The Trap - Notions of Freedom

#1
Revealing programme tonight on Beeb Two challenging the humanism and neo science running through Britain's political and economic philosophies.

Showing Blair's flawed ideology in embarrassing technicolour. That Britain is more class divided under this 'target' system than at any time since the 70s. Stunning critique.

Superb challenge also to Dawkins' style self righteousness about the human being a 'machine'...

http://www.bbc.co.uk//bbctwo/noise/?id=trap
 
#2
And here was me thinking this was going to be a thread about being locked in a turdis.... :(
 
M

Mr_Logic

Guest
#3
That was an excellent programme that exposed the lie underlying the Blair philosophy that we all suffer under.

In a nut-shell, Blair came in with a cry of getting rid of all old-fashioned class-based stratification of society. His plan was to copy Clinton's methodology using metrics to measure everything. Civil servants and hospital administrators (amongst others) quickly learned to play the system. This showed the model to be flawed and Blair has achieved exactly the opposite of what he wanted. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

I knew that Blair was tearing apart the fabric of British society but couldn't put my finger on the flawed principle. The BBC have highlighted it very succinctly in a manner that shows New Labour for the lie it is.

It is flashes of brilliance like this that make it worth paying the BBC licence fee.
 
#4
Sad that this VERY important matter was so badly explained by the voice-over commentary. I know it's complex, but a good writer could have made everything a lot more intelligible. Bit of a missed opportunity to let a lot of people know about the manipulations of successive governments, economists, the medics and many other sectors. With such an impenetrable commentary, the series will perhaps be written off as the work of pointy heads making programmes for other pointy heads.


SLRboy writes : "R. Dawkins would highly disapprove and I defy you to point out where he has ever said people are just machines."

Dawkins' view of how people tick is often very simplistic; at times he can be as bad as the predestinarian Christians he's constantly attacking. "Darwin's rottweiler"?? I think Dawkins would make Darwin blush with embarassment. Humourless, rather unimportant man
.
 
#5
As a non tv watching prole, I missed this magnificent piece of work. Do we need some self satisfied git to tell us that we have a divided society? If we substitute the words chav for poor, weed for gin, we have a worse society than victorian times. We now have an entire underclass of un-educated, un-employable people who have little chance of making it out of the poverty trap without recourse to crime. Do we condemn them or work for a better society into which they might be able to join? I think the only answer would be to bring about a form of national service, not in a military sense, but in a socialy beneficial sense. Without nationalised industries, we have little in the way of training the young to be of use to soceity. Maybe the value of those old institutions was not in monetary value, but of a social value. Just my 2p worth.
ps. excuse the spelling I'm a little drunk :thumright:
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#6
Mr_Logic said:
That was an excellent programme that exposed the lie underlying the Blair philosophy that we all suffer under.

In a nut-shell, Blair came in with a cry of getting rid of all old-fashioned class-based stratification of society. His plan was to copy Clinton's methodology using metrics to measure everything. Civil servants and hospital administrators (amongst others) quickly learned to play the system. This showed the model to be flawed and Blair has achieved exactly the opposite of what he wanted. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

I knew that Blair was tearing apart the fabric of British society but couldn't put my finger on the flawed principle. The BBC have highlighted it very succinctly in a manner that shows New Labour for the lie it is.

It is flashes of brilliance like this that make it worth paying the BBC licence fee.

I enjoyed this (although I must admit to nodding off towards the end (it was Sunday, Mrs Foz had poured me a large malt and I'm crusty so I'm allowed)).

The previous weeks was very interesting, if only to see the interview with John Nash (Of "Beautiful Mind" fame). Ian Curtis's earlier work "The Power of Nightmares" was worth a look too.

This sort of "Op-Ed" TV is sadly missing from modern schedules - which makes it all the more welcome.
 
#7
SLRboy said:
Shame I missed it. You have only just now brought this prog. to my attn.
Completely wrong premises on both your and the programs part.
First, whilst I hate to excuse Blair of anything, it has been the anarchic capitalist corporations that are busily devouring the world that has to be to blame. It's what 'Globalisation' really means. Haliburtons move to Dubai and beyond a great deal of legal restrictions is a shining example.

It's got bugger all to do with DNA and all to do with how money works. R. Dawkins would highly disapprove and I defy you to point out where he has ever said people are just machines.
SLRchimp, I apologise for being misled by an expert in his field rather than subscribing to your 'world view'. I will now be administering myself with 40 lashes as penitence for my ignorance.

