Author Topic: "Rules of Engagement," article on modern debate-me culture from The New Republic  (Read 6701 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4776
It seems like some people here (not me or John Albert) promote the anti-female trope that men are inherently rational and logical, whereas women are inherently emotional (as if not both of those aspects have their proper places in life). I don't buy into that at all. Sometimes a quote says it best:

Quetz, I could possibly accept the idea that some people here have gone out of their way to interpret your posts in an unfair manner.  But why you expect them to employ the principle of charity when you post stuff like this is beyond me.  Literally zero people on this thread are claiming men are inherently rational and logical and women are inherently emotional.   I almost wish you were just trolling, because I cannot fathom how you have misread people this poorly.

Do you guys honestly expect any of the people you are arguing with to respond to this in a positive manner?

It is not a mere possibility that they go out of their way to interpret my posts in an unfair manner. It is an indisputable fact. The Latinist, Soldier of FORTRAN, arthwollipot, and brilligtove have by their actions demonstrated that they are not interested in logic and evidence, and they endorse personal attacks based on lies that are pleasing to them, in some cases made up by some of them, that they refuse to substantiate.

Both Rai and fuzzyMarmot have made posts implying that the standards of reason and evidence somehow are not within the purview of women and person of color. It feels preposterous that they then try to claim that they are somehow the supporters of those groups.
"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

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4776
I would rather have them back than have more of this pseudo intellectual by the numbers debate club that would rather demand other people go quote mining for them than do some introspection.

I see that an Irish moderator at this forum is really, really contemptuous of Welsh people. It is clear from his posts. Now, don't expect me to provide any examples for him to quibble over for all eternity. He should do some self-introspection instead. ::)
"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

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4776
Yet some individuals around here seem so indifferent to the actual practice of skepticism that they turn outright hostile to its very core principles if it runs even slightly askance of their political beliefs. To those individuals, this is not a community devoted to skepticism but a political activist community with "skepticism" taped on as an a pretense. Even some of the moderators here are outspokenly dismissive of skepticism in actual practice.

When some ideologue comes into a community of skeptics and starts personally attacking people for merely using the tools of skepticism, that should be seen as a problem.

I agree.

Ideally, a skeptics forum should try to be a friendly community for skeptics where issues can be discussed, critical thinking skills can be improved, beliefs potentially changed. For everyone, regardless of previous or current beliefs. The methods, not the conclusions or beliefs, should be the most important factors.

For example, if a libertarian skeptic comes along and wants to argue for the benefits of an unregulated (or minimally regulated) market, he or she can do that. Those who disagree with the proposition could then make counter-arguments, and the discussion could then proceed. Those involved would refer to real-world data and make sound and logical arguments, and despite disagreement, keep a friendly atmosphere. Perhaps some beliefs would be altered by the discussion.

Similarly, if an anarchist skeptic comes along and wants to argue for how we would be better off by abolishing the institution of government, he or she can do that. Those who disagree with the proposition could then make counter-arguments, and the discussion could then proceed. Those involved would refer to real-world data and make sound and logical arguments, and despite disagreement, keep a friendly atmosphere. Perhaps some beliefs would be altered by the discussion.

Similarly, if an Orthodox Christian skeptic comes along and wants to argue for the truth of Orthodox Christianity, he or she can do that. Those who disagree with the proposition could then make counter-arguments, and the discussion could then proceed. Those involved would refer to real-world data and make sound and logical arguments, and despite disagreement, keep a friendly atmosphere. Perhaps some beliefs would be altered by the discussion.

I will once again refer to this lovely quote:

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.

And the great motto of the Edinburgh Skeptics Society: Respect People, Challenge Ideas

Thus, all beliefs are fair game, and should not be treasured for their own sake. But still a friendly atmosphere for a skeptical community should be maintained. If people feel comfortable beating their political drums and hurling personal insults against those who dare to express disagreement, and get moderator support for it, something is very wrong.
"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

  • International Man of Mystery
  • Global Moderator
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • *****
  • Posts: 15593
I would rather have them back than have more of this pseudo intellectual by the numbers debate club that would rather demand other people go quote mining for them than do some introspection.

I see that an Irish moderator at this forum is really, really contemptuous of Welsh people. It is clear from his posts. Now, don't expect me to provide any examples for him to quibble over for all eternity. He should do some self-introspection instead. ::)
If you said that in genuinely good faith, I would have gone back through my posts and considered how my words may have been interpreted by others or what root they may have that does actually betray a bias.
I would take it as a chance to work on myself, rather than an opportunity to crow at someone else.

As I have done many times in the past. I am actually still following up on something ah.hell said to me weeks ago, because its unreasonable to direct him back to his dad for specific examples of Irish antisemitism but I want to be aware of such a thing if it is in fact an issue, so I can mitigate it.

