Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Matt Cavanaugh » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:45 pm  •  [Post 76]

That is worrysome.


Again, I wish success to those who choose to participate in the dialog.

I trust that you and I can peaceably coexist at this bulletin board without need for further direct interaction.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby JackSkeptic » Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:06 pm  •  [Post 77]

tamerlane wrote:
That is worrysome.


Again, I wish success to those who choose to participate in the dialog.

I trust that you and I can peaceably coexist at this bulletin board without need for further direct interaction.


tamerlane wrote:
That is worrysome.


Again, I wish success to those who choose to participate in the dialog.

I trust that you and I can peaceably coexist at this bulletin board without need for further direct interaction.


Thanks for your comments and I realise they were meant as constructive and furthermore I have no issue with what you offered. I love the Slympit because we can both say what we think and not play games.

I'll interact with anyone, I don't do internet gripes or feuds. I also have no intention of closing the door to anyone and in any event that is not my decision to make.

I am not the leader of the team. No one is. We make decisions, and have done from the start, on majority consensus. It is slow but so far it has worked.

Thanks again for offering your help and it may well be extremely useful in the future if you are still willing to offer it.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Aneris » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:50 pm  •  [Post 78]

Here is my response to Zvan's post... it took me forever, as I didn't have time to make it in one go. I'm an intuitive and found it a pain in the ass to go through it point per point, when it's not really written that way and probably mixed up a thing or two, but there it is anyway.

1) I agree with this. Everyone brings in their perspective, which gets scrutinized, supported, weeded out or voted up. Good things eventually emerge.

“Feynman was all genius and all buffoon. The deep thinking and the joyful clowning were not separate parts of a split personality. He did not do his thinking on Monday and his clowning on Tuesday. He was thinking and clowning simultaneously.”


2) I disagree with this, mainly as I don’t see where this is going. Scientists, in whichever fashion are not my priests. Their job description is not what matters, but a commitment to finding the best approximation of a truth. The best method known is the scientific method. As a movement, we should strive to advance what is currently best supported by evidence and discuss everything with as much rigor and disagreement as deemed necessary. As the ultimate truth is unknowable, we commit ourselves to recognize which truth-candidates are the best available approximation, and if there are multiple, adjust our stridency accordingly towards these other views. We need to be able to see where others are coming from and that our understanding of a topic might be as limited as theirs. Despite disagreement, we should learn to get along with each other and not get caught up in proxy wars of various academical disciplines. Unless they are truthology and Woo, which should always be opposed. I trust in the community, including its opinion leaders, that such views won’t have a chance anyway.

“[...] is an adversarial process [...] adversarial in the same sense that a court of law is adversarial, committed to the belief that through a contest over information, some ultimate truth will emerge. The system works best when people are contesting every claim that gets made, taking nothing at face value” – Henry Jenkins (2006)


3) I disagree with this. Most of us don’t do science, it is not my concern who thinks who does whose job. This is not to say that I don’t value “experts” or “authorities”. It is however, their consistent excellence in advancing rational or proven ideas that make them reliable.

“Nothing is static, nothing is final, everything is held provisionally.” ― Jocelyn Bell Burnell


4) I agree with reservations. Everyone should be able to promote their own course of action and criticize other effort constructively, including debunking unsound ideas. Nobody can dictate anything in a true open, participatory and diverse community. It is a constant negotiation between opinion leaders, bloggers, organizers, big names and the participants, fans, commenters or attendees. I have a positive view of people and think that the right ideas will emerge when everyone, especially those with more range, act responsible. This also means that when people don’t wish to participate in groupthink, it doesn’t mean they are opposed to it, it just means that they are, for whatever reason, not willing to participate in that particular groupthink. I very much dislike the “with us or against us” mentality that has spread in our community.

“We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.” ― Richard P. Feynman


5) I disagree with this. While I do recognize that we have different personal experiences shaped by what we are in the real world, none of this necessarily carries over into the online space. It is a place where people of different age, gender, sex, skin color, shoe size, origin, background and any other criteria can freely meet in ways that would be unlikely otherwise. I strongly object to supremacist views in whichever guise they come along. Everyone is also free to appeal to a different audience, including those that are perceived as not yet included well enough. I particular object to racist or sexist buzzwords (cis gendered, white…) that are used to shape the discussion without actually having any actionable value.

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas. ” ― Marie Curie


6) I agree, and I don’t like it.

7) I agree with this. Especially from a pluralist and individualistic perspective. I am interested in the things that interest me. Tautology being tautological. I believe people should mix and match whatever they like, if they want to focus on atheism and environmentalism, for whatever reason, it’s their thing.
8) That’s probably true.
9) I disagree with this. Joke. Do whatever you like.
10) That’s probably true.
11) Like science that converges on increasingly better approximation of truth, we should work towards common goals, but how to get there can be as individual as pluralistic as there are people.

“New forms of community are emerging, however: these new communities are defined through voluntary, temporary, and tactical affiliations, reaffirmed through common intellectual enterprises and emotional investments.” – Henry Jenkins (2006)


12) That is probably true.

“I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.” – Richard Feynman


13) That’s probably true.
14) I agree with reservations. Those who organize and plan should probably think it through. I certainly won’t set any benchmarks. That might also be a good point to remind that issues are also very different in other countries and places.
15) I agree with this. See above.
16) I agree with this with reservations. Again, this is the top-down kind of approach. Yes, everyone can personally think about where to spend their energies best, but I also believe people need to do what they like to do, regardless of what others think would be better. This can only be solved by inviting, not demanding, people to participate in more efficient endeavors.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby JackSkeptic » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:48 am  •  [Post 79]

Thanks Aneris
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Lsuoma » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:28 am  •  [Post 80]

I have to say, it's really hopping over at Atheist Skeptic Dialogue. Like a party aboard the Marie fucking Celeste.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Submariner » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:02 am  •  [Post 81]

An interesting article which might be useful in these discussions here.

People who can’t be criticized—and who react with great hostility at any hint of criticism—are revealing something important about themselves.


and

Consider the mindset of a person who is not hostile to criticism. “I arrived at my conclusions through facts, reason and logic. I’m prepared to explain how, and am happy to do so to any
interested, intellectually honest person.”

As a result, you get a calm, patient and substantive answer when you raise a question.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Wonderist » Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:27 am  •  [Post 82]

Aneris wrote:Here is my response to Zvan's post... it took me forever, as I didn't have time to make it in one go. I'm an intuitive and found it a pain in the ass to go through it point per point, when it's not really written that way and probably mixed up a thing or two, but there it is anyway.

Liked your reply, Aneris, and I think I managed to cover most of your points, though sometimes in a different order. Liked your quotes, and took one of your lines almost verbatim.

I also had a lot of difficulty slogging through it. A lot of credit goes to Jack for wading through it with me. Again, Jack, I regret having put you through the ADHD wringer. Hope I haven't put you off it entirely. It's clear I shouldn't be the main author again. Run the risk of tanking the whole thing.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Wonderist » Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:28 am  •  [Post 83]

Submariner wrote:An interesting article which might be useful in these discussions here.

People who can’t be criticized—and who react with great hostility at any hint of criticism—are revealing something important about themselves.


and

Consider the mindset of a person who is not hostile to criticism. “I arrived at my conclusions through facts, reason and logic. I’m prepared to explain how, and am happy to do so to any
interested, intellectually honest person.”

As a result, you get a calm, patient and substantive answer when you raise a question.

Thanks, Submariner, nice find!
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Aneris » Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:35 am  •  [Post 84]

interestingly, whoever is moderator removed this one key sentence from my reply, even though it was not directed at anyone specifically.

I very much dislike the “with us or against us” mentality that has spread in our community.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Apples » Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:45 am  •  [Post 85]

Aneris wrote:interestingly, whoever is moderator removed this one key sentence from my reply, even though it was not directed at anyone specifically.

I very much dislike the “with us or against us” mentality that has spread in our community.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_%28logic%29
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby JackSkeptic » Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:24 pm  •  [Post 86]

Aneris wrote:interestingly, whoever is moderator removed this one key sentence from my reply, even though it was not directed at anyone specifically.

I very much dislike the “with us or against us” mentality that has spread in our community.


Especially as it was in my opening statement. However the idea is to avoid pointing fingers but it is easy to sidestep that as people can easily read between the lines.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:30 pm  •  [Post 87]

Jack wrote:
Aneris wrote:interestingly, whoever is moderator removed this one key sentence from my reply, even though it was not directed at anyone specifically.

I very much dislike the “with us or against us” mentality that has spread in our community.


Especially as it was in my opening statement. However the idea is to avoid pointing fingers but it is easy to sidestep that as people can easily read between the lines.


A line like that would be removed if both mods felt it could provoke a response from "one side" or "the other" that wouldn't, at this point, help move forward the process of finding agreement.

More pedantic reply - putting them side by side, it looks to me like the main differences are:

(1) Guidelines for participation at the dialogue side are presented as applying for "posting a comment below a Statement" and "posting a comment below a Discussion Post", and specify that "Comments will be moderated before they are approved". http://atheistskepticdialogue.com/how-to-participate/

Guidelines are not specified for Statements & Responses by the main participants (the 'team' posts rather than subsequent individual comments on any of those posts) other than the goals of working toward trying to find points of agreement and unresolvable disagreement (agree-to-disagree points). Nor is it specified at the site that the Statements & Responses will be moderated (however Michael Nugent has had the mods look at the Statements and Responses before he posts them).

(2) Jack's phrasing in (6) of Statement 1 was a prediction or guess about a split in the community ('us v. them'), with "our...aims" at the end of this line potentially referring to the aims of the whole community (given Nugent's discussion topic #1, which Jack's Statement was addressing):
It will set up an ‘us vs. them’ mentality which distracts from our core aims.


