Is SciFo a science forum?

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by DaveC426913, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Is this the official stance? (Or did I misread it?)

    Because if so, a large portion of us should really stop using 'This is a science forum" as a counter-argument to various forms of non-science woo.

    Matter of fact, now that this is part of the public record, members who contribute woo and crank can feel free to use it as a defense.

    This is precedent-setting. The answer to this will profoundly affect site contribution.
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  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    All I can say is I hope JamesR answers to this post.
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  5. birch Valued Senior Member

    at the top of the forum, the largest is the science section so its mostly a science forum.
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  7. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    Nah... its just sarcasm.!!!

    Keep in mind that Tiassa answrs to James R... an you have never herd James R spout that kind of sillyness.!!!
  8. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    Why would it not being a science forum preclude people from having to make sense and to back up what they say? A newspaper isn't a science journal, but--in theory, at least--they aren't supposed to publish unsubstantiated nonsense.
  9. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    I never viewed Tiassa as being the "Science Guy" of sciforums, and don't believe he has ever pretended to be one.

    My thought is that the site is more than just a science forum. The site title seems more a remnant of the site's original intent than what the site actually is. If it were to stay true to what the site name promises, the forums would be trimmed down to only science based topics. But it would lose, possibly, a large portion of its traffic. However, I might be wrong and it might gain more traffic.
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    It's a long story, but Sciforums, as near as I can tell, hasn't been a "science site" for over a decade.

    Start with the idea that some abstract we want a science site, but also need to be "fair".

    Now, then: What does that mean?

    It's over a decade later, and I still cannot tell you.

    We have throughout that period bent over backwards to fulfill a bizarre notion of "fair" that basically involves lowering standards for certain blocs, perspectives, or argumentative ranges. Throwing bones, cutting breaks. Once upon a time, your browser title would read, "Sciforums - Intelligent Community". That was a long, long time ago.

    Over the years, we used to refer to this idea, and I would sometimes refer to "The Company", the firm that owns Sciforums, because we've never really known what they want of us, so we've never really been able to be useful to them. At the same time, the idea of a "science site", or "rational argument", or a weird phrase that came up a few years ago about the defining aspect of Sciforums being its overriding respect for the scientific method, turns out to be ... eh ... not so much.

    So, here's one of the problems with that phrasing: If it ain't hard science, then apparently anything goes. This was never quite explicit, and neither is it entirely correct, but that's sort of what it means to be "fair". The idea, of course, ought to be apparent to anyone who recalls the Colbert joke about reality having a well-known left-leaning bias; it will continue to, as well, until the left is actually in charge. Which is part of the joke, but also a digression if we keep chasing that rabbit.

    The bias, though, is why it's not entirely correct. One of the results is that we're constantly backing up and bending over for bad behavior. Consider the question of reality as bias, and the question of rational discourse according to a story I told in another thread↗:

    A moderator wrote a political post denouncing Mexicans for being an army that was invading the United States and stealing jobs and economy from good, decent Americans. (You know, because we born Americans are just lining up for the privilege of that awesome job picking strawberries the rest of the world would prefer to not allow on their shelves for the dangerous manner in which they are grown.) Someone picked apart the racist tropes, explaining why they were racist. The moderator, elevated specifically for his political outlook—increasing conservative representation because, you know, we need to be "fair"—struck the post criticizing his own and instituted an unwritten rule that accusing racism is off limits for being ad-hom. As far as I know it was never enforced again.

    The fundamental argument was that it is okay to attack ethnic groups as such, but not okay to accuse those attacks improper for their superstitious and ethnic focus. The advice from on high was to settle it between ourselves; the rule was never enforced again, but the action and principle allowed to stand.

    We used to actually have a rule against saying stuff like "sheeple" and "AmeriKKKans", among other such denigrating language, but once upon a time we had this right winger who liked going off about Mooslums and such, and posted right-wing conspiracism and yelled at sheeple, so we didn't enforce the rule, and eventually did away with it.

