I want to BELONG

Landru

Moderator
Staff member
Left wing bunk is only for places like Reddit? There are specific claims of evidence (vs just claims like so many new threads here are lately) that could be posted around the gender policies issue. well, not could i guess..but should be allowed to be posted.


I think he means more like "you" taking time to say

Hi! welcome to MB, this isn't an actual warning strike as i gave you zero point strikes. It's just how we can link you to your text and give you an idea of the issue.
i cant approve your post because it doesn't meet Posting Guidelines as it. You need to tell us the timestamp of the claim and transcribe what the actual claim is from the video. If you need more help let me know.

(then because posts such as this OP really should have screengrabs, i used to after they did the above would write and say "hi again i added some screengrabs to your OP, let me know if they are not adequate for you"..because if i mentioned screen grabs originally i was afraid i'd blow there minds.)


I know most of that info is in the warning strike, but 1. newbies dont really deserve a warning strike for the first offense. and 2. it's just nicer if a human says it.
Everyone gets a link to the Posting Guidelines on entry.
 

obiwanbenobi

Active Member
i posted to start a topic and it was removed, but i was genuinely interested in someone smarter than me being able to explain the phenomena.

i didn't see any reason why my post wasn't right and had no time to ask about it, but this thread does bring it to my recollection. ;)
 

Landru

Moderator
Staff member
Here is the auto generated message sent to you yet you still do not know why it happened?

obiwanbenobi,

Your message (The Dzhanibekov Effect) Contains a video that breaks the Metabunk No-Click Policy. Your message may have been removed or altered.

All videos posted should be accompanied by a description of the point or evidence in the video that you want to convey, together with the timestamp (i.e hours:minute:seconds) of that point in the video. If the evidence is spoken, then please include a timestamped transcript of the relevant section. If the video is about analyzing images then the important images must be included in the post in the form of screenshots. For more details see the Metabunk No-Click Policy

Your account's access may be limited based on the number of warnings your receive.
Please review the posting guidelines.

This is a semi-automated warning message, you may reply to it (on site, not via email) to contact the moderator who gave the warning.
If you have problems, you can email: Metabunk@gmail.com
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
From what I've seen, Tony is like the most professional, most good faith and most mild-mannered truther on the planet. My point was that if even he was running foul of the posting guidelines, that's an indication that the guidelines are unreasonable.
Tony had 36 warnings, this was a lot more than average.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
I know most of that info is in the warning strike, but 1. newbies dont really deserve a warning strike for the first offense. and 2. it's just nicer if a human says it.
I wonder if there is someplace on the forum that one could be directed to upon joining that has a few examples of "unapproved" posts and threads and then those "unapproved" ones corrected to be "approved" posts or threads. Obviously approved stuff is everywhere on the site, but poorly done or malicious post or threads are removed or maybe sent to rambles, so people don't see them.

I'd be happy to create a couple of bad and corrected examples for people to look at.

I know we all figured it out over time, and it seems that starting slow with a few posts here and there until one gets the feel of the forum before going straight to thread starting would be prudent. But there are those that want to jump right in. There seems to be two types of "join and start a thread" people out there.

1. People that are genuinely looking for help, guidance or explanations for something they've found or saw. They thought this might be the place to get some perspective, so they join and go right to starting a thread. Often without fully comprehending the PGs or really looking to see if their topic has already been covered.

2. People that may or may not be genuine but come across something like trolls. They join and immediately start a thread that has a "what about this you de-bunkers?" vibe about it. I can think of a few recently.

Some examples might help both groups and even if that helps a troll or two get through, they'll get found out soon enough. Maybe they'll even come around.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
but poorly done or malicious post or threads are removed or maybe sent to rambles, so people don't see them.
i actually think part of the problem is people do see them, because "bad" ops are not always removed. so it's confusing.

there's also different standards for different forums. There have also been different standards depending on the year a thread was posted :) none of these things a newbie should be expected to analyze fully.

i think, personally, it's just nicer to help newbies as much as possible because of this confusion.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
i think, personally, it's just nicer to help newbies as much as possible because of this confusion.

