Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Civility in Discourse: Mudslinging, Rhetoric, and the High Road

11011121416

Posts

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    @Regina: While what you are saying is true given your assumptions, I believe that people on the other side - not just the undecided - can be converted to your side.

    I'm reminded of the a particular campaign several years back. The opposing candidate was running on a few different boilerplate issues. The finance director comes in one day waving an opposition press release on one such issue saying that we should go through it sentence by sentence because when you explain the facts to them, not even Republicans ought to believe (X).

    My best friend from college is a psychologist who had just introduced me to the studies that were being done at University of Michigan on political opinion-making, so I pulled some of these papers that he'd passed me out and handed them to her, saying, "leading research strongly suggests that as much as we'd like to believe that, it's wrong. People create a cognitive schema for understanding the world around them. When they encounter a fact which doesn't fit easily into that schema, they tend to reject it because it's easier to not learn something new than it is to readjust your entire worldview, particularly if doing that is accompanied by the social pressure of having to admit that you were wrong."

    She looks through the introduction to one of the papers while she sits in the corner. She looks up at me and says, "So you're saying that for the majority of people who hold a strong opinion about any given issue, if you given them a fact which contradicts that issue, they will pretend the fact doesn't exist rather than consider an alternative theory?"

    "I'm afraid so."

    "Even if you hand them independently-gathered, verifiable scientific research which suggest that their opinion is at least in need of adjustment?"

    "Yep."

    She bites her lip and shakes her head and says, "I don't believe that."

    "I didn't expect you would. The scientific study I just handed you suggested you might feel that way."

    SammyF on
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Feral wrote: »
    A bigger question: are we really going to start demanding that an internet forum attached to a video game web comic is to become the bastion of rhetoric and discourse in the age of new reason?

    I don't think it's unreasonable to expect an internet forum attached to a video game web comic to adhere to a minimal level of civil discourse, simply because I don't think it's unreasonable to ask all human beings to adhere to a minimal level of civil discourse.

    We don't get a free ride from being polite and sensible just because we're gamers. (Though it might seem like it sometimes. :P )

    (I just have a different idea from, say, Gandalf the Crazed, about what that minimal level should be.)

    I agree that a minimal level of decorum should be maintained, I just don't expect and internet forum to be brunch in the Queen's gardens. More PMQs at times, really.

    I have some unpopular views, to say the least, but I am always open to discussing and reexamining them. For what it's worth, it is only the people who take the high road who have influenced my views.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg

  • Boring7Boring7 Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote: »
    @Regina: While what you are saying is true given your assumptions, I believe that people on the other side - not just the undecided - can be converted to your side.

    I'm reminded of the a particular campaign several years back. The opposing candidate was running on a few different boilerplate issues. The finance director comes in one day waving an opposition press release on one such issue saying that we should go through it sentence by sentence because when you explain the facts to them, not even Republicans ought to believe (X).

    My best friend from college is a psychologist who had just introduced me to the studies that were being done at University of Michigan on political opinion-making, so I pulled some of these papers that he'd passed me out and handed them to her, saying, "leading research strongly suggests that as much as we'd like to believe that, it's wrong. People create a cognitive schema for understanding the world around them. When they encounter a fact which doesn't fit easily into that schema, they tend to reject it because it's easier to not learn something new than it is to readjust your entire worldview, particularly if doing that is accompanied by the social pressure of having to admit that you were wrong."

    She looks through the introduction to one of the papers while she sits in the corner. She looks up at me and says, "So you're saying that for the majority of people who hold a strong opinion about any given issue, if you given them a fact which contradicts that issue, they will pretend the fact doesn't exist rather than consider an alternative theory?"

    "I'm afraid so."

    "Even if you hand them independently-gathered, verifiable scientific research which suggest that their opinion is at least in need of adjustment?"

    "Yep."

    She bites her lip and shakes her head and says, "I don't believe that."

    "I didn't expect you would. The scientific study I just handed you suggested you might feel that way."

    This is depressingly true.

    Thanatos wrote: »
    Goldman Sachs may as well be named COBRA.
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    The "you" was directed at Spool.

    Regina Fong- the centrists sometimes get drowned out by the "Not voting for Obama because he isn't Leftist Jesus" people.

    TNC is off in a class by himself, having rejected capitalism/democracy and reverted to feudalism. I forgot about KevinNash. So that makes 3 right-wingers here. Not really a non-partisan/balanced forum, but people aren't sitting around in a circlejerk all the time so I guess it's alright.
    There's also Sharp10or. Or however his name is spelled. Though I guess he hasn't shown up here in D&D in a while.
    Also for the longest time I though you were talking about TetraNitroCubane and not TheNomadicCircle

    steam_sig.png
  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    @Julius:
    I'm sorry if I am starting to sound like a broken record here, but even in the case of in-fighting, this would only be of any use when it comes to the guys on the fence.

    Its not that this strategy cannot possibly be used to great effect, but that you are effectively deciding from the get-go that, no, you are happy with just THIS part of the population and fuck the fuckers who aren't in it.

    @Sammy:
    I am very much familiar with the idea of cognitive dissonance and that its resolution tends to take the path of least resistance. With sufficient reframing, however, you can present any fact and anchor it on values that the person already supposedly values. Its deceitful, but mass rhetorics as a whole are deceitful.

