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Apr 12 2013

Reply the Second

…is posted. This one is their response to my response to their opening statement. That makes relevant links so far:

I’ll have my response ready shortly. Right now, I put this here so those who to talk about it have a space.

26 comments

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  1. 1
    oolon

    (10) SkepSheik says -”….we support the right of a private individual to moderate their own online space as they see fit”.

    What? I thought that was one of the major bones of contention in the pit – PZ was a meanie to them. Or for that matter Szan or Benson … Oh yeah and Crommunist edited a couple of comments on his blog once to make them look more ridiculous (An achievement that is not to be underestimated)

    (12a) “Within a closed network censorship of views is simple to achieve – the heretical individual is simply ‘Expelled’. Luckily the internet is less a small pond than a vast ocean, with those trying to stop dissenting voices playing the role of Canute on the shoreline.”

    This was a reply to how censorship can be imposed, it clearly says it cannot, but doesn’t seem to agree. Does this mean they are agreeing or is the “closed network” meant to mean FtB? Confusing as no one has ever been “expelled” from FtB, afaik?

    This makes it even more confusing…

    (14) “We agree that moderation of a personal website should be under the control of the owner of that site. In line with this we agree that it is up to the owner of such space whether they allow rebuttal or criticism on their space. Our major issue is the attempts to silence criticism that is hosted elsewhere.”

    Again, how? How can anyone silence criticism that is hosted elsewhere and why would anyone be even slightly concerned if someone was really trying to do this. Its impossible on the internet as he alludes to with his Cnut reference –> So they accept its impossible but are worried about people attempting it! WTF…

    Also funny to see “Skep Sheik” dance around the “satire” question without really saying anything. Why are all these people “Shek Sheik” and “Thaumas” and “Skep Tickle” etc, only Renee seemingly has the ability to speak as herself. Unless they are all in deep Bible belt territory or Clergy Project members why the anonymity?

  2. 2
    Ariel

    oolon #1, I agree, it’s confusing indeed. See my comment on the the dialogue website (written a couple of hours ago; it has just went through the moderation). I’m not sure if they have really decided on a single and consistent approach. It looks like … not necessarily :) I’m curious what road they will choose eventually (imo it’s not a complete dead end, there are some options, but the choice is up to them).

  3. 3
    G Pierce (Was ~G~)

    Is there a time line for this entire process? We are still on question #1. I figured there would be one response each and then move on to the next strand.

    There don’t seem to be a lot of specific examples of ideas that are directly related to what we all know everyone is talking about. Is everyone at some point going to be forced to directly discuss the elephant in the room? I think it needs to be done, especially for those reading this who have not spent hundreds or thousands of hours following this. We know what all the phrases and ideas are “code” for, but outsiders not as read up will mistake this for a friendly, reasonable discussion.

    I see Stephanie’s as mostly, diversity is strength, but sub groups of people should feel free to disengage from other subgroups whose behavior is morally repugnant to them.

    I see the other side as when we say bad things about someone, using whatever method, it is critique, humor or otherwise promoting reason and free exchange of ideas toward the goal of truth. When other people criticize or condemn our “criticism” or (possibly due to the contradiction don’t provide us the platform) or attention we want, it’s imposing an ideology.

    This frankly reminds me of what Hariet Lerner calls “Change Back!” – a counter move where people react badly when a person finally decides to create boundaries for themselves. That’s what’s happening. Some people are saying, “We’ve had enough of you, I’m doing my own thing without you and moving on.” and the response is, “No you haven’t, get back here, I won’t let you forget that I exist.”

  4. 4
    Kevin

    The question under discussion is “How can we work together on core issues on which we broadly agree, including promoting reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism and secularism in the real world?”

    Answer: You can’t. Not if you think bullying, harassment, and playground name-calling constitute “satire” or any other form of reasonable criticism.

    It’s circular. How do you promote reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism, and secularism in the real world? First, you have to promote reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism and secularlism in the real world.

    You don’t do that by calling people cunts.

    Seriously, how difficult is this to understand?

    I’ve said my piece on this issue more than enough times. I’ll withdraw from here on out, since apparently it’s having zero effect.

    You’re enabling their bad behavior. I do wish you’d take a step back and realize that.

    I’ll be moving on to more productive endeavors. I’m sorry you’re wasting your time with this one.