I think we just ought to be generally nicer. (Sounds very kumbaya, but it's not.) Both to each other and in the tenor of moderation. This obviously doesn't mean being fake and compromising on frank honesty. Learning to be polite in spirit/attitude rather than just in outward form takes some self-discipline (not to react out of irritation or defensiveness) and moral exertion. We often get combative and hostile for a mere opinion/view/substance of the post that annoys us. Not just the impolite manner of expressing it.

Also, expressions such as "warning", or "infraction committed" which was used on this thread, seem to me like a ridiculous over-reach. We're talking about a niche internet forum and posting guidelines after all. Not law, order and criminals.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
And while we're at it. The constructive usage of smilies could also be revisited as an aspect of politeness. Sometimes they are used in a manner that hampers fruitful conversation and creates unnecessary divisions.

For example, clicking "disagree" or "dislike" on a post just to avoid engaging with a particular poster on substance. Or merely to express annoyance, a disagreement of subjective opinion / ideological position (which should be irrelevant at MB if not backed up be reasoning/evidence), or to invite tribalistic group ridicule from the peer group that dominates at MB. A well-meaning new poster clumsily posting something against the guidelines, or against niche opinions popular at MB, getting suddenly bombarded with 10 dislikes and laughs on their first post, is very disrespectful and unwelcoming. If MB is to 'attract' claimants of extraordinary claims by the virtue of providing a 'polite and safe space' for rational evidence-based engagement, then that's not the way to do it. By the way, 'debunkers' do not come across any more thick-skinned for rational critique than 'non-debunkers' (if these are even meaningful categories into groupings), especially when it concerns dearly held positions. So that statement from 2013 is both old and incorrect.

Now, if "dislike" or "disagree" is used for a non-evidently impolite or unreasonable post, and is followed by a substantive response providing polite and reasoned rationale for disagreeing or disliking, then it seems perfectly fine to me. Obviously the "laugh" smiley can be used both to ridicule (impolite, disrespectful) or to express simple amusement (polite, fun). Context doesn't always make it clear as to the way it's been used. This lack of clarity (or worse, using it clearly for ridicule), creates unnecessary divisions and kills conversations.

The "like" and "agree" buttons can be similarly well-used and misused. I have no issue with the usage of the "like/dislike" and "agree/disagree" buttons without explanation if the post is evidently agreeable/disagreeable or likeable/dislikeable in terms of its content, reasoning or politeness level to the random sensible poster across different ideological leanings and peer groups.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
For example, clicking "disagree" or "dislike" on a post just to avoid engaging with a particular poster on substance.
i disagree with this. i think the big red x is too stark, but those buttons cut down on arguments. which is a good thing and should be used more often.
If you (the anti-tribe members) dare explain why you disagree you get a warning strike or get accused of all sorts of horrible things, like being ignorant, unable to comprehend, unable to focus, derailing the thread. it really is ridiculous. People should use the buttons more often.


and i think people clicking likes and agrees out of pure tribalism is obvious enough, and just makes them look bad esp when what they are liking or agreeing with is obvious bunk.

I do understand the general gist of what you are saying, but i doubt there are better methods.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
i disagree with this. i think the big red x is too stark, but those buttons cut down on arguments. which is a good thing and should be used more often.

Context-dependent. They can be used both to avoid arguments as well as to avoid uncomfortable but rational discussions.

Without offering proper rationale and showing politeness, they only make people more entrenched in whatever position they've already chosen.

I have no issue with the usage of the "like/dislike" and "agree/disagree" buttons without explanation if the post is evidently agreeable/disagreeable or likeable/dislikeable in terms of its content, reasoning or politeness level to the random sensible poster across different ideological leanings and peer groups.

I do understand the general gist of what you are saying, but i doubt there are better methods.