    I mean, if you can sell Jesus to the viking-oriented scandinavians as this awesome guy who rides to hell and fights hordes of demons to rescue souls evereh day and is totally more badass than that Odin guy you can sell anything.

    Grey Paladin on
    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    Left-leaning and echo-chamber are completely different things.

    Freep is an echochamber, because anyone who expresses a liberal view will quickly be banned. Right-wing people might feel outnumbered or picked on here, but they can stay as long as they like, and espouse their opinions, and thus it is absolutely not an echo chamber.

    But if persistent ridicule and incivility leads to the same end as banning people - ideological dissidents stop posting - it can still be an echo chamber without banning.

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    Left-leaning and echo-chamber are completely different things.

    Freep is an echochamber, because anyone who expresses a liberal view will quickly be banned. Right-wing people might feel outnumbered or picked on here, but they can stay as long as they like, and espouse their opinions, and thus it is absolutely not an echo chamber.

    But if persistent ridicule and incivility leads to the same end as banning people - ideological dissidents stop posting - it can still be an echo chamber without banning.

    Perhaps. But we should be careful to distinguish between actual pervasive ridicule and the tendency for some people to feel that merely being exposed to views that run contrary to their own is tantamount to persecution.

  • AbsalonAbsalon Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    I would like to point out that we wouldn't be left-wingers if we didn't think right-wing ideas were worse and dumb and to be mocked. I mean, the whole assessment process and comparison between two sides has already happened and it will take more than some open discourse to change that.

    Climate change "skeptics" hinge their entire world-view on the idea that the near-consensus among people who actually know their shit is not the cause of facts all pointing the same way, but rather the result of conscious or subconscious conspiracy to crowd out "brave dissenters".

    But this can be claimed by anyone in the minortiy. We "leftists" could just as easily claim that the lack of diversity when it comes to certain political matters is how things should be, that the only thing that has pushed us all to such unseemly agreement and seemingly herd-like behavior is a more objective and reasonable approach to reality. It's just foolish back and forth until someone shows how we as a general, definable group has failed to hold a correct position due to this echo-chamber tendency that is supposedly rampant.

    Yeah, we agree with one another and mock people like seroku, spool32 and Modern Man to varying degrees depending on how eloquent, humble and good-faith they are when they challenge certain opinions that are generally agreed-upon by the majority here. And? So?

    Absalon on
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2012
    So let's say you are discussing crime with a racist, and he says "Of course there are lots of black men in jail. They have natural criminal inclinations, think they can get away with the crimes because their fast twitch muscle will allow them to escape the scene, and all their rapper heroes are criminals too." Do you mock him for being racist, or do you engage him seriously to try and explain why his preconceptions are wrong? It seems to me that a lot of people would just call him a racist and move on, but I think that means you have lost an opportunity to change someone's mind.

    As someone who will readily admit to having some strong biases that have been undermined by exposure to different people or more education about their cultures, I think it is clearly worth it to at least try. For example, I spent years thinking kids wearing hats with the sticker still on them looked like (and probably were) idiots. Then someone explained to me that they keep the stickers on to show the hat is new, which is apparently important in that subculture. I still think it looks dumb, but now that I understand it serves a purpose, I no longer dismiss people who wear them.

    spacekungfuman on
    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg

  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    So let's say you are discussing crime with a racist, and he says "Of course there are lots of black men in jail. They have natural criminal inclinations, think they can get away with the crimes because their fast twitch muscle will all the, to escape the scene, and all their rapper heroes are criminals too." Do you mock him for being racist, or do you engage him seriously to try and explain why his preconceptions are wrong? It seems to me that a lot of people would just call him a racist and move on, but I think that means you have lost an opportunity to change someone's mind.

    As someone who will readily admit to having some strong biases that have been undermined by exposure to different people or more education about their cultures, I think it is clearly worth it to at least try. For example, I spent years thinking kids wearing hats with the sticker still on them looked like (and probably were) idiots. Then someone explained to me that they keep the stickers on to show the hat is new, which is apparently important in that subculture. I still think it looks dumb, but now that I understand it serves a purpose, I no longer dismiss people who wear them.

    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    Left-leaning and echo-chamber are completely different things.

    Freep is an echochamber, because anyone who expresses a liberal view will quickly be banned. Right-wing people might feel outnumbered or picked on here, but they can stay as long as they like, and espouse their opinions, and thus it is absolutely not an echo chamber.

    But if persistent ridicule and incivility leads to the same end as banning people - ideological dissidents stop posting - it can still be an echo chamber without banning.

    Perhaps. But we should be careful to distinguish between actual pervasive ridicule and the tendency for some people to feel that merely being exposed to views that run contrary to their own is tantamount to persecution.

    Sure. I'm just saying your inference about this board not being an echo chamber doesn't follow from the premises.

    I think there is ridicule against more extreme elements of ideologies here, with an extra helping for religious people. It doesn't necessarily make this an echo chamber (assuming my observation is correct), but it does limit the views we are exposed to here.