    Fair: So, someone accuses brutality in war. Someone responds that if you invade their home, they'll fight back, too. The one complains that the other threatened. The posts are reviewed, the complaint is dismissed. The complaining poster is incensed and continues disrupting other discussions complaining until he is issued an infraction. Another authority steps in and issues an infraction against the "threat" in order to be "fair". Let us be clear: In order to establish naked threat, we must ignore the preceding discourse and eliminate one half of an if/then statement. Naturally, the other was offended, and said so. The issuing authority demanded an apology and threatened a thirty day ban. The apology was not forthcoming; the thirty day suspension was issued. Bottom line: We rewrote the English language in order to go after a member someone didn't like, because a right-winger complained.

    Over the years these fights have cost the staff; we've seen friends quit and leave over some of it. But the whole time there is a back and forth between important rigor like making certain to strike an if clause in order to establish appearance of threat as pretense for disciplinary action, and the fact that it's just a website and everyone needs to chill out when it comes to figuring out why such things happen.

    And it always works one way.

    There was a point about three or so years ago when a particular issue came to a head, and as we started dealing with appearances of targeted harassment, one member declared his intention to continue behaving as such, having no less than five times refused to acknowledge the content of his own posts, and was thus banned.

    That one ended up in a staff riot, but there are two points in there relevant to the line I've dropped on you. One is that it is whence originates a phrasing I've used on and off since then, about the defining aspect of Sciforums. It is also part of the beginnning of an arc that is especially symbolic, all things considered.

    Because for years, when we appealed for advice, what we were told was to abide the rules and hierarchy and settle it ourselves. And when stuff gets out of hand, the question is frequently why certain things weren't done. After fighting tooth and nail over a ban for harassment, and then seeing a new, one-time rule implemented specifically to undercut moderation specifically in order to protect willful sexual harassment—triggering a bitter and costly dispute—it seemed clear that certain issues were to be referred up the ladder. So the response was that if you couldn't discuss certain issues without trolls, think twice about discussing those issues. When we had actual disciplinary problems, the eventual pattern was that the administration would sigh at being dragged into it, ask a couple questions, and then perform the ban that any of us could have issued, but for the history of pushback.

    Some of it, of course, is general mod drama. And some of it is particular to our own bedlam.

    Because all of this leads to a period and episode you might recall, Dave, from last year, a thread on misogyny in which latecomers blew everything that was flaming over into open rhetorical warfare. You and I had already done rounds a few times in that one, and shortly after everything blew up in that thread the last time there was a very unfortunate discussion behind the scenes, and I should note that James R was not involved, which is important because, for our purposes, we can fast forward a little while and certain of his remarks in analysis of complaints about white supremacism set me off, and I rained a certain amount of fire and hell all over the place, and namely on James R.

    And it was in the fallout from that, at the end of last year, as I thrashed and mocked the bit about the scientific method that, well, you know, it turns out ... kind of not so much a defining aspect per se as something of an aspiration. That, if I write my own punch line, we never really get around to trying for.

    And in truth, part of why I haven't really been saying much on this count is that I'm uncertain what to actually do. I have a policy idea involving explicit obligation to good faith, as that, really, seems the problem.

    That is to say, if we look at the prejudicial and other seemingly abusive speech that was in question, we had a couple theses to consider. One is that, being more enlightened, we cannot be so judgmental as to forbid something merely because we do not like it. I would, to this point, agree that if you're wondering at the absence of "science" or "objective" or "rational" in that thesis, the lack turns out to be important, so, yes, you've probably noticed something important. Because what people need to do, then, is argue it out in the thread, see? Especially since they are enlightened and shouldn't be so judgmental. This proposition, however, presumes the extremist participates in good faith.

    The other says that if we forbid such speech, we will only empower it, and that's why Donald Trump was elected. No, seriously, shite thee not.

    So ... okay, alongside the misogyny thread was one about rape culture. And that one is a powerful example because just how believable is the proposition that one goes out of their way to educate themselves about a subject and is utterly unable to find any proper source material, only YouTubers telling them what is wrong with the subject?

    At some point it starts looking like the whole point is to go through such cycles, in order to normalize certain political irrationality. Which, in turn, sounds silly, but that's the thing. This is why Sciforums is not a science site. This range of superstition is what the variability and flexibility is for.

