Arguments to Avoid

The place to ask questions about the basic values of Atheism Plus, feminism and social justice.

Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby Stephen T » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:59 am

I don't think anything in there invalidates a man's feelings about real threats that are in the news every year. are you just meaning to talk a numbers game, here, or did I miss the argument?

It's not meant to invalidate a man's feelings. But as ischemgeek said above, SR is saying that society is set up so that women have no choice but to view each man with wary suspicion because the consequences of trusting a dangerous man are so much greater than mistrusting a safe one.

This is what Sun Countess wrote on the Schroedinger's Rapist thread

Let me list some of the things that I worry about that my husband and brothers don't have to worry about:

What neighborhoods I go to.
What routes I have to walk or drive.
What time of day I go out.
Whether or not I walk alone, with a dog, with at least one other person, or with at least two other people.
What time of day, and in what neighborhoods I drive my car.
How much gas is in my car so that I don't risk having to stop at a gas station after dark.
What clothing I wear, especially if it's nighttime.
Where I park my car.
What transit stops I use, even if that means taking a longer way home.
Where to sit on the bus or train.
Trying to make the call whether the stairs or elevator would be less risky to use.


Which leads us to your men/men, men/women, women/women examples. Yes, men get attacked by men, by women, and women by women. But if you're a man, you don't spend the same time, effort or concern on your personal safety as women do. And again, SR isn't blaming men, or trying to make men feel guilty. It's saying this is what women have to go through, all the time. (If you're male, how many of Sun Goddess's list actually apply to you.)

If that's still not clear, can I suggest that you go back to the SR thread and follow it from the start - the OP there expressed similar concerns, and there's a lot more info than I can condense into one post. Then ask your question there if you need to. (It's 1am here...)

Plus we're really derailing this thread, which is to find examples, rather than unpack them. (That's not to say that the examples can't be challenged, just not here.)
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby GodSlayer » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:22 am

Stephen T wrote:
I don't think anything in there invalidates a man's feelings about real threats that are in the news every year. are you just meaning to talk a numbers game, here, or did I miss the argument?

It's not meant to invalidate a man's feelings. But as ischemgeek said above, SR is saying that society is set up so that women have no choice but to view each man with wary suspicion because the consequences of trusting a dangerous man are so much greater than mistrusting a safe one.

which is all I'm saying about the alt. Schrodingers.

Stephen T wrote:Which leads us to your men/men, men/women, women/women examples. Yes, men get attacked by men, by women, and women by women. But if you're a man, you don't spend the same time, effort or concern on your personal safety as women do.

which is why I followed up asking if it's just a numbers game, such that a non-feminist can dismiss a woman's concerns in the same fashion, saying 'still not often enough, sorry', using your own argument against you.


This is what Sun Countess wrote on the Schroedinger's Rapist thread
Let me list some of the things that I worry about that my husband and brothers don't have to worry about:

What neighborhoods I go to.
What routes I have to walk or drive.
What time of day I go out.
Whether or not I walk alone, with a dog, with at least one other person, or with at least two other people.
What time of day, and in what neighborhoods I drive my car.
How much gas is in my car so that I don't risk having to stop at a gas station after dark.
What clothing I wear, especially if it's nighttime.
Where I park my car.
What transit stops I use, even if that means taking a longer way home.
Where to sit on the bus or train.
Trying to make the call whether the stairs or elevator would be less risky to use.

I'm quite surprised that they would claim they don't have to worry about that. though, I guess maybe you guys live in a concealed carry state or something. in my country, a guy isn't even allowed to carry a knife (which, being outlawed, means only the outlaws have weapons).
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby Grimalkin » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:22 am

piegasm wrote:"Every use of the words "man", "men", "male", etc. must necessarily refer to every man who was ever born and ever will be born therefore any statement which contains any of those words or any variation thereof and is not complementary is sexist."

I've actually seen men attempt to argue that they cannot possibly be expected to understand that a statement which doesn't describe them is not directed at them unless the speaker/writer explicitly declares that they're only speaking to those who fit the description. Formally this is the fallacy of affirming the consequent.