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • CasualCasual Revolver Ocelot (Revolver Ocelot)Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    One problem I've noticed with this place is it is so easy to start off in a moderate position which is contrary to the conventional wisdom of a lot of the forumers here and people will push you into a far more extreme stance than you started off with. One example I can think of is the time I raised a point from "the skeptical environmentalist", I basically said that the vast sums of money that have gone into policing the Kyoto protocols pretty ineffectually could have been far better spent on other things. Suddenly I got dogpiled by everyone in the thread all of them determined that I was making every big oil argument ever.

    All you have to do is approach a significantly controversial topic contrary to what most people here agree is correct and they start reading what they want to argue against rather than whats being said. I think that tends to happen to the conservatives on this board, they're so outnumbered they often get pushed into saying things even they probably don't really agree with.

    Casual on
    Revolver Ocelot
    i write amazing erotic fiction

    its all about anthropomorphic dicks doing everyday things like buying shoes for their scrotum-feet
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    So let's say you are discussing crime with a racist, and he says "Of course there are lots of black men in jail. They have natural criminal inclinations, think they can get away with the crimes because their fast twitch muscle will all the, to escape the scene, and all their rapper heroes are criminals too." Do you mock him for being racist, or do you engage him seriously to try and explain why his preconceptions are wrong? It seems to me that a lot of people would just call him a racist and move on, but I think that means you have lost an opportunity to change someone's mind.

    As someone who will readily admit to having some strong biases that have been undermined by exposure to different people or more education about their cultures, I think it is clearly worth it to at least try. For example, I spent years thinking kids wearing hats with the sticker still on them looked like (and probably were) idiots. Then someone explained to me that they keep the stickers on to show the hat is new, which is apparently important in that subculture. I still think it looks dumb, but now that I understand it serves a purpose, I no longer dismiss people who wear them.

    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

    By this point, the people who were going to change their minds about whether or not black people have natural predispositions towards crime already have. There are diminishing returns from continuing to engage with phrenology hold-outs in the 21st century.
    Casual wrote: »
    One problem I've noticed with this place is it is so easy to start off in a moderate position which is contrary to the conventional wisdom of a lot of the forumers here and people will push you into a far more extreme stance than you started off with. One example I can think of is the time I raised a point from "the skeptical environmentalist", I basically said that the vast sums of money that have gone into policing the Kyoto protocols pretty ineffectually could have been far better spent on other things. Suddenly I got dogpiled by everyone in the thread all of them determined that I was making every big oil argument ever.

    All you have to do is approach a significantly controversial topic contrary to what most people here agree is correct and they start reading what they want to argue against rather than whats being said. I think that tends to happen to the conservatives on this board, they're so outnumbered they often get pushed into saying things even they probably don't really agree with.

    Perhaps we spend too much time talking about specific policies or individual positions and not nearly enough time talking about values. There are some values that deserve to be rejected out of hand -- like those of the earnest racist posited by spacekungfuman -- but most of us here still probably share some fundamental values even when we disagree on a specific policy. For instance, Casual is certainly capable of believing that protecting the environment is important or that some environmental protections are necessary while disagreeing with the very specific set of protections and methodologies laid out by the Kyoto protocols. It's an unwarranted leap to presume that just because he disagreed with a specific position means that he doesn't share our values.

    SammyF on
  • MentalExerciseMentalExercise Indefenestrable Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote: »
    So let's say you are discussing crime with a racist, and he says "Of course there are lots of black men in jail. They have natural criminal inclinations, think they can get away with the crimes because their fast twitch muscle will all the, to escape the scene, and all their rapper heroes are criminals too." Do you mock him for being racist, or do you engage him seriously to try and explain why his preconceptions are wrong? It seems to me that a lot of people would just call him a racist and move on, but I think that means you have lost an opportunity to change someone's mind.

    As someone who will readily admit to having some strong biases that have been undermined by exposure to different people or more education about their cultures, I think it is clearly worth it to at least try. For example, I spent years thinking kids wearing hats with the sticker still on them looked like (and probably were) idiots. Then someone explained to me that they keep the stickers on to show the hat is new, which is apparently important in that subculture. I still think it looks dumb, but now that I understand it serves a purpose, I no longer dismiss people who wear them.

    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

    By this point, the people who were going to change their minds about whether or not black people have natural predispositions towards crime already have. There are diminishing returns from continuing to engage with phrenology hold-outs in the 21st century.

    ... yeah there are diminishing returns, but when the extent of your input is thoughtful conversation it seems to me that any returns are worth it. Even if there isn't any return, at the very least you've probably increased and clarified your own understanding, but probably also gained useful knowledge about the ins and outs of some of those that disagree with you.

    "More fish for Kunta!"

    --LeVar Burton
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    It's not something you can solve via conversation. As with the anti-gay marriage folks, their belief primarily holds up in their own mind because they don't have a close-ish personal relationship that causes them to empathize with people of whatever minority status. Until they have that it's always going to be easy for them to construct a stereotypical view, and conversation is unlikely to get them past it.

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    remember pluto? Once a planet but now a pseudo
    funny how information changes the facts that you know
  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Harrisonburg, VARegistered User regular
    SammyF wrote: »
    So let's say you are discussing crime with a racist, and he says "Of course there are lots of black men in jail. They have natural criminal inclinations, think they can get away with the crimes because their fast twitch muscle will all the, to escape the scene, and all their rapper heroes are criminals too." Do you mock him for being racist, or do you engage him seriously to try and explain why his preconceptions are wrong? It seems to me that a lot of people would just call him a racist and move on, but I think that means you have lost an opportunity to change someone's mind.

