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Ideas are Scary!

AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
edited May 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
This is an article by Stephen Pinker (I'm a bit of a fanboy of him, I'll admit it) that asks an incredibly important question; are scary ideas worth discussing?

I highly, highly suggest that you read the entire article before posting, because he goes on to make strong arguments for both sides of the debate. Also, I shouldn't have to make the disclaimer that only a few of those questions that he throws up there at the beginning are things that he actually believes (as far as I know from his works).
"In defense of dangerous ideas"

I think that to this board in particular I have definitely run into this brick wall before. Statements that I've made while playing devil's advocate have been shot down by some members not because of the factual content of the argument (okay, well, a lot more of my arguments actually have been shot down by hard facts) but because of the perceived possibilities of what that line of thinking might lead to. I've felt throughout a number of threads the tension between people who want to bring potential truths to light regardless of what they mean, and people who feel that the responsible thing is to not even consider the possibility because of the potential avenues that, if the statement is true, might be traversed that could lead to racism, sexism and classism.

Sometimes I get this feeling that for many members there is not a division between what is true and what actions those truths might lead to. I think for many people the fact that society and the individuals within it should not be sexist, racist, or classist translates into a belief that reality can not be sexist, racist, or classist. They operate off the belief that equality or morality defines fact and work from there. I think many people seem to oppose a claim like "women are born with a more advanced capability for social interaction than men" immediately because they believe it contradicts the universal "fact" that the sexes are equivalent, and then support the evidence against it, instead of making the conclusion the other way around. Obviously this isn't true of everyone, and quite often the opposing view actually does have more supporting evidence from the start, I would even say that occurs in the majority of cases. What makes me think that people are not always basing their opinions off of such rational arguments is the fact that when I do play devil's advocate for a "dangerous idea" I seem to pretty quickly get labeled a sexist or fascist, if not explicitly then certainly implicitly.

The reason that I'm so fervent in devil advocacy is because I have enough faith in this community that the moral understandings are already evident among its members. The forum is undeniably academic and left-leaning, and appreciably insular to boot. For evidence of this, visit the democratic primary echo-box. I can trust that the guy on the other side of the argument does not believe that women shouldn't be allowed to be math professors and that black people shouldn't run for president, I think we're past that point. I don't think there's some latently sexist, racist, fascist bogeymen lurking around and just waiting for someone to make a point of fact that can be terribly misconstrued to advocate misogyny and apartheid. I like discussion in this place because that danger doesn't exist, whereas in other mediums, on other forums, there really is the possibility that someone could misinterpret me as suggesting that a rape victim "deserved it". I don't think that we have to worry about that here, or at least we shouldn't.

AJAlkaline40 on
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Posts

  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    perhaps you get shot down because your ideas lack merit.

    Your fourth paragraph certainly leads me to believe that's the case.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    Sentry wrote: »
    perhaps you get shot down because your ideas lack merit.

    Your fourth paragraph certainly leads me to believe that's the case.

    No, I certainly understand that my ideas are shot down for that very reason in most cases. I mean, you don't play devil's advocate without that happening. I'm just worried about when they aren't.

    EDIT: By the way, all the examples I used were made up on the spot.

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  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I don't see any scary ideas. I see a lot of ideas that are highly improbable/easily discredited, stupid or just obvious and in some cases it's a combination of the three but I do not see any concept that is "scary".

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  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
  • AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    MKR wrote: »
    Can you provide an example or two?

    Eh, here's one post. I don't mean to say anything bad about Feral, just the reasoning in this post, specifically that "sexist reasoning gives sexists ammo" and "any other answer gives sexists a free pass". Personally I don't think that giving sexists ammo or free passes should be something we worry about in our discussions, in our actions yes, but not in the discussions we have on this board.

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  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    It's not that ideas are scary it's just that this forum can be overwhelmingly one-sided in some areas.

    I mean shit the ladder theory is banned and it's just a concept.

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  • SenjutsuSenjutsu fiddy too Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    If the concept of drinking your own urine was constantly recommended by goddamn idiots in H/A diet threads, it would be banned too.

    "Just a concept" has nothing to do with it.

