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What is up for grabs here?

 
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 02:05 AM (02:05)     1        47247
D4M10N
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Question What is up for grabs here?

One of the great things about having a moderate middle ground, I would hope, is the ability to discuss issues which are effectively foreclosed to those who have taken a more partisan approach to the online atheist rift wars. This naturally raises the question: what is most worth debating about or discussing? Are there some important factual propositions or ethical principles generally affirmed by one side and generally denied by the other? I don't mean the usual who struck whom first playground stuff, I mean real substantive differences on something that matters. I've a few ideas to put forward here, but I want to hear from others first.
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 02:25 AM (02:25)     2        47249
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Patriarchy vs Disposable Male paradigms. Relevance of lived experience (subjective) vs group norms.

Group properties transferring to the individual. Survey's and methodologies in crime/rape statistics.

Properties of group dynamics which lead to uniformity (groupthink).

Whether Submariner USN is just a poser.

These and many others I'm sure.
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 02:40 AM (02:40)     3        47250
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The inclusion of feminism as a integral part of skepticism has derailed many from focusing on skeptical inquiry. Feminism in its broad definition is equality for women. I speak here of feminism as a movement of its own, which involves choosing particular battles and methods of attack. It is misleading of anyone promoting feminism within skepticism to say they are merely focusing on an area which has lacked attention. Talks at secular conferences and blogs have revolved largely around feminism, which is not the same as promoting equality within the community. I could list all the problems with their methods of attack (and I would probably be here for awhile.) I think on a very base level, it is clear certain individuals are trying to redefine existing groups. If this was truly for altruistic reasons, they would be clear about what they think the new and improved mission statements of groups should be. The mission statements have to be restated if groups are to be redefined. To my knowledge, no one has done that. To persist in trying to devote a group's resources to undefined agendas is, at the least, ill-conceived and most likely motivated by selfish reasons.
The downfall, besides the obvious waste of resources, is that areas which do need attention become ignored by those opposing these egregious attempts to redefine a group. I think many conferences could do more to bring new faces and women to skepticism. But, because many disagree so strongly with the ideas and methods of self-labeled feminists, very little attention is given to the matter by many who support the idea of promoting women.
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 03:34 AM (03:34)     4        47252
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For me, it's just the ability to hold a contrary opinion on subjective and ethical positions such as 'privilege', etc, or 'did elevator man do something wrong?', and be able to have a rational discussion about it, which isn't shut down by SJW hobbyists who want to put an end to all disagreement for good, by force.

Also the idea that certain folks simply must agree, or else they are witch-hunted or not considered 'an ally', which my hunch tells me that has caused many otherwise rational people to begin playing at being an SJW themselves.
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 03:53 AM (03:53)     5        47253
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Why do fashion mags make so much money in this day and age even with the awareness that they are photoshopped and are unrealistic ideals of beauty?
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 04:37 AM (04:37)     6        47254
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Oh I think I misread your question. You're talking about differences in worldview...

Well for me it's that personal traits have no impact on the soundness of one's argument, unless those personal traits were the subject of the debate. That takes care of 'privilege', 'shut up and listen', 'hey thanks old white rich bearded man!' and so on.

I actually agree that we should be seriously thinking about how to encourage more women to attend these events, even if it means a bit of affirmative action on the speaker lists.

I agree with anti-harassment policies, but worry that they may be used as a weapon rather than in defence. Also, make sure the wording doesn't include absurdities like 'ask before hugging' or 'no sexual imagery or language'.

I agree that abusive messages sent to someone (such as RW) are bad, but I think that goes both ways. Neither 'side' have the moral high ground here.

I think another difference is that they think that atheist groups should fight for social justice in general, as opposed to social justice in relation to religious belief or fighting social injustice that results from religious belief. I disagree with that - atheist groups should stick to their actual mission, and ignore the entryists. If they aren't interested in atheism then perhaps they should join groups that more closely follow their favoured mission.

Another thing I dislike is the culture of 'you shouldn't say that - stop saying it' rather than a culture of 'I disagree, and here's why. What do you think?'. Case in point, Greta Christina's latest (questions you shouldn't ask an atheist).

