Lunatic Fringe taking over?

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by origin, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Trapped, I have nothing at all against you but I feel I must respond to what you have had to say about my remarks on roscoe. It is not a question of taking pleasure in the misfortune of others, as you put it. It is a question of quality control.

    If this forum comes to be unduly populated with nonsense, then the knowledgeable posters, and those who come here genuinely seeking a better understanding of science, will simply walk away, thinking it is just another forum for cranks. By "nonsense", I do not mean discussion about unconventional or personal theories, provided this is reasoned and mutually responsive - a proper discussion, in other words. What I mean by nonsense is threads in which one or more posters fail entirely to engage with the arguments put forward in response, and simply keep reasserting their notions. Sometimes this even goes so far as to create new threads repeatedly on the same subject.

    Worst of all, there are people (trolls) who take perverse pleasure in simply annoying people. For a good example of this, look at the thread from GaiaGirl95 on spontaneous combustion, or the one from river, a couple of months ago (in chemistry), on the understanding of water. In both cases, the initiator of the thread conducted a policy of being deliberately obtuse, in order to prolong the discussion and exasperate the people responding.

    You should not be surprised if people such as myself express relief when such individuals receive a ban. When they do, is is not a "misfortune" as you put it. It is amply deserved and a great service to the rest of us.

    I make no judgment at all about you, as I have had no intellectual interaction with you. And I'm not looking for a fight with anyone. But I do detest being taken for a ride by people, when I have gone to the trouble of trying to explain something as well as I can, and I am quite prepared to name names when I feel this has taken place.
     
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  3. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    you aren't very old are you.
     
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  5. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    slang for guts, or balls.
     
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  7. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    Hardly Sad. You assume that my statement was some sort of way to "call names", it wasn't. It's merely an observation over the years in regards to the archetypes of posters that appear on the forums. The average person might post on a forum once in a while, they don't spend every waking moment on one, they don't go out of their way to upset the site operators or moderators and if they do manage to get banned for whatever reason they might send one message asking why. What they tend not to do is create complaining sock puppets, mock the site operators or moderators and push whatever boundaries exist. That is clearly in the realm of a psychiatric episode.

    If I was going to name call I'd probably go with generalisations like the term "Useless" or "Obtuse" rather than anything pinned to psychology/psychiatry, I wouldn't want to add any more to the stigma that people with disorders already go through.

    I did notice in your particular case (and this isn't for the sake of name calling) that you do seem to suffer from a disorder yourself, I'm not stating that to name call, just to point out that while you might in fact think you can fit in and not be observed for it. It can be seen by the variety of outbursts, rudeness and obsessively compelled reasoning (Like your mathematics "blog" and your belief system in regards to UFO's).
     
  8. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

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    I am predicting that a post soon to be seen will be 'a variety of outbursts and/or rudeness'.
     
  9. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    What about the "obsessively compelled reasoning"?

    At any rate, opining that this Thread will "soon" see Posts with the same content as previous Posts in this Thread, seems to me, as not so much a prediction, but more of an honestly considered observation.
     
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Another category of persons who often post here is laypeople. My own sense is that only a handful of participants on Sciforums have any real university training in the subjects that they post about. That extends to the moderators as well, in some cases. Yet people continue to post about extremely technical and arcane subjects. So misconceptions are inevitably going to be common, on all "sides".

    Typically, that's an occasion for the back-and-forth flaming to begin. Which is sad, because ideally it could be an occasion for teaching, for better informed individuals explaining, in a friendly way, in layman's terms, why one view really is more plausible and better justified than another.
     
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    5,599
    Self-righteousness is typically a corrosive passion in individual psychology. Expressing it in a post comes very close to trolling. The target of the moralizing is likely to respond either with anger or defensiveness of their own, and from that point it's Game-On.

    It also assumes that the righteous one is better informed on whatever the subject is than the target of the condemnations. That isn't always the case. Even if the righteous one is in fact right, if he or she can't explain why that's so in plausible and comprehensible terns, then all they have to play with is an appeal to purported authority.

    And there's something else. This is a layperson's board. Few Sciforums participants have any professional training in the sciences. So when a layperson tries to think creatively, when he or she tries to speculate about scientific subjects, you are likely to get something resembling crankery. It's inevitable. The speculator is going to almost certainly be making an error somewhere and will almost certainly be wrong.

    So does Sciforums want to simply shout that stuff down as abusively as possible? Or does it want to treat laypeople's curiosity and attempts at creative thought a little more humanely?

    If people are really convinced that they know more about a subject than other people, then perhaps they should picture themselves as teachers and guides, as opposed to inquisitors stamping out heresy and blasphemy.
     
  12. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    I find this assertion intersting. This is precisely the approach I have traditionally taken. It has taught me something: You can lead a mind to knowledge, but you can not force it to think.
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Amen to that.
     
  14. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

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    I do not think that happens very often. If someone comes to the forum and says science is all screwed up heres the truth - yeah they will probably get jumped on. If someone states an idea and evidence, such as math or internet sites are presented showing that the statement is not accurate and the individual just digs his heels in and refuses to accept anything but his ideas, then he will probably get jumped on.

    However, if someone asks a question or seeks to learn he will not be jumped on, hell the members of this site will 'fall all over themselves' to help answer the question to the best of their abilities.
     