Nice attempt at a 'gotcha' though.

Offline John Albert

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5933
I would rather have them back than have more of this pseudo intellectual by the numbers debate club that would rather demand other people go quote mining for them than do some introspection.

I see that an Irish moderator at this forum is really, really contemptuous of Welsh people. It is clear from his posts. Now, don't expect me to provide any examples for him to quibble over for all eternity. He should do some self-introspection instead. ::)

If you said that in genuinely good faith, I would have gone back through my posts and considered how my words may have been interpreted by others or what root they may have that does actually betray a bias.
I would take it as a chance to work on myself, rather than an opportunity to crow at someone else.

As I have done many times in the past. I am actually still following up on something ah.hell said to me weeks ago, because its unreasonable to direct him back to his dad for specific examples of Irish antisemitism but I want to be aware of such a thing if it is in fact an issue, so I can mitigate it.

Nice attempt at a 'gotcha' though.

I don't think it was intended as a 'gotcha.' It's a blatantly false accusation in service of a point.

Quetz obviously intended (at least it seems pretty obvious to me) to illustrate to you what heyalison did to others on this forum, when she falsely accused them of being misogynists simply for disagreeing with her.


John Albert is completely self-blind, on this subject as he is on sealioning, which is a behaviour which he is again demonstrating clearly.

'Sealioning' is a childish accusation to throw at anybody one disagrees with, when one is too arrogant to be bothered with reasonably discussing the differences of opinion.

We went over this ad nauseam in that other thread.


He honestly believes that he is doing nothing wrong, and will not accept any suggestions to the contrary.

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.

As far as I can tell, it's having a personal disagreement with somebody, posting too frequently in somebody's opinion, and defending myself against personal attacks, none of which I consider to be wrong in the first place.


I am not sure why I am even trying at this stage *looks up at the "I am the best and most sceptic and did nothing wrong ever and all of you should be like me" walls of text*

I never claimed to be "the best" or "most sceptic" [sic]. I just feel that I ought to be able to voice an opinion without being vilified in the third person by a cowardly troll, and have people take the troll's side against me.

Is that too much to expect from a skeptics forum? 
« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 04:24:51 PM by John Albert »

Offline arthwollipot

  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 8616
  • Observer of Phenomena
'Sealioning' is a childish accusation to throw at anybody one disagrees with, when one is too arrogant to be bothered with reasonably discussing the differences of opinion.

We went over this ad nauseam in that other thread.

Exactly. Thank you for confirming my contention.

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? You showed no signs of even understanding every other time I've tried to do it (e.g. the entire sealioning thread). I'm not going to beat my head against that brick wall again.
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him.
Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiarii?

Offline fuzzyMarmot

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 623
I'd like to share a productive way to respond to being called out for offensive statements. Take it with a grain of salt-- I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do, just passing on what has worked for me.

I remind myself that:
1) Virtually everyone is misogynistic, racist, or homophobic to some extent. The person who calls me out is identifying an action I should remedy, not personally attacking me.
2) The person calling me out might be coming from a place of lived experience, and it is completely valid for them to react with emotion. It is inappropriate for me to address it as a debate competition or game.
3) If I don't understand why my statements or behavior are offensive, it is because I do not understand the context or background of the situation. It is my responsibility to educate myself. I need to step back, research, and learn.
4) It is inappropriate for me to ask them to provide evidence or to give me a remedial course on cultural context.
5) I should apologize for my offensive behavior.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4776
4) It is inappropriate for me to ask them to provide evidence or to give me a remedial course on cultural context.

Cultural context? What if I am from a culture in which what you'd call "color blindness" is the ideal, and in which borrowing from other other cultures is not considered wrong, and in which it is generally* recognized that one of the ways we grow and learn is by learning from others?

Are ways of seeing things that deviate from orthodox American liberalism wanted here? We know the answer empirically, and for most of those active in this kind of discussion, it is a resounding "no". Promoting those views above, i.e what you call "color blindness", and that borrowing and learning from others are not morally wrong, has been met with vicious personal attacks with moderator approval, from among others brilligtove, The Latinist, Soldier of FORTRAN, arthwollipot, etc. I.e top dogs, and wannabe top dogs.

Which brings me to the next thing. You guys wax about diversity, but you don't really want diversity. You want zero deviation from your social and political views, and there have even been calls for a rubber clause so that those who deviate can be voted away. I give it a maximum of two years before such a thing is implemented in some way. Congratulations, then the demographic will be even more narrow and even smaller.

Again, why does this forum not succeed to attract more than 0.01% of the SGU listeners? Ever pondered that?