I'm not calling for more methods, but attitude shifts in mutual engagement as well as moderation. We cannot improve attitudes by just adding or changing rules.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
they only make people more entrenched in whatever position they've already chosen.
well there will be alot less of that now. there have been some changes that will make members avoid responding in even somewhat divisive threads at all. (i'll PM you a heads up tomorrow, need sleep!)

which is fine. threads will be only little echo chambers of tribalism, but the site will be way less hostile.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
well there will be alot less of that now. there have been some changes that will make members avoid responding in even somewhat divisive threads at all. (i'll PM you a heads up tomorrow, need sleep!)

which is fine. threads will be only little echo chambers of tribalism, but the site will be way less hostile.

Good to know there's constant attempt at improvement.
 

Sauron

Member
As to your second point, that is what other channels (Reddit, etc.) are for.

You didn't answer @deirdre 's point. (I find it very funny that the 'sceptic' movement seems largely in thrall to gender identity ideology.)
Left wing bunk is only for places like Reddit? There are specific claims of evidence (vs just claims like so many new threads here are lately) that could be posted around the gender policies issue. well, not could i guess..but should be allowed to be posted.

How do you plan to separate "post-modern bunk" from "things we have learned a lot more about since Hector was a pup" and "things we are more sensitive about, to which we were shamefully callous in the past"? Opinions from people who are not the experts in the field are just quibbles.
Like we do everything else here, from contrails to UFO sightings. Use our knowledge and logical reasoning. You'll realize it's sociology types, not scientists, making these absurd claims which certainly lie within the domain of science. That makes it a prime target for debunking.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
I find it very funny that the 'sceptic' movement seems largely in thrall to gender identity ideology.

You're painting with too broad a brush. Michael Shermer could be called a figurehead of the skeptic movement, and he's perfectly happy to not just accept Gad Saad as a skeptic (as a scientist and an atheist, that's no great leap), but even talk with him at length as an intellectual equal - with much common ground being covered - in the context of one of the most clearly not-in-thrall-to-gender-identity-ideology books to have been released recently, his /The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense/. Of course, many skeptics, including others who have been called figureheads, are offended and annoyed by almost everything Gad Saad says and does, and practically consider him the enemy.

Skepticism is an approach, a method, not a set of conclusions you must arrive at.

Michael's framing of the interview: https://www.skeptic.com/michael-she...ow-infectious-ideas-are-killing-common-sense/
There’s a war against truth and if we don’t win it, intellectual freedom will be a casualty. The West’s commitment to freedom, reason, and true liberalism has never been more seriously threatened than it is today by the stifling forces of political correctness. Dr. Gad Saad exposes the bad ideas — what he calls “idea pathogens” — that are killing common sense and rational debate. Incubated in our universities and spread through the tyranny of political correctness, these ideas are endangering our most basic freedoms — including freedom of thought and speech.
Content from External Source
To save you a click, the interview itself is here: Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdeBEpSTCuk
- be warned, it's 90+ minutes long.

Personally, I don't believe such subject matters should be taboo on MB, but I don't think we'd be able to maintain the level of intellectual rigour that the subjects and MB deserve. There is the "Open Discussion" forum where slightly less precision in target identification is demanded:
The primary guidelines that is relaxed is:

One claim of evidence per thread - here you may discuss more than one claim, you can move from one claim to another, and you can discuss if the totality of the evidence has any significance.
Content from External Source
-- https://www.metabunk.org/threads/guidelines-for-the-open-discussion-forum.5682/
But still, I think it would be hard to find a common ground from which a productive discussion could progress. Perhaps finding that common ground should be the first thing we could attempt. If we can't even do that, it's dead in the water.

Edit: here's a pertinent quote from the vid:
47m55s "Idea pathogens can remove the capacity to engage in human reasoning" -- Dr. Saad.
If we are unable to demonstrate the capacity to engage in human reasoning, is that because we ourselves are infected with idea pathogens? If so, which ones, and why? Having the topic remain taboo does nothing to address those pathogens, if they exist.
 
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LilWabbit

Senior Member
Skepticism is an approach, a method, not a set of conclusions you must arrive at.

In a world of gullible and uncritical acceptance of all manner of pseudoscientific fluff and superficially impressive information presented falsely as 'science' (a dangerous old phenomenon which, however, social media has only magnified in our day and age), skepticism serves a very good and important function. But even skepticism, in most of its manifestations that yours truly has observed over the years, doesn't perfectly equate with being objective and scientific. The evident subjectivity of 'extraordinary' being a case in point.