    As someone who will readily admit to having some strong biases that have been undermined by exposure to different people or more education about their cultures, I think it is clearly worth it to at least try. For example, I spent years thinking kids wearing hats with the sticker still on them looked like (and probably were) idiots. Then someone explained to me that they keep the stickers on to show the hat is new, which is apparently important in that subculture. I still think it looks dumb, but now that I understand it serves a purpose, I no longer dismiss people who wear them.

    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

    By this point, the people who were going to change their minds about whether or not black people have natural predispositions towards crime already have. There are diminishing returns from continuing to engage with phrenology hold-outs in the 21st century.

    ... yeah there are diminishing returns, but when the extent of your input is thoughtful conversation it seems to me that any returns are worth it. Even if there isn't any return, at the very least you've probably increased and clarified your own understanding, but probably also gained useful knowledge about the ins and outs of some of those that disagree with you.
    Wow, you seriously believe that any debate, no matter how stupid or delusional the other participant, can never be a waste of time?

  • MentalExerciseMentalExercise Indefenestrable Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote: »
    So let's say you are discussing crime with a racist, and he says "Of course there are lots of black men in jail. They have natural criminal inclinations, think they can get away with the crimes because their fast twitch muscle will all the, to escape the scene, and all their rapper heroes are criminals too." Do you mock him for being racist, or do you engage him seriously to try and explain why his preconceptions are wrong? It seems to me that a lot of people would just call him a racist and move on, but I think that means you have lost an opportunity to change someone's mind.

    As someone who will readily admit to having some strong biases that have been undermined by exposure to different people or more education about their cultures, I think it is clearly worth it to at least try. For example, I spent years thinking kids wearing hats with the sticker still on them looked like (and probably were) idiots. Then someone explained to me that they keep the stickers on to show the hat is new, which is apparently important in that subculture. I still think it looks dumb, but now that I understand it serves a purpose, I no longer dismiss people who wear them.

    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

    By this point, the people who were going to change their minds about whether or not black people have natural predispositions towards crime already have. There are diminishing returns from continuing to engage with phrenology hold-outs in the 21st century.

    ... yeah there are diminishing returns, but when the extent of your input is thoughtful conversation it seems to me that any returns are worth it. Even if there isn't any return, at the very least you've probably increased and clarified your own understanding, but probably also gained useful knowledge about the ins and outs of some of those that disagree with you.
    Wow, you seriously believe that any debate, no matter how stupid or delusional the other participant, can never be a waste of time?

    Certainly not. I often skip a conversation if I don't think anything useful will come from it. But if I am going to engage in conversation it seems silly to torpedo it through mockery.

    It is also very common for people to surprise me. There are plenty of threads or conversations that I've thought were irreversibly hobbled, but then one thoughtful post brings it right around and people that were doing nothing but sniping at each other start really talking.

    Additionally I've never seen a conversation stalled through too much understanding. Through double checking for clarification, or trying to separate out different premises and conclusions to evaluate them separately. But you see them stalled all the time because someone just couldn't help but compare the other guy to a slow grade schooler. So to speak.

    "More fish for Kunta!"

    --LeVar Burton
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    So let's say you are discussing crime with a racist, and he says "Of course there are lots of black men in jail. They have natural criminal inclinations, think they can get away with the crimes because their fast twitch muscle will allow them to escape the scene, and all their rapper heroes are criminals too." Do you mock him for being racist, or do you engage him seriously to try and explain why his preconceptions are wrong? It seems to me that a lot of people would just call him a racist and move on, but I think that means you have lost an opportunity to change someone's mind.

    The way you've described the scenario, I would try to reasonably engage with him for a bit.

    He's actually set up an argument, with logic, relating to evidence. His logic might be faulty, his evidence unsupported, and his conclusions false, but what you've described is a complete train of thought. That's something that can be reasoned with.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

    Ever heard that Avenue Q song, "Everybody's a Little Bit Racist?"

    It's true. Everybody's a little bit racist. And a little bit sexist, a little bit classist, a little bit ageist. The human mind has natural pattern-identifying heuristics that make it easy to draw generalizations about people from the limited, nonrepresentative sample of data that we each experience daily.

    So while I haven't met many overt malicious racists, I think it's very easy for a well-meaning person to think or say something about a class of people that just isn't really true. Or maybe it is true, but it's more complicated than that person's comment implies.

    I think polite, sensitive, respectful discourse is the order of the day in these situations.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Boring7 wrote: »
    SammyF wrote: »
    She looks through the introduction to one of the papers while she sits in the corner. She looks up at me and says, "So you're saying that for the majority of people who hold a strong opinion about any given issue, if you given them a fact which contradicts that issue, they will pretend the fact doesn't exist rather than consider an alternative theory?"

    "I'm afraid so."

    "Even if you hand them independently-gathered, verifiable scientific research which suggest that their opinion is at least in need of adjustment?"

    "Yep."

    This is depressingly true.

    I don't consider it depressing, necessarily.

