Author Topic: "Rules of Engagement," article on modern debate-me culture from The New Republic  (Read 9170 times)

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Offline John Albert

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Ah yes, clearly these forums, and the skeptical community as a whole, is on the verge of utterly abandoning the institution of science because the steady incursion of political correctness and identity politics.

That's a strawman argument. I never said that.

By the way, I wonder what you mean by "the institution of science"? Do you think science is just an institution, performed in laboratories by professionals, and its basic tenets such as skepticism, critical thinking, and open discourse are not applicable in daily life?


I mean just think of all the people that used to post here who now accept witchcraft or homeopathy because of the pervasive influence of the postmodernists and feminists. I'm so glad we have people who are willing to fight this dastardly threat.  If we don't keep our guard up the Enlightenment will be #cancelled.

Yeah, that's another strawman argument.

As for the "Enlightenment" quip, the values you're arguing for are indeed contrary to those of the Enlightenment. You guys are basically saying that certain classes of people are exempt, their claims should be taken as indisputable fact, they should be allowed to personally attack others instead of discussing ideas; whenever a question arises the onus is on the skeptic to do extensive research until they agree, or else it's fair game to browbeat them mercilessly. That's demagoguery, not skepticism.


It's not like any former members here ever got duped by reactionary political hucksters because of superficial appeals to reason and logic, and maybe with a more diverse community we could have done something to stop it.

This is a thing that has happened? Which former members got duped by reactionary political hucksters?


It's not like "open discourse" or "facts over feelings" are monikers of some of the biggest bullshit artists on the internet

I haven't heard anybody use the phrase "facts over feelings" in this discussion, so that's just another strawman argument. 

Open discourse is the cornerstone of science and critical thinking. It's the process by which the good ideas persist and the bad ideas get weeded out. Just because some assholes might call themselves "skeptics" and abuse the idea of open discourse, that's no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Why do you even care that some bigots abuse the idea of open discourse? Don't you believe there's a better case to be made for rejecting bigotry? Or are you afraid that they might turn out to have the better arguments?

Or do you feel that you shouldn't have to bother standing up for the values you believe are right?

Either way, flat-out refusing to engage sure looks like a lack of conviction on your part.


our community has been completely inept at countering any of their nonsense

On the contrary, this community has been quite successful at chasing away white supremacists, gun nuts and conservative trolls. Pdb, Andrew Clunn, Ron Obvious, SnarlPatrick, all those guys and more have given up and left the forums.

Now you guys are working on browbeating the nonpartisan skeptics. 


It's not like there's some completely fabricated issue popping up every six months in nerd communities

I don't give a shit about "nerd communities." I'm not interested in any of the juvenile garbage spewing out of the MCU, Star Wars and videogamer fandoms.

The "skeptic community" is based on a set of ideals in which I believe, because those values have driven nearly all of the scientific, technological and social progress of the last few centuries. So that's what I care about.

On the other hand, what has all this post-structuralist bullshit artistry achieved over the last 3 or 4 decades? Confidence in science and reported news is at an all-time low. Previously eradicated diseases are making a resurgence due to dangerous fake medicine practices. Foreign governments are using fake narratives to control our political elections. Instead of gender equality, women's rights are actually receding to pre-1970s standards. We have a dangerous, narcissistic idiot as our president, a high court stocked with regressive misogynists, and we're seeing the reemergence of far-right politics all over the world.   

In case you haven't figured it out, this is the problem: when you try to disrupt critical discourse in the interest of some ideology, you're ultimately hurting yourself because two can play at that game. The conservative reactionaries can abandon facts and reason in favor of rhetoric just as well, and their narratives are far more effective. "The enemy is at the gates!" will always be more terrifying and compelling than "we must have compassion for each other." If you make it a game of Bullying and Bullshit, they will always win.


It's not like when a giant racist troll shows up here he can steer the conversation of every single political thread because people give him the benefit of the doubt that he genuinely cares about the core tenets of skepticism.

Several alt-right trolls and neo-Nazis thrived here for literal years while you guys maintained your inactive strategy of "don't debate, just ignore them and shame them and hope they go away." It wasn't until some of us started engaging with them, pushing back with reasonable arguments and detailed counter-evidence that they eventually gave up and left.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 01:53:24 AM by John Albert »

Offline arthwollipot

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What have I done wrong? This is the second time I've been accused of so-called 'wrongdoing,' though nobody seems willing to tell me exactly what is the offense.

Again? Why would I bother?

Why would you bother telling me what wrongdoing you're accusing me of?

I'd hope you would do so because you accused another person of wrongdoing. It's an appeal to your sense of morality. If I accuse somebody of something, I feel obliged to at least explain why.

You showed no sign of being capable of comprehending the first dozen or so times I tried to do so, so I see no reason why that would be different now. If you think you've changed enough that you might understand this time, go re-read the Sealioning thread.
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Online Rai

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I love it how John is now crediting himself with chasing the nazis away. Some people are just flawless champions, I guess.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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You have to remember that according to brilligtove, arthwolliport, Latinist, etc, I am the neo-Nazi troll. Despite the fact that I am much more cosmopolitan in my outlook than they probably will ever be. I guess such is the effect of the post-structuralist bullshit. War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. ::)

I don't think that the presence of people who are more politically conservative or libertarian in their outlook is a problem at all. As long as they are good skeptics who don't deny reality or data inconvenient to their views, and are not anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian, etc. The same also goes for people with a more left-wing outlook, as long as they are not anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian, etc, and are good skeptics.