    As a policy matter, it's a question of good faith. What that means is a bit more complex. It's one thing to recount these unfortunate histories, and quite another to know what to do, next.

    And it's easy enough for me to make this sound like it's about, say, James R, but he's just another player in orbit around this weird principle that, apparently, refuses under any circumstance to be identified because to speak its name would be to gravely insult anyone near even its shadow.

    This notion, though, to be "fair", has long been mysterious. The word does not seem to mean what we think it means, and explaining what we know about what it means is uncertain.
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    So, where is the threshold that triggers SciFo owners to step in?
    How vigilant are they to the mods trying to enforce what the mods think is the right thing to do?

    I get the strong impression there is a general complaint about a lack of guidance and direction from owners - but that door wings both ways.
    Hypothetically, what if mods guided the forum in a given direction - would the owners know? Would they take action?
    I'm not trying to suggest anything here; I'm simply trying to sort out what - to me - seems to be a paradox. If they're relatively quiet about feedback, then how does enforcement from on-high actually occur?
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    A General You

    It is further worth noting that, since this particular bit about a science site, we have apparently either settled some questions of authority and hierarchy or set them airborne and just sort of let it fall aside.

    The truth of the matter is that we have cultivated, over the course of years, a strong irrational sector, and Birch offers a nearly perfect setup:

    Like I said, if it ain't hard science, apparently anything goes. Personally, I find the presupposition that there are no objective standards problematic. As we Americans, and many of our neighbors around the world, decry and dispute notions of "fake news", there are actually real facts.

    They're not always fun, but they are real facts. Here is one: Texas Republicans recently passed and signed into law a bill that is most infamous for its implications toward state agents sending suspected queers to sexual corrective therapy, but it also empowers them to force raped minors to have babies.

    Now, how we feel about that is an opinion, to be certain, but when the counterpoint is about religious freedom, we come back to a basic, objective truth, that superior is not equal. At the end of the day, religious freedom should not have victims; this, too, is an opinion. But how can one person's religious freedom override another's? And why is this the circumstance these Christians require?

    And this is the same shit that has been going on in my society since before I was born: What? I can't force that kid over there to pray like I tell him to pray? Waaaaah! You're not letting me praaaaaaay!

    Can we all see the logical leap? Or would anyone like to explain, through logical discourse regarding rational values, how not being allowed to force another to perform an action is the same as being forbidden oneself from performing that action?

    Without politics, inasmuch as possible, since it's all politics in its way: As it happens, sometimes I come home from being somewhere by driving on a particular highway; this intersects with an interstate junction, namely a 405 loop off I-5. As it happens, breaking west to 5 north or east on 405 north gets me home in about the same time. Some days. You know. Traffic. Anyway, if I can't force you to drive your car the same way I'm going, then how have you prevented me from driving my car the way I choose? I submit that what you have violated is my "right" to force you to follow the route I demand.

    And, I don't know, I guess that counts as an opinion, but the fact remains that in order for my "right" to drive the way I want to be fulfilled, as such, the argument holds that you also must follow the route I demand. That part seems objective. Wait, what? What is objective? It is an observable and objective fact that the argument presented would require, as a matter of our equal right to drive the route we choose, that others be limited to the route I demand, else I am somehow being forbidden to drive the route I choose.​

    And if that sounds really illogical, well, that is kind of the point. For whatever reason, that kind of objectivity is considered somehow subjective. And there are reasons why people behave this way; there is an easy appeal to benefit in this manner of relativism.

    (Nor am I surprised, thirty years later, though I admit it did take some getting used to, that the stodgy old conservatives were right about moral relativism and the danger to society; those grumpy old men described well the world they built, and their inheritors have proven the point. Historically, it is not a certain range of ideas that caused the problem though, but the self-centered, neurotic reactions of stodgy traditionalism to the well-recognized biases of reality.)​

    Trying to get people to attend those functional differences might well emerge as one of the defining psychomoral challenges of our time.