  15. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    My cue>>>>
    Yep, I'm a self confessed, dinky di real layman.
    But I have gained a fair bit of knowledge in cosmology, and associated fields including SR/GR, although my mathematical ability borders on zero.
    But I am also big enough and ugly enough to realize that people will be people.
    In the main [not all the time] I accept the mainstream view of science, and have had that view explained to me in exquisite detail by an Astronomer and a GR expert on another forum, around 15 years ago.
    I have read many books, latest being Kip Thorne's "Black Holes and Time Warps"....I love Imagination and speculation....afterall the great man did say Imagination was more Important than Knowledge...and I have some speculative ideas of my own and have discussed them here.
    But this is where I differ from some......
    I put these ideas as speculative, and as Imaginative....I DO NOT POST THEM AS FACT!!!!!
    This is generally the start of back-and -forth flaming, when people want to put their speculative ideas as fact.
    I also see an inclination of some to want to usurp with a passion, already accepted theory, just for the sake of it, or due to an agenda they carry.
    Then there is the habitual ant mainstream person, who sees the need to deride science just for the sake of it.....or ask inane questions for no reason other then to confuse the issue, or to show science up as untrustworthy.

    As a layman, I do question these unscientific approaches to science, to the best of my ability
    As a layman, I also answer questions in layman's terms but at the same time aligning with the accepted view and answer.
    As a layman, I view science with awe and wonder, and adhere to the scientific method of it being a refinement of everyday living speaking generally....
    As a layman I have divided this forum into [1] Those that know a particular subject [2] Other layman such as myself [3]ratbags, cranks and nutters]
    As a layman I prefer to be labelled as a sheep [in generally accepting the mainstream view] rather than accepting an alternative view and being labelled a billy goat.
     
  16. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Origin, check out the first Page of the following Thread : http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?138826-The-Big-Bang-and-Magnetic-fields

    Is that an example of : a Poster "not be(ing) jumped on"? : or "the members of this site 'fall(ing) all over themselves' to help answer the question to the best of their abilities."?
     
  17. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    That poster [who started the thread] deserved to be jumped on and will be jumped on in the future...He is well known for promoting a theory called "Plasma theory"that was discredited a long time ago.
    He of course was just playing games, asking self evident questions as he and others seem to do in a hidden agenda to discredit cosmology.
     
  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    27,534


    It was also an attempt at discussing his model [Plasma/Electric Universe] in a mainstream forum, when at the very least, it should have been in "Alternative Theories"
    The beginning of that is out in the open from post 8.
     
  19. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    That's the biggest flaw in your position. You apparently believe that appeal to authority is always a logical fallacy. It isn't always - in fact, it usually isn't. Authorities are authorities because they have proven credentials and in the context of what you are describing, an "appeal to authority" is in fact an appeal to the mainstream scientific position. Which means that it isn't just one authority being appealed to, it is all of them.

    The mainstream position isn't always right and the right answer isn't always known by mainstream science, but at best a layman's contradicting opinion can only be right by luck. Or put another way: no internet crackpot has ever proven a mainstream theory wrong or even advanced the frontier of science in any measurable way.

    Appeal to authority is typically only a fallacy when it is one authority being referenced, and often that one authority is the person making the claim (trust me, I'm a doctor).
     
  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    No; I have no idea what mental issues other people have. I'm just amused that someone on an largely anonymous forum is calling people cowards after insulting them. This is, after all, the Internet, where people go to insult other people without consequence. Indeed, you have yourself availed yourself of this feature.

    Thus as someone else said, "probably not wise to take the moral high ground."
     
  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    11,194
    Yes, I've read both this and Yazata's contributions with interest and recognition. I think you both make excellent points. On the one hand, I fully agree there IS such a thing in life as a legitimate authority, to which appeal can be made. Without that, we would each have to justify everything from scratch, and worse, we would be forced into the hypocritical posture that all ideas are to be treated with equal respect, until we can laboriously show where the fault with them is. Authority is an essential short-cut to all that. On the other hand, this forum is, or should be, about mutual teaching (sharing knowledge and improving understanding). So I think the ethos ought to be one of not just asserting an authoritative view, but one of giving background and explanation, and citing references to support one's contention, wherever possible. And then of course there are many areas in science where authority is fairly uncertain. In principle, all truth in science is provisional. So it is good practice to avoid appearing too dogmatic.
     
  22. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    5,051
    While the second sentence is literally true, it is dangerously close to the crackpot ethos and usually applied wrong. And the first sentence is very misleading; the vast majority of where you see the crackpot ethos expressed it is expressed wrong and for the purposes of discussion on an internet forum, well-established theory is not up for question. Though a great many scientists do work to expand the frontier of knowledge - by definition attacking the provisional nature of that frontier - very little of what is discussed on internet forums approaches that frontier. Most of the time when you hear the crackpot ethos "it's only a theory" it is a wrong claim about how provisional an idea is - or even just completely wrong, such as in the case of evolution, which is a theory and also a fact. It is also commonly thrown around to attack relativity, where the effects of Relativity aren't named "relativity" but are, nevertheless, proven facts. Time dilation, for example, is a theoretical prediction of Relativity and is a proven fact.
     
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    11,194

    Yes of course, of course. But I think that's one bit of good educational work a lot of us do - point out calmly the distinction between observational fact and hypothesis, and between scientific (falsifiable by testing) hypothesis and unscientific woo.

    Cranks, cultural relativists, and younger students, need to learn these distinctions are real and rational, not arbitrary dismissals of "rival theories" that "threaten" the "establishment" [or insert cliche of choice].
     

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