    Sarksus wrote: »
    I'm gonna get a PhD in incest.
  • AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    I don't see any scary ideas. I see a lot of ideas that are highly improbable/easily discredited, stupid or just obvious and in some cases it's a combination of the three but I do not see any concept that is "scary".

    Well, presumably all of the ideas listed have had recent books written about them with some amount of scientific or statistical evidence. Whether or not that evidence is viable is the thing we ought to be debating about, not whether or not that idea sounds improbable, stupid, or obvious at face value.

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  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    MKR wrote: »
    Can you provide an example or two?

    Eh, here's one post. I don't mean to say anything bad about Feral, just the reasoning in this post, specifically that "sexist reasoning gives sexists ammo" and "any other answer gives sexists a free pass". Personally I don't think that giving sexists ammo or free passes should be something we worry about in our discussions, in our actions yes, but not in the discussions we have on this board.
    unless you assume that Penny Arcade is its own cultural bubble completely disconnected from the outside world which is completely absurd

    Try another example, because you obviously disagree on that.


    edit:Also, a big part of that list is flamebait and insulting to many people's intelligence. Everything can be debated, not everything is worth a debate.

  • AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    Can you provide an example or two?

    Eh, here's one post. I don't mean to say anything bad about Feral, just the reasoning in this post, specifically that "sexist reasoning gives sexists ammo" and "any other answer gives sexists a free pass". Personally I don't think that giving sexists ammo or free passes should be something we worry about in our discussions, in our actions yes, but not in the discussions we have on this board.
    unless you assume that Penny Arcade is its own cultural bubble completely disconnected from the outside world which is completely absurd

    Try another example, because you obviously disagree on that.

    Yeah, I see what you mean, and that's really the crux of the issue. Do you think that we're insular enough to not have to worry about things like "giving sexists ammo" or "giving sexists a free pass"? My argument is that yes, we are. Like DasUberEdward said, it's obvious that many issues are incredibly one sided in this forum community, and I think there's a number of assumptions we reasonably make about the beliefs of members in the community unless they specifically state otherwise. For instance, the full extent of self-described conservatives on this forum are pretty much all known by name.

    Edit:
    Additionally, I reiterate, I believe that most of the questions listed in that article are actual arguments that have been made by recent authors or scientists, with a basis of evidence. The question is whether that evidence is at all reliable or not. I don't exactly feel like tracking down the arguments behind each of those questions, but it might be worth seeing what spurs some of these claims.

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  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    Can you provide an example or two?

    Eh, here's one post. I don't mean to say anything bad about Feral, just the reasoning in this post, specifically that "sexist reasoning gives sexists ammo" and "any other answer gives sexists a free pass". Personally I don't think that giving sexists ammo or free passes should be something we worry about in our discussions, in our actions yes, but not in the discussions we have on this board.
    unless you assume that Penny Arcade is its own cultural bubble completely disconnected from the outside world which is completely absurd

    Try another example, because you obviously disagree on that.

    Yeah, I see what you mean, and that's really the crux of the issue. Do you think that we're insular enough to not have to worry about things like "giving sexists ammo" or "giving sexists a free pass"? My argument is that yes, we are. Like DasUberEdward said, it's obvious that many issues are incredibly one sided in this forum community, and I think there's a number of assumptions we reasonably make about the beliefs of members in the community unless they specifically state otherwise. For instance, the full extent of self-described conservatives on this forum are pretty much all known by name.

    I believe in this forum's diversity and haven't really noticed many one sided issues on heated topics.
    There are indeed many ideas shot down by a large proportion of the posters, but the argument is never "Fuck off, you're stoopid." It usually goes as follows: "You're wrong because of A", "You're wrong because of B", "You're wrong because of C"... "...but guys, I'm not wrong." ... "FFS, you're stoopid.". Debate is encouraged on almost everything and there will always be a minority on one of the positions.

  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I don't see any scary ideas. I see a lot of ideas that are highly improbable/easily discredited, stupid or just obvious and in some cases it's a combination of the three but I do not see any concept that is "scary".

    Well, presumably all of the ideas listed have had recent books written about them with some amount of scientific or statistical evidence. Whether or not that evidence is viable is the thing we ought to be debating about, not whether or not that idea sounds improbable, stupid, or obvious at face value.

