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Jul 09 2012

Scorching the common ground

One night many months ago I was poking around on Twitter and was alerted to the now-notorious Love Letter to Creeps penned by Mallorie Nasrallah. As I was participating in the resulting fracas, I crossed swords with skeptic, magician, and broken record Penn Jillette who, in response to my attempting to clarify exactly where the problem was in Mallorie’s letter, sent me this bizarre tweet:

Penn: I don't believe you and I have any real disagreement on how people should be treated. None.

Me: but she IS trying to invalidate the experiences of others, based on her own. And you apparently agree with her.
Penn: I don’t believe you and I have any real disagreement on how people should be treated. None.

Confused by this seeming complete non-sequitur, especially since we did disagree, I pressed the point:

Penn: I don't think so. I find it hard to imagine a situation where I would differ with you in practice.

Me: if you agree with the article, then it is evidently clear that we DO DISAGREE on this subject, your belief notwithstanding
Penn: I don’t think so. I find it hard to imagine a situation where I would differ with you in practice.

Baffled as I was by the attempted Jedi mind-fuckery, the conversation very quickly devolved into nonsense.

This line of attack resurfaced a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of commenter keithroragen:

Isn’t it possible for people with so much in common to disagree over an issue without being a-holes about it. You are all a bunch of sanctimonious navel gazers. I can’t believe anyone goes to these conferences in the first place.

My reply of “LOL” was all of the effort I felt that this complete nonsense deserved, but as it so reminded me of Penn’s weirdness, I figure it might be worthwhile taking this meme on, in case someone happens to mistake “but you agree on the important stuff; you shouldn’t fight” for a legitimate and worthwhile position.

First of all, this is emphatically not a substantive response to anything. If anything, it is a tiresome attempt to derail an actual dispute. It is completely meaningless that Penn, Thunderf00t, and I agree on how we would like people to be treated (if that is the case, which I dare say it is likely not if they believe that harassment at meetups is not something worth the effort of addressing). We are not talking about the 99% of things we agree on – we are talking about a specific issue about which we have emphatically different ideas. This conversation is in no way advanced by behaving as though we don’t disagree, or that this particular disagreement is unimportant. As I’ve said from the beginning, pretending that a problem doesn’t exist is not a resolution to that problem – it only serves the status quo.

Second, the exact same assertion could be made about any disagreement. We are all carbon-based bipedal primates. Why should we fight about something as silly and unimportant as religion, or politics, or the necessity of war, or [fill in issue worth discussing here]? Can’t we all just focus on what we have in common and get along? Well… no. Some issues deserve discussion and debate, and just because you don’t happen to think the discussion is worthwhile is not a valid reason not to have it. And that’s all this statement really is: the whine of someone who thinks that energy is being wasted on ‘unimportant’ things – meaning things that the whiner doesn’t find personally relevant.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I really do have to question how much I really have in common with someone who believes something this stupid. I may have arrived at a similar conclusion to Penn vis a vis atheism and pseudoscience. I certainly share Thunderf00t’s contempt for creationism and his joy for the advancement of legitimate empirical worldviews. We do share many important beliefs. That being said, to say that we have ‘so much in common’ is a really selective view of the things that are important to me in my life.

As I said to Penn, I’d be willing to bet that when it comes to issues of how to treat other human beings, I have more in common with Shelby Spong or the Dalai Lama than I do with Penn Jillette. This despite the fact that both Bishop Spong and the Dalai Lama are people whose god beliefs I find ridiculous and whose overall view of the nature of the universe I do not share. That being said, given that how we treat other human beings and the importance of recognizing the need to improve the way we treat minority groups, it might be fair to say that I don’t really have that much in common with anyone who disagrees with me on something as clear-cut as how we respond to complaints about sexual misconduct in atheist/skeptic spaces.

Of course this should not be confused with a statement like “your positions on this are actually the same”. It is possible that two people don’t realize they’re saying the same thing, but with slightly different wording (this happens often, especially on Twitter). Oftentimes those involved in heated debate are responding to what they think the other person is saying, and can end up talking past each other whilst holding the same beliefs about the topic under discussion. In that case, it is simply a matter of identifying the commonalities between the positions, rather than simply asserting the equivalence.

Of course the real solution to this ‘commonality’ conundrum is to recognize that the statement “you shouldn’t fight with those with whom you have so much in common” lacks any and all validity as part of a discussion on any topic. If two people care enough about a subject to discuss it from opposing positions, then they are the sole arbiters of whether the difference is meaningful. Yes, we agree on a lot of things, that’s certainly true. However, we disagree on this, which is why we’re discussing it.

