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ME: bitterest row yet in a long saga

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Omar88, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    Adam. I believe that the offending comment on BS had been 'moderated' i.e. deleted. Don't ask me about any action taken over the author. I don't know.
  2. marysimmons

    marysimmons

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    As a longtime lurker on the BS forums, I just wanted to point out that the member there who is often referred to by the nickname 'volcano' (which is not actually their member name) and was mentioned in the offending post, is in fact a man, not a woman.

    Regarding the offending comment, it was indeed deleted, by the moderator who made the comment. On BS, regular members are not allowed to delete their posts if they post something they later regret, but it seems moderators can do so.
  3. In Vitro Infidelium

    In Vitro Infidelium Guest

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    Extended discussion about one forum on another forum invariably devolves rapidly to absurdity. I can't see any excuse to announce 'nazi' but I think the following should suffice as 'point of utter crassness reached':

    see this for Barney's word count: #24262 on http://www.badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13358&hilit=dick&start=24250

    and the gendered genitalia debate http://www.badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=29745

    I don't know about new age hippy, but the kiddies who grew up on 4 chan are the ones setting the cultural norms of the internet and there's very few people expecting 1980s political correctness or tea drunk from cups with saucers and a bizzarely prehensilic little finger. Time for me to have a reassuring darjeeling (made in a warmed pot of course).

    IVI
  4. Adamskitutu

    Adamskitutu *****

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    That's a very small amount of 'evidence' there though, is it not? This is representative of that forum only, anonymous posters whose gender people may not be able to ascertain for certain etc. It does not pass the adequate evidence test for female approval of use of the c-word, even considering how many people are registered on that site. Again, your link here doesn't, as far as I can see, show an equivalent use of terms for male genitalia.

    It is fair enough to talk about other forums if they are having an effect on people here, and of course, that forum is being recommended by certain people here, so its problems as a site for PWME can be discussed here. And no-one has mentioned any Nazis here have they?

    It is sad that you relate my horror of violent misogynistic imagery against at least one real-life woman to a caricatured 1980's political correctness and outmoded etiquette.

    I see the skeptic movement has been criticised by women for its sexism. I can understand why. The general lack of understanding about gender equality and avoiding sexism and privilege is strange, to say the least.
    Wildcat likes this.
  5. Adamskitutu

    Adamskitutu *****

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    But has she/he not self-identified as female? May I ask how you know she is a man? (Ok this is getting surreal with the gender hopping)...
  6. biophile

    biophile Places I'd rather be.

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  7. Stukindawski

    Stukindawski

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    Personally I'm all for scepticism. But to brand oneself colloquially as a sceptic is more a statement of superiority than anything useful. Do I need to identify as a sceptic to apply scepticism, or do I see it amongst other tools of reasoning?

    I can't shake the feeling that there's something insidious about a sceptic community. The tools for scepticism already exist in philosophy and general sciences. When one actively seeks the next witch hunt and it gains the approval of someone with status in such a community, cognitive dissonance is an inevitable consequence. The sycophantic cheering and idolising of Ben Goldacre that tends to follow his articles in the Guardian is an example of this.

    Reason doesn't need a brand, it just needs to occur. All theories tend to require some cognitive dissonance to get off the ground - if that dissonance is towards scepticism then one can easily sully the holes in something before it has had the chance to bridge the gap. PR being the rather dangerous tool that is.

    A community of sceptics with its rock-star esque idols strikes me as just another form of human influence, nothing special, nothing better and too ashamed to roll around in the dirt of uncertainty with the rest of society.
  8. marysimmons

    marysimmons

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    Heh heh, yes, it does get surreal over there.

    They use gender-hopping as a form of insult, at least by calling men women (I haven't seen it the other way round), in which the 'c' word is particularly popular. Basically, if someone posts something there that doesn't fit the BS world view, they are guaranteed to be called a troll, but occasionally they get a gender reassignment thrown in as well.

    Of course one can't be 100% sure about anything anyone says on Internet forums, but in my two and a half years of reading the BS forums (mainly for the CFS-related threads), I'm 99% sure 'volcano' is male.

    ETA: I remembered there being a specific exchange between 'volcano' (real handle Eyjafjallajoekull) and a member called frozenwarnings who kept calling him a female, in which he corrected her. Did a bit of searching and found it in this post and the one following it: http://www.badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15791&hilit=volcano she&start=4925#p537715
    Adamskitutu likes this.
  9. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    My questions to the skeptics: when is it time to be skeptical of skepticism? When are they skeptical of their own arguments? Why aren't the ideas of skepticism subject to the same scrutiny as everything else? I do call myself a skeptic, but I also specify the nature of my skepticism. I am a pancritical rationalist. Everything is subject to question, but the action of questioning does not infer that the subject matter is dubious. Its just a check on our understanding of reality. I spend a lot of time questioning my own position and arguments too - its not enough to question others if you want to be taken seriously as a skeptic.