Imho, a rational and scientifically-minded investigator guards against the two extremes of rigid intellectual conservatism (i.e. the inability or unwillingness to seriously explore the merits of any new and extraordinary-seeming hypothesis) and flippant intellectual liberalism (i.e. gullible beliefs in, and fierce defense of, any idea that produces some manner of powerful emotional pay-off, no matter how unscientific or outlandish). Both stand in the way of impartial, independent and objective scientific inquiry. It is my hope that Metabunk attempts to set an example by striking just the right balance between these two extremes.

I have always been naturally skeptical towards outlandish (to me) hypotheses, and having always been particularly allergic to conspiracy theories, ghosts and mythological creatures. However, my only beef with the term "skeptic" is the tribalism it is often (but not always) accompanied with. Inasmuch as the so-called "believers of bunk" often betray a disturbing sense of collective moral self-righteousness and judgment towards vast categories of fellow human beings, the label of a ‘skeptic’, especially for many a young recruit, carries a self-serving thrill of belonging to an intellectual elite mocking, overtly or privately, these gullible idiots. Whilst not necessarily immune to a tribalistic sense of superiority, many a mature skeptic at least attempts to replace mockery and fruitless argumentativeness with respect and constructive dialogue.

What many skeptics fail to realize is that tribalism of all kinds inevitably leads to blind beliefs. Albeit unwittingly blind in the case of those who proudly identify as skeptics. To earn the title of a skeptic, there is sometimes an unspoken expectation for the tribe-member to swallow, without independent critical thought, a somewhat fixed gamut of ideas within the skeptical radar as equally silly and nonsensical -- almost like a set of dogmas that a religion would have. If you’re against little green men, ghosts and transmediums because you're being scientific, you must also, without question, denounce all other ontologies that conflict with philosophical materialism (a popular metaphysical theory amongst the Western intelligentsia), all theistic notions, all spiritual concepts, no matter how sensible or reasoned some of those alternative ontologies may potentially be. If you're not a full-fledged materialist or a physicalist, you're no different from a ufologist, the tongue-speaking evangelical or the pot-smoking shaman.

The by-product of this type of tribalism is hosts of novice skeptics in awe of senior gurus somewhat uncritically (i.e. in an unscientific manner) lumping together all extraordinary or metaphysical-sounding claims as epistemologically equal and equivalent to pixies, unicorns, flying saucers and flying pizza monsters. And then blindly parroting this trope which kills conversations.
 
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Ann K

Senior Member.
You'll realize it's sociology types, not scientists, making these absurd claims which certainly lie within the domain of science. That makes it a prime target for debunking.
You'll realize, I hope, that a good many factors in human lives are unanswerable with the physical sciences and thus are best studied with the social sciences ...and that declaring something to be an "absurd" claim right at the start is the very opposite of skepticism.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
and that declaring something to be an "absurd" claim right at the start is the very opposite of skepticism.
absolutely agree with this part!


and THINKING something or someone is "absurd" right at the start is the opposite of skepticism. And yet that is done often on skeptical forums. or...maybe we should have pushed the idea that the Rainbow over Buckingham Palace thread should have omitted science, since the alleged claim wasn't in the realm of science. Hence my bible debunk. (<for unfamilar readers i didnt debunk the Bible, i used the bible for a debunk)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
There is the "Open Discussion" forum where slightly less precision in target identification is demanded:
The primary guidelines that is relaxed is:

One claim of evidence per thread - here you may discuss more than one claim, you can move from one claim to another, and you can discuss if the totality of the evidence has any significance. Content from External Source -- https://www.metabunk.org/threads/guidelines-for-the-open-discussion-forum.5682/
which is why i would rag on the mods to high heaven if they allowed the topic in Open Discussion. Just like politics should be, the Posting Guideline standards should be the MOST strict for subjects like this. Back and forth arguments about opinions are not what metabunk is about (according to the about page).

