Phil Plait posted part 2 of his response to the conversations spawned by his “Don’t be a dick” speech at TAM8.
In his response he addresses my previous post on this subject and I think he does so very dishonestly. I posted the following, but I don’t want it to get lost in the list of comments:
“The author of this one says I don’t give specific examples, and therefore because he hasn’t seen the insults they don’t exist”
Actually, what I said was: “First of all, who is Phil talking about? This seems a bit quixotic and exaggerated to me. Where are these people who scream in your face on behalf of skepticism? Where are these people whose primary tactic is to yell at someone and call them a retard? Since Phil didn’t provide any examples to support the claim, we can only guess.”
That isn’t an assertion that the problem doesn’t exist, it was a legitimate objection. I even specifically mentioned that I felt it was exaggerated – which clearly means I’m not saying that the insults don’t exist, I’m saying that I haven’t seen evidence to support your implication that this is a serious and escalating problem.
You failed to provide examples, leaving us to guess. What I said was accurate…but instead of addressing it, you misrepresent it, so you can shrug it off committing yet another straw man right here.
“… and then accuses me of a strawman argument!”
Which, ironically, you’ve just done – again.
“I find that funny; finding examples about which I was speaking is trivially easy.”
Then please provide them. This is the same sort of reply we get from the woo-clan. They claim something is true (vitriol is on the rise) and when someone asks for specific examples, they misrepresent the comment, laugh at it and claim that the evidence is all around you (or similar).
I’m legitimately trying to figure out the specifics of the problem here and find out why some people don’t see this.
“The author also says I set up a false dichotomy and call people who don’t agree with me dicks… all without the benefit of having heard my talk.”
I had read the transcript and now I’ve watched it.
It is, in fact, a false dichotomy to present the options as “warrior” or “diplomat” to the exclusion of other options and combinations. That was my charge and it stands. Why not honestly address that charge instead of hand-waving about the fact that I hadn’t yet heard the talk? I quoted the transcript for this charge, it was accurate and my response stands…unanswered.
And again, what I wrote was: “And maybe I’m missing something, but isn’t Phil basically calling those who disagree with him, “dicks”? Granted, he’s being very polite about it, but that seems to be what he’s doing.”
I was pointing out the potential irony. Your entire point was to object to the unnecessary name-calling which makes it harder to sell something that is already difficult to sell. My reason for pointing this out was that it’s ironic that you couldn’t even do this in your own talk.
“As far as appealing to emotion… hello! It’s an emotional issue. That’s the point. Note that my appeal to emotion was logical because it sets up my premise that being a dick doesn’t help.”
No, sir. I was pointing out the fallacy of making an emotional appeal. It doesn’t become “logical” simply because it sets up your premise. Setting up (flawed) premises is the entire point for using emotional appeals and it’s the reason that it’s often noted as a fallacy – because it’s insufficient to the task, epistemologically, yet remains convincing because humans respond to emotional appeals.
At least you provided a link so that people have the opportunity to read what I actually wrote.
You and I actually agree on the bulk of this (which I noted in my response) and it’s distressing that your response to legitimate and accurate objections and questions is to misrepresent what I’ve said and scoff.
The irony runs pretty thick on this one.