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51 comments

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  1. 1
    Alyson Miers

    I seem to recall him serving up a similar line of nonsense with Jen. It seems like he doesn’t know how to hold up his end of an argument, so he pretends there isn’t one.

  2. 2
    Crommunist

    That’s certainly possible. I see it more as him trying to ‘manage’ people who talk about issues he doesn’t personally care about. When I mentioned the Dalai Lama he immediately changed subjects to how bad a person the DL is. Why? No idea.

  3. 3
    Robert B.

    To prove that you and Gilette secretly agree, of course. If you like the Dalai Lama’s ethics, and Gilette hates them, then…

    Profit!

  4. 4
    Stacy

    It seems like he doesn’t know how to hold up his end of an argument

    I once argued with him on Facebook (over Libertarianism,) and this was my impression as well. At a certain point he rhetorically threw up his hands and changed the subject, viz “Well, I don’t like that my taxes are going to fund war” (paraphrased). Non sequitur, dude.

    I believe he tries to be a good person. But he’s not as critical a thinker as some people give him credit for.

  5. 5
    anon101

    Whenever I read the phrase “invalidate the experience” in the feminist context I have to cringe. We atheists invalidate the religious experiences of millions of people on a daily basis. We tell them all the time: We don’t belief that you had any significant experience but even if you had it does not mean what you think it means. Yet if a woman has an “experience” that is claimed to be relevant in a feminist context it becomes the gold standard for how to determine reality.

  6. 6
    John Horstman

    Wow, THAT is a really weird derail. “I disagree with you.” “No, you don’t.” “Yes, I’m really quite sure I do.” “No, you don’t.”

    It DOES effectively shut down discussion, since one party is refusing to engage, but it’s the rhetorical equivalent of sticking one’s fingers in ones ears and singing “lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala” at top volume until the other party goes away. I’m not really sure why it strikes anyone as better than, “I’m done having this debate with you; goodbye.” Is it just a weak attempt to convince oneself that others really DO agree, and perhaps spare the horror of acknowledging that, just maybe, not everyone on the planet thinks one is totally awesome and right about everything? If so, it’s a shitty ego-defense; I can’t imagine it actually works. Then again, if one is a misogynist Libertarian, maybe convincing oneself of self-serving ideas using bad/no reasoning isn’t all that hard.

  7. 7
    Forbidden Snowflake

    So people who make conclusions about social interactions from their experience of social interaction are now somehow as out-there as people who make conclusions about the nature of the universe from the feeling of warm fuzzies in their hearts?

  8. 8
    Crommunist

    One is an empirical claim about the nature of the universe, the other is a claim about the nature of social interactions. One violates the fundamental understandings of the laws that have been observed to govern the universe, the other comports quite well with the observed sociological and psychological evidence. One carries implications that include a whole variety of self-contradictory claims about supernatural forces, the other carries implications that we need to think harder about how we treat each other as human beings. I’m not sure why you think these two types of claims are comparable, but as you have so far failed to write even one comment that wasn’t some combination of a) stupid and b) wrong, I can’t say that I’m surprised.

    Also this ‘gold standard’ business is pure, uncut bullshit.

  9. 9
    'Tis Himself

    It’s hard to have an extended discussion about feelings and beliefs on Twitter. That’s what YouTube is for.

  10. 10
    doubtthat

    I really saw eye to eye with Hitler and Stalin on needing to eat and breath to survive, which is really about 75% of what matters–without eating and breathing we wouldn’t have time for more decadent concerns, like mass murder.

    Guess we can let the rest of it slide.

    I do like the goofy non sequitor + incoherent statistic approach. I will use that to make someone at a bar angry at some point.

  11. 11
    julian

    So it doesn’t happen if you don’t experience it?

    What about bigotry?

    Or hurt?

  12. 12
    'Tis Himself

    Also this ‘gold standard’ business is pure, uncut bullshit.

    QFT.

    Interesting how anon101 writes ‘Yet if a woman has an “experience”’ with “experience” in scare quotes yet when religious experiences are discussed then experience is not in quotes.

    Is it that anon101 is claiming that women don’t have experiences or often lie about their experiences? Or is it that anon101 doesn’t like the interpretation that women give to some experiences? Does anon101 object to Rebecca Watson describing an experience and giving her interpretation as: “Guys, don’t do that.”?

    If I were a betting man, I’d know which one of my interpretations I’d back with some money.

