Author Topic: "Rules of Engagement," article on modern debate-me culture from The New Republic  (Read 6696 times)

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Offline heyalison

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Another interesting article on the culture of "debate me," this one from The New Republic. It begins with the trans antagonism of Jesse Singal, through the reactionary right, and into general cultural trend of applying concepts of reason and free speech in haphazard ways. I would suggest there's more than a fair bit of this kind of bad faith arguing here on these forums (that cultural appropriation thread, ugh), and there's certainly a tendency among some to fall back on personal definitions and frameworks while demanding their take is universal.

From the article: "It is telling that critics of the social justice movement are obsessed with free speech and debate: It is the one inviolable principle they can fall back on when argument on the actual issues fails."

Offline John Albert

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Comparing the issues addressed in this article to the "cultural appropriation thread" is in itself bad faith arguing.

Online amysrevenge

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I like this.  I grok it down to my core.  It entirely informs my social justice leanings.  "History has selectively concealed the experience of reality felt by people without power."
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Online Harry Black

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The brave heroes who tell us that they just hope to convince even one spectator of the debate and it will have been worth it.
But if their opponent convinces 2 people then was it not worth it?
Maaaaybe this is more about their egos, seeing arguing as a hobby and not so much the issues?

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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The 'dispassionate debate' remarks always make me think of this, which I've seen:
If global warming is real then how come I just felt this chill down my spine?

Offline John Albert

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The brave heroes who tell us that they just hope to convince even one spectator of the debate and it will have been worth it.
But if their opponent convinces 2 people then was it not worth it?
Maaaaybe this is more about their egos, seeing arguing as a hobby and not so much the issues?

So the solution is what? To refrain from discussing scientific, political, or philosophical issues with anybody you don't agree with?

Maybe purporting to tell other people about their own values is more about your ego. 

This is a skeptics community, after all, and is supposed to be a place to discuss and debate issues that we deem important.

Who is trying to silence trans people or question anybody's rights? Who are the Hitlers in this community?

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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'All debate is always good' only makes sense if 'all speech is always good'

Some speech is:
  • (Evil) Propaganda which works (e.g. Radio Rwanda)
  • Idiots playing make-believe (e.g. Creationists sullying educational environments)
  • Authoritarians getting each other riled up and pointed in the same direction (e.g. right-wing media's profligate 'hour of hate' venues)
So the solution is what?

To not use a blanket rule here.

If global warming is real then how come I just felt this chill down my spine?

Offline John Albert

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And let's not pretend that ego isn't always involved in any discussion.

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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My view on three common alt-right tacks:
  • "Debate me!," is goading akin to, "Do it, pussy!"
  • "Free speech!," is sets up the, "you pussy!," part from above.
  • "Rational/reasoned debate," is a misnomer and only cuts one way.  If you reject their framing it's like whoa hold on here let's not change the subject.  If you reject the race realist's racism, or the biotruther's sexism, or what have you, that's you being emotional and it's a personal attack; that's not right.  Or they get emotional when it's their power, their privilege or their ego under contention (but that's your fault) and so on
These people are bad faith actors co-opting this cultural niche's language
If global warming is real then how come I just felt this chill down my spine?

Offline John Albert

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We've all seen the "free speech" canard trotted out as a flimsy defense against de-platforming.

But have you ever actually had somebody goad you by saying "debate me!"? Do people actually talk like that?

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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Yeah, I see it a lot from alt-right people.  By rank-and-file on social media when they're pushing racism and sexism.  By media figures when they're trying to latch onto higher profile persons or just attacking them (and their audience eats it up). 
If global warming is real then how come I just felt this chill down my spine?

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Comparing the issues addressed in this article to the "cultural appropriation thread" is in itself bad faith arguing.

I agree with you.

Also, nobody was goaded to join the discussion in the cultural appropriation thread. Those who felt like discussing did so, those who did not, didn't. Which is as it should be.
"I appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel, of all inquiry, all discovery, and all innovation" - Christopher Hitchens

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Yeah, I see it a lot from alt-right people.  By rank-and-file on social media when they're pushing racism and sexism.  By media figures when they're trying to latch onto higher profile persons or just attacking them (and their audience eats it up).

Do you see any of it on this forum, as the OP suggested? If so, can you point to any example?
"I appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel, of all inquiry, all discovery, and all innovation" - Christopher Hitchens

Online Harry Black

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Sounds like you want to debate about debate?

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Sounds like you want to debate about debate?

Asking for an example is not debating.
"I appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel, of all inquiry, all discovery, and all innovation" - Christopher Hitchens

 

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