Compare that to a statement of personal opinion, saying this is already occurring & describing it with a slightly different term that sounds more adversarial ("'with us or against us' mentality"). While the personal opinion is unassailable, the wording of the claim and the claim itself could be interpreted as a challenge by someone on a side that may have appeared to display 'with us or against us' mentality and the atheistskepticdialogue site isn't the place to try to have a flame war among the commenters. (Not even a war with half-empty cigarette lighters or soggy matches, heh.) Whether or not you could quote someone like Carrier to support the "'with us or against us' is already happening" claim. ;)

_____

Finally, I'm going to nab this opportunity to point out how Jesus-like Carrier was in that early post he had about A+: "He that is not with me is against me" - Matthew 12:30 (KJV).
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:41 pm  •  [Post 88]

Team B's response to Stephanie's opening statement is now up:
http://atheistskepticdialogue.com/2013/04/08/strand-1-statement-2-by-thaumus-themalios/
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby LMU » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:49 am  •  [Post 89]

Skep tickle wrote:Team B's response to Stephanie's opening statement is now up:
http://atheistskepticdialogue.com/2013/04/08/strand-1-statement-2-by-thaumus-themalios/


Thanks! Keep up the good work! Appropriate: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db ... 2939#comic
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:49 am  •  [Post 90]

Nugent has posted an "Analysis of the dialogue so far" with some comments on the process & color coding of the two Responses to initial Statements to highlight areas of agreement & disagreement (a few of each) and areas (large) where further discussion/clarification is needed to determine where agreement/disagreement lie:
http://atheistskepticdialogue.com/2013/04/08/strand-1-analysis-of-the-dialogue-so-far//
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Submariner » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:25 am  •  [Post 91]

LMU wrote:
Skep tickle wrote:Team B's response to Stephanie's opening statement is now up:
http://atheistskepticdialogue.com/2013/04/08/strand-1-statement-2-by-thaumus-themalios/


Thanks! Keep up the good work! Appropriate: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db ... 2939#comic


Well done wonderist!

I agree with each of your points. My response:

Submariner says:
April 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I agree with all points but especially with

15) Strongly agree. The groundswell of atheist activism is having real effects. There are excellent new YouTubers, bloggers, podcasters, etc. that are making progress via the worlds largest information exchange medium, the internet. This “grass roots” activism is an example of the diversity of methods (the “myriad solutions”) mentioned by Ms Zvan. The national and international organizations may wish to find a few highly effective methods of “getting the message out there” (television commercials, billboards, appearances on TV news/talk shows,etc. but the ground level individuals reach niches that the organizations may not.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:20 pm  •  [Post 92]

Sort of as a point of reference I thought I would (just) ask a few questions (Atheist-Skeptic Dialog 101?) about where we’re going with this process, whether there is some sort of “road map” that Michael Nugent and company have of the goal and the routes to get there.

While I think Michael is quite correct in framing the issue in terms of “the recent rifts in the atheist and skeptic communities” – although several at least discount, even if not credibly, the idea that such rifts even exist in the first place, such as evidenced by the recent YouTube video by Russell Glasser and Don Baker – I also think the waters are somewhat muddied by the conflation, or lack of clarity between, some underlying and fundamental issues, and, in the views of some, the apparently superficial “rifts” between FfTB/Skepchick/AtheismPlus and the Slymepit. And, of course, PZ Myers is front and center in muddying those waters as a number of people have pointed out, notably Skep tickle in her comments about Myers’ recent talk in Seattle.

But I think Myers’ talk also frames the issues and the problematic nature of the rifts rather starkly, and not least his apparent dogmatism and “misinterpretation” – being charitable – over where the Slymepit is coming from – as evidenced by his answer to Skep tickle’s question to him at that talk. While I at least am sympathetic to Myers’ apparent and general objective – using atheism as a vehicle to marshal forces against the very problematic consequences of religion in general – I, and apparently many others, have some serious reservations about the specific version of atheism he is peddling, as well as what other principles and concepts he wishes to yoke to that vehicle. For instance, I at least have to look askance at any suggestion that “their” definition of atheism “is specifically the position that there are no deities” – one of those negatives that are, I think, virtually impossible to disprove, not least since I very much doubt that Myers has defined all possible definitions of the term, much less actually proven they don’t exist.

But, apart from the somewhat philosophical or logical problems entailed by that deficiency, I think there are some substantially problematic consequences that follow from what might reasonably be called Myers’ dogma if not bigotry and pigheadedness. And while I will quite readily agree that religion has some very great downsides, I also think that it can have some significant benefits that a narrow-minded view of it will discount if not discard. As the anthropologist John Hartung put it:

Religion is the opiate of the masses, but taking away their drug will not resolve the angst that drives them to addiction.


And, not to put too fine a point on it, one might reasonably argue that what Myers and, to a lesser extent as evidenced in some of his comments, Nugent are attempting to do is to replace traditional religion with atheism as a religion, at least in the sense of religion as “a cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion”. Far too easy for the tail to wind up wagging the dog, particularly if one fails to notice the similar natures of what it is that one is fighting against, and what one is attempting to replace it with.

In any case, I also think that, as more than a few have argued, one of the problematic concepts that Myers and company are attempting to yoke to atheism and to transmogrify it with is a highly questionable version of feminism. And while I certainly haven’t plumbed those depths in their entirety, my impression, due in part to one of Stephanie Zvan’s posts and to Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate (chapter on gender here), is that “their” version of feminism is predicated on a belief that “gender is entirely a social construct”. For instance, while I will give Zvan some credit for some skepticism about the point, I also think that both she, and to a greater extent LeftSidePositive, hold and advance a position – that gender as entirely a social construct constitutes the “null hypothesis” – that is highly problematic and likely to bode more than a small amount of ill, and ill will.

So – tl;dr – the upshot is those set of questions: i.e., to what extent is the scope and implications and underpinnings of those “rifts” recognized; what are the plans, if any, to address them in detail; and what progress, if any, is being made towards those ends, assuming that they are, in fact, ones which motivate these dialogs.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:40 pm  •  [Post 93]

You've asked several interesting questions.

I'm not sure how clear their goals are to them, and I suspect they do not all share the same goal(s), though there may be some overlap. Some seem to want to expand their own celebrity or sphere of influence; some seem to want to expand the size or relevance of atheism as a movement or of its organized groups; some seem to want to merge atheism and Justice In Society (as they view it, often but not always focusing on an area that's of personal importance to them).

And then there are their methods, which you would be excused for thinking reasonable, rational people should be relatively immune to, including vilifying people; being inconsistent and exhibiting hypocrisy (repeatedly); succumbing to the allure of popularity & celebrity; and so on.

PZ's talk in Seattle was about making "atheism" pertinent to the growing number of people identifying as "non-religious" by using "atheism" (meaning "humanism" IMO) to address problems all around the world in a more thoughtful way than "science" can do alone. He's trying to expand the sphere of influence of atheism by making it relevant to all modern problems; it's possible he sees himself as a leader in this (that, I don't know). In doing so, he uses his own definition/description of atheism, vilifies those who have disagreed with him, represents these people & the nature of the disagreement inaccurately or at least incompletely (without seeming to recognize this but not appearing to allow consideration that he may have done so), and exhibits inconsistencies (for example, saying everything can be discussed rationally but then reacting with emotion and ruling out discussion with those he has vilifed).

And Carrier's talk on Atheism+ at the recent American Atheists conference was about increasing the appeal of atheist organizations to "women and minorities" possibly for a grand reason but definitely in order to increase membership (including dues paid). (That's what I heard him saying - repeatedly - throughout the video of his talk.) In doing so, he advocated shunning those already in the atheist community who do not go along. (Probably other non-rational approaches; I don't plan to go back & watch it again.)
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:55 pm  •  [Post 94]

Skep tickle wrote:<snip>
I'm not sure how clear their goals are to them, and I suspect they do not all share the same goal(s), though there may be some overlap.

One of the things that I hope comes out of these “atheist-skeptic dialogues” – which seem to be caught in some doldrums – is a little clarification of the goals envisioned and the methods of reaching them.

Skep tickle wrote:In doing so, he uses his own definition/description of atheism, vilifies those who have disagreed with him, represents these people & the nature of the disagreement inaccurately or at least incompletely (without seeming to recognize this but not appearing to allow consideration that he may have done so), and exhibits inconsistencies (for example, saying everything can be discussed rationally but then reacting with emotion and ruling out discussion with those he has vilifed).

Agreed, although I found it interesting and maybe somewhat encouraging that he seemed to have at least enough self-awareness to joke about everyone else being wrong:
Myers wrote:… both sides in the argument are feeling that they're absolutely right and they're justified, and one side - and it’s always the other side from me, I can tell you that [little bit of laughter from audience] - is totally wrong...

But that vilification you spoke of is decidedly problematic to say the least, as is his apparent and all too frequent tarring of the Pit – and all “anti-feminists”, for that matter – with a rather narrow brush. And likewise with these dialogs:
Myers wrote:So, no, I categorically reject Michael Nugent’s efforts and I’ll be seeing him in Ireland in June and I will be telling him so to his face.

I figure that that would probably make a very interesting debate. Particularly since I expect that Michael’s views on atheism, and on feminism are very different from PZ’s, and on the latter it is probably more along the line of that exhibited by Richard Dawkins’ in his FFRF talk here. And I sort of get the impression that Michael thinks that these “rifts” extend very much further and deeper than the FfTB/Skepchick/AtheismPlus – Slymepit backwater as I can’t otherwise see him expending, as he has done, the probably not inconsiderable time, effort, and political capital required to host and promote these dialogs.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Submariner » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:46 pm  •  [Post 95]

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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby JackSkeptic » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:48 pm  •  [Post 96]

While I make no claim about Nugent's motives I think a lot of it stems from his original naivety that this was about a few posts on an open and largely unmoderated forum, the Slympit, which had been sold to him as deeply offensive. Once he realise there was far more to it that that he may have felt obliged to try and help.