    Because if there are plenty of cookies, then the fact that I cannot force you to eat a sugar cookie instead of a chocolate chip cookie does not in any way mean you have prevented me from eating a sugar cookie. And complaining that you're violating my freedom by eating a chocolate chip cookie when you already have every right to eat a sugar cookie, honestly, I can't believe that after all these years I'm stooping to this manner of patronizing explanation, but, yes, playing the one-side-of-the-story game, equivocating because it's all just opinion and anecdote, anyway, and if it's not a physical science or math itself, then there is no fact, is precisely how we buried the prospect of a "science site".

    As to the official stance? In truth, it's whatever it was before I said that, which means it is whatever it's been for a long time, which in turn means I have no idea, nobody ever answered the question clearly.

    This all has been a long-festering something irritating us over the years. But James R and I avoid fighting these days by just not saying much to each other, and part of the challenge is accepting how differently we see history, though part of moving forward is accepting the implications of those different views.

    The temptation is that there opens within that matrix of ideas a route for swift and brutal corrective action because, hell, it turns out the reasons we were putting up with all this shit and just yelling at people in the threads in the first place never really were. Which, of course is one of those sticky, tricky implications we've never really worked out.

    Suffice to say, I've been trying to not say much about it because I don't have any real solution forward; a good-faith rule is all a nice idea and everything, but what does it mean?

    That's why we never do anything about intellectual dishonesty, because who is to say what's really dishonest compared to an earnest fallacy? And I know that sounds silly, but we've traveled that path before, too.

    Quite honestly, if I did to General Relativity what some people do to history? I mean, seriously, okay, so, start with the question of what's this general relativity thing? Okay, so I looked it up, and everything was a bunch of YouTubers explaining how Einstein was wrong. How long are you going to put up with that? And then when the next one steps up and posts rehashes of the same material, and then the next?

    Seriously, how long are you going to put up with that while being force-fed sugar cookies while being stuck in traffic because you're not allowed to drive the other route?

    But at the same time, what happens if we just clear all that out?

    That is to say, who and what is left?

    And that's always been the standard for why not.

    Figuring out where to go next is ... yeah.

    Because as far as who remains is concerned, maybe there would, in that circumstance, be a reason. Let us try politics, since that is what this whole concession orbits: Are we not permitting conservative argument, or is there no sufficient conservative argument?

    Look at how much of what passes for conservatism at Sciforums over the years really does have to do with supremacism. So if, for instance, the policy results in a lack of ufo enthusiasts, is it that we're actually forbidding ufology, or that nobody can manage to discuss it without preaching conspiracism? And if the policy results in a lack of supremacism in general, how is that a bad thing?

    Of course, we're a little late for such outcomes; we've cultivated supremacism, and will always have a steady supply as long as we treat everything that isn't a hard science as if it is utterly relative and without foundation. And maybe that's the problem; maybe when we tanked the standard, this is what the market had to offer. That is to say, maybe when we chose this version of "fair" over objective, rational, and scientific standards, these were the market sector that remained willing to participate. You know, a complete circumstantial accident, which ... yeah, there's a version of this all by which it really is just a morbid comedy of misunderstandings over the course of years.
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    I am uncertain how to answer the question, so I'll grab one at random:

    • In truth, we never were certain what the specific point of action was, because we were uncertain who was actually complaining, but late last year it appears one of the trolls who kept complaining of slander and libel whenever people called out their fallacies managed to rattle the Administration, so it would appear the threshold has something to do with law and liability concerns. The staff held their ground, and that was the last we heard of the issue. (For some of us it was also the last time we heard from the Company.)​

    Depends on the method.

    For instance, to imply mixed signals, there was in all this disagreement on staff a question about differentiation of rank and the significance thereof, but in a later issue we faced a different implication.

    To consider the arc I mentioned starting about three years ago: Though the staff had been repeatedly quashed on a particular issue, James R apparently had no idea why we were coming to him for resolutions, and thus his apparent glib attitude toward the problem only exacerbated our frustrations. The bottom line is that when it comes to dealing with certain issues, the staff expects actual pushback. When we get undercut enough, we eventually take the hint.

    Something about mixed signals. The difference was a lack of differentiation on one occasion, and appearance of flexing authority on another.

    There is a particular lack of guidance, to be certain. But there is also active pressure.