I came to this thread specifically to point this out. Goddamn is it annoying. "You didn't use the word 'some' and therefor even after clarification your entire point is invalidated"

You did a better job than I would have explaining why this is an issue though, my reasoning is just "What a fucking ridiculous thing to infer from what I said, goddamn." ;)

(And nice point including "...and is not complementary" in there. Never quite see this argument used till a feefee gets hurt...)
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby Stephen T » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:05 pm

Godslayer.
It's called Schroedinger's rapist, not Schroedinger's murderer. If you're a man, and you manage to stay out of prison, your chance of being raped is significantly less than a woman's. Here's a thought experiment. Think of a man who is concerned about being sexually assaulted. Now rewrite SR as if it were written by a man. Post it on a blog. Do you really think men are going to come forward in their hundreds saying, 'yes, that's exactly what my life is like?' You're talking about violence against men. SR is talking about rape and sexual assault. One of these things is not like the other.

edited for missing apostrophe :)
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby Timely Tim » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:15 pm

Arguments to avoid? I'd tell you but.....
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby ischemgeek » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:53 am

"I don't want to dismiss your experience, but [proceeds to dismiss your experience]."

That ones just dismissive and insensitive, and frankly, I think the first half of the sentence should go right up there with "I'm not a sexist, but" as a big red warning flag that you should stop talking right now and think about how to articulate what you want to say in a non-harmful way.

"Your experiences as a person without privilege do not coincide with my preconceived notions as a person with privilege and so you're either wrong about your experiences or lying."

A variation on the above, with isms thrown in for good fun. If someone's experiences do not work with your preconceived notions on an area where you have zero personal experience, chances are it's your beliefs that are wrong, not their experiences.
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby piegasm » Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:50 pm

ischemgeek wrote:"I don't want to dismiss your experience, but [proceeds to dismiss your experience]."

That ones just dismissive and insensitive, and frankly, I think the first half of the sentence should go right up there with "I'm not a sexist, but" as a big red warning flag that you should stop talking right now and think about how to articulate what you want to say in a non-harmful way.

"Your experiences as a person without privilege do not coincide with my preconceived notions as a person with privilege and so you're either wrong about your experiences or lying."

A variation on the above, with isms thrown in for good fun. If someone's experiences do not work with your preconceived notions on an area where you have zero personal experience, chances are it's your beliefs that are wrong, not their experiences.


I second this one. If you feel the need to preface your statement with some disclaimer which is clearly meant to preemptively silence any hostile reactions you might get, it's time to stop and think about where that hostility comes from and consider the possibility that said hostility is justified.
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby Setar » Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:37 pm

"There is no unified message."
There is, you just keep moving the goalposts as to what "unified message" actually means.

"groupthink" / "us vs them mentality" / "party line" / "you don't accept people who disagree" / etc
This argument has been bandied about since Egate. It's long past its time to be taken seriously. In fact, I don't know of any good reasons why this shouldn't just be a ban on sight; can we name one person who has made this argument that hasn't been eventually banned for shitting all over the place?
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby maiforpeace » Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:59 pm

ischemgeek wrote:"I don't want to dismiss your experience, but [proceeds to dismiss your experience]."

That ones just dismissive and insensitive, and frankly, I think the first half of the sentence should go right up there with "I'm not a sexist, but" as a big red warning flag that you should stop talking right now and think about how to articulate what you want to say in a non-harmful way.

"Your experiences as a person without privilege do not coincide with my preconceived notions as a person with privilege and so you're either wrong about your experiences or lying."

A variation on the above, with isms thrown in for good fun. If someone's experiences do not work with your preconceived notions on an area where you have zero personal experience, chances are it's your beliefs that are wrong, not their experiences.


This argument is a manifestation of trivializing and/or minimizing - I wonder if it would be helpful to start another thread that targets the behaviors behind the arguments? Do we have a thread like that already?
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby SubMor » Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:40 pm

I'll happily edit any such threads into this one. Open-ended invitation to all: feel free to post additions here (or PM me if you're more comfortable with that).
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby firefly4f4 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:25 pm

Schrodinger's Criminal isn't saying that blacks are evil nasty potential criminals, nor is it trying to shame blacks for being black, nor is it trying to relegate blacks to second-class status by demonizing them. It's not a statement on the nature of blacks, it's saying that society is set up so that whites have no choice but to view each black with wary suspicion because the consequences of trusting a dangerous blacks are so much greater than mistrusting a safe one. Not just that the dangerous black might rob us, but also the social fallout of ineffective law enforcement, victim-blaming, stigmatization, etc.