Oh and I disagree that the speakers should always include the usual suspects. No - there are excellent women in secularism. My philosophy department for my MA was about 50% women, most of whom were atheists and 100000x more interesting than this lot. Organisations do women a disservice by pretending that to include women in these events you're forced to invite these amateur hobbyist bloggers, as if they're the best available. It's as if they don't take the idea of women in secularism seriously.
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 05:03 AM (05:03)     7        47255
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tkmlac View Post
Why do fashion mags make so much money in this day and age even with the awareness that they are photoshopped and are unrealistic ideals of beauty?
And that is important, because it's all mostly unrealistic. The idea that something is worthy of being discussed or important, yes there are real subjective differences in emotional matters. Not sure how we could apply substantial to the subjective since it's not mathematical. I'm really sure I don't properly understand the elevator controversy, fortunately for me I don't care about it either. Is there a reason the initial post is about differences? It seems like focusing on that is the way to make the rift bigger. Probably some similarities between sides too

Fear creates anger. Compassion for the "other side" depletes anger, empathy can help realize they're not so different. Classification of "other side" creates group think and us vs. them mentality. Could it be one big group with a some interesting different opinions to consider? Actually conflict is a good way to understand nonduality since even in winning there is losing since it can cause bad feelings and more polarization. Reason, analysis and judgements can be good tools for the mind, but sometimes they don't work that well in emotional situations and other tools might work better at least initially when there's anger which is created by fear. Did you ever try logic and rational discussion to address a toddler's tantrums or fears?
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 05:41 AM (05:41)     8        47257
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@Notung I don't think you missed the question at first. Damion is asking, in part, what ethical principles are being championed and argued against and I believe that the freedom of inquiry as a principle is one of the dividing lines.

If a third, moderate voice rises to the foreground, I hope that they make each extremist parties die fighting against the principle of charity.
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 01:10 PM (13:10)     9        47259
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I'd certainly like to see an atheist community without dogma and one that welcomed people with diverse perspectives, including those at different points along the political spectrum. I've met many atheists online who describe themselves as conservative or libertarian, and while I tend to be liberal on many issues, many seem like great people I'd be happy to work with in the pursuit of shared secular goals. Moreover, I've learned a great deal from people with different political perspectives from my own. My positions on many issues have changed, becoming more nuanced, through my interactions with them. You might say I have grown as a person because I have been open to considering the views of those with whom I might think I would disagree. Isn't this how freethought is supposed to work? I think we need to reject dogma and block efforts to purge our community of dissent. It is too valuable a resource.
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 03:41 PM (15:41)     10        47264
D4M10N
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I'm trying to come up with debatable statements that one side would generally affirm and the other side would generally deny, beyond the usual personal grievances and personal priorities.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner USN View Post
Patriarchy vs Disposable Male paradigms.
So maybe the resolution would be something like "Existing social ills are more accurately diagnosed and addressed by the feminist concept of patriarchy than by the masculist concept of the disposable male."

That's a right tricky one, that is. Seems to me that cultural reaffirmation of the notion of an 'heroic male' rooted in risk-seeking behavior would most likely lead to men being disproportionally represented in prestigious leadership positions as well as the most dangerous career fields.
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Originally Posted by Submariner USN View Post
Group properties transferring to the individual.
Not sure which properties you are talking about here. If we're talking about the idea that relative underprivilege provides a unique perspective, maybe something like "A individual's membership in a demographic group should be assumed to convey upon them certain epistemic privileges." An example of this would be the notion from TERF activists that "girlhood is significant" inasmuch as it provides a unique perspective on growing up within a context of male oppression that is unavailable either to men or to trans women.
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Survey's and methodologies in crime/rape statistics.
I've seen too many people labeled as rape apologists (or worse) to even touch this topic in a public forum.
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Originally Posted by Submariner USN View Post
Properties of group dynamics which lead to uniformity (groupthink).
Relevance of lived experience (subjective) vs group norms.
I'm not sure how to cast these two problems into a resolution which could be either affirmed or denied.

Certainly this is much food for thought.

Last edited by D4M10N; 12-Jun-2013 at 03:48 PM (15:48).
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 03:47 PM (15:47)     11        47265
D4M10N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmbrosiaX View Post
The inclusion of feminism as a integral part of skepticism has derailed many from focusing on skeptical inquiry.
Perhaps the resolution to be affirmed or denied would be "Movement skepticism ought to expend more time and effort dealing with the problem of prejudice against women and other oppressed groups."

This might well be the foundational principle of the A+ crowd, the idea that societal prejudice is a form of harmful woo, and may be addressed scientifically much like other harmful beliefs.
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 04:02 PM (16:02)     12        47267
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdterrifier View Post
...moderate voice rises to the foreground, I hope that they make each extremist parties die fighting against the principle of charity.
You and me both. There are extremists on both sides who have no interest in dialogue, civility, or the philosophical principle of charity. I'd argue that the defining feature of a middle-grounder is the willingness to engage with those with whom they disagree. Of course, there may be a few exceptions who really aren't worth talking to, the general idea is to err on the side of communication rather than elimination.
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Old 12-Jun-2013, 05:34 PM (17:34)     13        47273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vjack View Post
I'd certainly like to see an atheist community without dogma and one that welcomed people with diverse perspectives, including those at different points along the political spectrum. I've met many atheists online who describe themselves as conservative or libertarian, and while I tend to be liberal on many issues, many seem like great people I'd be happy to work with in the pursuit of shared secular goals. Moreover, I've learned a great deal from people with different political perspectives from my own. My positions on many issues have changed, becoming more nuanced, through my interactions with them. You might say I have grown as a person because I have been open to considering the views of those with whom I might think I would disagree. Isn't this how freethought is supposed to work? I think we need to reject dogma and block efforts to purge our community of dissent. It is too valuable a resource.
I think it's key to understand that positions on issues can be nuanced, perhaps it would help understand where people are on a fluid continuum (rather than dichotomy) on the issues. More variability that confirm or deny. Society is heavily influenced by bullies and people have different subjective experiences and perceptions. Discussion can be seen as psychological warfare. Any scientific approach relating to this is going to be pretty soft and squishy and break down way before the quantum level.

