Questionable Motives

January 3, 2019

What is critical thinking and what does this have to do with my criticisms of GroupThink and the resulting rise of Identity Politics?

Filed under: Uncategorized — tildeb @ 3:20 pm

Image result for images for critical thinking

How we think determines what we think. And this matters if we’re going to collectively turn the tide away from either this totalitarian ideology of GroupThink or its populist response, both of which are equally pernicious and destructive to our Western liberal democratic founding principles.

To understand just how important criticism and critical thinking by every citizen is to our liberal democracies, we need to look at how we think, which I often refer to as a methodology, a means to recognize the framing of issues and concerns all of us face and evaluate how this framing affects what we think. If this interests you at all and you wish to be a part of the solution, then sit back and follow my line of thought… critically!

Developing the tools necessary to think well has been a fundamental building block of ‘modern’ education, meaning the education of the common person by common standards to achieve shared core abilities… like reading, writing, and arithmetic. The way to do this has been to implement what is called ‘curriculum’, meaning a course of study. And all curriculum involved with learning these common standards involves teaching disciplined ways of thinking about how to demonstrate and use these common standards to useful effect.

At the core of disciplined thinking lies critical thinking. People involved in delivering curriculum education have been bombarded with this term for decades under the heading of ‘Best Practices’. For example, understanding how to manipulate quantities in a variety of ways – arithmetic – requires a shared standard of numeracy and all that involves. We typically use a Base10 system where individual names are given to individual quantities starting with nothing and adding a single digit with a unique name all the way to nine. After that, we add a column and repeat. This is a framework, a common standard, that has to be taught because each of us could use whatever Base system we want and have no clue what a named quantity might actually represent in reality. If, for example, I used a Base4 (0,1,2,3, add a column and repeat) and you used a Base10 (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,87,9, add a column and repeat), then my ’10’ would not be the same quantity as your ’10’ (a 10 in Base 4 would be equivalent to a quantity of ‘4’ digit in Base 10) and this is a problem for us because how we think about numeracy and what standards we use determines what we think. Fighting about the results and which one is ‘right’ in the case of using different Bases does not address the real problem caused by using different standards, using different framing. The same is true for critical thinking (and is also true for how we frame viewing our world through an ideology different from another, which I will talk about in a later post). And the core feature of critical thinking is understanding the vital role criticism plays. That is what is lacking in the rise of Identity Politics: not enough critical thinking because there is a general malaise against  accepting the role for legitimate criticism. Criticism has reached the point where it is being widely accepted to be the greatest vice, the greatest social taboo. (“You can’t say that because it’s Illegal! It causes Offense! Causes Hurt Feelings! Causes feeling Unsafe! Causes Hate! Causes Bigotry! Causes me to have to think, and be held accountable for my childish and churlish opinions and we must not allow that to stand!), no matter what is being criticized or how much something may be in need of criticism. Criticizing in public has become like committing a public sin. And there are growing legions of people who agree that such a public sin will not be tolerated with direct sanction.

Promoting critical thinking is supposed to be a central feature of Western education and is supposed to be refined from a public understanding throughout post secondary academics to arrive at a common standard for promoting discerning judgement. So what is ‘critical thinking’ and why raise its decline as an issue worth investigating in the context of the dangerous rise in power and influence of the Regressive/ctrl Left?

The quick answer is that I think there is not just a lack of legitimate criticism of what is going on with the standard of GroupThink (and the pernicious effects it causes when it is being inserted on and imposed into our collective lives) but a paucity for the average ‘educated’ person to pay its social demotion much mind at all.

What does criticism have to do with critical thinking? I hate to have to do this but we’re going to have to back up a second.

The terms ‘criticism’ and ‘critical’ share a common root, kriticos, which means ‘discerning judgement’, as well as kriterion which means ‘standards’. To engage critical thinking etymologically speaking implies the development of discerning judgement based on standards. This raises the next important question of what constitutes appropriate standards and this is where today’s education is a colossal failure.

Because reactive and subjective thinking tends towards narrowness of the immediate concern before us and relies on convenience for its central feature, we know that it is normal and all too human to engage in common fallacies, self-deception (“We must not fool ourselves, and we are the easiest person to fool,” said physicist Richard Feynman), prejudice, and an unwillingness to change opinions in order to justify the judgement we have rushed to embrace. These are all shortcuts to reduce the need to think too much, to be able to react quickly, which is then defended just as quickly and with just as little thought as necessary by rationalizations. Very often, the results are good enough to function in an ever-changing environment. I point out the rationalization aspect because this is a good indicator that little if any critical thinking has actually occurred and so we can catch ourselves when we turn to rationalizations and realize we’ve made this kind of shortcut and so should reduce our confidence in its product because we know we’ve followed the subjective route. (Perhaps my ’10’ and your ’10’ being different in meaning is not a partisan or moral problem at all but a shared failure establishing a common standard first.) Rationalization reveals the need for closer self monitoring because the standard has suddenly shifted. And we first need to get back to a common standard, a standard of merit, of truth value, of descriptive accuracy relative to reality against which the judgement can be independently evaluated and fully equipped with discernment.

