting concept that deals with how we to a larger extent attributes others flaws to their personality, at the same time as we attribute or own flaws to the external environment.

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        May 5 2011: Kristofer! Welcome!Thanks for the links. It is so helpful for people to be able to access a refresher definition.
        Can you share any insights into your experiences with cogntive dissonance or with attribution error either personally or by experience with others? I would be fascinated to know what you think the blockage or the gap is between your point of view on the most important opinions you have and someone who holds an utterly contrary view?

        PS My MA is in Social Personality Psych and I completed the requirements for Neuroscience as well.
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          May 6 2011: As a child I was quite shy and spent most my time listening to others without expressing my own thoughts, and especially so when there was new people around. I never dared to express myself before I felt comfortable around the people that was listening and before I had thought through everything. Which means that I spent most my time gathering rather than comunicating information.

          In addition I have allways loved to read books, searching for information on the internet, following (but not so much contributing to) discussions on forum boards, etc. And all this information gathering together with the accomanying change of views have not so much felt very unconfortable. Except that maybe some questions I have thought about during for example my education in physics sometimes shaked my intuition about the world to the point of nausea.

          But apart from the completely world view changing exeptions I don't think it has been very uncomfortable to change my view on things as long as I havn't taken an explicit stance on the subject. However, I think that the more uncomfortable situations are those times I find myself wrong on something I explicitly have stated to believe to be true. An obvious explanation for why that might be is that I have to admit to someone else that I were wrong, but I think there is something more to it. Because I have a feeling that having explicitly stated it, also makes it harder for me to change my opinion even without expressing that I have changed my opinion. Moreover, even if I have explicitly stated something to someone I maybe even won't meet again I have a feeling that it would be harder for me to change my opinion. I can´t think of any examples from my life that confirms this at the moment, but I think it has some relevance as to when it would be difficult for me to change my opinion.

          These thoughts are all a bit vauge and just an atempt to reflect upon myself. Maybe you have some intersting insight here?
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        May 6 2011: Your posting is a great contribution to our discussion.

        You have shared that you were a child who really gathered a lot of information to make any decision about how you felt or what you believed. This is consistent with being an introvert which is one of the traits that scientist believe is born with a child. An introvert is usually more quiet and tends to really think through what they believe and holds his own counsel.

        When you are sufficiently certain of your thoughts and decisions you are ready to share it with the world. If the ideas are not really central to your life they are easily added to subtracted from or changed.
        You have noticed that the harder part is when you have put your weight of belief on something and new information threatens that interpretation. THIS is exactly what we were talking about in terms of schema destruction and a great illustration of it. You are also bringing in fresh point that there is something to do with the fact that you stated it publically. -This is also an additional piece of the puzzle!
        Do you believe that as a child you were trying to take your first verbal steps with certainty and now to appear uncertain or wrong has a big impact on how you percieve yourself?

        Sincere thanks for the strength you demonstrate with your openess and transparency with us. Your insights are moving this discussion forward
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          May 6 2011: I don't think I ever (to any large extent) have pretended for to be certain, but rather been comfortable with my uncertainty. But I think I earlier thought that there was a single simple certainty which I searched for, and I didn't feel secure to express myself before I had found that certainty. But that have more and more changed toward accepting that the "truth" rather lies somewhere in the intersection of all view points. And this realisation have made me much more extrovert where I think I have turned from being the one that never expressed myself, to the one that realy enjoy to engage others in discussions just because I love to hear their point of view.

          My style of communication have therefore much changed from not saying anything, into saying "what do you think", "what if it is like this", "I have had this experience, have you had the same", "I think this is an interesting view point", and so forth.

          I don't know. Maybe this is nothing other than a precautious strategy for avoiding cognitive dissonance because I often avoid to state any opinion in this sense.

