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Politics forum: like real politics, or like science?


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I think it would be useful if we get some clarity about the purpose of our Politics forum. Should our forum be like the real-life politics, including all the dirty tricks that politicians and media use (including logical fallacies, misinformation, twisting of facts, and prejudices against certain groups)? Or should we approach things from a scientific point of view, which means that points have to be backed up.

 

Reading our politics forum, I get the feeling that mods ignore our own forum rules in order to allow the discussion to be more like in the media.

 

I read many posts here on the politics forum that, in my opinion, seem to break forum rules 1c (prejudices against groups) and 4 (logical fallacies).

Often these posts just ignore plain common sense (like statistical averages), or back up a point with irrelevant facts, which I think breaks forum rule 4... And one member even admitted being xenophobic, which pretty much means the same as having a prejudice against a group. It can hardly get more obvious than that.

 

Despite that, there are no consequences.

 

So, do our forum rules apply to the politics forum, or not?

 

I feel like I am not fighting a fair fight. I spend time to back up my posts, or to refute someone's claims... but if my opponent does not have to properly back up any claims, and can just ignore my point, then I can only lose, or lower myself to the same level. I just want to know whether I am allowed by forum staff to descend to the same level as some others... or whether they break the rules.

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I believe the proper way to deal with these problems is using the ignore list. If someone consistently isn't capable of communicating at the level you'd expect from a discussion partner then don't discuss with him/her. Sure, you may be missing part of the discussion. But you're missing the parts that you consider moronic anyways, so why care? All sections of this forum are better served by picking up interesting points worth discussing rather than pointing towards the really stupid ones and discussing them to death. I strongly believe that stupid and obviously incorrect statements speak for themselves and don't always need to be commented, and I have yet to regret a single entry to my ignore list.

 

It's admittedly not an answer to what you asked about. But perhaps the "ask what you can do for your forum" way of looking at things is also an interesting perspective.

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I believe the proper way to deal with these problems is using the ignore list. If someone consistently isn't capable of communicating at the level you'd expect from a discussion partner then don't discuss with him/her. Sure, you may be missing part of the discussion. But you're missing the parts that you consider moronic anyways, so why care? All sections of this forum are better served by picking up interesting points worth discussing rather than pointing towards the really stupid ones and discussing them to death. I strongly believe that stupid and obviously incorrect statements speak for themselves and don't always need to be commented, and I have yet to regret a single entry to my ignore list.

 

It's admittedly not an answer to what you asked about. But perhaps the "ask what you can do for your forum" way of looking at things is also an interesting perspective.

A very good point... although, as you said, it doesn't answer the question. :)

I'll use that as a "Plan B".

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Our forum rules do indeed apply to the Politics forum. We have just been lax in enforcement. I apologize; this is partly my fault for not responding quickly enough to reports and issues in the Politics forum. We'll work on stepping up moderator notes and interventions.

 

Part of the problem is a requirement that staff not intervene when they're already involved in a discussion -- they have to get a second opinion, and often there's no other staff willing to jump into Politics.

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There have been a number of egregious examples recently of posters refusing to accept that claims of fact can be disputed until a good source is given (and sometimes even then). In religion it is more difficult to be strict on this - claims that the bible/koran/torah say "such and such" should be backed up; however you cannot rule out the possibility of apposite questions and logical positions with very little concrete factual base.

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What Cap'n said. It's a problem when a mod is involved in a thread as a regular user because you can't wear both hats and it may mean that nobody else is around for a while to deal with a problem. I'd prefer to be involved in discussions that are of interest to me rather than having to stay out to referee; if I jump in before a problem is obvious I have to recuse myself from direct moderator intervention. But in general, I concur that bald assertions, opinions presented as fact and logical fallacies are not supposed to be the standard operating procedure.

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I think it would be useful if we get some clarity about the purpose of our Politics forum. Should our forum be like the real-life politics, including all the dirty tricks that politicians and media use (including logical fallacies, misinformation, twisting of facts, and prejudices against certain groups)? Or should we approach things from a scientific point of view, which means that points have to be backed up.

 

Reading our politics forum, I get the feeling that mods ignore our own forum rules in order to allow the discussion to be more like in the media.