How well do these typical and easy shortcut practices actually help us to determine the merit, the truth value, the descriptive accuracy of some idea or action?

Here’s where critical thinking is supposed to make its mark: exercising critical thinking is an intentional and disciplined attempt to form an objective judgement by evaluating BOTH merits and faults of an idea or action independent of our immediate concerns and then allowing reality to arbitrate our final selection. This is much harder to do because it is intentional and requires attention to independent evaluation. This requires discipline of mind. Exercising critical thinking means we intentionally shift our attention away from the reactive judgement we want to form quickly and, instead, insert an objective consideration of both faults and merits of some idea or action. This is how we discern the merits of a judgement independent of our own convenience, biases, and prejudices: by being able to first describe both the strengths and weaknesses, both the faults and merits, of an idea or action in order to try our best to compare and contrast which objective judgement best serves the merit, the truth value, and the descriptive accuracy needed by checking in with reality.

Does my ’10’ and your ’10’ reflect the same quantity that we can then show to each other in reality? No. Reality will indicate two different quantities. We can correct this problem only if we first agree to share a common standard. Reality arbitrates that this is an effective way for both of us to accurately express the meaning of quantities. We can utilize numeracy with common meaning only if we agree to use the same standards.

By using reality to arbitrate our critical thinking means we can be held rationally accountable for the judgement we select. Perhaps you recognize the skeleton of this form of training to establish a shared standard from your own education (all those test questions you faced asking you to demonstrate some ability to ‘compare and contrast’, ‘consider the strengths and weaknesses’, and so on).

Who has time for all that when we face a thousand decisions a day?

This is where education is supposed to play a central role: the training of the mind to utilize discerning judgement quickly and easily using the same standard of merit, of truth value, of reality’s right to arbitrate our beliefs about it, to practice this objective and considered response before our subjective concerns can get in our path and divert us… in the same way a martial artist is trained by disciplined exercises to have the body respond quickly and easily and objectively before our subjective concerns can get in our path and divert us.

What does this have to do with Identity Politics?

The lack of critical thinking has everything to do with the rise of the Regressive/ctrl Left because of the failure of the common person to understand that how we think about social issues determines what we think. We have collectively moved away from using a common standard necessary for critical thinking and replaced the justifications for Identity Politics and all its various ideological grievance handmaidens brimming with feel-good rationalizations that make sense only if we shift away from merit, from truth value, from allowing reality to arbitrate our judgements to create discernment. And the sign post for this is the rise of rationalizations… rationalizations used to justify the opposite of what is said to being supported, such as saying that one must ‘protect’ basic common rights and common freedoms by denying it to selected others… such as  censoring, deplatforming, disinviting, accusation-as-sufficient-grounds-for-dismissal, mobbing and so on against those who try to use critical thinking and criticism as the means to demonstrate the ideology’s lack of merit, its lack of truth value, its refusal to allow reality to arbitrate the rationalizations if unfavourable. The inversion between the stated goals and the means to attain them is another key aspect that reveals GroupThink hard at work.

What we need is to return to the same critical standard and objectively evaluate this GroupThink ideology. How we think really does determine what we think. It’s past time to revisit this maxim and apply it now even after we see the Regressive/ctrl Left’s ideology’s antithesis – populism – take further root where Western secular liberal democracies once were dominant but are now in peril. And that responsibility falls to each and every one of us.

29 Comments »

  1. What’s the reach of the political messaging of the “regressive left” versus the reach of, say, Fox news?

    Comment by The Pink Agendist — January 4, 2019 @ 5:53 am | Reply

    • CNN, MSNBC, The Guardian, The Independent, CBC, HuffingtonPost, Vox, Salon, entire disciplines in post secondary academia…

      Comment by Ashley — January 4, 2019 @ 8:10 am | Reply

      • That doesn’t answer my question. What percentage of the population embraces that ideology versus what percentage of the population embraces other visions?

        Comment by The Pink Agendist — January 4, 2019 @ 9:27 am

      • That wasn’t your question. Go back and read your original question and then re-read my answer. I don’t know what “other visions” you’re talking about.

        Comment by Ashley — January 4, 2019 @ 10:11 am

    • The reach of the Regressive/ctrl Left I think is far more insidious and widespread than people may care to admit because of people’s willingness to commit actions to align with the GroupThink ideology and self censor – as well as act to censor others, of course, because, well, because of potential victims, you see. And this reach is also much more deeply embedded in convincing people – who then are fine with acting in a way that imposes the ideology on others – in surprising areas like math and science and actually affecting what gets published and what does not. This article reveals how the thinking finds a home in surprising places and to what effect; I’ve never encountered the like with those who think Fox News needs the same kind of social protection. But I do notice that many venues for public debate on many controversial social issues – like the recent Munk debate in Toronto – rarely encounter the kind of calls for censorship and exports disturbances and demands for banning from Fox News viewers compared with the same from the growing army of GroupThink ideologues.