          This doesn't mean that I never state any opinions, but just that I tend not to as long as it seems more productive to discuss things more generally.
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        May 6 2011: Doesn't growth feel great Kristofer?I am so happy that we can move from one state to another and surmount past convictions.In an earlier posting on this thread (heaven knows where) I said that I think people trade in their old way of seeing things for bigger and bigger telescopes (or microscopes) as one set of schemas are destroyed and others take their place. When we get a new telescope (way of seeing the world) there is more room between every star of information for more to fit and belong. It is also true that we can get a good new telescope for seeing say physics and be stuck with an old and painful one if relation to another science or endevour. I understand what you say about having a sense that there was one right answer. When I was first a mother my first son was such an amazing astounding and precious gift to me that I was an utter bear about doing everything 'right'.I felt that everything I did was so crucial and so meaningful that I wanted the right way to do everything (and was quite annoyed at anything less than scientific certainly. I laugh now at the young woman I was and at the anxiety levels she felt.! After five kids I have learned not much has a definative answer and to let myself (and others off the hook). I site that example because it sort of brings together many of the influences that affect how strongly held our schemas can be:
        previous experience
        imporance of the perceived outcome
        information available
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    Jun 3 2011: I have been working with a logical approach to answering that question. It goes like this. What are the pot(s) of gold for the person who accepts your position or request for action? What crutch do they fear they may soon need because of a problem or damage caused by accepting you proposition? Then, from their point of view, what mermaid (attractive thing) would they have to leave behind, if they accept your proposition? And the last one is, what Alligator(s) will still menace them if they don't accept? After you do that, do the same excercise from your own point of view: Pot of Gold, Crutch, Mermaid, Alligator. Make sure you share with them what you get from them accepting. Otherwise they may ascribe motives to you that you don't care for.
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      Jun 3 2011: HI Henry, That is a simple and i think workable model. I am going to try it out for a couple of days and report back to you on how it has worked to illuminate my suppositions. Thanks for sharing that!

      One request for clarification:Make sure you share with them what you get from them accepting (?)
      I don't understand that part.
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    May 31 2011: We all, regardless of education or spiritual practice make unstated and often unconscious assumptions about the other person's postion. For example:

    In a recent conversation about Palestine on this site, I thought a debater was arguing in a very narrow way for one party and against another. Astime went on he slowly revealed that he had deeply studied the tactics and the beliefs of one side. He demonstrated to me that he was deeply concerned that many people had a misconception about how benign a force that the world was dealing with.

    While I have not been entirely won over to his perspective- this situation made me realize that I needed to give him time to focus and sharpen his argument for it to be fully expressed.

    I think he made assumptions that those who were arguing with him were focused on the same vision he was and that we were naive and reckless in our approach to the situation.

    This leads me to reask my questions:

    What is it that you guess someone is thinking when s/he holds an opposing view to yours? What's the hang up ? Choose your favourite topic.What is it that you think someone is thinking when s/he hold an opposite opinion to yours on your most strongly held belief? If you give them credit for being intelligent and sincere what do you think the obstacle might be to seeing things the same way- on global warming, on terrorism, on plutonomy, on education?
    Do they know something that you don't?
    Are they just stubborn or under educated on the topic?
    Are they putting too much weight on one set of facts?
    Are they protecting something that they hold dear?
    Are they failing to integrate an important piece of intormaiton?
    Do they have an advantage for themselves in holding that opinion?
    Please share any reasons or insights of your own.
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      Jun 1 2011: not quite following..

      I am also paritiviptaing in that conversation and like the way differences have been gandled..even very controversial statements have been responded to with euqanimity and tajken heda on insteda of being ignored

      It's beeen edifying..time consuming..but edifying ..

      I think that conversation has beena model of how civility can work to surface truth and bring clarity.

      I joined that conversation to learn..I often do that and I did learn agreat deal through the many links provided and as you note the edepth of expertise of many participants. t allowed me to do some serious thinking and to a rrive at aperspective that is informed .

      I thin kit worked because it has been a ongoing inuriy and exchnage rather than effort to reach a consensus. I certainly feel that my investment there was worthwile and that I learned a lot not just about the palestine-israeli conflict but about ways of navigating strong differences of opinion civily.
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        Jun 3 2011: Lindsay whenever I am being genuinely self examining on this site you always pop up to tell me that my self examinations do not apply to you. That is wonderful! I am happy you are so perfectly open in your own mind.
        I agree that it is a wonderful , civil and enlightening conversation but you have forgotten the parts that were deleted it seems.
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    May 8 2011: This is the very best example of a strong or rigid schema that I have ever seen (it is a cover of a Tom Petty song). I deliberately chose a woman to keep me humble and I am wondering whether you think this stance is admirable or just plain stubborn or something in between??