Meaning, any threads should be a very specific claim OF EVIDENCE, and moderated heavily.
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
Everyone gets a link to the Posting Guidelines on entry.

That's true. But maybe it's a bit like ticking the terms and conditions when installing an update - the percentage of people who actually read them is very low. We just wanna get through it as quickly as possible and on to sharing our incredibly important opinion/insight/fact.

A brief automated 'welcome' message highlighting politeness, the link policy, and what metabunk is catered towards, etc would be useful. Spreads more awareness and means there's less/no excuse for not following or knowing the guidelines.

Could we please have a sub-forum on bunk which has shamefully proliferated in academia? Gender identity idealogues are making statements (and influencing policy) which fly in the face of biological facts for example.

Maybe it fits in pseudoscience? I don't see any reason that any kind of bunk shouldn't be challenged if there's hard evidence against it.

Though I think it's fair to say that metabunk tends to the more 'geeky' side of things. A hundred pages on 9/11 or some blob in the sky no problem - but when it involves actual human issues posters tend to devolve pretty quickly into teenager mode. Or the threads get derailed and moved into Rambles.

I know most of that info is in the warning strike, but 1. newbies dont really deserve a warning strike

Yep, 'warning strike' is pretty harsh and not really fitting when a lot of the time it's just 'needs attention/tweaking'.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Yep, 'warning strike' is pretty harsh and not really fitting when a lot of the time it's just 'needs attention/tweaking'.
well Mick did develop a "your post has issues" choice, for that that is not a warning. But i think mods forget it is there. :)
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
While we're on the subject of suggestions, could we please have a sub-forum on 'post-modern' bunk which has shamefully proliferated in academia? Gender identity idealogues are making statements (and influencing policy) which fly in the face of biological facts for example.
"Statements" don't go on Metabunk (except in Chitchat), evidence of claims does.

If you see a "gender ideologue" claim some fact and support it with evidence, you can post that in "General Discussion" and debunk their evidence. Once there are a good number of posts on a similar subject, a subforum may be created—doing it in reverse runs the risk of the subforum staying mostly empty.

1. People that are genuinely looking for help, guidance or explanations for something they've found or saw. They thought this might be the place to get some perspective, so they join and go right to starting a thread. Often without fully comprehending the PGs or really looking to see if their topic has already been covered.
When I see something like this, I often go and "fix it" in a reply, providing screenshots, quotes from a link, and mentioning existing discussions of the topic - and also say that this information should have been provided in the OP, so they (and other readers) know for the future.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
A well-meaning new poster clumsily posting something against the guidelines, or against niche opinions popular at MB, getting suddenly bombarded with 10 dislikes and laughs on their first post, is very disrespectful and unwelcoming.
I have not seen that happen on Metabunk. Nothing like it.

(On reddit? regularly.)
 
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Pooua

New Member
yea but we both know that only maybe 5% of people ever click that link. They assume the warning tells them everything they need to know.
I click it. I've read the rules many times. Each time Landru sends me a message--which is pretty much every time I post--I read the rules. Sometimes, I've spent a day or two trying to figure out how my post breaks the rules, or what I can do to meet the standards of the forum. Sometimes, I think of something and repost with corrections. Sometimes (once), the effort greatly improves the post. Usually, though, I just give up. I can't figure out what Landru is talking about at least a third of the time.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
have not seen that happen on Metabunk. Nothing like it.
10 dislikes is an exaggeration only because there are not that many active posters at any given time. But the sentiment is accurate.

We all think half these "is this balloon a ufo?" are [word im not allowed to say on MB]. and it comes across because it is understandably hard to avoid phrasing that reflects this. Those are the subtleties of impoliteness that permeate too many threads on MB these days.
 

Landru

Moderator
Staff member
I click it. I've read the rules many times. Each time Landru sends me a message--which is pretty much every time I post--I read the rules. Sometimes, I've spent a day or two trying to figure out how my post breaks the rules, or what I can do to meet the standards of the forum. Sometimes, I think of something and repost with corrections. Sometimes (once), the effort greatly improves the post. Usually, though, I just give up. I can't figure out what Landru is talking about at least a third of the time.
I have deleted two of your posts. Both times for being off topic. In one case you started discussing explosives being used on 9/11 on a thread not about explosives. In neither case did you provide evidence to support your off topic claims.

