Author Topic: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"  (Read 1724 times)

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Online Harry Black

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2018, 05:01:15 AM »
Bit of an aside, but I can't stop seeing that, "just because you disagree," canard as being like money laundering. 

Step 1) Say some nazi-esque shit or whatever.
Step 2) Other person says, "that's some nazi-esque shit, what the hell?"
Step 3) Some dude pipes up, "whoa, you can't say that just because you disagree!"

Apparently disagreement makes equals of us all. You can launder anything through it.

I see it a lot of from the alt-right types.
Right. One of our former members was just a curmudgeon who disagreed when he advocated genocide of muslims. People said they disagreed, but still played mafia and swapped baby pics with him.

Panda however was the worst person ever because they expressed their feelings about issues important to them and was mocked and berated for being uncivil.

People felt like the straight white  right wing programmer contributed a valuable perspective and made good points (and frequently said so) but the really smart trans artist was just an over the top and uncivil snowflake who got 'offended' everytime someone was 'politically incorrect'.

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2018, 03:55:58 PM »
He really demonstrated that this debate technique actually works:
If global warming is real then how come I just felt this chill down my spine?

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2018, 04:40:06 PM »
He really demonstrated that this debate technique actually works:


Do you really think this applies to me?
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2018, 05:34:06 PM »
I can admit that I am a free speech fundamentalist. One of the most fundamental liberties necessary for a free society.

Then you have a very myopic, limited, and privileged view of the world. I'm not getting into the same free speech argument again, but the reality is we do in fact limit speech all of the time. Free Speech Fundamentalism is a simple answer to a complex question, and betrays a lack of depth of understanding human behavior and cultures.

I don't view freedom of speech as a solution to a problem. I view it as a principle necessary for a free society.

Look, I don't even remember what thread that is?

I sure do.

What I do know is you post anti-Islamic and anti-refugee talking points a lot

I do? Do you have any examples of this? If I do it "a lot", it should be easy for you to provide examples.

and when people engage you on it you argue with more talking points.

Please give examples.

And as surprising as you might find this, it's not all about you. You aren't bringing anything different to the table than any number of young men online who repeat the same talking points and engage in the same bad faith behavior. My concern is with this demographic as a whole, and how we veer you away from enabling the cruel and xenophobic right wing politics in the world.

Do you have any examples of my xenophobia?

And regardless of your claims to not be a member of a tribe, the goods and the ideas you're selling are.

Then that would be the tribe of skepticism, of secularism. Which is fine by me.

Quote
Also, I don't recognize that threads here are debates where people declare victory. At least I don't view it like that, and I can't recall ever claiming victory. Most of the time the "threads" die out because, I guess, things don't really progress anywhere, people for whatever reason get less time and therefore don't visit the forum for a while and when they are back, that discussion was too long ago to warrant further debate, or because a discussion becomes too heated so it is better to just call it quits. But I may be wrong. I can only answer for myself.

You clearly join in passive aggressive questioning of other's skeptical bona fides. That you don't see that behavior as part of dominance assertion seems to just be another facet of yourself you're blind to.

I didn't question anyone's "skeptical bona fides" in the part you quoted.

The notion that I am some sort of dominant person on this forum is absurd.

Quote
What does "overvaluing" the idea of intellectualism mean? I don't know about you, but I think society has too little, rather than too much, intellectual thought. What desirable alternative to intellectualism is there?

And again, you miss the point of what people are saying, and respond in the least charitable way possible. Though I'm sure any minute now you'll complain that people aren't giving you the benefit of the principle of charity (or more likely smugly you'll wonder it aloud  ::) ).

Instead of writing what you are sure about what I will do, why don't you answer the question asked to you, to elaborate and clarify your viewpoint?
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline heyalison

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2018, 07:04:36 AM »
I can admit that I am a free speech fundamentalist. One of the most fundamental liberties necessary for a free society.

Then you have a very myopic, limited, and privileged view of the world. I'm not getting into the same free speech argument again, but the reality is we do in fact limit speech all of the time. Free Speech Fundamentalism is a simple answer to a complex question, and betrays a lack of depth of understanding human behavior and cultures.

I don't view freedom of speech as a solution to a problem...