 

I read many posts here on the politics forum that, in my opinion, seem to break forum rules 1c (prejudices against groups) and 4 (logical fallacies).

Often these posts just ignore plain common sense (like statistical averages), or back up a point with irrelevant facts, which I think breaks forum rule 4... And one member even admitted being xenophobic, which pretty much means the same as having a prejudice against a group. It can hardly get more obvious than that.

 

Despite that, there are no consequences.

 

So, do our forum rules apply to the politics forum, or not?

 

I feel like I am not fighting a fair fight. I spend time to back up my posts, or to refute someone's claims... but if my opponent does not have to properly back up any claims, and can just ignore my point, then I can only lose, or lower myself to the same level. I just want to know whether I am allowed by forum staff to descend to the same level as some others... or whether they break the rules.

 

 

I suggest that you don't understand the difference between xenophobia and racism CP.

Or between criticism and racism.

 

I think I have already provided adequate evidence that criticism of the baviour or collective effect of foreign nationals living in Australia is NOT regarded as racism under the Race Discimination Act. It may be xenophobic but then there are no laws against xenophobia any where in the world!

 

Unless you believe you know better than our law makers.

 

And I think I have made it clear that any criticisms I have of foreign nationals living in Australia are not restricted to those with other than white skin.

 

If Australia had to endure mass immigration of white americans then I would have some similar citicisms of the effect that that might have on Australian society, apart from the issue of ecological sustainability which is blind to skin colour.

 

And I might point out that a great deal of contemporary economic theory that we are discussing in my thread is not always evidence based anyway. There mere fact the contemporary economics dictates that economies must perpetually grow in order to remain stable flies in the face of science that details our finite planet, resources and productive ecological capacity.

 

Economics is a cross between faith and SOME scientific methods. So please don't be so crass as to presume that you don't need to provide evidence of your assertions but that I do.

Edited by Greg Boyles
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Cap'n has there been consideration of adding more moderators to staff? It seems to me that a few of the moderators have slowed down a bit, and so that moderators can still enjoy the forum adding a few new mods might spread the work load out a bit.

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Greg: This discussion is off-topic for this thread, and I suggest you take it elsewhere. Regardless, we do hold political debates to a higher standard of evidence, and you are required to provide evidence for your assertions. We also ask that our members avoid logical fallacies in debate.

 

DJBruce: That may be a good idea.

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Greg: This discussion is off-topic for this thread, and I suggest you take it elsewhere. Regardless, we do hold political debates to a higher standard of evidence, and you are required to provide evidence for your assertions. We also ask that our members avoid logical fallacies in debate.

 

DJBruce: That may be a good idea.

 

May I enquire as to the logical fallacy that I have perpetrated.

 

A logical fallacy is based upon universally (or almost so) agreed facts such that all men are mortal.......I am a man therfore I am mortal.

 

But where facts are not in universal agreement then you cannot use the concept of logical fallacy to trump the debate.

 

And many aspects of economic theory are not universally agreed to, including among economists themselves, e.g. that population growth always brings net economic gains. Or that multiculturalism always brings social gains.

Edited by Greg Boyles
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May I enquire as to the logical fallacy that I have perpetrated.

At what point did I state that you had "perpetrated" a logical fallacy? I have not followed your discussions in great depth. Others could address this issue better.

 

A logical fallacy is based upon universally (or almost so) agreed facts such that all men are mortal.......I am a man therfore I am mortal.

Logical fallacies are not necessarily based upon universally agreed-upon facts, and in fact most aren't. A logical fallacy indicates any kind of error in reasoning which causes a conclusion to be unsound; the link I gave provides some common examples.

 

But where facts are not in universal agreement then you cannot use the concept of logical fallacy to trump the debate.

When facts are not in universal agreement, the arguments we make with the facts we have -- and the soundness of those arguments -- is all the more important. Clear reasoning is essential if you intend to convince anyone or hold a reasonable discussion.

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At what point did I state that you had "perpetrated" a logical fallacy? I have not followed your discussions in great depth. Others could address this issue better.

 

 

Logical fallacies are not necessarily based upon universally agreed-upon facts, and in fact most aren't. A logical fallacy indicates any kind of error in reasoning which causes a conclusion to be unsound; the link I gave provides some common examples.