    We came up against the question earlier this year; the owners would eventually find out and they may or may not take action. The relationship between site owners and the community is mysterious, as I've noted. There were at least three arguments in play at the time: One for action; one from assertion of integrity that viewed the call to action as too broad; and one that essentially pointed out how violating the enumerated procedure as such might get someone dismissed from duty.

    That, however, sounds more sinister than it really needs. In the end we can at least try calling our own convention. I think the point is that we can try making our rules as we see fit, but are expected to generally abide by them. That is to say, the reason it is unusual to just up and permaban people is that we have a fifty-five day process in place for doing that, and are expected to adhere.

    But you might have noticed a couple people disappeared abruptly earlier this year because, well, they needed to be gone; the reason that trend did not continue, of course, is that it is inappropriate. If we wish to establish a protocol for that outcome, however, that would either test enforcement on high or not.

    But there is also the point of actually giving a damn about principle. You can look around and though your list of who you might imagine I would throw is probably longer than the actual list, but still, you get the point. The fact such people are still here makes a certain point, but, really, noting that we're not the tyrants everyone pretends we are is kind of useless right now.

    Think about it, though: By guarding against self-interest, some moderators allow wrong things to happen because it turns out other moderators just don't have a problem with certain behavior, so nobody ends up dealing with a particular issue; we've had plenty of that in the past.

    I can't tell you, for instance, how different it is before and after Windsor, even more so Obergefell. I look back at time spent arguing with a particular homophobe with a determined penchant for dehumanization and it seems absolutely absurd that we should have put up with it, but like many ideas, these were mainstream; to banish them would have been to expel the majority of the society at the time. It made a lot more sense, then; that's just how things went. But, you know, that's the thing about traditionalism. The main effect of all this subjectivity has been the empowerment of supremacism and stupidity, but we might also look at it according to the prospect that while I'm not throwing out a troll for the appearance of vested interest, some others weren't because they were okay with the supremacism. There was a time when someone else with vested interest finally acted because, well, it just needed to happen, and the troll was shocked and enraged. Eventually I advised the staff that I intended to participate in the moderation, and that caused one of our fellows to quit and riot on his way out the door.

    And it's kind of weird if we let it get to us, because one of the constants as we've wavered hither and yon on policy issues is that we always have an excuse for keeping this stuff around. Let's see, attack the idea and teach them what's wrong. Or, you know, at least they're an example of how ridiculous it is. Or, how about, we can't just get rid of stuff we don't like. Or, how about, come on, do you really want to make him sad.

    Okay, that last is a bit off, but it's a complicated explanation about telling someone they can never ever post here again compared to the number of people who just sock up and try again.

    But, yeah, we've been through worrying about the feelings of the extremists, before. We've tried it all, over the years; the bottom line is that for some reason we have managed to deliberately cultivate antisocial behavior.
  14. birch Valued Senior Member

    you are blowing this way out of proportion. much of what is outside of hard science doesn't have a fundamental foundation and if that were the case, people wouldn't be debating or having differing points of view. this is because, generally, there are a lot more differences between people. all that can be used is some critical reasoning skills but the variables are often unknown or incomplete which is why there are false conclusions on either side and also why different members add different variables to add to the discussion to consider that another didn't or were unaware of. it is a 'process' not something to be horrified by because it's imperfect along the way. that is the whole point of having discussions.

    and what is everyone upset about anyways? have you missed the point, tiassa? this site has chased away or banned such members as MR with the ufology that isn't backed up with concrete evidence (with the equally stupid but feigned horror by the opposite camp that there is some magical means to muster it up using logical argument) and GIA with his/her atypical and apparently inflammatory views on religion so now you have the scientists or fledging (rightly so) to post in the requisite section and the rest of the members who post along the conventional line, not that it even means they have anymore critical thinking skills or brains than the ones who were banned or chased away but it's acceptable because they draw within the lines and it's recognizably commonplace, so therefore acceptable. that's this site's only real criteria (decorum and tired party lines) to not be banned or didn't you know?

