29 votes

There’s a Vanishing Resource We’re Not Talking About - humans are losing our cultural diversity even faster than we’re destroying the planet.

36 comments

  1. [30]
    cadadr Link
    Controversial or not, for me, good riddance. I expect that we'll arrive at a single big culture the world over. We will overcome the shackles of religion and the unreasonable traditions. We will...

    Controversial or not, for me, good riddance. I expect that we'll arrive at a single big culture the world over. We will overcome the shackles of religion and the unreasonable traditions. We will have one or a few big lingua franca(s), common values, way more cooperation. Diversity will happen around these reasonable basics.

    The link between cultural diversity supposedly helping with survival when we were carving knives out of stone and with survival today is nonexistent. We have way more means than genetic adaptation for survival, since many centuries.

    Cultural "diversity" includes things like this, and many other suffering and violence and filth. Ethnicity, culture, religion, nation etc. are, in all their forms including the Western nations, primitive shackles on us. Masses of stone we have carried in to the 21st century. We have fought wars for them, we've hurt ourselves and everybody else for them. If we are to perish in a century or so, let us do so embracing reason, and each other, and the miracle that is the modern life.

    31 votes
    1. [26]
      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      What if the "single big culture the world over" is a culture you don't like or agree with? Would you still say "good riddance" to all those other cultures? Cultural diversity also includes good...

      What if the "single big culture the world over" is a culture you don't like or agree with? Would you still say "good riddance" to all those other cultures?

      Cultural diversity also includes good and positive things, not only the bad and negative things you've focussed on.

      Do we really want the entire world to be a global version of the USA?

      31 votes
      1. [4]
        Ordinator Link Parent
        Diversity and freedom are fundamentally different things, and I don't think it's necessary to intertwine them. I already live in a culture that I broadly don't like or agree with. By and large,...

        Diversity and freedom are fundamentally different things, and I don't think it's necessary to intertwine them. I already live in a culture that I broadly don't like or agree with. By and large, that's fine because no one is telling me that I have to like or agree with it.

        12 votes
        1. [3]
          diode Link Parent
          That's not fine. if you live in a culture that you disagree with, and that is the only culture, then your opinions will forever remain unactualized.

          That's not fine. if you live in a culture that you disagree with, and that is the only culture, then your opinions will forever remain unactualized.

          10 votes
          1. [2]
            Ordinator Link Parent
            Tautologically, yes. In practice, as long as freedom of speech is maintained, the dominant culture will never be the only culture, and I think that can be a generally good thing.

            Tautologically, yes. In practice, as long as freedom of speech is maintained, the dominant culture will never be the only culture, and I think that can be a generally good thing.

            4 votes
            1. diode Link Parent
              How do you reconcile these two notions? In my opinion, diversity and freedom are fundamentally intertwined. Societies only start valuing freedom because of diversity. For example, the US has...

              Diversity and freedom are fundamentally different things, and I don't think it's necessary to intertwine them.

              as long as freedom of speech is maintained, the dominant culture will never be the only culture

              How do you reconcile these two notions?

              In my opinion, diversity and freedom are fundamentally intertwined. Societies only start valuing freedom because of diversity. For example, the US has religious freedom because it has a diverse range of religions whose sectarian violence can be avoided by having religious freedom.

              9 votes
      2. [21]
        cadadr Link Parent
        Valid issue. What I mean with it is that the most basic things we can reasonably agree on, like the obsolescence of concepts like race or religion, nonviolence, respecting freedoms, respecting...

        What if the "single big culture the world over" is a culture you don't like or agree with?

        Valid issue. What I mean with it is that the most basic things we can reasonably agree on, like the obsolescence of concepts like race or religion, nonviolence, respecting freedoms, respecting people's right to live, and realise themselves the way they desire so long as it does not interfere with other people's rights.

        It is possible that the US culture become so dominant that it deletes most other cultures in the world. IDK if that would be desirable, b/c it too has many downsides to it.