 

 

When facts are not in universal agreement, the arguments we make with the facts we have -- and the soundness of those arguments -- is all the more important. Clear reasoning is essential if you intend to convince anyone or hold a reasonable discussion.

 

The problem is that those who subscribe to article of economic faith where population growth ALWAYS results in net national economic gains are unlikely to regard the reasoning behind my suggestion that mass immigration in the US is contributing to their debt and economic problems as sound.

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May I enquire as to the logical fallacy that I have perpetrated.

You ask, we deliver. Let's just take your previous post in this thread.

 

I suggest that you don't understand the difference between xenophobia and racism CP.

Or between criticism and racism.

I never said anything about racism (I never even used the word 'racist' or 'racism' in the discussions). You put words into my mouth.

 

A normal straw man fallacy is just a misrepresentation of an opponent's position. You put a complete fresh set of words into my mouth, and then attack that.

 

I think I have already provided adequate evidence that criticism of the baviour or collective effect of foreign nationals living in Australia is NOT regarded as racism under the Race Discimination Act. It may be xenophobic but then there are no laws against xenophobia any where in the world!

We discuss forum rules, not law. I referred to forum rules 1c and 4. You twist that into another point, and then fight that. That's a fallacy.

 

Unless you believe you know better than our law makers.

Appeal to authority. Fallacy.

 

And I think I have made it clear that any criticisms I have of foreign nationals living in Australia are not restricted to those with other than white skin.

 

If Australia had to endure mass immigration of white americans then I would have some similar citicisms of the effect that that might have on Australian society, apart from the issue of ecological sustainability which is blind to skin colour.

 

And I might point out that a great deal of contemporary economic theory that we are discussing in my thread is not always evidence based anyway. There mere fact the contemporary economics dictates that economies must perpetually grow in order to remain stable flies in the face of science that details our finite planet, resources and productive ecological capacity.

I know this is the core of your argument which we're bickering over on the other thread. We shouldn't discuss it here (it's not relevant to the opening post). In the meantime you are putting words into my mouth (I never even used the word "white" in the other thread).

 

Economics is a cross between faith and SOME scientific methods. So please don't be so crass as to presume that you don't need to provide evidence of your assertions but that I do.

You have the guts to dismiss all numbers which are expressed "per capita" as cherrypicking. It's not like we don't provide data... you just dismiss perfectly good data. We find ourselves in a discussion to somehow prove that an "average" is a good way to compare two populations. People have even gone into explaining why a "per capita" is good enough (it's amazing actually that people on a science forum have lowered themselves to such a petty level just because you dismiss data that is used by pretty much everyone else, which is based on sound mathematics). Maybe it's not a fallacy, but it sure makes discussions impossible.

 

 

So, does that answer the question?

Edited by CaptainPanic
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A word of wisdom: when a staff member or an admin (acting as such) suggests something, e.g. that a discussion is off-topic and should be taken elsewhere, it's probably a good idea to take them at their word.

 

Seriously. You do nothing to endear yourself when it's been suggested you are in violation of one of the rules or points of etiquette and you push back in a way that's a further violation of the rules/guidelines. Staying on-topic falls into this category. You can open a new topic or PM if you need clarification.

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And one member even admitted being xenophobic, which pretty much means the same as having a prejudice against a group

 

Xenophobia is fear or mistrust of outsiders. It may be directed against 'groups'. But it can just as easily be directed at your own kind that are not members of your clan or family.

 

Racism is extreme case of xenophobia that is exclusively directed at a different ethnic group to your own and based on the belief that the other ethnic group is biologically inferior.

 

So you are either confused about the definitions of these terms or you are making a veiled accusation that I am a racist.

 

I could undoubtedly demonstrate that you Capatain have xenophobic tendancies yourself, providing you are willing to answer some questions honestly. But then I have a feeling we would end up in a debate about the Oxford dictionary definition of xenophobia.

 

A word of wisdom: when a staff member or an admin (acting as such) suggests something, e.g. that a discussion is off-topic and should be taken elsewhere, it's probably a good idea to take them at their word.

 

Seriously. You do nothing to endear yourself when it's been suggested you are in violation of one of the rules or points of etiquette and you push back in a way that's a further violation of the rules/guidelines. Staying on-topic falls into this category. You can open a new topic or PM if you need clarification.