    much of the complaints from some members seem to center around the fringe subfora and those who post mainly in those sections. for some odd reason, just the idea of those posting in those sections not adhering to the strict standards of hard science (which is nearly impossible to do to those exacting standards) seems to really bother some members. they just can't look away like it's a glaring accident and just post in the hard science section they complain so incessantly that they desire. strange?

    so maybe the site should just get rid of that section and most of those who are not here for the hard science mostly or who post in fringe would go away. that's just impartial logic in that your most valued members are the proponents of hard science. that's a very simple solution since you won't need to ban anyone as the lack of a subfora will automatically get rid of a certain demographic. of course, the site will also lose some aspect but it seems most of your members are interested in either just science or prefer the "dull and mainstream rhetoric" versus what they consider 'woo' because reading convention is so much more stimulating and healthy for the mind and less dangerous than the 'woo' which has yet to be substantiated. not my opinion but it seems to be the general consensus.

    it's pretty obvious your fringe section should go as that is not as important as the members who contribute more to the science section if it came to that as the only solution. the fact being that really none of your main members (except for one who is gone and occasional passers-by) actually start 'topics' in that section, they just reply peeved at the section itself and those who have tried go away not really welcomed naturally because the members are not really interested in these subjects, otherwise they would have been topic starters to begin with. has the moderators not noticed that?

    the 'supremacism' you refer to is also directed at the fringe section and most members who 'reply' in those sections do so to hammer the scientific method when it just can't apply to speculative ideas and where all variables and facts are unknown.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  15. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member


    (bolding mine.)

    (bolding mine.)

    The implication here seems pretty clear to me: if it's not "science" then it is, presumably, utterly relative and without foundation. I mean, woo and crank, yeah, sure. But when reading a newspaper, if you come across something which is simply factually incorrect, you don't say, "well, this isn't a science journal."
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  16. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    And you would be correct - in true scientific publications, such factually incorrect information gets pointed out, with the relevant data points to show why it is incorrect, and the publication issues a correction. No hurt fee-fee's, no drama, and the facts reign supreme.

    The issue here at SciFo is that, in a number of cases, you can present solid facts until the inevitable heat death of the universe, and certain member will simply ignore them, say they are wrong, or otherwise handwave them away in favor of simply restating their original, flawed proposition.

    This is intellectual dishonesty at its most basic, and is called out as unacceptable in our site rules; that said, several times we have been bent over a railing and told to give special consideration to those members for... well, reasons that are not and never have been made clear to us. My best guess is simply that, because those same members also tend to post gratuitously and in high quantity (though often with little regard for quality), they are given a pass because, well, lets face it - more posts = more traffic, more traffic = more advertising revenue (supposedly - though adblock and other such addons are a wonderful thing), and this would seem to be a business after all.

    Much like how in the US, money speaks louder than laws...
    Hipparchia likes this.
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Irony: Your opinion becomes precisely meaningless, and not simply for being uninformed.

    Functional question: If you're wrong even when you're right because someone in charge intends to throw someone else a bone, what is the point of participating? Therein lies the aspect you seem to be ignoring.

    Remember, your point relies on the proposition that if everyone saw things your way there wouldn't be a problem. This is one of the great fallacies of all time, and we all have a version of it.

    Part of the point is being weary of the "science site" line when I've known for almost a year that it is explicitly untrue. Meanwhile, people ask questions; we try to answer them, and and here comes the misanthrope to lead with self-centered complaint.

    So here's part of the difference we're talking about: Your post, to the one, is no big deal as far as being offensive or anything like that. But as it is your post becomes utterly pointless, regardless of any opinion I might or not have, simply because—you guessed it—it's not hard science.

    Clearly you have:

    Your crusade here is apparently subordinate to your misanthropy. Seriously, Birch, someone invoked the "science site" line as some manner of self-righteous this or that about what's wrong with Sciforums. And, yes, while there are technical issues to address, the idea that this is some manner of "science site" has nothing to do with that fact.

    So for people who have no real commitment to anything, it's true the problem might seem obscure. But you also have any number of people behaving according to particular convention over the course of years when it turns out said convention was, apparently, never true. As I said↗, I was a bit surprised, too, but what do they or anyone else matter to you?

