Is SciFo a science forum?

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

  1. birch Valued Senior Member

    what IS really silly is with all the worse problems in the world and this site and some members are up in arms over ufo's and paranormal videos/pics. at least it's less mindnumbing and far more interesting than endless cat pics and gifs and definitely no worse than dull one or two liners just to nod agree/disagree which is hardly a more worthy contribution which this forum is also littered with. at least ufo videos/pics and paranormal stories is somewhat interesting, amusing or stirs curiousity.

    so what? it is harmless because everyone knows/aware it's all speculative. it just adds an interesting diversion which is a little more interesting because it's open for speculation as possibility whereas art/culture section we all know is totally fiction. and even SILLIER is the administration takes those complaints so seriously. omg, someone wasn't backing up ufology with real evidence, the world will quit spinning and minds will be seriously damaged. absolutely not. there are far worse areas even in this forum where reading incorrect info could do far worse actual damage.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
    Magical Realist likes this.
  2. Guest Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Bells Staff Member

    You might ask: Why kill the magic? Not everything needs to be explained by science. Yet misinformation of this kind can be harmful. For example, in a recent study, I found that merely exposing people to a 2-minute conspiracy video clip significantly decreases acceptance of science, civic engagement, and overall pro-social inclinations. I call this the “conspiracy-effect”. Although I did not measure cognitive style, non-reflective thinkers may be especially vulnerable to such misinformation. Similarly, the French research team notes that non-reflective individuals may be vulnerable to scams. Indeed, millions of dollars are made every year by people who (falsely) claim that they can read your mind or talk to deceased family members.

    You might believe that everyone knows or is aware that it is all speculative. But not everyone who posts this kind of content there does know or is aware of this.

    Which is where the problem with some who post in the Fringe section comes from. If those few who post there knew or were aware that it was speculative, it would not be an issue at all.
    exchemist likes this.
  4. Guest Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    That is a really good and interesting article. Thanks for the link, Bells.
  6. Guest Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Consider a market dynamic. If nobody wishes to stand up in the middle of all this and advocate irrationality, then nobody else will have that aspect to focus on, respond to, or make such decisions about.

    So let us, then, revisit the point:

    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?


    Sadly, Sciforums has a particular polcy prejudice evident over the years; it can become relevant if we wish, and it eventually will, or we can pretend to ignore it for a moment, since everyone else already is.

    Thus, if I have three Christians who show up at Sciforums, at what point do we expect any sort of integrity? I dropped a line about Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA18), that calling out his adultery is oppressing his rights as a Christian, and the point of that is to illustrate the problem. If people wish to invoke a label and demand consequence, such labels ought not be arbitrary. Clearly, we're not including in his identity as Christian some obscure right to adultery. And to what degree, for our purposes, does religion license what? To what degree does any label license what? If an argument is fallacious, then an argument is fallacious, and no alt-label will change that. Appealing to Christianity or patriotism or whatever else won't change it. If the peepee tape rumor proves true, Donald Trump will obviously try some manner of complaint about how he is the victim, but one thing he will not be able to say is that someone has violated his rights as a Christian. That is to say, whether you're Donald Trump, who appears to merely swindle Christians, Tim Murphy, who apparently cannot reconcile his Christianity to his humanity, or Josh Duggar, who has the appearance of being a dangerously predatory pervert, it will be a dubious prospect to assert Christianity as a shield against criticism for adultery. (I wonder how it works as defense for identity theft?)

    But, honestly, if these hypothetical Christians were of such disposition as to post literal rape advocacy, white supremacism, and genocide, their so-called "Christianity" would not be the reason they were thrown out.

    The same thing with ufology. Look, if the point is just to preach personal opinions and make fallacious demands without regard to reality, so be it.

    That you wish to have a different discussion entirely is what it is, but having you make shit up in order to distract from other issues is actually the sort of problematic that leaves other people expecting that they will bother caring about whatever it is you're on about sometime in the future when it feels relevant to them.