    The ideas are stupid or improbable because of the contrived and manipulated scientific or statistical evidence related to them. They are not stupid in themselves but the way they are presented kind of creates a feeling of :|

    which causes the forum to collective shit on the idea and dismiss it.

    Edit: To elaborate on my point, I believe it would be more just to say that a certain population of the forum is much more vocal and this creates an overbearing weight when presenting some arguments.

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  • AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    Can you provide an example or two?

    Eh, here's one post. I don't mean to say anything bad about Feral, just the reasoning in this post, specifically that "sexist reasoning gives sexists ammo" and "any other answer gives sexists a free pass". Personally I don't think that giving sexists ammo or free passes should be something we worry about in our discussions, in our actions yes, but not in the discussions we have on this board.
    unless you assume that Penny Arcade is its own cultural bubble completely disconnected from the outside world which is completely absurd

    Try another example, because you obviously disagree on that.

    Yeah, I see what you mean, and that's really the crux of the issue. Do you think that we're insular enough to not have to worry about things like "giving sexists ammo" or "giving sexists a free pass"? My argument is that yes, we are. Like DasUberEdward said, it's obvious that many issues are incredibly one sided in this forum community, and I think there's a number of assumptions we reasonably make about the beliefs of members in the community unless they specifically state otherwise. For instance, the full extent of self-described conservatives on this forum are pretty much all known by name.

    I believe in this forum's diversity and haven't really noticed many one sided issues on heated topics.
    There are indeed many ideas shot down by a large proportion of the posters, but the argument is never "Fuck off, you're stoopid." It usually goes as follows: "You're wrong because of A", "You're wrong because of B", "You're wrong because of C"... "...but guys, I'm not wrong." ... "FFS, you're stoopid.". Debate is encouraged on almost everything and there will always be a minority on one of the positions.

    I agree, but the topics that actually become heated are not the ones that I'm saying we're one sided about. What I mean is, if someone came in here and made a thread that wanted to argue that "men and women should not be treated equally" then they would be shot down incredibly quickly, for good reason. We're one sided on the issues that matter in this discussion, in that none of us are KKK members or Nazis or mindless fanatical fundamentalists or anything to that effect.

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  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Senjutsu wrote: »
    If the concept of drinking your own urine was constantly recommended by goddamn idiots in H/A diet threads, it would be banned too.

    "Just a concept" has nothing to do with it.



    your reaction pretty much proves my point.

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  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Additionally, I reiterate, I believe that most of the questions listed in that article are actual arguments that have been made by recent authors or scientists, with a basis of evidence. The question is whether that evidence is at all reliable or not. I don't exactly feel like tracking down the arguments behind each of those questions, but it might be worth seeing what spurs some of these claims.

    I think that part of the discomfort with claims about natural inequality between men and women is that they have historically persisted despite a lack of evidence because of the role they play in supporting dominant sexist ideologies. While it is true that criticizing an idea for fitting into a sexist ideology can't show that it's false, it can show why it has persisted so tenaciously despite being false.

  • AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    Additionally, I reiterate, I believe that most of the questions listed in that article are actual arguments that have been made by recent authors or scientists, with a basis of evidence. The question is whether that evidence is at all reliable or not. I don't exactly feel like tracking down the arguments behind each of those questions, but it might be worth seeing what spurs some of these claims.

    I think that part of the discomfort with claims about natural inequality between men and women is that they have historically persisted despite a lack of evidence because of the role they play in supporting dominant sexist ideologies. While it is true that criticizing an idea for fitting into a sexist ideology can't show that it's false, it can show why it has persisted so tenaciously despite being false.

    Well, I definitely understand where you're coming from with that. However, I would argue that a claim like "women are born with an advanced ability to understand and manipulate social environments as opposed to men" is not at all a claim that supports any dominant sexual ideologies, or at least it hasn't been used for supporting them in the past. There's also the issue of when a piece of evidence does surface that suggests that a point that was used to support a detrimental ideology actually was true. I think that most detrimental ideologies, for instance racism and sexism, would be wrong no matter how much true evidence someone tried to use to support them. Racism and sexism aren't wrong primarily because the sexes and races are equal in all ways, they're inherently wrong because those ideologies go against the most basic concepts of morality and empathy. A man in a wheelchair deserves absolutely every right that I have, but we can still acknowledge the fact that he can't walk.