      Comment by tildeb — January 4, 2019 @ 8:55 am | Reply

      • Really? How closely have you looked? I know there are *many* school districts in America where talking about homosexuality is completely taboo. Let me give you an interesting example:

        In Alabama : “Classes must emphasise, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offence under the laws of the state.” Alabama State Code § 16-40A-2(c)(8).
        You can read the whole law here: https://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-16-education/al-code-sect-16-40a-2.html

        How does that compare to the regulations on a debate which is essentially a private charity event?

        Comment by The Pink Agendist — January 4, 2019 @ 9:37 am

      • Do you admit there has been improvement in making significant social strides correcting the acceptability of this discriminatory practice over the past 50 years? How has this possible without the rise in the Regressive/ctrl Left? There’s your answer, Pink, and it has everything to do with liberal values in law. The job is not done yet to meet the liberal value of legal dignity and respect for every individual but we’re getting there without the need to censor and silence dissenting voices.

        Comment by tildeb — January 4, 2019 @ 10:47 am

    • Cable News rankings for the year ended 2018 are here:

      https://www.scribd.com/document/396752070/2018-basic-cable-ranker-Total-Viewers

      But MSM rankings are overrated. Social media and online publishers are where it’s at. And according to Newswhip, the top five right-wing Internet publishers (dailywire, westernjournal, breitbart, ijr and dailcaller) each garner more views than the highest ranking top left publisher (theroot).

      http://go.newswhip.com/rs/647-QQK-704/images/Hyper-Partisan%20Final.pdf (p. 11 of 27)

      Comment by Ron — January 4, 2019 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

      • This is why this kind of statistical framing isn’t very helpful… because of a changing media landscape captured viewership with a snapshot doesn’t really reflect what Pink is implying it does: promoting competing ideologies. Just look at the ‘news’ feeds forwarded to viewership by Facebook during the last Presidential election: is the news Right or Left or do we assume the leaning of the platform itself is what counts? How many readers visit sites leaning this way or that to the extent that it affects their ideological leanings? What about the various threads on Twitter, more Left than Right, more Right than Left, and so on. I think suggesting that a regressive/ctrl Left response to counter the influence of Faux News is reasonable is actually not reasonable: I think the response has been a rise in populism that is also highly pernicious when someone like a Trump or Bolsonaro can gain the Presidency. This is the actual response to the rise an implementation of Regressive/ctrl Left ideology and it is not a reasonable one.

        Comment by tildeb — January 4, 2019 @ 5:48 pm

      • Thanks, Ron! That’s what I imagined based on numbers I’d read in different articles, but hadn’t yet seen compared side by side.

        Comment by The Pink Agendist — January 4, 2019 @ 6:07 pm

  2. Where the numbers Ron cited are important are that they completely discredit the myth of information suppression. A requirement of political/ideological censorship/dominance is that they control the majority of the information accessed by the public. Russia has many tv channels (over 3000), but only 3 have countrywide coverage – and Channel 1 is by far the most viewed. So if channels 15 through 25 don’t feature Putin’s speeches live, it would be disingenuous to call what they do “authoritarian” or anti-liberal.
    If one day this mythical regressive left controls the outlets which have the highest readership/viewership, at least 51%, then you (may perhaps) begin to have an argument based on facts.

    Comment by The Pink Agendist — January 5, 2019 @ 11:34 am | Reply

    • The myth of information suppression? I guess it must be the myth – and not academic activists – that is doing this… but in a thousand different ways and to different extents every day throughout academia – both from students and faculty – as well on social media and publishing houses and newspapers and cable television and internet service providers and platforms and so on. The suppression is the rejection of science results – the rejection of math and physics and biology and neurosceince and so on – that might appear to discredit some aspect of the Regressive/ctrl Left Marxist ideology, and we have no problem finding this motivation front and center and is the call for deplatforming, is the call to disinviting, is the censoring, is the disruptions, is the violence, and so on. To pretend this ideological suppression isn’t going on all around us every day but is just a myth is beyond the pale, Pink. This notion is a denial of reality.

      Comment by tildeb — January 5, 2019 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

      • Again, if you ignore the numbers, then you’re not interested in facts, but simply in pushing a political position.
        If there’s “suppression” in the media that’s only viewed by 30% of the public, that means the other 70% more than levels the playing field. The same is true for academia. Each country has different standards and schools of thought – that means that if there’s suppression of, say, gender studies in Saudi Arabia and Iran, that doesn’t have any substantive impact on the field as a whole.
        The idea of sweeping oppression just doesn’t stand up to the lightest scrutiny. And this has been the case historically. When countries with religio-political regimes like Spain and Italy attempted to impose controls, they failed miserably because they couldn’t even control their neighbours.
        That means the very notion of “deplatforming” (a word invented for tribalistic purposes) is ridiculous. Censorship is the prohibition of speech at large, not the restriction of specific types of speech at a specific location. Pretending those two things are one and the same is profoundly dishonest.