So in my book at least, people who lean right-wing are fine, but not neo-Nazis, alt-righters, etc. People who lean left-wing are fine, but not supporters of or apologists for totalitarian regimes and terrorist groups who happen to subscribe to a left-wing ideology and/or are opposed to the US.
"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 John Albert

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I love it how John is now crediting himself with chasing the nazis away. Some people are just flawless champions, I guess.

I did not credit myself with that. It was a group effort that involved lots of people.

PANTS!, arthwollipot, werecow, Belgarath, Zec, fuzzyMarmot, Mr. Beagle, DevoutCatalyst, SkeptiQueer, and others. Even you and Sawyer contributed to the kickback, despite your penchant for railing against "debate."

Offline arthwollipot

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You have to remember that according to brilligtove, arthwolliport, Latinist, etc, I am the neo-Nazi troll.

Please quote where I have said this.
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Offline brilligtove

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You have to remember that according to brilligtove, arthwolliport, Latinist, etc, I am the neo-Nazi troll.

Please quote where I have said this.

Yeah, I'm curious about my contribution. I just said you appear to be unrepentantly racist because of positions you've taken (e.g., that segregation by race does not exist in the USA today). I never called you any version of any N word. Just racist.
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Offline John Albert

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You have to remember that according to brilligtove, arthwolliport, Latinist, etc, I am the neo-Nazi troll.

Please quote where I have said this.

Yeah, I'm curious about my contribution. I just said you appear to be unrepentantly racist because of positions you've taken (e.g., that segregation by race does not exist in the USA today). I never called you any version of any N word. Just racist.

Are you sure that his position was really a consequence of racism, and not just a simple misunderstanding of the situation in the US?

The US is a big place, race relations in the US are very complicated, and the situation is not necessarily obvious to somebody who doesn't live here. In fact, even many people who do live here are unaware of the extent of the racial divide in areas outside their local communities.

For example, we do have anti-discrimination and anti-segregation laws, and have had such laws in place since the 1960s. So in that sense, segregation is illegal.

But despite those laws, segregation certainly still exists for a complex mix of social, cultural and economic reasons.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 07:48:36 AM by John Albert »

Offline John Albert

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You showed no sign of being capable of comprehending the first dozen or so times I tried to do so, so I see no reason why that would be different now. If you think you've changed enough that you might understand this time, go re-read the Sealioning thread.

Sorry, that's not how this works. That Sealioning thread was a complete waste of time.

You accused me of some kind of offense, the very least you owe me is an explanation.

Offline arthwollipot

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You showed no sign of being capable of comprehending the first dozen or so times I tried to do so, so I see no reason why that would be different now. If you think you've changed enough that you might understand this time, go re-read the Sealioning thread.

Sorry, that's not how this works. That Sealioning thread was a complete waste of time.

You accused me of some kind of offense, the very least you owe me is an explanation.

I gave you an explanation - an extensive and detailed one - in the Sealioning thread, which you continue to refuse to accept. No. I'm not going to bang my head against that brick wall again. If you're so unselfaware that you can't see it when it's staring you in the face, that's not my problem. It's yours.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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You have to remember that according to brilligtove, arthwolliport, Latinist, etc, I am the neo-Nazi troll.

Please quote where I have said this.

Yeah, I'm curious about my contribution. I just said you appear to be unrepentantly racist because of positions you've taken (e.g., that segregation by race does not exist in the USA today). I never called you any version of any N word. Just racist.

Wow, what a compliment, that makes all the difference! ::)
"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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You have to remember that according to brilligtove, arthwolliport, Latinist, etc, I am the neo-Nazi troll.

Please quote where I have said this.

According to you pals in this very thread, you aren't supposed to ask me for that. You are instead supposed to read back through your posts and try to figure out what I am referring to. But I will give you a hint. It is not something you wrote, it is something you showed approval of.

But anyways, change "neo-Nazi troll" to "just racist" then, as brilligtove insisted. As if it makes any difference.
"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 random poet

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You have to remember that according to brilligtove, arthwolliport, Latinist, etc, I am the neo-Nazi troll.

Please quote where I have said this.

According to you pals in this very thread, you aren't supposed to ask me for that. You are instead supposed to read back through your posts and try to figure out what I am referring to. But I will give you a hint. It is not something you wrote, it is something you showed approval of.

But anyways, change "neo-Nazi troll" to "just racist" then, as brilligtove insisted. As if it makes any difference.
People have pointed out to you in the past when you were saying racist bullshit. Your answer is always "no, that's not racist."

You are still trying to debate people instead of trying to fix your problem with racism.
Aujourd'hui j'ai vu un facteur joyeux.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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You have to remember that according to brilligtove, arthwolliport, Latinist, etc, I am the neo-Nazi troll.