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  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    MKR wrote: »
    Can you provide an example or two?

    Eh, here's one post. I don't mean to say anything bad about Feral, just the reasoning in this post, specifically that "sexist reasoning gives sexists ammo" and "any other answer gives sexists a free pass". Personally I don't think that giving sexists ammo or free passes should be something we worry about in our discussions, in our actions yes, but not in the discussions we have on this board.

    AJAlkaline, did you sniff glue when you were younger? Or maybe eat lead paint chips?

    I'm genuinely curious: are you mentally retarded?

    That's not a scary idea for you to discuss, is it? I mean, if you don't think that ideas can be scary, then would you be willing to devote a thread to discussing whether or not you're a complete moron?

    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 May 2008
    I don't think you're a moron, AJ. I just wanted to provide a very dramatic example of an idea that isn't necessarily "scary" but you probably wouldn't want to discuss anyway.

    (Although, it is interesting that you singled me out, because I'm arguably the most open-minded person on the forum. I'll discuss just about anything, and there isn't really an idea that I find "scary.")

    There's a (probably apocryphal) story that Hunter S. Thompson wrote in Rolling Stone about a young Lyndon Johnson during his first Senate campaign. According to the legend, Johnson purportedly called a press conference to accuse his opponent of being a literal pig-fucker. When his campaign manager protested, "You know that's not true," Johnson replied, "Of course it's not true. I just want to hear the bastard deny it!"

    This played out in practice years later, when John McCain and George Bush were competing in the 2000 Presidential Primaries. Karl Rove, working for Bush, engineered a phony poll where campaigners asked voters, "Would you be more or less likely to vote for McCain if you knew he fathered an illegitimate black child?" Simply asking the question implied that there was veracity to it, and McCain tanked in South Carolina.

    That was a dirty trick on Rove's part and I think he was immoral for doing it... not because the idea of a candidate having an illegitimate black child is "scary," but because simply discussing the possibility affected people's attitudes.

    Talking about matters of sexism or racism in a public forum - and, whether you like it or not, Penny Arcade is a public forum - is similar. The discussion itself affects people's attitudes.

    My parents taught me something very simple when I was very small: sometimes it doesn't matter what you say, but how you say it. The people I singled out in the thread were making a statement that was logically defensible - people who dress conservatively tend to be respected more than people who don't - but doing it in a way that gave credence to the notion that it's okay to mistreat a woman who is dressed in a provocative manner.

    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.
  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Okay, so let me see if I get this correctly, because it seems like something I'd be interested in discussing.

    You think that this forum, or actually I suppose any forum or group or whatever, bridles at a given set of ideas being presented. In our case it's mostly racism/sexism/homophobia and occasionally Ron Paul.

    So for instance, say there was some new study that revealed that men score 80% lower on a new test of mathematical aptitude when compared to women the same age. We would walk into that thread and argue against the idea from an a priori position of "nooo, you're wrong because christ that's pretty sexist and silly." So we dismiss the discussion out of hand instead of bothering to play devil's advocate or suss out the plausibility.

    If that's what you're saying, I can both agree and disagree. I think that regardless of who you're talking to you will deal with prejudices. I am predisposed to believe, for instance, that Polish people are not actually dumber, jokes to the contrary. If someone told me that in fact a study had been conducted that shows Polish people are demonstrably dumber I would approach that from a position of "no that is probably not true".

    So in that case, yes, you cannot avoid the fact that no human being is going to be perfectly objective. I don't even mean emotional. I mean that if you tell me the sun won't come up tomorrow I'd have a hard time believing you because as a person living on Earth I have seen that shit so many dang times that I am predisposed to not agree with you.

    But that is entirely separate from validity. Some people might say "the sun will rise because it will, and you're a jerk for suggesting it won't", those people are kind of being dicks and not contributing. Some people will say "you are a jerk because this is stupid, we have reports from the ISS and people in Australia and the sun is doing perfectly fine." And the rare person will not actually add that "you're a jerk" bit and just refute the idea.

    If you come back with evidence besides your own word/anecdotes, then people may or may not re-evaluate the idea. But you do need sufficiently hard evidence to attempt to argue against "sun will rise", as it's a pretty solid idea.

