The Race

According to the 2011 article found at http://www.businessinsider.com/the-10-biggest-problems-in-the-world-according-to-the-eu-2011-10?op=1, 28 percent of Europeans surveyed sighted “Poverty, Hunger And Lack Of Drinking Water” as the world’s greatest problem. This 28 percent took first place on the list of problems, just after 20 percent for global warming. One may object to such findings, sighting the “problem” as 3 different problems. But one would be wrong. That’s not to say poverty, hunger, and lack of drinking water are one problem, either. They, like most of the “problem”s on this list, are symptoms of one problem. The illusion that competition is means to our happiness is the world’s greatest problem. We support a system of competition by continuing to compete. This competition has, in past years meant the strongest survived. This was good for our species. But now, issues like economic struggle and a lack of availability of energy threaten our well-being.

It would seem downright foolish for one person to not run the race when all others around him/her are sprinting toward the finish line. The only way for no one to loose is for no one to run the race. In a world where competition is means to survival, giving freely of one’s resources may quickly leave one with nothing. After all, why must the change begin with me when others have so much more to give? As Nelson Mandela, Lord Buddha, and Mahatma Gandhi said, no one person has ever changed the world…

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Bigotry and Logic

A friend of mine recently expressed to me the opinion that women are generally weaker than than men when it comes to physical strength. Of course the evil monkey who sits on my shoulder encouraged me to make a big deal out of this, insinuating that this perspective made my friend sexist. Of course I was only teasing him. But it was truly fascinating to watch him attempt to back out of such a claim, in spite of the logic that supported it. We, as a society, often tend to put political correctness before logic. As heterosexual males of European decent, we have benefited from certain privilege. As a result, some of us tend to gravitate toward a hypersensitive and sometimes hyperbolic perspective of issues regarding equality. This may largely be attributed to guilt as a result of inequality in our country’s history. But guilt should never supersede logic. So let’s look at the info online: http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/fig2-e1424910126512.jpg
http://strengthlevel.com/strength-standards/male/lb
http://www.livestrong.com/article/509536-muscular-strength-in-women-compared-to-men/

Or, better yet, do your own research. A common misconception when it comes to issues like this is that individual differences, like physical strength, determine a group of people’s value as a whole. This logic says “Men can lift more, so men are more valuable”. But this claim is only accurate when we assign a specific kind of value. “Men can lift more, so men are more valuable when it comes to a task with which one’s ability to lift more is beneficial”. We are not all the same. And that’s okay. Some of us are better than others at some things. Women tend to be smaller than men. Again, don’t take my word for it: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a074807.pdf. More body mass means more room for muscle. This is logical.

One issue into which we run when attempting to place generalizations on any group of people is the exception to the rule. We can say, generally, men are physically stronger than women. This does not mean all men are stronger than all women. This confusion may come as the result of the way we speak about groups of people. To simply say “Men are stronger than women” does not specify wether the topic of this claim is all men or a general idea of men as a group of people.

But the biggest issue we run into when attempting to generalize groups of people is when we make assumptions based on small sample sizes or inaccurate data. Let’s say I, in my 31 years on Earth, had only come in contact with chihuahuas who smelled like barley. From my experience, I may conclude all chihuahuas smell like barley. I may rationalize that being a chihuahua makes a dog smell like barley. This assumption is based on recognition of a correlation and assumes cause and effect. Now since you may notice that most chihuahuas do not tend to smell like barley, you may look for other reasons for my assumption. Perhaps I live near a chihuahua farm near a barley field. As implausible as this may seem, at least if follows logic.

So my friend said women are weaker than men. If he was talking in a general sense and did not mean all women and all men, this claim conforms to my perspective of the world. Does this mean we are both sexist? The claim is based on experiential data of a significant sample size, does not make assumptions about the value of one gender over another, and is logical.