South Africa Flag logo

South African Skeptics

August 18, 2018, 03:11:18 AM
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
Go to mobile page.
News: Please read the forum rules before posting.
   
   Skeptic Forum Board Index   Help Forum Rules Search GoogleTagged Login Register Chat Blogroll  
Pages: 1 2 3 [All]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic:

The PC police running amok

 (Read 2618 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« on: October 22, 2017, 06:24:41 AM »

Here's a whole new thread to post your favourite examples of the crazy PC thing sweeping the world. Something I was not aware of until it was pointed out at another forum: in Canada and America, you can now be imprisoned for accidentally using the wrong pronoun for a gender non-conforming person. Here are some articles on the issue:

https://churchleaders.com/news/305540-now-illegal-call-non-gender-conforming-person-canada.html

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/civil-rights/301661-this-canadian-prof-defied-sjw-on-gender-pronouns-and-has-a

From the second link above:

Second, more complexly, are the political issues. “Gender-neutral” pronouns are, in my opinion, part of the “PC Game.” Here’s how you play: 

First, you identify a domain of human endeavor. It could be the wealth of people within a society. It could be the psychological well-being of individuals within a given organization. It could be the prowess of school children at a particular sport.

Second, you note the inevitable continuum of success. Some people are richer or happier than others. Some children are better at playing volleyball.

Third, you define those doing comparatively better as oppressors of those doing comparatively worse.

Fourth, and finally, you declare solidarity with the latter, and enmity for the former (now all-too-convenient targets for your resentment and hatred).
Logged
BoogieMonster
NP complete
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 2959



« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 00:01:54 AM »

Yeah it's marxism.

Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology in Canada who wrote the latter article, was a fierce opponent of the bill in Canada, but (clearly) ultimately failed to prevent the bill from going through. He suffered a lot of backlash from colleagues and from far afield, to the point that he was unsure if he still had a future as a professor; the upside of which is that he gained enormous popularity as a consequence. From what I can tell this saved his job.

Libertarianism, or libertarian ideas, is from what I can see on the rise. Largely as a direct consequence of this PC hysteria. I hear more and more US "republicans" echo libertarian ideas instead of traditional "right wing" ones. (For instance, they suddenly don't care about people being gay as long as they can retain their freedoms in turn).

He has an excellent history lesson on the idea you've quoted him on above. I'm no expert on the "Pareto distribution" he describes... but it sounds at least plausable.

If you're interested, the entire hour of his testimony on bill C-16 (the pronoun bill) is available online.
Logged
Faerie
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +10/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2099



« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2017, 04:42:43 AM »

A little story loosly related to this:

I chair a Women's forum on a monthly basis. We have forums for everything - Diversity, LGBT, men's, name it, we've set it up. A couple months ago we got this flapoy chap sauntering into one of the sessions midway through and an ackward silence decended as we were talking, I allowed him to settle in and then addressed a colleague across the room asking her preference on a product, she cottonned on and a full swing discussion around tampons ensued. We got seriously into it without stating what it was. The man was clueless and eventually interjected with:
"Im sorry I came in late, but what is the topic of discussion?"
I responded: "we are comparing the viability of brands and products which stems the flow"
" What flow?"
"Periods"

He excused himself and hasnt been back.

Inclusion is great, but as with anything, you cannot expect to be part of something you cannot contribute to. Its comparable with me wanting to join a conversation about physics and Mefi is in the room. Id be a duck trying to be relevant in a room full of eagles.
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2017, 08:01:14 AM »

Libertarianism, or libertarian ideas, is from what I can see on the rise. Largely as a direct consequence of this PC hysteria. I hear more and more US "republicans" echo libertarian ideas instead of traditional "right wing" ones. (For instance, they suddenly don't care about people being gay as long as they can retain their freedoms in turn).

Yup, there are those who believe that Trump's victory is partly simply backlash against the PC thing. On the other hand, what with him being an asshole, it might now cause a back-backlash toward even worse PC excess. :-)

Quote
He has an excellent history lesson on the idea you've quoted him on above. I'm no expert on the "Pareto distribution" he describes... but it sounds at least plausable.

Nassim Taleb also discussed this in one of his books, in relation to the arts (if I remember correctly). He talks about the 20/80 rule: 20% of writers, for example, make 80% of the income. Except it is even worse nowadays, more like 1/99. In many creative fields, there doesn't seem to be such a thing a modest success anymore: you either become a superstar, or nothing at all.

Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 05:55:26 AM »

And here we go again, assuming it isn't fake news:

http://dailycaller.com/2017/10/23/professor-claims-math-algebra-and-geometry-promote-white-privilege/

I see now there is actually already a thread about SJWs, so this might fit in there too. :-)
Logged
BoogieMonster
NP complete
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 2959



« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 11:07:10 AM »

Yup, there are those who believe that Trump's victory is partly simply backlash against the PC thing. On the other hand, what with him being an asshole, it might now cause a back-backlash toward even worse PC excess. :-)

Every reaction has an opposite overreaction. Wink

Quote
In many creative fields, there doesn't seem to be such a thing a modest success anymore: you either become a superstar, or nothing at all.

hmmmm.... hmmm.... I don't think that's quite the whole story. What's happening is that social media and special interest groups on the internet are allowing people to have some measure of success in a hidden group even if they don't break out in the mainstream. For instance: streaming music services are letting people to make music and get some income from it from dedicated fans of certain genres even though they don't have massive media empires (or mass media appeal) behind them. Some of these actually do eventually break out into the main stream eventually (Justin Bieber was a youtube star first) and make it huge. And in this case yes, the highly visible stars do go nuclear and break out near overnight because the power of the internet to amplify attention in near real-time is extremely strong. I guess it's the age old thing of comparing the difference without taking into account the baseline. Eg: Income inequality in the USA is out of control because there are 100 or so individuals with insane wealth. However the baseline wealth of the US is very good compared to most other places.

I'm also thinking of people selling prints on sites like DeviantArt, or people creating little boutique t-shirt shops on a whim... and so forth. IMHO the internet has lead to an explosion of creativity as the barriers to entry have been massively reduced. Think also of "The Blair Which Project". A movie shot on a budget of $60,000 on handicams over a couple of weeks that went on to make $100m at the box office.

Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2017, 14:03:10 PM »

hmmmm.... hmmm.... I don't think that's quite the whole story. What's happening is that social media and special interest groups on the internet are allowing people to have some measure of success in a hidden group even if they don't break out in the mainstream.

Well, I would hope so - it's what I'm aiming for. :-)
An American friend of mine makes his whole living out of selling copies of his books, though it's a rather modest living. As far as I know he doesn't do much, or anything, in the way of advertising either, so I must presume people somehow find his books on Amazon.

Quote
Eg: Income inequality in the USA is out of control because there are 100 or so individuals with insane wealth. However the baseline wealth of the US is very good compared to most other places.

Yes, even the poor in America are comparatively well off. And I saw something today that casts some doubt on this whole notion that 1% of the people own 99% of the wealth. On Quora a bloke wrote a fairly detailed piece about how these stats are sometimes (deliberately?) skewed. For example, he says, take a situation where there are two successful farmers each making 100k per year. And there is a medical student who has just completed his degree and now owes 200k in study debt. Their combined wealth is now 0. Never mind the probable future income of the young doctor; these three together are destitute, and therefore we need more socialist laws. :-)

It appears we must be careful about how we define wealth.

Quote
I'm also thinking of people selling prints on sites like DeviantArt, or people creating little boutique t-shirt shops on a whim... and so forth. IMHO the internet has lead to an explosion of creativity as the barriers to entry have been massively reduced. Think also of "The Blair Which Project". A movie shot on a budget of $60,000 on handicams over a couple of weeks that went on to make $100m at the box office.

Saw a guy online the other day who makes a quite comfortable living selling pins (the sort with pictures on them, that you pin to your jacket, etc.) Apparently he gets almost all of his customers from Instagram, or so he says. I never realized pins are even a thing at all. :-)
Looking through the pins hashtag on Instagram, it appears to me there are about a million other people also doing it, but he somehow still makes a living.

Logged
Faerie
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +10/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2099



« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2017, 05:52:14 AM »


Saw a guy online the other day who makes a quite comfortable living selling pins (the sort with pictures on them, that you pin to your jacket, etc.) Apparently he gets almost all of his customers from Instagram, or so he says. I never realized pins are even a thing at all. :-)
Looking through the pins hashtag on Instagram, it appears to me there are about a million other people also doing it, but he somehow still makes a living.