    Skepticism is just a philosophical stance. Its not some Divine Path.
  10. In Vitro Infidelium

    In Vitro Infidelium Guest

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    If a sceptical position is taken, then by definition, assuming that a process of reasoning has led to that position (I'd argue that was axiomatic) then as a matter of course the position arrived at would itself have a priori been subject to critical consideration. What you seem to asking for is that 'the working out' be made public so that you can assess whether other people have followed the critical steps you consider approapriate to justify their scepticism. I think the answer to that is 'life's too short' - the sceptic is going need some incentive to spend time reprising their own process of reasoning, just to satisfy someone else's curiosity.

    Take Homeopathy - why, once Avogadro's number is understood, would anyone feel obliged to demostrate the steps in reasoning they took in understanding that the dilution prescribed by Homeopaths leaves not a single active ingredient in the so called medicines ? And that in consequence, in the absence of any plausible mechanism for the conveying of medicinal value from the solute to solvent, Homeopathy has no scientific basis ? A sceptic may allow a possibility that there is some unknown process which allows homeopathic preparations to have medicinal value - but again why would anyone bother being explicit about such an allowance of probability ? One can spend endless hours speculating about improbabilities, and what one focusses on is going to be purely a matter of taste and unlikely to yield more than an off the wall conversation with friends. The Universe as a hologram of a two dimensional reality is one I rather like - and Werner von Braun's hollow earth theory, and the moon made of cheese .................

    IVI
  11. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    WARNING Philosophy Alert

    Lol IVI, you need to go read Bartley. Your presumptions and arguments were discredited in the 1960s. You seem to be treating the skeptics movement as a single unitary philosophy. It isn't. Try this for a reference:

    http://www.questia.com/library/1327...rren-bartley?gclid=CNWXpJa3i7QCFeRMpgodnDAAZQ

    Your position is coincident with already discredited philosophies of science and theories of knowledge. There is a huge difference between skepticism and universally applied skepticism. Though there is no disagreement that a skeptic cannot be skeptical of everything all the time. There is not enough time in a lifetime to do that.

    Many "skeptics" do NOT use a process of rigorous reasoning to derive their views. If I said I were a teapot, would you then presume my main function is to hold hot tea? I don't think so. Also its very easy for someone to take the same facts and reason to a different conclusion. Thats logic 201. If you want I can give you a few lessons. Logic does not necessarily lead to the same conclusions given the same facts - the ancient Greeks thought so but we have come a long way since then. It is also not necessarily rational. It tends to be, if used skillfully, but not universally. Its just a tool.

    This failure in the logic process is one of the reasons why computer science has failed to build a credible AI. Logic only goes so far.

    There is also no necessity for a skeptic to repeat, recount or test their process of reasoning every time. There does have to be a willingness to be skeptical of ones own reasoning however. That is where almost everyone fails at least some of the time, including me.

    In order to check reason or to check logic against reality, then a person must be willing to test their reasoning against reality, and question their reasoning and conclusions. Its not that they have to do this all the time, but they need to see the necessity and to check to ensure they are not in conflict with reality, at least some of the time.
    If you think otherwise, perhaps you can explain to me your understanding of the difference between pancritical rationalism and critical rationalism? In pancritical rationalism even rationalism itself is questioned.

    Are you aware that in post graduate logic one of the first things that gets taught is the logical dispoof of logic itself? Logic is a tool. Reason is a tool. All tools have limits. The philosophy of how these tools are applied varies. There are many different movements within skepticism. There is also pretend skepticism which is all too common, in particular many who claim to be skeptics are simply denialists in my view (they might as well call themselves teapots). They use reason to justify their views, as do we all, but tend to fail to use reason to derive their views. Most importantly, they seem unwilling to test their views. Even worse they fail to question the assumptions leading to their reasoning. Those assumptions are often so deeply buried that people are not even aware of them. I might decide to blog on this, as its why so many arguments that have been raised lately are deeply flawed.

    You seem to have an unshakable faith in logic and reason, and also in your own logic and reason. Its misplaced. Logic is a tool, reason is a set of tools and an ideal, but they can only approximate to the truth in anything complex. It needs to be tested. The more important the subject matter is, the more important it is to test it.

    Here is one of the most important statements on reason in history. Its from the systems movement. The map is not the territory.
    Mark, natasa778 and Valentijn like this.
  12. user9876

    user9876 Senior Member

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    To me having a logical or mathematical formulism is important in describing the model and with a formal description we can start to look at what assumptions are made and which may be backed by evidence. This is even prior to doing any logical deduction. Too many of the medical papers I have read are very inexact in what they claim from a trial and seem to make wild inferences from results.

