Author Topic: "Rules of Engagement," article on modern debate-me culture from The New Republic  (Read 9206 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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But he does seem to diminish its importance, at least from a contemporary American liberal perspective. I think it's probably a misunderstanding due to the cultural gap. Sweden is a very different country from the US. Our country is plagued by a horrific and dishonorable history of systemic oppression, race slavery, and genocide, which we seem loathe to address in a forthright and repentant manner. That's why issues of race are so divisive here in the US, and why many of us are so defensive about it. We live with it every day, but I don't necessarily expect everybody from other countries to fully understand how fucked-up this country really is.

Maybe there is a cultural gap. The US has become less racist compared to say a century ago, but then, so has the rest of the Western world as well. This does of course not mean that all racism is gone, or even close to (I should not even have to spell this out).

I work with people of other backgrounds every day in my job. Maybe the US is different, but here it wouldn't be considered appropriate if I referred to their skin colors or backgrounds all the time, or if I treated them differently because of it. And I don't at all think they would appreciate to be singled out or in some way be made separated. They are not "other" because of having different backgrounds. They are colleagues and members of society just as much as anyone else.

If I move to the US (which I don't plan to do), then I guess I will have to adapt. But for know, I will treat people as individuals, not singling out or dividing people based on descent.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2019, 10:28:09 AM 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

Online Harry Black

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I can assure you, I have zero interest in needing to give anyone any sanction whatsoever. I find you frustrating to talk to and almost wilfully ignorant, but I dont actually dislike you as I have said multiple times.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Yeah sure, you just approve of every single post you can find about how I am a terrible human being, even of outright personal attacks. People who approve of lies and deceits and personal attacks certainly show what kind of persons they are.

Quote
Concern Trolls and Free Speech Nazis

One of the things that I love about the skeptical community is that it is a vibrant intellectual community that is not afraid to turn its critical eye inward. There is also sufficient diversity of background and perspective, superimposed upon a generally skeptical outlook, to provide some genuine conflict. While you won’t find many bigfoot believers in our ranks, we do run the spectrum from liberal to libertarian, militant atheist to Christian, scientist to artist, and politically correct to Penn Jillette.

The wringing of hands may at times seem tedious – but it’s all good. As long as we remember that at the end of the day we are all skeptics, a cultural minority looking to change the world.

Does this describe this forum, to your mind?

This forum is very homogeneous in its political views, and more is apparently desired. There have been calls for a way to vote people away, and I won't be surprised in the least if some such system eventually gets implemented.
"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 Harry Black

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Ok. You seem to enjoy being up on your cross. And yes, I do like a lot of posts that disagree with you because I almost always disagree with you.

But as I said- Not interested in having a debate with you.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Ok. You seem to enjoy being up on your cross. And yes, I do like a lot of posts that disagree with you because I almost always disagree with you.

Yeah, calling me a racist and an asshole is a "disagreement".

I don't mind posts stating another opinion from mine. I do mind posts that engage in outright lies and personal attacks against me, and then refuse to substantiate those claims. And people who approve of such posts...

But as I said- Not interested in having a debate with you.

Fair enough. Just wanted to have the above stated.

From the outside:
Quote
Stay out of the politics forum, it's toxic. Basically a few alt-right troll types, and a few screeching ultra-libs drown out otherwise useful information. Better content on skepticism subreddits.
"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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A great quote from the link above, Steve's blogpost:

Quote from: Steven Novella
Seth’s post was followed by a thoughtful post from PZ Myers at Pharyngula. PZ makes some good points. I think he hits the nail most on the head with this statement:

Quote from: PZ Myers
The skeptic movement will be inclusive and allow anyone to participate, and participation means your ideas will be scrutinized and criticized and sometimes mocked and sometimes praised.

This is how I feel – our own beliefs are all fair game, whether religious, political, or social. We should not demand any litmus test for skeptical purity – that is not practical, reasonable, or healthy for any movement, let alone a minority movement like skepticism. Anyone who wants to participate should be welcome, in my opinion – even pseudoskeptics who don’t get it (but that doesn’t mean they get to speak at our meetings). However – everyone also has to recognize that your own beliefs are fair game for the criticism that is at the core of skeptical philosophy. That means that global warming dissidents, feminists, alternative medicine proponents, deists, free market zealots, anti-government conspiracy theorists, and communists all get to have their beliefs challenged, and have no reasonable expectations that their beliefs or their feelings will be spared.
"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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If I engaged in 10% of the amount of personal attacks you engage in, I would immediately receive warnings.

I received not one, but two separate warnings from different mods for a single incident of calling somebody a "Nazi sympathizer piece of shit" back in August of 2017, following the Unite The Right murder. 
 

I don't mind posts stating another opinion from mine. I do mind posts that engage in outright lies and personal attacks against me, and then refuse to substantiate those claims. And people who approve of such posts...

Strangely, the posters least tolerant of disagreements also happen to be some of the most outspoken against the concept of "debate," which they interpret to mean "mutually agreeing to support our own claims with evidence and reason." Instead, they hurl insults and accusations against those they disagree with.