Terry Pratchett... Going Postal

Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2017, 11:16:26 AM »


Terry Pratchett... Going Postal


Before succumbing to the embuggerment, Pratchett made enough of a success not to worry about merely eking out a modest living. :-)
Logged
Spike
Full Member
***

Skeptical ability: +1/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 183



« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2017, 19:57:47 PM »

This quote sums it up for me:

The difference between 'social activists' and 'social justice warriors':

Social Activist:  "Oh look, there's no wheelchair ramp into that building. Let's build a ramp!"
Social Justice Warrior:  "Let's persecute the people using the stairs and make them feel bad for having legs!!!"
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2017, 05:56:38 AM »

Here we go again:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/10/31/having-white-nuclear-family-promotes-white-supremacy-says-new-york-professor-report-says.html
Logged
Mefiante
Defollyant Iconoclast
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +61/-9
Offline Offline

Posts: 3734


In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


WWW
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2017, 09:08:53 AM »

For a sociology professor and a supposed expert on certain manifestations of racism, this Jessie Daniels dolt is remarkably oblivious to her own blithe hypocrisy:  As a white academic at a premier institute of learning, she’s self-evidently a racist promoting white supremacy, too.

(And this inescapable subjectivity is why most of sociology, political science as well as large parts of psychology are such a roiling load of contrived touchy-feely bullshit geared to pander to a particular audience’s prejudices—but of course you’re not allowed to say that!)

'Luthon64
Logged
BoogieMonster
NP complete
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 2959



« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2017, 10:25:23 AM »

For a sociology professor and a supposed expert on certain manifestations of racism, this Jessie Daniels dolt is remarkably oblivious to her own blithe hypocrisy:  As a white academic at a premier institute of learning, she’s self-evidently a racist promoting white supremacy, too.

I have another objection: Is this a way of saying that the white family is superior to other families? Isn't this just soft racism in and of itself? Moreover, generational wealth is exactly how up-and-coming families are going to achieve equality. If you forego that you almost forego the advancement of civilization itself.

Quote
(And this inescapable subjectivity is why most of sociology, political science as well as large parts of psychology are such a roiling load of contrived touchy-feely bullshit geared to pander to a particular audience’s prejudices—but of course you’re not allowed to say that!)

Mefi, I have a question, because I'm not well versed but enjoy watching stuff about this in the evenings. Something that puzzles even me but I just seem to gravitate towards it... Do you think there are valid psychological schools of thought that are rigorous enough to be taken seriously, albeit that they are drowned out by the noise? I'm thinking specifically about things I've seen by Dr JB Peterson mentioned in another thread a while ago. He seems to know what he's talking about but to an outsider it can be difficult to judge.
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2017, 11:08:11 AM »

Mefi, I have a question, because I'm not well versed but enjoy watching stuff about this in the evenings. Something that puzzles even me but I just seem to gravitate towards it... Do you think there are valid psychological schools of thought that are rigorous enough to be taken seriously, albeit that they are drowned out by the noise? I'm thinking specifically about things I've seen by Dr JB Peterson mentioned in another thread a while ago. He seems to know what he's talking about but to an outsider it can be difficult to judge.

I will be curious to see what Mefiante says too. I don't know much about the subject, but it seems to me that psychological "schools of thought" are precisely the problem here. The human mind is a complicated thing, and we do not know enough about it to have any broad theories yet. If we make up a theory, we run the risk of beginning to see everything in terms of that theory, and then all new knowledge will end up being folded into it.

So it seems to me there are very valid psychological experiments, and many of these will tell us some small bit about how human minds work. Think for example of the invisible gorilla experiment. Or the rather chilling Milgram experiment or the Stanford prison experiment, etc. etc. I think many of these are quite reproducible, and they tell us something meaningful too, though even with these it is obvious that it doesn't apply absolutely universally, and they only give us a small piece of the puzzle.

But this is the part of psychology that I find fascinating: real data based on repeatable observation, rather than theories of mind. It's not that theories have no validity at all (heck, even Freud probably had at least part of the puzzle) but they very easily turn into rigid constructs that scholars uncritically believe in, and use to make wild and unjustified extrapolations from.

