On Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 12:44 PM, Rex May <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Exactly so, Jens.  If all cultures are equal, then how can you possibly improve any of them?
If you did, then it would be superior to all the others.  If you mean that all cultures are
potentially equal, that's another thing entirely.

To a point I can agree with you. Certainly not equal, but I'm not sure this necessarily means better or worse. I think that just because culture A has more bad points than culture B, it does not necessarily mean that culture B can't learn anything from culture A. The culture of the US might be superior in some ways to some less technologically advanced one, but Americans might learn something from the many other cultures in the world where you can scold other people's children without worrying about being sued for psychological damage or something like that. 

What I'm getting at, is that the sentiment that cultures are equal is absurd on the face of it,
and if it is meant that human beings en masse have equal potential, that's what should be

I again, I can definitely agree about not equal. Thinking that all people can do math the same and swim at the same speed is patently absurd. For human beings, the potential doesn't really have to be the same. But certainly worthy of the same rights and responsibilities as human beings. Equality before the law, in other words.

Even with languages, it would not be right IMO to say that all languages are equal. They are all worthy as languages, but clearly some modern languages like English have a much fuller technical vocabulary than languages spoken in less advanced technological societies. So people speaking those languages may not have proper vocabulary to express things. But I don't think this can be made into "good" and "bad". After all, the fact that medical terms are complicated Latin words in English sometimes makes it hard for people to understand what doctors are saying. In Japanese, the words used by doctors and those understood by people are somewhat closer (maybe because of the kanji). In English, the term "orthostatic hypotension" is really hard if you are not familiar with it. In Japanese, the term is self-evident from the kanji. In another, more "primitive" language, the doctor might have no choice to say "low blood pressure that makes you faint when you stand up."

Jens Wilkinson
Neo Patwa (