        Comment by The Pink Agendist — January 5, 2019 @ 3:35 pm

      • Up to your usual tactics, I see.

        Firstly, the viewership numbers you’re referring to is not synonymous with the “percentage of the population embraces that ideology.” If you want to make that claim, then you go ahead and prove it, Pink. All I said was that “this kind of statistical framing isn’t very helpful… because of a changing media landscape captured viewership with a snapshot doesn’t really reflect what Pink (you) is implying it does: promoting competing ideologies.”

        This is not to say that I’m “ignoring” the numbers. I’m putting their importance in context. Use some critical thinking for a change, please, and correctly identify what I am saying before you run off on one of your usual straw man arguments.

        Secondly, I have never claimed there is a sweeping oppression. What I have said is that there is a growing problem associated with a fascist political ideology coming from the Left based on exactly what you’re doing here: using a framework of GroupThink. This kind of framing does suppress our basic rights and freedoms in a variety of pernicious ways, most importantly by rewarding self censoring. If you wish to talk about this, then fine. But, and again, your strong inclination is to just make shit up that casts what I’m saying in as dishonest a light as possible to begin with and then you run with it… on and on and on as if it counters my points when it does not. These ‘numbers’ for example mean diddly squat to my points.

        For example, not for a moment do you incorporate my actual response to Ron’s comment that YOU raised about Faux News (see how I, too, refer to this supposed ‘news’ organization demonstrating I have little regard to its factual quality… not that you care in your haste to misrepresent me) whatsoever to this next bullshit comment you make. What you do is expand your dishonest framework to then pretend it’s also true in other related fields in a smear tactic against the points raised in the post itself. For example, you couldn’t give a rat’s ass that universities are rapidly expanding ‘diversity offices and officers’ by the hundreds at some larger universities while, at the same time, reducing actual academic areas like Humanities and Arts. To you, this fact isn’t worth anything. But if you actually exercised critical thinking – and had some concern of what an education is supposed to provide – and were curious if there were a growing GroupThink ideology at play at universities, you would at least wonder why this rapid change is happening, why Title IX is contrary in spirit to due process yet widely applied, and understandably grasp that these changes might just be a legitimate concern. But, as I said, you’ve demonstrated over and over you simply don’t care about legitimate concerns or what’s true, nor have any regard for any legitimacy contrary to your ideology.

        Comment by tildeb — January 5, 2019 @ 5:59 pm

      • Are you serious? So first you present the “dangerous rise in power and influence of the Regressive/ctrl Left” as a major and pressing issue – in terms of a cabal that controls academia at large, and now when I show you the numbers don’t support that sort of hysteria, you pretend that’s not your position?

        If there’s no sweeping oppression, and private enterprises are free to tailor their speakers to satisfy their clientele, then this whole narrative is misleading. As is the way you point to my “tactic” as if I’d done anything other than point to verifiable numbers. Meanwhile you’ve been quoting (time and again) Quillette, of all fountains of information. The internet capital of Group Think and confirmation bias. Have you read their entry on Rational Wiki? https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Quillette

        Comment by The Pink Agendist — January 5, 2019 @ 7:01 pm

      • You presume there is, in fact, a direct causal correlation between viewership statistics and a political ideology then transferred by the particular media to the viewers themselves. A causal relationship, whereby the media causes people to support a particular ideology. Although this may have some merit, it is not synonymous with determining “sweeping oppression.” Notice you simply wave away the claim I make that one of the the Regressive/ctrl Left’s most pernicious oppression is by self censoring. Not media, Pink: individuals who are fearful to speak openly. I think – have said all along – that this aspect in particular is what leads to the rise in populism, whereby certain popular politicians gain political power without regard to their knowledge or ability or even suitability to govern… but that people won’t admit to supporting this ‘alternative’ to the usual political landscape. I think this is why polls, for example, (yes, more numbers) are becoming obsolete in providing accurate predictions. When people are too afraid to stand by their opinions publicly for fear of being labeled by social justice warriors as bigots and racists and misogynists but act on them privately, we have a very, very serious problem. Hello Trump. Hello Brexit. When the same fear from the same source influences authorities to act against the rights of individuals in the name of ‘respecting and tolerating diversity’, then we have very, very serious problems. Hello Rotherham. Hello Galloway. Hello Bret Weinstein. This is the list that continues to grow longer and longer and longer. This is the ever growing list that gives rise to the Intellectual Dark Web and the Heterodox Academy because people like you refuse to open your ears and eyes and engage the brain… so set are you in defending the indefensible rise of GroupThink.