    There's a philosopher named WVO Quine who elucidated an idea called the web of belief. Every truth or fact you believe in forms a web with other truths or facts. I believe in gravity because 1) I can see objects falling with my own eyes, 2) I can feel its action on my body, 3) it has been verified by other people, 4) forms a basis for much of our knowledge of the world. So the thought {gravity is true} is connected in this web to {my senses of sight and touch are reasonably accurate}, {other people are mostly telling the truth}, and a bunch of other beliefs about the nature of the world.

    And this is actually kind of okay, because this is what lets our bullshit detectors function. If I witness a magician levitating an object in midair, I should not immediately come to the conclusion that {gravity is false} or even that {my sense of sight is hopelessly inaccurate} (ie, I'm vividly hallucinating). These are kind of silly conclusions to come to based on a single piece of information. It's a bit more reasonable to insert another possibility, perhaps {the object is suspended by a thread I cannot see}. (This would be connected to another fact, that {even though my sense of sight is mostly accurate, it's easy for me to miss small details like thin threads or mirrors}.)

    If one piece of data pushes a bit on an established belief, then it might be wise to briefly consider the possibility that our established belief is wrong, but most of the time, these ideas can be reasonably incorporated into our worldview without upsetting the whole apple cart. Even some of the biggest revolutionary ideas in recent history - say, general relativity, or quantum mechanics - don't change that much about our day-to-day belief structures. Objects still exist and move in discrete Newtonian ways at the scales at which we're used to viewing things. When one piece of data pushes a bit on an established belief, and then another, and then yet another, and then yet another; and when all of these new beliefs can be moved or removed to accommodate a new theory, that's when we need to seriously consider the possibility that we might be wrong.

    Quine imagined that the threads in this web based on logic and evidence where black, and the ones based on faith or convention are white. (Actually, he imagined that all of the threads were gray, because no single belief is completely factual or completely faith-based, they were just differing shades of grey.) When a person's belief is mostly dark grey, that's when we can discuss the matter academically with logic and evidence. When a person's belief looks like it's mostly suspended by white, that's when logical discussion problem isn't going to get us very far.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • MentalExerciseMentalExercise Indefenestrable Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Boring7 wrote: »
    SammyF wrote: »
    She looks through the introduction to one of the papers while she sits in the corner. She looks up at me and says, "So you're saying that for the majority of people who hold a strong opinion about any given issue, if you given them a fact which contradicts that issue, they will pretend the fact doesn't exist rather than consider an alternative theory?"

    "I'm afraid so."

    "Even if you hand them independently-gathered, verifiable scientific research which suggest that their opinion is at least in need of adjustment?"

    "Yep."

    This is depressingly true.

    I don't consider it depressing, necessarily.

    There's a philosopher named WVO Quine who elucidated an idea called the web of belief. Every truth or fact you believe in forms a web with other truths or facts. I believe in gravity because 1) I can see objects falling with my own eyes, 2) I can feel its action on my body, 3) it has been verified by other people, 4) forms a basis for much of our knowledge of the world. So the thought {gravity is true} is connected in this web to {my senses of sight and touch are reasonably accurate}, {other people are mostly telling the truth}, and a bunch of other beliefs about the nature of the world.

    And this is actually kind of okay, because this is what lets our bullshit detectors function. If I witness a magician levitating an object in midair, I should not immediately come to the conclusion that {gravity is false} or even that {my sense of sight is hopelessly inaccurate} (ie, I'm vividly hallucinating). These are kind of silly conclusions to come to based on a single piece of information. It's a bit more reasonable to insert another possibility, perhaps {the object is suspended by a thread I cannot see}. (This would be connected to another fact, that {even though my sense of sight is mostly accurate, it's easy for me to miss small details like thin threads or mirrors}.)

    If one piece of data pushes a bit on an established belief, then it might be wise to briefly consider the possibility that our established belief is wrong, but most of the time, these ideas can be reasonably incorporated into our worldview without upsetting the whole apple cart. Even some of the biggest revolutionary ideas in recent history - say, general relativity, or quantum mechanics - don't change that much about our day-to-day belief structures. Objects still exist and move in discrete Newtonian ways at the scales at which we're used to viewing things. When one piece of data pushes a bit on an established belief, and then another, and then yet another, and then yet another; and when all of these new beliefs can be moved or removed to accommodate a new theory, that's when we need to seriously consider the possibility that we might be wrong.

    Quine imagined that the threads in this web based on logic and evidence where black, and the ones based on faith or convention are white. (Actually, he imagined that all of the threads were gray, because no single belief is completely factual or completely faith-based, they were just differing shades of grey.) When a person's belief is mostly dark grey, that's when we can discuss the matter academically with logic and evidence. When a person's belief looks like it's mostly suspended by white, that's when logical discussion problem isn't going to get us very far.

    I'm glad you responded to this instead of me, because my post would have been very much dumbed down from this.

    I also think you can still have a good conversation with white line guy, and possibly even change his mind. It just takes a different approach.

    "More fish for Kunta!"

    --LeVar Burton
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava One day, I will be able to say to myself "I am beautiful and I am perfect just the way I am"Registered User regular
    the best thing about these forums is the opinions that I've been forced to look at and change from not even actively engaging with you guys over. But from reading through conversations you were all having with one another.