        4 votes
        1. [7]
          Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
          Who is this "we" you're referring to? For every item you've listed as something we can reasonably agree on, there are many people who disagree. Exactly. Is there any culture in human history which...

          the most basic things we can reasonably agree on

          Who is this "we" you're referring to? For every item you've listed as something we can reasonably agree on, there are many people who disagree.

          It is possible that the US culture become so dominant that it deletes most other cultures in the world. IDK if that would be desirable, b/c it too has many downsides to it.

          Exactly. Is there any culture in human history which has not had downsides?

          12 votes
          1. [6]
            cadadr Link Parent
            The "we" is the entirety of humanity. I know that what I am telling is utopian. Maybe we'll never arrive there or it will take another millenium, but we are definitely going in that direction, and...

            The "we" is the entirety of humanity.

            I know that what I am telling is utopian. Maybe we'll never arrive there or it will take another millenium, but we are definitely going in that direction, and we'll continue that way. Economics are pushing us that way.

            1. [5]
              Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
              But the entirety of humanity does not agree to "the obsolescence of concepts like race or religion, nonviolence, respecting freedoms, respecting people's right to live, and realise themselves the...

              The "we" is the entirety of humanity.

              But the entirety of humanity does not agree to "the obsolescence of concepts like race or religion, nonviolence, respecting freedoms, respecting people's right to live, and realise themselves the way they desire so long as it does not interfere with other people's rights". Have you not been reading the news? There are lots of people who want to maintain the concepts of race and religion, who advocate for violence, and who do not respect freedoms or people's right to live. These are not universally agreed concepts. As @Whom rightly pointed out, these are just things you value and that you want other people to agree with you on.

              9 votes
              1. [4]
                cadadr Link Parent
                I did not say that it does now, just predicted that it will in future.

                But the entirety of humanity does not agree ...

                I did not say that it does now, just predicted that it will in future.

                1. [3]
                  Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                  Oh. This might be a language issue, then. When you write "the most basic things we can reasonably agree on", I interpret that as being in the present tense, that you're talking about today: we can...

                  Oh. This might be a language issue, then. When you write "the most basic things we can reasonably agree on", I interpret that as being in the present tense, that you're talking about today: we can agree on these things here and now, not we will agree on these things in the future. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

                  That clarification changes the nature of the debate. It's no longer about the facts of what humanity actually agrees on here and now (which I thought you were talking about), but about your opinion about what might happen in the future. And that's purely subjective, rather than factual.

                  I still don't think that the entirety of humanity will agree on these things in the future, but that's just my opinion. I can't prove it.

                  3 votes
                  1. [2]
                    cadadr Link Parent
                    I am sorry if I failed to communicate that I was talking about guesses and opinions. Also, "entirety of humanity" is definitely hyperbolic and I should amend that as "the vast majority". I still...

                    I am sorry if I failed to communicate that I was talking about guesses and opinions.

                    Also, "entirety of humanity" is definitely hyperbolic and I should amend that as "the vast majority".

                    I still do think that I did not deserve the responses I got even if I had the said wrong beliefs about the current state of things. There is no reason we assume the worst about each other when discussing here.

                    1. tiredlemma Link Parent
                      I really like your optimism, however I can't see a global monoculture arising from people casting off the shackles of ideas that you find to be primitive and ascending to some technocratic...

                      I really like your optimism, however I can't see a global monoculture arising from people casting off the shackles of ideas that you find to be primitive and ascending to some technocratic post-conflict heaven. In my youth I was part of the US military's invasion of Afghanistan, where the mission was purportedly to overthrow the oppressive religious regime and replace it with a democratic government complete with education for women, freedom to worship as you please or not, etc.

                      The Afghans hated it, and I don't blame them. You see, these values, American values, were being imposed by an imperial army on a people that straight-up doesn't want them. Are there (EDIT: typo) individual Afghans who would like a life in a Western-style democracy? Of course! And plenty of them, but not enough to make the culture really change there.

