Author Topic: SKEPTIC magazine continues skepticism's descent into a dark, sad, bigoted hole  (Read 6162 times)

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Offline Enkidu

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I'm not sure that's a good analogy, and I still can't tease out your point with any confidence.

I believe he is referencing the risk/benefit issues with debating certain issues. Ken Ham made a lot of money off of that debate, and having a probable rapist on your show is highly likely to result in book sales for said probable rapist. More, the fact that he is on the show at all suggests that "hey, maybe he's not so bad, maybe he's innocent." Milo's agent tried to get him an appearance on Samantha Bee's show and Bee's assistant basically told him to get fucked; I can't remember the specific wording, but Bee tweeted it out approvingly. Milo would have likely given them a viewership bump just from people wanting to watch the shit show, but they took the high ground.

At a certain point there is no more value in hearing from a particular perspective, and when you weigh this against promoting and giving economic aid to someone who has done reprehensible things . . . . do you really want to help a horrible person make money off of the horrible things that they have done so that . . . what? Do we need to hear Cosby's side at this point? Do any of us need to hear more of Milo's vapid nonsense? What is there to gain from having Shermer on a program at this point?

Can you imagine a holocaust denier being interviewed on the SGU? I could see it on Be Reasonable, but the whole point of that podcast is to interview batshit crazy/ reprehensible people. The SGU doesn't do that, so why have someone on who almost certainly raped women in the skeptical community and whose continued presence is having a negative impact on skepticism.

Offline Redamare

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We seem to be talking past each other.

Shermer's problem is stuff he did, not stuff he says. I'm not aware of any views he has that would need to be challenged, and having someone on a show to grill them about their behavior is not particularly interesting to me. They're either going to admit it or deny it, there is no "argument" involved.

Milo is a provocateur. Now, I want to be very careful, here, because a lot of people throw that label at anyone who wants to discuss anything outside the mainstream. But Milo, and Anne Coulter, for that matter, really are subscribing to a business model built on generating outrage. They're not here to discuss anything rationally, and I have no interest in feeding a monster. But I think the number of people about whom you could say that is actually rather small. Milo is able to do what he does in no small part because of ideas that have some merit, but are swept under the rug because they have associations with other, more repugnant views. I think many of the people out there promoting dangerous but ascendant views, who seem sincere, should be debated firmly, politely, and publically.

I don't know that Ken Ham's creationism is a good candidate for this. I don't think it was ascendant, for one thing. Yes, there is some risk of "legitimizing" a view. But if it's already growing like wildfire, trying to marginalize a viewpoint has its own risks. People will assume you are afraid to talk about it because you know it's true.
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Offline Eternally Learning

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I've tried and I just cannot make it through this whole thread.  I don't pay any attention to Milo, but it is distressing to me that Skeptic Magazine seems to supporting him, or at least not being very critical of his views.  I mean, if I'm going to read a book review in a magazine labelled "Skeptic" then I'm going to want to see some skepticism, not just an uncritical rephrasing of it that I could find anywhere. 

All that aside, I find the idea of distancing myself from the "skeptic" label, ever, laughable.  If every other person in this world who calls themself a skeptic is a racist, homophobic, sexist, violent waste of human life I will still identify as a skeptic.  The reasons are that the label is accurately applied to me, as a skeptic I'm fairly pedantic, and those qualities it describes in me and what I strive to be like are qualities that I value as most critically important to forming my worldview.  Don't get me wrong, the fact that the skeptic label has in some cases become associated with things I find disgusting bothers me quite a bit, but that is a separate issue.

Offline moj

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I don't use the skeptic label anymore because I don't think it' s helpful. I've never once mentioned it and had someone not already involved know what I'm talking about. If I mention it would have to then explain the history and what its about instead of denying global warming. For that reason I stopped using it because it's not helpful or descriptive. I can just say I dig logic and truth and the scientific method and it be more efficient at communicating the ideas of things I value then bringing up skepticism.

Offline John Albert

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Milo's agent tried to get him an appearance on Samantha Bee's show and Bee's assistant basically told him to get fucked; I can't remember the specific wording, but Bee tweeted it out approvingly. Milo would have likely given them a viewership bump just from people wanting to watch the shit show, but they took the high ground.

A counterexample might be the Joe Rogan episode with Milo. I'm not a huge Rogan fan, but I have to credit him with handling that exchange pretty masterfully. He hung back and let Milo do all the talking, gently stringing him along with some soft-spoken jabs here and there to underscore that he in no way endorses the views of this narcissistic bigot. Lulled into a false sense of security, Milo took the bait. He just rambled and bitched and boasted and bloviated, and talked himself right out of a career before he even knew what was going on.