UPDATE: I found a third post I moderated. It was a "debunk this" type of post which I thought was marginal but you didn't include a link to the evidence. So when you say you can't figure out what I'm saying a third of the time you're talking about one post.
 
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JMartJr

Senior Member
declaring something to be an "absurd" claim right at the start is the very opposite of skepticism.
Well, yeah. But on the other hand, in many cases "right at the start" of a particular thread is often going to be in medias res on somebody's thinking on the topic.

An example -- if a flat Earth thread was started today I would not be inclined to go back to "start" and assume maybe it is flat and work forward from there. I (and I suspect most of us) have already given Flat Earth more consideration than it deserves, and consider the concept thoroughly debunked.

But I'd agree, even there, a specific CLAIM should be looked at and understood/debunked with as much courtesy as possible, and using mor than just "Ha, no, it isn't flat." But I suspect for many of us (most of us?) "Ha, no, it isn't flat" is not going to be far from our thoughts. If the claim is "I can see further than should be possible, so the Earth is flat" is entitled to rebuttal, looking into refraction, or how high up the observer is, or whether "8 inches per mile squared" is the correct formula to use, etc. Are we required to go back as far as "well, let's keep an open mind, maybe it is flat after all?"

Which is distinct from whether we should be polite. Politeness is free and is pretty much always in order. Especially here.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
But I suspect for many of us (most of us?) "Ha, no, it isn't flat" is not going to be far from our thoughts.
Not really. I mean, they believe it's flat and I believe it's not, that difference is at the heart of the conversation. (Similarly with 9/11, etc.) We need to respect that, ideally mutually.

My thought that's in my mind is, "why do they believe that"? is the evidence they present logical, what observations underlie the belief, etc.? When I started looking into FE, I couldn't have produced a home observation that shows we're on a globe, but I learned, and now I can. If my thought had been "ha, no, it isn't flat", that wouldn't have been possible.
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
Like we do everything else here, from contrails to UFO sightings. Use our knowledge and logical reasoning. You'll realize it's sociology types, not scientists, making these absurd claims which certainly lie within the domain of science. That makes it a prime target for debunking.
In most gender/sex debates I've seen, there is general agreement that there are distinct chromosomal sexes (with a number of rare but significant variations thereto), but there is no widespread agreement on either the relationship between those chromosomal sexes and any given person's gender identify or the extent to which, or circumstances in which, chromosomal sex or gender identity should translate into social norms or laws. And it's in this grey zone of normative and subjective arguments where almost all of the debating on these issues occurs. That makes those debates ill-suited for metabunk, which deals best with specific claims that are subject to falsification. No one will ever devise the one-true best locker room policy in a purely scientific sense, least of all while debating it in the abstract with strangers on the internet.
 
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Ann K

Senior Member.
We need to respect that, ideally mutually.
When does "debunked enough, over and over" kick in? There's a reinventing-the-wheel aspect to your statement. Respect for the person does not mean respecting the ideas that person holds, no matter how sincerely, and some notions simply don't pass the smell test.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
When I started looking into FE, I couldn't have produced a home observation that shows we're on a globe, but I learned, and now I can. If my thought had been "ha, no, it isn't flat", that wouldn't have been possible.
That's fair enough, but my point was that we are no longer at the "first starting looking into" point (not me, not you from what you posted and I suspect not (m)any of us here. Speaking just for myself, I guess I could pretend to be open minded on that question, but it would be untruthful. And again, that is a different issue from an ability to engage respectfully.

If you don't mind my asking, when engaging on something like FE, not back at the beginning but now, having looked into it and debunked it to your own satisfaction (I assume! ^_^) what would you think is the better approach -- firmly but politely advocating for what you at this point know to be the truth, presenting the proof and debunking error, or recreating some sort of "ur-naivete" that would be less genuine but perhaps more engaging?
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
When does "debunked enough, over and over" kick in? There's a reinventing-the-wheel aspect to your statement. Respect for the person does not mean respecting the ideas that person holds, no matter how sincerely, and some notions simply don't pass the smell test.
That's the challenge. No matter how many times something like Roswell has been debunked here in our little echo-chamber, a new member may have spent the last 10 years in a different echo-chamber where everything about Roswell is taken as gospel. So, we tackle the specific claims as presented.