    There are a few notes there:

    (1) Surrender to fallacious dichotomy

    (2) Impartial logic

    (3) Presumption of value assignment​

    In other words, you're kind of wrong.

    The question of getting rid of certain sections has long existed. The fallacious dichotomy is the lack of objectivity about things that aren't hard science.

    For instance:

    ▸ That the U.S. Constitution (a) exists and (b) says what it says is a fact of history.

    ▸ What "the Framers meant" is often a matter of opinion.

    ▸ Sometimes what they said is a matter of record: You're making it hard for the government to convict a criminal? It is supposed to be hard.

    ↳ Consider the Equal Protection Clause. There is no section that says people only get their equal protection after passing a test, like becoming a police officer. Sometimes the difference between opinion and fact can be important. For instance, if the hard science says a person is dead, and that another person caused it, and our response is that it would be wrong to charge someone does it matter why or why not?.​

    We can say the same thing about the Bible, to the point that yes, it is fair to reject from the realm of rational argument that the Second Coming of Christ will feature Jesus with an AR-15.

    I'll even use the Bible as example about the historical record saying what it says, just like the Constitution. There is a verse in Luke about grinding the serpent beneath Christ's heel. That the Bible says this and attributes it to Jesus is essentially a matter of fact about which we can quibble on matters of form and syntax simply because our version is translated. That Jesus refers to himself is a matter of record. That this means the modern Christian should follow in Christ's footsteps by harming other people is an opinion not reflected in the record. That the Christians I have known who tried the line as justification for divinely empowered cruelty must necessarily omit parts of the Bible and Christ's ministry in which the record is clear about the follower's obligations, in order that they might defy their proclaimed Lord, is actually a matter of fact.

    In a world where these things have no fundamental foundation, there is no point in discussing things at all; that is to say, the words no longer have any meaning.

    No, seriously, if words have no consistent meaning, there is no point to discussing anything.

    Consider Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA18). Why did he resign? Adultery? Abortion? Why would we say that's wrong? Why would we oppress his Christian faith that way? How dare we treat him so poorly! (Wait, what did we do?) But this is costing him his job when it shouldn't. After all, calling out his adultery is oppressing his rights as a Christian.

    Ask me how that last works; I don't know, because nobody ever explained it because nobody ever felt the need. We have no idea how it works, but as long as enough people want the discussion to go that way, that's how it will go.

    But there are facts. We know what the Bible says, for instance. And we know what the Constitution says. There are a lot of opinions about what it means, but the fact remains that according to the Christian rules the complaining Kim Davis was also a serial adulterer and therefore by her own standard her own marriage was invalid.

    The problem at Sciforums is that since it's not a hard science, the outlook has always been to doubt the idea of applicable reality. And the more data points we find on this aspect over time, the more clearly it looks like the point is to present a "scientific" or somehow knowledgeable façade while preserving fanatacism.

    I can recall an episode in which it came down to whether or not it is appropriate to redefine something in order to make the criticism against it easier, which was even funnier since the inappropriate redefinition was ostensibly asserted in defense of rational propriety. That is to say, at Sciforums it is presently too much to ask that anyone actually know anything about what they criticize or complain about or whatever. Well, you know, as long as it's not a hard science.

    Generally speaking, people retain and protect this wiggle room for particular reasons, and very few of them are actually good in the sense of useful, though plenty can be called good if we limit our definition of goodness to prospects of personal gratification.

    Meanwhile, the question remains: Is the problem that we forbid certain discourse, or that there are no sufficient advocates owing to a marketplace dearth of some sort? To wit, I used to discuss religion a lot, but since nobody's actually up for discussing anything compared to evangelizing, there comes a point where participation is futile. I actually have a soft spot for ufos, ghosts, and other such stuff in the world, but there are no avenues here for responsible discourse. Much like religion, the field is dominated by a mix of blind-preacher advocates and jealous science-ish poseurs.

    We have rules against preaching; it's kind of hard to enforce them when there are no definitions, because then even the observably false is true.

    Thanks for that, by the way. Add up enough of that sort of impetus and now we have a pretty good view of one of the major factors in play, which is, essentially, that other people are generally unsatisfactory to other people.