    Or if you prefer the original anthem here is Tom Petty's version:
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    May 8 2011: The summary of steps one to nine - which is now far below lacks the vitality and exciting personal writing styles of the different contributors so I really recommend that you read through the body of the comments if you have time but now its your turn to contribute!

    Now you are invited to look at all the logic and the steps ( which may not be in lock step for everyone or anyone) so far to see where you agree andwhere you disagree.

    We have come up with a tenth step though and that is:

    10. That still small voice that starts to niggle and ask us if it is WE who have the rigid schemas or stereotypes of flaw in the logic.We ask ourselves what would signal us to such an invalid schema?Where the conversation (and our personal growth) goes from there is determined by how we answer this- the BIG question.
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    May 7 2011: In a recent discussion, I challenged the thinking of the "other". We were discussing self-interest and I used logic and proofs that demonstrated that the author he was citing as his heroine (his word) did not have the philosophy that he claimed she did. Rather I demonstrated that she argued for selfishness while Nash argued for Enlightened self interest. I felt I was on the side of the angels in arguing against capitalistic excesses.

    My point in relating this story is that I think I pushed his schemas too hard- so hard in fact- rather than let them break- he "took his ball and went home' - that is how I rebuffed him at the time. He was upset, angry, defensive-- and I should have seen the signs-- but I rebuffed him and now he is no longer here. I was enjoying the exchange and the battle of wits and I was not sensitive to his experience.

    My additional quetion to keep this discussion vital is: to all of you in the context of this discussion :If you are arguing GLOBAL WARMING (insert favourite topic here)- what do you think the other person's conviction is that stops them from seeing your 'reason". Please try to do the same for your favourite topic- What is it that you assume the other person is defending- is denying or is convinced of that you keep pushing against???
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    May 6 2011: To anyone who is new or just wishes a recap of the conversation so far - I offer a rough sketch (with gratitude to each contributor).

    1. Our understanding of this phenomenon usually dawns to us in stages

    2.If we are not in instant alignment we ususally assume that we have not expressed ourselves clearly or that we are talking about different things. We remind ourselves that words are weak and inaccurate things and try harder for better metaphors or better logic.

    3. We assume we would agree if we were on the same page.4. We have individual styles of communicating with some believing that you speak less when you know more and others believing that you should keep trying to change the words, the metaphors and the logical approach.

    5. We may reach a stage where we remind ourselves that no one knows the definative truth. We ask if their information is accurate, is it salient to the discussion is it an important piece of the puzzle.

    6.But confirmational biases creep in and we begin to feel as Alan Greenspan put it " I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant"Now I can easily confront myself- language still can be a precise, perfect tool, Greenspan's words convey the idea perfectly! We try some more.

    7. We begin to suspect that something else is at work in this process. We may start to feel emotions like anger, frustration, or sadness. We wonder what's wrong with us or our communication abilities or what's wrong with them?

    8. We start to wonder about their world view. What is there schema like? How do they construct their world view?

    9. We wonder how diligently they have constructed their world view. We may wonder about their built in traits - are they an introvert or an extravert, are they by nature open to information. are they conscientious in gathering the information and is it valid, are they basically an agreeable person or a curmudgeon Or maybe they're just plain neurotic?

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    May 6 2011: This is really kind of a tangent. But it does have a lot of relevance to our topic.

    I'm watching a course on the American Civil War. Although I always had an interest in history, wars always seemed like the wrong thing to study. But this course is informative in surprising ways.

    Here's one class (under an hour) that is particularly interesting:

    A Southern World View: The Old South and Proslavery Ideology

    If anyone is interested in watching and discussing it please do.

    What makes it particularly interesting are the descriptions of how people built up rationalizations for slavery.