I know I've been guilty of an "are you serious with this?!" attitude in the past, but I try to temper that, as long as the other person is genuinely engaging in the discussion.

And again, that is a different issue from an ability to engage respectfully.
I think that's the goal at least. One need not "pretend" to believe in the claim being presented to engage with someone, rather, acknowledge in our own minds that they believe it and proceed accordingly.

This assumes that the "other" person is engaging in good faith. Even when they don't, my experience here is that most members remain polite unless really provoked.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
I have not seen that happen on Metabunk. Nothing like it.

(On reddit? regularly.)

The dislikes to the OP of this very thread are something "like" it. They added to the likelihood of that poster getting unnecessarily worked up. None of this justifies his further responses of course. But disliking him at the get-go was unnecessary and unhelpful. He seemed to have meant well.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
In most gender/sex debates I've seen, there is general agreement that there are distinct chromosomal sexes (with a number of rare but significant variations thereto), but there is no widespread agreement on either the relationship between those chromosomal sexes and any given person's gender identify or the extent to which, or circumstances in which, chromosomal sex or gender identity should translate into social norms or laws. And it's in this grey zone of normative and subjective arguments where almost all of the debating on these issues occurs. That makes those debates ill-suited for metabunk, which deals best with specific claims that are subject to falsification. No one will ever devise the one-true best locker room policy in a purely scientific sense, least of all while debating it in the abstract with strangers on the internet.

Claims such as "There are more than two biological sexes" or "There is a gay gene" are common enough to constitute appropriate MB thread-starters for 'debunking' with a link to the claim. The former deals with the issue of whether intersex qualifies as a sex / a range of sexes, whilst the second explores the question of whether sexuality is genetically hard-wired in us. They just tend to be too politically divisive and sensitive topics for people to wish to engage in. You will also find those identifying themselves as skeptics as well as others split amongst themselves on these issues. Whilst not so much on flat earth and 9/11 conspiracies.

At MB it's easier to focus on fringe-group claims (the 'geekier' stuff of blobs and cabals) because there's less agreement amongst the 'debunkers' on the more mainstream claims otherwise worth a shot. Politically or religiously widespread claims are a case in point. A lot of nonsense passes off as science/fact on both sides of the aisle and in many faith denominations embraced by billions.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
When does "debunked enough, over and over" kick in? There's a reinventing-the-wheel aspect to your statement. Respect for the person does not mean respecting the ideas that person holds, no matter how sincerely, and some notions simply don't pass the smell test.
It's not about the notion, it's about the person. When I engage with them, and they engage with me, we can have a conversation. When they're stuck in a rut, repeating the same points, we can't. You never know what's new to them when you start.

If you don't mind my asking, when engaging on something like FE, not back at the beginning but now, having looked into it and debunked it to your own satisfaction (I assume! ^_^) what would you think is the better approach -- firmly but politely advocating for what you at this point know to be the truth, presenting the proof and debunking error, or recreating some sort of "ur-naivete" that would be less genuine but perhaps more engaging?
Neither.

"I believe it's a globe, you believe it's flat, let's talk about what that observation/evidence means for us, respectively, and what it proves." The best I can hope for is to explain how it fits with my world view (which, in case of FE, everyone held in the past before they went down the rabbit hole), and to understand how it fits theirs, and where the contradictions might be in that.

The FEers that are interesting to talk to do the same thing. Those who merely "firmly but politely advocate for what they at this point know to be the truth" are like talking to a brick wall, not fun at all, unless they can be brought to engage. (The difficult ones are the "I don't really believe, I'm just asking for a friend". I haven't seen that in FE, though.)
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
You'll realize, I hope, that a good many factors in human lives are unanswerable with the physical sciences and thus are best studied with the social sciences

Whether there are two or more biological sexes is not one of those factors that are "best studied with the social sciences". Yet social scientists actively weigh in with their views on the matter, presented as science and swallowed as such by the lay person.