    We're now having a more detailed discussion of ufology because you wanted it. So, you know, I'm going to skip out on the word silly and assert that what is really stupid is that with all the worse problems in the world and this site, this is what you want us to be wasting our time on.

    But you're also right about one thing. I'm sorry about saying "misanthropy"; I think back on all those posts you've written about what's wrong with people and the hopelessness of the world, and I now recognize that it was my mistake to find misanthropy by taking those posts at face value; what I should have done was be like so much of the world that I actually don't like and tell you to stop your goddamn selfish whining. Or, more directly, yeah, there are a lot of people here and elsewhere that get the point that the world is kind of a sucky place as we humans have made it, and yes, we get that it is perfectly human for such feelings to permeate one's expression, so in the moment we might ask you to transcend that perpetual patina sufficiently to pick a useful direction for that impetus.

    (When it comes to that exasperated sense of what the fuck is wrong with people in this fucked up fuckity-fuck world, I and many others sympathize; as to the moment, no, it's not so much a lack of fucking decorum. I mean, please, for fuck-all sake, I thought we were all pretty clear about the tacit point that, generally speaking, basic fucking lack of decorum is not something I get to complain about very much. However, the lack of decorum, as such, should you or I or anyone else choose to so construe, that I might protest or disdain shows sullen presumption and projection from ignorance. And in terms of that sense of why other people are so fucked up, and that sense of what the holy living fuck is going on around here, yes, you'll find plenty of people on that page with you; but the part about uninformed projection for the sake of feeling better about yourself, not everyone can follow you there.)​

    We're talking about general behavior as relates to subject matter; you're on about personal issues. There's only so much the rest of us can get from that, since the primary value is self-directed.

    But that's the thing; sometimes members just commit themselves to a course, and, you know, it's their own choice to follow that course or try something different.

    And we can try saying the same about the staff in the larger question except it's not quite true except now it kind of is, or something approximately like that. Or maybe it always was, but there are enough disagreements about history that there isn't much left for fact about how we got here other than in the question of what it means to pursue some manner of a science site while guarding in order to be fair without any real definition of that fairness we have arrived at a point where there just isn't much left to discuss owing to the number of special accommodations we need to make in order to create a safe space for fallacy.

    Remember, also, that Sciforums started out as Exosci, intending to discuss issues large and small within the realm of science and the science of things not yet known, like the final answers of cosmology including questions of deity. The whole idea, inasmuch as there ever was any other than trying to make an interesting website for a university computer science program, was to discuss and transcend base preaching. It's hard to explain, today, so I'll paraphrase my brother. We both come from a time when the adoption of email at work was no sweat because we were waiting on that kind of technology, but the rise of the internet in '95-96 had him giddy, looking forward to a new era of arts and letters. It didn't quite work out that way, but we all learned a great deal about human nature, market dynamics, and behavioral economics—which just won a Nobel prize, for whatever that's worth to anyone—as communicative standards plummeted and workplaces scrambled to avoid actual style sheets while pleading with employees to not use netspeak shorthand in official company communication.

    So, yeah, as pretentious as it sounds, the new sophistry a lot of people were expecting—and arguably never really arrived—has something to do with the origins of Sciforums.

    To the other, the atheistic supremacism of those old days is almost embarrassing to recall. We ... I mean, I suppose the bit a few years ago when someone tried to redefine religion in order to facilitate the critique isn't surprising, or at least shouldn't be, in its context; we've had a mean streak of that around here almost from the outset. Talk about the triumph of the rational; it was quite easy to vanquish the dusty, socially retarded Christian evangelism evolving the way of the dodo during the transitional years between, say, IE and Netscape, to the one, and, for Americans, 9/11 at the other end. No, really, it was Samhain; we harvested bad theology as if for sport. Not only was it fun, but some of us learned a lot.