And we're back to arguing in circles, lacking basic comprehension, and misrepresenting others. Whatever attention and validation you're craving, you'll have to find it elsewhere,  because I'm not playing this game with you.

Also, clearly that Hitler comic was talking about someone else, not you. Get over yourself.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2018, 08:12:33 AM »
You made some very specific accusations against me, that I am anti-refugee and anti-Muslim, and that I post that "a lot". Are you going to back up your claims, or withdraw the accusations?
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Online stands2reason

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2018, 01:28:13 PM »
Right. One of our former members was just a curmudgeon who disagreed when he advocated genocide of muslims. People said they disagreed, but still played mafia and swapped baby pics with him.

It's worth noting that some people only follow some boards and/or ignore others. If they do, often(?) they ignore Politics. So there's a good chance they didn't notice. I mean, we could solve that problem by having a "badge" or a Star that you put on someone's profile that marks them as a Nazi or alt-right. But see, that's ironic: the people who want to do that are the ones that are actually imitating the policies of—oh never mind...

But, to stay on topic with regards to the OP. The issue I have with that sentiment is that seems to frame anyone speaking out and providing critical analysis is "debate-like". I don't post as though I have something to win or something to prove, only when I feel like I am adding something. The emotion that people ascribe to written text (especially when they do so superciliously) seems to mostly reflect their own state of mind.

Quote
Ironically, even on this board discourse has been hampered by this aggressive demand that every thread be treated as a debate, and that all debates be answered or the opponent has "lost."

The irony is that what happens on this board is like a backwards version of debating. People can basically use as many or as few words as they desire to make a point. There are no formalized sides, turns between sides, time slots for each debater. Anyone can take time to find evidence, collect their thoughts. In actual debates, the less honest person has a very strong chance of winning if they have the right kind of "salesperson" personality. It is called the Gish Gallop, and it explains the fact that is takes more thought and more words to deconstruct/debunk things (i.e. misleading or outright false claims that have been made) than it does to make those false claims.

« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 01:51:10 PM by stands2reason »

Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2018, 06:26:35 PM »
Right. One of our former members was just a curmudgeon who disagreed when he advocated genocide of muslims. People said they disagreed, but still played mafia and swapped baby pics with him.

It's worth noting that some people only follow some boards and/or ignore others. If they do, often(?) they ignore Politics. So there's a good chance they didn't notice. I mean, we could solve that problem by having a "badge" or a Star that you put on someone's profile that marks them as a Nazi or alt-right. But see, that's ironic: the people who want to do that are the ones that are actually imitating the policies of—oh never mind...

But, to stay on topic with regards to the OP. The issue I have with that sentiment is that seems to frame anyone speaking out and providing critical analysis is "debate-like". I don't post as though I have something to win or something to prove, only when I feel like I am adding something. The emotion that people ascribe to written text (especially when they do so superciliously) seems to mostly reflect their own state of mind.

Quote
Ironically, even on this board discourse has been hampered by this aggressive demand that every thread be treated as a debate, and that all debates be answered or the opponent has "lost."

The irony is that what happens on this board is like a backwards version of debating. People can basically use as many or as few words as they desire to make a point. There are no formalized sides, turns between sides, time slots for each debater. Anyone can take time to find evidence, collect their thoughts. In actual debates, the less honest person has a very strong chance of winning if they have the right kind of "salesperson" personality. It is called the Gish Gallop, and it explains the fact that is takes more thought and more words to deconstruct/debunk things (i.e. misleading or outright false claims that have been made) than it does to make those false claims.

So A) no, it was people who engaged with the shittiness that were also playing Mafia Harry is referring to. You weren't here by your own admission so I don't know how you thought you were going to convince Harry that people just didn't know.

B) you brought up starring Nazis. We can all see that you're the only person who brought it up. You can't really expect anyone to be so dumb as to go "Wow, you falsely attributed an idea to someone else to say they're the real Nazi instead of the guy who said 'I side with the Nazis' you sure showed me who the real Nazi is!" I don't know if that would work on you but it's certainly not going to to work on anyone else.

C: that's not irony, and saying "Well Gish Gallops work if you think about it" doesn't really respond to Harry's post at all.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2018, 06:57:19 PM »
A debate never settles the issue at hand.