Even worse, some of these people end up testifying as "expert witnesses" in court cases. Consider for example the 1980s satanic ritual abuse thing, and the damage it caused, all because of an unshakable belief in repressed memories, and that hypnosis would reveal such memories. In the meantime, much real research, without theories, has shown that human memory is spectacularly fallible.
Logged
Mefiante
Defollyant Iconoclast
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +61/-9
Offline Offline

Posts: 3734


In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


WWW
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2017, 11:29:17 AM »

I’m not an expert on psychology either, but one dead give away that all’s not well is that both diagnosis and treatment for the same symptoms often depend significantly on the attending clinical psychologist’s own preferences.  Moreover, these diagnoses and treatments are often diametrically opposed to one another.  Such glaring disparities are far rarer in other, science-based medical disciplines.  Another key issue is that over 60% of published psychological studies suffer from that great scientific no-no, irreproducibility, and when one adds to that the effect of publication bias (i.e., publishing positive results much more than negative ones), the picture becomes even gloomier. 

Also, to be clear, I’m not saying that all of psychology is BS but many currently accepted schools of psychological thought face steep challenges from more rigorous experimental studies by neuroscientists.  I’ve personally heard a few psychologists independently disparage reductionism when applied to their own field, which casts further doubt on the “scientificness” of psychology because reductionism is at the core of much of the scientific enterprise, whether looking at experimental or theoretical endeavours:  Identify and isolate the critical factors.

That said, probably the most scientific psychological sub-discipline is social psychology because it usually involves (often large) groups of randomly sampled individuals to identify and to test hypotheses.  That is, its results are statistical in nature, describing tendencies, their probable origin, the conditions in which those tendencies would manifest, and to what degree, which puts the whole spiel into a decent framework of verifiable knowledge that is sorely lacking in other areas of psychology.

To the interested reader, I highly recommend Richard Wiseman’s books.  He typically pulls no punches when criticising the deficiencies in his own field.

'Luthon64
Logged
BoogieMonster
NP complete
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 2959



« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2017, 14:22:55 PM »

To the interested reader, I highly recommend Richard Wiseman’s books.  He typically pulls no punches when criticising the deficiencies in his own field.

Thanks for the input mefi... I'll be checking them books out. Smiley
Logged
Mefiante
Defollyant Iconoclast
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +61/-9
Offline Offline

Posts: 3734


In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


WWW
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2017, 15:49:22 PM »

Hmm, on rereading my earlier post, it strikes me that I may have created the impression that Wiseman spends a good part of his time discussing the shortcomings in psychology and its studies.  That’s not the case at all.  Mostly, he writes about experiments, usually his own, and what they signify or imply.  Every so often, he spends a page or two gently critiquing other psychological studies, hypotheses and theories.  These are the moments to which I was referring.

'Luthon64
Logged
BoogieMonster
NP complete
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 2959



« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2017, 14:46:20 PM »

Some more.

Mefi: Yeah but as mentioned I do for some reason find the subject interesting so it should be a good read nonetheless.
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2017, 17:27:13 PM »

Some more.

Mefi: Yeah but as mentioned I do for some reason find the subject interesting so it should be a good read nonetheless.

Soon everyone can be a black lesbian in a wheelchair. :-)
Logged
Spike
Full Member
***

Skeptical ability: +1/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 183



« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2017, 12:59:45 PM »

Holy crap  Shocked - that article reads like a belated April fool's joke!
Logged
BoogieMonster
NP complete
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 2959



« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2017, 14:07:37 PM »

Hook, line, and sinker (video). The stupidity of the media is awe-inspiring. You could put a subtext there saying "You're being played" and they still wouldn't realise it.
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2017, 16:41:26 PM »

Hook, line, and sinker (video). The stupidity of the media is awe-inspiring. You could put a subtext there saying "You're being played" and they still wouldn't realise it.

Then again, they knew the public would also be played by it. And the public is what makes ratings go up. :-)
Logged
Spike
Full Member
***

Skeptical ability: +1/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 183



« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2017, 17:19:08 PM »

It's a genius campaign.
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2017, 06:07:13 AM »

Perhaps only somewhat vaguely connected, but this is from a Facebook post by Nassim Taleb, whose book "Skin in the game" is coming out early next year. In short, social justice consists of making sure everyone accepts their own risks instead of transferring it to others:


The Random House Flap copy. My idea is that a single rule can do more for social justice (and without side effect) than tons of communist regulation. {Random House wrote this, not me}
----
(...), a bold new work that challenges many of our long-held beliefs about risk and reward, politics and religion, finance and personal responsibility.
“Skin in the game means that you do not pay attention to what people say, only to what they do, and how much of their neck they are putting on the line.”
In his most provocative and practical book yet, [...] redefines what it means to understand the world, succeed in a profession, contribute to a fair and just society, detect nonsense, and influence others. Citing examples ranging from Hammurabi to Seneca, Antaeus the Giant to Donald Trump, Nassim Nicholas Taleb shows how the willingness to accept one's own risks is an essential attribute of heroes, saints, and flourishing people in all walks of life.
As always both accessible and iconoclastic, Taleb challenges long-held beliefs about the values of those who spearhead military interventions, make financial investments, and propagate religious faiths. Among his insights:
• For social justice, focus on symmetry and risk sharing. You cannot make profits and transfer the risks to others, as bankers and large corporations do. You cannot get rich without owning your own risk and paying for your own losses. Forcing skin in the game corrects this asymmetry better than thousands of laws and regulations.
• Ethical rules aren’t universal. You’re part of a group larger than you, but it’s still smaller than humanity in general.
• Minorities, not majorities, run the world. The world is not run by consensus but by stubborn minorities asymmetrically imposing their tastes and ethics on others.
• You can be an intellectual yet still be an idiot. “Educated philistines” have been wrong on everything from Stalinism to Iraq to low carb diets.
• Beware of complicated solutions (that someone was paid to find). A simple barbell can build muscle better than expensive new machines.
• True religion is commitment, not just faith. How much you believe is only manifested by what you’re willing to sacrifice for it.
The phrase “skin in the game” is one we have often heard, but have rarely stopped to truly dissect. It is the backbone of risk management, but it’s also an astonishingly complex worldview that, as Taleb shows in this book, applies to literally all aspects of our lives. As Taleb says, “The symmetry of Skin in the game is a simple rule that’s necessary for fairness and justice and the ultimate BS-buster,” and “Never trust anyone who doesn’t have skin in the game. Without it, fools and crooks will benefit, and their mistakes will never come back to haunt them.”
Logged
Mefiante
Defollyant Iconoclast
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +61/-9
Offline Offline

Posts: 3734


In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


WWW
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2018, 07:07:05 AM »

Recent tangential info:  More on psychology’s failings as science.

'Luthon64
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2018, 08:48:35 AM »

Quote
Recent tangential info:  More on psychology’s failings as science.

'Luthon64

In fairness to psychology, its subject matter is almost intractably complex. But it does seem to me that psychologists are often confident out of all proportion to the reliability of their research.

If I'm allowed a psychological speculation of my own: I have seen this phenomenon often in online debates. When the subject is something about which there is a lot of evidence available, people are often perfectly polite, and it is not unheard of to see phrases like "my bad; thanks for the correction."

But when the subject is inherently difficult, or there isn't really an answer, or your answer is based more on emotion than data, like the abortion debate, or economics, or morality, the debaters come across as far more aggressive and confident. Why? My guess is that the less solid the ground you are standing on, the more likely you are to feel threatened by contrary views, and people who feel threatened are more likely to get aggressive.

And thus, psychologists, who should be humble, have no problem testifying in court as confident expert witnesses, while physicists go to great lengths to include error bars in every statement.

In any event, the whole psychology thing is one more reason why I'm pretty confident we are not within a million miles of artificial intelligence. We do not understand the human brain at all; how can we hope to replicate it in silicon any time soon?

As an aside, when it comes to understanding people, one may be better served to read, of all things, the Bible. Or writers of fairy tales. Such stories as the one of King Solomon offering to cut the baby in half, or Andersen's "Emperor's New Clothes," seem to me to get to the heart of how people feel and act in a way that few shrinks can surpass. Particularly shrinks like the one that suggested you should ask your baby's permission to change her diaper.
Logged
BoogieMonster
NP complete
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 2959



« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2018, 13:22:52 PM »


Ok, all good, BUT, I'm sure plenty of physics papers have been exposed as fakes or biased also. The entire point of the scientific method is that papers like these get exposed and debunked. The failing here is that it took way too long, I'll grant you.
Logged
Mefiante
Defollyant Iconoclast
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +61/-9
Offline Offline

Posts: 3734


In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


WWW
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2018, 10:46:33 AM »

In fairness to psychology, its subject matter is almost intractably complex.
True—which is all the more reason why uncompromising scientific rigour is of such cardinal importance.  Then again, so too must many areas of the basic sciences in their infancy have seemed diabolically complex.  For example, a flame was an essentially inscrutable mystery that resisted all attempts at explanation for millennia before the fourth state of matter, plasma, was discovered and understood, which wasn’t all that long ago.