As an aside, Dawkins has referred to all organisms as 'reproductive machines' in both The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. Whilst he may not believe that we are merely machines, he uses the analogy to enable the reader to appreciate that the sole basis of life and evolution is an organism's ability to reproduce itself. To that end, reproduction is the primary aim of any organism, anything else it achieves is merely incidental.
 
#8
Enjoyed the scene when Professor Napolean zipped his handbag and stormed off in a huff by the innocent suggestion that his film crew presence were the fatal flaw in his 'revolutionary' findings. The Hawthorne Experiments were a little more honest in understanding that human behaviour is a little less predictable than 20th century science had thus far taught.

Equally compelling was the expose of 'modern' ideas about 'normality'. The paradox that by prescribing scientific 'answers', e.g. Prozac, we'll achieve 'normal' states of mind, but in so doing destroying the uniqueness of the individual in all there humanness and brilliance.
 
#9
SLRboy writes : "But back to Blair. He is not responsible for the wholesale privatisation asset stripping and profit grabbing that seems to be infesting all works of modern life. The reasons for that go further back than Blair. Had they been in power the Tories would have if anything hastened the process.
Eisenhower first mentioned the military industrial complex and even then back in the fifties he was only putting a name to that, that was by several decades already underway.
The rampant destructiveness of 'Globalisation' is nothing more than the generals and head of states not being able to stop the forth coming Ist World War once trains had started rolling - writ large.
"


The thrust of the programme was explicitly not anti-Blair/New Labour, and was at pains to say that the rot can be traced back at least to the Heath and Wilson administrations; while the Thatcher and Major years received especially withering attention.

Dawkins may have been a pal of Douglas Adams, who introduced him to his wife, but that hardly makes him innately full of fun. He gets desperately tight-lipped and begins to exude little beads of sweat as soon as he is put under pressure - or confronted with a skilled apologist for religious faith. A recent BBC interviewer - I think his name was William Crawley - really put RD in a corner and shook him, extracting a notable retraction of RD's oft-repeated allegation that religious believers are "deluded".

When placed alongside really substantial scientists who are also "faith believers" - Polkinghorne, for example - RD looks rather paltry; and I remain to be convinced that he is actually of any great importance
.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
I must say, I've watched both episodes so far and found the documentary to be rather (and satisfactorily) high-brow for the Beeb which has been dumbing down over recent years.

I thought it was exceptionally well done, exceptionally well researched and a real eye opener for those that have been wondering just what has gone wrong with society over the last few years.

It is also incredibly frightening to actually see the evidence of 'social engineering' that the various gummints are responsible for.

Freedom my hairy, speckled arrse!

What is a shame is that the great unwashed would have been bored to tears by the program or would not have got the point at all.

Edited to add: SLRBoy, your point is only half right.

How is it that a cold-war mathematical, financial application (and a simple one at that) can predict human behaviour?

The idea was transposed from financial calculations for super-rich financial institutions, bastardised for some cold-war social theory so that communism could be defeated by CAPITALISM (keep the people happy through capitalism).

What does not surprise me is that, with it being a financial algorithm, it is a process that can only be implemented by rich financial institutions who have the experts on tap to make it so (and the market as it were). It is a mathematical, social and psychological ideal that is brought about by supply and demand after all.

What DOES surprise me is that the adherent gummints to the process, and therefore those that sold out the great unwashed were actually the left-wing democrats in the US under Clinton, followed more recently by the left-wing Labour party in the UK.

What the net result is, is that the population is mollified because they are given cakes to eat. If this fails, they get Ritalin.

The gumming stops providing checks and balances because it is the corporations that own and act out the ideology whilst the gummints absolve themselves of any responsibility for social balancing. Net result - souless manipulation of the population to keep them docile.
 
#11
I was impressed with both programmes and look forward to the third and last in the series on Sunday next. Good quality mind-stretching television is extremely rare.

Even if we accept the premise as true, the most remarkable impact upon society is not the influence of the markets, or even the social engineering of the politicians, that is merely the process itself; it is that so much credence, bordering on blind faith, is given to the radical ideas of so few thinkers. That the ideas of one or even two men may have so much influence to set such a chain of events in motion is truly staggering!!
 