  13. 13
    Crommunist

    So it doesn’t happen if you don’t experience it?

    I don’t think that’s a fair restatement of anon101′s position. What ze is saying is that in the absence of observed refuting data, we can confidently state that religious people are incorrect when they attribute something to the intervention of their god. It therefore follows that we can confidently state that what feminists refer to as ‘misogyny’ might be something else entirely.

    The problem is that those two things do not follow, for the reasons I have identified above: accepting the intervention of the supernatural conflicts with all observed physical laws. Accepting that society has a male bias, on the other hand, accords with the available evidence.

  14. 14
    anon101

    So people that are treated with placebos are really healed?

  15. 15
    Crommunist

    The way you’ve phrased the question precludes the possibility of a clear answer. It depends on the condition you’re talking about, but yes if someone takes a placebo for their chronic pain and afterwards they no longer experience chronic pain, you could make the statement that the placebo effect ‘healed’ their pain.

  16. 16
    julian

    Yeah… sorry about that.

  17. 17
    julian

    So people that are treated with placebos are really healed?

    I dare you to answer that question yourself. Not “are placebos effective” or “are patients treated with placebos more likely to get better” but “are people with placebos really healed?”

    What does “really healed” even mean here? That they are no longer suffering from the condition they were prior to the placebo treatment? That they experience significant improvement over their previous state? What?

    Your question makes no sense.

    And that’s not even getting into how it’s entirely unrelated to the issue of sexism or the experiences of women.

  18. 18
    Rob

    Well I’ve always enjoyed Penn as a comedian/magician, but never rated him as a rational/critical thinker. This does nothing to change my view.

  19. 19
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I think part of it is that a certain form of skepticism is really a combination of being contrary for its own sake, and pretending to an emotional detachment that turns everything into an academic discussion with no real-world ramifications. UFOs and angels are a safe topic for that sort of skepticism, but social issues and politics are not. Add in the libertarian “no one can tell me what to do” immaturity of people like Jillette, and it makes a little more sense.

    So what Penn’s saying to you is that OF COURSE he’d never sexually harass or bother women(for whatever definition he accepts, which may be different from how his potential victims describe it) but from a purely intellectual standpoint he’s going to be philosophically opposed to any measure that would stop him from harassing if he chose to do so. He feels like you’re infringing on his freedom to harass, and on a woman’s freedom to reject him if she wants to (and is strong/fast enough to get away if he doesn’t take no for an answer, or doesn’t freeze up and go along because of previous trauma, none of which he really cares about) because FREEDOM! and also nobody tells Penn Jillette what to do!

  20. 20
    Loqi

    We don’t belief that you had any significant experience but even if you had it does not mean what you think it means.

    Huh? I absolutely believe them when they say they had a religious experience. Where I start to get confused is when they go from “I had a euphoric experience” to “therefore god created the world in six days and doesn’t want gay people to marry.” That’s not invalidating their experience, that’s questioning their logic.

  21. 21
    Smhlle

    I think if we zoom way out to a macro level there is some general agreement. People all over this discussion want lots of people to flock to the skeptical/atheist movement, lots of people ot come to TAM (which is a fundraiser), and want everyone to have a good time and come back next year. Right?

    I think it starts to get tricky because many male persons think that unwanted + sexual attention is an oxymoron.

  22. 22
    Crommunist

    In fairness to Penn, I’d imagine he doesn’t want people to be harassed and he wouldn’t ever knowingly harass someone. At the personal level, he and I would likely appear to share an identical ethos. However, the issue was not (and never has been) about whether or not people think harassment is a good thing. It’s about how we respond when it happens.

  23. 23
    Ysanne

    Crommunist pointed out quite correctly that in human interactions, the important thing is the “experience” of the people involved. When someone feels uncomfortable by some behaviour that is just as valid as someone else loving that same behaviour.
    Stating that one has one of these reactions does not invalidate the other.
    Invalidating happens when one’s own reaction is considered the only reasonable one, and those who react differently are considered unimportant.

    Examples from Mallorie’s letter:
    “If you want to make boob jokes thats fine by me, you have after all been making dick jokes since you were old enough to make jokes. [...] Do not change for me” — Not invalidating. This only states that Mallorie personally is comfortable with boob jokes.
    “If your jokes or teasing manner offend some people, so the fuck what? [...] do not change for someone else.” — Invalidating. This completely dismisses others’ differening perception and comfort.

    It’s possible to adapt (within reason) to one’s conversation partner, and avoid interacting with those who one knows won’t enjoy it. It doesn’t hurt to apologise for unintended insults when they’re pointed out. It doesn’t kill to listen in good faith instead of scanning for an opportunity to label the speaker as a bad person.

    And a good way of recognising selfish assholes is that they refuse to do these simple things because they just don’t care for anyone’s comfort but their own.

  24. 24
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I haven’t seen anyone invalidate religious experience. It’s real, but hardly confined to religion. Now, how someone chooses to interpret or narrate such an experience is another matter entirely, and quite open to being invalidated.

    Never mind that the realms of possible explanations for religious experience and experience of sexual harassment are different animals. Everyone claiming a religious experience (and describes it as such non-metaphorically) has a long way to go in providing evidence for the invoked cause of the experience. With women in a reality-based setting, their experiences are somewhat more evidence-based in terms of cause.

    “I had a religious experience” (do go on) “where God revealed His special plan for me” (uh, right), is a different sort of conversation than, “I experienced this thing as a woman” (sure, women have real experiences too) “and it was sexual harassment/sexism” (a reasonable claim which can actually be checked if necessary).

    God, did you send this person an epiphany, some sort of life-altering religious experience? God? Dooood. Hellooo.

    Hey man, what did you say to Woman X? You said that? Really? Not cool. Consider what you said and try not to do that in the future. Do you get why what you did was teh fail? No? Lemme explain.

  25. 25
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Somewhere between the Jedi mind trick (This is not the disagreement you are looking for) and the Argument Clinic (An argument isn’t just automatically gainsaying whatever the other person says. -Yes it is.) lies this Twitter conversation.

  26. 26
    iknklast

    I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve been told (by a man) that what women want is for men to be forceful and insist. And, I will agree, some women want that. But there are too many men out there who have gotten the message that yes means yes, no means yes, and eat shit means yes. A lot of men think women don’t really know what they want, and need some man to show them. I suspect Penn is in this group.

  27. 27
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    A lot of men think women don’t really know what they want, and need some man to show them. I suspect Penn is in this group.

    Do you have some particular reason to suspect that (about Penn Jillette)?

  28. 28
    Crommunist

    Yeah, this one raised my eyebrows too. Penn may not be the most pleasant guy, but I’ve never seen anything that would suggest that he harbours this particular attitude toward women. It certainly doesn’t follow from anything he said in the conversation I had with him, nor is it suggested by his approval of Mallorie’s letter.

  29. 29
    Daniel Schealler

    I’d get on board that, with the notion that it’s not neccesarily a big deal.

    From what I know of Penn, he’s an entertainer first and a skeptic/rationalist second. Which is totally fine – that isn’t an insult.

    Pen occasionally deprecates himself in exactly this way, along the lines of: Don’t just blindly listen to what people in show-business say. I’m in show-business and I don’t know crap about anything!

    I take that at face value: When it comes to stage magic or how to produce and deliver a stage show or a television show, Penn could be fairly regarded as an expert.

    The rest of the time he’s just another person, just like all the rest of us. A conversant and aware and informed person, yes. But no more an expert than the next guy.

  30. 30
    Daniel Schealler

    Our position is the same: We both agree that racism is bad.

    But I’m not a racist! One of my friends is black!

  31. 31
    Samantha Vimes, Chalkboard Monitor

    That is *exactly* what I was thinking. He’s an entertainer. Not a philosopher, logician, etc. And it seems like he reacts to disagreements with people he respects by avoiding facing the differences.

  32. 32
    Ysanne

    what women want is for men to be forceful and insist. And, I will agree, some women want that.

    Ah, you mean the men who say stuff about being hard to get and liken it to courtship, and princesses and knights?
    It really annoys me how they then re-interpret “insist” as “ignore what she says and just go ahead”, instead of “no, but you may try to change her mind by making an effort to make her feel appreciated, then ask again”. (Depending on the woman/man/point in history, this may include winning a medieval tournament with her scarf, playing love songs on the guitar under her window, or simply spending time getting to know each other some more). Of course, this effort is totally not worth it when a man is looking for a quick no-strings-attached hook up, which is exactly what the “hard to get” routine filters for.

  33. 33
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I have the nasty feeling that his definition of harassment works like this:
    Rule 1: I don’t harass women
    Rule 2: Therefor what I did wasn’t harassment.

  34. 34
    keithroragen

    I’m not sure what to make of that you would characterize my plea for civility as a “line of attack.” Not everything has to be a fight.

  35. 35
    jamessweet

    I think there is a nugget of truth in what Jillette said… For one, it is probably true that for the most part (probably not 99%, but probably pretty close) you two agree on how people ought to be treated — the disagreement seems to be in how to respond when there is a deviation from that treatment.

    The other side of it… and I don’t think this is what Jillette meant, but it’s true nonetheless… is that, having worked at a company with a VERY strong anti-harassment policy, and even being a little skeptical of some elements of the policy at first when I had my new-hire mandatory sexual harassment training, I can nonetheless attest that it’s no big deal, and I think very nearly all of the people who are hand-wringing about such a policy would not at all have their fun spoilt by a strong and effect harassment policy. If such policies seem draconian at times, it’s so that people who are legitimately causing a problem can’t wriggle out of it with excuses like, “Hey, I misread her signals… I thought she wanted me to pinch her butt!” The disincentives to reporting — which have been much discussed, so I won’t rehash them — are powerful enough to make frivolous complaints nearly non-existent.

    There are deeper issues, about e.g. whether always obtaining verbal consent is desirable 100% of the time, but one does not necessarily have to resolve on the deeper issues in order to have a strong anti-harassment policy. To focus on just this one example, even if an anti-harassment policy specifies 100% verbal consent, nobody is going to say to herself, “Gee, I really wanted him to kiss me, and I’m happy our budding relationship is progressing… but it says here in the handbook that he had to ask my permission first, and he didn’t, so I guess I am obligated to report him now.” That’s just silly. Even more ludicrous is the idea of someone filing a report to say, “I saw those two people kissing, and I didn’t hear either of them asking permission first!”

    There’s meaningful debate to be had on whether maybe that’s a good idea all the time anyway. But even if those who disagree on that issue ought to be able to agree on an anti-harassment policy.

    So in that sense, Jillette is right, even if he doesn’t know it: Nothing that he is arguing for would be realistically impinged by a strong anti-harassment policy.

  36. 36
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Why are people giving Penn fucking Jillette this imense benefit of doubt that the actual disagreement about harassment and how to treat people isn’t that big?
    He’s one of thos people who think that asking to restrain themselves from calling women “cunt” is worse than calling women “cunt”. And it’s something he unrepentedly does

  37. 37
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    For one, it is probably true that for the most part (probably not 99%, but probably pretty close) you two agree on how people ought to be treated

    I can’t speak for the Crommunist, but personally the only thing about treating people I can be reasonably sure I agree with Penn “libertarian arsehole” Jillette is that people’s brains should not be eaten raw.

    Anything else, I don’t trust him to get right (even in front of witnesses). His lack of human decency has been well-documented.

    I’m not 100% sure on the brains part either. He might think kuru is just a socialist conspiracy against the freedom of randite cannibals.

  38. 38
    smhll

    After reading the long-ass Pharyngula thread over the weekend, my POV was that I sort of understand people spraying themselves with teflon and trying to dodge out of the thick of debate. Especially people who have lots of twitter followers and may get invited to weigh in on many topics they haven’t investigated. (Yeah, I know that Penn is strongly connected to TAM, um, somehow.)

    As a person who likes to say “on one hand, on the second hand, and then what about…”, I will say that I think an anti-harassment policy IS important, but I think the details of the wording of the policy will have very little impact on how much the policy changes behavior. I think the staff training is probably quite important. And, despite some of the side-stepping that our interlocuters have done, having methods to handle drunken non-con-attending-persons after hours is also important. I’d be happy to take any of the proposed policies and just stamp it ACCEPTED: DONE right now.

    The fact that we can’t does seem to be a significant issue. Yeah.

  39. 39
    karmakin

    To be fair I think at least on the pro-policy side, we’d be quite happy with that. There might be things that need to be changed/edited over time to make things more clear, procedures might need to be cleaned up, but that’s a long-term discussion. It’s not a bunch of people asking for the moon here.

  40. 40
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Google “tone trolling”.

  41. 41
    Dan M.

    This is absolutely spot-on.

    Jillette is agrees that sexual harassment is bad in the sense that he would never want his actions to count as sexual harassament, and for him that’s all that’s needed.

  42. 42
    mynameischeese

    He’s an entertainer, not a thinker. Ok. But he also works for that really annoying, gross libertarian thinktank, Cato.

  43. 43
    anon101

    So if you explain (or to use the feminist expression manslpain) to people that use homeopathy and belief that it works that this is just a placebo effect you are not invalidating their experience?