    Just because people are hostile or unwilling to accept the premise that the idea being presented is correct does not mean they're refusing to discuss it. It can mean they won't discuss it, but if they refute the idea with evidence, you can't call it "unwillingness" just because they won't play devil's advocate.

  • AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    Be assured, I definitely didn't mean to imply that you were close-minded to discussing these ideas. Rather, I conveniently remembered the post you made and that it had a tone somewhat exemplary of what I was trying to describe. I actually think you're one of the more pleasant people on this forum to debate with or read the debates of (even if I got melodramatic in that one post).

    Additionally, I must admit that I'm scared of your theoretical discussion, not because I'm afraid of misinformation, but instead I'm afraid that you'll all come to the accurate conclusion that I can be a moron.


    Also, I do understand where you're coming from. My contention is if there actually was some sort of reason for Lyndon Johnson to believe that his opponent had sexual relations with that pig, and that pig had some sort of immediacy to the election, it would be important to have the discussion of whether or not he was porking the pig; either to make Johnson realizes that he was operating off of false evidence, or to let the public know that their potential senator might pursue bestiality-based legislation. I do agree that such a discussion wouldn't sit well with the public, or with his competitor in the case that there weren't, in fact, any man-pig relations. However there has to be some venue where the discussion can take place, because if it doesn't get discussed then we'll never know the truth.

    I think that even though Penny Arcade is a public forum, there has to be a point where you can say "it's private enough". With some issues, it seems that it either gets discussed in a dark room in your house or not at all. I understand that, especially with these sorts of global communications, that it's very hard to control how your words are taken, but I don't think that the words should not then be spoken at all just because there's going to be someone out there who takes you the wrong way.

    I also understand that how words are stated have a huge amount of impact on whether they're correctly understood or not, but I think that it's still skirting the issue. There are some things that can not be said the "right" way, should these things be excluded from conversation?

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  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Man, I play Devil's Advocate way too much. I just see everyone teaming up on the one guy and I can't help but feel it's unfair. So I join in on his side even though he has crazy, stupid ideas. It's a compulsion.


    But you know what, AJAlkaline40, I think you're actually pretty right. People do stifle discussion too much on this forum.
    Spoiler:

  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    "That's the way it is" is possibly the most bigoted, excusifying, rationalising, argument in existence. It fixes nothing, and in fact, allows horrible acts to continue.

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  • AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    zerg rush wrote: »
    Man, I play Devil's Advocate way too much. I just see everyone teaming up on the one guy and I can't help but feel it's unfair. So I join in on his side even though he has crazy, stupid ideas. It's a compulsion.


    But you know what, AJAlkaline40, I think you're actually pretty right. People do stifle discussion too much on this forum.
    Spoiler:

    Har har har :P

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  • AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    "That's the way it is" is possibly the most bigoted, excusifying, rationalising, argument in existence. It fixes nothing, and in fact, allows horrible acts to continue.

    I don't understand, what are you referencing here?

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    translates into a belief that reality can not be sexist, racist, or classist.

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  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    While there is a bit back-patting and mutual masterbation on these forums, I'd shy away from saying that it actually stifles discussion. It's like when somebody says something that's patently, absurdly stupid, and everybody just kind of laughs and then continues on with a meaningful discussion. That's what happens here. Say something stupid, contradictory to evidence, ridiculous, etc. and people will generally not bother genuinely responding to it because they don't feel like wasting time on responding to inanity or addressing a fabricated non-issue.

    It's not suppression, it's just general derision. People expect a higher level of discourse most of the time. It's fun to have a good 'ole fundy bash when those kind of people show up, but generally stupid shit just gets ignored.

    Spoiler:
  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    While there is a bit back-patting and mutual masterbation on these forums, I'd shy away from saying that it actually stifles discussion.

    :rotate:

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  • AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    translates into a belief that reality can not be sexist, racist, or classist.

    Please, don't get me wrong. I would never suggest that 'things are that way, deal with it'. What I mean is the possibility of 'things are worse than we thought, we have to rethink how we deal with it.' Just grabbing a random one from the article, if "men have an innate tendency to rape" was true (which I very sincerely doubt), then the way we would have to deal with rape prevention in society would be incredibly different, and might suggest that the sort of lengths we go to educationally will have to be extended considerably with this in mind, or perhaps an understanding of how biological factors affect this possibility will allow parents to prevent the activity through hormone supplements or something, you get what I mean?