#12
biped writes : "What is a shame is that the great unwashed would have been bored to tears by the program or would not have got the point at all."

That's what I was getting at earlier. Too much of a highbrow approach, thereby guaranteeing that millions of Joe Public would change channels very quickly. Since the essence of the series is the (well-substantiated) claim that the majority of the people have been duped and manipulated, it's a great shame that the majority of viewers will have found it indigestible or boring or both.

Full marks for effort, but the scriptwriter(s) could have done so much more to make the thesis really accessible. A pity - a missed opportunity.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
SLRboy said:
caubeen said:
SLRboy writes : "But back to Blair. He is not responsible for the wholesale privatisation asset stripping and profit grabbing that seems to be infesting all works of modern life. The reasons for that go further back than Blair. Had they been in power the Tories would have if anything hastened the process.
Eisenhower first mentioned the military industrial complex and even then back in the fifties he was only putting a name to that, that was by several decades already underway.
The rampant destructiveness of 'Globalisation' is nothing more than the generals and head of states not being able to stop the forth coming Ist World War once trains had started rolling - writ large.
"


The thrust of the programme was explicitly not anti-Blair/New Labour, and was at pains to say that the rot can be traced back at least to the Heath and Wilson administrations; while the Thatcher and Major years received especially withering attention.

Dawkins may have been a pal of Douglas Adams, who introduced him to his wife, but that hardly makes him innately full of fun. He gets desperately tight-lipped and begins to exude little beads of sweat as soon as he is put under pressure - or confronted with a skilled apologist for religious faith. A recent BBC interviewer - I think his name was William Crawley - really put RD in a corner and shook him, extracting a notable retraction of RD's oft-repeated allegation that religious believers are "deluded".

When placed alongside really substantial scientists who are also "faith believers" - Polkinghorne, for example - RD looks rather paltry; and I remain to be convinced that he is actually of any great importance
.
Thanks for the interesting reply. I will agree with you that since Dawkins has taken on religion he has become a little shrill. But I feel for the fellow. Religious believers are impermeable and use fundementally dishonest circular arguements. Some of religions leaders are suave sophists and it must get quite tiring dealing with them. But religious believers ARE deluded. Of that there can be no doubt. for the simple reason that they wholeheartedly believe in something for which there is not the slightest evidence of its existence in the actual world - namely god.
You mention Polkinghorne as being a substantial scientist who is also a fellow of faith. By virtue of his faith he must perforce be limited. how could he be anything other? If everything he researches must conform to an already assumed view of how things came about he like a communist has a biased world view that would be self limiting. I view that situation as the intellectual equivalent as trying to have an orgasm and a urine at one and the same time.
Being religious is not necessarily an obstacle to objectivity. It depends on your religion and notions of God.

The idea of God being the creator of the universe and encompassing all of it is not mutually exclusive to objective study of said universe and how a 'God' may have designed it.

One for example can believe in God and at the same time believe that he created DNA, or the materials that allowed life to evolve. Notwithsanding religious dogma and stupidity that has no evidential base.

The big bang is merely a theory that has not been conclusively proved.

Edited to add: Wasn't Dawkins the guy who wrote 'The Selfish Gene'?

The book is basically a proponent of the mathematical and social theory that breaks us down into hungry consumers that must be fed?
 
#14
Apologies to all for drifting off the thread!

An unforgiveable aspect of Dawkins is the virtual withdrawal - post 9/11 - of his consent to the principle that everyone has a right to his own opinion in matters of faith, and - critically - a right to express it. He has become dangerously narrow, in addition to his pre-existing elitism and intellectual snobbery. He gets overtly impatient and fretful when anyone challenges anything he says, and at times he seems almost to seek to deny them the right to any debate.

I wish he had stuck to genetics, at which he could perhaps have gone on to be really significant. But he was seduced quite early in life into popularising - perhaps by the general success of The Selfish Gene (which was undoubtedly good) - and I am not sure how seriously he is now regarded in scientific circles. He's quite a contrast to, say, John Maynard-Smith
.
 
#15
The desire to reduce humanity to a series of impulses based on bioligical 'urges' has to be proved of course to ensure science is truly our 'Saviour', as to assume that man is unique, and somehow supernatural in essence, reveals the potential for the spiritual and hence God. Something that haunts the self-righteous modernists in all their 'belief' in science.