But really I do not care if people like Myers and Carrier are right. Their whole approach is dismissive, arrogant, simplistic, censorious, often factually erroneous, humourless, dogmatic, myopic, judgemental, manipulative, not supported or open to skepticism and delivered in a deeply offensive style. They are not leaders in any sense of the word outside of a totalitarian state and in fact I feel they would contribute to people leaving the movement if they got more influence. If they simply held their beliefs to their blogs and the occasional speech no one would care but they do not. They are trying to poison the rest of us by exclusion and strawmaning those who disagree with them. They are trying to tell us how to think and behave and I find that reprehensible no matter what they are saying. The fact what they say is often complete rubbish or misapplied is icing on the cake.

They can try and bully theists or creationists but they are trying that trick with us and it damn well won't work. People like some of those at FtB and A+ are two a penny; we see them all the time in theist and other 'believer' communities.

People like Nugent are more of a leader I can follow and respect even if he does believe in the things Myers does. So I feel this is more about style than content although the content of course gets amplified by their style so it gets dragged in.

As to this dialogue I am aware of only one person, Stephanie Szan, involved from 'their side'. I do not care about one person but the idea is to get some sort of narrative going that others can follow if they wish. If there is seen to be an attempt then that has value in itself. We have already had the head butting the last several weeks at Nugent's which was a great way to show the various positions and publicly show peoples points of view. It can take time to reap the benefits of this as what we have said spreads out. The Nugent Dialogue is simply another method to communicate in the public arena. I am under no illusion that it will achieve much, if anything in the minds of people who's minds are already set in stone. In fact I am sure it won't. But this is not for them. It is for observers and outliers. It may change the minds of those people who get to realise the narrative they have been hearing for the last two years is materially false or needs serious reconsideration.

It will be slow. It was always said it was going to be slow and if people do not like that then sorry, tough luck. It may get nowhere. But to me the process itself has value.

Finally people are welcome to come into the process if they wish. We can't ask so if anyone feels left out it is because they have not indicated they have an interest (or we missed it) Also please keep up the comments and criticisms. It has been great feedback and proof to me how valuable such comments are in formulating ideas. People from 'the other side' damage themselves with their style. Luckily most of us know where that leads to. Stale echo chambers.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Karmakin » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:53 pm  •  [Post 97]

Steersman wrote:In any case, I also think that, as more than a few have argued, one of the problematic concepts that Myers and company are attempting to yoke to atheism and to transmogrify it with is a highly questionable version of feminism. And while I certainly haven’t plumbed those depths in their entirety, my impression, due in part to one of Stephanie Zvan’s posts and to Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate (chapter on gender here), is that “their” version of feminism is predicated on a belief that “gender is entirely a social construct”. For instance, while I will give Zvan some credit for some skepticism about the point, I also think that both she, and to a greater extent LeftSidePositive, hold and advance a position – that gender as entirely a social construct constitutes the “null hypothesis” – that is highly problematic and likely to bode more than a small amount of ill, and ill will.

So – tl;dr – the upshot is those set of questions: i.e., to what extent is the scope and implications and underpinnings of those “rifts” recognized; what are the plans, if any, to address them in detail; and what progress, if any, is being made towards those ends, assuming that they are, in fact, ones which motivate these dialogs.


While I agree with you about gender feminism, I don't think that's the main point here. Regardless if gender is a social construct or biological construct or whatever mix of the two (obviously the most rational position..btw), it's not really about that. In the end, it really doesn't matter that much. What does matter, and where the conflict is, IMO, is in how predictive these things are in terms of any given individual. The A+/Modern version of gender feminism takes the stance that these constructs are actually much more predictive than most of us here would have them, even the people who lean heavily towards biological constructs. It's why you see so many comments about things like "Women want this" or "Men do that". (That was the real problem with the Big Dick post that was talked about recently)

It's a much larger conflict than just in the atheist/skeptic community, but that's the general pattern. If it was just the A+ problem, then where it all went wrong was when they replaced "sexism" with "misogyny". Those are two different terms with two entirely different outlooks and solution sets. To channel Sam Harris for a second, yes, those words really do mean things. That's where the modern feminist movement went entirely off the rails. When it stopped being about gender roles and stereotypes being bad, and started being much more about personal comfort, privilege and entitlement. Like I said, it's larger than just A+ (My personal opinion is that Laden wanted a personal fiefdom on the outskirts of the ShitRedditSays community and dragged everybody into it), it's just now so large that it's impossible to ignore.

But it's not the same old gender feminism. Or maybe it is, and it's just that privilege and entitlement are infectious. Who knows.

Oh, and back on topic. It's pretty clear that from Zvan's reply, what she's looking for is for people like her to be treated like "experts" when it comes to gender like we would look at Dawkins for biology/evolution as an example. And that's simply not going to happen.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:51 pm  •  [Post 98]

Jack wrote:<snip>
The Nugent Dialogue is simply another method to communicate in the public arena. I am under no illusion that it will achieve much, if anything in the minds of people who's minds are already set in stone. In fact I am sure it won't. But this is not for them. It is for observers and outliers.


Planting a few seeds at least. And I also think the discussions provide some opportunities to hone our arguments, and to put a few issues on the table.

It will be slow. It was always said it was going to be slow and if people do not like that then sorry, tough luck. It may get nowhere. But to me the process itself has value.


I’ll certainly agree with you about the value of the process itself, but, not to throw too many stones, I at least am finding some difficulty seeing how the agenda items speak either to the narrower FfTB/Skepchick/AtheismPlus-Slymepit “rifts”, or to the broader ones in the atheist-skeptic communities. And without more “buy-ins” by the affected parties because they see those items as relevant to them attaining their objectives, I fail to see how the conversation can generate enough interest and activity to be effective. Although I can well see that the process is not an easy one to design and manage.

Finally people are welcome to come into the process if they wish. We can't ask so if anyone feels left out it is because they have not indicated they have an interest (or we missed it). Also please keep up the comments and criticisms. It has been great feedback and proof to me how valuable such comments are in formulating ideas.


I had expressed an interest to Michael in a letter to him about 2 weeks ago about throwing my hat into the ring and had asked to take part in the discussions, but I certainly don’t feel “left out” as I had posted lengthy comments to both opening statements, and as I doubt that I have the time or talent to contribute much to the moderation processes. However, while I certainly agree that “formulating ideas” is a necessary precursor, at least, I also think it quite important for everyone to see how those ideas have relevance in practical every-day applications if the process isn’t to become largely academic. And while I don’t know precisely what Michael has in mind about how he wants this process to develop, I would think, as I suggested above, that something in the way of a debate-Google-meetup between PZ and Michael might provide a bit of a jump-start to the process.

And, changing gears somewhat to encompass a few practical aspects, I notice that the recent “Strand 1 Statement 2” and “Strand 1 – Analysis” are only available on the “How to Participate” tab; maybe they should be on at least the “Agenda” one as well? In addition, I note in the “Note from Moderators” that “2. Do not respond here to comments by other people. ….” But that seems inconsistent with the fact that each of those comments has a “Reply” link – which is correct?
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:03 pm  •  [Post 99]

Karmakin wrote:
Steersman wrote:In any case, I also think that, as more than a few have argued, one of the problematic concepts that Myers and company are attempting to yoke to atheism and to transmogrify it with is a highly questionable version of feminism. And while I certainly haven’t plumbed those depths in their entirety, my impression, due in part to one of Stephanie Zvan’s posts and to Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate (chapter on gender here), is that “their” version of feminism is predicated on a belief that “gender is entirely a social construct”. For instance, while I will give Zvan some credit for some skepticism about the point, I also think that both she, and to a greater extent LeftSidePositive, hold and advance a position – that gender as entirely a social construct constitutes the “null hypothesis” – that is highly problematic and likely to bode more than a small amount of ill, and ill will.

So – tl;dr – the upshot is those set of questions: i.e., to what extent is the scope and implications and underpinnings of those “rifts” recognized; what are the plans, if any, to address them in detail; and what progress, if any, is being made towards those ends, assuming that they are, in fact, ones which motivate these dialogs.

While I agree with you about gender feminism, I don't think that's the main point here. Regardless if gender is a social construct or biological construct or whatever mix of the two (obviously the most rational position..btw), it's not really about that.


I quite agree with you about a “mix of the two”. But I find it rather remarkable, and it is probably indicative of a serious problem, that many people seem to be death on even the idea that biology should be a determinant, to a greater of lesser extent, of our behaviours. Reminds me of a passage in Steven Pinker’s How the Mind Works (highly recommended):

Pinker wrote:... When sociobiologists first began to challenge [the Standard Social Science Model], they met with a ferocity that is unusual even by the standards of academic invective. The biologist E.O. Wilson was doused with a pitcher of ice water at a scientific convention, and students yelled for his dismissal over bullhorns and put up posters urging people to bring noisemakers to his lectures. Angry manifestos and book-length denunciations were published by organizations with names like Science for the People and The Campaign Against Racism, IQ, and the Class Society. ...[pg 45]

Many of us have been puzzled by the takeover of humanities departments by the doctrines of postmodernism, poststructuralism, and deconstruction, according to which objectivity is impossible, meaning is self-contradictory, and reality is socially constructed. The motives become clearer when we consider typical statements like ‘Human beings have constructed and used gender – human beings can deconstruct and stop using gender’ ....[ pg 57]


Somewhat indicative, I think, of a serious fear at least that some underlying dogma is being threatened. And while I’ll agree with you that “gender feminism [isn’t] the main point here”, it seems that it is the tip of the proverbial iceberg – of Titanic holing size and potential. For instance, there’s this Wikipedia article on a “text on gender studies” by the woman interviewed – Dr. Carol Gilligan – in the YouTube video posted by Submariner in post #95 (above). But one of the links in the References section (Power, Resistance, Science), while broken leads to an interesting section of papers at, apparently, a William Patterson University, one in particular by Alan Sokal titled, A Plea for Reason, Evidence, and Logic, salient sections of which include these points:

Alan Sokal wrote:David Whiteis, in a recent article, said it well:

Too many academics, secure in their ivory towers and insulated from the real-world consequences of the ideas they espouse, seem blind to the fact that non-rationality has historically been among the most powerful weapons in the ideological arsenals of oppressors. The hypersubjectivity that characterizes postmodernism is a perfect case in point: far from being a legacy of leftist iconoclasm, as some of its advocates so disingenuously claim, it in fact ... plays perfectly into the anti-rationalist -- really, anti-thinking -- bias that currently infects "mainstream" U.S. culture.