IE: "Schrodinger's Criminal" says "This is a problem," not "Blacks are evil and whites should be afraid of them." It's a "this is how the world is" statement, not "this is how blacks are."


I'm sorry, but the "Schrodinger's Rapist" reasoning fails for the exact same reasons the above modified one fails.

It's also the same type of reasoning that some street preachers (example below) use as an excuse for saying that women should dress in burkas, etc, and fails for exactly the same reason as well.

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/16/muslim-street-cleric-wants-to-protect-canadian-women-from-sex-assault-by-forcing-them-to-cover-up

If the point is it's a terrible argument and should never be used, fine. If the point is that THIS is the justification for the argument, then you really need to reconsider what you're saying because it is a highly unsound argument.
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby Flewellyn » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:38 pm

The reason that doesn't work, firefly4f4, is because you've reversed the power gradient.

Black people have less power in society than white people do, therefor fearing them is unreasonable and bigoted. On the other hand, men have more power in society than women do, therefor fearing them is entirely reasonable and not bigoted.

That's the difference.
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby firefly4f4 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:49 pm

And I entirely disagree. You can put "Police" in there using the same type of logic -- they have power, we don't, therefore we should on the whole distrust them because some of them abuse it. It's a ridiculous and flawed argument, and -- as I pointed out -- the logic behind the Schrodinger's Rapist is the exact same type of logic used by the Muslim cleric in the link -- ie, "women should dress less respectfully so that men aren't tempted to rape them, because some men can't be trusted".

I don't support his arguments for the same reason, and therefore it fails for the same reason. You are missing my point and throwing out red herrings.

(edit)
I also think the phrasing as it is in the thread detracts from the original purpose -- which is essentially just advice for men along the general lines, "Don't approach a woman you don't know if she's in a vulnerable position (alone, cornered, etc)" To be clear, THAT is damn good advice, but the phrasing of the argument in defence is just bad.
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby Flewellyn » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:03 pm

Well, given the state of police culture in the US right now, I think it's entirely reasonable for people to fear them. Especially minorities. You familiar with the phrase "driving while black"?
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby firefly4f4 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:08 pm

Are you even going to address the fact that it's the same argument used by the cleric, or are you going to deny that as well?
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby Stephen T » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:25 pm

I'm guessing you didn't actually read this thread. Or Schroedinger's rapist itself. As was said on the other thread, SR isn't an 'ought', it's an 'is'. It isn't 'giving advice to women' like your Muslim cleric, it's describing what women have to go through, every day, to keep themselves safe.
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby piegasm » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:52 pm

firefly4f4 wrote:Are you even going to address the fact that it's the same argument used by the cleric, or are you going to deny that as well?


It's not the same argument. Schroedinger's Rapist says nothing other than "women have no way to know if you're a rapist or not until you attempt to rape them (or not) when given the opportunity." It's just an appeal to men to recognize and acknowledge that rapists do not have "rapist" tatooed across their foreheads and to please consider how your actions appear to women. Your cleric is saying "it's entirely womens' responsibility to not get raped."
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby SubMor » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:52 am

I've updated the initial post with some newer resources. (See if you can spot the changes!) As always, suggested additions are most welcome!
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby ischemgeek » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:45 am

Any argument that involves comparing people to objects, property, things, livestock or non-sapient animals. I can't believe we've had to actually discuss this one in depth, but we have, so I'll go into it here, I guess. In short, it's dehumanizing. If you can't phrase your argument in a way that accepts the personhood of the people you're talking about, that should tell you there's something seriously wrong with your thought process.
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby irkthepurists » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:21 pm

"groupthink" / "us vs them mentality" / "party line" / "you don't accept people who disagree" / etc.
[list]Participation is voluntary. The only "them" would be 1) would-be theocrats or 2) people who are willfully bigoted. If you don't fall into either of these categories, you are not our "them." As to "not accepting people who disagree," why would we want to accept theocrats or bigots?


