Science: Explanation versus obfuscation

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by DaveC426913, Mar 3, 2023.

  1. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    Straight after you posted that, the boulder was at the bottom of the hill again with this:
    The sun go up and the sun go down the sun go up and the sun go down...
    Dave, it's all about footfall for the ads. MR is a pot-boiler for that, even if no one reads his posts they keep-a-coming and the pot stays hot, it doesn't matter what's cooking (content) the money still rolls in.
    Wegs, feel free to like my post.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2023
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  3. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I don’t think we need to be so prescriptive with the fringe sections of this forum. That’s more of the point I’ve been trying to make. There’s no reason to censor another member who posts in the fringe section…his fringe thinking. It honestly should be expected.
    Yazata and Seattle like this.
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Well we can expect to be seeing some lively discussion about magical soap bubbles then!
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  7. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    This isn’t to say that yours, James’ and others input aren’t valuable. Maybe that’s where the disconnect is? That if some of us aren’t willing to censor MR, that means that we don’t think that the skeptics have a voice in the fringe section. I think everyone should have a voice - maybe just lower expectations.

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    Yazata likes this.
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Well, yes. In fact, you might have noticed MR imputing certain characteristics and motivations to be, subjectively, in various posts.

    As for my own interpretations, I agree there is some unavoidable subjectivism involved. However, I do make some effort to look at things objectively. I'm sorry if that is not apparent to you. Then again, you're hardly an unbiased commentator, on this, are you?
    MR has never got a ban from being a fool. He has received warnings a few times for overt trolling, if I recall correctly (I could check the records...). Accumulated warning points can result in bans.

    I'm sure you can find faults in just about anything I have to say, if you're sufficiently motivated.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2023
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    He must surely realise by now that, if he actually wanted to do that, he'd need to bring some analysis or investigation to the table. Which he hasn't ever shown any interest in doing.
    I think you're wrong. I think that about half the time, he's just trying to get a rise out of skeptics. Trolling, in other words. You can tell from his specific lies and omissions, which sometimes verge on putting on a careful balancing act. The problem he faces is, for one thing, that I know him reasonably well by now; I'm aware of his playbook.
    I doubt that anybody here expects to change MR's mind any more. He's obviously steadfastly set in his ways. His mind closed a long time ago.
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I agree that we all have some biases on most any subject and it is easy to find fault with anything if we are so motivated. That's why it's probably best to not do so, with regards to anyone.
    Yazata likes this.
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    The thing is, though, I'm a moderator of an internet discussion forum. I have a job to do here. Finding fault is sometimes part of that job description. sciforums has a set of published posting guidelines. While there is some discretion involved in policing those guidelines, somebody has to do it. The alternative is a sort of anarchy, which might be just fine on some forums but isn't the sort of thing we want to be about, here.

    Trolling involves disrespecting to our members, by its very nature. That's why we strongly advise people against trying it.
  12. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Notice how James sets up his "very reasonable" argument so it looks like he doesn't disrespect other people, or their ideas.

    James is also a lying [*****]--he has very little respect for things he can't put in a bottle. Just don't get him started on that one, ok folks?

    Mod Edit: Enough. See #33↑ below.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2023
  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    "Trolling" is a generic catch-all that anyone can be accused of here. Moderators appear to rely on that excuse for banning when frustrated by a poster's arguments. It almost seems a way to get the last word in. There is a thin grey line between trolling and posting provocative and interesting posts. In a forum basically on life support, I would expect more leeway in order to attract more posters.
    Yazata likes this.
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    This is an unprovoked personal attack.

    Ordinarily, if you wrote that to some other member of the forum, I would issue you with an official warning.

    Because of the potential for accusations of conflict of interest here, I am going to settle for asking you nicely, just this once, not to do this sort of thing again.

    The next time you insult me that way (unevidenced accusations of lying, imputing attitudes and thoughts to me as if you can read my mind, etc.) I will issue you with the appropriate official warning.

    I suggest you take a little time away from sciforums. You need to simmer down and start acting like an adult.
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Yes. Accusations are easy to throw around. See arfa brane's post, above, for instance.

    Also, I see what you did there. You pretended that bans are not the result of accumulating multiple warnings, but rather are just arbitrary punishments that moderators can inflict on a whim. I guess you hoped people would believe that mangled over-simplification.
    No. You've been away enough times that you know you can come back. There is very rarely a "last word". A careful troll like yourself can usually take care to avoid getting himself permanently banned, if he's careful. I'm not telling you anything new here, of course. This is how you've been operating here for years.
    There is certainly a thin line between provocation and trolling. If you make a point of test where exactly that line falls, you're almost guaranteed to find yourself on the wrong side of it some of the time. (I must say, it's somthing of an oddity that you're so willing to test this one to breaking point, when you've never been interested in testing anythign else.)
    Your idea of the ideal forum is somewhat different from the moderators' idea of the ideal forum, I think you'll find. (And please don't make the mistake of imagining that I think that sciforums is the ideal forum, as things stand.)
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Mod Hat — That's one

    Even if that is the case, you're still not supposed to call him a prick.

    It ought to be astonishing how many people are willing to trade away whatever high ground they might possibly have a toe on for really cheap satisfaction. But this is Sciforums, so, no, I'm kind of used to it.