                      Having seen that culture up close and too personal, I find it to be neigh impossible to imagine this group (as a singular example) automagically evolving to accept some sanitized/improved version of Euro-US democratic values in the next hundred million years or so.

                      2 votes
        2. [13]
          Whom Link Parent
          We can reasonably agree on those things, as a species? What gives you that idea...at all? I don't think there's a single culture in the world where all of those things are the dominant agreed-upon...

          We can reasonably agree on those things, as a species? What gives you that idea...at all?

          I don't think there's a single culture in the world where all of those things are the dominant agreed-upon ideas, let alone all of them. It sounds like "the most basic things we can reasonably agree on" are just "what I value and want others to agree with me on".

          7 votes
          1. [12]
            cadadr Link Parent
            What is there in the list of things we (yes, I mean the entire human race) can agree that I provided which is something one can reasonably disagree?

            What is there in the list of things we (yes, I mean the entire human race) can agree that I provided which is something one can reasonably disagree?

            1. [11]
              Whom (edited ) Link Parent
              As in which do I think are unreasonable? Certainly strict nonviolence (though I can at least appreciate it as a goal rather than an immediate principle), but also to a certain degree the...

              As in which do I think are unreasonable? Certainly strict nonviolence (though I can at least appreciate it as a goal rather than an immediate principle), but also to a certain degree the obsolescence of religion. I'm not religious myself, but you will not beat that out of us, and there's a hell of a debate to be had over whether you should. Any argument you have for that is exactly what it is: An argument. Part of a debate. A debate in which you hold the minority opinion, for that matter.

              And bringing it down to whether or not disagreeing is reasonable makes it about you and your values, not whether other people can agree on it.

              2 votes
              1. [10]
                cadadr Link Parent
                It is not really an argument in the case of religion. It is fading away. Nobody has to beat it out of us. A few generations later it will be obsolete for most of the world. W.r.t. nonviolence I...

                It is not really an argument in the case of religion. It is fading away. Nobody has to beat it out of us. A few generations later it will be obsolete for most of the world.

                W.r.t. nonviolence I meant not starting violence. It is not reasonable to argue against defending oneself or one's freedoms and institutions that guarantee those.

                1. [8]
                  Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                  Have you heard of a little sect called Islam? The followers of this religion form nearly a quarter of the world population, they are the world's fastest growing religious group, and are on track...

                  It is not really an argument in the case of religion. It is fading away. Nobody has to beat it out of us. A few generations later it will be obsolete for most of the world.

                  Have you heard of a little sect called Islam? The followers of this religion form nearly a quarter of the world population, they are the world's fastest growing religious group, and are on track to form nearly a third of the world's population in about 40 years.

                  Meanwhile, the Christians aren't exactly dying out. They're going to maintain their position at approximately 30% of the world's population.

                  And, finally, there's this prediction about non-religious people:

                  • Atheists, agnostics and other people who do not affiliate with any religion – though increasing in countries such as the United States and France – will make up a declining share of the world’s total population.

                  http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/

                  You seem to mistaking your preference for reality. You would prefer the future to be less religious but, in reality, it won't be.

                  6 votes
                  1. [7]
                    cadadr Link Parent
                    I am really bored with this debate and won't carry it on. But you and @Whom are putting words in my mouth and thoughts in my head. I know of Islam, indeed I am an ex muslim living in a muslim...

                    I am really bored with this debate and won't carry it on. But you and @Whom are putting words in my mouth and thoughts in my head. I know of Islam, indeed I am an ex muslim living in a muslim majority country and you know it well, your style is offensive. Why whould I enter into a discussion when the participants are coming into it thinking that I am a fool living under a rock? Why are you making this into a pissing contest where everyone is trying to one-up the other with worthless rhetoric like whether I "heard of a little sect called Islam" or pursuing an off topic debate on whether religion is growing when the thing is about whether cultural diversity relates to human species' survival?