    And what your self-righteousness overlooks is years of conventional behavior. Staff have given years of their time to certain notions, and members have spent years participating according to those conventions, and it turns out they were never true.

    Proportion? What's so difficult? It's only so simple if we pretend it is. You didn't want to think about other people, so you didn't. And preserving that sloth as some manner of valid argument is the sort of self-interest that fuels appeals to relativism.

    But DaveC's topic inquiry is not wrong. A lot of people invested a lot of energy, for reasons apparently never true.
    Dywyddyr likes this.
  18. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    O the drama that must occur in the outhouse "mod forum"... lol.!!!

    We dont have to experience it except for when it spills into the forum... thank God.!!!

    The 3 step process for success:::

    Step 1 --- All mods are free to express ther opinions to ther superiors in administration... ultimately James R determines the direction of Sciforums... mods make a good faith atempt to foller that direction... if they cant or wont... they will no longer be a mod.!!!

    Step 2 --- Keep it simple stoopid an foller step 1

    In Concluson:::

    I trust James Rs judgment to make Sciforums even more successful than it is... but the mods must be suportive.!!!
  19. birch Valued Senior Member

    pot/kettle. your fuking points are also relativist and so are the majority member's posts when outside of hard science which result in debate. almost everyone's points are relativist outside of hard science. you are not even reasoning logically because you underestimate my intelligence and are being 'slothfully' condescending. you aren't even in any position of knowledge or ability to accurately and especially realistically evaluate a person of self-interest/narcissism, sociopathy, misanthropy etc. for one, you are too inexperienced obviously because the number one aspect of those who are truly of self-interest is they act with decorum in public foremost so you can't tell them apart from the rest and that includes online so your shallow evaluations are meaningless. for instance, my stepfather who is a pedophile, rapist, narcissist sociopath abuser/beater and pathological liar would never post like me in public nor air their dirty laundry or in any way make posts that would make them appear less than an acceptable, nice and noble citizen nor his wife or my uncle who is a pedophile or his wife who is a thief etc. fitting in and respect of the public is A-number one priority. you idiot! touche!

    here is your real issue with me: lack of decorum. don't pretend it's anything else or self-righteousness or misanthropy bs etc. it is simply you don't like the way i post which is often crudely presented, especially lately. it's obvious also you are making this a personal issue as what does misanthropy have anything to do with the points i made? nothing so focus on the point, not on me or your personal opinions of me which i don't care.

    interesting, that was a long-winded repeat of what is obviously a problem according to the members that complain who are valued and favored for the crux of this site's intent, science. don't pretend that isn't the case as that is not even an issue of contention even with me. the members who complain obviously do not want a fringe section at all and you are muddling the issue as more complicated than it is, besides the lame argument that others do not always agree on fundamental issues which is on the level of a child complaining to their parents that someone on the playground is unlike them, so make them disappear. so instead of tackling the issue, you just bully and infract members who are marginalized in a corner and will eventually react negatively, but never solving the issue.

    if this forum has gone astray, it's the moderators and administration fault and not the members fault, especially the banned members. you are insinuating blame on the participants when it's the moderators responsibility to steer the forum. the problem is either you straddle the middle without being able to reconcile contradictory focus or you cowtow to the members majority wishes or you lose them.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
    Hipparchia likes this.
  20. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    And that is precisely why certain problem children are no longer around

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    The majority of forum posters want there to be some accountability and some decorum. This habit some of our neighbors have of posting whatever crosses their mind as "fact" when they have nothing to back it and plenty of evidence against it, and then repeatedly stating their idea as "fact" in the face of overwhelming evidence, is a key reason why several of our brightest members have left.
  21. birch Valued Senior Member

    no, the crank posters you banned but MR was banned because video evidence was considered not concrete and this resulted in frustration and resentment on his part where he ended up being uncivil being defensive. GIA was banned because his views were too controversial even if his/her main point was simply to shine a flashlight on the problem areas of religion which evidently your bright bulbs were not too bright to get where he was coming from.
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Without speaking for the mods, I think it's safe to say that

    "... MR was banned because ... [snipped rationalization] ... he ended up being uncivil..."
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Really? When was that?

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