There was also the Marc Maron WTF podcast episode where the comedian Gallagher melted down and walked out of the interview after Maron gently challenged him about homophobic jokes in his stage show. There's no way Gallagher could have come out on top of that one. He blew it.

Of course both of these examples involve an interview subject who is not only guilty of bad behavior, but also possessed of some overt character flaws (narcissism in the case of Milo, and Gallagher's bitterness over the state of his career).


Can you imagine a holocaust denier being interviewed on the SGU? I could see it on Be Reasonable, but the whole point of that podcast is to interview batshit crazy/ reprehensible people. The SGU doesn't do that, so why have someone on who almost certainly raped women in the skeptical community and whose continued presence is having a negative impact on skepticism.

On the SGU? No. As you said, the point of the SGU is not to engage and challenge woo believers on their shit.

I've never listened to Be Reasonable. Is it worth checking out?
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 12:18:30 PM by John Albert »

Online The Latinist

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I've never listened to Be Reasonable. Is it worth checking out?

It depends on your tolerance for batshittery.  The entire schtick is getting batshit people to come on and share their batshittery.  The point is not to challenge it, but just to draw it out.  It's painful.
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Offline John Albert

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That sounds it could either be very interesting or extremely frustrating, depending on the subject.

To be clear, I don't give a fuck about Shermer's politics.

There's also the whole "getting grabby with women" thing, which is a.k.a. "sexual assault."

Although I think those accusations are more likely true than not, I'm not convinced that they are true.

Thank you for defining rape culture.

The definition of "rape culture" is failing to believe (without question) any given accusation?

This is another problem with intersectionality theory, in particular the concept that there's such a thing as a separate "feminist epistemology," under which positivist rules don't apply. It's a way to shoehorn social activism into the methodology of epistemology itself, and it backfires in some very obvious ways.

The concepts of requiring evidence or applying proportional credibility are thrown out the window whenever a perception of social injustice comes into play. It leads to paradoxes like the adage, "always believe the victim." The problem is... lacking any kind of evidence or personal knowledge of the individuals, how can you know who's the victim? Is the accuser always the victim? We have plenty of real world evidence that accusers sometimes lie. But according to some interpretations of feminist epistemology, the mere acknowledgement of that reality amounts to a rape apologetic. It's absurd, but not intentionally so. The problem is not that it's dishonest per se, but that it's rooted in some deeply flawed logic. For all its academic pretense, it ends up being just empty rhetoric that relies entirely on social pressure and public shaming.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 12:45:55 PM by John Albert »

Offline Ah.hell

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On the SGU? No. As you said, the point of the SGU is not to engage and challenge woo believers and on their shit.

I've never listened to Be Reasonable. Is it worth checking out?
I've really enjoyed the one or two times SGI has interviewed woo beleivers though. Be reasonable would be great if they got more interesting guests.  The few episodes I've listened to have been pretty dull.

Offline Enkidu

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Be Reasonable is hit or miss. The flat earther episode was good. Another one, with some B-actor that thought he was psychic, was fucking hilarious. And then there was the episode with the guy selling bleach water to treat diseases in Africa; that one was infuriating, for the host as well as the audience (because children were fucking dying).

Offline arthwollipot

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That sounds it could either be very interesting or extremely frustrating, depending on the subject.
It's both, simultaneously.

I think The Latinist's characterisation is a fraction on the unfair side. The point of the podcast is to be curious and interested in what the guests are talking about.

Offline Beleth

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That sounds it could either be very interesting or extremely frustrating, depending on the subject.
It's both, simultaneously.

I think The Latinist's characterisation is a fraction on the unfair side. The point of the podcast is to be curious and interested in what the guests are talking about.

Wouldn't we just get a podcast version of Art Bell's Coast to Coast AM radio show that way?
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 03:08:36 PM by Beleth »
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Offline arthwollipot

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That sounds it could either be very interesting or extremely frustrating, depending on the subject.
It's both, simultaneously.

I think The Latinist's characterisation is a fraction on the unfair side. The point of the podcast is to be curious and interested in what the guests are talking about.

Wouldn't we just get a podcast version of Art Bell's Coast to Coast AM radio show that way?

I've never heard Coast to Coast, but I get the impression that Marsh digs deeper with a single interviewee, rather than having a lot of crackpots scream random stuff into the telephone and leave. The people he has on are generally quite articulate.

And it's not true that Marsh doesn't challenge his guests. He just challenges them politely and respectfully, and with curiosity for what they're actually saying.

Offline John Albert

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I've never heard Coast to Coast

The old 1990s Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell can be found online.


Offline arthwollipot

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I've never heard Coast to Coast

The old 1990s Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell can be found online.
My statement was not a request.

Offline John Albert

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My statement was not a request.

Well, there it is. Take it or leave it.

Some of those old episodes are well worth listening to, from a skeptical point of view if not just for entertainment's sake.

 

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