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  #1  
Old 03-31-2011, 09:24 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

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  #2  
Old 03-31-2011, 10:03 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default It's your site ... you can dream.

It's A or B.

So you think those are the only two choices? How binary. How wrong.
Maybe you can just have Aryeh delete all comments that don't conform. He certainly has the inclination to pass judgement. Bhtv commentariat training 101 continues ...

Last edited by graz; 03-31-2011 at 10:11 PM..
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  #3  
Old 04-01-2011, 06:19 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: It's your site ... you can dream.

Quote:
Originally Posted by graz View Post
It's A or B.

So you think those are the only two choices? How binary. How wrong.
Maybe you can just have Aryeh delete all comments that don't conform. He certainly has the inclination to pass judgement. Bhtv commentariat training 101 continues ...
I don't really expect to convince others of my views (sometimes I'm irrationally hopeful, granted). This is why, unlike Unit, I guess, I think it's okay to A2D.

However, my idea of an ideal forum is one in which people better understand the views that others hold which are different from theirs and the reasons for the difference. For example, sometimes people differ because there's some difference in how you value competing considerations. Sometimes people differ because the disagree about the facts. Sometimes people just have different starting premises. I think it's worth understanding these, in part because I think it's too easy (given the segregation of our society, perhaps easier than it used to be) to assume that people come to their views based on false and unflattering assumptions. I wouldn't limit the views in question to political ones, also.

I'm not sure forums actually do further understanding of others in the idealistic way I'd once imagined and still hope for. It's entirely possible that Cass Sunstein's observations about the internet encouraging division is more realistic. But in any case, that's what I think I want when participating.

Well, also just amusing conversation.
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  #4  
Old 04-01-2011, 06:40 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: It's your site ... you can dream.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
I'm not sure forums actually do further understanding of others in the idealistic way I'd once imagined and still hope for.
I, for one, have learned a lot in this forum. I think it a pretty remarkable space
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  #5  
Old 04-01-2011, 08:05 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: It's your site ... you can dream.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
I don't really expect to convince others of my views (sometimes I'm irrationally hopeful, granted). This is why, unlike Unit, I guess, I think it's okay to A2D.

However, my idea of an ideal forum is one in which people better understand the views that others hold which are different from theirs and the reasons for the difference. For example, sometimes people differ because there's some difference in how you value competing considerations. Sometimes people differ because the disagree about the facts. Sometimes people just have different starting premises. I think it's worth understanding these, in part because I think it's too easy (given the segregation of our society, perhaps easier than it used to be) to assume that people come to their views based on false and unflattering assumptions. I wouldn't limit the views in question to political ones, also.

I'm not sure forums actually do further understanding of others in the idealistic way I'd once imagined and still hope for. It's entirely possible that Cass Sunstein's observations about the internet encouraging division is more realistic. But in any case, that's what I think I want when participating.

Well, also just amusing conversation.
Your continuing efforts at maintaining those standards is much admired and appreciated. It proves especially effective when the exchange results in a stalemate because at least the ideas were given a fair examination, rather than a retreat to lobbing rhetorical bombs. So keep on keepin' on.
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  #6  
Old 03-31-2011, 10:57 PM
Freddie Freddie is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Your binary is wrong; I never expect to convince anyone of anything, and yet I'm certainly not preaching to any choir. I fight with everyone, always, whether they think we're on the same side or not. It's the only way to maintain independence. You can check my record; I don't make friends and I don't look for alliances and I hit commenters all the time.

By the way, despite your self-congratulatory piety-- genuinely convincing someone else to come to a new position is vanishingly rare, online or not.
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  #7  
Old 04-01-2011, 11:09 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddie View Post
By the way, despite your self-congratulatory piety-- genuinely convincing someone else to come to a new position is vanishingly rare, online or not.
I agree that convincing someone to come to a new position is rare, but what does self congratulatory peity have to do with it? It's almost as if your aim was to be gratuitously insulting.
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Last edited by badhatharry; 04-01-2011 at 11:19 AM..
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  #8  
Old 04-01-2011, 11:43 AM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
I agree that convincing someone to come to a new position is rare, but what does self congratulatory peity have to do with it? It's almost as if your aim was to be gratuitously insulting.
Almost as if ... but not quite in this case. Freddie has hit the nail on the head with Bob's style of hectoring. He's a preacher. And we all know how often they stray from the exhortations and ministrations they project on their flock.

Trouble is, we're not his flock. We don't need his hypocritical advice or Aryeh's still wet behind the ears judgement.

It's an internet forum. I'd have more respect for Bwana Bob if he (and Aryeh for that matter) would mix it up in the forum and lead by example. I don't see it happening though.