    Hope to hear from you
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      May 6 2011: Tim this is a great idea too. I will watch it sometime today.I am worried though that it will be buried here an unseen.
      So that we can get maximum input and bring the insights all together would it bother you if I start a new post with it? I think the fthread ormat is too poor and complicated for people to find this.

      Please do not think for one minute that I am saying it doesn't belong on the thread here- it absolutely does but it has so much to offer I want to exploit its whole potential.
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        May 6 2011: Debra: I've already got three conversations going and can't deal with another one now. Can't we just start it out here and see how it goes?
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          May 6 2011: Sure Tim, of course we can!
          If you change your mind- i'd be willing to post it.
  • May 6 2011: Thank you,Debra, very interesting topic!
    When i am facing an opposing view,my first guess- we don't understand each other, we are talking about different things,if I managed to convey my idea, s/he would probably agree. And also, I try to keep in mind famous Lao Tzu's words:
    " He who knows does not speak; who speaks does not know."
    It helps you to understand that, actually non of us is a proud possessor of truth, and speach is a clumsy thing, a badly made tool, but it's what we have, so ''be humble though" .
    I remember words from Rebecca Saxe Talk, which pleased my "confirmation bias"
    as Alan Greenspan put it " I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant"
    Now I can easily confront myself- language still can be a precise, perfect tool, Greenspan's words convey the idea perfectly! : )
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      May 6 2011: Natasha, What a wonderful contribution!

      Am I right in apprehending that you find the process to be in stages? Excellent addition to the conversation!
      Most of us seem to feel that it is initially just a matter of the right words. When my kids were tiny and they were trying to tell me something and I did not understand what they were saying i would tell them that my brain did not yet understand the picture in their brain and then I would ask them to try to use different words so that I could see the picture too.

      Most of us agree in theory that 'none of us is the proud possessor of truth' and yet in practice most of us can bruise 'the other' with the appearance that we are pretendng we do. In reality- I think this part goes back to words. Many who appear dogmatic are simply trying to lay out what they know so that it can be compared in the light of day to what 'the other' knows. That is -if they are still open at all.

      I loved the insight that you share about basic philosophy, Natasha! So often literature affects us profoundly- especially if we read it when we were young. Other experiences affect us too. For example when I was young I couldn't comprehend why intelligent women loved soap operas. In my judgmentalness of youth- I decided that every 'soap opera' problem of life could simply be solved by expressing your feelings and speaking clearly.- YIKES- not quite the solution after all!
      You, however, absorbed the message that the wiser person was the one who did not speak. Fascinating isn't it that we can be so impacted to behave in opposite ways by something that impacts our hearts and minds at just the right time?
      My only problem with the Greenspan quote is that in my observation many people do clearly understand what was said- the owner just doesn't open up sufficiently to understand that their words did not have the impact that they hoped they would. 'You don't understand me" is the cry of every adolescent and perhaps that can be applied to human development.
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    May 6 2011: How's about an attitude........I have nothing to prove and nothing to defend ?Pretty good stance to let others into your life ? Yes ?
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      May 6 2011: Hello Helen! I almost missed your little voice down here!

      That is a great stance. Are you always able to maintain it? Many of us have things we are hugely interested in and have spent many years studying so that we are working hard to find valid new pieces to the puzzles we love. We end up having a lot of ideas and love to discuss them with others who have different views.
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        May 10 2011: Thanks Debra......I have expanded my position to include letting other people be wrong and my truth is My Truth not anybody else's truth. We each define that for ourselves. But I have learned not to engage in sarcasm because I don't need to force anyone to believe what I believe in order to bolster my ego. And no, I cannot always maintain that stance. There is always a dichotomy. How else could I be tempted ?
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          May 12 2011: I am in absolute agreement with you on the topic of sarcasm. I do not find it helpful at all. In fact, psychologist see it for what it is - thinly vieled hostility.