    For example, The question of Israel. For the longest time, basically since I can remember being little, Israel was the most important thing. The Jewish state was paramount and all arabs were dirty, ruthless, murdering poopyheads. Not to be trusted in any circumstance. Ever. My Overly prejudiced self became slightly apparent to me when Yitzakh Rabin was killed and I immediately thought that it was Hamas or Hezbollah. When I was proven wrong, I started to examine my beliefs about what I knew, but that got pushed to the side for school and university and things. It never was a big deal for me. It still really isn't.

    But from hanging out here and reading through threads filled with information and discussion, and granted not all of the discussion about israel is polite or comfortable for me but I read it anyway, I began to seriously think about what I knew and what I thought I knew. Now any thread around here that touches on Israel is still a thread that I'm likely to avoid, purely because I'm not completely sure of my opinion, or confident in where I have landed, there are still old ties and beliefs to question and answer. But because of the reasoned (for the most part) discussions that I've seen here, I've finally settled a few things in my mind.

    Reasoned, thoughtful, respectful conversation is good, it gives people something to learn from and latch onto. Belligerent, rude, and condescending conversation, while sometimes enjoyable to read from a schadenfreudian perspective is not necessarily good at convincing others to examine their views.

    that's my piece.

  • MentalExerciseMentalExercise Indefenestrable Registered User regular
    that's my piece.

    Whoa whoa whoa! Shouldn't you put NSFW spoiler tags around something like that?!

    "More fish for Kunta!"

    --LeVar Burton
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Feral wrote: »
    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

    Ever heard that Avenue Q song, "Everybody's a Little Bit Racist?"

    It's true. Everybody's a little bit racist. And a little bit sexist, a little bit classist, a little bit ageist. The human mind has natural pattern-identifying heuristics that make it easy to draw generalizations about people from the limited, nonrepresentative sample of data that we each experience daily.

    So while I haven't met many overt malicious racists, I think it's very easy for a well-meaning person to think or say something about a class of people that just isn't really true. Or maybe it is true, but it's more complicated than that person's comment implies.

    I think polite, sensitive, respectful discourse is the order of the day in these situations.

    I also think that if you avoid jumping down people's throats when they express these unpopular views, then you have a better shot at getting people to express more of their views, which is critical if you want to change them.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg

  • Boring7Boring7 Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

    Ever heard that Avenue Q song, "Everybody's a Little Bit Racist?"

    It's true. Everybody's a little bit racist. And a little bit sexist, a little bit classist, a little bit ageist. The human mind has natural pattern-identifying heuristics that make it easy to draw generalizations about people from the limited, nonrepresentative sample of data that we each experience daily.

    So while I haven't met many overt malicious racists, I think it's very easy for a well-meaning person to think or say something about a class of people that just isn't really true. Or maybe it is true, but it's more complicated than that person's comment implies.

    I think polite, sensitive, respectful discourse is the order of the day in these situations.

    I also think that if you avoid jumping down people's throats when they express these unpopular views, then you have a better shot at getting people to express more of their views, which is critical if you want to change them.

    It often seems to be a question of numbers. If you express an unpopular opinion you are buried under counter-arguments, even if they were all rational (and they won't be because internet, bitch!) because there's a lot of commenters.

    Thanatos wrote: »
    Goldman Sachs may as well be named COBRA.
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

    Ever heard that Avenue Q song, "Everybody's a Little Bit Racist?"

    It's true. Everybody's a little bit racist. And a little bit sexist, a little bit classist, a little bit ageist. The human mind has natural pattern-identifying heuristics that make it easy to draw generalizations about people from the limited, nonrepresentative sample of data that we each experience daily.

    So while I haven't met many overt malicious racists, I think it's very easy for a well-meaning person to think or say something about a class of people that just isn't really true. Or maybe it is true, but it's more complicated than that person's comment implies.

    I think polite, sensitive, respectful discourse is the order of the day in these situations.

    Yeah but we're not talking about some mild prejudice everyone's got. Space provided an example of shit that we in the industry call "hella racist bullshit" and I'm with Regina in that I've never seen someone saying that shit in earnest(that wasn't also a huge dick an impervious to reason).

    I don't think it's a very good use of anyone's time to engage someone when they're spouting that level of racist shit.


    Also, that song is fucking bullshit.

  • MentalExerciseMentalExercise Indefenestrable Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Julius wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

    Ever heard that Avenue Q song, "Everybody's a Little Bit Racist?"

    It's true. Everybody's a little bit racist. And a little bit sexist, a little bit classist, a little bit ageist. The human mind has natural pattern-identifying heuristics that make it easy to draw generalizations about people from the limited, nonrepresentative sample of data that we each experience daily.

    So while I haven't met many overt malicious racists, I think it's very easy for a well-meaning person to think or say something about a class of people that just isn't really true. Or maybe it is true, but it's more complicated than that person's comment implies.

    I think polite, sensitive, respectful discourse is the order of the day in these situations.

    Yeah but we're not talking about some mild prejudice everyone's got. Space provided an example of shit that we in the industry call "hella racist bullshit" and I'm with Regina in that I've never seen someone saying that shit in earnest(that wasn't also a huge dick an impervious to reason).

    I don't think it's a very good use of anyone's time to engage someone when they're spouting that level of racist shit.


    Also, that song is fucking bullshit.

    I don't see why not. I mean, three quarters of the population of Egypt thinks Jews control the US government and media with an iron fist, but I'd be cool talking to an Egyptian about the topic.

    edit: Yes, that three quarters number is entirely invented because I didn't feel the exact number was really important to the point.

