Heterodox Academy’s mission of increasing viewpoint diversity is insufficient to adequately address the dangers of “entrenched yet questionable orthodoxies” in the social sciences, academia, and the wider culture beyond. It is insufficient because the orthodoxies Heterodox sees as viewpoint outputs are actually inputs.
Garbage in, garbage out.
If the inputs upon which a viewpoint is based are garbage then the viewpoint itself and the ideas and policy prescriptions that follow from it will also be garbage. If an opposing viewpoint is based on some or all of the same inputs, or on different but equally wrong inputs, then it will also be garbage. Viewpoint diversity, if all viewpoints are garbage, help nobody and hurt everybody.
This, I believe, is exactly the situation in Western Culture today.
If Heterodox Academy really wants to protect the social sciences and the rest of Western Culture then it must work to…
…Take out the garbage.
The first four assumptions below are garbage straight from Heterodox Academy’s problem statement. The others are mine, that I offer for consideration, discussion, debate, etc., as contenders that could be added to the list:
- Humans are a blank slate, and “human nature” does not exist.
- All differences between human groups are caused by differential treatment of those groups, or by differential media portrayals of group members.
- Social stereotypes do not correspond to any real differences.
- Affirmative action is highly effective at advancing the interests, success, and status of oppressed or underrepresented groups
My suggestions, from here:
False Belief: reason is objective analysis of empirical facts.
Truth: Reason is almost entirely subjective.
False Belief: Human thought and action is determined mostly by reason, and therefore the reason people don’t act or think “right” is because they don’t think straight.
Truth: Ninety-nine percent of what we think, say, and do is driven by subconscious intuition.
False Belief: Reason evolved in humans to help them make better decisions
Truth: Reason evolved to create post hoc rationalizations in defense of our intuitions intuitions.
False Belief: The mind is a blank slate at birth, which means that everything we believe about right and wrong, and good and bad, is taught to us or learned as we mature.
Truth: We’re born already “knowing” at a subconscious level, many about favorable and unfavorable behavior. (The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences)
False Belief: There’s no genetic component to ideology, and the only reason we’re liberal, conservative, or something else is because of what we’ve been taught, or because of the environment we grew up in, or because we “reasoned” our way to our ideology.
Truth: Ideology is heritable. We tend to inherit personality traits from our parents. including in matters of ideology. We’re born predisposed to lean left or right, and most people stay with that predisposition.
False Belief: There’s no genetic component to behavioral differences among groups of people of different sexes, cultures, or ideologies, and therefore all such differences are nothing more than artificial social constructs
Truth: Evolution continues. It happens within groups, which creates differences between groups. (Faster Evolution Means More Ethnic Differences by Jonathan Haidt, The Bell Curve Twenty Years Later: A Q&A With Charles Murray.)
False Belief: Abstract reason is the path to moral truth.
Truth: Reason is terrible at finding truth, and often leads us away from it.
False Belief: Since reason is the path to moral truth, and since human behavior is determined almost entirely by reason and by social constructs, then all we have to do to achieve the good society is teach the right things and put in place the right social constructs.
Truth: Since none of the assumptions upon which this is based are true, this too is not true.
False Belief: Morality starts and ends with “care”
Truth: It also includes, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority, and sanctity.
False Belief: Liberals understand conservatives better than conservatives understand liberals
Truth: It’s the other way around.
False Belief: Liberals understand human nature better than do conservatives
Truth: Again, it’s the other way around. ( Haidt on The Colbert Report. Colbert does a fantastic job of summarizing Haidt’s work. Haidt on Moyers and Company)
False Belief: Religion is somehow fundamentally different from ideology or morality, secular or otherwise.
Truth: Religion, morality, and ideology are nothing more than different words for the same underlying aspect of human nature. Namely they represent the value sets around which like-minded people form into groups which then compete with other groups for political power and influence.