  5. 5
    doubtthat

    @4 Kevin

    Answer: You can’t. Not if you think bullying, harassment, and playground name-calling constitute “satire” or any other form of reasonable criticism.

    I agree with part and disagree with part of that.

    I think it’s worth pointing out that there are harassers and dumbasses, and the two aren’t necessarily the same (though dumbassery appears to be a necessary condition, so maybe the conditional works thusly: harrasser–>Dumbass). There are the photoshopper-name callers and the piles of thoughtless bio-mass that just mummble the same vapid complaints about “patriarchy theory” and “gender feminism” over and over.

    The harassers can never be worked with, but the dumbasses can share a common cause. How? Town X wants to display the ten commandments. A coalition of skeptic/atheist groups challenge that. Individuals join. We really don’t need to know anyone’s opinion about much beyond the particular issue.

    This happens in politics constantly. The glibertarians may join the progressives to combat marijuana laws, or something. Fine, work together on that discreet level, then progressives get back to opposing libertarian gibberish economics.

    So, I do agree we can work together, but the model does not involve “reconciliation” or any sort of coming together as a “community.” No one is trying to have sit downs between libertarians and progressives to try and unify them into one group. The differences are too great, but that doesn’t preclude cooperation on a specific issue.

    Fundamentally, I think you’re right, Kevin, and I the obvious problems with forming a “libertarian-progressive” political party should express why. I think this is a lot of wasted effort, save for the partisan benefit we gain from having Stephanie show herself to be much more reasonable, insightful, and thoughtful on these issues.

  6. 6
    hjhornbeck

    Kevin @4: I agree that this is a waste of time, but it’s a waste of time worth having. When the next call for peace comes, we can point to this and say “Why? We bent over backwards to allow them a fair show of their views, and got nothing but a mass of contradictions. Dialog will not solve this, action will.” By conceding this one attempt, we’ve shown we don’t need to concede any attempt next time. By making it as public as possible, we’ve made our arguments far more convincing to the fence sitters.

    And some of those fence sitters are part of the big skepic and atheist organizations.

  7. 7
    Hein

    I’m really stunned by how spectacularly they’ve missed the point in a few places.

    For example, from their first reply:

    (2) I agree with this with reservations. I readily endorse the methods and findings of mainstream science (pending future shifts in scientific consensus, of course).

    And from their second reply:

    (2a) Could you give a different example here to illustrate what you mean? The question of marriage equality is not one that is an issue within the atheist community – with almost no exceptions we support equal marriage rights for all.

    (3c) I dont see any disagreement amongst the atheist community on the importance of ethics in biomedical research.

    In each of these cases they fixate on the details of an illustrative example, and completely fail to see how the principles involved apply to the current discussion. I can’t help wondering, are they being deliberately obtuse, or are they genuinely incapable of abstracting from examples?

  8. 8
    Ben Zvan

    They are genuinely incapable of abstracting from examples. I recently had a twitter “exchange” with a few of them that amounted to this:

    Me: “You shouldn’t drive cars into a river”
    Them: “I checked and you drove a car once, therefore you’re a hypocrite and I win!”

    Only the topic was using hashtags on twitter rather than driving cars.

  9. 9
    Numenaster

    -G said:

    Is there a time line for this entire process? We are still on question #1. I figured there would be one response each and then move on to the next strand.

    Actually, Michael addresses this in his evaluation of the debate so far, which is one of Stephanie’s links at the top. http://atheistskepticdialogue.com/2013/04/08/strand-1-analysis-of-the-dialogue-so-far/

    There is NO timeline, there is only a series of steps, and that’s for a specific reason. The first steps, which we are still in, are NOT about resolving issues, they are about creating trust between the people involved. You can’t resolve anything until you trust that the people you’re talking to are making a good faith effort, that they will deal with you charitably and stick by their own commitments.

    Considering what went before this process began, trust will be a long time in coming. So the process will be slow. Expect this.

  10. 10
    rorschach

    Is there a time line for this entire process?

    It is currently estimated that official Schism of Atheism into a progressive and an orthodox wing will be declared at the Council of Dublin, to be held no later than 2016.

    The Patriarch of the progressives will be determined by online poll, while the orthodox faction will likely crown Richard Dawkins as the “real” Pope of Atheism immediately after the conclusion of the Council.

