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Phil Plait's Don't Be A Dick talk at TAM8 Now Online

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Phil Plait's Don't Be A Dick talk at TAM8 Now Online

Postby really? » 18 Aug 2010, 21:00

I found this video interesting. I hope you do too.
About a month ago now, Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer) gave a talk at The Amaz!ng Meeting 8 that stirred quite a reaction among some folks in the skeptical movement, both positive and negative. I had my own strong reaction, and have enjoyed the self-criticism that this talk fostered. I have had many conversations about it since with skeptics holding varied and contrasting views about the best approaches to adopt when working to advance skepticism and critical thinking in our world.
http://vimeo.com/13704095
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Re: Phil Plait's Don't Be A Dick talk at TAM8 Now Online

Postby jakesteele » 23 Aug 2010, 08:06

Woo, CTer, Troofer, Xain, Beliver, kook, nutter, idiot, etc., that’s being a dick. Whenever you start insulting people, they don’t respond well and start calling you names back. From that point on, nothing constructive happens. Those are all insulting, derogatory names that immediately set a rude, in-your-face tone that is perceived by people as someone being a ‘dick’.

I think Phil is talking about the way you don’t want to be coming across to the general public. No one likes to be called names and treated rudely. All that does is make you look bad and piss people off so much they don’t even want to hear the message or the point.


That's a post I made on JREF, SGTU, and Skeptic Friends on this topic. So far I have gotten few, if any, replies. They don't seem to want to go there.
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Re: Phil Plait's Don't Be A Dick talk at TAM8 Now Online

Postby really? » 23 Aug 2010, 11:39

jakesteele wrote:Woo, CTer, Troofer, Xain, Beliver, kook, nutter, idiot, etc., that’s being a dick. Whenever you start insulting people, they don’t respond well and start calling you names back. From that point on, nothing constructive happens. Those are all insulting, derogatory names that immediately set a rude, in-your-face tone that is perceived by people as someone being a ‘dick’.

I think Phil is talking about the way you don’t want to be coming across to the general public. No one likes to be called names and treated rudely. All that does is make you look bad and piss people off so much they don’t even want to hear the message or the point.


That's a post I made on JREF, SGTU, and Skeptic Friends on this topic. So far I have gotten few, if any, replies. They don't seem to want to go there.



Why don't you post this topic here http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-podcast/
I would, but they'd just call me a troll some more
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Re: Phil Plait's Don't Be A Dick talk at TAM8 Now Online

Postby wjbeaty » 26 Aug 2010, 18:16

WOW!

I haven't encountered anything like that since Sagan's anti-CSICOP comments in "Wonder and Skepticism" Or perhaps since the founding of CSICOP when Truzzi pulled out after the group attracted a dick majority.

I'd sadly been assuming that Phil Plait's mind was going to be eaten by JREF, same as Shermer's was, same as most any thoughtful compassionate person who starts self-identifying as a Skeptic-type rather than a scientist-type. But Phil noticed it happening, and stepped back and refused to drink that cool-aid.

Watch some more upheaval at BAD ASTRONOMY blog. Phil's brutal self-honesty and sheer outright humanity is stunning to behold:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/08/19/dont-be-a-dick-part-3-the-aftermath/

But Phil is wrong about this being any kind of new problem. It goes right to the core of skepticism, and stretches back the the founding of the first org. The polarization is explicitly stated in SKEPTIC FAQ of the old newsgroup below. The faq entry doesn't mention the important fact that TRUZZI LEFT THE GROUP! The "Wet" skeptics described below have little voice today. The real central issue is that, during the founding of CSICOP, the dicks took over, and the scientist segment like M. Truzzi either left in disgust, or remained as a minority. Skeptic groups have been non-scientist Martin Gardner/Randi groups ever since. So now it looks like Phil Plait has drawn a line in the sand as gone to stand with the scientists rather than with skeptics. I wonder what the long-term effects will be.

SCI.SKEPTIC newsgroup FAQ
06: Aren't most skeptics just closed-minded bigots?

06.1: Why are skeptics so keen to rubbish fringe ideas?

Skeptics vary on the attitude they take towards a new fringe idea, varying from the "wet" to the "dry". The question of which attitude is better is very much a live issue in the skeptical community. Here is a brief summary of the two extremes:

DRY:
There is no reason to treat these people seriously. Anyone with half an ounce of sense can see that their ideas are completely bogus. Time spent trying to "understand their ideas" and "examine their evidence" beyond that necessary for debunking is wasted time, and life is short. Furthermore, such behavior lends them respectability. If we take them seriously, so will other people. We must ridicule their ideas so that others will see how silly they are. "One belly laugh is worth a thousand syllogisms" (H.L. Mencken, quoted by Martin Gardner).

WET:
If we lay into these people without giving them a fair hearing then we run two risks:
1. We might miss someone who is actually right. History contains many examples.
2. We give them a weapon against us. Ad-hominem attacks and sloppy logic bring us down to their level. If we are truly the rational, scientific people we claim to be then we should ask for their evidence, and then pronounce our considered opinion of it.