                    I might be misinformed or wrong in my interpretations of my observations, I am always happy to learn. But you fail at participating in a debate constructively. It is sad that this turned into a typical HN thread so quickly. I am sorry that I started it all.

                    1 vote
                    1. [2]
                      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                      I know you know it. That's why I'm so surprised that you believe religion "is fading away" and "it will be obsolete for most of the world" in a few generations. My question was intended to be...

                      I know of Islam, indeed I am an ex muslim living in a muslim majority country and you know it well, your style is offensive.

                      I know you know it. That's why I'm so surprised that you believe religion "is fading away" and "it will be obsolete for most of the world" in a few generations. My question was intended to be cheeky - of course you know about Islam, and I know you know about it. But somehow you're ignoring this fact in your own personal utopian vision of the world.

                      pursuing an off topic debate on whether religion is growing

                      You said one of "the most basic things we can reasonably agree on" is that religion will be obsolete in a few generations. We didn't raise this topic: you did.

                      7 votes
                      1. cadadr Link Parent
                        I don't know how well Google Translate will help you with this, but check out this article: https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-turkiye-43832877 which is about deism spreading invisibly in Turkey,...

                        I don't know how well Google Translate will help you with this, but check out this article: https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-turkiye-43832877 which is about deism spreading invisibly in Turkey, among the conservatives. I am observing people around me behave similarly. And not only this data is problematic because all muslim countries and islamic communities themselves are at least somewhat oppressive about what is being measured with the surveys you link that it is often in the interests of people to hide their reality, the growth now does not strictly pertain to what five generations will end up doing. All we have are guesses, and I told mine.

                        Yes I raised the topic, among many others. Then you two made it become the bulk of this post where it is barely relevant, and made it as if I was preaching that this was more than my guesses. Language like Whom uses when they say if I really really want something to be true it does not mean that it is true or like you do when you ask "cheeky" questions is quite off putting and belittling. And definitely not constructive.

                        1 vote
                    2. [4]
                      Whom (edited ) Link Parent
                      You made a claim that there were certain values we could agree upon as humans which is at the core of how you presented crushing cultural diversity as a good thing. Your response to the idea that...

                      You made a claim that there were certain values we could agree upon as humans which is at the core of how you presented crushing cultural diversity as a good thing. Your response to the idea that one dominant cultural force might not be one that you like was simply that everyone could agree on some very disagreeable notions. I fail to see how that's off topic. If we can't agree on those things as a species, then the conversation has to loop back to its earliest point, because the rest doesn't work.

                      And given how aggressive and inflammatory the stance you hold is by its very nature, I can't be all that sympathetic to you for being frustrated that you were pressed on it. You can't propose the idea that diversity brings "violence and filth" then get mad that not everyone takes that as a friendly look toward the future. Usually someone else takes it up before I can, but since this thread is bare, I'll be the offended one: I expect to see this kind of thing when I hang out on 4chan, not here. I think this is a case where disallowing aggressive language and not having a "fuck you" button leads to more or less useless conversations when you want a certain viewpoint to be represented but the conversation you'd have to engage in for that to happen will not bear fruit. You're bored? I'm out too.

                      (I didn't participate in an assumption about who you are because I've seen you mentioning it in the past, so I won't address that.)

                      5 votes
                      1. [3]
                        cadadr Link Parent
                        I did not do that. I just stated that everything that falls under the umbrella under cultural diversity is not neecessarily benign. Like killing disabled children or being warlike or hateful....

                        You can't propose the idea that diversity brings "violence and filth"

                        I did not do that. I just stated that everything that falls under the umbrella under cultural diversity is not neecessarily benign. Like killing disabled children or being warlike or hateful.

                        Please don't deceive my words, there is nothing to gain. I am not the alt right hater you are trying to make me into.

                        There is nothing agressive or inflammatory about my stance, only controversial. It is shared with another toplevel commenter, and apart from you and Algernon, it is not contested as if I was attempting to spread misinformation. It seems that I made a tense error and failed at indicating that I was communicating my guesses and opinions, but that did not merit this hostility.