    I had a look a few times at the bad science forum and I'm not sure I would describe people there as skeptics,. Too often I felt people had an unquestioning belief in randomised controlled trials with no thought as to the difficulties of control or how the reported results are generalised from a specific hard to control circumstance. Also people just seemed to state their views with little supporting argument. But its not a forum I choose to follow to many insults.
    Valentijn and alex3619 like this.
  13. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    Ditto. So called 'skepticism' of BS 'skeptics' is of religious nature imo. That logic and reasoning is never employed to question anything that has a potential to challenge the belief system. New territory scares the shit out of those 'skeptics'. They use logic and reasoning to reinforce and build walls around the existing beliefs.

    No exploration, no curiosity, no challenges. Their 'logic' never leaves its comfort zone. Safety first.
    Wildcat and Valentijn like this.
  14. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Look at my rule 24:

    http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?entries/28-rules-of-thumb.941/

    24. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke's_three_laws

    Clarke's First Law: "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

    This also applies to doctors. The old guard in medicine jealously hold on to their dogma. This has nothing to do with intelligence - indeed a smart defender of dogma will hold on to it even more tightly.


    Similar arguments apply to those who defend dogma in other arenas. A smart defender of dogma is just better at putting off they day when they may learn something.

    Also rule 23: Dogma is a box. Its nice and safe and cozy. If you want more, you have to open the box.
  15. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    Oh for heaven's sake. You make it sound like people on BS never criticize Ben Goldacre when nothing could be farther from the truth.

    I think the last few posts have sunk to the level, of the highlighted portion of rule number three, below.

    Rule One: Argue the facts if weak on emotion.

    Rule Two: Argue emotion if weak on the facts.

    Rule Three: If weak on facts AND emotion, insult your opponent.

    It's this type of thinking that makes me doubt the voracity of some of the posts here. Some might think the same of mine. :rofl:


    Barb C.:>)
    Min likes this.
  16. Adamskitutu

    Adamskitutu *****

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    Care to give a few examples?
  17. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Warning: Philosophy Alert

    barbc56, we were not talking about Ben Goldacre.

    Those rules are not rules. They are basically wrong in their implications. Arguing the facts is a choice, as is emotive argument. Either can be effective. It is however fair to say that choosing between the two is probably best done rationally. This is more to do with the audience than the argument too. I wouldn't want to argue emotively at a scientific conference on a point of science. Similarly if you ever watch live parliament on TV, you will see just how far rational argument gets you ... though to be fair emotive argument is often equally useless. Far too often it tends to be, at least in Australia, two sides throwing innuendos and slurs at each other.

    Arguing the man (argumentum ad hominem) is terribly effective quite often, its why it has so much appeal in politics. It is an informal fallacy though. One little homily I like to use is: Truth can come from a peasant, and lies from a King. This applies to both arguing the man and argument by authority. The so-called worth or authority of a person has no necessary bearing on truth.

    Even using the word "weak" is interesting. Its an emotive term. So it makes all three rules emotive arguments. There is also a subtle innuendo that using emotive arguments is weaker than using rational arguments, and hence this falls into rule 3 - the subtle implication is that someone who does this is weak. So by these rules the entire set of rules is weak. Using weak itself in an argument tends to make the argument weaker. Oh dear, see what I did?

    There is a difference between making a rational choice of argument, and even having a rational basis for a position, and the rationality of the argument made. Emotive arguments can be very effective. The best speeches though, if you look at some of the classic ones in history, tend to use both rational argument and emotive argument. They are not mutually exclusive.

    Similar arguments apply to Godwin's Law. Godwin's Law is not a law. Its a warning that argument by association with Hitler or Nazis can be a fallacy. However, not every comparison to Hitler or Nazis is a fallacy. The rise of extreme right wing policies in the West in recent decades has many parallels to the rise in fascism. Similarly there is a counter-reaction in places which resemble the rise to communism. Such parallels are warnings, and can have a strong historical basis. Using an association with Hitler or Nazis, without substantive analysis, can however still be a fallacy.

    Finally arguing facts quite often leads to emotive argument. Facts have to be interpreted, and quite often that interpretation has emotive overtones.
    natasa778 likes this.
  18. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    I have his new book. So was looking for some comment on BS about it. Only just came across this but I understand he doesn't escape critique throughout the forum, far from it - even on the thread about Mar I seem to recall he referred to as a 'media whore' :rofl: But I'm a newbie there so you'd probably have to rely on a search. Rather too many 'hits' for me to digest for you I am afraid.

    Edit: Link added
  19. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    If you are talking to me then no I wasn't referring to BG in my post. I also never said that people on BS do not critise him. I don't know if they do and I wouldn't care. A follower can criticise a leader while still staying well inside his/her comfort zone and without challenging shared beliefs... Criticising or not criticising BG has nothing to do with what I was saying ...
    Wildcat and Min like this.
  20. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    Logical reasoning will hit a dead end if not coupled to creative/lateral thinking.

    Not sure if they've figured out how to build creativity and intuition into AI ? :)

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