Along similar lines, the philosopher of science, Larry Laudan, observed caustically that the displacement of the idea that facts and evidence matter by the idea that everything boils down to subjective interests and perspectives is -- second only to American political campaigns -- the most prominent and pernicious manifestation of anti-intellectualism in our time. (And these days, being nearly as anti-intellectual as political campaigns is really quite a feat.)

<snip>

This plea of mine for reason, evidence and logic is hardly original; dozens of progressive humanists, social scientists and natural scientists have been saying the same thing for years. But if my parody in Social Text has helped just a little bit to amplify their voices and to provoke a much-needed debate on the American Left, then it will have served its purpose.


And, as I’ve quoted at length before in the context of the book “Professing Feminism”, it seems that that anti-intellectualism, and anti-rationalism is one of the hallmarks of some of the more “virulent” manifestations of feminism itself, and seems to derive from the same roots described by Sokal. And which is, I think, quite sufficient reason for being more than a little apprehensive about the efforts of Myers and company to impose a shot-gun wedding between atheism and that particular branch of feminism.

Oh, and back on topic. It's pretty clear that from Zvan's reply, what she's looking for is for people like her to be treated like "experts" when it comes to gender like we would look at Dawkins for biology/evolution as an example. And that's simply not going to happen.


While I’m not quite sure exactly what her background and training are, it seems that she does have some specialized knowledge on the topic. However, my impression is that she is discounting vast quantities of cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, behavioural genetics, and evolutionary psychology – the four disciplines that Steven Pinker argues (in his The Blank Slate) are the four bridges between biology and culture (nature and nurture) and which are cutting the legs out from under the view that gender is entirely a social construct. She may have a serious and problematic blind spot on the question which probably isn't going to do much for her claim for "expert" status and role.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby JackSkeptic » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:08 pm  •  [Post 100]

Steersman. We have been aware that some messages of interest to Nugent we're not passed on (to our surprise soon after we started) I do not suggest any bad intent as it seems only those that publicly stated it, even if by a sentence or two, on his blog were asked. That's one of many reasons we publicly asked for contributors here too. If you wish to join the discussions you are more than welcome. Please PM or state here and someone will get you in.

That applies to anyone else.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:28 pm  •  [Post 101]

Jack wrote:Steersman. We have been aware that some messages of interest to Nugent we're not passed on (to our surprise soon after we started) I do not suggest any bad intent as it seems only those that publicly stated it, even if by a sentence or two, on his blog were asked. That's one of many reasons we publicly asked for contributors here too. If you wish to join the discussions you are more than welcome. Please PM or state here and someone will get you in.

That applies to anyone else.

Sure, count me in, at least for my 2 cents worth ....
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Submariner » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:31 pm  •  [Post 102]

Link from PTOS from John Greg:
Atheist vs Skeptic

http://www.skepticblog.org/2013/04/09/t ... -skeptics/
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Karmakin » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:16 pm  •  [Post 103]

Steersman wrote:
Karmakin wrote:
Steersman wrote:In any case, I also think that, as more than a few have argued, one of the problematic concepts that Myers and company are attempting to yoke to atheism and to transmogrify it with is a highly questionable version of feminism. And while I certainly haven’t plumbed those depths in their entirety, my impression, due in part to one of Stephanie Zvan’s posts and to Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate (chapter on gender here), is that “their” version of feminism is predicated on a belief that “gender is entirely a social construct”. For instance, while I will give Zvan some credit for some skepticism about the point, I also think that both she, and to a greater extent LeftSidePositive, hold and advance a position – that gender as entirely a social construct constitutes the “null hypothesis” – that is highly problematic and likely to bode more than a small amount of ill, and ill will.

So – tl;dr – the upshot is those set of questions: i.e., to what extent is the scope and implications and underpinnings of those “rifts” recognized; what are the plans, if any, to address them in detail; and what progress, if any, is being made towards those ends, assuming that they are, in fact, ones which motivate these dialogs.

While I agree with you about gender feminism, I don't think that's the main point here. Regardless if gender is a social construct or biological construct or whatever mix of the two (obviously the most rational position..btw), it's not really about that.


I quite agree with you about a “mix of the two”. But I find it rather remarkable, and it is probably indicative of a serious problem, that many people seem to be death on even the idea that biology should be a determinant, to a greater of lesser extent, of our behaviours. Reminds me of a passage in Steven Pinker’s How the Mind Works (highly recommended):


Well, here's why I think that's the case. I think to a degree, Feminism has "won", in that most part to some degree most people like the concept of equality. At least speaking for myself, when I think about biological constructs, I thought of them as being much more prescriptive than I think about cultural constructs. That's why I tended to shy away and be wary of them. It wasn't until I saw a chart that really laid out what people were talking about..that it WASN'T that prescriptive at all, that I changed my mind. I really do think this is a hard thing for people to get their minds around. Now I feel that in the real world, it's exactly the opposite, that social constructs are often presented as much more prescriptive than cultural constructs, but as I've said before I think that this is a very recent change that we intellectually have not caught up to yet.

Somewhat indicative, I think, of a serious fear at least that some underlying dogma is being threatened. And while I’ll agree with you that “gender feminism [isn’t] the main point here”, it seems that it is the tip of the proverbial iceberg – of Titanic holing size and potential. For instance, there’s this Wikipedia article on a “text on gender studies” by the woman interviewed – Dr. Carol Gilligan – in the YouTube video posted by Submariner in post #95 (above). But one of the links in the References section (Power, Resistance, Science), while broken leads to an interesting section of papers at, apparently, a William Patterson University, one in particular by Alan Sokal titled, A Plea for Reason, Evidence, and Logic, salient sections of which include these points:

Alan Sokal wrote:David Whiteis, in a recent article, said it well:

Too many academics, secure in their ivory towers and insulated from the real-world consequences of the ideas they espouse, seem blind to the fact that non-rationality has historically been among the most powerful weapons in the ideological arsenals of oppressors. The hypersubjectivity that characterizes postmodernism is a perfect case in point: far from being a legacy of leftist iconoclasm, as some of its advocates so disingenuously claim, it in fact ... plays perfectly into the anti-rationalist -- really, anti-thinking -- bias that currently infects "mainstream" U.S. culture.


Along similar lines, the philosopher of science, Larry Laudan, observed caustically that the displacement of the idea that facts and evidence matter by the idea that everything boils down to subjective interests and perspectives is -- second only to American political campaigns -- the most prominent and pernicious manifestation of anti-intellectualism in our time. (And these days, being nearly as anti-intellectual as political campaigns is really quite a feat.)

<snip>

This plea of mine for reason, evidence and logic is hardly original; dozens of progressive humanists, social scientists and natural scientists have been saying the same thing for years. But if my parody in Social Text has helped just a little bit to amplify their voices and to provoke a much-needed debate on the American Left, then it will have served its purpose.


And, as I’ve quoted at length before in the context of the book “Professing Feminism”, it seems that that anti-intellectualism, and anti-rationalism is one of the hallmarks of some of the more “virulent” manifestations of feminism itself, and seems to derive from the same roots described by Sokal. And which is, I think, quite sufficient reason for being more than a little apprehensive about the efforts of Myers and company to impose a shot-gun wedding between atheism and that particular branch of feminism.

Oh, and back on topic. It's pretty clear that from Zvan's reply, what she's looking for is for people like her to be treated like "experts" when it comes to gender like we would look at Dawkins for biology/evolution as an example. And that's simply not going to happen.


While I’m not quite sure exactly what her background and training are, it seems that she does have some specialized knowledge on the topic. However, my impression is that she is discounting vast quantities of cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, behavioural genetics, and evolutionary psychology – the four disciplines that Steven Pinker argues (in his The Blank Slate) are the four bridges between biology and culture (nature and nurture) and which are cutting the legs out from under the view that gender is entirely a social construct. She may have a serious and problematic blind spot on the question which probably isn't going to do much for her claim for "expert" status and role.


All of this comes together I think. It's not so much that Zvan herself is an expert, but what it is, is an acknowledgement that their flavor of gender studies is an "academic truth" and should be treated as such. It's for the ideology itself to be THE authority. That's why so much of their rhetoric is coated in academic drivel.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Aneris » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:00 am  •  [Post 104]

Karmakin wrote:[...] All of this comes together I think. It's not so much that Zvan herself is an expert, but what it is, is an acknowledgement that their flavor of gender studies is an "academic truth" and should be treated as such. It's for the ideology itself to be THE authority. That's why so much of their rhetoric is coated in academic drivel.


But their idea of patriarchy is apparently A) different than the academical one, and B) the academical one is still under construction and its application disputed. There are apparently some valid points in the idea, but there are also a lot of moving parts. We have to be a bit careful to throw away legitimate academical theories based on what a commentariat purports. And they are already known to reinterpret terms as they see fit. Just look at their definition from troll, concern trolls, sexism, misogyny... about everything I hear from them has little to do with established meaning. I am bit worried that they have done so much damage with their nonsense and cry-wolf that people who would be otherwise open to legitimate theories are now heading into the opposite direction (which was one of my original, now obsolete, bone of contention with FfTB).