 

 

Yeah well, Captain Panic has directly referred to me in this thread and directed some accusations at me.

 

I think I have the right of reply.

 

If Captain had made his point without directly referring to me with his view that I am 'xenophobic against groups', then I probably would have let it slide. As far as I am concerned I regard this comment as a veiled accusation of racism which I deny.

 

Do you or the moderator really wish me to start a new thread for this purpose?

Edited by Greg Boyles
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Xenophobia is fear or mistrust of outsiders. It may be directed against 'groups'. But it can just as easily be directed at your own kind that are not members of your clan or family.

 

Racism is extreme case of xenophobia that is exclusively directed at a different ethnic group to your own and based on the belief that the other ethnic group is biologically inferior.

 

So you are either confused about the definitions of these terms or you are making a veiled accusation that I am a racist.

 

I could undoubtedly demonstrate that you Capatain have xenophobic tendancies yourself, providing you are willing to answer some questions honestly. But then I have a feeling we would end up in a debate about the Oxford dictionary definition of xenophobia.

 

 

 

 

Yeah well, Captain Panic has directly referred to me in this thread and directed some accusations at me.

 

I think I have the right of reply.

 

If Captain had made his point without directly referring to me with his view that I am 'xenophobic against groups', then I probably would have let it slide. As far as I am concerned I regard this comment as a veiled accusation of racism which I deny.

 

Do you or the moderator really wish me to start a new thread for this purpose?

 

My irony meter just broke.

 

Do you really have to ask the question? OK: yes. That's what "This discussion is off-topic for this thread, and I suggest you take it elsewhere." and "You can open a new topic or PM if you need clarification" mean. "Elsewhere" is not "a response in the same thread." It means "in a new thread"

 

It's more than a tad disingenuous to complain about someone else referring to you, when you opened the door in the first place by accusing them of saying something they did not say.

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I know that it is infra dig to ask about forum members who have ceased posting - but what the hell ... what happened to Pangloss? He seemed to be an ever present in the politics forum and quick on coming down on bad posting.

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I think it would be useful if we get some clarity about the purpose of our Politics forum. Should our forum be like the real-life politics, including all the dirty tricks that politicians and media use (including logical fallacies, misinformation, twisting of facts, and prejudices against certain groups)? Or should we approach things from a scientific point of view, which means that points have to be backed up.

 

Reading our politics forum, I get the feeling that mods ignore our own forum rules in order to allow the discussion to be more like in the media.

 

I read many posts here on the politics forum that, in my opinion, seem to break forum rules 1c (prejudices against groups) and 4 (logical fallacies).

Often these posts just ignore plain common sense (like statistical averages), or back up a point with irrelevant facts, which I think breaks forum rule 4... And one member even admitted being xenophobic, which pretty much means the same as having a prejudice against a group. It can hardly get more obvious than that.

 

Despite that, there are no consequences.

 

So, do our forum rules apply to the politics forum, or not?

 

I feel like I am not fighting a fair fight. I spend time to back up my posts, or to refute someone's claims... but if my opponent does not have to properly back up any claims, and can just ignore my point, then I can only lose, or lower myself to the same level. I just want to know whether I am allowed by forum staff to descend to the same level as some others... or whether they break the rules.

As Cap'n Refsmmat mentioned, we have had a number of mods, myself included, slow down on their time spent here. There are many reasons but no excuses.

 

I fervently believe that anyone who comes here, to Science Forums, wants to apply scientific methodology to every argument, whether it's in the hard sciences or in Politics or even Religion. It's a way to ensure that the ground beneath you is solid enough to support the weight of your ideas.

 

It's a similar problem with Religion, though. What can you do when trying to use evidence to rebut the position of a person who ignore evidence?

This has always been a problem when applying science to something that relies on faith. Science can refute most claims made by religion when such methods are applicable. As soon as religion claims things outside the natural universe, it becomes supernatural and science should no longer be interested.

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I know that it is infra dig to ask about forum members who have ceased posting - but what the hell ... what happened to Pangloss? He seemed to be an ever present in the politics forum and quick on coming down on bad posting.

A good number of politics posters have faded off the radar in recent years. Some come back in cycles, but it's hard to tell really.

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