The two extremes are perhaps personified by Martin Gardner (dry) and Marcello Truzzi (wet). Note that no particular judgment is attached to these terms. They are just handy labels.

People who read articles by dry skeptics often get the impression that skeptics are as pig-headed as any fundamentalist or stage psychic. I think that this is a valid criticism of some skeptics on the dry end. However, an article which ridicules fringe beliefs may also contain sound logic based on careful investigation. As always, you have to read carefully, distinguish logic from rhetoric, and then make a judgement.
-----------------------------------------------
'Skeptic' does not mean scoffer
'Skeptic' does not mean debunker
'Skeptic' does not mean csicop member
'Skeptic' does not mean Atheist
'Skeptic' does not mean cynic
'Skeptic' does not mean woo-woo-hater
'Skeptic' does not mean anti-paranormalist
'Skeptic' does not even mean self-declared Skeptic
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Re: Phil Plait's Don't Be A Dick talk at TAM8 Now Online

Postby Arouet » 26 Aug 2010, 19:48

Plaitt's comments also don't just apply to the skeptic movement. They apply to anyone.

For example: the anti-skeptics are just as dickish in their attacks on skeptics and should learn the same lessons.
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Re: Phil Plait's Don't Be A Dick talk at TAM8 Now Online

Postby really? » 26 Aug 2010, 22:15

wjbeaty wrote:WOW!



I'd sadly been assuming that Phil Plait's mind was going to be eaten by JREF, same as Shermer's was, same as most any thoughtful compassionate person who starts self-identifying as a Skeptic-type rather than a scientist-type. But Phil noticed it happening, and stepped back and refused to drink that cool-aid.




There's a thread on it there
http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=183179
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Re: Phil Plait's Don't Be A Dick talk at TAM8 Now Online

Postby Fifer » 28 Aug 2010, 17:26

Arouet wrote:Plaitt's comments also don't just apply to the skeptic movement. They apply to anyone.

For example: the anti-skeptics are just as dickish in their attacks on skeptics and should learn the same lessons.


Agreed! Can I ask what an Anti-Sceptic is?

I do not understand why anyone would attack 'real' sceptics as its a magnificent thing to be and to associate with for finding truth and further advancement of knowledge....its Pseudo-Scepticism that is the parasite to all topics of discussion and investigation!
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Re: Phil Plait's Don't Be A Dick talk at TAM8 Now Online

Postby Arouet » 28 Aug 2010, 19:19

Fifer wrote:
Arouet wrote:Plaitt's comments also don't just apply to the skeptic movement. They apply to anyone.

For example: the anti-skeptics are just as dickish in their attacks on skeptics and should learn the same lessons.


Agreed! Can I ask what an Anti-Sceptic is?

I do not understand why anyone would attack 'real' sceptics as its a magnificent thing to be and to associate with for finding truth and further advancement of knowledge....its Pseudo-Scepticism that is the parasite to all topics of discussion and investigation!


perhaps i should have written anti-Skeptics (indicating the skeptic's movement). Thing is, what I've been trying to do here is probe a little further into what - and who - is (are) these pseudo-skeptics. I've started a thread where I've started to go through Scepcop's definitions, one by one. You should stop by that thread and give me your comments (I'm not done my analysis, I do a bit at a time! I'll try and do a couple more today).
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Re: Phil Plait's Don't Be A Dick talk at TAM8 Now Online

Postby Fifer » 28 Aug 2010, 19:29

I will have a look ;) I'm just settling into the information here but hope to get around most posts over the coming days.

Once I find my bearings and look into a few bits and bobs I will be able to comment more fully on topics....as is just now, its all just personal experience and thinking which I hold in the highest regard due to knowing fully for myself through experience process if you catch my drift. This does not mean diddly to other people though unless they too have studies and experience so bare with me :D
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Re: Phil Plait's Don't Be A Dick talk at TAM8 Now Online

Postby wjbeaty » 07 Sep 2010, 16:07

Arouet wrote:Plaitt's comments also don't just apply to the skeptic movement. They apply to anyone.
For example: the anti-skeptics are just as dickish in their attacks on skeptics and should learn the same lessons.


Ad hominem, eh? (the Tu Quoque fallacy: appeal to hypocrisy.) That's the dick problem right there: the shameless use of fallacies. Yes, we all make mistakes; it's the "shameless" that's the real problem.

Basic ethics: keep the high ground, and no matter how bad your opponent's behavior, never lower yourself to their level. If you do, the greater audience will look on you with revulsion, since they're judging your own behavior, and not measuring it relative to your opponent. If you then try to escape their disgust by pulling Tu Quoque, such hypocrisy puts you below your opponent's dickish behavior. What's the cure? How about ...feel ashamed? Publicly admit to having a problem? Public apologies? Decide to make genuine major changes? It's not weakness. It puts you back on the high ground.
-----------------------------------------------
'Skeptic' does not mean scoffer
'Skeptic' does not mean debunker
'Skeptic' does not mean csicop member
'Skeptic' does not mean Atheist
'Skeptic' does not mean cynic
'Skeptic' does not mean woo-woo-hater
'Skeptic' does not mean anti-paranormalist
'Skeptic' does not even mean self-declared Skeptic
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