Here is one good example:

Wikipedia on Judith Butler wrote:In this work, Butler also argues that feminists need to be more self-critical and not “identify the enemy as singular in form” (150). There is a tendency in feminism, according to Butler, to uncritically accept the notion of universal patriarchy. Such a notion, has led many feminists researchers to appropriate “non-Western cultures” with the end of proving this theory and universalizing “western notions of oppression” (147). Hence, there are many layers of oppression, and they do not necessarily fit nicely in an air-tight hierarchy where women are at the very bottom (150)


Butler isn't some conjured up MRA spokesperson, but a heavy weight on academical feminism. Keep in mind, we should not argue about right or wrong, but for making reasonable points. When people bring plausible arguments, they shouldn't be shouted down, expelled, name exposed and smeared as it is the standard procedure at FreeThoughtBlogs. Again, they can do what they like, but what goes around, comes around. And there it connects to the other points, like satire.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:43 am  •  [Post 105]

http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/04/09/the-reply/#comments

Sampling (not unbiased) of the 24 comments (from 18 or 19 people, including Ben Zvan) in the latest thread at Stephanie Zvan's site re the Nugent-sponsored dialogue, in reverse chronologic order:

rorschach wrote:This really has to stop.

... keeping this charade up is, as was mentioned, only enabling a few internet stalkers and harassers.


arbor wrote:...Participation in this dialog is doing much more harm than good.

These are people to be shunned, not engaged.


Raging Bee, referring at least in part to the latest tf00t video, wrote:...Like I said before, there’s really no point in pretending we can gain anything from talking to people like this. I had higher hopes for Dennis Rodman’s meeting with Kim Jong Un.


A Hermit wrote:...I’m actually enjoying the “dialogue” because I see it as exposing the bankrupt thinking on the other side.

They (at least the ones engaging in the dialogue) desperately want to believe that THEY are the reasonable ones, but the only way they can look that way to an impartial observer, or even to themselves, is to adopt all this fuzzy language and in the end sound as if they are actually agreeing with the A+ ideals of equality and harm reduction…we can see this happening already in the last statement. They can’t come right out with the usual “freeze peach” defense of anti-feminist/MRA type language in this format because it’s clearly not in keeping with the very principles they are claiming to support. Hence the internal contradictions in their statements around not imposing ideology while simultaneously insisting on adherence to certain principles.

They are painting themselves into a rhetorical corner. As the dialogue progresses I think they are going to have to be more and more explicit about rejecting the kind of outright hatred they have been ignoring or making excuses for (if not actually engaging in themselves) up to now. The real hardcore haters are never going to engage anyway, but if the bigger group of people who really think the problem is just people being mean on the internet can be coaxed into agreeing with those basic principles of fairness and equality then the haters will be even more marginalized.

I see this as an opportunity to peel away that layer of “respectable” support that the worst of the slymepit has been enjoying. And I think Stephanie is doing a good job so far. far better than I could have…


Kevin wrote:...At this point, the “dialog” is the problem. Because its continuing to provide space for the “there are two sides to every story” camp. It’s like continuing to call the Tobacco Institute about the dangers of cigarette smoking.

It’s bad ethics, bad rhetoric, bad psychology, bad everything.

Bad bad bad bad bad.

I don’t want dialog with skinheads. I want them marginalized so they don’t harm me or others. You don’t do that by opening up a tattoo parlor that specializes in swastikas.


Kevin wrote:
Enough. Seriously. Enough.

It’s all smoke and mirrors. You’re enabling them and their abhorrent behavior. And are giving cover to their abhorrent ideas.

Plain language, please. Direct. Specific. Stop tiptoeing around the issues.

1. There is a large group of “skeptics” who do not support an ethos of full human rights for all.

2. This group of “skeptics” has engaged in a years-long campaign of harassment and bullying against people who do support an ethos of full human rights for all.

3. The rest of us are perfectly within our rights to marginalize them, ban them, ignore them. In exactly the same way we marginalize, ban, and ignore white supremacists and the like.

4. Engaging in “dialog” with such people is counterproductive and enabling. It’s like buying a fifth of vodka every day and bringing into the home of an alcoholic, and then being SHOCKED that they actually drink it. Even though you tell them not to.


doubtthat wrote:...I have seen no evidence that they even understand the double standard they’re promoting: we get to argue against feminism in all its imagined incarnations, but the minute you start arguing against our anti-feminist position, you’re “imposing” your beliefs, and we can’t have that. ...

...What are these beliefs being “imposed”? Once the specifics enter the conversation it will quickly be noted that (1) they cannot make a substantive argument about any of this and (2) they’re just bitching about feminism — the fake variety in their heads.


carlie wrote:...It seemed so weird, because to me the prevailing vibe it gave off was “there are ideas we shouldn’t ever entertain because they are so damaging, even though we’re saying that we should be free to entertain any ideas”. And then the ideas he thinks we shouldn’t be entertaining due to being damaging aren’t the ones that make women less valued as people than men, but the ones that try to make them equal.


Wowbagger wrote:I only skimmed it, but it seemed to me to be suggesting – without using the terms directly – that feminism ‘isn’t science’ and therefore shouldn’t be considered important.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:10 am  •  [Post 106]

Aneris wrote:
Karmakin wrote:[...] All of this comes together I think. It's not so much that Zvan herself is an expert, but what it is, is an acknowledgement that their flavor of gender studies is an "academic truth" and should be treated as such. It's for the ideology itself to be THE authority. That's why so much of their rhetoric is coated in academic drivel.

But their idea of patriarchy is apparently A) different than the academical one, and B) the academical one is still under construction and its application disputed. There are apparently some valid points in the idea, but there are also a lot of moving parts.

Indeed – a great many “moving parts” that many people seem to have some difficulty in facing, much less addressing in any depth. While I recently quoted the following from Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate in the main thread, I think it is also relevant here:
Pinker wrote:Social psychologists have amply documented that people have a powerful urge to do as their neighbors do. When unwitting subjects are surrounded by confederates of the experimenter who have been paid to do something odd, many or most will go along. They will defy their own eyes and call a long line “short” or vice versa, nochalantly fill out a questionnaire as smoke pours out of a heating vent, or (in a Candid Camera sketch) suddenly strip down to their underwear for no apparent reason. But the social psychologists point out that human conformity, no matter how hilarious it looks in contrived experiments, has a genuine rationale insocial life – indeed, two rationales. [pg 63]

Many people do seem to have a tendency to unthinkingly follow their fellows, even if it happens to be over a cliff. But that process seems to be largely autonomic and is, I think, a very close cousin to the swarming behaviour in locusts: proximity produces physiological changes that causes the individuals to congregate which causes the physiological changes ….

So I don’t doubt that a similar process undergirds much of the group-think and adherence to “conventional wisdom” that might reasonably be called “the patriarchy”. However, as suggested by the locusts, that is a phenomenon that is manifested in much of group dynamics and formation, and is probably applicable to a great many other groups, from “the matriarchy”, to nation-states, to races, to football hooligans, to sexual harassers and bullies. As Pogo put it many years ago, “We have seen the enemy, and he is us”.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:47 am  •  [Post 107]

Steersman wrote:...Many people do seem to have a tendency to unthinkingly follow their fellows, even if it happens to be over a cliff. But that process seems to be largely autonomic and is, I think, a very close cousin to the swarming behaviour in locusts: proximity produces physiological changes that causes the individuals to congregate which causes the physiological changes ….

...

[skeptical about the biology] Do you mean "autonomic" here, as in "autonomic nervous system"? [/skeptical about the biology]
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:48 am  •  [Post 108]

(in referring to this type of human behavior, I mean)
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:49 am  •  [Post 109]

Skep tickle wrote:http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/04/09/the-reply/#comments

Sampling (not unbiased) of the 24 comments (from 18 or 19 people, including Ben Zvan) in the latest thread at Stephanie Zvan's site re the Nugent-sponsored dialogue, in reverse chronologic order:

<snip>

Kevin wrote:
Enough. Seriously. Enough.

It’s all smoke and mirrors. You’re enabling them and their abhorrent behavior. And are giving cover to their abhorrent ideas.

Plain language, please. Direct. Specific. Stop tiptoeing around the issues.

1. There is a large group of “skeptics” who do not support an ethos of full human rights for all.

2. This group of “skeptics” has engaged in a years-long campaign of harassment and bullying against people who do support an ethos of full human rights for all.


Is he arguing that the Slymepitters engaged in this dialog “do not support an ethos of full human rights for all”? And if not then what makes him think that “we” speak for “them”, or are in any way responsible for their actions or beliefs?

Reminds me again of Michael Shermer’s observation “about current events interpreted in ways that are 180 degrees out of phase. So incongruent are the interpretations of even the simplest goings-on in the daily news that you wonder if they can possibly be talking about the same event.”

But some interesting and encouraging, if equally misguided, comments from some of the others there.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:01 am  •  [Post 110]

Skep tickle wrote:
Steersman wrote:...Many people do seem to have a tendency to unthinkingly follow their fellows, even if it happens to be over a cliff. But that process seems to be largely autonomic and is, I think, a very close cousin to the swarming behaviour in locusts: proximity produces physiological changes that causes the individuals to congregate which causes the physiological changes ….

...

[skeptical about the biology] Do you mean "autonomic" here, as in "autonomic nervous system"? [/skeptical about the biology]

Yes, I think the definition applies in that case:

Autonomic: 1. Physiology
a. Of, relating to, or controlled by the autonomic nervous system.
b. Occurring involuntarily; automatic: an autonomic reflex.