  11. 11
    rorschach

    When Pope Dawkins succumbs to a rare tropical disease called the Vapors, Sam Harris ascends to the throne, but is forced to step down after being arrested at Islamabad airport for looking like a westerner. Eventually and after long debate, Franc Hoggle becomes orthodox Pope and immediately adopts the title Scato the First.

    Ok, I’ll stop now….Sorry

  12. 12
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    So when do we get to point out that their ideology and tactics mirror those of libertarian “gun rights” advocates and anti-choice zealots? When do we get to note that Melissa Harris-Perry received similar treatment from the Right for simple comments about changing how we view kids, as Rebecca Watson did for her comments about changing how we view women? At what point can we say that dehumanizing ideologies lead to dehumanizing behaviour?

    Do they have to actually bomb a conference or get on some major atheist podcasts and start saying the things they’ve been documented as saying already? When do we call this waddling, quacking ball of feathers a fucking duck?

  13. 13
    Stacy

    only Renee seemingly has the ability to speak as herself.

    Well, kind of. That’s not her real name. But I don’t think she goes to great pains to hide the real one.

    We agree that moderation of a personal website should be under the control of the owner of that site. In line with this we agree that it is up to the owner of such space whether they allow rebuttal or criticism on their space.

    So they agree, now? Only took them, what, two years to figure out that that’s just common sense, and decide to agree? Well, good, I guess.

    Our major issue is the attempts to silence criticism that is hosted elsewhere

    I share your confusion about this, oolon. I suspect it’s just a lame attempt to salvage their losing “moderating your blog equals censorship!” position by pretending they were really mad about–something else–all along.

    Oh, well. Good luck to those of you fighting the good fight!

  14. 14
    Anthony K

    Well, kind of. That’s not her real name. But I don’t think she goes to great pains to hide the real one.

    I didn’t go to great pains to hide my identity, which was the justification they used to dox me. Seven years of yelling at theists, and I never had someone try to fuck with me that way until I pissed off atheist wankstains by not buying into their conservative moralistic sexism.

    Just so it’s on record for when they whine about that sort of shit when it happens to them.

    Since tu quoque>/I> gotchas are they best they’ve got.

  15. 15
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    Our major issue is the attempts to silence criticism that is hosted elsewhere

    Is this not a roundabout way of saying ‘don’t criticise us for the shit we say in the ‘Pit’? So far as I can parse the logic, it goes:

    * We concede, grudgingly, that you can moderate your own space.
    * But we want to continue our policy of free speech in our own spaces, such as the ‘Pit, which includes attacks on the FtBers.
    * Any criticism of the stuff we do there is chilling to free speech.
    * Therefore you are attempting to silence us outside of your own spaces and/or impose your ideology on us.
    * So all your ‘leave us alone stuff’ is obviously cant and hypocrisy, because you refuse to let our free speech on the ‘Pit go unanswered.

  16. 16
    carlie

    In each of these cases they fixate on the details of an illustrative example, and completely fail to see how the principles involved apply to the current discussion. I can’t help wondering, are they being deliberately obtuse, or are they genuinely incapable of abstracting from examples?

    And not only that, but later on in the reply they themselves used the same example of marriage inequality, which they first said was a bad example to use, to try to illustrate their own point. Logical and consistent, they are not.

  17. 17
    medivh

    @Kevin, #4:

    You’re enabling their bad behavior. I do wish you’d take a step back and realize that.

    How many times does Jay Smooth have to be thrown at this claim? Or, from an older school of though, perhaps you should trust Stephanie to be handing out more and more rope until the ‘Pit has enough to hang themselves?

  18. 18
    Hein

    @Ben Zvan That sounds about right.

    @carlie Oh yeah, I missed that! By the time I got to that point I was too concussed, from banging my head on the desk, to notice. Maybe that’s what they’re going for.

  19. 19
    Ben Zvan

    @Hein: It gets better. In response, another pitter informed me that hashtags are not cars, therefore it’s a bad analogy. Even told me to look up “analogy” which as it turns out requires things that are different things, not things that are the same thing.

  20. 20
    Jadehawk
    Our major issue is the attempts to silence criticism that is hosted elsewhere

    I share your confusion about this, oolon. I suspect it’s just a lame attempt to salvage their losing “moderating your blog equals censorship!” position by pretending they were really mad about–something else–all along.

    this is about the slymepit; about the fact that people dare point out that they say incredibly toxic shit about other people on there, and that Stephanie said that a ceasefire with Vacula would only happen if he denounced the pit. They consider this criticism and unwillingness to associate with pitters and supporters of the pit on friendly terms to be censorship.