    MentalExercise on
    "More fish for Kunta!"

    --LeVar Burton
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    The last time I dealt with a really obnoxious racist was on facebook. I actually ended up asking for advice in the [chat] thread on what to do with this person, this former friend who was rapidly becoming one of my least favorite people. Occasionally it was fun to debate with him on facebook because his views were quite conservative and different from my own. But after a while I grew tired of the completely unprovoked attacks against people he thought were gay (such as Elana Kagen, who I quite dislike, but not for some made up reason like "Well she looks lesbian"). The final straw came when he posted a racist photoshop of President Obama, and I called him out on it.

    He insisted it wasn't racist at all. Then his dad chimed in to announce that it wasn't racist. And then I deleted him from my facebook, because you know what? Life is way too fucking short.

    Casual racism, or ignorance is one thing. You can enlighten those people perhaps. Someone who wants to post a racist photoshop for shock value and then loudly claim that it's not racist?

    You can't debate that shit.

  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

    Ever heard that Avenue Q song, "Everybody's a Little Bit Racist?"

    It's true. Everybody's a little bit racist. And a little bit sexist, a little bit classist, a little bit ageist. The human mind has natural pattern-identifying heuristics that make it easy to draw generalizations about people from the limited, nonrepresentative sample of data that we each experience daily.

    So while I haven't met many overt malicious racists, I think it's very easy for a well-meaning person to think or say something about a class of people that just isn't really true. Or maybe it is true, but it's more complicated than that person's comment implies.

    I think polite, sensitive, respectful discourse is the order of the day in these situations.

    Yeah but we're not talking about some mild prejudice everyone's got. Space provided an example of shit that we in the industry call "hella racist bullshit" and I'm with Regina in that I've never seen someone saying that shit in earnest(that wasn't also a huge dick an impervious to reason).

    I don't think it's a very good use of anyone's time to engage someone when they're spouting that level of racist shit.


    Also, that song is fucking bullshit.

    What do you mean the song is bullshit? I think it is completely true that everyone makes some judgements based on race, even if they are harmless or innocuous.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg

  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    When I find an earnest racist, I'll let you know.

    My experiences with them on the internet have shown them to be belligerent trolls every. single. time.

    Ever heard that Avenue Q song, "Everybody's a Little Bit Racist?"

    It's true. Everybody's a little bit racist. And a little bit sexist, a little bit classist, a little bit ageist. The human mind has natural pattern-identifying heuristics that make it easy to draw generalizations about people from the limited, nonrepresentative sample of data that we each experience daily.

    So while I haven't met many overt malicious racists, I think it's very easy for a well-meaning person to think or say something about a class of people that just isn't really true. Or maybe it is true, but it's more complicated than that person's comment implies.

    I think polite, sensitive, respectful discourse is the order of the day in these situations.

    Yeah but we're not talking about some mild prejudice everyone's got. Space provided an example of shit that we in the industry call "hella racist bullshit" and I'm with Regina in that I've never seen someone saying that shit in earnest(that wasn't also a huge dick an impervious to reason).

    I don't think it's a very good use of anyone's time to engage someone when they're spouting that level of racist shit.


    Also, that song is fucking bullshit.

    What do you mean the song is bullshit? I think it is completely true that everyone makes some judgements based on race, even if they are harmless or innocuous.

    not very relevant to this thread, but still.

    Yeah we basically must be a little bit prejudiced because of our psychological make-up, but that song is just fucking ridiculous. It drives the topic of racism into irrelevance by pretending that it's just this thing all humans got so we should just stop worrying about it.

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Yeah but we're not talking about some mild prejudice everyone's got. Space provided an example of shit that we in the industry call "hella racist bullshit" and I'm with Regina in that I've never seen someone saying that shit in earnest(that wasn't also a huge dick an impervious to reason).

    I see it on occasion. Not often, but occasionally.

    What I see pretty frequently is casual sexism. "Of course women are less likely to be business executives. Their bodies produce less testosterone, which means they're less ambitious and less suited to the cutthroat competition of the business world. They have natural nurturing instincts which makes them better at jobs like human resources manager."

    And don't even get me started on transphobia or gender panic.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    It's been a really long time since I met a blatant, obvious committed racist. Maybe 20 years... I could tell you some stories from growing up in rural Louisiana.
    Not to suggest it's gone, or anything of the sort, but it's been a very long time for me.

  • MentalExerciseMentalExercise Indefenestrable Registered User regular
    The last time I dealt with a really obnoxious racist was on facebook. I actually ended up asking for advice in the [chat] thread on what to do with this person, this former friend who was rapidly becoming one of my least favorite people. Occasionally it was fun to debate with him on facebook because his views were quite conservative and different from my own. But after a while I grew tired of the completely unprovoked attacks against people he thought were gay (such as Elana Kagen, who I quite dislike, but not for some made up reason like "Well she looks lesbian"). The final straw came when he posted a racist photoshop of President Obama, and I called him out on it.

    He insisted it wasn't racist at all. Then his dad chimed in to announce that it wasn't racist. And then I deleted him from my facebook, because you know what? Life is way too fucking short.

    Casual racism, or ignorance is one thing. You can enlighten those people perhaps. Someone who wants to post a racist photoshop for shock value and then loudly claim that it's not racist?