*Those who don't share that view are typically nationalists and racists. The kind of people you and the others claim to oppose, but that you have a lot of common ground with.

5) I should apologize for my offensive behavior.

Not necessarily. heyalison seems to think that disagreement with her is offensive. I am not going to apologize for not agreeing with her.

Some religious people are offended by atheists expressing that they are atheists. No apology is necessary.

Apologies for personal attacks against me are indeed warranted, but very unlikely to come.
"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

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4776
I would rather have them back than have more of this pseudo intellectual by the numbers debate club that would rather demand other people go quote mining for them than do some introspection.

I see that an Irish moderator at this forum is really, really contemptuous of Welsh people. It is clear from his posts. Now, don't expect me to provide any examples for him to quibble over for all eternity. He should do some self-introspection instead. ::)

If you said that in genuinely good faith, I would have gone back through my posts and considered how my words may have been interpreted by others or what root they may have that does actually betray a bias.
I would take it as a chance to work on myself, rather than an opportunity to crow at someone else.

As I have done many times in the past. I am actually still following up on something ah.hell said to me weeks ago, because its unreasonable to direct him back to his dad for specific examples of Irish antisemitism but I want to be aware of such a thing if it is in fact an issue, so I can mitigate it.

Nice attempt at a 'gotcha' though.

I don't think it was intended as a 'gotcha.' It's a blatantly false accusation in service of a point.

Quetz obviously intended (at least it seems pretty obvious to me) to illustrate to you what heyalison did to others on this forum, when she falsely accused them of being misogynists simply for disagreeing with her.

That is indeed correct. And also refused to show were the dissenters, in the view of her and her supporters, went wrong.

John Albert is completely self-blind, on this subject as he is on sealioning, which is a behaviour which he is again demonstrating clearly.

'Sealioning' is a childish accusation to throw at anybody one disagrees with, when one is too arrogant to be bothered with reasonably discussing the differences of opinion.

We went over this ad nauseam in that other thread.

"Sealioning" is a new word to me, but I looked it up. It seems to be a subset of trolling. Never followed that other thread. Perhaps I should read it.

My impression is that trolling or any subset thereof is indeed a real thing that happens in the wild, but far more often than not invoked to causally dismiss people they disagree with, who may not have ill intentions at all.
"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 John Albert

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5933
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.



I'd like to share a productive way to respond to being called out for offensive statements. Take it with a grain of salt-- I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do, just passing on what has worked for me.

I remind myself that:

1) Virtually everyone is misogynistic, racist, or homophobic to some extent. The person who calls me out is identifying an action I should remedy, not personally attacking me.

2) The person calling me out might be coming from a place of lived experience, and it is completely valid for them to react with emotion. It is inappropriate for me to address it as a debate competition or game.

3) If I don't understand why my statements or behavior are offensive, it is because I do not understand the context or background of the situation. It is my responsibility to educate myself. I need to step back, research, and learn.

4) It is inappropriate for me to ask them to provide evidence or to give me a remedial course on cultural context.

5) I should apologize for my offensive behavior.

This list has some pretty glaring problems.

  • The premise "virtually everyone is misogynistic, racist, or homophobic to some extent" does not logically support the idea that all accusations of misogyny, racism, or homophobia are therefore reasonable. The appropriate first step is to ascertain why the person feels your words were bigoted. You have to know what the problem is before you can even decide how to remedy it, or even whether it's something that requires remedy.

  • Of course emotional reactions are to be expected when somebody is personally attacked, including when the attack comes in the form of disparaging their race, gender, sexual preference, etc. But in general, "lived experience" does not justify being an asshole to everybody who disagrees with a claim you made. If "lived experience" negates the burden of proof, then "lived experience" would be an effective counterargument to skeptical inquiry into any empirical claim, including religious miracles, psychic powers, alien contact or bigfoot sightings.

  • It's important to consider that everyone has different experiences in life, which inform their interpretation of events. But that doesn't require that we abandon all critical thinking. The more reasonable takeaway would be to discuss our differences openly and respectfully. That's always been the path to understanding.

    The problem with instructing people to take it upon themselves to "research and learn" identity politics issues is that when you really get down into the literature, you find that there is no scholarly consensus about many of these subjects. Different writers have different opinions and rationalizations for their points of view. Another problem with the intersectionality theory is that much of it relies on hasty generalizations about entire demographic groups. Digging into the underlying theory you will find a lot of tiptoeing around the "is-ought" problem. Consulting the foundational works ultimately leads down a rabbit hole of postmodern philosophical bullshit that reworks the fields of metaphysics, semiotics, and epistemology around the nihilistic premise that no objective reality exists or is practically accessible.