And least to a very substantial degree, in possibly the same way as our hearts and other homeostatic processes do, largely but not entirely below the threshold of perception and control:

The autonomic nervous system (ANS or visceral nervous system or involuntary nervous system) is the part of the peripheral nervous system that acts as a control system, functioning largely below the level of consciousness, and controls visceral functions ....


That, as Pinker described, people can act largely unthinkingly to follow blindly suggests physiological processes happening “underneath the hood” that many are only peripherally aware of. I think anger and anger management probably qualifies as a similar example.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Aneris » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:41 am  •  [Post 111]

Skep tickle wrote:[...]


I don't see any rhetorical corner, it will happen as predicted. As Steersman writes, their views are 180° out of phase. The manufactoversy and invented demonization will perhaps vaporize, which would be no surprise since it is made up. After that, we should see cognitive dissonance effects on their side. Eventually, they will want to get out halfway decent, which we already see. That will backfire in any case. They are the hate-network after all, we're not. We aren't angels either, but we didn't claim to have conquered Moral Hill. The key difference is: many of us know the hate-filled FfTB commentariat, but they only know a warped image from our forum (as Dear Leader officially declared it verboten, and they denounce reading here, but some likely do).
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Dick Strawkins » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:00 am  •  [Post 112]

Aneris wrote:
Skep tickle wrote:[...]


I don't see any rhetorical corner, it will happen as predicted. As Steersman writes, their views are 180° out of phase. The manufactoversy and invented demonization will perhaps vaporize, which would be no surprise since it is made up. After that, we should see cognitive dissonance effects on their side. Eventually, they will want to get out halfway decent, which we already see. That will backfire in any case. They are the hate-network after all, we're not. We aren't angels either, but we didn't claim to have conquered Moral Hill. The key difference is: many of us know the hate-filled FfTB commentariat, but they only know a warped image from our forum (as Dear Leader officially declared it verboten, and they denounce reading here, but some likely do).


You're correct.
I've seen too much of their behavior over the years to regard them as a model for anything but petulant and immature blustering.

PZ Myers is completely hypocritical.
And glory, don't we know it.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Dick Strawkins » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:16 am  •  [Post 113]

I just noticed on Svan's thread that the delightful Rorschach (elevator guy) says:

Just watch Blackford fellate every single of Dawkins’ tweets,


So, according to Rorschach, Blackford is a cocksucker?

But didn't JoshSpokesGay throw a fit in the past when somebody used that as an insult?
He accused the person using the insult, of homophobia!

Naughty Rorschach.

BTW, is anyone else really pissed off that a great fictional character like 'Rorschach' from 'Watchmen' has had his name stolen by that whining prick? It's the equivalent of a creationist using the nym 'Charles Darwin' who continuously turns up on a proscience forum and asks "why are there still monkeys?"
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby JackSkeptic » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:43 am  •  [Post 114]

They really do not get there are many flavours to Feminism and agreeing with one does not necessarily mean agreeing with another. I am by definition an equity feminist, most people are. But that is wrapped up in my Humanism and general interest in equality for all people wherever that is needed. They do not get that people wear a label according to their activities. For them it's feminism (their style) or bust whatever you are doing. That is another reason why they remind me of born again Christians who can't go to the toilet without thinking about Jesus.

Also as Aneris pointed out they are so loose with definitions and applications of what they believe they are discrediting genuine research. They have bought into the rad fem concepts hook, line and sinker and it is not a rational position to hold. Concepts such as 'Patriarcy' must be used with care and precision according to what they are examining. Applying a necessarily general concept to anything other than large groups and not individuals without very good reason is one of their main failings. I have seen many posts by various people saying they never use the word 'feminist' now as people like those at FtB/A+ etc have discredited the word.

As expected many misread what is said at Nugent's and that hold no surprises. This is not about them but those who are able to use reason and do not immediately jump to the most uncharitable interpretation possible.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby JackSkeptic » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:30 am  •  [Post 115]

Skep Sheik's Strand 1 statement 3 went up yesterday for those that missed it.

http://atheistskepticdialogue.com/
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Dick Strawkins » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:28 am  •  [Post 116]

Setar has joined in the hatefest over on Svans post, managing in the process to turn the volume up to 11.

5. Both the tactics and ideology of this group of skeptics strongly reflect those of the broader radical Right, far too strongly for such an overlap to be coincidental.


He links to the following story: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21134540/vp/51436351#51436351
It's a clip from Rachel Maddow's show where she discusses the murder of abortion doctors by Christian fundamentalists.

Our 'tactics and ideology' overlaps with that of fundie terrorists who shoot abortion workers?
:think:
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Stretchycheese » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:51 am  •  [Post 117]

Dick Strawkins wrote:Setar has joined in the hatefest over on Svans post, managing in the process to turn the volume up to 11.

5. Both the tactics and ideology of this group of skeptics strongly reflect those of the broader radical Right, far too strongly for such an overlap to be coincidental.


He links to the following story: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21134540/vp/51436351#51436351
It's a clip from Rachel Maddow's show where she discusses the murder of abortion doctors by Christian fundamentalists.

Our 'tactics and ideology' overlaps with that of fundie terrorists who shoot abortion workers?
:think:


Typical well-poisoning tactics and smearing of dissent that we're all too familiar with from the FSA+ crowd. Perhaps Setar's demagoguery can be cited as evidence of why FTB alienates so many people in a future dialogue post.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:39 am  •  [Post 118]

Steersman wrote:
Skep tickle wrote:
Steersman wrote:...Many people do seem to have a tendency to unthinkingly follow their fellows, even if it happens to be over a cliff. But that process seems to be largely autonomic and is, I think, a very close cousin to the swarming behaviour in locusts: proximity produces physiological changes that causes the individuals to congregate which causes the physiological changes ….

...

[skeptical about the biology] Do you mean "autonomic" here, as in "autonomic nervous system"? [/skeptical about the biology]

Yes, I think the definition applies in that case:

Autonomic: 1. Physiology
a. Of, relating to, or controlled by the autonomic nervous system.
b. Occurring involuntarily; automatic: an autonomic reflex.


And least to a very substantial degree, in possibly the same way as our hearts and other homeostatic processes do, largely but not entirely below the threshold of perception and control:

The autonomic nervous system (ANS or visceral nervous system or involuntary nervous system) is the part of the peripheral nervous system that acts as a control system, functioning largely below the level of consciousness, and controls visceral functions ....


That, as Pinker described, people can act largely unthinkingly to follow blindly suggests physiological processes happening “underneath the hood” that many are only peripherally aware of. I think anger and anger management probably qualifies as a similar example.

FWIW, from the vantage point of someone in medicine, I'd suggest using "subconscious" or "instinctive". There is a specific system called the autonomic system and it's not what this is referring to. (Or, if so, it's only a subset of what this refers to.)

It'd be kind of like using "artery" to refer to the heart, or to the pumping of blood. (Kind of.)
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:04 am  •  [Post 119]

Dick Strawkins wrote:Setar has joined in the hatefest over on Svans post, managing in the process to turn the volume up to 11.

5. Both the tactics and ideology of this group of skeptics strongly reflect those of the broader radical Right, far too strongly for such an overlap to be coincidental.


He links to the following story: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21134540/vp/51436351#51436351
It's a clip from Rachel Maddow's show where she discusses the murder of abortion doctors by Christian fundamentalists.

Our 'tactics and ideology' overlaps with that of fundie terrorists who shoot abortion workers?
:think:


It's from the "Sure-fire ways to rile up the base" handbook, page 4.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:53 am  •  [Post 120]

http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=83910#p83910

Tf00t's comment on Carrier's recent rants, with a selection of posts from Carrier's FB or blog (I didn't check which) on doxxing Tf00t, including this:

Richard Carrier April 11, 2013 at 10:32 am (UTC -7)

Because his reputation matters. We should not allow the world to be consequence free. This is not some random anonymous dude. This is not a rebel hiding in an oppressive state. This is not a whistleblower. This is a named scientist. That’s public knowledge. He can no longer hide that fact, or from the consequences of what he says. And you shouldn’t want him to.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Aneris » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:15 pm  •  [Post 121]

Dick Strawkins wrote:Setar has joined in the hatefest over on Svans post, managing in the process to turn the volume up to 11.

5. Both the tactics and ideology of this group of skeptics strongly reflect those of the broader radical Right, far too strongly for such an overlap to be coincidental.


He links to the following story: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21134540/vp/51436351#51436351
It's a clip from Rachel Maddow's show where she discusses the murder of abortion doctors by Christian fundamentalists.

Our 'tactics and ideology' overlaps with that of fundie terrorists who shoot abortion workers?
:think:


Everyone seems accustomed to this sheer insanity. I don't take it seriously, but am amazed what it would mean, if I did. The folks there tend to freak out at the most trivial perceived transgression. Yet, they have no scruples with this level of hate amd vitriol, therefore, it's more than fair to assume they are all okay with it.

As for political identification, we've got that covered...
65% left leaning, 20% right leaning, 15% center.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Dick Strawkins » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:14 pm  •  [Post 122]

Aneris wrote:
Dick Strawkins wrote:Setar has joined in the hatefest over on Svans post, managing in the process to turn the volume up to 11.

5. Both the tactics and ideology of this group of skeptics strongly reflect those of the broader radical Right, far too strongly for such an overlap to be coincidental.


He links to the following story: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21134540/vp/51436351#51436351
It's a clip from Rachel Maddow's show where she discusses the murder of abortion doctors by Christian fundamentalists.

Our 'tactics and ideology' overlaps with that of fundie terrorists who shoot abortion workers?
:think:


Everyone seems accustomed to this sheer insanity. I don't take it seriously, but am amazed what it would mean, if I did. The folks there tend to freak out at the most trivial perceived transgression. Yet, they have no scruples with this level of hate amd vitriol, therefore, it's more than fair to assume they are all okay with it.

