In political discussions we often find ourselves discussing people in groups. This seems to be even more popular in the days of identity politics and SJWs. The problem with doing this is that the world is a complicated place, and most groups will have outliers. On this board, I see a lot of people with different world views due to their different experiences and education. I also see a lot of arguing between people who both cling to their own truths, and fail to realize that the complete truth encompasses their truth, and the seemingly incompatible truth of their political adversary. The first issue that made this clear to me is the comparison of the intelligence of men and women. There are people who are thoroughly convinced that men are smarter than women, there are people thoroughly convinced that women are smarter than men, and there are those who are convinced men and women are of equal intelligence. The interesting thing is that they are all correct, and sometimes for different reasons. For example, some people are convinced that men and women are of equal intelligence because their experiences support this (they saw it in the trees). Others hold the same opinion because an expert stated this after conducting a large scale investigation (based on the whole forest). Others have varying experiences (with the trees) that create the impression of one sex being smarter than the other. So how can everyone be right? It's because people operate in different domains (among different groups of trees). If you work in special education you'll probably care for a lot more males than females, giving the impression that men aren't as smart as women. If you teach or grew up taking classes on the slower track, you probably noticed that the girls consistently seemed to be smarter than the boys. In the middle track, things will appear to be pretty even. In the fast track, you'll notice the females reaching out to use every resource available to them just to keep pace with males who understand things much quicker on an individual level. Standardized tests and intelligence tests show over an over again that men are over represented at both ends of the intelligence spectrum (high and low). Thus depending on what part of the spectrum you associate with or concern yourself with, we find that any of the 3 answers (men smarter, women smarter, same intelligence) may be true. But that's not to say that any answer is equally valid. In fact, if you take a truth from one part of the spectrum and try to apply it to another part of the spectrum you will be quite wrong. For example, if you take the statement from an expert based on the forest (that men and women are equally intelligent on average) and try to apply it to either end of the spectrum, you will be wrong. If you expect to see equal performance and test results in the top 10%, 5%, or 1% based on your belief that men and women are equally intelligent, your expectation isn't likely to be realized. But since your opinion was informed by an expert (and applied incorrectly by you) you are likely to look for outside causes, and focus your efforts on closing the gender gap in the domain you concern yourself with (while ignoring an opposite gender gap at the other end). On the other hand, it's possible to miss discrimination because you understand that the results shouldn't be equal; but perhaps they are more unequal than they ought to be. There's been a lot of discussion lately about white privilege, with a lot of whites saying they haven't experienced it and that they would likely be better off if they were a member of some minority group, while some members of minority groups simultaneously find that idea laughable. Are they both right? Perhaps. Individuals with these beliefs may just be operating in different domains. If you and your associates went to college in the last 30 years, or if you're planning to go to college and start a career related to your field of study, and you aren't a legacy, then there probably exists a minority privilege in that domain. White (and Asian) students in this group who are well prepared for college with high GPAs and good test scores would likely find acceptance easier if they maintained those attributes, but somehow joined a different minority group. Similarly, employers of high achieving college students are seeking diversity more often than not. This is one of the main issues raised with affirmative action: it gives greater privilege to the already privileged. Most of the well prepared minority students with high GPAs and good test scores are privileged outliers among their minority group, growing up with many advantages (compared even to most of the majority group their applications are compared against). In this domain, there is minority privilege; there is black privilege; there is hispanic privilege, there can be female privilege (particularly in STEM). But not everyone goes to college. On the other end of the spectrum we have people looking for service and manufacturing jobs, and they aren't usually looking to relocate too far from home. In this domain there is white (or majority) privilege. We've seen the results of the resume studies, which have their flaws, but support this conclusion. We see differences in sentencing, and question whether police are fair in their dealings with the different races. If a minority in this domain could maintain their core attributes but change their appearance and name to belong to the white (majority) group, their lives would probably be easier. (There is probably a large geographic dependency to this.) These truths are not at odds with each other. They are part of a larger, more complicated truth. You can fail to appreciate this, and still be right some of the time. If you want to be right all the time, you're going to have to see the forest AND all the trees. That's a tall order. At least we can appreciate that different truths can reside in different parts of the forest, and begin to educate ourselves about them. I think it will lead to fewer discussion with people talking past each other. What I'd like to see is people post more examples of truths that differ based on the domain. I find these to be very interesting and informative. Another obvious example is to compare the intelligence or level of education of liberals with conservatives. I've seen people in both groups completely convinced that their group is the smart one, and the other group is full of dummies. In reality, the liberals are over-represented at both ends of the spectrum (similar to males compared to females). What I expect is people to try and pick apart my examples, which really is not the point here. We have had threads and will continue to have threads about specific political issues. This thread is supposed to be about how a tree (or even a group of trees) doesn't necessarily represent the forest, AND that the forest taken as a whole doesn't necessarily represent individual trees (or groups of trees).