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I'm not judgmental when it comes to other people's lifestyle choices and I've always wondered if that is learned or natural behavior.

I saw a segment on 60 Minutes recently in which researchers purported to discover some sort of gene-based morality in babies, as well as a preference for people like themselves. That makes sense from a survival standpoint. I assume I have as much gene-based bias as any other human. But for some reason it doesn't translate into being judgmental about people in my everyday life. I'm hoping this is an example of mind over genes, but I have no way of knowing for sure.

What I do know is that over the years I have developed a worldview that makes the idea of being judgmental feel nonsensical. Here are the pillars of my worldview, some of which you already know from earlier posts.

1.     Willpower isn't a real thing. Some people just have greater urges than others. If I resist a cookie and you don't, it doesn't say anything about your willpower, but it might say you are hungrier than I am, or you simply like cookies more than I do.

2.     I don't believe in a creator. I see humans as a collection of particles bumping into each other. Or maybe we're a computer simulation created by some earlier civilization. In either case, no group of particles, or arrangement of ones and zeroes, is superior to another.

3.     I have no individual skill that is not topped by at least one person in every demographic group. Every group has people who are smarter than me, stronger than me, kinder than me, more generous than me, more talented, and so on.

4.     There is no logical way to rank talents or virtues. Is one person's excellent musical skill somehow better than another's good parenting skills? Is your kindness better than your friend's work ethic? None of these things can be compared objectively.

5.     Genes are often destiny. You were probably born with your personality and your preferences, in which case you are not to blame. Or you might have been the victim of some sort of nastiness in your past that changed you permanently, and that probably wasn't your "fault" in any objective way either. Your particles bumped around until something bad happened, nothing more.

6.     For purely practical reasons, the legal system assigns "fault" to some actions and excuses others. We don't have a good alternative to that system. But since we are all a bunch of particles bumping around according to the laws of physics (or perhaps the laws of our programmers) there is no sense of "fault" that is natural to the universe.

I'm avoiding the term "free will" here because experience shows that using that term turns into a debate about the definition. I prefer to say we're all just particles bumping around. Personally, I don't see how any of those particles, no matter how they are arranged, can sometimes choose to ignore the laws of physics and go their own way.

I'm curious about the rest of you. Are you judgy? And if so, do you think it is learned or genetic?

 
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Sep 5, 2013
In answer to the question whether it's genetic or learned to be "judgy", I'll use one of Scott's arguments and just say it's irrelevant since it's a no-fault universe. One can use the "genetics" argument to excuse any kind of behavior, and it would be difficult to prove or disprove (although the day may come where this can more easily be done). One might be blessed with a genetically perfect body, but "genetics" caused behavior which turned it into a fat, drug infused slob. Some of the most admirable people are those who made the choices to overcome genetic deficiencies. The most important thing if one is judgy are the choices made as a result. One can be mean and nasty to those who are judged to have different views, one can be tolerant, or one can be helpful. The last two choices would give the appearance that one isn't judgy, wouldn't they? I submit everyone is judgy to some degree, but take different actions on those judgments, unless, of course, one is some random collection of particles, moving randomly in space, having random thoughts, none of them being judgmental.
 
 
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 5, 2013
Particles DO 'judge'; some repel, some attract, and some are neutral. Out of that simplicity can arise complexity. Thus our complex, pattern-recognition organic processors we call brains, have been programmed over the course of millions of years to recognize some objects as avoidable (repel), some as friendly (attract), and some are neutral. Out of that complexity arises even more, such as language, association (groupings), and beliefs; which again, gives even more opportunity for attraction, repulsion, and neutrality. At this point in the complexity, some of these judgments become nonsensical, or outdated, which gets us to where we are today. So judgment is in fact natural, although it is certainly capable of being misused and abused.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 5, 2013
@Ger @zerotenone

Ditto - Pretty much what you two said.
 
 
+8 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 5, 2013
Many times I have the instinct to be judgy, so its my first reaction, I guess it comes from genetics, then when my brain catches up to my instinct, I end not being judgy, and guess thats learned.
 
 
Sep 5, 2013
That was e n t i t i e s. So, yes, we do hate your comment filter, as sometimes gets pointed out 2-3 times a day.
 
 
Sep 5, 2013
Programmers create programs. If humans were created by intelligent !$%*!$%* or an intelligent individual, then humans were created. Therefore, a creator, or creators, exist if humans are a simulation. So point number 2 is inherently flawed if one of the two scenarios is correct. That says nothing of the origin of the programmers, just of humanity in that possibility.

What is the fault in my logic?
 
 
Sep 5, 2013
"Willpower isn't a real thing". Of course it's not, at least in the physical sense. But what is your definition of this "non-real" thing which has a name? Is it the ability to abstain from doing something that is, or may eventually be harmful to you or another person? Or is it the ability to push through pain or hardship to obtain a goal? Obviously, some people can do these things while others can't, or won't. In the end, isn't it a choice? Choices are what distinguishes !$%*!$%* from being collections of random particles moving in random directions. Morals (considerations for others) and responsibilities are also. None of these things are real in a physical sense, but create order and pleasantness out of complete chaos. I find your views and arguments for them excuses for the irresponsible, lazy, and undisciplined, who are a drain on society. So, obviously, count me among the judgy.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 5, 2013
"...those particles, no matter how they are arranged, can sometimes choose to ignore the laws of physics and go their own way."

That's pretty much the definition of Quantum Mechanics.
 
 
Sep 5, 2013
I find your world view wonderful and something to hold up as a model to others! And no, I'm not judgy.


/s
 
 
 
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