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The Desert Tortoises With Boltcutters Civility Pledge

Read and add your signature, if you want to. It’s easy and fun, and shorter than an iTunes TOS update!

I pledge not to fetishize civility over justice. I recognize that the very notion of “civility” is defined in large part by those in whose benefit the status quo is maintained. I further recognize that the structure of “civility” at least in part has been created with the express purpose of bolstering chronic injustices. As Malvina Reynolds sang, “it isn’t nice to block the doorways, it isn’t nice to go to jail; there are nicer ways to do it, but the nice ways always fail.”

I pledge to remember that civility and compassion are not the same thing. Executive Order 9066, for example, was an emphatically civil document. There was not a mean-spirited or insulting word in the entire document, with the exception of the phrase “alien enemies.” In fact, it specified that a group of people would be provided with food, housing, and transportation. And yet it was one of the most unkind, uncompassionate acts of the US Government in the 20th Century. Civility is a very effective camouflage for hatred.

I pledge to remember that a fetishized civility is a field mark of insulation from suffering. The cries of the wounded on a battleground may be very unpleasant and uncivil indeed. I pledge to nod sympathetically and help bind those wounds rather than chide the wounded for bleeding so indecorously.

I pledge to keep a sense of perspective. Tossing basic civil rights under the bus in order to maintain a jury-rigged superficial peace in a single-issue movement is a bad bargain.

Rather than worry overmuch about civility, I pledge to be as kind as possible. And sometimes the kindest possible contribution to a discussion with someone acting in bad faith and harmfully is to tell them to go fuck themselves sideways.

Comments

  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And sometimes the kindest possible contribution to a discussion with someone acting in bad faith and harmfully is to tell them to go fuck themselves sideways.

    Amen!

  2. UnknownEric is just a spudboy, looking for a quantum tomato. says

    I’m starting the slow clap. This is awesomesauce.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Looks like Chris caused a couple of newbie into delurking.
    *sets out free grog and swill of the day for all the delurkers*
    The Pullet Patrol™ and Kninja Knitters™ sign on…

  4. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Yes, well; it should surprise no-one (well, no-one who might have seen the back-and-forth on Twitter or the several comments I’ve made on different blogs about Dan’s unfortunate short-sightedness on this issue) that I’m signing!

  5. mildlymagnificent says

    Ace! On behalf of the uncountable horde of non-existent Australian desert tortoises, I sign on right here.

    With the full approval of all quokkas, potoroos and dunnarts too long overshadowed by those kangaroos and koalas hogging the limelight. .

  6. Ogvorbis: Now with Boltcutters! says

    I not only sign on to this, but I emphatically support this!

    I have seen (recently!) people say some evil things using polite language. And, on occasion, complaining that those who have been hurt by their polite language are out of line when they call the commenter out.

  7. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    I think the problem is that since most of the issues people are discussing ‘uncivilly’ are those which Dan is lucky enough to not be harmed by, he has the luxury of being able to treat them as abstract concepts; once he’s done discussing them he can switch his computer off and not have to think about them again until he feels like weighing in again.

    Not everyone is that fortunate – and many of those who are (myself, for example) possess enough empathy and insight to be able to think of people other than ourselves, and don’t accept this as a reasonable position.

  8. says

    Not the distal cause, Chris? I’m highly flattered of course, but I wouldn’t like to take the blame for this exercise! *runs and hides*

    Particularly when it comes to long form arguments, I’m all for a thorough discussion of things that need discussing; but when I saw Dan’s pledge copied on George Waye’s blog, I confess I got to about item 6 or 7 and I thought, I really don’t have the spoons to deal with the obvious objections to this.

  9. Mattir - now will you PLEASE go your own way already? says

    Yes, precisely this.

    While I am generally a pretty polite and mild-mannered person, the civility patrol is really ticking me off. I get told that I am too (angry)(strident)(sensitive)(easily hurt)(emotional)(personally involved)(insert derailing move here) by way too many people in real life. I sometimes stay quiet and polite for the sake of peace in my meatspace relationships. I will not stay quiet and polite online as well.

  10. says

    Wowbagger:

    I think the problem is that since most of the issues people are discussing ‘uncivilly’ are those which Dan is lucky enough to not be harmed by

    Well, yes. It’s quite easy to pompously pontificate philosophically when one is perched on a pile of privilege.

  11. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Damn. I woulda blogged about this and linked to it with cheers and huzzahs, but it’s already on my blog.

    Hmm…Says something about your choice as partner, doesn’t it…

  12. says

    I have seen (recently!) people say some evil things using polite language.

    gods yes.

    I’ve had Pilty posting on my blog recently, and he’s a master of this technique; concentrated toxicity in the most formal, elegant language.

  13. Stacy says

    Signed, wholeheartedly.

    Also, Chris, I really appreciate, and enjoy, the concision and elegance of your writing style.

    I’ve felt that way for a long time. But for some reason I feel compelled to mention it at this particular moment.

    *innocent look*

  14. throwaway, Preferred singular pronouns: they, them, their, it says

    Thanks for this Chris, made my Valentines Night.

  15. Brian says

    Excuse the stupid question, but I can’t tell if there’s an issue with my browser or not — is there actually something to sign, or some web page to view or interact with? Or is the signing just a notional idea? I sort of feel like I’ve walked in on the third reel of a movie.

  16. mythbri says

    Can I pledge as a Bobcat with a Boltcutter?

    Either way, sign me up.

    I further pledge to do my best to help make this a place where your argument is challenged, but never your humanity or status as a person. I pledge to make this a safe space for people to be insulted about the quality of what they say and how they say it, but not their gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, class or mental/physical health state. I pledge to refuse to give ground to anyone for the sake of unity with those who might have one thing in common with me but don’t respect me as a full human being.

  17. throwaway, Preferred singular pronouns: they, them, their, it says

    Brian: It’s a rather biting parody of this pledge. If Chris doesn’t want me linking to there, then feel free to bunnify me.

  18. says

    Mythbri:

    I further pledge to do my best to help make this a place where your argument is challenged, but never your humanity or status as a person. I pledge to make this a safe space for people to be insulted about the quality of what they say and how they say it, but not their gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, class or mental/physical health state. I pledge to refuse to give ground to anyone for the sake of unity with those who might have one thing in common with me but don’t respect me as a full human being.

    I’ll happily sign onto this, too.

  19. chasstewart says

    You paint Dan to be an uncaring bastard because he wants ideas discussed civilly. Do you have evidence to prove that about him?

  20. thunk, new years, new dreams says

    I also sign mythbri’s addendum, throwing “age” in as one of the protected categories.

  21. says

    chasstewart, your analysis of my intent is flawed here. I think Dan’s idea was bad, and I allowed myself a snipe at his long-windedness, but I do not think he’s anything short of a generous, kind-hearted person with a blind spot in this particular instance.

  22. says

    Yeah. YEAH! That asshole Fincke can get bent. What a fucking shithead that guy is.

    I sure as shit refuse to respect people who have ethics that “disagree” with mine to any real extent, and I refuse to pretend that bigotry is up for debate and the victims of said bigotry need to treat their oppressors with civility or be disqualified from discussing THEIR OWN FUCKING EXPERIENCES.

    Fincke can piss up a goddamned rope.

  23. says

    Speaking of ugly things being said in polite language, here’s Noelplum on Fincke’s blog:

    On the word “slut”:

    I can understand your perspective on the word ‘slut’ in that it is almost always used in a mean-spirited sense in these contexts.

    I personally am not quite so keen to totally consign it to the dustbin because it is one of those words whereby much of what it has traditionally described, on the grounds that those characteristics are universal negatives, many of us nowadays see those same characteristics as (in appropriate circumstances) positives. However, in terms of the conversations that have been problematic in recent months, I can’t see such reclamatory usage being of much relevance.

    So, to translate, Noelplum is not eager to stop using the word slut, because what it “traditionally describes,” which I take to mean sexual promiscuity, is in fact shameful and people ought to be shamed for it.

    It’s a totally irrational belief.

    But Ficnke passes straight by it–it’s one paragraph of several–in favor of philosophyin’ and testifyin’ with his pal.

    We get the message, Dan. We’re not welcome. Anyone likely to have a visceral, emotional reaction to being shamed once more for something they intellectually know they ought not feel ashamed of, yet still find themselves falling into those feelings of shame every now and again, despite the hard work they’ve done in dispelling that irrational and destructive sense of shame about behavior that is not only harmless but joyful–anyone like that is not welcome on your blog. You’d rather make space for Noelplum. Whether you’re willing to accept it or not, you’re going to have to choose. You can’t be friendly with misogynists and not alienate some women. You can’t be friendly to women and not alienate misogynists. That’s not how the world works. And look at you right now–you’re siding with the misogynists.

    Cheers, mate. Awesome plan if you want to give yet another platform to all the people who have the most platforms to choose from in the first place.

    Like I said, I prefer diversity.

  24. throwaway, Preferred singular pronouns: they, them, their, it says

    You paint Dan to be an uncaring bastard because he wants ideas discussed civilly. Do you have evidence to prove that about him? CTRL+F: uncaring bastard -> End of document reached, text not found. What, exactly, paints him as such? Be specific.

  25. says

    chasstewart:

    You paint Dan to be an uncaring bastard because he wants ideas discussed civilly.

    Chris did no such thing, you dishonest ass. Aren’t you the former ‘chassoto’? If you are, some of us haven’t forgotten your ‘Russian Roulette’ game. Just sayin’.

  26. Margaret says

    I pledge not to fetishize civility over justice.

    Yes! I’ve recently been accused of intolerance since “intolerance of intolerance is still intolerance”. But I can no longer keep quiet and “civil” in the face of being told that I and other women do not have the right to control what happens to our bodies, that Christian prayers posted in a public school is not discrimination against non-Christians, that rape threats against a teenage girl are unimportant compared to the horrible “discrimination” of forcing Christians to follow the Bill of Rights.

    I pledge to remember that a fetishized civility is a field mark of insulation from suffering.

    Yes! I’ve recently been told I’m emotional and “projecting” (?!) when I said that some of the strength of my response to the forced-birthers was putting myself in the position of Savita and being horrified and angry about it. I will not be quiet, unemotional, uninvolved, and “civil” in the face of such a horror.

  27. says

    SallyStrange:

    Cheers, mate. Awesome plan if you want to give yet another platform to all the people who have the most platforms to choose from in the first place.

    He’s not only doing that, he’s providing more space for those who see fit to harass and hound women out of the blogosphere altogether. I’d hardly call that civil behaviour.

  28. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    The civility pledge basically creates a magic formula for telling some people that they are not allowed to speak. Because no matter how polite, reasoned, carefully phrased, nuanced, and disclaimer-laden I make my statements about sexual violence, the chilly climate, economic justice, or reproductive rights, there are some people whose response is always to tell me that I am not discussing the issues in a civil manner.

    The incivility charge has enough weight already – I refuse to sign a pledge agreeing that I will obey the magic words.

  29. qwerty says

    Malvina Reynolds. Now there is someone whom I haven’t seen quoted for awhile. Anyhow, I remember buying her album in, of all places, Vietnam. (Judy Collins did a very nice version of the song Chris quoted.)

    Yes, civil discourse usually benefits the status quo.

    Sign me up, but don’t expect me to stand in the doorway.

  30. says

    Chris,

    It would be different if this were a new conversation, but it just isn’t. And the fact that he might be “generous, kind-hearted person with a blind spot” when dealing with YOU doesn’t hold too much water with me. And here’s the big one, and I hope you can agree with me especially after the Paul W fiasco:

    When people are telling you that you’re being hurtful and causing damage, and you choose defending an academic point that doesn’t directly affect you in the face of that hurt and damage, you’re actually not being a decent person. When you place civility and tone over real people and their real experiences, you’re an asshole. You don’t have to be actively chasing people around screaming slurs at them to be a bigot or a creep. You can just hold the door open for other people to abuse them, or put abstractions above human beings.

    As I see it, that’s what Fincke is doing, whether he means to or not. And the fact that he doesn’t really take any criticism seriously tells me that at best he values people less than his ivory tower purity. So fuck him. He’s got nothing of any value to add to the community.

  31. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    If you’re able to remain civil in the face of injustice and/or other bad behaviours it’s usually because you aren’t the one being harmed. It’s amazing what having the capacity for empathy will do, though – I wish Daniel Fincke would try it.

  32. says

    Caine,

    If Fincke’s intent were benign, he would have at some point made an attempt to listen to the people who have been trying to get through to him, instead of writing one massive essay after another rationalizing away his dismissal of people most directly affected by the issues under discussion. Intent isn’t magic, and actions speak louder.

  33. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    I’ll happily sign up this as well as Mythbri’s:

    I further pledge to do my best to help make this a place where your argument is challenged, but never your humanity or status as a person. I pledge to make this a safe space for people to be insulted about the quality of what they say and how they say it, but not their gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, class or mental/physical health state. I pledge to refuse to give ground to anyone for the sake of unity with those who might have one thing in common with me but don’t respect me as a full human being.

    -
    and agree with thunk’s addition of age in here.
    -
    As far as Fincke is concerned, fuck him. His defense of the shallowly civil/polite and not challenging slut shaming makes me avoid him.

  34. says

    IJoe, you have engaged with him far more deeply than I have, as have others here. My reflexive want to think the best of people at first doesn’t mean I’m not gonna defer to those with greater experience.

  35. says

    He’s not only doing that, he’s providing more space for those who see fit to harass and hound women out of the blogosphere altogether. I’d hardly call that civil behaviour.

    Yes, people have to stop granting that any of these people have a legitimate point. You can’t have a civil debate with someone whose only goal in speaking with you is to talk over you and goad you into anger, so they can dismiss you, or to intimidate you into silence. They just want to talk about ideas–but their ideology holds that certain people just need to shut up. Like Concordance’s views on rape victims feeling safe enough to talk about their experiences. Concordance was perfectly civil in basically calling for 30% of the population to STFU about an issue which affects them directly, and about which they have a lot to teach the rest of us.

  36. says

    Daniel Fincke can run his blog any way he pleases…and if gusty long-winded treatises to empty manners is to his taste, he has the privilege of asking his commenters to accommodate him, no problem. So don’t be bitter about it. He’s welcome to NoelPlum99.

  37. says

    Also have to add ugly to “I pledge to make this a safe space for people to be insulted about the quality of what they say and how they say it, but not their gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, class or mental/physical health state or age.”

    Beautiful job, Chris.

  38. says

    Yes, I have to say, about the long-winded aspect – you could argue that part of civility is not boring people to death. That civility post is long. And boring.

  39. says

    Sign me up as well. I’m perfectly willing to follow all the rules of civility right up until one of 2 things happens (although they often happen simultaneously); either a)the first time someone makes an argument premised on some people not really being people (in which case they’re unrepentant bigots, and not entitled to a damn bit of consideration for their bullshit) or b)the second time someone makes an argument with a premise not supported by/in contradiction to the available evidence (the first time, I’ll point out the evidence; no one can know everything, and there’s no fault in honest ignorance. The second and subsequent times, I am forced to assume the interlocutor is acting in bad faith, and if they’re not going to show me the courtesy of good-faith arguments, I’m not going to show them any more courtesy than I happen to feel like at the moment).

  40. says

    SallyStrange:

    Like Concordance’s views on rape victims feeling safe enough to talk about their experiences. Concordance was perfectly civil in basically calling for 30% of the population to STFU about an issue which affects them directly, and about which they have a lot to teach the rest of us.

    Yes, it was perfectly civil. It was also perfectly privileged and clueless.

  41. says

    PZ:

    Daniel Fincke can run his blog any way he pleases…and if gusty long-winded treatises to empty manners is to his taste, he has the privilege of asking his commenters to accommodate him, no problem. So don’t be bitter about it.

    It’s much deeper than Dan running his blog the way he sees fit. By continuing this civility campaign of his, he’s causing active harm. If it was a case of him simply running his blog the way he sees fit, I wouldn’t care. What he is doing is contributing to the Culture of silence and the Culture of protection – he’s busy protecting and sheltering the very misogynists who think it’s a fine idea to drive women off the net. I’m angry as hell about it, thank you very much.

  42. says

    I have no objection whatsoever to Dan running his blog the way he sees fit; I’m not interested in signing up to a long-winded set of principles that commit me to engage civilly with people who want to indulge in fruitless rhetorical masturbations for their jollies, but will quibble about the place of the word ‘more’ in relation to charitably understanding the quote ‘Stupid is a serious word that torments more people than tranny does.’ People who like that sort of debate club are welcome to it.

    Incidentally, the seed of the current pledge took root here, and it’s telling that Dan finishes the post with the obligatory “Your thoughts?”, but also:

    For further explanations and justifications of my philosophy of moderation for those who are uneasy with it, please read the following posts:

    … followed by a list of two dozen separate posts, many of which are multi-thousand word epics themselves. Like, wow.

  43. chasstewart says

    “‘civility’ is defined in large part by those in whose benefit the status is maintained.” This makes those who defend or “feteshize” civility seem like they are basically saying “I’ve got mine Jack” (to use the parlance of this forum). That’s party of why I said you make Dan and others like him sound like uncaring bastards even though I’m sure you don’t have that opinion of him.

  44. Vitreous Humour says

    I’m totally on board with the pledge. That was an amazing post. <3

    I hate it when ignorant fucking bigots try to argue for heinous positions like how they think queer people ought to be thrown in jail just for having gay sex or whatever while acting like they are so fucking civil and magnanimous for not using a few specific slurs like f** and d***, and then having to listen to the liberal straight 'allies' go out of their way to congratulate the bigots on their 'politeness'.

  45. says

    Agreed with SallyStrange. If this were just a blog commenting policy we wouldn’t be having this discussion. It’s the evangelizing of the policy that makes it an issue.

  46. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    I’ll sign that fucker like Handcock

  47. left0ver1under says

    As Finley Peter Dunne’s maxim is often paraphrased, one should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

  48. says

    I even may want the latitude of intellectual honesty to test ugly ideas that neither I nor most others even want to believe.

    Right. It’s not that we know them to be and understand why they’re false. It’s all emotional, ideological, on our part.

    I may want to do this so that we can thoroughly understand exactly why, or whether, such ideas are indeed as false as we would hope, or are as pernicious as we presume.

    They are false. You’re neither testing nor considering their perniciousness. That’s a large part of the point. Perhaps you could think about that.

    It is important that rational people of good will have well-developed reasons, rather than just dogmatic moral condemnation, with which to answer the false and pernicious ideas of irrational, ill-willed, and bigoted people.

    Where, exactly, have you been?

    This means rational people of good will should at least sometimes open-mindedly explore hypotheses that they or others may find morally or intellectually upsetting, and that they have the room to do this without being demonized.

    I want you to consider a continuing life of being told and watching your culture being told – from a variety of sources – that you’re lesser, that you have a limited sphere which is properly yours, that you relate to the world in a specific way, that you want and are content with your lesser status. Imagine those claims – so effective in shaping the thoughts and ambitions of so many people – being based on research and anecdotes that become laughable* shortly after they’re taken seriously and form the basis for practices and institutions.

    These idiotic claims ARE NOT ABSTRACT. They’re part of a cultural discourse, in which they’re both motivated and consequential. Why the he…ck do you think people insist on these claims in the first place? The notion that conservative status-quo-justifying-or-defending claims should be given the benefit of the doubt needs to be challenged. They shouldn’t. They should, if anything, be looked at more critically! Ideas about women, nondominant “races,” those labeled “mentally ill,” GLBT people, other species – these, morally, HAVE to be viewed as suspect. How do you not understand this?

    I realize that a huge obstacle to honest, thoroughgoing, and challenging public inquiries into the rightness of beliefs and values of the most fundamental importance and urgency is our shared natural tendencies to take abstract criticisms personally.

    Oh, bite me, mealyspore.

    *I demand that you, Dan Fincke, a) defend the vervet paper, and b) defend its frequent citation in the so-called scientific literature. In the name of civil discussion.

  49. says

    Chasstewart

    I’m sure you don’t have that opinion of him.

    Who is ‘you’ in this sentence? Your original post was aimed at Chris, but several others have also commented here. For instance, I wouldn’t call him a ‘selfish bastard,’ but I am happy to call him an oblivious asshole with an overinflated sense of his own intellect and understanding, and I’ll stand by that judgment.

    This makes those who defend or “feteshize” civility seem like they are basically saying “I’ve got mine Jack”

    Yes, very goo, you have indeed understood the point that the post was making, and that the commenters have generally agreed with. We’re saying that people who prioritize civility over not doing harm are, in fact, saying ‘I’ve got mine, fuck you’ to all the people who are being harmed by their insistence on ‘civility.’ So yeah, they’re being assholes, and the extent to which they’re assholes is the same as the extent to which the prioritize civility over not doing harm. Dan is pretty fucking high up on that scale, hence he’s being a real fucking asshole.

  50. UnknownEric is just a spudboy, looking for a quantum tomato. says

    Sometimes you just have to say, “No sorry, that’s a bunch of bullshit.”

  51. chasstewart says

    Cain,
    “Chris did no such thing, you dishonest ass. Aren’t you the former ‘chassoto’? If you are, some of us haven’t forgotten your ‘Russian Roulette’ game. Just sayin’.”

    No, silly. I’m that other asshole, Birdterrifier, but ever since the network changed formats I’ve just been logging in with my G+ account.

  52. omnicrom says

    I can get behind this pledge. How many trolls have waltzed in full of bullshit and then lay down on the fainting couch at our coarseness without answering their racism/sexism/ableism/everyoneunlikethemselvesism.

  53. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Joe,

    If Fincke’s intent were benign, he would have at some point made an attempt to listen to the people who have been trying to get through to him

    By that measure, his intent is demonstrably benign, because he did listen — he could not have made the few concessions he made without listening.

    Listening does not entail agreement. Listening does not entail shutting up, at least not in a duplexing medium like blog comments.

    I stand by what I said at the time: he is bullshitting and causing harm. I lost patience with him long ago, and he’s still causing harm with this bullshit.

    But it’s one thing to say intent isn’t magic. It’s quite another to make dubious or false claims about someone’s actual intent. You will be unable to substantiate your claim that his intent is not benign — and it is most probable that the reason you’ll be unable is because you are wrong.

    Chris was approximately right: Dan is evidently kind-hearted and his motivation is to minimize those harms that he groks. It upsets him to see people’s feelings being hurt, and he’s trying to address that, by the ham-handed methods he is accustomed to.

  54. says

    Here’s an example from five years ago.

    :)

    ***

    Ophelia:

    That civility post is long. And boring.

    Did anyone finish reading it? (And I ask this fully realizing that I’m no pithy blogger.)

  55. says

    Chris was approximately right: Dan is evidently kind-hearted

    Probably.

    and his motivation is to minimize those harms that he groks.

    This phrase sums up the problem: our culture doesn’t recognize epistemic harms/crimes.

    I believe this is the Epistemic Century. It’s urgent that we address this.

  56. says

    Ah, the reframing wars. Chris, you could have linked to your comment #167 there as well—that’s one a real corker.

    I don’t think there’s any point in arguing over Dan’s intent, which he would naturally disavow as being anything other than good, and look to what the policy achieves: it will allow a variety of rules-lawyering bloviators like the Noelplums to sow their bad ideas without being called on them (as Sally noticed!), thus marking it as a blog fit to be exploited by the usual suspects.

  57. mildlymagnificent says

    I wonder sometimes about people.

    It’s entirely possible that they’ve managed to miss out on the prissy mouthed, poisonous people most of us have somewhere in our families or a workplace or our other acquaintance. But have they also missed out on every book and every film ever released showing super buttoned up people behaving with vicious malice, never once raising their voices or using any words that are dubious, let alone forbidden, in ‘polite’ society.

  58. says

    But have they also missed out on every book and every film ever released showing super buttoned up people behaving with vicious malice, never once raising their voices or using any words that are dubious, let alone forbidden, in ‘polite’ society.

    Yes! Imagine…every Fincke commenter is a James Spader character.

    (Don’t even get me started on Downton Abbey…)

  59. leftwingfox says

    Huh… I thought I remembered that thread. And there I am.

    Man, civil dialog in the US today seems to be “Muslims are going to kill us, Blacks are inferior, Democrats are communists, Science is evil, atheists are immoral, and Christianity superior.” Just so long as you don’t use a four-letter word, it’s all ok.

    So… yeah.

    Fucking signed.

  60. strange gods before me ॐ says

    My first reading of noelplum was the same as Sally’s. That is to say, he’s worded it poorly. But on third reading it turns out he’s not saying that sexual promiscuity is bad.

    The phrases “many of us nowadays see those same characteristics as (in appropriate circumstances) positives” and particularly “reclamatory usage” are not explicable by the first reading.

    Here’s a shuffling that helped me:

    “I personally am not quite so keen to totally consign it to the dustbin because many of us nowadays see as (in appropriate circumstances) positives those same characteristics which it has traditionally described as universal negatives. However, in terms of the conversations that have been problematic in recent months, I can’t see such reclamatory usage being of much relevance.”

    He is saying that ‘slut’ has referred to things which are positive,* and thereby can be reclaimed.

    *In “appropriate circumstances”. He might mean nothing more than “don’t have sex on busy public sidewalks”, but this is unclear.

  61. says

    He is saying that ‘slut’ has referred to things which are positive,* and thereby can be reclaimed.

    if that’s the case, he’s likely very confused about how reclaiming works. you can’t reclaim a word for use on others. and guys by definition can’t reclaim an anti-woman slur.

  62. thephilosophicalprimate says

    Not only do I sign and endorse this fully, I feel confident in also endorsing it on behalf of celebrity guest signatory John Stuart Mill, who wrote the following in his spectacular defense of free speech in Chapter Two of On Liberty:

    With regard to what is commonly meant by intemperate discussion, namely, invective, sarcasm, personality, and the like, the denunciation of these weapons would deserve more sympathy if it were ever proposed to interdict them equally to both sides; but it is only desired to restrain the employment of them against the prevailing opinion: against the unprevailing they may not only be used without general disapproval, but will be likely to obtain for him who uses them the praise of honest zeal and righteous indignation. Yet whatever mischief arises from their use, is greatest when they are employed against the comparatively defenceless; and whatever unfair advantage can be derived by any opinion from this mode of asserting it, accrues almost exclusively to received opinions.

  63. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Jadehawk wrote:

    the ‘pitters think that our rejection of this “civility pledge” is us being hypocrites about free speech. lol.

    I haven’t seen grasping that desperate since the last time I tried to play Pick-up Sticks with my butt cheeks.

  64. A. Noyd says

    Signing, of course. Civility can kiss my ass.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    SC (#124)

    This means rational people of good will should at least sometimes open-mindedly explore hypotheses…

    I argue for a narrow definition of “hypothesis.”

    He seems blind to the tactic bigoted people use when, in discussions, they make an act of treating some defining belief of their bigotry hypothetically; meanwhile, they treat it as hard fact everywhere else. So what—it’s on the rest of us to be “open minded” by humoring the pretense of their framing? If some people want to do that, they’re welcome to it. I don’t think it should be a sign of bad manners to refuse, though.

  65. hotshoe says

    I can hardly believe that I used boltcutters – literally for the first time in my life – just yesterday at work.

    It’s a sign!

  66. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    I don’t know about you, but on average, I’d rather deal with Fred Phelps screaming “DYKE!!” in my face that smarmy “civil” comments about how important marriage and family are to society and children. Or “I don’t care what you do in the bedroom.”

    Fuck civility.

  67. Ulysses says

    I am delurking to sign this pledge.

    If you’re civil to me then I’ll be civil to you. However I’m the one who decides if you’re civil or not. I don’t care if you use foul language at me. I do care if you use fallacious arguments or indulge in invincible ignorance. I certainly care if people go out of their way to harass others. I’ve seen Ophelia Benson beg to be left alone by the professional misogynists and their refusal to do so. That’s uncivil. I’ve seen people usurp threads about serious topics and turn the threads into discussions of the usurper. That’s uncivil. There’s more to civility than being polite. Daniel Fincke doesn’t appear to appreciate this.

    Back to lurking.

  68. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I haven’t seen grasping that desperate since the last time I tried to play Pick-up Sticks with my butt cheeks.

    *drops off complementary tankard of grog*

  69. Stardrake says

    Sign me in–but since I’m in Minnesota, I’ll be a Snapping Turtle.

    With BUILT-IN boltcutters!

  70. consciousness razor says

    By that measure, his intent is demonstrably benign, because he did listen — he could not have made the few concessions he made without listening.

    Sure. However, many of his responses (throughout that whole saga last year) were evasions and distortions of what others were saying, when he did actually bother to respond to those points. So while he probably is* listening to at least some things, it’s apparently not very closely. That, I think, captures the meaning of Joe’s comment, not “he never listens about anything (regarding this topic).”

    *Was? He’s gone and pledged himself, so for now I’m going to put that in the past tense unless something changes.

    Listening does not entail agreement. Listening does not entail shutting up, at least not in a duplexing medium like blog comments.

    It doesn’t entail comprehension either. Hanlon’s razor certainly seems like it could be relevant here.

    ———

    Yes! Imagine…every Fincke commenter is a James Spader character.

    With a bit less reckless joie de vivre. I’m thinking of Boston Legal. I’m also trying to keep liking Spader’s characters right now.

  71. athyco says

    Sign me up!

    On his Question for PZ Myers video, Noelplum99 wrote a comment a day ago:

    I have a video uploaded but not public yet giving my further thoughts on this. For various reasons I dont think genitally based slurs are cut from the same cloth as whole person slurs. I will leave you a comment when i get chance to add notes etc and make the vid public later.

    I wonder if it’s still going to go up after his comments with Dan Fincke.

  72. strange gods before me ॐ says

    However, many of his responses (throughout that whole saga last year) were evasions and distortions of what others were saying, when he did actually bother to respond to those points.

    So I noted. But he did concede some things, implicitly and even explicitly — “I have conceded …” — at some points.

    That, I think, captures the meaning of Joe’s comment, not “he never listens about anything (regarding this topic).”

    The meaning was stated such that the claim would be falsified by a single counterexample: Fincke “would have at some point made an attempt to listen”.

    Anyway, my purpose was to contest the unsupported and very likely false claim about Fincke’s actual intent. I don’t regard “has listened” to be relevant to intent, but if someone else does, I’ll point out that listening happened.

  73. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    …and the creepers have slimed their way out of the scum-hole to CWH to illustrate our point. Sadly, I expect Dan will keep his blinkers on and praise them for their civility rather than comment on their dishonesty.

  74. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    “‘civility’ is defined in large part by those in whose benefit the status is maintained.” This makes those who defend or “feteshize” civility seem like they are basically saying “I’ve got mine Jack” (to use the parlance of this forum). That’s party of why I said you make Dan and others like him sound like uncaring bastards even though I’m sure you don’t have that opinion of him.

    If the shoe fits….

  75. says

    consciousness razor,

    That, I think, captures the meaning of Joe’s comment, not “he never listens about anything (regarding this topic).”

    Well, yeah. At the same time, I would consider anyone who plays ridiculous absolutist games with language to score meaningless rhetorical points against people who share their general view to be in the same neighborhood as Fincke, and just as easily dismissed as putting details ahead of people.

  76. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    Count me in. Also Mythbri’s additonal bit. Including age and physical appearance.

  77. Ulysses says

    Fincke listened to and dismissed almost all objections to his all-encompassing “y’all won’t call each other cunts or fags or assholes” dictum. He did actually listen, he just didn’t care that others had concerns that he was allowing polite incivility while stomping hard on those insulting the uncivil. He’s in a classic forest vs. trees situation.

  78. strange gods before me ॐ says

    ridiculous absolutist games with language

    It is neither ridiculous nor a game. I took seriously your actual statement, in the hope that you meant what you said and therefore could be reached by addressing what you said.

    to score meaningless rhetorical points

    If you imagine that I could have no other reason to engage, you will see what you want to see.

    The fact remains that I wanted to challenge the unfair claim that Fincke’s intentions are not benign, because I care about seeing that people are treated fairly.

    who share their general view

    That’s just it: I don’t share your general view, because I don’t believe unfair things about his intent.

    to be in the same neighborhood as Fincke

    Here is another false, unfair and hurtful claim — ignoring everything I actually said to Fincke, for the sake of trying to satisfy your personal grudge against me.

    and just as easily dismissed as putting details ahead of people.

    Lest you forget, Fincke is also a person — who can be treated unfairly — and so am I.

  79. skepticallydenpa says

    Chris, I think I love you.

    I hope you don’t mind that I’m going to sign this with a hot pink glitter marker.

  80. Tigger_the_Wing, Garden Throngs Termed A Nerd With Boltcutters says

    *Tigger signs by bouncing all over the document, tail holding a lipstick*

    Thank you, Chris! And Xanthë! This transgendered grandmother* thanks you from the bottom of my not-often-rude but often misbehaving heart. I reserve the right to be rude about people’s utterances because being polite does real harm.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    mythbri

    I further pledge to do my best to help make this a place where your argument is challenged, but never your humanity or status as a person. I pledge to make this a safe space for people to be insulted about the quality of what they say and how they say it, but not their gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, class or mental/physical health state. I pledge to refuse to give ground to anyone for the sake of unity with those who might have one thing in common with me but don’t respect me as a full human being.

    Oh yes. This too!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    *I feel a ‘nym change coming on! =^_^=

  81. says

    Fincke listened to and dismissed almost all objections to his all-encompassing “y’all won’t call each other cunts or fags or assholes” dictum. He did actually listen, he just didn’t care that others had concerns that he was allowing polite incivility while stomping hard on those insulting the uncivil. He’s in a classic forest vs. trees situation.

    He made an elaborate show of seriously considering every objection, over thousands upon thousands of words over multiple essays. If he accepted any concerns as valid, they were ones that allowed him to preserve the central idea he’s holding on to, which is worse than useless. Here’s the thing:

    –I don’t think Fincke is stupid, uneducated, or lacking in the natural ability to think things through.

    –I think he’d dead-wrong in his conclusions, and so do a whole bunch of people whose thinking I respect.

    –The people who tend to agree with Fincke are people who I don’t respect, and who don’t seem capable of doing much in the way of serious thinking.

    So what does that leave us with? I say it leaves us with a person with a decent intellect and a fair education, who is applying that intellect and education to defend positions that are without merit, rather than using it to reason his way out of a piss-poor and very obviously inhumane position. Now… why would he do that? And are any of the possible reasons ones that we should remotely respect? Because having a blind spot is one thing, and constructing intellectual blinders is a whole other thing.

  82. Ichthyic says

    Dan Fincke starting of his pledge:

    Please respect this concern or I may have to protect the document’s integrity with copyright claims.

    ah yes, I think we all missed Dan’s point, he meant “civil” as in “law”.

    “Do what I say or I will sue your ass!”

    very civil-court minded indeed.

  83. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Now… why would he do that?

    Because it viscerally upsets him to see anyone’s feelings being hurt at all, he is worried that if he makes qualitative distinctions about the relative wrongness of various insults then his words will be used by others to justify lesser insults which he personally would not justify (like anyone else he doesn’t want to see his words used to support things he doesn’t support), and from his position of privilege he lacks personal insight into the qualitative differences.

    And are any of the possible reasons ones that we should remotely respect?

    *shrug* I don’t care whether you respect his intentions. I only care that you don’t misrepresent them.

  84. Ichthyic says

    I care about seeing that people are treated fairly.

    still playing caped crusader?

    are you superman or batman this week?

  85. says

    For various reasons I dont think genitally based slurs are cut from the same cloth as whole person slurs.

    Someone needs to explain “synecdoche” do jim.

  86. says

    on twitter, I’ve just been told that rejecting demands for “civility” because they’re a silencing tactic is the first step towards a Reign of Terror.

    you just can’t make this up.

  87. says

    Icthyic, the request by Daniel for his writing to be left unaltered is a reasonable one for an author to make. I have much more grave problems with framing such as “I even may want the latitude of intellectual honesty to test ugly ideas that neither I nor most others even want to believe.” While most of the individual clauses in Daniel’s pledge are unproblematic — and some are even principles which I have tended to do the entire time I’ve been commenting on-line, without any coercion to make a pledge to affirm them by others — each of the clauses are surrounded by a nimbus of propositions which only cloud the issues; and there are several clauses I simply cannot consent to agree with. If this should mean I’m viewed as an uncivil commenter at CWH then it’s no grave loss, as I think I only commented there a very few times.

  88. Ichthyic says

    Icthyic, the request by Daniel for his writing to be left unaltered is a reasonable one for an author to make.

    it’s reflective of more ego than this “pledge” warrants.

    it’s not the legality of the issue that caught my eye, but that he felt the need to think it of such value it needed a public claim of threats to sue for infringement.

  89. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    Signed. I also agree to Mythbri’s addition.

    Caine:

    It’s much deeper than Dan running his blog the way he sees fit. By continuing this civility campaign of his, he’s causing active harm. If it was a case of him simply running his blog the way he sees fit, I wouldn’t care. What he is doing is contributing to the Culture of silence and the Culture of protection – he’s busy protecting and sheltering the very misogynists who think it’s a fine idea to drive women off the net. I’m angry as hell about it, thank you very much.

    QFT

  90. says

    Jadehawk,

    on twitter, I’ve just been told that rejecting demands for “civility” because they’re a silencing tactic is the first step towards a Reign of Terror.

    you just can’t make this up.

    Really? “First they said ‘fuck you, I’m going to call you a bigot when you’re being a bigot’ and next they rounded us up and cut off our heads”?!?!

    I’ll tell you what… the very second that one of those assholes find himself trapped in in a guillotine, that’s the moment in time I’ll take them seriously.

  91. silomowbray says

    Wet wanking Christ on a diesel. Chris, that was beautiful.

    Not only do I sign-pledge-vow, I want that on a t-shirt. And I’d fucking wear it!

  92. skepticallydenpa says

    I’m also signing on with mythbri*:

    I further pledge to do my best to help make this a place where your argument is challenged, but never your humanity or status as a person. I pledge to make this a safe space for people to be insulted about the quality of what they say and how they say it, but not their gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, class(, age, physical appearance, ) or mental/physical health state. I pledge to refuse to give ground to anyone for the sake of unity with those who might have one thing in common with me but don’t respect me as a full human being.

    *with additions by Thunk, Ophelia&Ariaflame

  93. says

    Oh, so damn signed.
    I was pissed to see Dan holding civility as more important than justified outrage and impassioned speech. Being a white male, he has privilege reeking from his rectum. So much so that this is an academic exercise he has no stake in, yet feels he must speak his mind.
    Oh and it is rich that the pitters are supporting his pledge. Really Dan? You are going to drive away marginalized people, and replace them with shitheads? That is who you want on your blog?
    Do any of them have the attention span to read his voluminous posts?

  94. Tigger_the_Wing, Ranged Throngs Termed A Nerd With Boltcutters says

    I’ve decided to delete his blog from my bookmarks.

    Anyone whose commenting values are approved of by the pitters isn’t someone I want to follow.

  95. coyotenose says

    Yes! I’ve recently been accused of intolerance since “intolerance of intolerance is still intolerance”.

    Everyone I’ve ever seen use this and its variations (like “you’re just as bad as them when you talk about them that way!”) has shut right the fuck up when I reply, “Oh yes, because when the authorities incarcerate a kidnapper, it’s exactly like kidnapping him.”

  96. Amphigorey says

    Wow. Dan Fincke’s civility pledge is even more ridiculous than his campaign against the word “stupid.” I didn’t think he’d top that one, but there he goes!

  97. karpad says

    I don’t know how to feel about this. Civility is very important to me, after all.

    It just seems to me, that if you’re truly upset about having someone minimize your experiences, rather than using words one might learn from a sailor’s prostitute, you could simply express oneself in the language of flowers.

    I trust I’m making myself clear.

  98. says

    Did I tell you that I love you recently, Chris?
    Fucking signed.

    +++
    I told it Fincke, I told it James Croft and I wrote it about de Botton:
    Ther is no “civil discourse” about my status as a human being.
    To insist on “civilty” when I’m shaking and trembling and ready to cry because of the horrible things written in polite language is to shut me up.
    I mean, it’s perfectly possible for these guys to treat the question of being allowed to end an unwanted pregnancy as an intellectual discourse. To me it’s a matter of life and dead.

  99. psanity says

    Chris, you’re my new hero. Absolutely signed, in sharpie, and mythbri’s addition as well (as modified).

    Extra points for quoting Malvina. Ever since, oh, ages ago, back before the rusty porcupine wars, I’ve thought of that song every time this stuff comes up (so, more and more often).

    I had the great honor to meet her twice, and sing with her once, a very long time ago. Malvina was a very tough and wise woman, and uncompromising in her criticism of those who put form before content, and especially social mores before justice. She wrote about it a lot, as in “The Bloody Neat”:

    Don’t be so bloody neat.
    Don’t be so bloody clean.
    Lady Macbeth, she washed her hands,
    But the blood could still be seen.

  100. says

    SallyStrange @180, the link was to yellow carnations which signify, in the language of flowers, “you have disappointed me.”

    Despite my few years working at a florist — and consequent dabblings in the tenets of florism — I hadda look it up.

  101. karpad says

    yeah, obviously, I’d hope, being facetious.
    I mean, who would really advocate for civility and mandating usage of the language of flowers? nevermind, poes and such.

    This is an ongoing conversation I have with my grandmother. She’s always been politically active, but is one of those people who thinks that cursing indicates a lack of vocabulary. I posit that, no, it indicates a bountiful vocabulary, used for expressing contempt and disgust, which is generally not polite, but when a motherfucker has EARNED that disrespect, continued felicitations are, in fact, an insult to everyone said motherfucker has insulted.

    Anyway, Chris, my guides indicate to me that cacti in general represent endurance. Chollas are not separated out, but given that the language of flowers was a distinctly Victorian invention, and the relative dearth of cacti in the British Isles, that’s hardly surprising.

  102. Amphigorey says

    I should think that both The Wire and Deadwood, which elevated the term “cocksucker” to dizzying heights, would have sufficiently disproven the old “swearing shows a lack of vocabulary” canard.

  103. karpad says

    Well, my grandmother never watched The Wire.
    She’s smart, well read, and reliably liberal (she and my grandfather are longtime members of the St. Louis Ethical Society, and have been vocal leftist atheists for as long as anyone would know)

    But…
    She is oddly hung up on the fact that I will use the word fuck.

    I’d say it’s weird, but I suppose it really isn’t.

  104. says

    There’s probably some meaning in the language of flowers for these, but I can’t find it.

    Ich brachte dir Rosen und wollte dich kosen
    ich brachte dir Veilen und wartete ein Weilchen
    Und nun bring ich Wicken…

  105. Mandrellian, Kicker of Biological Goals says

    Chris: I not only sign this pledge, I would also like to pledge that whenever I’m trying to make a simple point that I’ll at least attempt to do in less than three thousand words.

    I’ve had a lot of different reactions to blogs over the years: anger, disbelief, hilarity, indignation, sympathy, empathy, outrage, “fucking A!”, raised eyebrows of incredulity, uncontrollable giggles, the whole 8.23 metres (my beloved Yanks, down here a “yard” is a place you keep a dog) – but the only blog that has regularly elicited exasperated sighs and grumpy mutterings of “Oh come on, get to the fucking point” has been Dan Fincke’s. I’m fine with a long article if it covers ground, but not every time and not every single topic. Hell, sometimes even his titles were long-winded and pretentious enough for me to just close the tab and read something else.

  106. John Morales says

    Count me out of this pledge no less than Dan’s pledge.

    I think most people here misunderstand Fincke’s approach; here is but one example (from Tony):

    I was pissed to see Dan holding civility as more important than justified outrage and impassioned speech.

    Unlike Tony (but like Dan), I don’t believe that civility is necessarily antithetical to expressing outrage or passion.

    (Admittedly, it takes a degree of competence to achieve both)

  107. Stacy says

    John Morales, I don’t see anyone here is arguing that civility is necessarily antithetical to expressing outrage or passion.

    But it’s not axiomatic that incivility is always a Bad Thing.

  108. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Chris:

    IJoe, you have engaged with him far more deeply than I have, as have others here. My reflexive want to think the best of people at first doesn’t mean I’m not gonna defer to those with greater experience.

    Experience ≠ competence.

  109. Maureen Brian says

    Two things count against the line you are taking, John Morales.

    1. Noelplum feels happy in the Land of Fincke. (Draw your own conclusions.)

    2. Our Dan ain’t ‘alf boring. If anyone’s aim is to persuade and to do it with the written word then stage one is surely to write with sufficient style and verve to keep the so-far-unconvinced person reading to the very end and then leave them begging for more. I have never got more than 250 words into one of his sermons and I am a retired lady with fuck all else to do than read anything which comes my way if it is even moderately interesting!

  110. Mandrellian, Kicker of Biological Goals says

    Maureen Brian @194:

    I have never got more than 250 words into one of [Dan's] sermons and I am a retired lady with fuck all else to do than read anything which comes my way if it is even moderately interesting!

    Amen. This latest lesson of Pr Fincke’s only endeth after four bloody thousand bloody words. Skim-reading his 13 commandments was like trying to skip biscuits across a peat bog. I suspect that even if it was being read out loud by Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and, I dunno, Krusty the fucking Clown I reckon I’d still doze off halfway through.

    Not that my leisure time is that precious and not that I have the attention span of my two year-old, but still – there’s a lot to be said for trying to engage people instead of just talking at them, regardless of content. It’s not just about it being 4000 fucking words long, it’s that every word, every obsessively crafted sentence, is dense to the point of embolism.

  111. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Mandrellian:

    It’s not just about it being 4000 fucking words long, it’s that every word, every obsessively crafted sentence, is dense to the point of embolism.

    True. There’s not much redundancy there.

    (I hold that to be a good thing)

  112. vaiyt says

    Is it too late to sign? Fuck, I’m doing it anyway. *signs with the Angry Marines smiley*

    No boltcutters for me, though. I’d rather use a fish knife, the classic fightin’ tool of the impovershed of my homeland.

  113. says

    Ahh, I see Dan got a nice case of civil slymepit-infestation crying about how uncivil FtB, especially Pharyngula is and that Ophelia Benson has only toblame herself because she’s always lying about people.
    Let’s see how Dan Ficke calls them out civilly on their bullshit and their bad faith approach and their strawmen (Classic Steersman: You are against “slut” as a slur but you support “slut-walks” Hypocrites !11!), but I guess he won’t because they’re all nicely worded.

  114. sawells says

    I gave up on Dan after the Atheist Wicca debacle, when it became clear that his verbal abilities vastly exceed his capacity for actual reason. “…chide the wounded for bleeding so indecorously” captures his problem perfectly. Signing pledge.

  115. says

    It’s time to play ‘spot the logical fallacy’ over there. Classic Steersman involves wilful ignorance of polysemy and context, so it will indeed be interesting to see what Daniel does with such a transparently obvious demonstration of bad faith argumentation.

  116. says

    John Morales
    Because I have ZERO, absolutely ZERO interest in arguing with people who actually think that people like me are not really people over on a territory where the blogowner is perfectly willing to host debates about my humanity as long as those who challenge it do so civilly.
    He knows those people as well as we do. He knows what they’ve done and what they’ll do time after time again as long as they are not on his blog.
    Also, that is Dan’s mess, he created it himself and now I’m sitting here with popcorn waiting how he’ll solve it. And my prediction is that he won’t solve it at all but prefer to argue with Sally Strange because she is snarky.
    And it will show why his pledge and all his silly insistence on civilty is only a tool that serves the privileged better than any argument I could make.
    But I understand why you sympathise with him: In all this time I have hardly ever seen you use “bad wordz”, but I’ve seen you to be more vicious than anything some strange chimaera created of Caine, Brownian and Nerd could ever be.

  117. Maureen Brian says

    If John Stuart Mill, dead since 1873, could understand the concept of punching up vs punching down, albeit with different terminology, then how is it that Daniel Fincke, born perhaps a century later, dismisses the idea in a way which suggests he finds it inconvenient? Or threatening?

    In the interim we have had inter alia the fight for civil, property, voting rights for women, the Civil Rights Movement, the end of apartheid, Stonewall and a dozen other leaps in a generally progressive direction. So Fincke should be in a better position to understand than Mill who thought such thoughts but never lived to see real campaigns get off the ground nor the fearsome backlashes against them.

    Wishful thinking on my part, clearly.

    I commend thephilosophicalprimate for finding that brilliant quote @127.

  118. fataz says

    Signed. I try to live most of my life by this idea so it’s good to see it expressed so succinctly. & to all the people that think being civil gives you the right to say assholish things. Fuck you and fuck the horse you rode in on.

  119. John Morales says

    Giliell, I certainly understand schadenfreude.

    (There are many ways to be vicious, no? :) )

  120. birgerjohansson says

    I pledge to, whenever I hear a “dog whistle” phrase, grab my trusty broadsword and rush forward into battle, roaring GGRRAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!
    .
    “Welfare queen” this! SCHKLATT!! “Legitimate rape”? THUD! (the late MAD artist Don Martin would have been able to better capture the essence, I have to make do with words.)

  121. birgerjohansson says

    Chris, using the “language of flowers”, is it permissable to use those carcass-smelling tropical ones who use flies as pollen vectors?

  122. Tigger_the_Wing, Ranged Throngs Termed A Nerd With Boltcutters says

    Yay to Katherine Lorraine, Torte du Désert avec un Coupe-Boulon! =^_^=

    (Until a couple of days ago, I hadn’t changed my ‘nym since my arrival. I hadn’t realised what fun it could be, despite watching others change theirs frequently. Silly old me!)

  123. carlie says

    Unlike Tony (but like Dan), I don’t believe that civility is necessarily antithetical to expressing outrage or passion.

    But it isn’t the highest standard to aspire to, either. That’s what bothers me about his pledge: it elevates (almost to the point of fetishizing) a particular kind of verbiage without ever addressing the factors that make discourse truly uncivil, which include the polite to gleeful dehumanizing of others.

  124. John Morales says

    carlie, I disagree: I think he has expounded (at length!) as to why he considers civility appropriate for his blog — he’s even defined to what he refers by that term.

    (And he did a lot of that while he was still here on FTB, when I was still reading his blog)

  125. Loud - warm smiles do not make you welcome here says

    Tigger_the_Wing #215

    Cool avatar, Loud! Who is it?

    Thanks Tigger! It’s Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII :)

  126. says

    That pledge sounds good to me. The additions do too.

    Calls for civility often seem to go along with a lot of entitlement, don’t they? There often seems to be the implicit assumption that as long as they’re polite about it, they have some right to your attention and your time, and to you taking them seriously.

  127. John Morales says

    B-Lar, hm. It’s late and I’m about to retire for the night, but I can give you an extemporaneous response.

    Pragmatically, I refer you to my #190; specifically, I think the best objection is that most people can’t manage to be passionate and forthright in the face of provocation without engaging in personal attacks and bluster, and so feel stymied at expressing themselves under those commenting rules.

    Ideologically, however, I think the best objection is that it’s inconsistent to permit discussion of any idea (no matter how offensive or ridiculous) whilst simultaneously forbidding particular stylistic modes of discussion.

  128. carlie says

    I think he has expounded (at length!) as to why he considers civility appropriate for his blog — he’s even defined to what he refers by that term.

    Yes, and nowhere in it does he say that certain concepts or ideas are themselves uncivil; he in fact says the opposite in his pledge by stating “I even may want the latitude of intellectual honesty to test ugly ideas that neither I nor most others even want to believe. ” That’s fine, but it’s certainly not civil.

    Ideologically, however, I think the best objection is that it’s inconsistent to permit discussion of any idea (no matter how offensive or ridiculous) whilst simultaneously forbidding particular stylistic modes of discussion.

    That’s what I was trying to say, so I think we’re in agreement there.

  129. says

    John Morales: you are of course encouraged to write in whatever style pleases you, with whatever degree of civility you desire. You won’t get in trouble for using only a level tone and avoiding rudeness.

  130. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Cross-posted from CWH in case it doesn’t get through moderation; for contexnt it’s a response to the lie (of omission) regarding the time I told one of the mildew mob (who’d been expressing delight at Jen being hounded off the internet, IIRC) to die in a fire.

    It was the wrong thing to do; I admitted as such (and have repeated that admission on every occasion since it’s come up) and I have not made any similar comments since.

    And it was more than a few months ago.

    I have no doubt whatsover that Tigzy upthread is aware, as all the Slymepit denizens are (given how often they’ve brought this up in a desperate attempt to shame me, only to be told of my admission of guilt – something none of them seems to understand, which may explain why it hasn’t sunk in), that I have acknowledged the unmitigated wrongness of my wish to see someone die in a fire and that under no circumstances would I ever say anything similar again – and, unless they wish to try and prove otherwise, which have not done so since in the something like six months since it happened.

    Dana Hunter even referred to it in her post on the issue, Definitely Not Equal

    But, despite this, continues to bring up the one incident as if it – one comment made by one person to another, anonymous person – justifies the continued and ongoing vicious harassment by the Slymepitters of non-anonymous people like Ophelia Benson, Rebecca Watson, Surly Amy and all the others on their hit list.

    It’s like comparing a pebble to a landslide. Or, more accurately, a drop of water to an explosion in a sewerage line; one that’s still going.

    This, Dan, is what I’ve been referring to in our conversations on Twitter. On the surface that appears a reasonable claim to make; however, once some context is added and facts revealed, it is obvious that the person who made the comment is being profoundly dishonest.

    Ordinarily I’d just refer to Tigzy as a lying euphemism-for-a-receptacle-of-porcine-excrement for desperately grasping at the straws of false equivalence in order to defend the morally questionable actions of people profoundly lacking in basic human decency. But I’ll refrain from that, as per your wishes.

    I do hope this illustrates my point, though.

  131. B-Lar says

    I love reading discussions on this topic.

    I think that there is great value in having a place where all topics can be discussed in abstract. In such a place, all participants have to have some kind of civility accordance. I think Dan does a pretty good job of managing his space and I have gotten a lot out of his blog..

    Outside that kind of space though, such a pledge is less useful. People and their experiences are not abstracts, and reducing them thus is incivil in itself. There are some good rules of engagement in there, but they can only ever be rough guidelines for those in The Melee.

    The only bit of this I dont like is the apparent evangelising outside of PhilosophySpace. Then again, it might serve to improve PhilosophySpaces that are already out there or even to germinate new ones.

  132. says

    I think I like Fincke’s pledge more than this one.

    I can sympathize with the complaints about the length and the density of the verbiage – I like to completely understand any sort of pledge I make, and I don’t think I actually do understand every little detail buried away in that post. (Therefore I’m probably not going to take his either.) I also think I understand the negative consequences that will come from taking it too far – not perfectly, since I’m not likely to really suffer from those consequences, but at least well enough to not want to fall into the same trap that the commenters here are saying that Fincke has fallen into. With all of that said, though, I also agree with a lot of the goals he expresses – I prefer to use debate as a means of gaining understanding and prefer to interpret others’ thoughts in the best possible light, to present some examples (although there are limits to both impulses). I also disagree with this pledge’s characterization of civility as something that cannot account for cruelty masked by politeness. I can understand why that argument is made, given how common that problem is, but I prefer to try to be civil while giving such behavior the reaction it deserves rather than abandon civility.

    The one point where I do disagree strongly with Fincke’s is the idea that this sort of thing should be widespread online. Whether or not to take a pledge like this is a choice I have no right to make for anyone but myself.

  133. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    I don’t have a problem, personally, with abiding by Dan’s rules; in fact, I find it an interesting challenge.

    But, as is so often the case in these situations, there are people who aren’t me. And I don’t for a second assume that what works for me is going to work for them, particularly when you factor in privilege, of which I have a lot – and they’re the biggies.

    That’s the real problem: that Dan can’t (or won’t) empathise with people for whom uncivility is a justifiable reaction. That shows a serious deficit in his understanding. I commented elsewhere that perhaps all philosophy courses should include a mandatory sociology component; the more I think about it, the more that makes sense to me.

  134. sawells says

    @231: this — “I prefer to use debate as a means of gaining understanding and prefer to interpret others’ thoughts in the best possible light” — is in itself a privileged position to be standing in. That’s one of the things that people are objecting to in Dan’s stance. Those who are actually on the receiving end of misogyny, sexism, racism, or any other form of bigotry don’t have the privilege of treating it all as a debate about ideas and reading charitably.

  135. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist, with a perchant for pachyderm punditry) says

    Oh hell yes!

    [looks around for a pen]

    Dammit.

    [Looks around some more]

    Oh for fuck’s SAKE! It was right here…

    [starts shovelling papers, fruit, empty cans and various brickabrack onto the floor]

    Fine.

    Hey Chris, can I borrow those?

    [Plucks bolt cutters out of the Tortoise's beak]

    [Snips off the end of his right pinky]

    Now, were do I sign…?

    What? Initial each page, and all the addendums?

    Shit….

    Fine.

    But I’m going to need a bunch of fresh baby meat to make up for the blood loss, ‘kay?

  136. marcus says

    A beautiful articulation of my general disagreement with the “let’s all be civil” bullshit. Count me in as well.

  137. says

    Chris, is it okay if I sign both? I signed Dan’s thingy provisionally because I do think he has a lot of good stuff packed away in that mountain of philosophy perfessor perfessin. (really iPad perfessor is a word?). I linked to it on my blog because it makes a good backbone for a comment policy in a place with pictures of my kids on it.
    But I agree with you as well.
    People are complicated… :)

  138. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Dan’s policies are fine for the discussing topics that are abstract concepts for both parties involved. He’s trying to apply it when it’s an abstract concept for one party and a serious real-life issue for the other, and for some reason he can’t see the problem with that.

  139. says

    Oh I agree, I’ve been a gadfly on this issue since the beginning and I’m a relatively privileged dude. I said right out that I believe that is is possible to forfeit ones right to be treated civilly. That’s my addendum to the policy

  140. The Mellow Monkey says

    You know…I was actually somewhat sympathetic to Dan’s original argument against the word “stupid.” But there was a huge problem with his argument that he never grasped, and it wasn’t his incredibly offensive claim that “stupid” could somehow win in an Offense-Off against transphobic slurs.

    The problem is that he’s fighting a word that’s used against people for failing to meet certain standards, while creating an environment that’s incredibly hostile to those most hurt by that word.

    By focusing on mental gymnastics and carefully parsing words and Deep Debate, an environment is made that makes people with intellectual insecurity (whether deserved or not) really fucking uncomfortable. So he champions against the word “stupid”, but has no idea what it actually means to someone who has been hurt by that word.

    He does not know what it is to be eight years old and trying to communicate, but having it come out garbled in a way so that people will casually talk about the poor stupid retarded child in front of you, assuming that because they can’t understand you, you can’t understand them. He doesn’t even try to grasp that every time he pulls the “I’m a great philosopher and shall dismiss your protests while once again explaining my rightness” card, he’s drawing on a huge amount of privilege.

    So, yes, Dan was right: there is a huge problem with elitism when it comes to language and references to intelligence or perceived intelligence. That problem is present all over the Internet, including here. The trouble is, that problem is not the word “stupid.” The problem is when people try to dance these semantic salsas that actually close discussion to people who don’t have that same gift. The problem is perfectly civil, polite “teasing” or “correction” against the person with dyslexia who misspells something, or the working class poster who doesn’t have the background to keep up with such discussions and has hir point completely erased because xe isn’t an armchair linguist, or the poster who can’t argue in the language of formal logic and has their protestations and hurt erased because a wordsmith thinks they’re just too simple-minded to understand the argument.

    Give me someone calling me every profanity under the sun over that. Call me stupid, but listen to what I’m saying. When people sit around carefully parsing every word for meaning and picking apart arguments because the language is just too simple and colloquial and understandable to the laymen, that’s when they’re practicing ableism against us poor, ignorant, stupid people. That is more far hurtful, damaging and silencing than just fucking calling us stupid.

    And that’s the problem with civility. It focuses on the language, instead of the damage. It focuses on being polite, instead of recognizing everyone–yes, even us “stupid” people–as fully human.

  141. says

    @The Mellow Monkey #246

    He does not know what it is to be eight years old and trying to communicate, but having it come out garbled in a way so that people will casually talk about the poor stupid retarded child in front of you, assuming that because they can’t understand you, you can’t understand them. He doesn’t even try to grasp that every time he pulls the “I’m a great philosopher and shall dismiss your protests while once again explaining my rightness” card, he’s drawing on a huge amount of privilege.

    Ok, you almost got me crying there. I know exactly how that feels. I was an undiagnosed dyslexic when I was 8 years old (luckily a milder case), but it was the 70′s and the undiagnosed part completely exacerbated the problem.

    The more I read here the more I come to the conclusion that I was right to make my support of Dan’s project provisional. I’m going to link to Chris’s response as well.

  142. darwinharmless says

    Sign me up. I’ve been trying to figure out why I was reluctant to sign the pledge that obviously inspired this variation, and you’ve nailed it with this post. My last discussion about civility with Dan left me feeling downright bullied. I don’t think that was Dan’s intention at all, but that’s what I felt. This works for me. Signed.

  143. says

    Signed. I tend to do my best to remain civil, mostly because doing so results in either more obvious insults and attacks or people tend to calmly dig themselves deeper by showing just how horrible they are with even more words. However, I reserve the right to be rude as hell to anyone who attacks myself or those that I like and admire.

    Civility only truly benefits the privileged.

  144. w00dview says

    Signed, including the addendums that were made above.

    I always wondered with his long winded and dense essays which make no effort to be made accesible to laymen, does Fincke see himself as a post modernist?

  145. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Mellow Monkey

    Excellent point. As a dyslexic I have seen often people attacking and dismissing flaws in the presentation of ideas because they didn’t like the idea. People understand you fine but don’t like what you say so they attack grammar or spelling as evidence that you are stupid and *POOF* your point is invalid.

    what gets me about the civility is that (IMO) it is very ethnocentric, exhalting the standards of a particular class and culture over others. Its very white supper class centric denegrating those of other classes or culture because they speak in the vulgar. Its presuming those values of discourse are universally superior when I don’t think that’s the case.

  146. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    Civility is great. It is! Awesome, highly useful.

    But, when you are arguing with someone over whether or not you’re a person, and over whether or not you have inherent worth equivalent to theirs, civility is a crock of shit. Because it enables them to complain that you are rude when you call them a bigot. Because it enables them to place their hurt feelings at being called out as equivalent to your pain at being discriminated against.

    There is a difference between punching up and punching down (or, for that matter, punching at level). A huge one.

  147. embraceyourinnercrone says

    Signed (had to use my purple crayon, can’t find my pens my desk is a mess(they are probably under the cat, again)
    The Mellow Monkey @246

    Thank you. You said what I have been thinking but could not express. I often feel at a disadvantage in conversation on some boards as I don’t have any experience with formal debate, or arguing from a theoretical/hypothetical point of view.

    Its very hard to argue a point with someone when a) they can talk rings around me and b) I’m absolutely livid about their trying to score “I’m more educated than you points/isn’t this an interesting intellectual exercise” off things that are really painful parts of my life. Add in the fact that I’m extremely social awkward and I personally find the “tone trolling” what people say (“How dare you call me sexist/ablest/etc”) instead of addressing their objections/hurt as to the content of what was said, keeps me from commenting someplaces. I used to read CWH on a fairly regular basis when it was on FTB,but when the first couple of discussions about civility started I just couldn’t understand how one could value “being nice” over not turning people’s experiences into thought experiments, also not listening when people tell you your view of their lives is wrong/skewed/hella condescending.

    Hope this rambling rant makes sense.
    Annnd now I lost my crayon too…grmmble.

  148. hjhornbeck says

    Signed, sealed, and delivered! I’m amazed Fincke is still at this. Hasn’t he considered any of the counterarguments? He is a philosopher, after all, so it’s expected of him.

  149. bargearse says

    Esteleth @ 255

    All very true but it goes further. Civility is what the fence-sitters and so called moderates want as well, those who are happy to say that they support your position but your tactics make me uncomfortable. I’ve been debating with myself whether to say it because it feels like appropriation but this post immediately made me think of a letter from a Birmingham jail. One of the major hurdles in any movement towards change always seems to be people who just don’t want their particular apple cart upset. After reading Fincke’s post this seems to be where he’s coming from.

  150. mythbri says

    @hjhornbeck #258

    Yes, he has considered all the counter-arguments, but still feels like he’s right on this one. He’s linked to all the posts he wrote taking those arguments into consideration, if you feel like committing a great deal of time to reading them all through.

    I understand how Fincke is approaching this, and I think that he has good intentions. But I fail to see how his pledge, and all of the posts he’s written about civility, have much practical value. I especially don’t like the “I want the intellectual freedom to float horrible ideas even if I totes don’t believe in them.”

    Really? Let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that philosophers are actually a sub-species…

  151. baal says

    “Rather than worry overmuch about civility, I pledge to be as kind as possible. And sometimes the kindest possible contribution to a discussion with someone acting in bad faith and harmfully is to tell them to go fuck themselves sideways.”

    And this is why you all look like hyper-defensive monsters who get off on being abusive while not owning the consequences of your behavior. Really, the other place in my life where I got sick and tired of this argument point was from the very rapey frat boys. When that’s the image you conjure in my brain, I’m convinced I should be very wary of you and anyone who agrees with you.

    Also – this shit is a lie:
    “Signed, sealed, and delivered! I’m amazed Fincke is still at this. Hasn’t he considered any of the counterarguments? He is a philosopher, after all, so it’s expected of him.”

    Fincke bends over backwards to address the complaint of his view point and this civility pledge specifically addresses the arguments and points of the Pharyngula commentariat. You folks lack honesty and the decency to give Daniel a fair reading.

  152. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    Bargearse, very true.

    Letter From a Birmingham Jail should be required reading for all of humanity. Just saying.

  153. mythbri says

    @baal

    Really, the other place in my life where I got sick and tired of this argument point was from the very rapey frat boys. When that’s the image you conjure in my brain, I’m convinced I should be very wary of you and anyone who agrees with you.

    I’m really confused here. You think that this is a place that reminds you of rapeyness? I’m pretty sure that no one at FTB has drawn cartoons of people they disagree with being sold and raped over and over.

  154. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    Baal, do you see no difference between a one-off statement of disagreement and a years-long campaign of silencing and harassment? Finke doesn’t seem to – or, in any case, his pledge doesn’t seem to distinguish them.

  155. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You folks lack honesty and the decency to give Daniel a fair reading.

    Why would you say that? Citation needed that Daniel isn’t being an egotistical jerk attempting to impose his arcane sense of decency over the whole internet. Like one to “this is only for my blog, and not recommened for elsewhere”.

  156. bargearse says

    Baal @ 261

    “Rather than worry overmuch about civility, I pledge to be as kind as possible. And sometimes the kindest possible contribution to a discussion with someone acting in bad faith and harmfully is to tell them to go fuck themselves sideways.”

    And this is why you all look like hyper-defensive monsters who get off on being abusive while not owning the consequences of your behavior. Really, the other place in my life where I got sick and tired of this argument point was from the very rapey frat boys. When that’s the image you conjure in my brain, I’m convinced I should be very wary of you and anyone who agrees with you.

    I’m curious, what is the appropriate response when someone says it’d be funny if me or someone I know were raped? It’s never happened to me but I’d hate to make a mistake and get all hyper-defensive about it. Also, the whole comparison to frat boys? I can’t begin to figure out how you got there.

  157. The Mellow Monkey says

    You folks lack honesty and the decency to give Daniel a fair reading.

    The second item in his pledge:

    I commit that I will tolerate the existence of people with dissenting ethical, religious, or political views.
    I will focus on understanding and appreciating what actual goods my philosophical or political enemies may be mistakenly trying to achieve and what genuinely occurring features of their experience they are inadequately trying to do justice to in their false beliefs.

    He begins by assuming that anyone who disagrees with him is wrong.

    In the comments, he gives brief and dismissive responses to criticism (in the places he responds to it at all), until noelplum shows up to defend the word “slut.” Now he comes to life, discussing it at great length, and then defending noelplum to Sally Strange. And he never actually addresses the irrational beliefs noelplum was espousing. Except with noelplum, he doesn’t make an effort to come to “mutual understanding” as he pledges to do. He simply restates himself.

    I believe his sentiment behind the pledge is sincere. All evidence would point to him genuinely not wanting to hurt people and desiring reasonable, rational discussions about every topic, even horrific ones. But he’s not living up to the pledge already (and that’s fine, because it’s an absurd pledge to try to keep) and the pledge itself is based on shaky foundations.

  158. bradleybetts says

    @Brian #47

    Excuse the stupid question, but I can’t tell if there’s an issue with my browser or not — is there actually something to sign, or some web page to view or interact with? Or is the signing just a notional idea? I sort of feel like I’ve walked in on the third reel of a movie.

    Yeah I got that too :-/

    Chris Clarke #52

    Brian: If you decide to sign it, you’ve signed it.

    Ah. Signed!

  159. David Marjanović says

    Consider this a signature. What Janine said!

    D’accord.

    FTW!

    I’ve had Pilty posting on my blog recently, and he’s a master of this technique; concentrated toxicity in the most formal, elegant language.

    Yeah, sometimes I have to spend a minute digging through pink sugary goo sprinkled with sodium cyclamate* to even find the glaring, huge problem. *puke*

    * In a chemistry lesson we once tasted crystals of that stuff.

    Sign me up Scotty.

    :-)

    I hate signing things, but yeah, OK.

    :-)

    Daniel Fincke can run his blog any way he pleases…and if gusty long-winded treatises to empty manners is to his taste, he has the privilege of asking his commenters to accommodate him, no problem. So don’t be bitter about it. He’s welcome to NoelPlum99.

    That’s a civil way to put it. :-)

    his motivation is to minimize those harms that he groks

    I think we have a winner.

    the ‘pitters think that our rejection of this “civility pledge” is us being hypocrites about free speech. lol.

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    Day saved!!!

    I care about seeing that people are treated fairly.

    still playing caped crusader?

    are you superman or batman this week?

    FFS. Improbable Joe was wrong on the Internet, so SGBM corrected him. What’s so incredible about that? Why do you try to read between SGBM’s lines? Why do you infer grand schemes about motives when reality is so obvious and so simple?

    Also, Batman is cooler, because he hasn’t got any superpowers… well, except money. Superman is basically just a god, except he’s a much better person than most gods I’ve heard of.

    Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.

    Huh… interesting. I know it as “let there be justice, even if the world perishes/and let the world perish” – fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus.

    on twitter, I’ve just been told that rejecting demands for “civility” because they’re a silencing tactic is the first step towards a Reign of Terror.

    Terror = anyone except him.

    each of the clauses are surrounded by a nimbus of propositions which only cloud the issues

    :-) Just so you know, that’s exactly what nimbus literally means. :-)

    Wet wanking Christ on a diesel.

    + 1

    I posit that, no, it indicates a bountiful vocabulary

    Vigyen el a rézfaszú bagoly!

    Ich brachte dir Rosen und wollte dich kosen
    ich brachte dir Veil[ch]en und wartete ein Weilchen
    Und nun bring ich Wicken…

    X-D X-D X-D X-D X-D

    It’s not just about it being 4000 fucking words long, it’s that every word, every obsessively crafted sentence, is dense to the point of embolism.

    True. There’s not much redundancy there.

    (I hold that to be a good thing)

    So one might think from first principles. But my style is dense, and for my first paper I had to condense it even more. Now, 5 years later, that paper keeps being misunderstood to the extent my coauthor and I are now putting a lot of explanation about that paper into our next 2 papers (one of which is an update of the first one).

    If John Stuart Mill, dead since 1873, could understand the concept of punching up vs punching down, albeit with different terminology, then how is it that Daniel Fincke, born perhaps a century later, dismisses the idea in a way which suggests he finds it inconvenient? Or threatening?

    Hey, the Hittite kingdom had abolished the death penalty. Then the Bronze Age ended, and it took about 2800 years till any area the size of Turkey abolished it again.

    Calls for civility often seem to go along with a lot of entitlement, don’t they? There often seems to be the implicit assumption that as long as they’re polite about it, they have some right to your attention and your time, and to you taking them seriously.

    Yep.

    That’s the real problem: that Dan can’t (or won’t) empathise with people for whom uncivility is a justifiable reaction. That shows a serious deficit in his understanding. I commented elsewhere that perhaps all philosophy courses should include a mandatory sociology component; the more I think about it, the more that makes sense to me.

    All seconded.

    I always wondered with his long winded and dense essays which make no effort to be made accesible to laymen, does Fincke see himself as a post modernist?

    I don’t think so. Fincke tries to explain, at incredible length. He fails massively, but postmodernists didn’t even try – they wanted to not be understood by the unwashed masses.

    He begins by assuming that anyone who disagrees with him is wrong.

    Good catch!

  160. vaiyt says

    The problem I see with this whole civility business is that it defines “civility” as merely avoiding vulgar language, invective and insults.

    There’s no way we can have a civil discussion about things like “women being subhuman”, “gays being responsible for everything bad in society” or “the Middle East being a nest of evil best left in a glass crater”, because the positions are uncivil by their very nature. No amount of nice language or sophistry can change this.

    Civility favors the status quo, because it denies anger to those who are being wronged, but sees no problem with the smug smirk of the privileged. Fuck civility.

  161. Beatrice says

    I already enthusiastically agreed with this, but I have to emphasize Mellow Monkey’s comment #246. QFT, the whole thing.
    I wonder what Fincke would have to say about that side of the issue.

  162. says

    I will focus on understanding and appreciating what actual goods my philosophical or political enemies may be mistakenly trying to achieve and what genuinely occurring features of their experience they are inadequately trying to do justice to in their false beliefs.

    The first part of this doesn’t make sense (if people are mistaken in trying to “achieve” them, why consider them actual goods?). The second part is just a pile of words, conveying an accommodationist attitude rather than a coherent thought.

  163. says

    Baal, if your local rapey fratboys prioritized kindness and working for justice over a reed-thin civility, then you grew up on a very different planet than I did.

    I have also noticed that many of Fincke’s Civil Warriors reacted to this piece by talking about it as though it was written by “FTB.” Baal succumbs to this ironically incivil trope above, and he does it hard.

    Little hint: I was kindly invited to co-blog here by one of FTB’s leading poopyheads, but I’m not an insider. I’m not on the email list. I will even admit that I don’t read every single FTBlog. My byline is at the top of the piece. That’s who wrote this.

    Over at Making Light, Patrick Nielsen Hayden once pointed out that any comment that started off with “you people” was unlikely to turn out to be either constructive of written in good faith. Baal seems to prove that still holds.

    There’s a difference between treating individual writers and commenters with varying points of view as members of a hivemind on the one hand, and putting on radio broadcasts about the Tutsi cockroaches on the other. And it’s a huge difference. But it’s a difference of degree only.

    Dismiss my words because I hang out here? That’s one thing. But putting them in the mouths of every other FTB writer and commenter is the kind of argument I can only characterize accurately at the risk of splash damage to the acephalic community.

  164. Loud - warm smiles do not make you welcome here says

    vaiyt #272

    Civility favors the status quo, because it denies anger to those who are being wronged, but sees no problem with the smug smirk of the privileged. Fuck civility.

    Beautifully said, and (fucking) seconded.

  165. says

    I also emphatically endorse Mellow Monkey’s point @246 about elitist erasure of people’s arguments, and in response to whoever it was that asked whether Dan represented the postmodern trend in blogging as a result (I apologize for not being arsed to scroll up and find it for proper citation) would offer Michael Bérubé’s late blog as evidence that postmoderny, 4,000-word blog posts can in fact be readable and inclusive. And funny on purpose instead of by accident.

  166. says

    John:
    I do not think I misunderstand Dan.
    He wants people to engage one another without hostility.
    He seeks to encourage people to use a calm, reasoned approach to disputes.
    He wants people to tailor their words so that the fewest people–even those actively doing harm–are offended.

    I do not have a problem with the above as AN approach.
    I do have a problem with the above as the ONLY approach.

    Fuck Fincke.

  167. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Signed.

    From Dan Fincke’s preamble WARNING: possible damage to irony meters:

    Self-righteousness is a dangerous, blinding temptation. It leads to hypocritical double-standards, remorseless cruelty, smugness, authoritarianism, and false beliefs held with self-satisfaction.

  168. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Also – this shit is a lie:
    “Signed, sealed, and delivered! I’m amazed Fincke is still at this. Hasn’t he considered any of the counterarguments? He is a philosopher, after all, so it’s expected of him.”

    Fincke bends over backwards to address the complaint of his view point and this civility pledge specifically addresses the arguments and points of the Pharyngula commentariat. You folks lack honesty and the decency to give Daniel a fair reading.

    Questions are now lies?

  169. Beatrice says

    Fincke stated in one of his comments that the pledge ” is all about treating other people with respect”. Well, fuck that. There are people I don’t respect, who don’t deserve my respect and I am not going to treat them nicely or respectfully.

  170. says

    Well . . . I think the subject of civility v. incivility is as situation-dependent as it’s possible to be. Any hour of Bill O’Reilly is an hour of incivility, fully in the service of cruelty, stand-pattism, and smug self-satisfaction. Calling him cruel and smug is uncivil, but entirely warranted.

    Since situation is almost everything here, I’ll just say: it all depends.

  171. Owlglass says

    I pledge not to fetishize form over content
    Someone claimed the Truth™ was a well-known pathological liar. It invariably turns out to be Fiction wearing a fancy frock, where it doesn’t matter all that much to me, if the frock covers up the bleeding wounds of the maltreated, or if the wounds exposed were actually painted on with stage blood. “Vigorous, rigorous, constructive [...] thorough rational interrogation” will work just fine intonated as the “cries of the wounded”, stated with pompous initials or as a graffiti, in print or in pixel, danced, shouted or peed into the snow. Some ways are arguably somewhat more entertaining for an audience. Writing in ALL CAPS doesn’t make the message itself any better, or worse, nor does adding or leaving away insults.

    Actors aren’t supposed to be entertained.
    Some debaters want civility or respect, but maybe it isn’t about them. The faithful don’t like their views ridiculed. But the idea is not ridicule for the sake of ridicule (…hm wait), but showing a third party that their content is actually ridiculous and laughing out loud was just a perfectly natural reaction. Why call the spade a spade, when you can dig a hole with it. Making actors trip over is not for their enjoyment, but for that of the audience and it is all about making it accessible to them. You want to reach them, not SirYouTuber or whowever is currently Monster of the Week. And sometimes you find that different participants try to entertain different audiences. It seems that’s where the finger-wrestling comes from. Clarke wants a gory wartime melodrama, Fincke is into noble chamber plays of polite gentlemen, chatting at the firesite, swirling cognac and twirling their moustaches. And each of them will preferably try to get rid of all elements that aren’t supposed to be in their plays.

    “My experience of life is that it is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you’re lucky.”
    ― Alan Moore

    You are Awesome!
    Certainly for someone. So you have mastered basic algebra? You own a Phd in Onomastics? Got a bachelor degree in Truthology? That’s impressive. The faithful are typically the ones concerned with a badge of authority. They wear lab coats because they look sciencey and think they can bring down the Theory of Evolution by conjuring up a death bed conversion of Darwin. On the internet, we aren’t exactly a nudist camp of amputees. We wear masks and disguises all the time. However self-proclaimed Fiction is entirely honest. You can tell this, because it comes right out and says, “I’m a Liar,” right there on the dust jacket.”. Surrounded by lies, smoke and mirrors, you can only poke into what was actually stated, in whichever form. It is convincing, totally humbug, entertaining, fun, boring, long winded like this post, totally horrible or maybe it isn’t? Perhaps, it was meant for someone else.

    I appreciate both pledges. Chris Clarkes nice dialectics (do this, but not too much, instead do…) and Fincke’s as I am having some sleep issues recently.

    TLDR; Obsession with tone and forms does exactly nothing. It’s only good for dressing up the idea for a different audience.

  172. Maureen Brian says

    Would it be just too threatening to those from the Daniel Fincke Defence League if one of us suggested that to achieve open and honest dialogue then the terms of debate must first be negotiated between the parties as equals?

    Or the terms might be suggested by a neutral third party and amended by the disputants. They cannot be dictated in advance by one of the parties to the discussion, not even on his own blog.

    An exercise in self-aggrandisement is, of course, entirely different.

  173. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    That is like the fifth Firefly joke I’ve read in the past hour here on Pharyngula.

    Shall I change my nym to Esteleth can kill you with her brain? Or perhaps Esteleth will be in her bunk?

  174. embraceyourinnercrone says

    @289 How about: Esteleth- You’re welcome on my boat. God ain’t ?

    Mine would be: Embraceyourinnercrone, I’ve been under fire before. Well … I’ve been in a fire. Actually, I was fired. I can handle myself. (what too long?)

    Although my favorite exchange among many is:

    Mal: “If anyone gets nosy, just …you know … shoot ‘em. ”
    Zoe: “Shoot ‘em?”
    Mal: “Politely.”

    or possibly: Mal to Jayne: “Well, my time of not taking you seriously is coming to a middle.”

  175. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    How about Esteleth just went crazy and fell asleep?

    Also, Wash’s comment wasn’t that he was fired, is that he was considered for a fry-cook opportunity. :p

  176. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    Esteleth – businessman, see? Roots in the community.

    I don’t have a very nice hat though. And I’ve never once worn the “ratty undershirt, tie, suit jacket” ensemble.

  177. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    There’s probably some meaning in the language of flowers for these, but I can’t find it.

    “Do not touch.”

  178. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I think the best objection is that most people can’t manage to be passionate and forthright in the face of provocation without engaging in personal attacks and bluster

    “Human beings have emotions” would be a lot more succinct. It is as unreasonable to expect people to remain calm in response to an implicit or explicit denial of their humanity as it is to expect them to remain calm “in the face of an upturned knife.”

    This isn’t the first time you’ve needlessly insulted people for being human with phrasing that implies that they’ve “failed” by not meeting standards no one should ever have to even try to meet. (The last time I remember was when Jen quit blogging for a while). Knock it fucking off.

  179. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    And this is why you all look like hyper-defensive monsters who get off on being abusive while not owning the consequences of your behavior. Really, the other place in my life where I got sick and tired of this argument point was from the very rapey frat boys. When that’s the image you conjure in my brain, I’m convinced I should be very wary of you and anyone who agrees with you.

    See, this is the perfect example of the sort of self-absorbed, privilege-drunk-little-shit, dishonest histrionics that don’t deserve civility.

    Damn it, I could have sworn I’d seen a marginally thoughtful comment from you somewhere recently.

  180. fastlane says

    mythbri@260:

    Really? Let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that philosophers are actually a sub-species…

    Funny, I had a similar thought involving the best way to vivisect a philosopher to discover how they could use so many words to say so little…..

    We could have a nice, civil, chat about how to minimize the damage to internal organs, and everything.

    Mellow Monkey@269:

    Except with noelplum, [Fink, typo intentional] doesn’t make an effort to come to “mutual understanding” as he pledges to do. He simply restates himself.

    I went around with him a few times about the difference between civility and magic words when he first came to ftb. It was pretty much my experience too, that he didn’t get it, he just restated his position, using more (and more….) words.

    I believe his sentiment behind the pledge is sincere. All evidence would point to him genuinely not wanting to hurt people and desiring reasonable, rational discussions about every topic, even horrific ones.

    I’m not so sure. I’d like to think so, but after seeing him resist this whole issue so hard, when it’s been explained to him forty gazillion different ways (and still using less words than him), it starts to reek of defensiveness and not actually being willing to change one’s opinion. Oh yes, he’ll ‘listen’, but seemingly, only so he can pick which of your words are wrong.

    I hope I’m misjudging him, frankly, but I stopped reading his blog long before he left ftb for these reasons.

    Chris, hereby dubbed Pope Poopyhead II @ 278:

    And funny on purpose instead of by accident.

    Luckily, it was only water I snorted…..

    Nick Gotts @ 282: Holy shit…that’s weapons grade irony bomb there, careful where you leave that!

    As one who primarily commutes by bicycle, all this talk of boltcutters is making me nervous. Check your privilege, people!!! ;-)

  181. smhll says

    Signed.

    I think Dan F. is hoping to host conversations that are both honest and civil and held in good faith. However, I expect he will have problems detected and removing the dishonesty and bad faith (and stubborn ignorance) that is already present in some of the threads about this topic.

  182. glodson says

    A little late to the party, but signed.

    I read the post that inspired it, Fincke’s post. And that’s an hour I’m not getting back. It is easy to be civil when you’ve got the protection of civil. It is easy for me to be civil when talking to people about various injustices. I’m protected from their direct effects.

    It is easy to be civil when my opinion isn’t disregarded because of my sex, gender, sexuality, race and what-have-you.

    Besides, civility and politeness are nothing more than tools. I will use them as I see fit. Normally, I don’t have a problem being polite and civil. But I don’t see the value in treating a person who civilly says savage and vile things with any degree of politeness.

    Some people need to be told to shut the fuck up, and in those exact terms.

  183. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Gratuitous resurrection “poisons every discussion with ancient irritations that most people don’t know anything about.”

    Take it to Thunderdome.

    Fitting a current behavior into a past pattern isn’t gratuitous resurrection.

  184. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    And no, I’m not “taking it to the thunderdome.” John can take his implications that people are “failing” by not meeting unreasonable expectations there instead.

  185. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Fitting a current behavior into a past pattern isn’t gratuitous resurrection.

    It is, by the rules here at Pharyngula.

    “Every time I start a new thread, pretend I asked you to look into a little red light, and poof, everything is reset. Treat each comment as an argument unto itself.”

    The reason what you said was gratuitous is because you could have made your complaint about the comments at hand in this thread.

    Like so: “You’re needlessly insulting people for being human with phrasing that implies that they’ve “failed” by not meeting standards no one should ever have to even try to meet. Knock it fucking off.”

    Again, take it to Thunderdome. This thread is not for your past complaints about John. Thunderdome will serve that purpose.

  186. Ichthyic says

    pretend I asked you to look into a little red light

    …and now I want to go watch the original “Andromeda Strain” again.

  187. Ichthyic says

    Since situation is almost everything here, I’ll just say: it all depends.

    I’m sorry, but when is context NOT relevant in a conversation?

  188. Ichthyic says

    FFS. Improbable Joe was wrong on the Internet, so SGBM corrected him. What’s so incredible about that?

    it’s not fucking incredible at all.

    sometimes you’re pretty dense, David.

  189. Yellow Thursday says

    Signed.

    I have this habit of being brutally honest that I picked up in childhood. It took me several years as a young adult to understand tact and develop the skills for using it. But I still prefer brutal honesty in myself and others. Why should I walk on eggshells trying to criticize someone with politeness, when being more direct is far quicker and, as far as I can tell, more respectful to the person I’m trying to criticize? And why should I have to try to parse someone’s civility to figure out what they’re actually upset with me about? I’d much rather they tell me directly and honestly, so I don’t make the same mistake again (assuming I agree with them that my behavior was a mistake).

  190. arbor says

    Why do people keep saying that Fincke is a philosopher?

    I don’t know (or care) what his background is, but being schooled in philosophy does not make you a philosopher and declaring yourself to be a philosopher does not make you a philosopher.

    What I have seen of his writings does nothing to support a claim that he is a philosopher, let alone a good philosopher.

    His writing is not worth reading.

  191. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Esteleth,

    But, when you are arguing with someone over whether or not you’re a person, and over whether or not you have inherent worth equivalent to theirs, civility is a crock of shit. Because it enables them to complain that you are rude when you call them a bigot. Because it enables them to place their hurt feelings at being called out as equivalent to your pain at being discriminated against.

    Dan has an idiosyncratic notion of what constitutes incivility (as does everyone, I suppose). His stance is that it is civil to call someone a bigot if they are a bigot, and it is civil to call out anything from unexamined privilege to passive bigotry to full-on hate speech.

    [S]ome of our weightiest terms of moral disapprobation (like racist, misogynist, bigot, et al.) should be used with care. A lot of the civility pledge is focused on that. Start by focusing on ideas. If someone says something that strikes you offensively, warn them about those implications first. Give them ample room to restate, retract, or apologize, etc. Then if you are going to criticize, focus on behaviors and actions first. Then attitudes. Only when you have the most ample evidence, go ahead and make the stinging moral charge. (And, look, even if then, you don’t want to sting too hard, I’m sure you can come up with softer descriptive words.)

    I also, in the section on marginalized people, make the point that we should treat not treat those whose bigotry is a matter of unexamined prejudice/passive beneficiary of unearned privileges, etc. with the same level of antagonism as, say, a proud racist. I think that even our passive bigotry is a problem, an injustice we should be called on. But that we shouldn’t be lumped in with unapologetic bigots on account of it, nor treated as harshly and as though we are incorrigible, etc. I talk about paying attention to intentions, etc.

    These are all delicate balances that I think fairness requires. Those who suffer systematic oppression need to be defended. There are harsh words like “bigot”, “misogynist”, “racist” for good reason. I put so many words into this because I wanted to capture a lot of the nuances about how to use these important words with as careful calibration as possible.

    So he takes the bizarre stance that it’s uncivil to call Glenn Beck a racist asshole, but it’s civil to call him a racist.

  192. John Morales says

    [OT + meta]

    arbor:

    Why do people keep saying that Fincke is a philosopher?

    <snicker>

    I don’t know (or care) what his background is, but being schooled in philosophy does not make you a philosopher and declaring yourself to be a philosopher does not make you a philosopher.

    Your appeal to ignorance is particularly amusing, in this context.

    What I have seen of his writings does nothing to support a claim that he is a philosopher, let alone a good philosopher.
     
    His writing is not worth reading.

    Your opinion is duly noted, and in turn informs my opinion of you.

    (I charitably assume you don’t imagine your second sentence there is predicated on your first)

  193. Owlglass says

    317, strange gods before me ॐ wrote: So he takes the bizarre stance that it’s uncivil to call Glenn Beck a racist asshole, but it’s civil to call him a racist.

    Here is what I still keep wondering: what extra information is in the statement “person is X” (a judgment or interpretation), whether or not you add an insult. If someone says something racist, it should speak for itself, or if you really want, you can slap your assessment on it, with “X said this and that and I think it’s racist because…” but from that point onwards–in my view–you are entering the realm of spin doctoring.

  194. John Morales says

    Owlglass @320, you need wonder no more: the extra information is a personal statement of opinion about character.

    As for it being in the category of spin doctoring, your own link belies your claim, and hence your view is unsupported by it (as well as being wrong).

  195. Radi says

    Signed, with a great flourish of pleasure! I also agree to Mythbri’s and the others’ additions too (Ophelia’s, regarding age, for one).

  196. Radi says

    Damn, I meant “and now… back to lurking.” That’s what happens when I post while hungry. BAH!

  197. vaiyt says

    [S]ome of our weightiest terms of moral disapprobation (like racist, misogynist, bigot, et al.) should be used with care. A lot of the civility pledge is focused on that. Start by focusing on ideas. If someone says something that strikes you offensively, warn them about those implications first. Give them ample room to restate, retract, or apologize, etc. Then if you are going to criticize, focus on behaviors and actions first. Then attitudes. Only when you have the most ample evidence, go ahead and make the stinging moral charge. (And, look, even if then, you don’t want to sting too hard, I’m sure you can come up with softer descriptive words.)

    Why, we must take utmost care to not offend the pretty fee-fees of those who are saying bigoted, misogynistic or racist things. The fee-fees of those offended, I guess, can go fuck themselves.

  198. karpad says

    I also, in the section on marginalized people, make the point that we should treat not treat those whose bigotry is a matter of unexamined prejudice/passive beneficiary of unearned privileges, etc. with the same level of antagonism as, say, a proud racist. I think that even our passive bigotry is a problem, an injustice we should be called on. But that we shouldn’t be lumped in with unapologetic bigots on account of it, nor treated as harshly and as though we are incorrigible, etc. I talk about paying attention to intentions, etc.

    I am almost sympathetic to the idea that one shouldn’t treat casual bigotry of ignorance as the same as “proud racism.” Except that isn’t a difference that exists in reality. Yes, a Grand Wizard of the KKK is probably a worse person than some sheltered suburban college kid who read the Bell Curve. But that involves getting into the state of mind of that individual, which is inherently unprovable. It’s possible the Grand Wizard guy has simply never had that magical-negro-teaching moment from American History X or The Help or whatever other Racism-Through-White-People-Lens movie would really reach him, and is simply ignorant. It’s possible college kid truly holds people different from himself in contempt and doesn’t merely not know better, but truly hates and views as animals those people he mocks in his “Pimps and Hos” theme kegger.

    Indeed, actual racists, who when pushed will express truly vile shit, will normally couch their racism in themes more acceptable. They’re “just asking questions.” They don’t hate they simply “have pride” in their “heritage.”

    Words have meaning, speaking is an act. But you’re only really judgable by your deeds. And if you do some fucked up racist shit, that makes you a fucked up racist. If, in your heart of hearts, that hurts your feelings and you don’t think that truly represents you, that means you need to make some fucking amends, which, it should be noted, is a task that will only be undertaken by someone who feels they have no choice but to do so.

  199. Rob Grigjanis says

    John Morales @319: “I charitably assume…”

    Charitable assumption always makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It’s an unconditional (sort of) gift from on high.

  200. unclefrogy says

    I think maybe in the language of flowers cholla might have something to do with insertion

    I had to go to you tube to listen to Mss Reynolds so I just got back and calmed down a little.

    uncle frogy

  201. Azuma Hazuki says

    Bloody signed, if only in spirit. This is the essential difference, I’ve been taught, between what gets called Lawful Good and Neutral Good by the funny-dice crowd…and why the former tends to be called “Lawful Stupid” more than occasionally.

    Yes, civility is nice. So is bubblebath. But when you’re in a position where you need to choose between drinking and washing…yeah.

  202. Azuma Hazuki says

    And talking of Dan specifically, he was helpful to me in some very bad times so I’m a bit biased here, but it seems his heart is in the right place. Remember how ivory-tower and abstract philosophy is: it’s thinking about thought, which is enough to make most anyone pretty loopy.

    I know firsthand, because my method of analyzing a worldview is to try and temporarily adopt it (which is one reason why the hardcore fundies creep me out so; I know what goes on in their heads!). It may be postulated that Dan does something similar, but is so used to doing it that he can’t “turn it off” as it were and it tends to leak out.

  203. says

    arbor

    declaring yourself to be a philosopher does not make you a philosopher.

    No true scotsman, anyone? How do you define a ‘real philosopher’. and on what basis? Admittedly, the stuff Fincke writes is unreadeable garbage, but that’s pretty much par for the course for philosophers. There are a few folks out there who call themselves philosophers, and still actually have some concern for evidence and empiricism, but they’re few and far between, and can hardly be considered representative.
    Azuma Hazuki

    Remember how ivory-tower and abstract philosophy is: it’s thinking about thought,

    No, that would be cognitive science, neurology, psychology, and related disciplines. You’re right about it being ivory-tower and abstract, though. So much so that it amounts to mental masturbation, and has next to nothing to say about actual reality.
    Back on topic:

    but it seems his heart is in the right place.

    I don’t honestly give a damn about that. My problem isn’t with the position of his heart, but that of his head, which is firmly wedged up his ass.

  204. Azuma Hazuki says

    @332

    Are you sure philosophy is useless? I’ve needed to study it in some depth to fight against the rising septic-tank tide of apologetics over the last few years. Their methods are philosophical. Shouldn’t we be able to defend our worldviews on the same ground as those who would challenge them?

  205. says

    #333
    A similar case could be made that we should all go study theology so we can reallyengage them on their ground. But why would we want to do that? Their ground is made-up bullshit, and evidence is all the defense my worldveiw needs. Apologists can’t provide any evidence of their claims, and without evidence, their premises are meaningless. Any philosophical edifice built on an unevidenced premise can be dismissed entirely on that basis, regardless of what wankery was put into it. Every apologetic out here amounts to declaring that god must exist, and then bending circular logic into a pretzel to conceal that you’re begging the question. There’s no slightest need for philosophy there.

  206. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Are you sure philosophy is useless?

    Philosophy not based on reality (i.e. science) is useless mental wanking.

  207. Azuma Hazuki says

    @334/Dalillama

    Are you sure? I happen to agree with you, but there is a lot of ground to cover and it doesn’t hurt to be at least somewhat competent in theology and philosophy. Enough to take down a street preacher at least.

    @335/NoR

    But can you justify this? At least be able to step to one of these people and tell him “Listen, idiot, you’re making assumptions of epistemological foundationalism and blithely taking as axiomatic a translation of your holy books that came out over 1400 years after the fact!” Be able to tell them, to their faces, why their arguments fail. It’s not enough to just point a finger and shout “question-begging!”

    How do you justify metaphysical naturalism, if you subscribe to it? How do you make sure not to sink to their level and become like them? Yes, you can presuppose it (“Yeah? Well I presuppose logic is a brute fact and the universe created itself; refute THAT!”) but why be lazy?

  208. says

    Enough to take down a street preacher at least.

    Most street preachers haven’t got any more training in philosophy or theology than “The Bible says it, I believe it, that’s all.” No amount of argument will sway them, but if you want to show off for the bystanders, jsut ask them why their holy book is better than the Bhagavad Gita (or whatever). The point is still evidenced, though. What evidence have they got that their book is real? None. End of argument.

    Be able to tell them, to their faces, why their arguments fail.

    They haven’t got any evidence. That’s why their arguments fail. You still don’t need philosophy.

    How do you justify metaphysical naturalism, if you subscribe to it

    Once again, evidence. All of the available evidence points to a naturalistic universe without a creator entity, so that’s the assumption I work from . Anyone who wants to make another claim had better be able to provide evidence for it, or it’s bullshit.

  209. Azuma Hazuki says

    @337

    Again, yes, I largely agree with you. But what counts as evidence? I guess I may just be angsting over epistemology too much here, and you must admit to the lazy or untrained eye the assumptions many apologists make are very attractive.

    I guess my point is, how can someone know what the weaknesses of a worldview are without having some grounding in the “tools of the trade?” If you don’t know the difference between foundationalist and constructivist epistemology, how do you know how to spot that your opponent is making a hidden foundationalist assumption and therefore could well be undermining his entire case?

    If you want to catch a criminal, think like a criminal.

  210. karpad says

    Azuma, as a fellow funny-dicer, I’d say this is a solid illustration of Lawfulness, sliding along the good-evil continuum.

    A Lawful Good person would possibly make this vow of civility. They might, without reservation, agree to be endlessly polite, even to people who harass them, or are cruel, or are disrespectful. But it would be for themselves only, as a personal act of decorum and kindness. They might assert that making such a vow is a moral good, but would not expect it of others, recognizing the massive sacrifice of time and energy required of it.
    A Lawful Neutral person would encourage others to make this vow in the interest of maintaining decorum at all costs. They might codify it into rules of decorum to be used in their official venues, akin to Robert’s Rules of Order, or blog commenting policy. This isn’t manipulative, but merely a somewhat callous disregard of others for the sake of others
    A Lawful Evil person would encourage others to make this vow knowing that such civility requirements can be used as a cudgel to shut down dissent to change the status quo, which he finds personally profitable in one regard or another. This is, explicitly, a manipulation of the same system as Lawful Neutral, but rather than simply disregarding others for the sake of peacefulness, it is an active benefit for the Lawful Evil person.

  211. says

    Notes taken while reading this thread…

    Signed with awesome power of my mind (since that seems to be the way its done here).

    Thanks to Xanthë for her original powerful statement, and I too find mythbri’s adendum interesting and would like to sign up for their newletter. I’ll also sign on for Caine’s “angry as hell” viewpoint. And SallyStrange is right about it being more than a commenting policy. thephilosophicalprimate, wonderful pull quote from John Stuart Mill. Mellow Monkey @ 246: This.

    Not sure that I have a boltcutter, but I may now how to purchase one.

  212. says


    Azuma Hazuki
    #338

    But what counts as evidence?

    Oh FFS. Things that are evidence: repeatable, rigorous experimentation, verifiably accurate measurements, etc.
    Things that are not evidence: novels, fairy tales, philosophy, shit someone just made up (to the extent that these are different categories).

    you must admit to the lazy or untrained eye the assumptions many apologists make are very attractive.

    I will certainly grant that apologetics appeals to the intellectually lazy, just like conspiracy theories; in neither case can you argue them out of it with philosophy, though, because intellectual laziness will preclude following your argument. As for untrained, AFAICT this crap appeals vastly more to people trained in philosophy than it does to those who aren’t. Some training in science is helpful in demolishing it, though.

    I guess my point is, how can someone know what the weaknesses of a worldview are without having some grounding in the “tools of the trade?”

    If the weakness is that it HASN’T GOT ANY FUCKING EVIDENCE SUPPORTING IT, as with apologetics, then I can know what the weakness is by asking for some fucking evidence and watching them be unable to provide it. I don’t need their masturbatory tools to tell me that.

    If you don’t know the difference between foundationalist and constructivist epistemology, how do you know how to spot that your opponent is making a hidden foundationalist assumption and therefore could well be undermining his entire case?

    They don’t hide their foundationalist assumptions, they build them right into the argument. Since these assumptions aren’t based on evidence, they’re bullshit. The end.

  213. Azuma Hazuki says

    @399/Karpad

    I don’t actually play those…getting too close to one of the isocahedra-whatsits makes my hymen start growing back, LOL. But the concept is a striking one to me, that of the 9-square alignment axis I mean.

    You’re definitely right that it’s more of a Lawful than a Moral construct, and unfortunately I do see the Lawful Evil use of it far far far too often in the real world.

    I would argue that ‘creeping-euphemisitis” displayed by politicians, the upper echelons of the military, and cultists is a manifestation of that very Lawful Evil application you point out: disguise the foulness under a layer of (literal) syntactic sugar. As a real-life Neutral Good type, I abhor this crap and point it out to people enough to have gotten a reputation for it. I hate indirection and lies of omission: say what you mean and mean what you say!

  214. unclefrogy says

    Once again, evidence. All of the available evidence points to a naturalistic universe without a creator entity, so that’s the assumption I work from . Anyone who wants to make another claim had better be able to provide evidence for it, or it’s bullshit.————————————————————–

    reality ain’t polite
    it don’t ask philosophical questions

    I could try and understand the privileged classes the religious and the anti-rational reactionaries and liberturds and to a degree I do but that will not solve the problems they perpetuate. we are long past when understanding will do any good it would be nice and all but what we need now is change and an end to this judgmental privileged status quot.
    and the end of at least the reverence for faith if not faith it self. all kinds of faith including the fucking faith in the market.
    uncle frogy

  215. Azuma Hazuki says

    @341

    Sorry if this is trying your patience :(

    What I mean by hidden foundationalist assumptions is that they’re hidden to the person making them. This is problematic for presuppositionalism because one could argue they they’re already presupposing some independent form of logic before they even put out any of their arguments, since they are making an axiomatic decision to base their epistemology on a foundationalist (and one might argue Platonist) set of axioms.

    They handwave about “virtuous circularity,” but this is special pleading; one can simply presuppose that the laws of logic are brute facts of reality and have just as much virtue in their own supposedly circular reasoning. And depending on how much weight you give Occam’s Razor, this may actually be an objectively better worldview due to its simplicity.

  216. says

    This is problematic for presuppositionalism because one could argue they they’re already presupposing some independent form of logic before they even put out any of their arguments,

    IME, religious apologists tend to claim that logic presupposes god, so they’ve got that as well covered as they have anything, which is to say they wave their hands and declare it so.

    They handwave about “virtuous circularity,” but this is special pleading;

    Of course it is. Apologetics is fundamentally based on special pleading.

    one can simply presuppose that the laws of logic are brute facts of reality and have just as much virtue in their own supposedly circular reasoning.

    Or, alternately, one can realize that the various sets of laws of formal logic (There are more forms than term logic) are human constructs, tools which we have built to help us model reality.

  217. Azuma Hazuki says

    @345

    Exactly! :) That is the constructionist approach. As far as I know, that is a simple, clean cut through the Gordian knot of apologetics, everything from presup in general to Plantinga’s specific whinges over “properly basic belief.” Have you seen his evolutionary argument against naturalism? It was so bad I almost thought it was a joke, and when I learned it was serious it actually made me paranoid my brain didn’t work right because “well, why would someone so respected say something that looks so hideously broken?”

    It does insist on some skepticism and humility, something else these guys are lacking in. Using this approach, we need to acknowledge that this is “for here, for now, for us.” It’s not top-down, and I think apologetics appeals to people who insist they need a top-down worldview.

  218. strange gods before me ॐ says

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Atheist_Party

    This page has been deleted. The deletion and move log for the page are provided below for reference.

    19:33, 21 February 2012 Boing! said Zebedee (talk | contribs) deleted page National Atheist Party (G11: Unambiguous advertising or promotion: Multiple reasons: Speedy deletion criteria A7, G4, G12)
    12:24, 28 October 2011 Philosopher (talk | contribs) deleted page National Atheist Party (G4: Recreation of a page that was deleted per a deletion discussion: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/National Atheist Party)
    14:50, 30 August 2011 Reaper Eternal (talk | contribs) deleted page National Atheist Party (Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/National Atheist Party)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/National_Atheist_Party

    Not yet notable as a political party per WP:ORG, especially as they’ve not even registered as a party yet; zero GNEWS hits, no significant coverage online from WP:Reliable sources. Gurt Posh (talk) 11:24, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

    Note: This debate has been included in the list of Politics-related deletion discussions. —Gurt Posh (talk) 11:25, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
    Note: This debate has been included in the list of Atheism-related deletion discussions. —Gurt Posh (talk) 11:25, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

    Delete – I believe in the lowest of all possible bars at Wikipedia for the inclusion of pages on political parties, their leaders, and their youth sections — regardless of ideology. That said, this unsourced piece about an organization “Founded: March 8, 2011″ does not meet the minimum standard of actual, verifiable existence as a political organization. Thirty six state Facebook links don’t cut it. This page is, in the final analysis, promotional in intent rather than historical in nature. Carrite (talk) 14:57, 23 August 2011 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 14:59, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
    Delete per WP:ORG and per the article: just-formed group “…currently in the process of registering as an official party.” Andrew Lenahan – Starblind 19:06, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
    Delete – I don’t care if the party was formed last Tuesday in someone’s basement and has no real membership. I don’t care if it has been active since 1066 and has 50 million members in 26 countries. If it has significant coverage in independent reliable sources, it is notable. If it doesn’t, it’s not. This one doesn’t. It’s not notable. – SummerPhD (talk) 22:41, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
    Delete – Clearly fails WP:ORG. Appears to have no – much less significant – coverage in reliable secondary sources.–JayJasper (talk) 17:14, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
    Delete – strike this one down with a bolt of lightening, the organization has no notability yet. Come back when you elect a candidate, or at least get significant news coverage for trying. Bella the Ball (talk) 21:22, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
    Delete: No evidence that this is an actual political party. Joe Chill (talk) 23:39, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

    Spammers issue an invitation for summit talks.

  219. triamacleod says

    Wait, so these guys http://www.usanap.org/ don’t hold any sort of authority or station to hold any sort of talks within the community? Lee Moore posted it on one of the A+ Facebook pages and I assumed since it was also on KOS that it must hold some sort of weight. Apparently I need to lurk more. Sorry.

  220. John Morales says

    [OT]

    triamacleod, you’re on the internet.

    (It ain’t lurking you need to do, just some basic research before you get excited about something)

  221. says

    Azuma Hazuki

    Exactly! :) That is the constructionist approach.

    What is? The part about logic? That statement is simple empiricism: we can look at how systems of formal logic were built by people, so the available evidence says that they were built by people.

    As far as I know, that is a simple, clean cut through the Gordian knot of apologetics, everything from presup in general to Plantinga’s specific whinges over “properly basic belief.”

    Yes, my point the whole time has been that just rewuiring evidence for their dumbass presuppositions is all you need. [Aristotelian] Logic being fundamental.requireing god/whatever is just another presuppostion they haven’t got evidence for.

    It was so bad I almost thought it was a joke, and when I learned it was serious it actually made me paranoid my brain didn’t work right because “well, why would someone so respected say something that looks so hideously broken?”

    All apologetic arguments are that bad; when I realized it, I came to the inevitable conclusion that the people who respected apologists were complete fools. The thing is, philosophy generally strikes me that way.

    Using this approach, we need to acknowledge that this is “for here, for now, for us.”

    What?

    It’s not top-down, and I think apologetics appeals to people who insist they need a top-down worldview.

    Yes. Specifically, it appeals to authoritarians.

  222. triamacleod says

    @ John Morales

    Duly noted. Posting after 3am is probably not the brightest thing for me to do either.

  223. John Morales says

    [OT]

    triamacleod, no worries. At least you’re interested.

    (PS Welcome to Pharyngula!)

  224. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    So he takes the bizarre stance that it’s uncivil to call Glenn Beck a racist asshole, but it’s civil to call him a racist. – SGBM

    Maybe he’s concerned about the insult to assholes. After all, they are a good deal more useful than Glenn Beck.

  225. says

    Signed.

    Karpad:

    She’s smart, well read, and reliably liberal (she and my grandfather are longtime members of the St. Louis Ethical Society, and have been vocal leftist atheists for as long as anyone would know)

    But…
    She is oddly hung up on the fact that I will use the word fuck.

    I don’t know what the Ethical Society is like in the Midwest.

    The other year I attended a meeting at the Ethical Society in the Harvard Square because a speaker there had been recommended to me. I felt like I’d stumbled into some nonreligious hybrid of Episcopalian and Unitarian, with all the intense classism that implies in Cambridge Mass. I got up before the “service” got underway, which required a bit of pushing and squeezing in those tight quarters, and some woman who was highly offended that I’d leave at that moment gasped, “Well!

  226. Owlglass says

    321, John Morales wrote back: You need wonder no more: the extra information [of "person is X"] is a personal statement of opinion about character. As for it being in the category of spin doctoring, your own link belies your claim, and hence your view is unsupported by it (as well as being wrong).

    I beg to differ:

    spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of a [...] public figure. While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, “spin” often, though not always, implies disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics

    I grant you that the setting is technically not the world of PR and public figures. However, I did write that certain assertions are enterting the realm of spin, suggesting that it begins with interpreting other people’s claims (unlike having them speak for themselves), while taking advantage of the somewhat unclear comment section format–with the intend to “spin” them into a desirable direction. The original message, especially after lots of comments easily gets covered under a cloud of interpretations and interpretations of the reaction, that may, or may not be justified. Where “person is X” kind of claims are indeed personal, subjective opinion disguised as fact that adds little but confusion. If it was crystal clear that something was–say racist–then it was clear (tautology is tautology), where in my view commenter’s “stating the obvious” (provided it was) are after something different. They actually only rely on the belief that the commenter claiming “person is X” is more trustworthy than the target of such an accusation, which is a rather easy condition to get. Thus, people are using it to negotiate their own position in contrast to the Other, usually presented or known as appalling view, in order to ultimately cast a favorable light unto themselves among their peers.

  227. says

    owlglass: and your comments here, which precisely fit the behavior you describe, are exempt from your criticism because why? Are you magical? Or is it just your protective shield of longwinded pomposity?

  228. consciousness razor says

    However, I did write that certain assertions are enterting the realm of spin, suggesting that it begins with interpreting other people’s claims (unlike having them speak for themselves), while taking advantage of the somewhat unclear comment section format–with the intend to “spin” them into a desirable direction.

    The desirable direction if you ask me would be the lack of any bigots (or other assholes) whatsoever, not having the wonderful opportunity to accuse of people of such. Because it’s not wonderful.

    So… you say this is “entering the realm” of spin doctoring. Is that simply because it involves interpretation of what others are saying, or is there something else to it? Would any conversation not begin to enter this realm, according to you?* That is to say, are there any which don’t involve interpretation? I ask because having people “speak for themselves” doesn’t actually eliminate the need to interpret what they’ve said. It doesn’t for me at least, since I’m not psychic.

    *Exactly how significant is ‘beginning to enter’ supposed to be, anyway? It’s not actually in there, but it’s on its way; thus, this somehow implies something about it? What is that something?

  229. Owlglass says

    I usually don’t write “person is X” comments and certainly not suggesting double standards. Longwinded, verbose, pomposity, …, remarks–all true, however the shielding effect somehow didn’t work out so far.

  230. Aratina Cage says

    I see Dan got a nice case of civil slymepit-infestation crying about how uncivil FtB, especially Pharyngula is and that Ophelia Benson has only toblame herself because she’s always lying about people.

    *sigh*
    Dan Fincke has not allowed my response to appear yet to Pitchguest/PG/Batboy and his lies. I hope it does go through, though, because I was involved in the conversation with Ophelia Benson that he is wildly and deliberately misrepresenting (how civil of him).

    The reason I cannot sign on to any civility pledge is that there are far too many situations where civility would be a mistake. The Stonewall riots, for instance, would never have happened under some misguided civility pledge.

  231. Owlglass says

    @360, consciousness razor
    Yes, there is always interpretation, but what was claimed is an available original source. As I have tried explain quite verbose, the other functions of “person X” statements are very much stronger than the factual statement. My phrase “beginning to enter” is perhaps a particularity of my native language’s expression and it meant that there is particular “realm” or “area” where certain practices are widely used. There is a difference between “What consciousness razor says is X: ‘quote’” and “consciousness razor is X”. I thought quote mining is also frowned upon, for a similar reason.

  232. consciousness razor says

    My phrase “beginning to enter” is perhaps a particularity of my native language’s expression and it meant that there is particular “realm” or “area” where certain practices are widely used.

    Okay. You might say they have a ‘family resemblance.” But even if that’s a reasonable way of looking at it, what is that supposed to tell us? Are you implying it’s “disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative,” for example?

    There is a difference between “What consciousness razor says is X: ‘quote’” and “consciousness razor is X”.

    The difference is that the latter is a claim about what the person is, while the former is a claim about what the person says. What a person says is not the same thing as what they are, but they do imply things about each other. So? Aren’t you spin-doctoring that into something it isn’t?

    I thought quote mining is also frowned upon, for a similar reason.

    Quote mining is taking what a person says and making it seem like they are saying something else. So what that is doing is taking “person said X” and dishonestly presenting it as “person said Y” (and it could even be Y=not-X), when they did not actually say Y but said X instead. It has nothing to do with claiming the person is X or Y, only with what the person says.

    That is not similar to interpreting a person’s statement and inferring something about that person, which is simple enough and something we all do quite often, without considering it dishonest or calling ‘spin’ (or whatever you’re doing). There could be a language barrier here: spin strongly suggests dishonesty to me, as a native English-speaker.

  233. says

    Aratina @ 362 – really. I posted a correction of that lie about me first thing yesterday morning, and it’s still sitting in moderation. Fincke is irresponsible to put out all that mildew-bait and then just go away for days. He’s leaving a fucking lie about me sit there uncorrected. Not “civil.”

  234. Aratina Cage says

    I posted a correction of that lie about me first thing yesterday morning, and it’s still sitting in moderation. Fincke is irresponsible to put out all that mildew-bait and then just go away for days. He’s leaving a fucking lie about me sit there uncorrected. Not “civil.”

    You too? Sheesh. I think we have found a gaping hole in his civility pledge: allowing accusations to go unevidenced. Of course, twisting what people say and do into the bizarre has been the slimepit modus operandi from the beginning when they all jumped an RW with ZERO evidence. Evidence has not been on their side in any of their tantrums against us. If BraveSirHero PG had been forced to put up evidence of his accusation immediately after making it, everyone would be able to see he is a liar, and a civil blog administrator would have been forced to do the civil thing and delete or rebut BraveSirHero PG on the spot.

  235. karpad says

    Nathaniel, I believe the indication was one of two things, individually or in combination:
    1: knowing the names of polyhedrals are math, and therefore too complex for women or something?
    2: RPGs are for virgins, as opposed to a hobby enjoyed by millions of people worldwide from all walks of life. Therefore just knowing about the concepts involves somehow makes you un-have sex.

    Neither is particularly flattering, but I was going to just leave it alone because OT and actively looking for and engaging shit that insults and angers me is a bad habit I need to break, because all it does is raise my blood pressure and make me hate the world a little more every day.

  236. karpad says

    I felt like I’d stumbled into some nonreligious hybrid of Episcopalian and Unitarian

    Daisy Cutter, that sounds about right. My grandparents are of the more aggressively atheist bent in the group. They’ve grown noticably huffy that a new leader (deacon? I don’t know what they call them) has introduced to the proceedings a “mindfulness moment of silent introspection.” This smacks too much of prayer to them.

    They’re good people, and I’m actually quite lucky to have such a secular background, avoiding all those intergenerational scraps over religion that are so common, but the whole thing is deeply weird to me.

  237. John Morales says

    [OT + meta]

    What Owlglass quoted from Wikipedia:

    spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of a [...] public figure. While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, “spin” often, though not always, implies disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics

    The actual text:

    In public relations, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure. While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, “spin” often, though not always, implies disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics.

    That is an epitome of a quote mine: the spin doctoring refers to an interpretation of an event or campaign, but Owlglass has rewritten it to apparently refer to a person.

  238. says

    Thanks for the shoutout, dontpanic; I really didn’t plan on helping crystallise the thread starter’s solution.

    Generally, where the slymepitters appear, I have no interest in sticking around to fight it out, but then I have the luxury of not having been made the target of outright lies, or lies by omission, as Ophelia and Wowbagger have been. Even logical fallacies such as the tu quoque which several pitters engaged in have gone un-noticed by the blogger in chief, who has been left wringing his hands in reply to LykeX:

    A lot of what is going on here has nothing to do with people adopting or adhering to the civility pledge. I am tolerating it all out of the spirit of not suppressing dissent to the civility pledge where the civility pledge is the topic. I don’t want to have to delete every remark about either FTB or the Slymepit being made here. But at this point, that would be the only fair way to deal with the violation of the rule against interpersonal feuding. Since the criticisms of Slymepit people and of FtB people are all bound up with the criticisms of the pledge, it’s a mess right now.So, take this entire fight as just indicative of the sorts of things that people adhering to the Civility Pledge would make stop.

    Gumbified, and for good reason. It seems that off-topic character assassination sneaks in under the door because Daniel doesn’t want to lift a finger to you know, enforce his own moderation policy? If someone like Pitchguest has been able to make multiple comments containing unevidenced personal attacks then he has obviously not been sent to the naughty corner put in moderation. Allowing lies like this to stand is not civil, Daniel.

  239. thebookofdave says

    I’ll take sincerity over posturing, and won’t sign anyone’s pledge but my own. DTwB’s statement is more concise and supportive of common human dignity than CwH’s, though. So that’s the one I’ll remember next time I express my opinion.

  240. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    I much prefer polite, civilised, logical, reasonable debate myself.

    That’s how I try to argue although I know I don’t always succeed on that count.

    But fucked if I’m going to tell other people how they cannot argue and debate things if they so choose to do so. I’m nobody’s boss and they are certainly fucken well not not mine.

    There’s times and places,contexts , circumstances and room for all sorts of approaches if people decide to take ‘em and don’t actually hurt people or cause actual harm in doing so.

    Consider me agreed and signed here.

  241. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Typo fix : Only one ‘not’ in that third line, dammit! Anyone who is missing a ‘not’ somewhere in one’o’their comments feel free to grab it.

    Also make that “can and cannot argue” as well in that same line – or, technically, the sentence before that.

  242. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I much prefer polite, civilised, logical, reasonable debate myself.

    *Snicker* So claims every other you know what.

  243. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ ^ Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls :

    Yeah, well I know *you* can never make that claim, Nerd of Redhead and you don’t and probably never will apply it so, meh.

    Just posted & awaiting moderation on Fincke’s blog :

    @ Daniel Fincke : I am NOT going to tell you how to argue or compel you to debate me only in the exact precise way that I demand.

    I much prefer reasonable, logical, rational and fair argument.

    Where I don’t get this from the people I’m discussing / debating stuff with online, then I’m certainly happy to point it out and criticise it.

    I think name-calling, abuse and suchlike is wrong and implies a lot about the weakness of the position those resorting to are are holding.

    But.

    I am NOT going to tell people how to argue or say that I will limit what tactics they choose to resort to. The Law and the rules esp. comment policies of the host blogger do that just fine.

    There are – rarely in my view but still there – times when some of the tactics that I personally (and I gather you too) oppose and dislike are, perhaps, appropriate.

  244. consciousness razor says

    I much prefer polite, civilised, logical, reasonable debate myself.

    You realize those are not all synonyms, right? If so, why put “logical, reasonable” in there, since nobody here has said a word against that? If you won’t answer that, then just run along. Unless something drastic has changed while I wasn’t looking, no one wants you here.

  245. consciousness razor says

    And seriously: this isn’t about some kind of glibertarian “you can’t tell me what to do” bullshit, StevoR. If that’s really the best reason you can come up with, we are definitely not in agreement about it.

  246. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I much prefer reasonable, logical, rational and fair argument.

    Says the guy who wishes genocide of a religion due to extreme and illogical paranoia. Back to the thunderdome with you. You have nothing cogent to say to polite company, ever.

  247. Silentbob says

    @ 380 StevoR

    I think name-calling, abuse and suchlike is wrong and implies a lot about the weakness of the position those resorting to are are holding.

    Yes it does, but not in the way you think. I’ve heard a lot of testimony recently from women that because of the “weakness of their [social] position”, they have to chose between being rude, or being ignored.

  248. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Signed, of course.

    You know, I just ran across a perfect example of “civility” versus justice today. On an r/feminism thread, I was arguing with someone who was maligning my position with the straw-feminsists-think-all-men-are-rapists, and also misusing the word “patriarchy.” I told them something along the line of, “You know, your misuse of a common feminist concept makes you look pretty ignorant.” Another commenter replied that I was being rude for telling someone that misusing the term (probably deliberately) made them look ignorant, and then they proceeded to physically threaten me.

    I later got a “warning” from the mod, telling me that I was using ‘ personal derogatory remarks.’ So–someone creates a strawfeminist–fine. Someone threatens me with polite language–fine. Me telling someone they look ignorant–a “personal insult.”

    And that’s why we need pushback like this. Because a lot of stupid ideas exist, and I’m fucking tired of entertaining every dumbass thing someone can possibly bring up. Its akin to the “SMILE LADIES!” crap I get on the street every day–I need to not only educate my oppressors, but I need to be sweet and kind as I do it. Anything less makes me the Bad Guy. Fuck. That. Shit.

  249. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @381. consciousness razor

    “I much prefer polite, civilised, logical, reasonable debate myself.

    You realize those are not all synonyms, right?

    Right. I guess I do repeat myself a bit at times in different words sometimes to add emphasis and clarity and help people understand but I do try toavoid intentional tautologies.

    If so, why put “logical, reasonable” in there, since nobody here has said a word against that?

    Because I’m talking about what I personally look for and try to achieve in argumentation and discourse.

    If you won’t answer that, then just run along. Unless something drastic has changed while I wasn’t looking, no one wants you here.

    I want me here.

    I gather that some people here dislike me and do not want me here because they have failed to properly understand who I am and what my arguments are and have instead created strawmonsters imagining them to be me when they are not. Their lack of reading comprehension and understanding is not up to me.

  250. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @385. Silentbob :

    @ 380 StevoR – “I think name-calling, abuse and suchlike is wrong and implies a lot about the weakness of the position those resorting to it are holding.”

    Yes it does, but not in the way you think. I’ve heard a lot of testimony recently from women that because of the “weakness of their [social] position”, they have to chose between being rude, or being ignored.

    Okay. I agree that’s wrong. I don’t think women should be ignored or have to be rude to NOT be ignored.

    I know as a male I’m privileged over the non-male and I do try to be aware of that and fight for a more equal society. I believe in and argue for feminism, for equal rights between women, men and others. All people. For making gender as irrelevant. I try to, hopefully succeed in, treating all individuals equally whatever their gender, sexuality, DNA features et cetera.

    I also happen to think that arguments that have substance and logic and good reasoning behind them beat arguments that are substance-less name-calling and abuse. Would you suggest otherwise? If so, why?

    @386.
    Tony the Queer Shoop (now with 30% more melanin) :

    StevoR: Please take your pasdive aggressiveness back to the Thunderdome. Don’t turn this thread into all about you.

    Not my intention nor even really possible given the OP and all those other 285 or so comemnts,

    BTW. You’ve said some pretty nasty and totally wrong things about me in various threads. I’ve never attacked you in the way you’ve attacked me. I’m curious about this. If I may ask – what the blazes have I ever done to you to deserve this from you? Why do you seem to hate me so much and do you realsie you’ve got me all wrong?

  251. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @383. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls :

    “I much prefer reasonable, logical, rational and fair argument.” – StevoR

    Says the guy who wishes genocide of a religion due to extreme and illogical paranoia. Back to the thunderdome with you. You have nothing cogent to say to polite company, ever.

    Funny, I thought that was you whobnever says anything cogent or in polite company.

    Wow. Talk about being judgemental about people you don’t know at all, eh?

    Okay, do I wish for genocide against religion? No.

    Can you read and understand a simple one word answer Nerd : No.

    No, I don’t.

    I want religion – *all* organised religions to vanish from the world. I want Humanity to outgrow them, stop giving them undue respect and start acknowledging reality and living in it properly without homicide suicide bombings, burkas, FGM, useless time wasting prayers and suchlike crap.

    I think Religion poisons everything. Organised religion and fundamentalism worst of all.

    Would you give Islam some special sort of immunity to that general principle or something? Do you want to make an exception for Islam there, Nerd of Redhead? If so why?

    Are you a Muslim pretending to be an atheist or something?

  252. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    I want religion – and fanatical adherence to stupid ideologies gone.

    Not all the people who follow and believe ‘em dead.

    I want the individual human beings who’ve fallen for the religious and ideological shit to stop, think, learn better and recover. Is that really so fucking hard for people to grasp?

  253. Maureen Brian says

    arguments that have substance

    Ah, yes, arguments that have substance. What a good idea!

    Yet not a million miles from here you will find people arguing that sex is the same as gender, that the One Billion Rising awareness campaign is based on dodgy statistics, that the concept of patriarchy was invented in the last couple of weeks (by mad feminists) and couldn’t ever have been, that a narrowly-defined “civility” trumps both honesty and compassion, that there has been no discrimination in the industrialised West in the last couple of centuries and that SallyStrange posted a rape threat against herself in order to cast doubt upon the dear little slimepitters.

    We need people on the front line fighting this rubbish, not ones who take refuge in meaningless platitudes. Or is telling a woman that she is not competent to describe her own experience not covered by “substance-less name-calling and abuse”?

  254. mildlymagnificent says

    I also happen to think that arguments that have substance and logic and good reasoning behind them beat arguments that are substance-less name-calling and abuse. Would you suggest otherwise? If so, why?

    Unheard, unread arguments cannot defeat arguments of even the flimsiest substance.

    When arguments are ignored or silenced because the argu-er is not listened to – too old, too young, too short, too not-male, too dark, too fat – the strength or quality of argument is irrelevant.

  255. Ichthyic says

    I want religion – and fanatical adherence to stupid ideologies gone.

    Not all the people who follow and believe ‘em dead.

    That’s… that’s progress, right?

  256. Ichthyic says

    So he takes the bizarre stance that it’s uncivil to call Glenn Beck a racist asshole, but it’s civil to call him a racist.

    but it’s not as accurate without the asshole part.

    Beck isn’t just a racist. He’s an asshole.

    and so much more!

  257. Ulysses says

    StevoR, please don’t make this thread yet another “I’m not a genocidal racist, I just play one on the internet” thread devoted to your whining about not actually wanting what you said you wanted. Take it to Thunderdome.

  258. anteprepro says

    Emphasis mine:

    I want religion – *all* organised religions to vanish from the world. I want Humanity to outgrow them, stop giving them undue respect and start acknowledging reality and living in it properly without homicide suicide bombings , burkas, FGM, useless time wasting prayers and suchlike crap.

    I think Religion poisons everything. Organised religion and fundamentalism worst of all.

    Would you give Islam some special sort of immunity to that general principle or something? Do you want to make an exception for Islam there, Nerd of Redhead? If so why?

    Are you a Muslim pretending to be an atheist or something?

    Oh, StevOR and his tells.

  259. skepticallydenpa says

    SteveOR- Reread the article. If you still don’t get it read the fucking thread.

    I also happen to think that arguments that have substance and logic and good reasoning behind them beat arguments that are substance-less name-calling and abuse. Would you suggest otherwise? If so, why?

    I love how @ 389 you blame everyone who misunderstood your intent for not being able to comprehend what you’ve said in the past, instead of suggesting that maybe you didn’t communicate your intent well, while at the same time failing to comprehend why people in this thread do not like the CwH civility pledge. Perhaps if someone started peeing upon your leg you might politely ask them to stop. But most people are going to get pissed off, and rightly so. The point is that Dan is saying that it is never appropriate to insult someone, even as they are providing you with a “golden shower” of their most rank thoughts.

  260. says

    And one more goddamn thread turns into a discussion of StevoR.

    StevoR, when someone in any of my threads tells you to take it to the Thunderdome, you can assume from now on that they are speaking for me.

    In fact, why don’t you just preëmptively take yourself there whenever you’re tempted to comment on amy of my threads from now on?

  261. consciousness razor says

    Because I’m talking about what I personally look for and try to achieve in argumentation and discourse.

    You said you “much prefer” those. So you prefer them to what?* If that’s not supposed to imply Clarke’s ‘pledge’ doesn’t meet your preferences, then what was the point? Did you just want everyone to know how reasonable you aspire to be, for no particular reason? Is it just a coincidence that you merely seem to be confused in the same way Fincke is; and if so, why wouldn’t you have given some indication of that?

    *If your answer is “Islam,” I’m going to strangle a baby cephalopod.

  262. says

    I said:

    In fact, why don’t you just preëmptively take yourself there whenever you’re tempted to comment on amy of my threads from now on?

    Also, I am releasing “Amy of my threads” to the Horde for nym use.

  263. Portia, who will be okay. says

    Finally got to the end of the thread in order to cosign.
    Add me to the list of people utterly fed up with being silenced by “Won’t you just be nice?”
    As I have discussed ad nauseum in the Lounge in the last few days, sometimes being rude is a matter of personal safety.

    Why do you seem to hate me so much and do you realsie you’ve got me all wrong?

    Sounds like StevoRacist is adopting the Paul W. line….”I’m not wrong, every single person who reads and responds to me is just not getting me.”

  264. Pieter B, FCD says

    Crap. I forgot to add that I had the great honor of sharing a stage with Malvina Reynolds once (and John Raitt, too).

  265. Tigger_the_Wing, Ranged Throngs Termed A Nerd With Boltcutters says

    Chris Clarke, Amy of my threads wrote:

    In fact, why don’t you just preëmptively take yourself there whenever you’re tempted to comment on amy of my threads from now on?

    Thank you. =^_^=

  266. says

    Daniel has let two comments by Ophelia in defence of herself through moderation as a favour to her, given she has been particularly maligned but otherwise he is still treating the matter as merely ‘feuding’. It’s an improvement, but only a small one when most of the barefaced lies remain standing, unaddressed.

  267. Tigger_the_Wing, Ranged Throngs Termed A Nerd With Boltcutters says

    Xanthë, feuding?! How in the name of all the non-existant hells can what is going on be described as feuding?!

    When someone is being bullied and lied about, it’s a favour to allow her to defend herself?!

    I’m… I’m… stunned!

    (P.S. Sorry about possibly causing a world-wide shortage of interrobangs)

  268. says

    Tigger, herewith Daniel’s comment to Ophelia’s protest:

    Daniel Fincke says:
    February 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm
    No, I will release them, I just released yours in advance as a favor. I just was going to release them in an orderly way when I had a chance to look at them. Unfortunately many people are mischaracterizing my allowing feuding comments to stand as endorsement of feuding as consistent with my civility standard, so I had to freeze all such comments until I could adequately correct this misunderstanding, while also not squelching the free speech and everyone’s insistence on having the record corrected about them individually.

    Apparently my summation earlier in the thread at #372 would be mischaracterising the application of Daniel’s civility standard to that thread.

  269. Beatrice says

    Oh, so he’ll publish the comments after he writes another 4,000 words post about civility and respect.

  270. says

    Unfortunately many people are mischaracterizing my allowing feuding comments to stand as endorsement of feuding as consistent with my civility standard, so I had to freeze all such comments until I could adequately correct this misunderstanding, while also not squelching the free speech and everyone’s insistence on having the record corrected about them individually.

    B-but, Professor Fincke… it’s uncivil to open a space for debate and then shut it down unceremoniously because you found the task of applying your own commenting rules to be too onerous!

  271. says

    As the continuing non-publication of comments trapped in moderation may be contributing to an epidemic of headdesking, here is a small supply of interrobangs to help with the evident frustration this may be causing: ‽‽‽‽‽

    You’re welcome‽

  272. says

    In response to 246:

    his incredibly offensive claim that “stupid” could somehow win in an Offense-Off against transphobic slurs.

    That was never my position, that was a quote mine, way out of context. I subsequently made explicitly clear my views on the two words in question in this post: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2012/09/stop-calling-people-stupid/

    As for the rest of your comment, I am a teacher, I spend every working day making sure my students do not feel “stupid” over their inarticulateness. The sorts of ways to “politely” demean someone are all antithetical to the spirit and the letter of the civility pledge.

  273. Matt Penfold says

    As for the rest of your comment, I am a teacher, I spend every working day making sure my students do not feel “stupid” over their inarticulateness. The sorts of ways to “politely” demean someone are all antithetical to the spirit and the letter of the civility pledge.

    At least be honest, and admit that you are more concerned about how something is said rather than what is said. Your moderation of your blog shows you are willing to let outright lies go unchallenged. I find both the original lies, and your failure to do anything about your blog being used as a forum for spreading them to be impolite, but I guess they did not call anyone stupid, or say fuck, so they are OK by you.

  274. sawells says

    If posting a correction to an untruth can’t be done because “I had to freeze comments”, but the untruth must be allowed to stand because of “not squelching the free speech”, then you’ve used some very clever reasoning to arrive at a terribly mistaken conclusion.

  275. says

    sawells, Daniel has released about forty-five comments from moderation, and about time. However much the appearance of some additional comments was needed to balance what was already there, unprovoked attacks of character and untruths on one side versus rebuttals of untruths on the other are in no way equivalent, and describing that as ‘feuding’ seems remarkably unfair to me. If that’s meant to be the product of the civility pledge, then it appears toothless at this stage, so the obvious deficiencies are in fact ones which Chris pointed out — in particular paragraphs one and four.

  276. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Just posted this on Daniel Fincke’s Camels withHammers’ blog in the relevant thread as well but thought worth putting here too. Hope that’s okay :

    +++++
    @Daniel Fincke – February the 19th 2013 at 3:21 am :

    “There are – rarely in my view but still there – times when some of the tactics that I personally (and I gather you too) are perhaps appropriate.” – StevoR

    Very rarely. And it shouldn’t be controversial at all to tell people to argue in the rational, fairminded, and constructive way I am calling for. Everything else is not reasoning, it’s propaganda, bullying, and war.

    Well, yes it isn’t reasoning – but it doesn’t always have to be does it?

    Nor does it automatically become propaganda, bullying, war.

    Sometimes its people expressing emotions, venting rage, expressing their fury and other feelings at how they’re being treated and how others aren’t listening to them.

    Sometimes reasoning rationally has been tried and already failed.

    Those are the sort of occasions I have in mind here. Not everything on the blogs is Vulcan-like logic. Much of it is illogical and human.

    I think one of the positives of the internet and blogs is that there are so many with different policies and purposes. People can and do go to a particular blog, check it out for a while, read the articles (posts? /threads?), the comments and the disclaimers and the comment policies and learn what sort of environment you are in for. You then have the choice to participate and comment there or not.

    Some blogs (eg. the Bad Astronomy blog) reject any swearing and insist on politeness and a level of civility that is child – and Ned diddly Flanders – friendly.

    Some blogs (eg. Pharyngula) allow some swearing and abuse but reject gendered slurs and are very left-wing and pro-feminist.

    Other blogs are very right wing or anti-feminist and have their own particular idioms and quirks which range from those we find amusing to those we find appalling.

    Some blogs have an absolutely anything goes policy.

    Thing is, you get to know what a given policy is and either choose to follow the rules there or not, choose to participate there or not.

    As the saying goes – horses for courses

    I’m not going to tell you how to run your blog and comments section, Daniel Fincke, your blog, your rules, your preferences. But I don’t agree with telling others how to run their blogs or their comments either. Individual people, individual approaches and no one-fits-all size.

    Personally, I find your civility pledge too long. I prefer the Bad Astronomers succinct policy albeit it uses a gender slur. How about just – Do unto others as ye would be done by, try to be considerate of others and kind to them. That I do pledge and try to live up to.

    I’ll admit I don’t always succeed in keeping to this. But then I am a fallible human being and not always proud of myself or able to follow my ideals.