        Comment by tildeb — January 5, 2019 @ 7:31 pm

      • In economic theory, consumption is valid evidence of marketing success. That means we can create a line connecting religiopolitical marketing to the successful election of the people who espouse the same messaging. The Trump election, like the Bolsonaro or Salvini elections are evidence of successful “sales” (whether the messaging is fraudulent is another story.)
        The reason your concern is misplaced is it’s an issue that’s been exaggerated by taking a minority issue and portraying it as the general status quo. Something that happens(ed) in maybe 15% of US universities isn’t a reflection of the state of academia at large.
        One could equally point to how a good number of US colleges attempt to control the sex lives of students by banning pre-marital or gay sex (Pepperdine, Brigham Young, even Notre Dame) and use that to demonstrate a pattern. But all one would be able to actually prove is a minority pattern of a limited trend within specific socio-cultural milieus.
        If The Guardian refuses to publish Milo Yiannopolous but Breitbart is willing, where’s the censorship? It’s a myth. Not just a myth but one that mimics almost exactly the oft-used myth of Christian Persecution. Have a look at this: https://www.amazon.fr/Myth-Persecution-Christians-Invented-Martyrdom/dp/0062104551

        Comment by The Pink Agendist — January 6, 2019 @ 9:46 am

      • Well then, it’s a myth of fictional suppression with a growing cost to real people in real life causing real harm. (I wonder what percentage of people can be harmed by this ideology-in-action that you’re comfortable with… 5%? 10%? 99%? I’m sure there is ‘mythical ‘ size of group that in your mind then POOFS! into becoming real people harmed in real life.) So, hey, enjoy this suppression myth in action. Here is a good starting spot.

        Comment by tildeb — January 6, 2019 @ 2:13 pm

      • Here’s the most recent study I can find. I hear this common complaint from both faculty and students almost every day. Fear of offending, of being accused of hate speech, fear of being labeled as racist or bigoted if one even questions the PoMo assumptions slowly replacing honest curriculum in a classroom. And behind this fear sits legislation like Title IX that has been demonstrated to be used specifically to ruin people by anonymous accusation alone… regardless of what’s actually true. That you’re just fine with this is what I think is the greater problem. I guess that makes me an extremist alt-Right classical liberal.

        Comment by tildeb — January 6, 2019 @ 2:26 pm

      • Really? You mean this is new? Students weren’t afraid to disagree with their professors during the McCarthy era? How about during Vietnam? How about discussing homosexuality at religious universities?

        We went from being a society where government imposed thought – we can thank Edward Bernays for that, to a time where there’s a competitive playing field of ideas. I gave the Alabama example in my earlier comment precisely for that reason. To show it’s a competitive playing field of idea framing. On one side you have people trying to ban the word gay, on another there are those trying to ban pre-marital sex, and now there’s yet another minority who wants to change how people communicate. Forty something years ago the women’s movement had their contribution to make; it’s all normal, it’s all part of how society interacts and hopefully progresses. The idea the end is nigh because people protest a cretin like Milo Yiannopolous being invited to a university is ridiculous. The numbers don’t bear any of that out: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/03/16/the-campus-free-speech-crisis-is-a-myth-here-are-the-facts/?utm_term=.45a3d58cf696

        Comment by The Pink Agendist — January 6, 2019 @ 3:31 pm

      • Did you read the FIRE report, Pink? If all this is a myth, then why why do they demonstrate a year over year over year rise in complaints requiring their services, thus presenting the ongoing and growing need for an organization like FIRE – especially in context to the Title IX legislation I keep referring to and you keep ignoring? I mean, seriously, why doesn’t this fact alone that exactly such issues that FIRE reports on raise suspicions in your mind that you’re being fooled into believing that the warnings I raise – that aligns perfectly with FIRE’s condition report – are based on a myth? Far from it. Someone must think it’s worth pursuing, to the tune of 10 million bucks for FIRE.

        Firstly, it’s one thing to say one is in support of some fundamental principle like free speech. Like you, the article you link to presents this information about the large majority of students who say they agree with this principle as if it’s a slam-dunk contrary fact to the claims that the threat against free speech is growing. But hang on: there is also a majority – smaller, to be clear – who say they would support the banning and enforcement against anyone they think is using ‘hate speech’. This means it’s another thing entirely to act in a way that is diametrically opposed to the principle. Yet the majority of students have no problem saying one thing while doing the opposite. Ring any bells? It should.

        Secondly, this is why I did the post on identifying inversion language. This use of opposite language to the actions committed is central to the justifications used for those actions I claim are anti-liberal. Such actions are clearly contrary to the terms used to ‘defend’ them. Why doesn’t this disconnect between language to justify an action and an action opposite to it concern you? Clearly, these actions are anti-liberal! I also said going along with this linguistic substitution that divorces actions from the justifications for them is a good indication of some really poor thinking. We have met the enemy, and it is us. It is the Left going along with actions contrary to liberal values.