One might get the impression that there's a certain contingent who demand respect for their opinions without question, while at the same time personally attacking others for having dissenting views. And they expect members of this skeptics forum who try to advocate and practice skepticism to feel ashamed about a so-called "debate me bro" culture.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 01:35:06 AM by John Albert »

Offline Sawyer

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This may seem a bit off topic, but do other males here actually *enjoy* being part of a community that is >90% male?  When I was a bit younger it was something I would be mildly annoyed at.  Now it makes me feel awful.  I have no idea which of the advice that has come from our handful of female skeptics is practical to implement, or who exactly is to blame when they don't feel welcome.  But to spent an ounce of energy defending the status quo and constantly placing the blame on others - even when they do insult you, even when you are pretty sure they are bending the forum rules, even when you don't feel they've earned the label of being a True Skeptic - it's just ... depressing.  It's not hard to find one of the other 50,000 male dominated science/skepticism forums if that's really how people want to waste away their lives, but FFS, would it be so bad if this forum was a bit more diverse?


Offline John Albert

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This may seem a bit off topic, but do other males here actually *enjoy* being part of a community that is >90% male?  When I was a bit younger it was something I would be mildly annoyed at.  Now it makes me feel awful.  I have no idea which of the advice that has come from our handful of female skeptics is practical to implement, or who exactly is to blame when they don't feel welcome.  But to spent an ounce of energy defending the status quo and constantly placing the blame on others - even when they do insult you, even when you are pretty sure they are bending the forum rules, even when you don't feel they've earned the label of being a True Skeptic - it's just ... depressing.  It's not hard to find one of the other 50,000 male dominated science/skepticism forums if that's really how people want to waste away their lives, but FFS, would it be so bad if this forum was a bit more diverse?

I can't speak for anybody else, but I'm not talking about the women skeptics on this forum.

I'm talking about the anti-skeptics who rail against reasonable, respectful discourse in favor of personally attacking others whom they disagree with. Some of these individuals rarely participate in any discussions of science or skepticism, but seem to come here for the express purpose of browbeating anyone who questions whatever political ideas they deem sacrosanct.

Like the "debate me bro" canard, the "True Skeptic" accusation is another piece of bullshit that's getting tiresome. No skeptics are demanding some litmus test for ideological purity. It's not about defending any "status quo" other than basic mutual respect and decency. I'm all in favor of diversity, but that needn't include mollycoddling and tiptoeing around those who refuse to engage in good faith but constantly attack others with personal insults. Those kinds of members are toxic to any kind of Internet community.

If you want to see more women skeptics around here, then why not invite some women skeptics to participate?
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 10:04:21 AM by John Albert »

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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All my social media blends together so I'm ambivalent by default.  I'm mostly just after:
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Gender ratios are incidental and vary wildly from venue to venue.
If global warming is real then how come I just felt this chill down my spine?

Offline arthwollipot

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This may seem a bit off topic, but do other males here actually *enjoy* being part of a community that is >90% male?

No. Not at all. I lament it.
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Offline John Albert

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Instead of telling people to avoid reasoned discussion and ostracizing everybody who thinks differently, maybe it might be better to teach them how to avoid taking offense in the first place.

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Instead of telling people to avoid reasoned discussion and ostracizing everybody who thinks differently, maybe it might be better to teach them how to avoid taking offense in the first place.

Yes, those stupid, overly sensitive women and POC just need to elevate themselves to the standards of know-it-all white dudes by education. That is the solution.


I also love your use of the "ostracise everybody who thinks differently" trope, it is original and exciting, I have never seen this straw-man before from white dudes defending and maintaining the oppressive status quo. Not even once. 

Offline John Albert

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Yes, those stupid, overly sensitive women and POC just need to elevate themselves to the standards of know-it-all white dudes by education. That is the solution.

With that bombastic, ill considered strawman, you just proved my point for me.

I never called anyone stupid, or said anything about people of color or women or men in particular. Most of the anti-skeptical belligerents around here happen to be white males.

Doesn't it ever occur to you that this narrative you keep pushing—that the standards of reason, evidence and respectful discourse are the exclusive purview of "know-it-all white dudes"—is actually very demeaning to women and people of color?


I also love your use of the "ostracise everybody who thinks differently" trope, it is original and exciting, I have never seen this straw-man before from white dudes defending and maintaining the oppressive status quo. Not even once.

Another strawman. I'm not defending any status quo, let alone an oppressive one.

I'm suggesting that we all learn how to have respect for each another instead of always acting like assholes, and you responded by acting like an asshole.

Congratulations.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 10:55:16 AM by John Albert »

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Doesn't it ever occur to you that this narrative you keep pushing—that the standards of reason, evidence and respectful discourse are the exclusive purview of "know-it-all white dudes"—is actually very demeaning to women and people of color?

Yeah, that's what I think as well.

I happen to know a skeptic who is also gay. I'm pretty sure he doesn't listen to the SGU, and he has little interest in internet discussions. I'm not going to suggest he comes here. If anything, this thread would probably give him a huge headache. But he is certainly a skeptic, atheist, and antitheist. I don't think he would appreciate it at all if he was told that the standards of reason and evidence are not within his purview because he is not straight.
"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