          Thanks for joining us, Helen and for your insights.
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    May 4 2011: all of these? people have very different reasons. we are 7 billion, we are all kinds. i wish i could sense or know every time what kind of thinking i'm up against. alas, i'm not such a wise or empathic person.
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      May 4 2011: Do you ever speculate Krisztian? If you have gone back and forth with someone intensively do you ever guess at what you think might be the obstacle between you or the key piece of information for one side or the other?
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        May 5 2011: sure i guess, but often, no explanation fits to what i see.
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          May 5 2011: Can I ask you to think about what you speculate? When you have used your very best explanation and people will not address your points but revert to theirs (I have seen you ask people to address your points) -why do you think that they are doing that?
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        May 5 2011: well, since you asked me, i'm going to drop in a strictly hypothetical possibility. any similarity to actual persons are coincidental.

        what if the other person denies a certain viewpoint not based on its correctness or incorrectness, but because it is inconvenient. if it was true, it would hurt his/her self image, feeling of safety, calmness of the soul or be disruptive to their life in some other way.

        in this case, convincing that person is next to impossible, the arguments will be dishonest, evasive, aggressive, personal, dismissive, and so on.
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          May 5 2011: Thank YOU! You have provided some interesting evidence of a couple of things. First- you intuited that the other person might have a really strong schema. You also intuited that they would feel some measure of discomfort or disruption. You took note that they refuse to answer your questions because that would increase a concept that Kristofer below brought in the link to define- dissonance.

          When these are my guesses it always make me wonder at some distant corner of my mind if I could be doing the same thing. When the conversations devolve in the way you describe do you end up feeling as rotten as I do?
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        May 5 2011: certainly yes. i don't know how to handle such situations, and i feel sad and mad at the same time, and i quickly lose temper.

        however. interesting question that what if we do the same. how to detect that? how can one detect such denial in oneself? it is even possible, or we deny the fact that we might deny something? if you understand what i mean. is there any training for that? a little ring in the head?
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          May 6 2011: Krisztian, I spent some time thinking about this very valuable set of questions in your response. I think we feel so bad when things go awry because it damages an entirely different schema that we hold. Whenever we feel those feelings of temper, sadness, anger they might be flags of schema destruction.
          The tricky thing is that schemas can sit side by side in our brain and an experience in one domain- the issues of free market for example can inflence the schemas about how we fit in the world, or how communication should work. Whenever we internally use the word "should' we are probably dealing with a pretty rigid schema. Please take a look at what I have shared here to see if it makes sense and give me your feedback!
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    May 4 2011: I like to hear from people whose opinions differ from mine. And I weigh many of the points you suggest. How intelligent is the person, and how well-informed? What affects his or her objectivity? Can the person offer a logical argument, with rational analysis based on facts? The net effect is that I'm actually looking for a reason to discount that person's opinion.

    When someone appears credible and rational, then I want to hear his or her rebuttal of my opinion. Only then am I challenged to learn more, analyze more, and possibly change my opinion. I really value those interactions.
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      May 4 2011: Thanks Tom, that is great feedback to the question. I think we all try to get a sense of how credible the person's information is to reduce cognitive load. If we attended to every bit of information with equal focus we would be overwhelmed so we devise strategies to 'get to the good stuff.
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        May 4 2011: I thought it was because he just didn't like being psychoanalyzed. Some people are like that you know.
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          May 4 2011: You saw it before I deleted it too! Rats! I have to be more sensible!
          Yikes- do I do that? I guess 7 years of training gets into your pores.
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        May 4 2011: Actually, I think it was the two shrinks ganging up on him that pushed him over the edge.
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          May 4 2011: I never noticed the other one. We should have to declare ourselves.I take it you do not mean that he had a 'break through' or an ephiphany other than ' let's get the heck outa here'?
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          May 5 2011: Reminds me of an old set-up line:

          "Have you seen a psychiatrist?"
          "It's hard to know -- it's not like they walk around with signs."
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          May 5 2011: Pah Dump a!
          If I were a cow I could wear a bell around my neck but what do you do in cyberspace to declare yourself: Debra Smith- curious question asker?
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        May 4 2011: Exactly -- but I want to know that it's a worthy challenge.
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      May 4 2011: That is an interesting perspective. Is it always productive to stay with only your own head? How does fresh insight come? How do we then prevent ourselves from becoming self absorbed or insulated with our own ideas or our own group's ideas?
      Edit: It just occurred to me that your answer was a great example of utterly rejecting the premise of the debate- which may be quite a valid stance. So here I surmise that you must have information that I do not have or recognize that leads you to conclude that my premise for asking my question is invalid.
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          May 4 2011: Can it not be a simultaneous process to 'get into your own head' which I call introspection and to try to assess the reasoning process of another? I have spent many years in the study of psychology and I am aware that we are all guessing at the information that we absorb all the time. We make attributions, we employ stereotypes to gain time or efficiency, we reach out to others to try to understand them better. Do you think that knowing things about another person or their experience shapes your way of interacting with them? You seem to have a really strong reaction to the approach that I have proposed. Any ideas from introspeciton why you feel that way?How about empathy? Do you live only in your own head to produce that cognitive or emotional ability or does it require living in someone else's shoes?
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          May 4 2011: That is a very valuable life. So, in your perpective of the world, is there a place for psychology, neuroscience and counselling sciences?
          Edit: 'What is it that you think I am thinking' is the question I am asking reformated. It seems to me that the above information indicates that you are suggesting that your approach is more ideal than the one I take is. I take no offense whatsoever and I ask in curiousity. Do you assume that I simply need enlightenment in the ways you have studied and in the admirable commitments that you have made?Would you say that you are wedded to your current practice as being the ultimate approach?
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          May 5 2011: I am negating nothing of what you choose to do or practice. I do admire the life you have chosen. Yes, I have been trained to ask penetrating questions to gain insight.
          But your response is so perfect for illustrating my point. You do not even allow me to have my own approach. Strong opinions are what you express in some areas like plutonomy and I listen to your greater knowledge and your corrections but must I yield entirely to your way of doing things?. The approach you present is far from nonjudgemental as you claim. You communicate frustration, desire for control and dominance over me and the way I conduct my experience of the world. You seem to be guarding people from me.Would it not be true to assert that you think TED conversations would be better off without someone with an approach like mine? You do not even answer my questions -ever. Why would you choose to engage me over and over again if you did not feel some compulsion to stop or to steer my opinons?
          That's OK if that's what you feel because I am entirely OK with both of us having fun and I am not going anywhere and asking questions to understand is my approach.
          Isn't it possible that you and I have different purposes under the sun? Couldn't you be looking at that Atlantic and I a wheat field? Couldn't I be the blind man with the elephant's tail and you equally blind and having a leg?
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        May 5 2011: Well, it looks like another one bites the dust. I hate it when that happens. You would think that people would stand by their words. I really view these conversations as records of human thought. It really screws things up when people just pull out their comments. Or as you said "take their ball and go home". A better conversation site wouldn't allow deletions.
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          • +2
          May 6 2011: We have removed some off-topic comments regarding the previously deleted comments in this conversation. I'd like to clear out some concerns about moderation: If you see a removed post, please do not make a rush decision that it's been removed by our admin team. In this very conversation, all the deleted comments up until now has been removed by the authors themselves upon their own wishes.
          If you have any questions or concerns please email us directly at and we'll be happy to respond to you.
          Thank You,
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          May 5 2011: I am so truly sorry that you are upset. I remind you that you contributed to the thread I started of your own volitian and you gave the perspective that my question was not valid. I engaged you on that basis with openness and curiousity following you into the territory you chose.

          What next? Will you eventually claim the right to censure and edit all TED talks? Please do make your complaint sooner rather than later because it would be good to have a ruling on whether or not your school of thought is the only one that will be permitted here on TED. It is assuming the proportions of the thought police.

          Andrea did not counsel me, respectfully she does not claim the credentials, Lindsay you have taken her words out of context. That thread failed due to lack of leadership and it ended up with 'CENSURE' for no less than 5 people over all.

          I have allowed you to dictate to me and to others which threads of honest dialogue should be removed thus editing or altering the records. You are free to remove any threads of which you are author- it is not my choice however, because I think people should stand by their thoughts, revise them or apologize- but I cannot imagine how you think that you should control others in that way. I will however- in fairness- remove all references to your name. I hope that is acceptable- It is a courtesy that was not extended to me.