My guess is that the less solid the ground you are standing on, the more likely you are to feel threatened by contrary views, and people who feel threatened are more likely to get aggressive.
Bingo.  (I once pointed this self-same tendency out in a different context on the forum but can’t locate the instance at short notice.)

In any event, the whole psychology thing is one more reason why I'm pretty confident we are not within a million miles of artificial intelligence. We do not understand the human brain at all; how can we hope to replicate it in silicon any time soon?
It goes even deeper than that.  For many of their tests, psychologists actually don’t even know exactly what it is they are measuring, IQ tests being one glaring example:  What is this thing, g, that psychologists call “general intelligence?”  Does the test measure it directly or by proxy?  If by proxy, what are the true hidden variables?  There’s no single coherent answer to which most cognitive psychologists, or even a majority of them, would agree.




Ok, all good, BUT, I'm sure plenty of physics papers have been exposed as fakes or biased also. The entire point of the scientific method is that papers like these get exposed and debunked. The failing here is that it took way too long, I'll grant you.
That’s somewhat akin to a tu quoque deflection, I’m afraid.  The fact that such missteps happen in other sciences subtracts nothing from the contention that psychology is alarmingly and extraordinarily prone to them.  With this in mind, the correct response from the psychological research fraternity would be increased vigilance, tighter peer review and critique, and increased efforts towards results replication, rather than conducting studies for the sake of novelty and publishing ever more uncontested papers.  The essential point to note is that the largest part of psychological research has, for all practical purposes and unlike most other sciences, sold a hefty part of science’s self-correcting essence down the river.  As a result, we have a plethora of largely unsubstantiated hypotheses, many of which are in conflict with others of their ilk, floating around the “psychoverse.”  And needless to say, such a mess can hardly be labelled “science.”  By considering several different instances, instead of just a single one, where psychological research has come unglued, the linked-to article implicitly lays out the aforesaid at some length.

'Luthon64
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2018, 07:37:07 AM »

I don't know why I do this to myself, but now I have gotten myself embroiled in an exchange with a SJW on Instagram. It all started with a post by illustrator James Gurney, of one of his pictures.

You can check it out here:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlyKyWvn2W8/

But let me just reproduce some of it here anyway.

First, the picture that started it all:



GURNEY:
Arabian Market, one of my first commissioned covers, and an homage to my heroes Gerome, Logsdail, Deutsch and Bauernfeind. #orientalism #marketplace #oilpainting #sciencefiction #fantasy #oil

ME:
Those orientalist painters were brilliant. Glad to see they have a successor.


hajrameeks:
@brianvanderspuy as someone whose parents are from that part of the world, I can tell you that while Orientalist art was very skillfully executed, much of is actually racist and stereotypical toward my parents' people--objectifying women and barbarizing men. I'm a Historian of International History, with one of my focuses being Orientalism and Edward Said coined the term as a negative term in his thesis, not a positive one. Shame on James for using that hashtag and term positively--I own his books, follow his blog, and also love a lot of his work. Lovely to paint a beautiful Arab marketplace, but don't label it Orientalism, that's an insulting label you don't want, be better informed!

{At this point, I went to look up orientalism, because I thought the term was fairly neutral and simply referred to exotic portrayals of the Middle East. And yes, the 19th century orientalists were no doubt products of their time and shared the patronizing attitudes of their culture, but so what? Surely we all knew that?

Turns out the Edward Said guy is one more in a series of western cultural critics who comb through the greatest cultural products of our heritage and then find racism and sexism in them}

ME:
@hajrameeks I have little doubt that the 19th century orientalist painters were products of their time and probably shared most of the views of the culture they lived in. The same is of course true of anyone, anywhere, any time.

It has become popular in the west to be on an endless guilt trip about it, and for western academics to comb through cultural products looking for signs of racism. It is not difficult to do, when there are no actual criteria and literally anything can be interpreted as somehow offensive.

Me, I just enjoy the pictures. Whether the Middle East ever actually looked like the way these artists portrayed it I have no idea, and I don't particularly care.


hajrameeks:
@brianvanderspuy @henrynotnice not surprising that you don't care, brian--you're an old white guy. I've been in America my whole life, and been subject to sexual harassment and specifically orientalist sexism from other white men, so maybe that's why I care. And you can enjoy beautiful art and still care about meaningful things, if you have a brain and morals, that is...