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    translates into a belief that reality can not be sexist, racist, or classist.

    Please, don't get me wrong. I would never suggest that 'things are that way, deal with it'. What I mean is the possibility of 'things are worse than we thought, we have to rethink how we deal with it.' Just grabbing a random one from the article, if "men have an innate tendency to rape" was true (which I very sincerely doubt), then the way we would have to deal with rape prevention in society would be incredibly different, and might suggest that the sort of lengths we go to educationally will have to be extended considerably with this in mind, or perhaps an understanding of how biological factors affect this possibility will allow parents to prevent the activity through hormone supplements or something, you get what I mean?
    Yeah, not really understanding your special pleading on this one. If it takes that big of an analogy, it might not be a very good idea. :P

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  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2008
    A while back I stated that every US taxpayer is responsible in part for the actions of the US government, even if they disagree with them. That is to say, even if you disagreed with the Iraq war, if you helped fund it, you are in part personally responsible for things that happen there.

    People mostly attacked it on the grounds that it was a "dangerous idea."

  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    While there is a bit back-patting and mutual masterbation on these forums, I'd shy away from saying that it actually stifles discussion.

    :rotate:

    What? It's not like we're the Kennedy administration during the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

    Spoiler:
  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I wasn't going that far.

    and Doc saying that an idea is dangerous because of what it could lead to isn't quite what the OP was suggesting. Or if it was i'm arguing something totally different and i'll be taking my leave.

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  • ElGamalElGamal __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    D&D's own Primaries thread is a great example of all this.

    And any mention of serious religion around these parts will generally also be met with strong atheist condescension and even opposition.

    But from what I see, it's the Devil's Advocates and the strawmen who really keep this forum interesting sometimes. They are the noblest of posters.

    I would love to see a thread about the Ladder Theory someday.

    Irond Will wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    I limed an image once. Thousands died trying to subdue the beast.
    Yes, but "limeparty" wasn't substantially better than "lemonparty"
  • RedShellRedShell Registered User
    edited May 2008
    So, I just wanted to throw in about public discussions and issues of 'amount'.

    Such as -- Taxes: too high, just right, or too low? Black poverty: racism or cultural dysfunction? Date Rape: Girls getting wasted or Guys taking advantage?

    Frankly, people suck at discussing things that are between two rhetorical poles where both poles are true, and the issue is really 'how much is best'. That's why politicians don't want to make an argument about exactly how much people *should* pay in taxes, they just know that the answer is always 'less than they do now'.

    I think it's one of the saddest things about democracies. For instance, I don't have an actual opinion about what percentage of the federal budget should be spent on defense. I'm just as guilty, because I'll just say 'less' -- mostly due to my belief that we'll never really 'get there'.

    Homing In Imperfectly?
    Pokemans D/P: 1289 4685 0522
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    RedShell wrote: »
    So, I just wanted to throw in about public discussions and issues of 'amount'.

    Such as -- Taxes: too high, just right, or too low? Black poverty: racism or cultural dysfunction? Date Rape: Girls getting wasted or Guys taking advantage?

    Frankly, people suck at discussing things that are between two rhetorical poles where both poles are true, and the issue is really 'how much is best'. That's why politicians don't want to make an argument about exactly how much people *should* pay in taxes, they just know that the answer is always 'less than they do now'.

    I think it's one of the saddest things about democracies. For instance, I don't have an actual opinion about what percentage of the federal budget should be spent on defense. I'm just as guilty, because I'll just say 'less' -- mostly due to my belief that we'll never really 'get there'.
    Pretty sure the answer is guys taking advantage. I think the answer is always guys taking advantage. You know one of the rape myths is "Girls are whores" right?

    39kEWYh.jpg
  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    RedShell wrote: »
    So, I just wanted to throw in about public discussions and issues of 'amount'.

    Such as -- Taxes: too high, just right, or too low? Black poverty: racism or cultural dysfunction? Date Rape: Girls getting wasted or Guys taking advantage?