To suggest there aren't or haven't been highly brilliant, by modern standards, men and women who also believe in God, is plainly daft. As it is evidently the case that history is littered with people placing their entire modus operandi around their faith and clearly achieving great things by the standards of modernity. So the slightly tedious argument that faith and 'brilliance' are incompatible should possibly haunt another thread.

Back on thread. As the programme illustrated through its cutting stab at reflecting on Game Theory that people, especially politicians, are incapable of, in other words, altruism, it showed the foolhardiness of the present government for walking into the arms of modern hard science, especially economics, as a major solution. This reveals the contempt the Blair Government has for people. That they will behave rationally according to base impulses and aren't capable of aspiration. This was the most damning indictment. Blair and Dawkins appear to be happy bedfellows.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
caubeen said:
Apologies to all for drifting off the thread!

An unforgiveable aspect of Dawkins is the virtual withdrawal - post 9/11 - of his consent to the principle that everyone has a right to his own opinion in matters of faith, and - critically - a right to express it. He has become dangerously narrow, in addition to his pre-existing elitism and intellectual snobbery. He gets overtly impatient and fretful when anyone challenges anything he says, and at times he seems almost to seek to deny them the right to any debate.

I wish he had stuck to genetics, at which he could perhaps have gone on to be really significant. But he was seduced quite early in life into popularising - perhaps by the general success of The Selfish Gene (which was undoubtedly good) - and I am not sure how seriously he is now regarded in scientific circles. He's quite a contrast to, say, John Maynard-Smith
.
He is no different from many scientists who love their own ideas and don't like being questioned about them. Nothing unusual.

What frightens me is that the idea that there is some form of conspiracy in respect of controlling (generally without their knowledge or consent) large populations actually has validity, and has now been proven to be the case. Game Theory was not something that was in the popular conscience but has been used by powerful institutions for years to just that effect.

What is more disturbing still is that governments have signed up to this and other 'theories' and in so doing have given big business exactly what they wanted - the control they needed to allow them to make even more money, but without the halts and checks provided by representative government that has no financial interests. For proof, one has simply to look at gambling laws in the UK and Prescot.
 
#17
BoomShackerLacker said:
Back on thread. As the programme illustrated through its cutting stab at reflecting on Game Theory that people, especially politicians, are incapable of, in other words, altruism, it showed the foolhardiness of the present government for walking into the arms of modern hard science, especially economics, as a major solution. This reveals the contempt the Blair Government has for people. That they will behave rationally according to base impulses and aren't capable of aspiration. This was the most damning indictment. Blair and Dawkins appear to be happy bedfellows.
One of the problems with economics is that, far from being hard or objectively pure, it is a "soft" quasi-science, a bit like sociology. Many pure scientists - mathematicians, for example - greatly resent the use of the term "science" at all in reference to economics and economic theory.

The fact of the matter - which would be hilarious if it were not so damned serious - is that Blair & Co were so lacking in political vision that they had to find a convenient ideology to adopt, and the economic one came in very handy. We desperately need politicians with true vision, but I scarcely see one anywhere. Certainly not in Cameron's Tory party.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18) - and the UK is perishing, in all kinds of important ways. Many truly great politicians - Lincoln, Churchill - have quoted that one, and risen to its implied challenge. (Dawkins, of course, would merely ring his hands at the fact that it's a biblical quotation.
)
 
#18
SLRboy said:
caubeen writes:

An unforgiveable aspect of Dawkins is the virtual withdrawal - post 9/11 - of his consent to the principle that everyone has a right to his own opinion in matters of faith, and - critically - a right to express it

Everyone may be entitled to their own opinion but they are not entitled to their own facts. When the evangelicals can be led by their noses into supporting destructive wars without end (6th year of Afghan, 5th of Iraq any idea when they will be finished?) its time to stuff them sharply back in the box where they came from. Besides religiosity is often used to cover the most mendacious of actions.

All readily primed to believe the incredible and wired into Churches all certain rightest politicians who at base have nothing but a deep contempt for their fellow man they can be treated like a block vote and played like a violin.