    You can't debate that shit.

    No, sometimes not. But you didn't stay his facebook friend so you could throw mocking messages on his facebook wall once a week either.

    "More fish for Kunta!"

    --LeVar Burton
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    It's been a really long time since I met a blatant, obvious committed racist. Maybe 20 years... I could tell you some stories from growing up in rural Louisiana.
    Not to suggest it's gone, or anything of the sort, but it's been a very long time for me.

    My mother works with a few women who routinely refer to Obama as "the monkey in office." And my mother, who is a staunch conservative, tells them every time "he's not a monkey, he is a man, stop being a racist asshole."

    This is in Alamaba, of course. ;-)

    steam_sig.png
    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    Yeah but we're not talking about some mild prejudice everyone's got. Space provided an example of shit that we in the industry call "hella racist bullshit" and I'm with Regina in that I've never seen someone saying that shit in earnest(that wasn't also a huge dick an impervious to reason).

    I see it on occasion. Not often, but occasionally.

    What I see pretty frequently is casual sexism. "Of course women are less likely to be business executives. Their bodies produce less testosterone, which means they're less ambitious and less suited to the cutthroat competition of the business world. They have natural nurturing instincts which makes them better at jobs like human resources manager."

    And don't even get me started on transphobia or gender panic.

    This last sentence demonstrates the importance of not judging opinions so "clearly" wrong that you determine they are not worth taking seriously. I think there are a ton of people who have reached the point where they are very comfortable with gays and lesbians, but not at all comfortable with transgendered people. If you treat these people like they are not worth talking to, or you ridicule them, then they will never have the chance to consider if they should accept transgenders.

    To be blunt, I am a person who was very uncomfortable with the idea of gay people when I was in high school, and it wasn't until I had a really amazing professor who happened to be gay in college that I really came to fully accept them. I don't have particularly positive views on transgenders right now, but I know that with more information, exposure, and thought I may change my mind here. If there is a thread on transgenders where I express my views and people insult me, that will not be helping the situation. . .

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg

  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    I've met a few obvious or 'committed' racists within the city of my residence. There's a significant First Nations population here, and it's really not that uncommon to find or hear really racist sentiment regarding them.

    Lucid on
    No museum needs another upside-down toilet bowl once it has one.
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    It's been a really long time since I met a blatant, obvious committed racist. Maybe 20 years... I could tell you some stories from growing up in rural Louisiana.
    Not to suggest it's gone, or anything of the sort, but it's been a very long time for me.

    My mother works with a few women who routinely refer to Obama as "the monkey in office." And my mother, who is a staunch conservative, tells them every time "he's not a monkey, he is a man, stop being a racist asshole."

    This is in Alamaba, of course. ;-)

    Yeeeeeah. Please hifive your mom for me, one not-racist conservative to another.

    spool32 on
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    This last sentence demonstrates the importance of not judging opinions so "clearly" wrong that you determine they are not worth taking seriously. I think there are a ton of people who have reached the point where they are very comfortable with gays and lesbians, but not at all comfortable with transgendered people. If you treat these people like they are not worth talking to, or you ridicule them, then they will never have the chance to consider if they should accept transgenders.

    Yeah, I agree with you, for the most part. Most of the time, when I encounter somebody who has problems with transgendered people, it's just due to a lack of exposure or information.

    Even though I disagree, I can respect an opinion like, "I think it's a bad idea to get major invasive surgery on your genitals; transgendered people should learn how to accept what they were born with." I think it's a poor opinion, one that doesn't really reflect the real experiences of most transgendered people, but that's not an opinion borne of hatred or contempt. You may disagree with a transgendered person's life choices, but you're still going to recognize that the transgendered person is a human being with feelings. There is a possibility there for mature discussion. (I think the people here who know me can attest that I tend to put on my best manners when I approach this topic.)

    Not all anti-trans comments are quite so neutrally phrased. Sometimes transgendered people are treated as something subhuman, and if somebody is being particularly nasty, I'm going to call him on it, and I'm not going to necessarily use polite language. (This sort of thing doesn't happen often on Penny Arcade. Once in a blue moon, maybe. But the mods here are pretty good at putting the kibosh on outright hatred. So I'm more talking about real life or other Internet sites than this one.)

    And this doesn't just apply to trans people, but also to boys who just don't live up to a traditional male gender role, who can also be subject to ostracism.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • AbsalonAbsalon Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    The problem is, I don't want to talk with homophobes and old people who don't understand matters like transgenderism like my equals. I can't pretend that they are. I'd much rather slander, belittle and disenfranchise them until they are toxic and looked down upon. Bigots deserve bigotry, not arguments.

    Absalon on
  • MentalExerciseMentalExercise Indefenestrable Registered User regular
    Absalon wrote: »
    The problem is, I don't want to talk with homophobes and old people who don't understand matters like transgenderism like my equals. I can't pretend that they are. I'd much rather slander, belittle and disenfranchise them until they are toxic and looked down upon. Bigots deserve bigotry, not arguments.

    See, I do have to admit that posts like this sometimes strain my resolve for civil discourse. I find this astonishingly judgemental and dismissive.

    "More fish for Kunta!"

    --LeVar Burton
Sign In or Register to comment.