    Frankly, people suck at discussing things that are between two rhetorical poles where both poles are true, and the issue is really 'how much is best'. That's why politicians don't want to make an argument about exactly how much people *should* pay in taxes, they just know that the answer is always 'less than they do now'.

    I think it's one of the saddest things about democracies. For instance, I don't have an actual opinion about what percentage of the federal budget should be spent on defense. I'm just as guilty, because I'll just say 'less' -- mostly due to my belief that we'll never really 'get there'.
    Pretty sure the answer is guys taking advantage. I think the answer is always guys taking advantage. You know one of the rape myths is "Girls are whores" right?

    And that's one of the things I was talking about. If you're arguing that, if a girl gets wasted, it's her fault for being raped, you are demonstrably wrong. It's a stupid idea from the start, no question about it.

    Spoiler:
  • ElGamalElGamal __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    RedShell wrote: »
    So, I just wanted to throw in about public discussions and issues of 'amount'.

    Such as -- Taxes: too high, just right, or too low? Black poverty: racism or cultural dysfunction? Date Rape: Girls getting wasted or Guys taking advantage?

    Frankly, people suck at discussing things that are between two rhetorical poles where both poles are true, and the issue is really 'how much is best'. That's why politicians don't want to make an argument about exactly how much people *should* pay in taxes, they just know that the answer is always 'less than they do now'.

    I think it's one of the saddest things about democracies. For instance, I don't have an actual opinion about what percentage of the federal budget should be spent on defense. I'm just as guilty, because I'll just say 'less' -- mostly due to my belief that we'll never really 'get there'.
    Pretty sure the answer is guys taking advantage. I think the answer is always guys taking advantage. You know one of the rape myths is "Girls are whores" right?

    And that's one of the things I was talking about. If you're arguing that, if a girl gets wasted, it's her fault for being raped, you are demonstrably wrong. It's a stupid idea from the start, no question about it.

    Yes, because girls would only get wasted when it's smart and pragmatic and safe to do so.

    People also do not play with fire.

    Irond Will wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    I limed an image once. Thousands died trying to subdue the beast.
    Yes, but "limeparty" wasn't substantially better than "lemonparty"
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    ElGamal wrote: »

    Yes, because girls would only get wasted when it's smart and pragmatic and safe to do so.

    People also do not play with fire.
    What are you saying? If you're going to say what I think you are, which you will most likely be swiftly lambasted for, just say it dude.

    39kEWYh.jpg
  • ElGamalElGamal __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    Do you really want me to say it?

    Really?

    Irond Will wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    I limed an image once. Thousands died trying to subdue the beast.
    Yes, but "limeparty" wasn't substantially better than "lemonparty"
  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    translates into a belief that reality can not be sexist, racist, or classist.

    Please, don't get me wrong. I would never suggest that 'things are that way, deal with it'. What I mean is the possibility of 'things are worse than we thought, we have to rethink how we deal with it.' Just grabbing a random one from the article, if "men have an innate tendency to rape" was true (which I very sincerely doubt), then the way we would have to deal with rape prevention in society would be incredibly different, and might suggest that the sort of lengths we go to educationally will have to be extended considerably with this in mind, or perhaps an understanding of how biological factors affect this possibility will allow parents to prevent the activity through hormone supplements or something, you get what I mean?
    Yeah, not really understanding your special pleading on this one. If it takes that big of an analogy, it might not be a very good idea. :P

    Okay, I think you're having two seperate lines of thought here that get in each other's way.

    First: Can we discuss things that are antithetical to what any person in the discussion, or most of the people at least, feel is correct morally/factually? As in, say... "Roses are demons, what are the best ways to eliminate all roses and rose-related items from this planet as quickly as possible?"

    I think what happens in this forum, in many forums, is that people say "yeah but hey, that proposition is incredibly dumb. Roses are not demons, that's just silly". This is, in effect, a stifling of the discussion. But it's not fear so much as disinterest. I don't necessarily think the situation changes when the idea being proposed for discussion is controversial. It's the style of discussion that disinterests, not the content.

    Second: You bring up controversies mostly in the cases of people being unequal. In other words, "harsh truths". I think the idea is that people are unwilling to discuss the fact that people are unequal or might be unequal in certain respects because they want to be nice.

    If that is what you're saying, I gotta say I think you're overestimating how nice people in general and particularly people on this forum are.

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