Intelligent thought is of three parts:
1) the selection of one or more premises.
2) followed by one or more successive steps of evaluation of those premises in various forms and proportions and in various ways.
3) the statement of one or more conclusions.
Since the human intellect is a biological mechanism, it is not perfect in any of its functions. It may accept inputs and the knowledge received thereby may be near truth, but it can never be better than truth and in fact must always be less than truth. There is nothing magical or spiritual about the human neural system. It processes and acts on information. It cannot create anything. It may process the perceived truth into other forms but may not create knowledge during the process.
Its data manipulation may develop more useful combinations and permutations of the knowledge contained in the premises, but in doing so there is always degradation in the process. It may quite accurately surmise the results of this manipulation, and these new combinations may be very useful, but there will always be something lost in the process. In short, the knowledge developed in the logical process never exceeds, and in fact must always be less than, that contained in the original premises. The output of the process may be no closer to truth than the input.
Put another way: If the premises are faulty, the conclusions will also be at least as faulty. With computers, this is called "garbage in, garbage out." In the case of culture, it is "dogma in, dogma out." No one, no matter the genius, is able to create real knowledge from dogma.
This is not to say that conclusions reached from reasoning based on dogma are always false. Quite often truth is stumbled upon. But real knowledge may only be dependably discovered by intelligent action when the reasoning is based on measured and proven premises. The use of dogma as premises for reasoning is very dangerous, yet that very process is habitual with modern cultural thinkers.
The premises used as a basis for the logic behind cultural rules in all of the cultures on earth are largely dogma. Most are derivatives of ancient tribal cultures, developed through the ages by happenstance. Some one or group wanted a certain rule in the culture, so they made up a reason and stuck it in. Many, in fact most, of these premises may be shown to be in error. Most cultural rules in modern cultures are poor fits with the actual human nature.
A culture may be viewed as a set of behavioral rules. As such it is restrictive of the individual in favor of the community. The more rules and the more strictly the rules are enforced, the more restrictive the set of rules become on the individual and the more uniform the social environment becomes for the community. Too few rules, or lack of enforcement, leads to an uncomfortable, even unsafe, culture. Too many rules, or excessively severe enforcement, leads to regimentation and unbearable loss of personal freedom.
All social drives are instinctive, based on small tribal groups and formed long before intellectual man arrived. The survival advantage of intellect is its control over the instincts to provide more suitable behavior. A culture is largely an intellectual set of rules established to provide a uniform set of behaviors from a community with widely differing instincts. If the human was uniform in his instincts, the line between the two excesses would be simple to determine and the set of cultural rules would rest in the same way on each individual. Such is not the case. The human species is in a state of evolutionary degeneration. It is widely divergent in physical shape, mental ability, and instinct. This divergence is increasing.
No set of behavioral rules will ever be satisfactory to everyone. No severity of enforcement will ever be acceptable to everyone. Both will be less acceptable to more and more individuals with time due to the evolutionary degeneration.
The range (divergence) of social behavior of the human is remarkable. Child molestation, murder, incest, and theft are quite common. Terrorism, drive by shootings and other violent behavior are now everyday worries. Parental care of children ranges from spoiling the kid rotten to beating him half to death every day. Homosexuality has become so common that it is now considered normal behavior. These are all valid factors in a culture.
The chart below illustrates the spectrum of the conflicting cultural basis now in the US. This same chart at the time of the founding of the US would have been solidly blue and there were no interests trying to influence a change. It was 100% dogma at that time, mostly based on religious dogma.
The solution lies in education reform
Do teach our young people where they fit in this universe. Give them enough real knowledge so that they can feel comfortable going forth to provide for themselves. Let them be knowledgeable about their environment. Provide them with enough technical knowledge so they can fit in an ever-increasingly technical world. Teach them facts, not what to think or feel. They have neural systems as capable as yours for deciding how to use those facts. Teach them to be skeptical of all dogma (especially religious dogma), regardless of source. It wouldn't hurt to teach them to also be a little suspicious even of the so-called real knowledge.
A new and stable intellectual culture would form within a few generations. Teachers trained within this education system would pride themselves on how well and truthfully they can transfer real knowledge Students would pride themselves on how much they can learn. Graduates would pride themselves on how well they can apply their knowledge within the framework of their culture.Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7) www.beyondgenes.com