ME:
I'm not sure there are all that many countries in the Middle East that can point fingers when it comes to sexism or human rights. :-)

Me, I try not to be a sexist or racist. But I will not be made to take responsibility, or feel guilty, about what other people did or failed to do a century before I was even born. Neither do I think I need to limit my enjoyment of works of art to the work of artists who live up to the moral standards of my own time - our standards are every bit as fictitious and arbitrary as theirs were. Looking at history, it seems to me that politicians come and go, but great art lives on.

As for white men? The social justice warriors who would cheerfully trample underfoot centuries of their own cultural heritage are almost all white. The whole idea of a witch hunt for racists and sexists is an almost exclusively western invention and phenomenon. It is based in its entirety on the idea of collective guilt, an idea which is in itself as egregiously racist and sexist as anything a Nazi ever dreamed up.


And there you have it: the exchange thus far. No doubt I'll soon be permanently banned from Instagram for being offensive...
Logged
Mefiante
Defollyant Iconoclast
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +61/-9
Offline Offline

Posts: 3734


In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


WWW
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2018, 11:07:19 AM »


'Luthon64
Logged
BoogieMonster
NP complete
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 2959



« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2018, 11:44:17 AM »

"History is wrong, we must rewrite it" - Morons.

How are we to learn lessons if we erase them?
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2018, 13:13:16 PM »


I have not read Edward Said's book and have no way of getting hold of it, so I am not too clear about what exactly his problem with orientalist art was in the first place. I do know that the artists were accused of treating people as mere exotic exhibits - Irma Stern was accused of pretty much the same thing a century later. And there is no doubt some truth to it too.

Just for fun, let's take a look at some orientalist paintings by Jean-Leon Gerome (1824 - 1904), and try to analyze them from the point of view of political correctness.

Now before I start, let's be clear: there is no doubt that western Europeans at the time had racist, sexist and patronizing views. I don't think anyone either denies or approves of that. But here's  a question: are these views inherent to the pictures? Can you actually see them in the pictures? Is a picture offensive simply because the person who painted it held unacceptable views, or must these views be clearly visible in the picture? And how do we decide whether such views are expressed in a picture?

When we look at the pictures, I would think these are some relevant questions:

1. Is there anything in the picture that can possibly be construed as offensive or insensitive?

2. Does the picture reflect reality? If not, is it wildly inaccurate, or just off in some details?

3. If we are going to see racism everywhere, we must be willing to also see its opposite, so is there anything in the picture that one can actually approve of, from the politically correct point of view?

4. Given that the picture is unacceptable, is it in fact worse than what happened in other cultures, i.e. is it a case of white men being uniquely evil, or just one more evil among many?

Harem scene:



Possibly offensive: lewd portrayal of women; women as sex slaves.
But is it really false? Did some Muslim rulers, or did they not, keep large harems of captive women? Did the harems look like this? Perhaps not entirely, but I don' think one can accuse Gerome here of outright lying, though one could perhaps argue that he is exploiting other people's sex slaves for the titillation of his audience, under the guise of art.
Anything good? Well, he doesn't seem to be a racist here. The women are arguably Caucasian, and seem to be getting along perfectly well with black personnel.
Uniquely evil? What's worse, painting a harem or keeping one?

Harem women feeding pigeons in a courtyard:



Another harem scene, so some of the above will apply.
Now, were women required to wear such restrictive clothing or not? And in fact, are still required to do so in many Muslim countries? And can we accuse Gerome of specializing in soft porn, when he also paints this sort of thing?
For the rest, the picture strikes me as rather beautiful.
What's worse: painting veiled ladies, or forcing them to wear the veils in the first place?

The prayer:



Here's one where it is really difficult to see what could possibly be offensive. Apart, of course, from the usual accusation that the people and their buildings are treated as exotically strange exhibits. But can one actually see this in the picture? One might as well argue that the men here are portrayed with a marvelous sense of dignity and piety, and the architecture is spectacular, perhaps better than anything that existed in the Middle East at the time. Is this a negative or unpleasant portrayal of the culture?

The snake charmer:



Oops, major breach of political correctness here! A nude child, very exotic-looking scene, and the possible unsavory implication that the men in the background may be interested in more than just the performance.

I do not know whether Gerome actually witnessed such scenes during his travels in Egypt. But: was pederasty, or was it not, widespread in the Middle East at the time? And even now, in some areas? What's worse, painting this scene or having slave boys dance for you?