    Meanwhile there is always a point to be had about some people deciding to venture down to Fringe for a lark, but we also come back to an obvious point, which is that there is more data than any one person in particular sees. And, in the end, whether this moderator deals with this science-ish poseur on a lark, or that fringer boasts to a moderator that it's all intentional bullshit, is something those moderators have to deal with, your projections don't change, and in the end have little to do with the problem of applying the scientific method "when it just can't apply to speculative ideas and where all variables and facts are unknown" (#11↑). Once again, you summarize the problem.

    Yes, the Fringe subfora exist as a place to put such subject matter in order to keep it from mucking up scientific discourse. Just like the Cesspool originated as a place to dump stuff out of circulation without destroying or mangling the historical record.

    But that doesn't mean preaching and baiting and dumbing down. I personally don't believe responsible discussion of the fortean is either impossible or doomed to self-superior curmudgeonist litanies lacking any useful imagination. To the other, kind of like I don't believe religious and theological discourse is inherently limited to utterly moronic evangelism, there are corners of the marketplace I learned to generally stay away from a long time ago. The problem isn't that such topics are somehow forbidden, but come on—really?—is that the best the marketplace has to offer?
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    A Note on #59↑ Above

    (Originally stricken as a large, unwieldy paragraph when the post ran in excess of the ten thousand character limit.)​

    And here is an interesting question about hard science: If it happens to overlap with one's critique of religion, with physics and mathematics being exemplary of rational discourse, is there value in simplifying the critique by expelling what is not hard science because then one need not attend, say, the psychoanalyic meaning of history, which in turn will find validation and refinement to a more scientific thesis in behavioral economics? (Hint: It is problematic in other ways; if we discard consideration of historically-established and -derived definitions in favor of something simpler for the sake of politics, we will fail to apply reliable behavioral analyses simply because a phenomenon no longer fits our newly-constricted definition. Hell, there are times when apply literary analysis to history can be useful. Trimming to the hard sciences is a bad idea. Destabilizing the record with bullshit for the sake of a prejudice against subjectivity is likewise a bad idea; some would probably find it helpful in this case to dismiss what isn't a hard science, because then the neurotic conflicts driving self-disruptive behavior are out of bounds. I would suggest it's astonishing how this works, except it isn't; human beings have been at it the whole time, and we have yet as a species to select past it. And yes, we're in a rabbit hole at that point, and it might as well be Mandelbrot. Then again, it is the Sciforums experience that brings me to that consideration, so, yeah, that point is worth whatever it's worth to whomever, and in whichever context, I suppose.)
  9. birch Valued Senior Member

    The dumbing down has nothing to do with fringe interests like ufology. if you really believe that then your reasoning is stupid. The point is there is really no difference between the religion subfora and ufology/ghosts/bigfoot etc. the difference is the perception and thus how it is treated with harsher/stricter bias moderation and standards. This because religion is historically validated as an acceptable belief system that should be respected and pander to philosophizing over as if it is or could be real, even if there is zero evidence for it. at least with ufology, paranormal, ghosts etc there are accounts of sightings/experiences to consider. ufology is like a hobby interest and so is ghost hunting shows because it has the possiblity of maybe as an element.

    you both are exaggeratiing because even the general public is aware that ufo's, ghosts etc is all speculative whereas religion is not considered so to the general public even though there is more causal or direct evidence for the former than the latter..
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Did we not just have a discussion about uncivil behavior?

    If y'all are gonna just throw poo at each other, I'll turn this thread around right now - and you can think about your behavior in your rooms - without dinner.

    Play nice.

    (birch, this is where you say "Tiassa started it!")
  11. Bells Staff Member

    I don't understand why you are attributing this as a response to what I posted..

    I quoted an article that discussed studies about how people are prone to suggestion and how those suggestions can alter how they view reality and how it makes them vulnerable in very real world and real life situations. And for some reason, you are either choosing to ignore that and/or you are trying to turn it into something else.