This is not true. All of academia is essentially a constellation of ongoing debates. The good ideas, supported by reason, evidence, and/or general assent, become incorporated into the mainstream while the bad ideas are marginalized to the fringes.

All of human progress, including the sciences, social theory and the law, have been the result of debate.


It just allows us to see who is the more skilled debater.

Not really. You're referring specifically to rhetoric.

Beyond mere rhetoric is where evidence comes in. The pursuit of science is essentially not much more than an ongoing debate about the nature of the universe, with the actual work of science being to frame arguments as testable hypotheses, then confirm or falsify them through testing.


In fact, a good debater is expected to be able to argue either side of an issue, as, e.g., when a lawyer is expected to argue the guilt or innocence of a person regardless of whether she or he believes the person guilty or innocent.

This is true, but even the law itself has achieved a kind of social progress over the centuries as a result of the ongoing debate.

Without debate, all we have left are disparate echo chambers where bad ideas are allowed to flourish unchallenged.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 09:11:11 PM by John Albert »

Offline superdave

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2018, 08:00:54 PM »
Quetz, you say you dont know where the threads are where people are declaring victory?
Look at the cultural appropriation thread. For months it has just been a place for people who agree with each other to reassure each other that they are correct and for one rather smug individual to pop in and post pretty much exclusively examples of things to sneer at.
Its also very clear from the critiques you all offer that none of you actually understand the ideas you are critiquing because the objections you are all imagining are not real objections.
The current idea there is that people object to the mixing of cultures?? Jesus Christ.

What is happening in that thread is the sociological equivalent of  the eyeball argument against evolution.

Its the best example of what heyalison is talking about (from what I understand) but not the only one.

Further more, this childish demand for every example of every incident that has given people a general impression of divisiveness etc is not helpful to anyone because the 'defender' can surely find ways to explain away and dismiss every individual example (as Im sure you will with the above) and define the problem out of existence, but that does nothing to remove the impression from those who have walked away with it.
We know we have a diversity problem.
We are being told by minority people why.
We are not responding to their concerns with anything other than dismissal and at best condescension.
We can feel like our behaviour and choices are justified but we have been told what the general impression of others is and we are doing nothing to address that.

And ironically, the folks pushing hardest to dismiss these problems are those who make the most noise about optics and how we need to package ourselves so the Trump voters etc will listen. But fuck the vulnerable people who need our help and are understandably running short on patience.

I am embarrassed for having started that thread.  I was genuinely struggling with the concept and trying to understand it better but wow did that get out of hand
I disavow anyone in the movement involved in any illegal,unethical, sexist, or racist behavior. However, I don't have the energy or time to investigate each person and case, and a lack of individual disavowals for each incident should not be construed as condoning such behavior.

Offline John Albert

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2018, 08:28:36 PM »
Quetz, you say you dont know where the threads are where people are declaring victory?
Look at the cultural appropriation thread. For months it has just been a place for people who agree with each other to reassure each other that they are correct and for one rather smug individual to pop in and post pretty much exclusively examples of things to sneer at.
Its also very clear from the critiques you all offer that none of you actually understand the ideas you are critiquing because the objections you are all imagining are not real objections.
The current idea there is that people object to the mixing of cultures?? Jesus Christ.

What is happening in that thread is the sociological equivalent of  the eyeball argument against evolution.

Its the best example of what heyalison is talking about (from what I understand) but not the only one.

Further more, this childish demand for every example of every incident that has given people a general impression of divisiveness etc is not helpful to anyone because the 'defender' can surely find ways to explain away and dismiss every individual example (as Im sure you will with the above) and define the problem out of existence, but that does nothing to remove the impression from those who have walked away with it.
We know we have a diversity problem.
We are being told by minority people why.
We are not responding to their concerns with anything other than dismissal and at best condescension.
We can feel like our behaviour and choices are justified but we have been told what the general impression of others is and we are doing nothing to address that.

And ironically, the folks pushing hardest to dismiss these problems are those who make the most noise about optics and how we need to package ourselves so the Trump voters etc will listen. But fuck the vulnerable people who need our help and are understandably running short on patience.