Sorry to stray but has anyone heard of Jack Abramoff and Ralf Reed?
Abramoff was a lobbyist and used to work for some American Indians who ran a casino. one time they heard that the Indians in the next state wanted to open one which would have cut their revenues. So Abramoff got on to Ralf Reed who was the head of some Christian Family Values scam operation and got him to get all the parishoners who opposed gambling out in that state to protest the governer into not allowing those Indians to open a casino. It worked the new casino didn't get permission. The casino Indians paid Abramoff handsomely for his efforts and Abramoff paid Ralf Reed 2 million dollars. And the parishoners who played such a willing but unknowing part? They just carry on going to church until the next time they might be used.

Simple men believe in religion, Wise men don't believe in religion and Rulers find it useful.
Plato.

(P.S. I'm opposed to encouraging gambling, its harmful mostly to the poor. But the 'Good Christian Blair' does everthing to allow American gambling interests into this country. Haven't we done enough for the Americans already?) sorry to stray
Perhaps - to spell it out - I ought to have written "right to express it verbally", which is of course a different matter from the actions of some who profess and call themselves Christians or Muslims or whatever else. Their actions are often reprehensible. Dawkins has stepped fully into the forum of public debate, but he seems visibly irritated and impatient of anyone who does not accept the totality of what he says, and that is arrogance of a high order. One either accepts a liberal va-et-vient principle of debate, respecting one's adversaries, or one simply retreats into curmudgeonly dogmatising. RD seems to think he can have it both ways, but he can't.

The man's intellectual elitism and proclaimed monopoly of the truth is breathtaking at times, and it diminishes his public credibility and his acceptability as a serious advocate of scientific principles. As remarked above, Darwin (whose theories he purports to advocate and explain to lesser intellects) would be seriously embarassed to have RD as his 21st century champion.
 
#19
SLRboy said:
caubeen writes:

An unforgiveable aspect of Dawkins is the virtual withdrawal - post 9/11 - of his consent to the principle that everyone has a right to his own opinion in matters of faith, and - critically - a right to express it

Everyone may be entitled to their own opinion but they are not entitled to their own facts. When the evangelicals can be led by their noses into supporting destructive wars without end (6th year of Afghan, 5th of Iraq any idea when they will be finished?) its time to stuff them sharply back in the box where they came from. Besides religiosity is often used to cover the most mendacious of actions.

All readily primed to believe the incredible and wired into Churches all certain rightest politicians who at base have nothing but a deep contempt for their fellow man they can be treated like a block vote and played like a violin.

Sorry to stray but has anyone heard of Jack Abramoff and Ralf Reed?
Abramoff was a lobbyist and used to work for some American Indians who ran a casino. one time they heard that the Indians in the next state wanted to open one which would have cut their revenues. So Abramoff got on to Ralf Reed who was the head of some Christian Family Values scam operation and got him to get all the parishoners who opposed gambling out in that state to protest the governer into not allowing those Indians to open a casino. It worked the new casino didn't get permission. The casino Indians paid Abramoff handsomely for his efforts and Abramoff paid Ralf Reed 2 million dollars. And the parishoners who played such a willing but unknowing part? They just carry on going to church until the next time they might be used.

Simple men believe in religion, Wise men don't believe in religion and Rulers find it useful.
Plato.

(P.S. I'm opposed to encouraging gambling, its harmful mostly to the poor. But the 'Good Christian Blair' does everthing to allow American gambling interests into this country. Haven't we done enough for the Americans already?) sorry to stray
Off thread. Because this thread has philosophical tones, it is no reason to trot out your prejudice against people of faith. Admin please.
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#20
SLRboy said:
when those people of faith are lead into unnecessary war in which people of no faith die I get quite upset. I personally don't want to be a bit part fall guy in other men's disturbed fantasies. Religious people when they get near power are like alcoholics who not only get drunk but leave a trail of carnage and collateral damage in their wake.
You say this as if it isn't true of almost anyone who achieves a position of political power. If Dawkins was given dictatorial powers, I wonder how he would behave towards the religious community? Also, there is a world of difference between fundamentalists, biblical literalists and so on, and the mainstream religious community, as you well know. There is a world of difference between those who choose to place God in the area of the unknowable, like original creation, and lunatics who believe that the various religious creation myths are anything other than allegorical.

Funnily enough and for what it's worth, I recently heard an American Nobel Laureate (regrettably, I don't remember the name) on Radio 4 talking about Dawkins's religion book... he commented to the effect that most 'real scientists' he knew were nowhere near as dogmatic as Dawkins on the 'God issue' and that he was, himself, a churchgoer.
 

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