    The reason we ask for evidence is because some posters post these videos, testimonials, etc, as being factual. In other words, it isn't being posted as a speculation, but as statements of fact. And that is where the problem lies. Few would have problems or be demanding evidence, if it was posted as a speculation.
  12. birch Valued Senior Member

    that is the only form of evidence there is to share to discuss the subject. that is what the fringe is for.

    well, the disrespect and embarassment that needs to be contained/controlled with ufology seems to be overblown because one day NASA may well confirm ufo's or alien contact but society will never hear word back from the VATICAN that they indeed have made contact with god itself.

    belief in ufo's, martians etc is less harmless than religion because there is no politics involved with these types of hobbies/interests. it is like chasing butterflies and hoping you catch one.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  13. Bells Staff Member

    But it's not factual.

    Taking seeing lights from the sky and immediately jumping to it being proof that aliens as being factual is not what the Fringe section is for.

    If those who posted there were actually willing to discuss the subject, instead of pitching a fit each time someone dared to question the veracity of the factual claims being made about those 'see lights in sky, it's proof of aliens visiting Earth' leaps, we would not be having any issues. On the one hand, making such claims is problematic in and of itself. On the other hand, what then happens when people dare to question whether these claims are valid or not is a nightmare.

    All we asked was that they are not posted as factual claims and that people who make factual claims, regardless of which forum they post in, be in a position to back it up sufficiently. It's not a huge ask or requirement.

    That's beside the point.

    At present, no one can actually enter those forums to 'discuss' anything or to question anything because the moment we try to do so, we get spammed with videos or dodgy testimonials and then have to bear witness to fit pitching because some people demand that they be allowed to treat it as their personal blog.

    Saying they are less harmful.. All it takes is 2 minutes of a video. Just 2 minutes.

    For example, in a recent study, I found that merely exposing people to a 2-minute conspiracy video clip significantly decreases acceptance of science, civic engagement, and overall pro-social inclinations.​

    You might believe that belief in the paranormal is harmless... It's not. I want you to consider just how many people pay huge amounts of money to see or for psychics or for astrology readings each day and how many of those people actually alter their lives because of it and how millions of people lose everything because of it.

    Now, you might say that people are gullible and will fork out all of their savings to give to psychics (and they target elderly and vulnerable people for a reason), and that UFO believers are surely not that gullible.. Consider this, one UFO streamer on youtube was making 600 pounds a day in the UK from subscribers, posting dodgy UFO conspiracy videos. It got so bad, that rival UFO streamers called him out for scamming people of money. And that is just one. There are countless more who do the same thing.
  14. birch Valued Senior Member

    that's also the error on the other side of it or invalidating it as factually/conclusively as imagination and therefore the experience and what was the cause of it.

    isn't it nice that not everyone is exactly the same or has the same insights to stop people from pursuing what is helpful for them. people who view these subjects your way as all nonsense, it would all be illegal.

    i have experience with psychic readings and ironicly, it was much more helpful than countless sessions with a psychologist and psychiatrist which you pay just as much money or more for them to just nod or repeat back to you how you feel or what you already know. that is also a moneymaking business but i wouldn't call it a complete scam even though much of it could be made more succinct and much of it was nothing more than someone taking time (at a price) to be attentive, listen and show some basic level of respect/sympathy.

    the point is not all readers are scam artists and some genuinely like to help people. just like with anything in life, you have to discern and use some wisdom in choosing readers, that's why they have ratings, prices, explain their bio/what their specialty is etc. many of them actually believe, respect and have experience in their craft, especially mediums such as tarot and many will also explain they are not psychic but using that as a tool of what insights may be helpful. they aren't all scamming anyone/everyone unless they want to be scammed by con-artists out there anymore than another is responsible for someone getting drunk because they drink too much alcohol.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Does anyone think that there is justification for an amendment to the rules that suggests - if this is not a science site - that "it's not science" should be not a valid argument?
    I mean, what's on the box should describe what's in the box, right?

    Maybe we should take a page from cable TV and change its name to SyForums.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Daecon likes this.
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Depends on what the argument is.