    But even beyond all that highfalutin nonsense, we mustn't forget that people's memories are quite often wrong, accusations are often subjective, and sometimes individuals just take a personal disliking to others and refuse to reason with them. Some people claim victimhood as an argumentation tactic because they know it automatically grants them the moral high ground in the eyes of others. Ideological extremists are even more likely to toss out accusations of "sexism," "racism," and even "Nazism" on the flimsiest rationale. And given the potential consequences, those kinds of accusations ought to demand even more evidence and reason than a mundane empirical claim.

  • You're talking about eradicating the idea of burden of proof for people of certain demographics. This is the upshot of considering reasonable discourse the exclusive purview of white men, so we should exempt women and POC from the same standards. It's a terrible idea to rip up the foundations of civilized discussion, the basis of millennia of philosophical and scientific progress, on the faulty premise that some people must be always considered right by dint of their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference. That approach ultimately leads to some really absurd places.

  • This conclusion is dependent on all of the above. Some people will take offense at any little thing. You do not owe an apology when somebody attacks you.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 09:46:38 PM by John Albert »

Offline John Albert

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5933
John Albert is completely self-blind, on this subject as he is on sealioning, which is a behaviour which he is again demonstrating clearly.

'Sealioning' is a childish accusation to throw at anybody one disagrees with, when one is too arrogant to be bothered with reasonably discussing the differences of opinion.

We went over this ad nauseam in that other thread.

"Sealioning" is a new word to me, but I looked it up. It seems to be a subset of trolling. Never followed that other thread. Perhaps I should read it.

My impression is that trolling or any subset thereof is indeed a real thing that happens in the wild, but far more often than not invoked to causally dismiss people they disagree with, who may not have ill intentions at all.

"Sealioning" has been variously defined as a suite of different activities ('fake' politeness, asking questions and demanding evidence, nitpicking, time wasting, Gish-galloping, harassment, bullying, cyberstalking).

The reason why I have a baby sea lion as my avatar is because several people accused me of being a "sealion" when I argued that the term is ill-defined and often misused in a manner incompatible with skeptical discussion.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4776
While trolling certainly exists, I think it is far more often thrown as an insult against people whose opinions they don't like.

It's a similar situation as with the scientism accusation: Yes, some people certainly over-state what science can do, but far more often it is used to wall off beliefs from scientific scrutiny. For example religious people who don't want scientific examination of their beliefs.
"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 John Albert

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5933
Regarding "sealioning" and "debate me bro culture," I have never had somebody chasing me around the Internet from forum to forum, on social media and whatnot, demanding that I debate them on some issue. I've probably been on the Internet longer than most people around here, and it's just not a thing that I've ever seen happen. Or even heard it happen to anybody I know.

Now I have heard tell of some famous academics and activists being challenged to a debate by miserable flunkies on YouTube, who are obviously trying to increase their view counts by name-dropping. But outside of those rare cases, this "debate me bro culture" mostly seems like a red herring.

What I have seen quite a lot is people asserting questionable claims as foregone conclusions, then refusing to back them up with evidence when asked, and flinging harsh accusations in response. That kind of anti-skeptical behavior is nothing new; it's been going on ever since the days of Usenet.

But more and more I'm seeing some political activists promoting that kind of behavior with statements like, "you don't owe anybody an argument or an explanation." Which is really bad for skepticism because it not only discourages the practice of critical discourse, but it personally maligns skeptics as "toxic people" just for questioning.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 08:37:14 PM by John Albert »

Online Sawyer

  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1326

  • You're talking about eradicating the idea of burden of proof for people of certain demographics. This is the upshot of considering reasonable discourse the exclusive purview of white men, so we should exempt women and POC from the same standards. It's a terrible idea to rip up the foundations of civilized discussion, the basis of millennia of philosophical and scientific progress, on the faulty premise that some people must be always considered right by dint of their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference. That approach ultimately leads to some really absurd places.

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.  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.

And thank goodness we don't ever have to worry about the opposite happening.  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.  It's not like "open discourse" or "facts over feelings" are monikers of some of the biggest bullshit artists on the internet, and our community has been completely inept at countering any of their nonsense.  It's not like there's some completely fabricated issue popping up every six months in nerd communities under the guise of objectivity or maintaining high standards of evidence, and it just so happens to result in further alienation of women.  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.

Nope, no need to worry about these silly hypothetical problems.  The only real threat is when newer female members accuse someone of being a jerk.


Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4776
Sawyer, that post makes no sense. I don't owe you an explanation as for why. Go educate yourself. [Insert some of the personal attacks that have been thrown at me in this thread with impunity, but which I would receive a warning for if I responded in kind with.]

 ::)
"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

 

personate-rain