As for political identification, we've got that covered...
65% left leaning, 20% right leaning, 15% center.


" I don't take it seriously, but am amazed what it would mean, if I did."
Yes, what would it mean.
That we are, in fact, terrorists, who not only think it justified to kill our opponents, but who actively attempt to do so?

Wouldn't that mean it is justified for them, in terms of self defense, to take extreme measures if they encounter us at a conference? :violence-ak47:
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Dick Strawkins » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:52 pm  •  [Post 123]

Svan's done a post about the latest response.
Immediately oolon jumps into the fray

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

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

This makes it even more confusing…

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

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


Nobody has ever been expelled from FTB as far as he knows?
WTF!

That lying weasel is all over Thunderf00ts threads after he got expelled from FTB.
Is he trolling Svans blog the same way he trolled here?

And as for the attempt to silence criticism hosted elsewhere, isn't that the very reason why the slymepit forum actually exists?
It was Svan and Greggsy complaining to Nat Geo, trying to get ERV kicked off that network, that led to this site being created.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby John Greg » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:31 pm  •  [Post 124]

I really, really, really think all, and I do mean all of the contributors on the Nugent experiment try to speak in non-formal, plain English: clear, concise, jargon-free, short, sharp, and specific and TO-THE-FUCKING-POINT!

Jeebles, as it is, my fucking christ, you need a road map, a thesaurus, and a god-damned GPS to parse the simplest fucking statement. C'mon guys, this is not a university PhD essay, and even if it were it would get returned for sloppy writing, blather, obfuscation, and endless fucking dribble.

This should not be an academic exercise in pointilistic minutae; it should be a plain language discussion. So what if Stefunny is clearly trying to sabotage the works with endless tangents, non sequitorial backtracks, pompous yet empty rhetoric, and so on. Stick to your own points and get to it.

:roll:
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby John Greg » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:32 pm  •  [Post 125]

"experiment try to"

=

experiment should try to
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:11 pm  •  [Post 126]

John Greg wrote:I really, really, really think all, and I do mean all of the contributors on the Nugent experiment try to speak in non-formal, plain English: clear, concise, jargon-free, short, sharp, and specific and TO-THE-FUCKING-POINT!

Jeebles, as it is, my fucking christ, you need a road map, a thesaurus, and a god-damned GPS to parse the simplest fucking statement. C'mon guys, this is not a university PhD essay, and even if it were it would get returned for sloppy writing, blather, obfuscation, and endless fucking dribble.

This should not be an academic exercise in pointilistic minutae; it should be a plain language discussion. So what if Stefunny is clearly trying to sabotage the works with endless tangents, non sequitorial backtracks, pompous yet empty rhetoric, and so on. Stick to your own points and get to it.

:roll:

Tend to agree with you, at least to some extent, although I suppose my own contributions added somewhat to the miasma. But as I unfortunately do not have the time, or patience, to wade through all of the contributions, particularly without that roadmap you referred to, I might suggest at least some more coherent structure such as, for example, this:

1.0 Question: Working Together on Core Issues

1.1 Statement by Jack Smith:

1.2 Statement by Stephanie Zvan:

1.2.1 Response by Thaums Themelios:

1.2.2 Response by Skep Sheik

2.0 Question: Balancing Freedom of Expression Against Unnecessary Emotional Hurt

3.0 Question: Social Justice Issues


In addition I was debating spending some effort putting all of the contributions so far into some sort of spreadsheet as a way of keeping track of all of the points and responses. Without something of that nature, I think many are likely to abandon all efforts to make sense of the entire dialog.

As for your comment about “plain English”, there may be some benefit to you editing some of the contributions – if you have the time and the inclination; I would certainly appreciate any such comments on any of my future contributions.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby John Greg » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:13 pm  •  [Post 127]

...there may be some benefit to you editing some of the contributions.


I had offered just that, but I'm afraid the whole process became so bogged down that I rather lost heart and withdrew my offer.

In hindsight, I realize I should have offered, and pressed the offer, while thoroughly explaining my bona fides and the advantages of such editing/proofing, much earlier, well before anything was yet presented.

Oh well. My mistake.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:34 pm  •  [Post 128]

John Greg wrote:
...there may be some benefit to you editing some of the contributions.


I had offered just that, but I'm afraid the whole process became so bogged down that I rather lost heart and withdrew my offer.

In hindsight, I realize I should have offered, and pressed the offer, while thoroughly explaining my bona fides and the advantages of such editing/proofing, much earlier, well before anything was yet presented.

Oh well. My mistake.

As Jack said just recently to me (#100) above, and which I expect still holds:

If you wish to join the discussions you are more than welcome. Please PM or state here and someone will get you in.

That applies to anyone else.


But your call whether you wish to contribute or not.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:53 pm  •  [Post 129]

Skep tickle wrote:
Steersman wrote:<snip>

That, as Pinker described, people can act largely unthinkingly to follow blindly suggests physiological processes happening “underneath the hood” that many are only peripherally aware of. I think anger and anger management probably qualifies as a similar example.

FWIW, from the vantage point of someone in medicine, I'd suggest using "subconscious" or "instinctive". There is a specific system called the autonomic system and it's not what this is referring to. (Or, if so, it's only a subset of what this refers to.)

It'd be kind of like using "artery" to refer to the heart, or to the pumping of blood. (Kind of.)

Then I stand corrected - :-)

At least more or less as from a brief search in Wikipedia for “subconscious” and “instinctive”, those terms seem to be rather nebulous to say the least, whereas I was looking for something a little more concrete in terms of physiological or neurochemical explanations. And while I’m a long way from having much of a comprehensive handle on all, even any, of the processes involved, my impression is that mirror neurons are an important part of an explanation of a broad range of phenomena, from empathy to autism to various imitative and learning processes, not to mention the specific and quite relevant case of responses to various insults, notably “gendered” ones:

A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in primate and other species including birds. In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary somatosensory cortex and the inferior parietal cortex.

The function of the mirror system is a subject of much speculation. Many researchers in cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology consider that this system provides the physiological mechanism for the perception/action coupling (see the common coding theory). They argue that mirror neurons may be important for understanding the actions of other people, and for learning new skills by imitation. Some researchers also speculate that mirror systems may simulate observed actions, and thus contribute to theory of mind skills, while others relate mirror neurons to language abilities.


Now whether those neurons are part of the central nervous system, the somatic nervous system (SNS), or the autonomic nervous system (ANS), it seems apparent that they are part of a feedback control system that couples visual perceptions into at least the SNS if not the ANS as well. And while their detailed operation and consequences seem to be an open research topic, I think it is fair to characterize, at least to a first approximation, both humans and the societies they create as “coupled systems”, a topic on which there is a great amount of science, engineering, and mathematics that provides, I think, useful guideposts and avenues to approach those phenomena.

And one of the better illustrations of those coupled systems is provided by the following YouTube video which shows some 32 metronomes which start out unsynchronized, but which eventually become synchronized – as some have argued happens with the menstrual cycles of some women living in close quarters – because of the coupling provided by the common platform on which they reside. And which I’ve argued provides a useful analogy to the behaviours of humans in groups, and their very problematic tendency to group-think and mob behaviour: can't fix the problem if we don’t understand the causes.

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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Lsuoma » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:55 pm  •  [Post 130]

John Greg wrote:
...there may be some benefit to you editing some of the contributions.


I had offered just that, but I'm afraid the whole process became so bogged down that I rather lost heart and withdrew my offer.

In hindsight, I realize I should have offered, and pressed the offer, while thoroughly explaining my bona fides and the advantages of such editing/proofing, much earlier, well before anything was yet presented.

Oh well. My mistake.

It doesn't matter, John. Nobody but the authors will be reading it all anyway...
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Aneris » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:12 pm  •  [Post 131]

Lsuoma wrote:
John Greg wrote:
...there may be some benefit to you editing some of the contributions.


I had offered just that, but I'm afraid the whole process became so bogged down that I rather lost heart and withdrew my offer.

In hindsight, I realize I should have offered, and pressed the offer, while thoroughly explaining my bona fides and the advantages of such editing/proofing, much earlier, well before anything was yet presented.

Oh well. My mistake.

It doesn't matter, John. Nobody but the authors will be reading it all anyway...


Sheik already made an effort to cut it back to the core points.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Lsuoma » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:11 pm  •  [Post 132]

Aneris wrote:
Lsuoma wrote:
John Greg wrote:
...there may be some benefit to you editing some of the contributions.


I had offered just that, but I'm afraid the whole process became so bogged down that I rather lost heart and withdrew my offer.

In hindsight, I realize I should have offered, and pressed the offer, while thoroughly explaining my bona fides and the advantages of such editing/proofing, much earlier, well before anything was yet presented.

Oh well. My mistake.

It doesn't matter, John. Nobody but the authors will be reading it all anyway...


Sheik already made an effort to cut it back to the core points.

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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Aneris » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:16 pm  •  [Post 133]

Lsuoma wrote:
Aneris wrote:
Lsuoma wrote:
John Greg wrote:
...there may be some benefit to you editing some of the contributions.


I had offered just that, but I'm afraid the whole process became so bogged down that I rather lost heart and withdrew my offer.

In hindsight, I realize I should have offered, and pressed the offer, while thoroughly explaining my bona fides and the advantages of such editing/proofing, much earlier, well before anything was yet presented.

Oh well. My mistake.

It doesn't matter, John. Nobody but the authors will be reading it all anyway...


Sheik already made an effort to cut it back to the core points.

Four legs good, two legs bad.


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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:11 am  •  [Post 134]

I know this discussion is off-topic for this thread, but human biology floats my boat. Also, the rumor is that the mod 'round here never puts people on temp-ban for derailing. :D

Steersman wrote:At least more or less as from a brief search in Wikipedia for “subconscious” and “instinctive”, those terms seem to be rather nebulous to say the least, whereas I was looking for something a little more concrete in terms of physiological or neurochemical explanations.