  21. 21
    Argle Bargle

    There’s another type of “censorship” they’re objecting to. They consider photoshopping heads onto bodies, screaming sexist insults in videos, and suchlike behavior is “satire.” When the objects of such “satire” complain, that’s “censoring.” People Ophelia Benson should not be allowed to protest about the nonstop harassment they’ve been getting because that’s “silencing criticism.”

  22. 22
    Your Name's not Bruce?

    I’m wondering what sort of “control of the world” they’re thinking of here:

    “While desires to predict and control the world around us may serve as an impetus for some people, those reasons seem less likely to be widespread among atheists & skeptics.”

    I’m thinking they’re thinking political control. I’m thinking Stephanie is thinking of the simple understanding of how the world actually works and using that knowledge to operate within it. Growing crops, building bridges and flying aircraft all depend upon predicting and controlling the world around us. Hell, making stone tools and fire require these things. I think just about everyone on Earth has a stake in that sort of prediction and control. It really does seem that politics is a bete noir for them. I really think they’re afraid you want to “control” them.

  23. 23
    Eristae

    Mod Note: Moderation team removed 2 short sentences at the end of (6) in order to keep dialogue within the guidelines.

    Mod note: 1 1/2 sentences at the end of 4(b) removed by moderation team to keep dialogue within the guidelines.

    Er, freeze peach FTW?

  24. 24
    Stephanie Zvan

    The comment moderation was designed to stop the fighting that so many people say they’ve found off-putting about the discussion that happened across blogs, etc. It was done with the idea that those people could then evaluate the arguments on their merits. I can’t say whether any of those people are paying attention to the dialog.

  25. 25
    Tom Foss

    @Jadehawk:

    this is about the slymepit; about the fact that people dare point out that they say incredibly toxic shit about other people on there, and that Stephanie said that a ceasefire with Vacula would only happen if he denounced the pit. They consider this criticism and unwillingness to associate with pitters and supporters of the pit on friendly terms to be censorship.

    I’m sure it’s also about Greg Laden (et al) trying to shut down the original slymepit by notifying NatGeo about it since it violated their ToS. It’s probably also about PZ’s vow not to agree to any speaking engagements if Abbie Smith is invited, and Surly Amy’s anger over mocking Surlyramic knockoffs. None of them, of course, amount to what the Slymies are trying to claim they are, but they do have their stock set of examples to whip out.

    I think the general inability to understand abstract reasoning and analogies comes from the same place as their inability to recognize the obvious fallacies in their reasoning, their inability to empathize, their inability to consider the complexities of the real world, and their desire for strong leaders: I honestly don’t think they like thinking very much, or very deeply. They like thinking just enough to regurgitate the names of fallacies they don’t understand, to throw the words “logic” and “rationalism” as if they’re spells they learned at Hogwarts, and to feel superior to the woo-woos and theists and whatnot. Actual complex thought, actual introspection, is tough and uncomfortable.

  26. 26
    Jadehawk

    I’m wondering what sort of “control of the world” they’re thinking of here:

    “While desires to predict and control the world around us may serve as an impetus for some people, those reasons seem less likely to be widespread among atheists & skeptics.”

    I’m thinking they’re thinking political control. I’m thinking Stephanie is thinking of the simple understanding of how the world actually works and using that knowledge to operate within it. Growing crops, building bridges and flying aircraft all depend upon predicting and controlling the world around us. Hell, making stone tools and fire require these things. I think just about everyone on Earth has a stake in that sort of prediction and control. It really does seem that politics is a bete noir for them. I really think they’re afraid you want to “control” them.

    I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how they misunderstood this one. To quote myself from my blogpost on this:

    Wanna bet they read “predict and control the world around us” not in the clearly intended sense of bending the environment to our needs (e.g. curing disease, improving agriculture, etc.), but in the Pinky and the Brain sense?

  1. 27
    Dialog Delayed » Almost Diamonds

    [...] had intended to bring you my latest response in the dialog yesterday. I submitted it Friday night. However, it hasn’t been posted yet. For those of you [...]

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