Re: Social Engineering (was: Different patriarchy Model)

Gerold Firl (
22 Dec 1994 17:34:21 -0800

In article <3dat0p$> (Kevyn Loren Winkless) writes:

>There seems to be no effective manner in which to hold
>these experiments in a controlled "laboratory" setting, so they would
>have to be held in the context of real, living societies. Are we willing
>to take the chance on that kind of modification? Are we willing to face
>the ethical consequences?

Good questions to ask, yet in the real world these kinds of experiments are
constantly taking place. The civil rights movement has already been cited
as an example; while no one knew the specific outcome, many agreed that the
action had to be taken. Jim Crow had to go. The question was, how? What is
the best way to implement the change?

>We can always look at historical examples, of course...but these only
>tell us how specific modifications affected specific societies...they
>can't tell us how similar modifications would affect _our_ society. We
>just don't understand the mechanics of culture that well yet.

True. Yet we must plunge ahead, doing the best we can. This is why general
principles, as used in the physical sciences, are such powerful tools. They
can be applied to any specific situation. But the prognosis on developing
such principles doesn't look encouraging. The dismal failure of sociology
as applied to prison reform in the middle of the 20th centuryseems to have
left a lasting impression; does government consult with sociologists or
anthropologists when formulating legislation? It sure doesn't look that
way. Yet the need for pro-active social engineering constantly increases.
For the foreseeable future it appears that we will just have to continue to
blunder ahead.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf