Monday, August 23, 2010

Understanding Analogy

Charles Krauthammer - Moral myopia at Ground Zero

Charles scores a 2nd good column on the Mosque issue, but I think the discussion of the different views of analogy and symbolism are the important part.

I'd proffer two items that based on many books and articles I believe to be as close as we currently get to scientific understanding of human thought:

1). We ONLY learn via analogy -- there is no "built in human brain instruction set", or "engrams", "collective unconscious", or other techie or murky spirituo-psycho building blocks of thought. It is all neurons, and the only "there, there" is the sucking and startle reflexes. It is a vast web of neural relationship.

2). Every analogy is imperfect -- as is every model of the universe. There are many that map quite precisely, but then one gets to the quantum level and finds even those are less precise then we had hoped. We are often confused because our MODELS (maps) can be VERY precise ... but alas, they are not the territory.

So for me, the operative paragraph is this:
Where the president flagged, however, the liberal intelligentsia stepped in with gusto, penning dozens of pro-mosque articles characterized by a frenzied unanimity, little resort to argument and a singular difficulty dealing with analogies.
Since we understand by analogy, when there is a conflict on an issue, it is almost always a conflict of analogies. For some reason, that comes out especially clearly on the Mosque issue.

My belief is that is because liberals see Islam as essentially the replacement for communism in their "enemy of my enemy is my friend" model. The USSR used to be the most potent anti-American power, so liberals were USSR apologists. Now, Islam is the most potent attacker, so they have moved their apologetics to that front.

We know they are not huge "religious supporters" -- see constant battles on any sort of visibility of Christianity; 10 commandments, prayer anywhere public, Christmas trees and manger scenes, etc. 

We also know they are not "minority religion supporters"  in any general way ... see treatment of Mormon sects -- which BTW have many of the same problems as Muslims relative to multiple / very young "wives". 

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