Please quote where I have said this.

Yeah, I'm curious about my contribution. I just said you appear to be unrepentantly racist because of positions you've taken (e.g., that segregation by race does not exist in the USA today). I never called you any version of any N word. Just racist.

Are you sure that his position was really a consequence of racism, and not an simple misunderstanding of the situation in the US?

The US is a big place, race relations in the US are very complicated, and the situation is not necessarily obvious to somebody who doesn't live here. In fact, even many people who do live here are unaware of the extent of the racial divide in areas outside their local communities.

For example, we do have anti-discrimination and anti-segregation laws, and have had such laws in place since the 1960s. So in that sense, segregation is illegal.

But despite those laws, segregation certainly still exists for a complex mix of social, cultural and economic reasons.

If I am not mistaken, the discussion started when I cited the US and Canada as countries that succeed well in integrating immigrants. I'm not going to go through that again, but the US has been cited as good at integration compared to Sweden. Two articles from the news in recent years, the beginning parts translated by me (I'm not going to translate the entire articles):

Quote
Here, the integration of Somalis has been successful.

COLUMBUS, OHIO. Somalis are one of the groups in Sweden where integration has worked most poorly.

In Columbus, Ohio, there live as many Somalis as in all of Sweden - but here there is a greater chance that a Somalia-born person has a job than a US-born person.

- The African-American civil rights movement has paved the way for us, says Abdulkadir Xurka, public health expert in the town hall of Columbus.

...

Abdinur Sheikh Mohamed, 56, who once upon a time was minister of education in Somalia and now lives in Columbus, tells:

- The US really is "the land of opportunity". It is built by immigrants. The opportunities are the same both for the one who is born here and the one who has immigrated. Go to Canada and you will see that many Somalis are well-education and have a lot of knowledge but still don't succeed to get a job. The important thing here in the US is economic independence, I think it is because you don't get especially much help from the welfare system.

Source: https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/a/3joAM9/har-har-integrationen-av-somalier-lyckats

Quote
"The success of Somalis in the US is not by chance"

In Canada, the US, and the UK, ethnic organizations stand for central parts of the integration efforts - but in Sweden the authorities are supposed to do the integration, writes Benny Carlsson.

Sweden has in recent years been a safe haven for many Somali refugees. Most of them seem to think that Sweden is a good country that offers housing, education, and healthcare of good quality and safe environments for children to grow up in. Despite, many of them have doubts about if Sweden is the country of the future. There is a major crux. They have a hard time to get jobs and start businesses.

The employment level for Somalia-borns in Sweden has long fluctuated between 20 and 30% and the level of self-employment is around half a percent. There are two immediate explanations for that. Many have low levels of education, and many have arrived to Sweden the past five or six years.

If you compare Sweden to other countries to which many Somalis have fled, such as Canada and the US, the housing environments are often poorer, but the labor market is not as hard to breach into.

In Canada the employment level of Somalis is at 46%, in the US at 54%, and in both countries the levels of self-employment at 5%.

Source: https://www.expressen.se/debatt/somaliers-framgang-i-usa-ar-ingen-slump/

That was the sort of thing I was referring to. Only a totally dishonest person would read into that some sort of endorsement of segregation in the American south prior to the 1960s civil rights movement.

In fact, a few years ago when a lot of Syrians fled to Europe, mostly Germany and Sweden, a Swedish historian wrote debating articles arguing that historically, immigration has been a net benefit for Sweden, and ignorance of history is behind opposition to immigration and xenophobia. He also referred to the US as an example of how immigration has benefited a country. Some opponents then argued that well, immigration there wasn't so good for the Native Americans. Which is a strawman, because he made it clear that he referred to peaceful immigration, not to military conquests, and thus not to the treatment of Native Americans. brilligtove made a similar argument, that successful integration of immigrants in the US somehow meant endorsement of segregationism. A similar dishonest strawman.

I do not deny that the US has many, many social problems, many more than we do. But in some aspects they have succeeded better than us, and then we should indeed look at what they do that maybe we can learn from (and the US should look at other countries to learn from them in areas where they have worked poorly and the other countries worked better). I get the sense that brilligtove seems offended by the notion that the US can ever be good at anything ever. I guess it is true that the identity of some Canadians is "not being the US".
"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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You have to remember that according to brilligtove, arthwolliport, Latinist, etc, I am the neo-Nazi troll.

Please quote where I have said this.

According to you pals in this very thread, you aren't supposed to ask me for that. You are instead supposed to read back through your posts and try to figure out what I am referring to. But I will give you a hint. It is not something you wrote, it is something you showed approval of.

But anyways, change "neo-Nazi troll" to "just racist" then, as brilligtove insisted. As if it makes any difference.
People have pointed out to you in the past when you were saying racist bullshit. Your answer is always "no, that's not racist."

You are still trying to debate people instead of trying to fix your problem with racism.

Such as? You always refuse to give me examples.

I am in fact very confident that I am much more cosmopolitan than all of my detractors.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 03:06:45 PM by Quetzalcoatl »
"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

 

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