Tuesday, August 18, 2009

They Influence You

B F Skinner was probably one of the most destructive thinkers of the Twentieth Century. I have said before but will repeat the vary basics of what he believed. He basically believed that freewill is simply an illusion and it really does not exist. To him our brain is like a computer with an incredibly complex program running it but it is still just a program. We will do what we are programmed to do, we will think what we are programmed to think, we will decide what we are programmed to decide. We really have no choice.

Now most leftists would find this whole idea as repulsive as most conservatives would find it. They will honestly say they don't believe in it, but it still influences their thinking. Many educators do believe in Skinnerism and teach accordingly. You may not believe in Skinner but did the professor who taught you political science base his course on Skinner's ideas? Did your sociology professor base the course you took on Skinner's philosophy?

There are a couple of side effects of believing in Skinner or being taught by those who believe him. To Skinner freedom and choice are an illusion and you're going to do what you have been conditioned to do along with your genetic predisposition. Thus freedom as understood by the founding fathers does not really exist. The only freedom they see is freedom from exploitation and they consider all other freedoms expendable for this big one. (Of course the fact that they simply replace the old exploiters and become the new exploiters is lost on them.) They want to take over your conditioning so that they can condition your children to be model citizens of Utopia. (Note how well that worked in Brave New World or A Clockwork Orange. -- the book not the movie!)

Secondly, if people are doing only what they are programmed to do then you are not responsible for what you do; the people responsible for your "conditioning" did it. If I were to take a bunch of weapons and go downtown and start shooting random people they would look for a "root cause" rather than hold me responsible. Though I would deserve to die they would try to stop it because it was not my fault. I am the true victim of a combination of whatever caused me to snap.

Our actions, thoughts, beliefs, and decisions are from a number of sources. We have our genetic predispositions -- which are very real but are not always destiny. We have been taught certain things from childhood which influence our thinking. The public culture bombards us with stuff that influences our thinking. Our education influences it. Moment to moment variations in ourselves and the environment influence it. Angelic and Demonic forces are constantly working on our minds as well. And in the end we have another thing - - - Our God-given freewill.

Then I should be in Slytherin house

It's true that you possess many of the qualities that Voldemort prizes in his followers. Skill, determination, resourcefulness, and if I might add . . a certain disregard for the rules. Yet the sorting hat placed y0u in Gryffindor . . . why is that Harry?

Because I asked it to.

Exactly! You see Harry, it's not your skills or abilities that decide who are you are . . . It's your choices.


Blogger Z said...

Wow, sounds like Obama and his Thuggers must have studied Skinner pretty extensively, huh?

And, OH, was this country a better place when we BLAMED and prosecuted instead of looking for the REASONS, the motivations, the 'root causes'..now we're wimps.

11:29 PM  
Blogger christian soldier said...

Well stated SR-

4:54 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

For many years of my youth I was a "modified Skinnerian Behaviorist," accepting much of what he taught.

I have since come to understand the error of his (and my) ways, and have adopted a behavioristic free will position; IE: we always have the free will to overcome whatever has been ingrained in our behavior, be it habits, ideas or whatever if we want to.

Of course, Skinner would say that I can't help taking the postition that I take, thus confirming his belief.


1:22 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I studied B.F. Skinner's "philosophy." Carried to its extremes, where does it lead? To eugenics?

1:47 PM  

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