        This is why I continue to use the analogy of religious belief, a kind of unwavering faith in the righteous causes of today’s social justice warriors no matter how anti-liberal the actions may in fact be, no matter how contrary to liberal values like free speech the actions may be. This is why I say such a belief is like religious apologetics: I see the same inversion hard at work, the same insistence that reality must comport to the ideology and to attack those who provide contrary evidence. In the case of Peterson, it was standing up to government mandated speech because it was incompatible with free speech, yet defended using the language of free speech opposite to its implementation.

        For example, I find it striking that the same number of students who say they would support the banning of ‘hate speech’ if violence were needed to accomplish that task – in the name of ‘free speech’ and ‘tolerance’ and ‘respect’ and ‘diversity’ and so on – is almost identical to the percentage of British born, university educated Muslims who would support the use of violence to ‘defend’ their religion of peace! This is the kind of disparity I’m trying to point out unsuccessfully to you is what should raise alarm belles in anyone who actually supports classical liberal values… such as free speech. These really are under sustained attack, mostly by people who presume they are ‘defending’ them.

        Thirdly, why not pop over to WEIT and type ‘free speech’ into the Find box. Jerry has amassed quite a few very relevant issues there regarding academia in general. If it’s all a myth, then what’s all the commotion about? Why does he call the Regressive/ctrl Left the Authoritarian Left if it’s all a myth?

        Comment by tildeb — January 6, 2019 @ 8:05 pm

      • I would very much hope complaints to FIRE go up. In fact I both expect and hope for all sorts of complaints regarding forms of discrimination to go up because in the world I grew up in, discrimination and marginalisation were a normal part of life. And you understand percentages, don’t you? If in 2017 there were 19 successful attempts at barring speakers in a total of +4700 schools, how does your emergency over which Jerry Coyne and Sam Harris try to fraudulently portray as a major problem look? You yourself go back and forth. 19 successful attempts in a country with 4700 schools and a population of 325 million people – a substantial percentage of which will never have a college degree.

        As for free speech; along with much of the world I find the American model which allows for fraud, entirely irresponsible. Continental European countries have managed a model which doesn’t allow for fake news, for example, becoming a normal and acceptable part of life.

        By 1945 Karl Popper had already described the necessity of the Paradox of Tolerance in civilised society: “If a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance
        Every citizen should have the right of not being falsely accused of a crime and/or actions which may denigrate their image which they did not commit. When people do that, it is incitement to hatred. When you, or anyone else puts out this fake emergency nonsense, like that children are being forcibly treated to become transexuals, for example, that is fantastically dangerous. And yes, it qualifies squarely as incitement to hatred of that community because it creates a link between being transgender and child abuse.
        In the same vein, when Jerry Coyne or Sam Harris intentionally confuse incidence for causality, they undo the work gay activists have been doing for decades, and validate the anti-gay propaganda the Christian Right has been spreading my entire life. And they do so while promoting a completely false idea of free speech. Coyne bans anyone who disagrees with him from WEIT. Harris blocks people who disagree with him on Twitter. Jordan Peterson is suing not one but three different people for criticising him, and Milo Yiannopolous personally threatened to sue me online after I made fun of his financial woes. Very amusing framework for the definition of free speech this group has.

        Comment by The Pink Agendist — January 7, 2019 @ 5:50 am

      • The myth of information suppression?

        Your assurances that there is such a thing don’t mean much. Again, this is something that needs to be verified.
        The solitary example that you linked to does not appear to be much more that a storm in a tea cup.
        https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/a-retracted-paper-on-sex-differences-ignites-debate-64873

        I get it that you link to people that are the offended parties but their perspective may not be the most accurate. It helps to cross reference with other sources where available.

        …but in a thousand different ways and to different extents every day throughout academia – both from students and faculty…

        Ah, it sounds very big and very insidious. But the bigger and more terrible it is, the bigger the supporting evidence and resulting pushback should be.
        There’s also another problem.
        You didn’t invent the phrase. It’s a phrase that’s long used by pseudoscientists.
        Did a quick google of the term and very quick found this. You know who Duesberg is, right?

        This is bad. This is not the first time I have mentioned to you that you are adopting terminology wholesale from the fringe.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 5, 2019 @ 11:08 pm

      • Meanwhile you’ve been quoting (time and again) Quillette, of all fountains of information. The internet capital of Group Think and confirmation bias.

        Wait a moment. That name is familiar to me.

        You are wrong, Cedric, and your analogy couldn’t be more skewed because it’s good science – in areas like genetics, neuroscience, and statistics – that is being vilified and sometimes suppressed as well their authors vilified and sanctioned. And the examples are always growing in number. If you’re the least bit interested, then stop shrugging and start researching. Quillette is a good starting point.

        At the time, tildeb mentioned this, I didn’t think much of it. I’d never heard of it before.

        Have you read their entry on Rational Wiki?

        Actually no. I have found Rational Wiki to be a very useful source over the years. Should have checked with them before.

        (reads the entry)

        Ah.
        Oh.
        Well, that explains where “intellectual dark web” reference right off the bat.

