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Thread: Is PROGRESS an illusion?

  1. #1 Is PROGRESS an illusion? 
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    The concensus in social science theory is that there is no such thing. Yet, what is progress but the achieving of goals? Are they saying we have no goals or never achieve them? Perhaps they are saying that the human race has never made any progress---meaning that it has no goals and hence no achieving. Isn't our immense cultural heritage we have accumulated worthwhile?

    Their attitude makes no sense. Not only does the human race have a teleological goal of technological attainment enabling population increase but individual mainstream societies have always had their own religious goals. Christianendom's goal has been "the Second Coming" and our secular goals consist of achieving "happiness" by persuing it---such as by accumulating "stuff." (We have sure been making progress there!)

    So, progress is not an illusion. The social theorists are wrong just like the Chinese peasants were who belived that "for me to gain, you must lose" and who resisted every effort anyone made to better himself.

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com


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  3. #2  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    progress is not so much an illusion as an ill-defined concept

    e.g. no-one is going to argue that we're technologically more advanced than we were before, but whether this is counted as progress depends on your definition of progress

    i suppose you could argue that we're better off than before because we have all the mod cons and live longer + call this progress, but what of the quality of life ?

    for instance, agriculture is often seen as a major step forward in the civilisation of man, but for the majority of people agriculture was a health disaster : increased incidence of poor nutrition, infectious diseases, tooth decay etc.etc.


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  4. #3  
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    I think the thing which hides progress is that often with progress comes new problems that need solving. This dampens the achievement some what!
    Take this following progress in equine medicine for example:
    A new wormer came out about 10 years ago which was capable of killing worms in the larval stage of development ~ previously wormers could only kill worms that had fully developed and hence were doing damage. This was believed to be one of the main limiting factors in a horse's lifespan.
    However, with this new drug we suddenly found horses to be progressively living longer and longer - some claimed that the average horse's lifespan increased by a year every year! This I think would definitely be considered progress. However, as previously many horses were actually dying in what we would consider middle age the equine field had very little experience of age related diseases and so were knocked back by onslaughts of laminitis, cushing's, diabetes etc. etc. This somewhat dampened the affect somewhat so that what could be seen as a fantastic achievement was dramatically reduced in importance because of all these new problems cropping up.
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  5. #4  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    read for the human equivalent : dementia, diabetes, alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease, stroke - the longer you live, the more chance one of these will do you in
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  6. #5  
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    That is quite true; my love is animals so I always tend to use animals as example!
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  7. #6  
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    agriculture is often seen as a major step forward in the civilisation of man, but for the majority of people agriculture was a health disaster : increased incidence of poor nutrition, infectious diseases, tooth decay etc.etc.
    I have read this often myself, but where did the idea come from? We live longer than pre-agricultural man. Just because we switched from gathering to growing does not mean we stopped eating meat. Animal husbandry developed roughly the same time as agriculture.

    I believe that the continued growth of the total human cultural heritage due to "science" (more accurate understanding of the world about us) is "progress" because it seems to fit us to next expand out into the universe and colonize it. If to look at that prospect as something wonderful for the human race is normal, than progress is normal and hence real. If we make it our social goal, we "progress" as we achieve it.

    Perhaps the reason "progress" is such a meaningless term now in the social sciences is because our society's goals have become meaningless to the public itself. Social theory mirrors social trends.

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
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  8. #7 Re: Is PROGRESS an illusion? 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    The concensus in social science theory is that there is no such thing.
    Please provide evidence for this steatement. Management science is a subset of social science and it sure as hell believes in progress.
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  9. #8  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    I have read this often myself, but where did the idea come from? We live longer than pre-agricultural man.
    it's been gathered from archeological data, especially paleopathology

    e.g. how tall people are is often determined by the quality and amount of food they have at their disposition - it's only since the mid 20th century that people in the west have regained the stature that used to be common amongst cro-magnon people more than 25,000 years ago

    ever wondered why the doors in medieval castles are so low that you have to be careful not to hit your head ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  10. #9  
    Forum Ph.D. Steve Miller's Avatar
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    Surely not. I would say it depends who has made progress. Nature, human
    mankind, culture, physics...?