    Still, that's one, and there shall be no more.
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Actually, Dave, I have two unfinished posts for you, and, sure, there are reasons why they come along slowly.

    But toward this, though, really? Given everything else we're not supposed to flag, or, at least, show extraordinary deference, why would we start with you?

    Remember something else I said: I lost those staff arguments.

    I don't like the term "science site", mostly because of what has become of it over the years. But in terms of rational discourse, any useful pretense of ethos, and even basic decency and sociality, remember, it's not always a dualism. That I lost those arguments doesn't mean all is lost; to wit, that I am supposed to go easy on crackpottery does not require that I take it out on anyone else. I mean, it's not like anyone is going to stop me from trying to support my discussion with evidence and records. But― ... oh, hey, do you happen to remember inquiring about moving certain posts from a thread to the Cesspool? Would you happen to remember what that was about? It's true, though, while James will complain and disrupt, nobody has yet actually tried to officially stop me from citing sources and constructing arguments or other discussion. Rational or scientific discussion are not themselves anathema, just any expectation that ... well, okay, the criteria seem way more complicated than they need to be.

    But, still, if you really wonder why we're not flagging you for, er, ah ... all that ... surely it has occurred to you that on some level we sympathize with your disdain for crackpottery. And if you ask the obvious question that seems to go here, the obvious answer will be just as dumb as any other part of the story. We'll get to it.
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I did not know this.
    I mean, now that I think about it, it's implied, but I hadn't thought of your "marching orders" in quite that way.

    Anyway, my point was that, if everyone is allowed to voice their opinion, no matter how trollish or ignorant, then it would stand to reason that my overt attempts to rail against trollism and ignorance would be frowned upon by moderation. It never really occurred to me that the relaxed moderation would impart some amount of leeway on me.

    Put another way, I assumed an erstwhile "tolerance mandate" meant "everyone had better be tolerant", but it sort of sounds like it means "we will be tolerant of people - even those who are intolerant".

    I'm starting to grok that. It was a long time before I came across a web forum that had morphed from its original purpose. A Diabetes site was no longer about Diabetes at all, but just a general chat forum. I was trying to ask some serious Diabetes questions and complained about the ubiquitous off-topic chatter (might have been a listserv, which makes it so much more egregious). They didn't care, and in fact, schooled me about what the site had become.

    Sorry, I do not. That could refer to dozens of instances over the years.

    I guess I have been viewing moderation as an enforcement agency in a controlled arena, to-wit: if someone goes for a nut-shot, a ref will step in and assign a penalty. But I guess it's more like an open grassy-field skirmish, where combatants are expected to sort it out themselves without a lot of recourse. Moderators are more about warding against someone pulling a knife or a gun, not about enforcing wrestling rules.

    This is food for thought.
  19. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    It’s completely reasonable to not want pseudo-science or “woo” to overrun a “science site.” Maybe that’s all skeptics really want, but the fringe section can serve to challenge skeptics, no? Isn’t there a place for pseudo-science, though? Between beliefs and science?
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    With respect, it's a little silly to keep asking whether there's a place for pseudoscience here.

    We have an entire Fringe section, with multiple subforums, full of discussions of pseudoscience. Those forums all have relatively high traffic - more than the Science sections a lot of the time. So, clearly there are lots of places here for pseudoscience.

    If what you're asking for is a place where pseudoscience can go unchallenged by critical thinking (and actual science), then there's not really any place for that here. You certainly won't catch me apologising for that.

    The interwebs are full of sites where people can discuss pseudoscience, fantasy, conspiracies etc. with very little fear of attracting thoughtful criticism of any kind. sciforums wasn't set up to be that, and I, for one, will be leaving if it ever becomes just that. (And, I might add, as long as I'm a moderator with some say on how these things go, I will say "Not on my watch!")
  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I presume you are not asking about whether fringe stuff should be on this forum, since as James say this is already amply provided for. If you are asking about whether fringe stuff has intellectual value in general, in challenging consensus and so forth, that's a bit more complex. Pseudoscience by definition is useless from that point of view, since to be designated pseudoscience it must fail the tests required to be science. But there can be alternative theories that start with few adherents and gradually gain a place in science. Continental Drift is a well-known example. I imagine this is why we have separate sections here for Pseudo and Alternative.
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, James hit the nail on the head here.

    Imagine if this were a math forum and there were a subforum where people insist on dividing by zero and thus showing that 2=1.

    There's no rational way to discuss that. Even the moderators would have to avoid the forum altogether or risk blowing a blood vessel.
  23. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I’m questioning why there are some members here who get wound up and start slinging ad homs if there’s a clear understanding that the posts in the fringe section are off the beaten path of science. In other words, if a UFO enthusiast were posting pseudo-scientific theories as to why aliens are visiting Earth in the astronomy section, the skeptic would have every “right” to protest. Even vehemently so. But, they’re acting that way in the fringe/pseudoscience section and I’m asking why?

    @ James - not saying that pseudo science ideas shouldn’t be challenged, but you can’t have it both ways imo. If you have a fringe section, you have to expect that arguments against the scientific method will seem illogical. That’s why there’s a home for those topics.

    But, I see your point in that it doesn’t mean we should allow pseudoscience to overrun the forum. For the record, I don’t want to see that happen. lol

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