        How long have you been mainlining this shit? I asked you before where all this stuff is coming from. Is this Quillete thing your main source? Is that it?
        Or is this the tip of the iceberg?

        It’s not just your terminology that the same. It’s your sources of information.
        You just broke Scopie’s Law.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 5, 2019 @ 11:24 pm

      • I wish your comment was simply funny, Cedric, but it’s actually quite sad.

        Check out the terminology on rationalWiki: it’s straight out of the grievance study dictionary and relies on this nebulous lingo. By definition, if you publish or support or read or listen to something written or performed by someone who criticizes the Regressive/ctrl Left’s cherished mantras of GroupThink, of GroupThink’s supposed divine right to determine what is and is not true, you are a bigot/racist/misogynist/alt-Right shill (it’s the Blasphemy Rule in a different guise, you see). Period. What you actually say or perform and the reasons for these doesn’t matter because what’s true doesn’t matter to the ideologically committed True Believers.

        Peterson’s hard line stance against Bill C-16, for example, that legalizes state punishments if one dares to use an ‘incorrect’ pronoun and then prosecuted under the guise of it being ‘hate speech’ is what he’s famous for. Yeah, standing on the principle of free speech (mandated speech, by definition because this seems to need explaining to the woken, is not free; it’s mandated, duh) is so extreme these days.

        All the accusations of being an alt-Right supporter by standing up for classical liberal values in law follows every classical liberal who does so as surely as night follows day. People like Sam Harris. People like Bret Weinstein. People like Dave Rubin and Joe Rogan. People like that famous alt-Right activist Stephen Pinker and his oh-so-fascist sidekick Jonathan Haidt (and let’s not forget almost all comedians who refuse to perform at universities and colleges… but let’s not call the reasons for not performing any kind of social ‘suppression’ on campuses whatever we do because, well, because someone’s feelings might get hurt and that is simply intolerable because alt-Right! Alt-Right!) and the rest of the alt-Right gang at the Heterodox Academy.

        You continue to insist I must be some lone lunatic fringe voice. It doesn’t matter to you how many names I provide to counter this false accusation you maintain.You’re never going to read any of them anyway because you already know that whatever they may say only counts because you demand I must quote them to you or you can dismiss all them all. Just. Like. That. I’ve been reading them for many, many years so I am well aware of the common complaint they have against the rise of influence by the Regressive/ctrl Left.

        Good grief. Maybe it’s time for you to to wake up from being so chronically woke. This entry at rationalWiki is simply a hatchet job carried out by a terribly obvious fallacy, namely, accusation by association. It’s really poorly done for anyone who has actually read the source material they throw in as if it supports their criticisms when, in fact, it doesn’t. It just appears that way to the ignorant and the stupid. Because Quillette (it’s only a few years old but has found a starved audience that pays out of pocket for these issues) has dared to publish articles contrary to the demand for self censorship in so many controversial areas, it must be an alt Right organization and so should be dismissed as such. Imagine actually reading responses by those accused as being alt-Right shills and maybe even those with ‘controversial’ ideas contrary to the ideology! Why, it’s almost like allowing others to listen to Steve Bannon speak publicly about the rise in political populism in an organized debate. We just shouldn’t tolerate anything like this but shut it down, organize a boycott, demand he be disinvited. Imagining listening to someone with whom you disagree. It’s got to be some kind of crime. Alt-Right! Alt-Right!

        You’ve swallowed this smear job as if it were an accurate and independent portrayal when it’s actually the opposite and then rushed ahead presuming you have discovered some fountain of biased information I use when the opposite is in fact true. I have been warning about the rise of this idiocy for over two decades because I actually have read and listened to many diverse voices. That’s how I know the rise of the Regressive/ctrl Left is a very, very serious problem… it’s both real and true. The terminology from your reference gives away the ideological framing. And you’ve missed this blatant clue entirely. What’s the matter with your brain?

        Seriously, Cedric, you’ve got to get your brain back into gear; it’s slipping badly and these obvious fallacies, these obvious framed issues using only GroupThink terminology, does not criticize any and all points I raise but in fact demonstrates the problem here: you seem unable (or more likely simply unwilling) to recognize poor critical reasoning and ideological framing when it is so blatant. Wake the fuck up, already.

        Comment by tildeb — January 6, 2019 @ 12:58 am

      • Check out the terminology on rationalWiki:

        I did. I rely routinely on Rational Wiki. They have an excellent rep with me. If they say something is badly screwed up then that I listen very carefully.
        Any reasonable person would.

        “it’s straight out of the grievance study dictionary and relies on this nebulous lingo.”

        You are the one using nebulous lingo. You can’t seem to help yourself. There’s no such thing as “grievance studies”. Look it up. Nobody’s using the term except the creators.
        It’s not a thing.

