Do you think some cultures can be superior to others?

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ijamess
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#1
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So basically I was reading some stuff by Richard Dawkins on Twitter and it got me thinking about an interesting point: That culture is often confused with race and therefore given a protection that it doesn't deserve.

Now, I cannot help but mind myself agreeing with that.

Do you think that it is possible for a culture to be more superior or inferior to another? For example, do you think that the fact that in some cultures the clitoris of a female child being removed (FGM) can be justified because it is a cultural practice?

Thoughts?
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KwameBrighton777
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(Original post by ijamess)
So basically I was reading some stuff by Richard Dawkins on Twitter and it got me thinking about an interesting point: That culture is often confused with race and therefore given a protection that it doesn't deserve.

Now, I cannot help but mind myself agreeing with that.

Do you think that it is possible for a culture to be more superior or inferior to another? For example, do you think that the fact that in some cultures the clitoris of a female child being removed (FGM) can be justified because it is a cultural practice?

Thoughts?
Why do so many whites have to thinking in terms of hierarchy ?

Why does everything have to be ranked ?

It leads to a profound ethnocentrism

Hierarchical thinking is highly correlated with racism.

Hierarchical thinking have their place and use, just like any other thought pattern. BUT using it to dehumanize millions is an abuse.

I am pretty sure that most people think their own culture is better than others. The Ancient Egyptians did. The Imperial Chinese did. But they and MOST others outside of the Western and Muslim world did not see that as an excuse to wipe out or enslave millions of people. This is not a case of “everyone does it”.

Most of the civilian deaths of the past hundred years were caused by people with clearly hierarchical views: Stalin, Churchill, Hitler, Truman, Mao, Nixon, Pol Pot, the Rwandans, the Muslim Sudanese, Osama bin Laden, Bush the Younger, etc.
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cambio wechsel
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Yes. To deny this is to deny the reality and even the possibility of social progress.

Britain today is a better country than was the Britain of 200 years ago, this because it is better to have universal suffrage than not, better to outlaw child-labour than allow it, better to provide welfare than send to the workhouse. This culture is better than that.

That kind of comparison across time is uncontroversial because the 19th century has no lobby and we in the present don't feel that we cannot legitimately compare with or criticise the mores of the past. But it secures the idea that cultures and their values might be weighed against each other.

Now it would be quite unwarranted for me to claim to be a better man than for example Thomas Jefferson. He kept slaves, yes, and I do not. Still I understand that moral judgement here should take into account the lights of the time and society. Cultural relativism does useful work in stopping me from feeling smug, then. But I reserve the right to say that a culture that doesn't tolerate slaving is better than one which does, such that progress has been made.
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Algorithm69
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Absolutely they can.
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DanB1991
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(Original post by KwameBrighton777)
I am pretty sure that most people think their own culture is better than others. The Ancient Egyptians did. The Imperial Chinese did. But they and MOST others outside of the Western and Muslim world did not see that as an excuse to wipe out or enslave millions of people. This is not a case of “everyone does it”.
Okay just stop.... virtually every culture at some point has wiped out or enslaved millions of people. Ancient Egypt and China where famous for the amount of slaves they used.... guess who built the great wall and the pyramids?

Large scale literal slavery continues to this day in South America, Asia and Africa. In the past Slavery was practiced on a large scale by the majority of peoples. Please stop now, it's making you sound as intolerant as European imperialist's.

Anyway trying to claim one culture is "superior to others" as the OP put it, is impossible.

Virtually every culture that has ever existed has thought itself superior to others, whether it be in technology, culture, militarily, socially, physically, extent they are civilized, intelligence, level of democracy etc. The list just goes on and on.

European's saw themselves as superior to native Americans, in return peoples in south and north america saw themselves as more civilized than the Europeans. When Rome and Ancient China contacted each other, they both claimed to be superior to the other. To this day some Africans see Europeans as bloodthirsty imperialist's, in contrast some Europeans see Africans as barbaric. You could compare things such as this all day. The main thing is what scale would you use to even try and measure a cultures so called superiority?