Perhaps the best way for Western Materialist to understand the crudely put shut up and listen would be Maslow's pyramid though. People who feel threatened, disempowered or unsafe are operating down toward the base of the pyramid at least on those issues, it's more of an emotional survival level. The first step to get ready to have rational discussion and consideration for other viewpoints is for everyone to feel safe. Still a hierarchy between people who feel disempowered or devalued for whatever reason and people who feel comfortable and don't see what the fuss is about. If the person who perceives themselves lower on the hierarchy does not feel heard, the progression is for them to become angry aggressive in expressing themselves or withdraw and a fruitful discussion becomes very difficult. It becomes more possible if the person perceived as higher on the hierarchy begins by yielding, this means waiting to express opinions, listening and asking questions, probably finding some points of agreement to establish alliance. Easier to meet in the middle if the higher party reaches out, then once more on more similar steps on that pyramid, if still necessary, it can segue into discussing minor friendly disagreements.

Self reflection and yielding are both more tools for the mind, same as reason, which is not the same as science. Many people are not very self aware and most of these triggers for aggression and survival reflex really aren't safety issues. When things get nasty it's usually more productive to back off and think about changing your own approach and understand why the issue upsets you than to keep banging away trying to make the other person change their mind
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Old 15-Jun-2013, 02:20 PM (14:20)     14        47306
Submariner USN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D4M10N View Post
I'm trying to come up with debatable statements that one side would generally affirm and the other side would generally deny, beyond the usual personal grievances and personal priorities.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner USN View Post
Patriarchy vs Disposable Male paradigms.
So maybe the resolution would be something like "Existing social ills are more accurately diagnosed and addressed by the feminist concept of patriarchy than by the masculist concept of the disposable male."

That's a right tricky one, that is. Seems to me that cultural reaffirmation of the notion of an 'heroic male' rooted in risk-seeking behavior would most likely lead to men being disproportionally represented in prestigious leadership positions as well as the most dangerous career fields.

Which is exactly what we do see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner USN View Post
Group properties transferring to the individual.
Quote:
Originally Posted by D4M10N
Not sure which properties you are talking about here. If we're talking about the idea that relative underprivilege provides a unique perspective, maybe something like "A individual's membership in a demographic group should be assumed to convey upon them certain epistemic privileges." An example of this would be the notion from TERF activists that "girlhood is significant" inasmuch as it provides a unique perspective on growing up within a context of male oppression that is unavailable either to men or to trans women.
Or that one's membership in a demographic group conveys zero weight to the arguments they make. Expert status does add some weight, but must still be evidenced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner USN View Post
Survey's and methodologies in crime/rape statistics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by D4M10N
I've seen too many people labeled as rape apologists (or worse) to even touch this topic in a public forum.
Which seems to place this topic in the category of "dogma" as it seems it cannot be questioned. That fact alone makes me want to raise this topic.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner USN View Post
Properties of group dynamics which lead to uniformity (groupthink).
Relevance of lived experience (subjective) vs group norms.
Quote:
Originally Posted by D4M10N
I'm not sure how to cast these two problems into a resolution which could be either affirmed or denied.

Certainly this is much food for thought.
How about lived experience conveys a measure of expertise (as described above) to one's argument relating to the issues of all members of the same demographic?

The above sentence is what some of the SJW's claim as a truism (at least until some other member of the same group has different experiences).
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Old 17-Jun-2013, 05:37 PM (17:37)     15        47329
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Originally Posted by Submariner USN View Post
Which seems to place this topic in the category of "dogma" as it seems it cannot be questioned. That fact alone makes me want to raise this topic.
I'd be happy to discuss any topic whatsoever, down in the cellar, but I'm not about to go public on this one given our screencap/rageblog culture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner USN View Post
How about lived experience conveys a measure of expertise (as described above) to one's argument relating to the issues of all members of the same demographic?
It depends upon the nature of the claim. If someone were to proclaim, "There is no privileging of Christianity in Oklahoma public schools!" or "There is zero sexual harassment and inappropriate touching going on at atheist conferences in the United States!" then I have lived experiences which run contrary to those claims. Of course, those are absurdly overbroad claims, but then again, people DO make absurdly overbroad claims.
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