I am embarrassed for having started that thread.  I was genuinely struggling with the concept and trying to understand it better but wow did that get out of hand

In that thread, I too have honestly been trying to parse out what separates the "good" examples of CA from the "bad."

So far as I can tell, it seems that all the bad examples of CA are bad for fairly obvious reasons that go over and above the simple question of "appropriating" some aspect of another culture. For example, they might be personally demeaning (like employing a racist trope of a marginalized people as a trademark or mascot), or a trivialization or mockery of some sacred symbol or practice (like wearing religious attire).


But back to the topic of this thread, I don't necessarily accept the proposition that debate necessarily precludes collaborative approaches to problem solving. Even team-based approaches to design and engineering must include some way to weed out bad ideas, and that often comes down to debating the pros and cons of various approaches.

If we decide that debate (ie. reasoned discourse among peers) is unproductive in itself, then how are we supposed to handle disagreements within the community?

« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 09:11:59 PM by John Albert »

Online Harry Black

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2018, 03:30:55 AM »
Quetz, you say you dont know where the threads are where people are declaring victory?
Look at the cultural appropriation thread. For months it has just been a place for people who agree with each other to reassure each other that they are correct and for one rather smug individual to pop in and post pretty much exclusively examples of things to sneer at.
Its also very clear from the critiques you all offer that none of you actually understand the ideas you are critiquing because the objections you are all imagining are not real objections.
The current idea there is that people object to the mixing of cultures?? Jesus Christ.

What is happening in that thread is the sociological equivalent of  the eyeball argument against evolution.

Its the best example of what heyalison is talking about (from what I understand) but not the only one.

Further more, this childish demand for every example of every incident that has given people a general impression of divisiveness etc is not helpful to anyone because the 'defender' can surely find ways to explain away and dismiss every individual example (as Im sure you will with the above) and define the problem out of existence, but that does nothing to remove the impression from those who have walked away with it.
We know we have a diversity problem.
We are being told by minority people why.
We are not responding to their concerns with anything other than dismissal and at best condescension.
We can feel like our behaviour and choices are justified but we have been told what the general impression of others is and we are doing nothing to address that.

And ironically, the folks pushing hardest to dismiss these problems are those who make the most noise about optics and how we need to package ourselves so the Trump voters etc will listen. But fuck the vulnerable people who need our help and are understandably running short on patience.

I am embarrassed for having started that thread.  I was genuinely struggling with the concept and trying to understand it better but wow did that get out of hand
Its not your fault it got out of hand.
You asked a question in good faith and genuinely engaged with the answers.
You have nothing to be embarrassed about.

Online Harry Black

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2018, 03:33:15 AM »
John- No one is saying debate has no place.
We are saying that it is overly fetishised and that t
 the standard debate model may not be appropriate to every situation.

Offline superdave

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2018, 10:09:31 AM »
i think the problem we have is "asked and answered"  we more or less hash out all the particulars in a few pages on any given topic and then spend the next hundred rearguing them
I disavow anyone in the movement involved in any illegal,unethical, sexist, or racist behavior. However, I don't have the energy or time to investigate each person and case, and a lack of individual disavowals for each incident should not be construed as condoning such behavior.

Online Ah.hell

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Re: "Speaking Ills: The quasi-mystical cult of debate-for-debate’s sake"
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2018, 10:56:12 AM »
John- No one is saying debate has no place.
We are saying that it is overly fetishised and that t
I think that overstates the current situation a bit.
Quote
the standard debate model may not be appropriate to every situation.
But thats clearly true.   
I think the OP stated the case in a less clear manner.   It sounded a bit like Heyalison was infavor of ending the use of debate entirely.  Probably not what was meant.

I personally don't think debate is at all useful in the traditional way its used.  Two sides on a stage talking past each other.  I do think in a more formal written format it is very useful.  It can force the use of actual evidence.  Less formal written formats, like say an internet forum are not particular useful except to allow various folks to vent.  As noted by superdave, pretty much every thread on this forum is exhausted in a page or two then spends a hundred pages having folks talk past each other while repeating the same arguments that were mentioned in the first couple of pages.  That's fine I suppose but its not going to solve problems or change minds and is likely off putting to a lot of folks.  In some cases likely offensive.

 

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