    Is it a shitty color scheme for a home interior? It's true, we can argue the science. Since that's not what most people mean, most people don't feel like going out and learning the science just to discuss interior decorating.

    To the other, someone just pointed out one or another state where an interior decorator must have tenfold training hours, or some such, compared to a police officer.

    Are we talking proofs? Then the terms of proof must be clear. Scientific proof is more constricted than general logical proof; consider, for a simple example, that a syllogism need not reflect anything real or true in order to be true. Following the logic often exposes illogic. To the other, it doesn't really matter that it's not science explaining some condition or circumstance historical.

    Here's an interesting notion: What if one person reached a result before another, but for various reasons including prejudice against inherent human condition and prejudice toward established wealth and prestige the history says another person discovered something important?

    It's not actually science to argue over who discovered the science; it might still be important.

    To the other, I'm rather quite struck by the amount of focus on ufology and the fortean; had I expected this kind of distraction, I wouldn't have used the example to avoid another potential distraction for overfocus on politics.
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I don't have time to reply to this thread in detail right now.

    However, here's an extract from our site rules/posting guidelines, which is about as close to a mission statement as we're likely to get:

    sciforums is an intelligent community that encourages learning and thoughtful discussion. We expect and welcome contributions that inform as well as stimulate discussion and debate. At its foundation, sciforums focused on discussion of Science. As the forum developed, our interests broadened to include Philosophy and Ethics, Religion, World Events and Politics and other topics. However, we retain in all areas of debate an ethos of respect for the scientific method, which demands critical analysis, clear thinking and evidence-based argument. Vigorous debate is expected, but we expect all participants to treat each other with courtesy and basic good manners, and to abide by reasonable standards of intellectual integrity and honesty.

    Contributions to sciforums inevitably reflect the personal views of the members. As a result, from time to time, one side of any given debate may be over-represented. Readers should not conclude that we therefore endorse one side over the other. While we welcome contributions that reflect the diverse range of perspectives and experiences of our members, we do not believe in an unlimited right to free speech. Rather, we seek to provide a welcoming environment conducive to the critical examination of topics of discussion.​
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

  19. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    Brovo well stated.!!!

    An of course the best plan of action for the success of that mission statement is for Administration to fully abide by it in ther personal behavior here at Sciforums... an wit that high standard set by Administration others will be more willin to self moderate to meet that standard.!!!
    Magical Realist likes this.
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Click for distraction.

    So, call that quote a not entirely arbitrary decision, but, for the moment I'm on about something else:

    • What do you want of Sciforums?​

    And here's what I mean by that: To the one, it's easy enough to complain about what other people do wrong. (Take my word, I do a lot of complaining in the world.) To the other, it's a bit harder to figure solutions.

    To the beeblebrox, though, sure, I have this contrived post-MLA citation scheme that works well enough, but come on, I'm not producing peer-quality material, here.

    What does anybody want?

    What would anybody like to do in order to create that environment?

    (Seriously, the tumbleweeds in favor of ... well, okay, that's the thing. The state of the discussion↗ seems to make some manner of point; I would have no idea what to tell you about what that point actually is.)
  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Since you asked...

    I've stated this previously. I would start with a single change, one surely easy for all to support:

    • Zero tolerance on ad homs (and by extension, insults).

    Ideally, the members are, as always, responsible for reporting it, all the mods would need to do is enforce it when reported.

    I think that would get a lot of bang for the buck, cost-versus return-wise. Participants would be forced to address the argument rather than the arguer, or step back. Discussions would unilaterally be more constructive.

    (Actually, that being said, I have noticed a drop in such behavior over the last few years. The days of flame war threads are gone. Good on y'all.)
    cluelusshusbund and Hipparchia like this.
  22. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    I woud suport that change... but... sinse mods have never suported it in the past it ant likely they will now... an if you'r wonderin why im sure some excuses from mods will be rollin in soon enuff.!!!
  23. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    I'll make up an excuse for the mods: it's the internet...

Share This Page