Even on social morals you cannot claim one is better than the other. It's simply impossible and it's pointless to try.
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Welsh_insomniac
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(Original post by DanB1991)
Okay just stop.... virtually every culture at some point has wiped out or enslaved millions of people. Ancient Egypt and China where famous for the amount of slaves they used.... guess who built the great wall and the pyramids?

Large scale literal slavery continues to this day in South America, Asia and Africa. In the past Slavery was practiced on a large scale by the majority of peoples. Please stop now, it's making you sound as intolerant as European imperialist's.

Anyway trying to claim one culture is "superior to others" as the OP put it, is impossible.

Virtually every culture that has ever existed has thought itself superior to others, whether it be in technology, culture, militarily, socially, physically, extent they are civilized, intelligence, level of democracy etc. The list just goes on and on.

European's saw themselves as superior to native Americans, in return peoples in south and north america saw themselves as more civilized than the Europeans. When Rome and Ancient China contacted each other, they both claimed to be superior to the other. To this day some Africans see Europeans as bloodthirsty imperialist's, in contrast some Europeans see Africans as barbaric. You could compare things such as this all day. The main thing is what scale would you use to even try and measure a cultures so called superiority?

Even on social morals you cannot claim one is better than the other. It's simply impossible and it's pointless to try.
I honestly can't believe where so many of these people come from. Some of the most vocal people act as if they are experts on world history.
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TheTranshumanist
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Definitely.
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Hey Porter
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Obviously, compare the culture of Saudi Arabia, to say, Sweden, if you had to choose one of the two which would you choose? I'd definitely choose Sweden.
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caravaggio2
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In Pakistan, there is a culture of disfiguring women and girls with acid attacks.there has even been a case of a man pouring acid onto his sleeping babys face because he didnt want another girl in the family.
In the last few years there has been about 1900 such attacks in and around Lahore alone.
This one fact alone makes our culture vastly superior to theirs.
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Snagprophet
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Superior is so subjective. For instance, I'd consider a culture which gives all people freedoms superior to, for instance, what happens in most Muslim countries to Women, LGBTs etc.

You could also say a culture which organises people more efficiently is superior but it's not really anything notable about a lot of these.
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Yi-Ge-Ningderen
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Yes.
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felamaslen
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Saying that all cultures are equal is equivalent to saying people of different cultures belong to different species.
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KingBradly
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If there is such a thing as the word 'superior', then yes, some cultures can certainly be superior to others.
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AdamskiUK
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No society which supports FGM or stoning or violent conversions to a particular religion can ever be deemed to be civilised, let alone inferior to another which doesn't.

A society is comprised of more than just one culture and one race, but you can collectively assess this society to see who the proprietors are who instigate these horrific ideas amongst their people.

A master race comprising of whites, blacks and Asians who don't infringe on the free rights of others is best - some cultures openly deny that freedom is a necessary and essential thing.

They are the most evil cultures of all - look at Saudi. Women not driving to 'protect them' from the dangers of the road? They're all pathetic, yet it isn't down to just religion. It's an influencing factor but when you analyse it all, they're all influenced by more than just one thing.
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Zürich
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(Original post by ijamess)
So basically I was reading some stuff by Richard Dawkins on Twitter and it got me thinking about an interesting point: That culture is often confused with race and therefore given a protection that it doesn't deserve.

Now, I cannot help but mind myself agreeing with that.

Do you think that it is possible for a culture to be more superior or inferior to another? For example, do you think that the fact that in some cultures the clitoris of a female child being removed (FGM) can be justified because it is a cultural practice?

Thoughts?
Of course, only a fool or a liar would claim otherwise.