Having studied sociology as a minor (formal logic and theoretical philosophy as a major) the lack of rigour compared to natural sciences (or formal logic, for that matter) became more than obvious. In natural sciences the following criteria must usually be met in order for a theory to be successful:

Article:
The cell theory, the Big Bang theory, the theory of electromagnetism, and the theory of thermodynamics are all successful scientific theories. A theory is said to be successful “if it makes substantially correct predictions, if it leads to efficacious interventions in the natural order, if it passes a battery of standard tests” (Laudan, 1981: 23).


In social sciences theory-predictions of new observables (whilst possible) are rarely even attempted to examine the successfulness of a theory. Sociological theories either limit themselves to descriptions of observables, examinations of statistical correlations and causations between observables (quantitative sociology), or offering politically correct explanations to each social phenomenon under examination without comparing them to rival explanations, and objectively examining which of these rival hypotheses renders "substantially correct predictions", "efficacious interventions" in the social order while performing "a battery of standard tests" on them.

Whichever sociological theory is the trendiest and the least likely to be politically frowned upon in the sociologist's peer-group is the winner. At least for a spell until the political currents shift.
 

Itsme

Active Member
Whether there are two or more biological sexes is not one of those factors that are "best studied with the social sciences".
This is the realm of biology indeed. But it's a biological fact that true human hermaphrodites exist. These people are neither 100% male nor 100% female and have a lot of trouble fitting into a 'binary' society.


Sociological theories either limit themselves to descriptions of observables, examinations of statistical correlations and causations between observables (quantitative sociology), or offering politically correct explanations to each social phenomenon under examination without comparing them to rival explanations
I see a lot of similarities with the field of medical science aimed at lifestyle and medication choices to lower the probability of future health problems. There, too, studies often are merely statistical with a lot of underlying assumptions.

I think the reason is that the 'system under study' is too complex. Natural sciences have the luxury of studying very elementary topics, with the ability to design experiments that isolate them as much as possible. Complex systems like a human organism, a human brain, or a human society do not lend themselves to such precise experiments.

If one wants to gain more insight in these compex systems, statistical studies are all we have at the moment. Maybe simulations will become sophisticated enough in the future to become a useful tool in these areas.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
This is the realm of biology indeed. But it's a biological fact that true human hermaphrodites exist.

Correct. But are hermaphrodites biologically a 'sex' or a biological 'anomaly' which doesn't meet the biological criteria of what constitutes a 'sex' (Disclaimer: 'Anomaly' here isn't a statement of lesser human worth):

Article:
Sex is the trait that determines whether a sexually reproducing animal or plant produces male gametes or female ones.


Hermaphrodites normally aren't able to reproduce and hence lack the above-mentioned biological trait.

These people are neither 100% male nor 100% female and have a lot of trouble fitting into a 'binary' society.

Correct again. But 'fitting into society' is a different question altogether -- a real sociological and psychological question worth studying. Confusing which question belongs to which domain is part of the problem.

The reason for the difficulty of intersex persons to fit into a 'binary' society is not the biological fact that there are only two sexes. But that those who don't fit these categories have often been unfairly socially ostracised or denigrated. As a remedy to this predicament, well-meaning gender ideologies suggest 'intersex' also be called a third 'sex' (or a range of sexes in addition to the two initial ones) in order for them not to feel like outcasts or be treated as such. Whereas arguably a better way to help them is for the society as a whole to realize that having a biological sex (or any particular external trait whatsoever) is not, and should have never been, a statement of greater human worth.

I think the reason is that the 'system under study' is too complex.

You're probably right about psychological and social phenomena not lending themselves as easily to theory-predictions and repeatable tests. However, a research culture of establishing an ideological position first and demonstrating its truth by selective evidence second is also common in social sciences. Which goes against the very grain of scientific objectivity and the standard scientific approach from particulars (a set of observed facts) to universals (theoretical explanations to these observables).
 
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