This is the one I was ruminating on earlier, and I remain unclear about it.

If I genuinely and sincerely believed that, for example, misandry was as big a problem as misogyny (I don't, incidentally, but let's suppose I did), and I argued my position in good faith with total intellectual honesty - ie, without any condescension or trolldom - would my views still not be welcome here?
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby piegasm » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:50 pm

irkthepurists wrote:
"groupthink" / "us vs them mentality" / "party line" / "you don't accept people who disagree" / etc.
[list]Participation is voluntary. The only "them" would be 1) would-be theocrats or 2) people who are willfully bigoted. If you don't fall into either of these categories, you are not our "them." As to "not accepting people who disagree," why would we want to accept theocrats or bigots?


This is the one I was ruminating on earlier, and I remain unclear about it.

If I genuinely and sincerely believed that, for example, misandry was as big a problem as misogyny (I don't, incidentally, but let's suppose I did), and I argued my position in good faith with total intellectual honesty - ie, without any condescension or trolldom - would my views still not be welcome here?


What does arguing an opposing view with complete intellectual honesty have to do with being a theocrat or a bigot?
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby Garnet » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:04 am

Argument to avoid: Atheism + is divisive because...well, BECAUSE IT IS.
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby Flewellyn » Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:47 am

irkthepurists wrote:This is the one I was ruminating on earlier, and I remain unclear about it.

If I genuinely and sincerely believed that, for example, misandry was as big a problem as misogyny (I don't, incidentally, but let's suppose I did), and I argued my position in good faith with total intellectual honesty - ie, without any condescension or trolldom - would my views still not be welcome here?


Consider reality: it's not possible for someone who is informed about the way our society works, to hold such a belief in good faith and with intellectual honesty.
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby eNeMeE » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:25 am

irkthepurists wrote:
"groupthink" / "us vs them mentality" / "party line" / "you don't accept people who disagree" / etc.
[list]Participation is voluntary. The only "them" would be 1) would-be theocrats or 2) people who are willfully bigoted. If you don't fall into either of these categories, you are not our "them." As to "not accepting people who disagree," why would we want to accept theocrats or bigots?


This is the one I was ruminating on earlier, and I remain unclear about it.

If I genuinely and sincerely believed that, for example, misandry was as big a problem as misogyny (I don't, incidentally, but let's suppose I did), and I argued my position in good faith with total intellectual honesty - ie, without any condescension or trolldom - would my views still not be welcome here?

That would be fine, to my mind - so long as you were willing to change those views in the face of evidence and weren't hurt by the fact that people here may end up being very curt, since you would not have done your background reading.
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Re: Arguments to Avoid

Postby DownSonder » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:19 am

Here's one that I think would fit under a few of those arguments.

Psychologist's Fallacy (William James, Principles of Psychology volume I. chapter vii. p. 196, 1890)

'The Psychologist's Fallacy.' The great snare of the psychologist is the confusion of his own standpoint with that of the mental fact about which he is making his report. I shall hereafter call this the 'psychologist's fallacy' par excellence. For some of the mischief, here too, language is to blame. The psychologist, as we remarked above (p. 183), stands outside of the mental state he speaks of. Both itself and its object are objects for him. Now when it is a cognitive state (percept, thought, concept, etc.), he ordinarily has no other way of naming it than as the thought, percept, etc., of that object. He himself, meanwhile, knowing the self-same object in his way, gets easily led to suppose that the thought, which is of it, knows it in the same way in which he knows it, although this is often very far from being the case.


Or put simply, presupposing the universality of your own perspective. "I would love to be catcalled, so I don't understand why you women say you hate it so much. You must be lying, and secretly love it."

I think this one can go both ways, actually. I was completely and utterly shocked that someone like Dawkins would write that "Dear Muslima" letter, and equate a terrifying experience with the annoyance of having to hear someone chewing gum for a few minutes. But that's because I assumed he would have understood how terrifying that experience could be for a woman, which was immediately obvious to me, based on my own experiences. However, I now think it's a case of him putting himself in that situation and viewing it from his perspective, without understanding how it would feel so threatening for a woman.
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