What is Trust and what are its Implications in Life?  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

    Let's consider the important topic of trust and what it means when it is present or when it is missing in various aspects of our lives. I'm sure we would all agree that trust is important and desirable, but, unfortunately, it can be a fragile commodity.

     First of all, what does it mean to trust another person? Is trust logical or emotional?
     One of the most important areas where trust plays a paramount role is in that of intimate relationships. It holds couples together and deepens and adds significance to their feelings for each other. It also makes them vulnerable to emotional distress.

     Other areas where trust is important is in business and professional relationships. You want your doctor to be credentialed and experienced and your pilot to know how to fly. Otherwise, trust is going to be lacking.

     Trust by the electorate in their government is essential for democracy to function. In the US, we can rant and rave about the failings and shortcomings of Republicans/Democrats/Tea Partiers, but we ultimately trust that they will somehow manage the affairs of the republic. This is made more difficult when we read about greed, corruption and graft by those in positions of trust. Also, we must ignore the ignorance of the electorate when they elect a stupid person to office, and continue trust in the process.

     An area where we seem to place a great deal of trust, perhaps not always deservedly so, is in the print and broadcast media. The fourth estate wields an astounding amount of influence which is particularly disheartening when they cannot be trusted to deliver their version of the way things ought to be without downright lying.

     How and why is trust established in the beginning? What makes a person trustworthy? What could cause the rupture of a trusting relationship, and is it possible to reestablish one once broken? Under what conditions is it desirable to reestablish a trusting relationship?

     What are some behavioral characteristics that would indicate a lack of trust? What is the relationship between "trust" and "commitment"? Is one obligated to trust in the absence of a commitment?

     As Ronald Reagan famously said, "Trust, but verify." Isn't this self-contradictory?
     Can you ever trust another person if you know you yourself to be untrustworthy?

How do Females and Males differ?  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

      Implying or suggesting that there are intellectual differences between man and women could be considered politically incorrect.  In January 2005, the President of Harvard University, Lawrence Summers, provoked a firestorm of controversy when he suggested that there might be an intrinsic difference in intelligence between men and women, leading to a fewer  number of women than men in high-end science and engineering jobs.  This is said to have contributed to his resignation the following year.
      In 2006, Danish psychologist and intelligence researcher Helmuth Nyborg was temporarily suspended from his position at Aarhus University, deemed guilty by some of scientific misconduct by publishing a peer-reviewed paper in Personality and Individual Differences that showed an 3.15-point IQ difference in favor of men.
     Nor is there agreement as to whether any assumed differences are the biological or sociological in origin. Diane F. Halpern, in her 2000 book Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities, states that “The literature on sex differences in cognitive abilities is filled with inconsistent findings, contradictory theories, and emotional claims that are unsupported by the research.”  She continues, “Socialization practices are undoubtedly important, but there is also good evidence that biological sex differences play a role in establishing and maintaining cognitive sex differences.”
     The opposite view was taken in the book Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference, published in 2010 by Cordelia Fine, provides a critical analysis of hundreds of recent studies on sex and intelligence. She argues that there is currently no scientific evidence for innate biological differences between men and women's minds, and that cultural and societal beliefs contribute to commonly perceived sex differences.
     So, aside from the obvious physical differences (vive la difference, btw), what gender differences do you see as important? What consequences follow from our physical differences?  Should females be placed in combat positions in the armed forces?  Do hormonal differences account for behavioral variations?  What is the significance of the distinctly larger splenium in the female brain? Are men/women better/worse at some tasks than others?
     Lot’s of questions, few concrete answers.