Originally a comment by Brony on Orwellian but unofficial.
As a pejorative, “Politically Correct” has lost its bite.
Good. Awareness of sociopolitical sensitivities is a good thing because it adds precision. It should be a neutral.
What we have is an Orwellian (but unofficial) “Thought Police”
So the back and forth that society uses to come to decisions of current issues of importance is now the same as a government controlling expressions that implicitly support opponents or oppose the status quo? Maybe I’m missing some subtlety but this seems the literal opposite of the actual situation. Dawkins is receiving criticism, losing some supporters, and maybe even gaining some as a result of his actions (I would be very interested in correlations in that last group). You can’t frame the whole thing in terms of criticism and losing support as “Thought Police”.
That’s some serious conservative level whining at a changing culture right there.
Rotherham Police & Council were fearful of the Thought Police:
Let’s learn to lose our fear of the Thought Police.
Or we can learn to understand sociopolitical sensitivities so we can deal with them appropriately and contextually. Some matter, some don’t. Just ignoring them is how groups of little boys preferred to operate back in school.
Academics fly kites, try ideas on colleagues & students, often rejecting them after discussion. “What if . ..?” “Could it be that . . .?”
What is being asked is for the casualness and thoughtlessness to be avoided. Who tries ideas and ignores whole categories of responses? Sociopolitical sensitivities are data! Is beating on lived experience really part of the equation? I find it hard to believe this guy is a scientist but I know better.
I’ve made the same damn mistake as Dawkins around here a couple of times (maybe more than a couple), but I asked people to tell me why what I said was a problem because I wanted to know what happened to give them a painful reaction so I could accommodate that phenomena because I don’t want to hurt people. That Dawkins can’t do this (maybe won’t, I’m unsure about the filters that being an authority puts on your mind) is very concerning.
But also many responded with vitriol as if offended by the very idea of asking academic questions.
Did Dawkins link any of these? Because I am at the point where whenever anyone gives an opinion that is essentially a averaged stereotype of what they perceive I want links.
Maybe Twitter is not the place for fully worked out exposition. Maybe it is a good place for thinking aloud & seeing how ideas will fly.
Yes and if you started looking like you had the capacity to listen to people besides those you already agree with and who support you it would probably work out better. While we all try to avoid it we get to make mistakes, we get to accidentally piss people off, we get to accidentally hurt people. What matters is what you take from the experience and how you let it change you. Figuring out that part involves listening and showing that you comprehend independent of any agreement or disagreement.
This is what many of my tweets try to do: think aloud & see what others think. It works for some readers. If you don’t like it, don’t follow.
I fail to see the usefulness of thought experiments that categorically rule out some responses, or fail to anticipate or accommodate them. It suggests that you have “proper solutions” to the experiment already in mind.
If that’s how you use twitter, don’t be surprised if sometimes people respond by telling you that your ideas suck.
Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says
Well, Dawkins’ ideas don’t fly. They tremble for a moment in the wind and then shoot down, nose-first into the ground.
An answer you don’t want to hear is an answer just as well.
Phil Rimmer says
“I fail to see the usefulness of thought experiments that categorically rule out some responses, or fail to anticipate or accommodate them. It suggests that you have “proper solutions” to the experiment already in mind.”
And yet shortly into the debate on rape RD acknowledged that date rape could be as profoundly upsetting as stranger rape because, for instance, of the sense of betrayal. After his tweet on DS termination and his first apology for the twitter storm, after discussion on his site, he acknowledged criticism from one earnest and persistent critic of his approach on these matters. At some point he tweeted-
“I apologise for impugning the morality of the approximately ten percent of women who deliberately choose NOT to abort a Down’s fetus.”
I suggest the OP is perhaps something of a caricature. Opinions fixed in the face of countervailing evidence are something we all could manage better.
John Morales says
Phil Rimmer @3:
Heh. Yeah, he tweeted what he imagined was an uncontroversial X > Y (cf. the monetary example in that little list) and was moved to concede that one could swap X and Y — the which was clearly an ad hoc clarification which accommodated the specific objection.
Then, later, he claimed he was just doing the equivalent of trolling to demonstrate how taboo some subjects are supposed (by him) to be and how the witchhunting (no exaggeration!) is on the case of those who so dare.
I ask you, what exactly was the usefulness of this purported thought experiment?
(How is it even a thought experiment?)
Your suggestion is too vague for me to understand; what is supposedly being caricatured and how and by whom?
(Or is that supposed to follow from your vague objection to Brony’s opinion about a class of thought experiments?)
@ Phil Rimmer
Since I am talking about a range of examples that continue with his recent bumbling around on Down Syndrome that point is of limited value and becomes decreasingly important with each example of Dawkins’s inability to account for objections. As I said above,
What matters is what you take from the experience and how you let it change you. Figuring out that part involves listening and showing that you comprehend independent of any agreement or disagreement.
I’m speaking in patterns. He can try to talk about very emotionally sensitive issues, maybe even on twitter. But if he wants to make that constructive there are some things he simply has to do. One of those is to find the universal root problem for his collection of continuing examples of poking at the lived experience of others, and inability to pick up on patterns in the complaints. A good source for techniques might be people that actually try to study the harm that rape causes (a scientist should know that if you don’t have a particular technique you relentlessly look for one that does and is willing to teach you).
I refuse to pretend that these are just “thought experiments” without something more because of this. A person conducting such experiments will be ready for the emotional lines that will be crossed at some point and and will know that these are also possible solutions to the experiment. Otherwise they are just setting limits on everyone but themselves. A reasonable interpretation is that he has “proper solutions” in mind. Not a thought experiment.
With that in mind I have no problem allowing myself to think in even larger issues provisionally. What is the social purpose in repeatedly poking at lived experience? Who else in society likes to commit “little” aggressions over and over and over?
You can think what you want of me. I prefer “archetypical” because it gives me a nice list of advantages and flaws. As for the rest I see no evidence.