  44. 44
    baal

    Not all requests for civility are tone trolling. Some folks replies and comments are little more than insults and condescension. That behaviour doesn’t move the conversation in a positive direction. Calling out in fact bad behaviour is not tone trolling.

    I’m not agreeing substantively with keithroragen. I am tired of incivility and find that some fair points are dismissed out of hand as “tone trolling.”

  45. 45
    Crommunist

    Yeah… mansplaining and explaining actually aren’t the same thing, genius. Mansplaining is a phenomenon of behaving as though that the source of disagreement is the ignorance of women, built on the assumption that women’s experiences and perspectives are less valid than men’s (although it’s never put that explicitly – it usually involves invoking things like ‘emotional vs. rational’ and ‘objective vs. subjective’ and everyone’s favourite ‘hysteria’). It is the condescension that comes from privilege, hence ‘whitesplaining’, ‘cisplaining’, etc.

    By the way, the answer to your question is ‘no’. Again, you’ve conflated the concepts of ‘scientific evidence’ and ‘the beliefs of a privileged group’, as well as the difference between social interactions and biophysical mechanisms.

  46. 46
    kagerato

    Okay, not everything has to be a fight. But when people in power don’t listen, for generations, about the observable systematic oppression of a group whose fates they control, well…

    We’re gonna have to fight.

  47. 47
    anon101

    Crommunist, I’m not conflating two different things. From what you said I can only deduce two possibilities: Either your accusation of “invalidating someone’s experience” is meaningless and just a rhetoric trick out of the femnist rethoric tool box. Or you are unjustifiably applying different standards of judgment concerning other people’s experience in order to protect your worldview. If it’s the later that’s fine. That’s what most religious people do as well.

  48. 48
    Crommunist

    I’m not conflating two different things

    Yes you are, and I have painstakingly pointed out the exact nature of the mistake you’ve made. Saying “nuh uh” isn’t exactly the most persuasive of rejoinders.

    It’s fairly clear from your line of argument that you started with your now-exploded thesis that “invalidating experiences in social interactions” is the same as “denying causal mechanisms for physical phenomena”, and you wouldn’t let a little thing like ‘facts’ or ‘counter-argument’ sway your laser-like focus on stating and re-stating your point (which makes your assertion that I am behaving like a religious zealot particularly amusing). But by all means, continue to read around the multiple times that I explain to you exactly why your analogy fails. It’s far more important to keep harping on your hatred for feminism than it is to honestly engage your critics. Well done.

  49. 49
    Daniel Schealler

    @anon01

    You have either missed or ignored Loqi’s very pertinent point:

    Huh? I absolutely believe them when they say they had a religious experience. Where I start to get confused is when they go from “I had a euphoric experience” to “therefore god created the world in six days and doesn’t want gay people to marry.” That’s not invalidating their experience, that’s questioning their logic.

    - Loqi

    A) “Although you did get better after taking a homeopathic remedy, the specific case is very much a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Therefore you are wrong to conclude as you did. Here’s some well-conducted scientific research (example, example, example) that shows that homeopathic remedies don’t work.”

    Y) “I am/know a woman who wouldn’t have minded being propositioned in that way, therefore you are wrong to feel as you did. It’s your fault for being oversensitive or wanting attention of just being a feminazi or something.”

    A) and Y) are very different scenarios in a way that is pertinent to the point you are trying to make, anon.

    A) has X: A skeptic pointing out a logical fallacy of interpretation and backing it up with relevant and representative research.

    A) does not have B: Someone invalidating the underlying experience that the person did in fact get significantly better after taking a homeopathic remedy.

    Y) has B: Someone invalidating the experience of the woman who said she was creeped out (you were wrong to feel as you did – your feeling/experience was invalid).

    Y) does not have X: Citation of a relevant fallacy of interpretation, nor citation any relevant well-conducted research in the area that runs contrary to any interpretation.

    The two examples are not related in a way that is relevant to the point you are trying to make.

    False analogy
    Informal Fallacy
    Correlate functions or properties not necessarily seen with homogeny
    It’s a debauchery, can’t you see?
    That if A has X and Y as B
    You just can’t compare until they’ve both got C.

    See?

    - AHughman08, William Lane Craig Is Not A Meatloaf

  50. 50
    Skeptic Dude

    @Crommunist

    You a fucking dick, for gods sake you were haranguing Penn for NOT arguing with you over how women should be treated. Get a fucking life you self-righteous prick.

  51. 51
    Crommunist

    Thanks for the timely advice, friend.

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