Mmm, well, just because you would like a term or explanation that's more concrete doesn't mean that (at this point) a more concrete term or explanation would be accurate. ;)

Steersman wrote:And while I’m a long way from having much of a comprehensive handle on all, even any, of the processes involved, my impression is that mirror neurons are an important part of an explanation of a broad range of phenomena...

A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in primate and other species including birds. In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary somatosensory cortex and the inferior parietal cortex. ...


Now whether those neurons are part of the central nervous system, the somatic nervous system (SNS), or the autonomic nervous system (ANS), ...

Hmm, now, where in the nervous system are the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary somatosensory cortex and the inferior parietal cortex? :whistle:

Not that there couldn't be input from the peripheral nervous system; the enteric nervous system (a big part of the autonomic nervous system) is sometimes called "the second brain", and there are people (possibly reading too much into that term) who claim it has a big influence on our subconcious; I'm skeptical of those claims. I know of no evidence that people who have had a complete transsection of the spinal cord fairly high up, or people who have had most of their bowel removed, act or react any differently in interpersonal interactions than everybody else.

Steersman wrote:... it seems apparent that they are part of a feedback control system that couples visual perceptions into at least the SNS if not the ANS as well. And while their detailed operation and consequences seem to be an open research topic, I think it is fair to characterize, at least to a first approximation, both humans and the societies they create as “coupled systems”, a topic on which there is a great amount of science, engineering, and mathematics that provides, I think, useful guideposts and avenues to approach those phenomena.

Guideposts to explore, yes. Guideposts to explain, not so much (at this time).

Could you elaborate, how is visual perception coupled into "at least the SNS if not the ANS as well"? (Ignore the obvious like pupillary constriction & dilation, and saccades, unless that's what you meant - I think it's not.)

Steersman wrote:And one of the better illustrations of those coupled systems is provided by the following YouTube video which shows some 32 metronomes which start out unsynchronized, but which eventually become synchronized – as some have argued happens with the menstrual cycles of some women living in close quarters ...

Errr....the sci am blog post you linked there argues that while some argue that, they're mistaken:
Writer for Sci Am online, an academic anthropologist whose area of interest is evolutionary medicine of women’s reproductive physiology, wrote:But the study of human menstrual synchrony has suffered from three major problems: first, whether a mechanism exists that can produce menstrual synchrony, second, methodological issues with existing papers and third, statistical artifacts in how one analyzes synchrony.

That same Sci Am writer wrote:Instead, frankly, I find the absolute lack of synchrony evidence in non-human primates as well as in well-controlled human studies pretty darn compelling.

Yep, that same Sci Am writer wrote:What about all that great anecdata, like what I describe in my opening story? Strassmann is the one who actually states the issue most accessibly:
“Popular belief in menstrual synchrony stems from a misperception about how far apart menstrual onsets should be for two women whose onsets are independent. Given a cycle length of 28 days (not the rule – but an example), the maximum that two women can be out of phase is 14 days. On average, the onsets will be 7 days apart. Fully half the time they should be even closer (Wilson 1992, Strassmann 1997). Given that menstruation often lasts 5 days, it is not surprising that friends commonly experience overlapping menses, which is taken as personal confirmation of menstrual synchrony” (Strassmann 1999: 579).


Steersman wrote:– because of the coupling provided by the common platform on which they reside. And which I’ve argued provides a useful analogy to the behaviours of humans in groups, and their very problematic tendency to group-think and mob behaviour: can't fix the problem if we don’t understand the causes. ..

Big jump, IMO, from simple mechanical devices literally sharing a physical platform, to complex biochemical devices sharing a common design. Your mileage, though, apparently varies. Course, that's in a car that's still just a sketch on a drafting table... :)
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby JackSkeptic » Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:09 am  •  [Post 135]

Aneris wrote:
Lsuoma wrote:
John Greg wrote:
...there may be some benefit to you editing some of the contributions.


I had offered just that, but I'm afraid the whole process became so bogged down that I rather lost heart and withdrew my offer.

In hindsight, I realize I should have offered, and pressed the offer, while thoroughly explaining my bona fides and the advantages of such editing/proofing, much earlier, well before anything was yet presented.

Oh well. My mistake.

It doesn't matter, John. Nobody but the authors will be reading it all anyway...


Sheik already made an effort to cut it back to the core points.


It's always been about core points, not allowing drift and sticking to what is said. However every contributor has their own style and as the other side delight in misrepresenting what is said sometimes it is necessary to clarify even the simplest wording to reduce their opportunities to do that.

As to timing, for reasons I have no interest in going into our first two statements were very late and that made me very unhappy at the time. I want them turned around in 24 hours tops but due to people having real lives this may not be practical. However long delays should no longer be an issue and our last statement was produced quickly (remember publish time is not the same as produced time)

People are making comments here that are not always supported by what is happening. We do not give daily reports on every decision or thought being made and the matter of structure was discussed some time ago although any comments here are always welcome. But assumptions here are just that, assumptions. If people want to know what is happening the invitation to join is always open.

As to who is reading the statements there has to date been 51 replies. That does not allow for those who have read them and are commenting elsewhere or just simply read them. So while some clearly think it is a waste of time they are welcome to their opinion and I will have mine. As I have said repeatedly this is not some attempt at reconciliation but an attempt at showing we are not a bunch of ignorant haters as they so enjoy portraying us. The vast majority at FtB/A+/Skepchick have no interest in any 'understanding' as they are emotionally wrapped in their ideology which necessarily requires them to reject anything that does not agree with them. Their whole approach is based on having a devil, just like religion, and that devil is of course us and 'misogynists'. It is not those people I have any interest in but those who are still capable of nuance, logic and reason.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:08 pm  •  [Post 136]

I have a comment in moderation at Almost Diamonds "Reply the Second":

Do they have to actually bomb a conference...


Setar, could you clarify, were you using the verb "bomb" literally or figuratively?

"Actually" seems to imply actually "attacking with explosive devices", but perhaps that's not what you meant.

Thank you.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Dick Strawkins » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:32 pm  •  [Post 137]

Skep tickle wrote:I have a comment in moderation at Almost Diamonds "Reply the Second":

Do they have to actually bomb a conference...


Setar, could you clarify, were you using the verb "bomb" literally or figuratively?

"Actually" seems to imply actually "attacking with explosive devices", but perhaps that's not what you meant.

Thank you.


That Setar, he's a master of the subtle nuanced phrase.
He probably meant 'bomb' as in the type of dive that somewhat overweight people are notorious for doing in swimming pools.
It's quite clever of him really.
It suggests slymepitters entering the conference with a visually arresting but overall unimpressive 'splash'.

...Or he meant we'd murder hundreds of innocent people with an explosive device.

One of the two.
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Skep tickle » Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:58 pm  •  [Post 138]

From PToS here:

BarnOwl wrote:Zvan is crying foul over the latest delay in posting her contribution to the dialogue:

I had intended to bring you my latest response in the dialog yesterday. I submitted it Friday night. However, it hasn’t been posted yet. For those of you who are interested in following the dialog, I’m afraid I can’t tell you when it will be posted.

Apparently, the moderator for the other team has decided that my post is better moderated than argued with, and Mick Nugent has not ruled that out. I’m disagreeing strongly. I did not sign up to have my posts changed before they see the light of day. I haven’t asked for any changes to their posts, even where they clearly haven’t met the requirements of the dialog (i.e., Skep Sheik’s failure to indicate agreement or disagreement with the points he responded to). This was not part of the terms I agreed to.

We’ll see what happens next.


Irony much?


http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/04/14/dialog-delayed/

tonyinbatavia wrote:“…the moderator for the other team,” a.k.a., Chickenshit Hypocrite.


Pteryxx wrote:So Nugent’s providing a neutral platform and is otherwise hands-off? Then IMHO publishing your statement publically here is the only recourse. The other side can approve it there, edit it there, refuse to publish it there, whatever, but they will have to explain their decision to do any of the three or else withdraw.

Improbable Joe wrote:If nothing else, it seems specifically and intentionally designed to provoke negative reactions… maybe looking for an excuse to bail on the discussion by behaving in bad faith? Then however YOU respond will be seen as the “real” bad faith action and then they will claim victory? It just seems really really shady.

carlie wrote:
Mick is acting as an intermediary. He doesn’t have any control over what they ask for.


But wait, isn’t it his blog? So they can ask, but he can say no. That’s the kind of thing that doesn’t show up in the ground rules because it seems so bloody obvious that nobody in their right minds would ask for that, so it shouldn’t have taken even a minute’s worth of thought for him to tell them no, and then to inform you that a) it happened and b) he said no. I don’t see any space for him saying “they asked for this, and I haven’t decided yet”.

Eristae wrote:
But wait, isn’t it his blog?

^This. He may not be able to control what they ask for, but can’t he control what he lets them do? Or is someone else in control of the site?
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby JackSkeptic » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:39 pm  •  [Post 139]

No surprises really.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
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Re: Nugent Dialogue resourse and discussions

Postby Steersman » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:48 pm  •  [Post 140]

FWIW, a comment of mine on Zvan's "Dialog Delayed" thread. But "still" in moderation, of course:

I thought that the idea of moderation was to ensure compliance with previously agreed-upon principles – not just to “represent your interests”.

In addition, Michael Nugent does specify a “structured dialog” which presumably applies to everybody. Which, considering the heavy moderation here, one would have thought you would have been more than happy to comply with that. Unless you're more into one sauce for the goose, and another for the gander ....


But rather amusing that some of them - Oolon in particular - seem to be of the view that Michael is only interested in promoting the "pit mythos" (who knew?), although that is rather unfortunate.
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