Was Roman culture superior to that of Britons in the first century? Of course.
Was the culture of Spain superior to that of the Aztecs in 1519? Of course.
Is the culture of Somalia inferior to that of Austria today? Of course.
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DanB1991
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(Original post by Zürich)
Was Roman culture superior to that of Britons in the first century? Of course.
Was the culture of Spain superior to that of the Aztecs in 1519? Of course.
Is the culture of Somalia inferior to that of Austria today? Of course.
Care to explain... especially the first two.... presume it's built on quite massive misconceptions of Britons, Celts and native Americans....

Roman culture was a mix of Greek, Eastern, Punic and Celtic cultures. Virtually nothing in Roman culture was original.

Culture is not technological advancement.... In many ways the Romans and Spanish where much more barbaric than their adversaries you gave examples of.
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Zürich
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(Original post by DanB1991)
Care to explain... especially the first two.... presume it's built on quite massive misconceptions of Britons, Celts and native Americans....

Roman culture was a mix of Greek, Eastern, Punic and Celtic cultures. Virtually nothing in Roman culture was original.

Culture is not technological advancement.... In many ways the Romans and Spanish where much more barbaric than their adversaries you gave examples of.
Whether it was original or not, it was still the greatest culture of the time. How can you compare Britons who lived in huts to the Romans who lived in houses with running water etc?

Native Americans were savages in the true sense of the word, you can idolise them as noble savages all you like but their culture was every bit as bloodthirsty as that of the Europeans. Throw in cannibalism and human sacrifices etc and you have a culture that didn't deserve to survive.
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Old_Simon
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(Original post by Zürich)
Whether it was original or not, it was still the greatest culture of the time. How can you compare Britons who lived in huts to the Romans who lived in houses with running water etc?

Native Americans were savages in the true sense of the word, you can idolise them as noble savages all you like but their culture was every bit as bloodthirsty as that of the Europeans. Throw in cannibalism and human sacrifices etc and you have a culture that didn't deserve to survive.
The notion that Britons lived in "mud huts" and were then "civilised" by the Romans is laughable. It is such an entrenched old fashioned view of history.
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tengentoppa
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(Original post by KwameBrighton777)
Why do so many whites have to thinking in terms of hierarchy ?

Why does everything have to be ranked ?

It leads to a profound ethnocentrism

Hierarchical thinking is highly correlated with racism.

Hierarchical thinking have their place and use, just like any other thought pattern. BUT using it to dehumanize millions is an abuse.

I am pretty sure that most people think their own culture is better than others. The Ancient Egyptians did. The Imperial Chinese did. But they and MOST others outside of the Western and Muslim world did not see that as an excuse to wipe out or enslave millions of people. This is not a case of “everyone does it”.

Most of the civilian deaths of the past hundred years were caused by people with clearly hierarchical views: Stalin, Churchill, Hitler, Truman, Mao, Nixon, Pol Pot, the Rwandans, the Muslim Sudanese, Osama bin Laden, Bush the Younger, etc.
Don't you think it's contradictory to claim many whites have hierarchical views and then to produce a list which contains many non-whites?
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VK96
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(Original post by ijamess)
So basically I was reading some stuff by Richard Dawkins on Twitter and it got me thinking about an interesting point: That culture is often confused with race and therefore given a protection that it doesn't deserve.

Now, I cannot help but mind myself agreeing with that.

Do you think that it is possible for a culture to be more superior or inferior to another? For example, do you think that the fact that in some cultures the clitoris of a female child being removed (FGM) can be justified because it is a cultural practice?

Thoughts?
Ideally, I would say no. Children don't get to choose their culture and things like genital mutilation are unacceptable in the eyes of the vast majority of the world. We could argue that parents should have autonomy over their child however this could lead to the slippery slope of parents being allowed to decide their children's' religion, etc.

I can see why some people would say yes because of this. However I think some things are simply outright unacceptable like FGM.

Ultimately though it will continue to occur so long as these different cultures exist.
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