        Peterson’s…

        I don’t actually know anything about him. Never heard of him before.
        (…googles…)
        He’s a climate change denier.
        I can’t even…
        Ah shit. What are you doing? This just keeps getting worse and worse.

        You continue to insist I must be some lone lunatic fringe voice. It doesn’t matter to you how many names I provide to counter this false accusation you maintain.

        I’m not asking you to name drop. I’m asking you for verification. Sources. And you brought up Quilette as something concrete.
        So I googled it (admittedly belatedly) and found it was in Crazytown.
        If you’ve got a better source than this, then name it. I’m not asking you to wave your hands in the air and just throw names around.

        You’re never going to read any of them anyway because you already know that whatever they may say only counts because you demand I must quote them to you or you can dismiss all them all.

        Oh my eyes. Why are you writing this way? You never used to.

        I’ve been reading them for many, many years…

        All I’ve got is a vague reference to Quilette.

        Good grief. Maybe it’s time for you to to wake up from being so chronically woke.

        I’m ‘woke’?
        (..googles…)
        Ok, that gave me a chuckle. I have never been accused of being ‘woke’ before.
        But I dig where you are coming from, man. I feel your vibe. I just don’t pat with that cat. It’s not really my bag. It’s not something I would consider to be groovy.

        This entry at rationalWiki is simply a hatchet job carried out by a terribly obvious fallacy, namely, accusation by association.

        I haven’t noticed them doing this before. It doesn’t really seem like they would start doing that sort of thing over this one thing. It’s a source that I have used successfully for years now. Specifically, against creationists and climate change deniers.

        It just appears that way to the ignorant and the stupid.

        That’s convenient.

        Because Quillette (it’s only a few years old but has found a starved audience that pays out of pocket for these issues)…

        Is that a polite way of saying that it’s fringe and there’s no other sources?

        it must be an alt Right organization and so should be dismissed as such.

        Well, how much do you actually know about the founder of Quillete and are any of your sources possibly, maybe, perhaps….just a tiny bit..alt-right?

        When we re-established contact not so long ago on a couple of post previous to this one, I said..

        “14.Glad to see you’ve not abandoned your blog.
        But this Bannon thing?
        It surprises me.
        (…briefly scans down the page…)
        “Me too”?
        “Southern poverty law center”?
        “Social justice warriors?

        Where did this all come from?
        Kinda surprised. Never seen you post like this before.”

        So…there’s Quillette. Ok. Is there another source in the same vein that you are really into?

        You’ve swallowed this smear job…

        Yes. I like Rational Wiki. I’ve liked Rational Wiki for years now. I use them frequently in my friendly discussions with the kook community. You know this.
        You’ve probably seen me do this yourself in real-time.
        Just to get ahead of the curve, I also use potholer54 videos and the TalkOrigins Index of Creationist claims.

        I actually have read and listened to many diverse voices.

        Anybody can claim that. Even a climate denier. What’s important is the sources that you actually get around to using. That’s where the metal meets the meat.
        Plus, and this is a very important point, the sources that you use have to complement what you are saying as opposed to you using respectable sources as a crutch when you’ve got no business doing so.
        Climate deniers will frequently slyly link to NASA over a specific photo or obscure data release.
        They are not doing with honest intentions.

        That’s how I know the rise of the Regressive/ctrl Left is a very, very serious problem… it’s both real and true. The terminology from your reference gives away the ideological framing. And you’ve missed this blatant clue entirely. What’s the matter with your brain?

        It’s not about me. How many times do I have to be patient and clear with you about this?
        I’m happy to work with the assumption that I’m wrong about this thing whatever that you see.
        Maybe you are right. Maybe.
        Maybe I don’t have the depth of understanding that you do. Maybe you see oh-so-much clearer than I do?
        Ok.
        But…gonna need more than your say so. I’m really going to have to insist on some verification. Supporting sources of information that are independent from you that echo your outrage.
        So far, there’s……quilette.

        Then I google quilette on Rational Wiki (thanks to The Pink Agendist) and find out some really ugly stuff about them.

        Now I get that you dispute their assessment. But Rational Wiki has a really good rep. Especially with me.

        If you’ve got any other sources that speak for you on this issue, now would be a good time to mention them. You do have other, better sources right?

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 6, 2019 @ 2:31 am

  3. “I rely routinely non Rationalwiki.”

    I do believe I’ve discovered the source of the problem.

    Comment by Ashley — January 6, 2019 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

  4. BTW, title IX legislation is what’s protected LGBT students time and again from the discrimination promoted by the Christian right. In fact asking for exemption is one of the factors taken into account before a college makes it onto the shame list: https://www.campuspride.org/shamelist/

    Comment by The Pink Agendist — January 7, 2019 @ 7:12 am | Reply

  5. Hi tildeb. I would rather do this privately but I don’t have contact details for you.
    I was wondering if you’re going to the Quillette meet up later this month?
    If so, let me know. Maybe we can catch up.

    Comment by Ashley — January 7, 2019 @ 11:32 am | Reply


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