General remarks:

I do not know how accurate the orientalist artists' portrayal was of the Middle East, either in their own time or historically. I venture to guess they were not so wildly off, in most of what they painted. How can truth be politically incorrect? And who is worse here, the painters or the actual perps?

With many of these pictures, I do not really get any sense of patronization; on the contrary, the subject matter is often portrayed as imbued with great dignity and strength. Gerome probably shared the patronizing attitudes of his time, but I get a distinct impression he was more liberal and progressive than most, and likely quite admired his subjects in at least some ways.

Given that Europeans were racist and patronizing, were they actually any worse than the Muslims in these pictures? People who had no problem at all with enslaving "inferior" people, and treated women as property? People who were convinced westerners were infidels on their way to hell? Why is it only Gerome who is in the wrong here, but not the slave keepers and religious zealots? And had Muslim artists visited the west, how would they have portrayed it?

Another problem: what if neither Gerome, nor any other European artist, had ever bothered portraying the Middle East in any way, and had stuck with purely European themes? Would this have been satisfactory to the PC police? I can bet: in today's climate, they would have been accused of ignoring the Middle East, and living in their European ivory towers.

Ya can't win with these folks. Either you're guilty of exploitative cultural appropriation, or you are ignoring the cultures of other people. If you're white and male, you are guilty, period.

One last problem: quite apart from the political issue, this way of "interpreting" works of art is just frickin' daft. In the absence of clear analytical methodology, you can read literally anything at all into a picture, and then claim that it reflects the mind of the artist. There is no way to test most of these ideas.

Me, I'm a great admirer of Gerome's art, and that of his orientalist contemporaries. They may or may not be accurate, but boy, are they well painted.

Next up: Wagner didn't like Jews, therefore his music is bad.

Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2018, 06:43:45 AM »

The saga continues, with a bit of reason:

brynbarnard
@hajrameeks interestingly, copies of Orientalist works by Gerome, Delacroix, Alma Tadema, Sargent et al are reproduced in painting workshops in the Gulf and hung prominently in in Arab homes. During my five years in Kuwait I saw many familiar Orientalist works ( especially Gerome) with all the colonial, exoticizing, racist issues Said details in his famous book, proudly displayed in Kuwait and Emirati homes as Arab history. The perspective from the outside is, apparently, different than from the inside. The external expatriate artist view of the Other has been refracted and internalized

And a note from the artist himself:

jamesgurneyart
Thanks, @brynbarnard and @brianvanderspuy and @henrynotnice . @hajrameeks I don't know much about all this, except I thought the term "Orientalist" preceded Mr. Said by at least a century, and he used it mainly for literature, not painting. The label "Orientalism" is the one art historians have used for decades (without judgment) to refer to that category of Academic art. Do you have a better term for it? This particular painting is over 35 years old, and it was driven purely by admiration for Islamic culture and architecture.

And the original plaintiff seems somewhat mollified:

hajrameeks
@jamesgurneyart thanks so much for your response James. As a western educated Islamic historian with family background in Islamic lands, I am flattered by your art and respect for that aesthetic. I think your own term, Imaginative Realism is the appropriate term if you have fantasy elements, otherwise it’s just formally Realism like any other art scene portraying “real people with truth and accuracy”. So much appreciate your gracious response.

And thus, another storm in a teacup passes.
Logged
BoogieMonster
NP complete
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +19/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 2959



« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2018, 10:14:15 AM »

That is one way to describe a person throwing a hissy fit and losing.

Brian, I don't think you'll find disagreement with a lot of your statements here. I think hence the relative silence.
Logged
brianvds
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +12/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1713



WWW
« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2018, 07:13:42 AM »

That is one way to describe a person throwing a hissy fit and losing.

Brian, I don't think you'll find disagreement with a lot of your statements here. I think hence the relative silence.

Either I'm irrelevant, or a fellow genius. I'll pick the latter. :-)
Logged
Faerie
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +10/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2099



« Reply #35 on: August 01, 2018, 12:24:50 PM »

That is one way to describe a person throwing a hissy fit and losing.

Brian, I don't think you'll find disagreement with a lot of your statements here. I think hence the relative silence.

Either I'm irrelevant, or a fellow genius. I'll pick the latter. :-)

Genius, without a doubt!
Logged
Pages: 1 2 3 [All]   Go Up
  Print  

 
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Page created in 1.353 seconds with 23 sceptic queries.
Google visited last this page May 11, 2018, 21:36:46 PM
Privacy Policy