    Surely there was not a 'we have made progress'. This would take us no
    where. Same probably as a dictatorship will not reach the ground no matter
    if reaching too short or actually below the ground level (however that would
    work )?

    Teams or groups of people are made from single entities, so to say. As
    some other person would have any warranty claims to that group of people
    for example, this would becoming an issue.

    I made the experience we have to make experiences yourself, or are only in
    the position to utilize experiences the way we made them. This is probably
    better expressed. The advance was, there are some results in science to
    be taken and to be driven forward, also, so to say.

    The issue was, there are often mistakes into the progress that was made
    or not. Huge just like earth being a disc.Sounds funny today, but has
    being taught in schools once. If yes or not, progress being made remains
    challenging.

    So was not an illusion but depends on what was meant, I would say,and
    that was the case very often.
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  11. #10  
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    You assume living longer makes things better? Not for me dear fellow. I would rather have the average life expectancy be around 33 that way I wouldn't live the hell of seeing women sleeping with everyone but me. Putting that aside I would certainly rather expire sooner rather than later, hell what's the point of existing till 90?

    Also I would like to become an android.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Ph.D. Steve Miller's Avatar
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    lol
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  13. #12 Re: Is PROGRESS an illusion? 
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    The concensus in social science theory is that there is no such thing. Yet, what is progress but the achieving of goals? Are they saying we have no goals or never achieve them? Perhaps they are saying that the human race has never made any progress---meaning that it has no goals and hence no achieving. Isn't our immense cultural heritage we have accumulated worthwhile?

    Their attitude makes no sense. Not only does the human race have a teleological goal of technological attainment enabling population increase but individual mainstream societies have always had their own religious goals. Christianendom's goal has been "the Second Coming" and our secular goals consist of achieving "happiness" by persuing it---such as by accumulating "stuff." (We have sure been making progress there!)

    So, progress is not an illusion. The social theorists are wrong just like the Chinese peasants were who belived that "for me to gain, you must lose" and who resisted every effort anyone made to better himself.

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
    Actually I would have to say that progress is an illusion. In fact, as far as I can tell, progress is a very basic term that can't be used so globally as you are using it because when it is used that way it becomes meaningless. Like you said, a goal must be in mind for the word to have meaning. There is no known goal to humans.

    I would have to agree with sderenzi. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if my own fate does not allow me to go past 40. Technology has gotten us no where. What are we closser to now that we were farther away from before? As far as I can tell it is nothing. As far as happiness goes I would say that most people don't even know what happiness is.
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  14. #13 Re: Is PROGRESS an illusion? 
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    As far as happiness goes I would say that most people don't even know what happiness is.
    happiness is a mobile phone ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  15. #14  
    Forum Ph.D. Steve Miller's Avatar
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    There is a new one coming out. Seems being very challenging.

    This one. Who phones? apple.com/iphone/
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sderenzi
    You assume living longer makes things better? Not for me dear fellow. I would rather have the average life expectancy be around 33 that way I wouldn't live the hell of seeing women sleeping with everyone but me. Putting that aside I would certainly rather expire sooner rather than later, hell what's the point of existing till 90?

    Also I would like to become an android.
    So this is where your obsession with women, and rape fantasies lie.

    -----start rambling---------
    Get a hold of yourself, man! It isn't the end of the world. There's more to life than women and money (well, you can't live without money). If you search for women, they won't come...you'll just start forcing relationships. A forced relationship almost never works...10% of the time the woman gets scared and dumps you (it's happened to many of my friends); 80% of the time the relationship doesn't even get started; 5% of the time it ends in something really ugly; only 4% of the time it works.
    -----end rambling---------
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

    http://www.atheistthinktank.net/thinktank/index.php

    Theists welcome.
    ___________
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  17. #16  
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    Progress is to know somthing you didn't know before. Even the thing is disgusting. You are making progress becouse you know a way which doesn't make sense.
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