                        1. [2]
                          Whom Link Parent
                          To clarify what I said and hopefully not push this somewhere else (because I think we both want to be done), I don't think you're alt-right. However, the idea that diversity is bad because x group...

                          To clarify what I said and hopefully not push this somewhere else (because I think we both want to be done), I don't think you're alt-right. However, the idea that diversity is bad because x group does not hold progressive values is something I see a whole lot in the darker sides of the internet, and not something I would've expected to see here. Don't think I'm trying to say anything about you beyond what's in this thread: I am unhappy enough with what's here.

                          You're right that it was shared by another, but yours sat at the top and already had a conversation going. I didn't think the other would even last this long with deletion, anyway.

                          2 votes
                          1. cadadr Link Parent
                            We indeed do, but one clarification I did not do this.

                            We indeed do, but one clarification

                            However, the idea that diversity is bad because x group does not hold progressive values is something I see a whole lot in the darker sides of the internet, and not something I would've expected to see here.

                            I did not do this.

                2. Whom Link Parent
                  It's a large jump from "atheism will continue to become more acceptable and a larger portion of the population" to "religion will die." I could maybe see an argument that the dominant formal...

                  It's a large jump from "atheism will continue to become more acceptable and a larger portion of the population" to "religion will die." I could maybe see an argument that the dominant formal religious institutions will fall by the wayside, but even that is so far off. There's no reason to believe it'll go away unless you've just convinced yourself that it's the most logical and natural thing to trend toward, which is certainly up for debate. You really really thinking something is true does not make it no longer up for debate. The point isn't whether or not you are correct, but that the inevitability of religion's demise is by far not something we can collectively agree upon as a species.

                  4 votes
    2. [3]
      Nmg Link Parent
      Would you say you don't think it possible for us to arrive at an agreed set of moral principles, while still keeping the cultural traditions that define us? Galicians should still play their...

      Would you say you don't think it possible for us to arrive at an agreed set of moral principles, while still keeping the cultural traditions that define us?

      Galicians should still play their bagpipes, if they want to, in my opinion. Their culture presents a unique musical tradition to the rest of the world. Their neighbors in Castille should probably stop with bullfighting, however.

      2 votes
      1. Ember2528 Link Parent
        I mean, why not? Many of the traditions we hold are inconsequencial to the way we live and have no moral bearing on the individuals who practice them. And on that note, humans come up with new...

        I mean, why not? Many of the traditions we hold are inconsequencial to the way we live and have no moral bearing on the individuals who practice them. And on that note, humans come up with new traditions all the time. It's just something we do.

        2 votes
      2. cadadr Link Parent
        Sure. I think more and more stuff is being put through the filter of reason, and people are moving to remove e.g. patriarchal or violent or discriminatory stuff from traditions. The recent...

        Would you say you don't think it possible for us to arrive at an agreed set of moral principles, while still keeping the cultural traditions that define us?

        Sure. I think more and more stuff is being put through the filter of reason, and people are moving to remove e.g. patriarchal or violent or discriminatory stuff from traditions. The recent evolution of marriage is an example.

        1 vote
  2. [2]
    diode Link
    I hate this concept of "culture" that people seem to accept without question. What units is culture measured in? How do you determine what constitutes a culture? You can't even deterministically...

    I hate this concept of "culture" that people seem to accept without question. What units is culture measured in? How do you determine what constitutes a culture? You can't even deterministically define which cultural categories exist. Culture seems to be the 21st century version of miasma: some poorly defined concept that we defer to when we encounter phenomenon we can't understand.

    18 votes
    1. Happy_Shredder Link Parent
      Yeah this is a perspective that bothers me too. I often see this implication that culture is some static feature of people (which is nonsense) and when this concept is coupled to ethnicity or...

      Yeah this is a perspective that bothers me too. I often see this implication that culture is some static feature of people (which is nonsense) and when this concept is coupled to ethnicity or nationality it tends towards racist dog-whistles. So there's two issues here: ill-defined, intellectually void ideas; and the real, practical consequences of racism.

      I should note that I think that culture can be characterised more objectively. We could talk about how groups of people develop distinct language, fashion, art, philosophies, values, traditions, and so on. These arise due to inter-people interactions, and interactions between people and the environment and people and technology. As people are born and die, leave and join, as technologies evolve, and the environment changes, so will culture. It must be dynamic, and a cursory examination of history shows this.

      9 votes
  3. Akir Link
    I'm sorry, but this article doesn't make any sense. The author claims that the existance of cultures is what has helped humanity survive in different climates, but pretty much arguement she offers...

    I'm sorry, but this article doesn't make any sense. The author claims that the existance of cultures is what has helped humanity survive in different climates, but pretty much arguement she offers is post hoc ergo propter hoc. People living in whatever climate survived the harshness because they developed technology to adapt to it. It's like saying that we live in buildings because it's our culture and completely ignoring how much more obviously comfortable the buildings are in comparison to the outdoors.

    The worst part about it is this assertion:

    Numerous studies have linked linguistic diversity and biodiversity. Lose local languages, and you lose local species.

    And then she goes on to not mention any. She instead links to a magazine article that shows a correlation. I hope I don't have to explain that correlation is not causation. It's like nobody stopped to wonder if the reason why there was so much biodiversity was because the people there weren't drastically urbanizing the landscape and destroying the nearby animal habitats. Here's a wild thought; maybe they can't even begin to start doing that because they can't talk to eachother to organize the labor.

    I'm sure there are good arguements as to why we should protect endangered cultures, but this certainly is not one.

    17 votes
  4. Whom Link
    I don't want to directly engage and start a fight, but since there's no top-level comment expressing this...I'll take the apparently controversial stance that cultural diversity is a generally...

    I don't want to directly engage and start a fight, but since there's no top-level comment expressing this...I'll take the apparently controversial stance that cultural diversity is a generally good thing and embracing it doesn't mean you're accepting the negative parts of every culture. It's complex and hard to navigate without putting one culture in a dominant position over the others, but the difficulty of balancing these things doesn't justify throwing it away entirely.

    That said, this article is weird and not something I would use to defend my position. I don't doubt that cultural diversity helps in survival situations, but it seems like a weirdly far-off argument to grasp at in an attempt to avoid talking about values.

    13 votes
  5. NeoTheFox Link
    I am a cultural chauvinist, I'm not going to beat around the bush. I really do think that some cultures are better than others, and that the world would be a better place if a lot of backwards...

    I am a cultural chauvinist, I'm not going to beat around the bush. I really do think that some cultures are better than others, and that the world would be a better place if a lot of backwards cultures will die out completely. That said the author of the article has a very antiquated view of culture, one that started to crumble in 20th century - that cultures are tied to locations, languages and ethnicity. Which they historically always used to be because of isolation. Culture rarely crossed borders without an army, and today we spread it all over the place just by talking. With the invention of written word, radio and now, the internet we have all kinds of cultural influence, we finally get to pick and choose things we want to belong to, instead of rolling the dice of where you've been born. The future is going to be subcultures coexisting on top of one homogenized core, and this is only the natural process, the isolationist heaven died when the first message had been sent over the ocean. And don't get me started on "vanishing languages", I personally speak two and a half, and while english is not my native language I would not shed a tear if others die off - people study foreign languages themselves, I really doubt that young people in these "indigenous" cultures are willing to study a dying language just to know it - I wouldn't, and if they would've wanted to the language wouldn't be vanishing, would it? I fully understand older people that are grasping at straws while looking at their children rejecting the whole premise and foundation of their culture but it is as it is.

    9 votes
  6. Eva Link
    Only one of these things is irreversible and indefensible.

    Only one of these things is irreversible and indefensible.