Instead they're likely to continue critique from afar, with a disengaged understanding of the dynamics at play. I mean that's why you've made repeated efforts to influence them by asking them to fight your battles. Aren't your ideas and winning personality enough?

You're smart enough to know that they are susceptible to your whining. Which has had enough of an impact that they have cosigned with you in forum disagreements -- at least via commenter court. Most recently, by using your out of context complaint-- which they later backed off of (check Aryeh's mea culpa), they are choosing sides or at a minimum attempting to appease the chronic complainers. Under the guise of attempting to realize a vision for what their ideal forum ought to be, they are undermining free expression and a potentially organic, self sustaining forum model.

But of course, it's still business as usual around here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
And precludes the disappointment of reading something tortuously long by someone like you and finding there's nothing there.
That would be harry-hat the sarcastic, yielding to her Irish ire (your words - not mine) in defense of ... what exactly?

Last edited by graz; 04-01-2011 at 12:36 PM..
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  #9  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:28 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by graz View Post
Almost as if ... but not quite in this case. Freddie has hit the nail on the head with Bob's style of hectoring. He's a preacher. And we all know how often they stray from the exhortations and ministrations they project on their flock.
Well I agree that Bob is guilty of some of the things he wants others to refrain from. I choose to think he is trying to instill a higher level of discourse in general and probably works at doing this himself.

Quote:
Trouble is, we're not his flock. We don't need his hypocritical advice or Aryeh's still wet behind the ears judgement.
OK but Aryeh is certainly entitled to his opinion as are you. I don't think it's being wet behind the ears to hope for better conversation.

Quote:
It's an internet forum. I'd have more respect for Bwana Bob if he (and Aryeh for that matter) would mix it up in the forum and lead by example. I don't see it happening though.
Not sure what this means.

Quote:
Instead they're likely to continue critique from afar, with a disengaged understanding of the dynamics at play. I mean that's why you've made repeated efforts to influence them by asking them to fight your battles. Aren't your ideas and winning personality enough?
I'm actually surprised that they are as familiar with the forum as they are.

I have never asked them to fight my battles. Nor do I have the impression that they want to. You keep insinuating this and it simply isn't true. Early on I was being targeted by Bjkeefe and I wrote a public post to the forum and said I was leaving. The only contact I made to Bhtv was to ask them to take my name down from the membership role. I thought that was the end of it but I was surprised a few days later to get an email from Bob asking me to consider coming back. His reason was that he was interested in having a range of opinion on the site.

Quote:
You're smart enough to know that they are susceptible enough to your whining that it has enough of an impact that they cosign with you in forum disagreements -- at least via commenter court. By using your out of context complaint-- which they later backed off of (check Aryeh's mea culpa), they are choosing sides. Under the guise of attempting to realize a vision for what their ideal forum ought to be, they are undermining free expression and a potentially organic, self sustaining forum model.
Again, I have never had the feeling that anyone is cosigning with me. Maybe you should contact Bob or Aryeh about this and find out if your suspicions are true.

Organic and self sustaining, that's a noble goal and I suppose that each person adds to that organic mix, me included. I have found a way to exist here and that is by ignoring certain people. It's working for me. I made the mistake originally of engaging with people whose sole aim was to batter and humiliate. But I've figured it out now. Thanks for asking.

Quote:
That would be harry-hat the sarcastic, yielding to her Irish ire (your words - not mine) in defense of ... what exactly?
In defense of not letting people get away with being jerks.
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  #10  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:16 PM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by graz View Post
It's an internet forum. I'd have more respect for Bwana Bob if he (and Aryeh for that matter) would mix it up in the forum and lead by example. I don't see it happening though.
this would be pretty interesting
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  #11  
Old 04-01-2011, 03:17 PM
handle handle is offline
 
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Default optimism

Quote:
Originally Posted by graz View Post
Almost as if ... but not quite in this case. Freddie has hit the nail on the head with Bob's style of hectoring. He's a preacher. And we all know how often they stray from the exhortations and ministrations they project on their flock.
As a recovering codependent* myself, I have to harbor great hope for the Bob & Aryeh.

*Ya wouldn't think it.. aamirigght?
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  #12  
Old 04-01-2011, 05:21 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by graz View Post
Almost as if ... but not quite in this case. Freddie has hit the nail on the head with Bob's style of hectoring. He's a preacher. And we all know how often they stray from the exhortations and ministrations they project on their flock.

Trouble is, we're not his flock. We don't need his hypocritical advice or Aryeh's still wet behind the ears judgement.

It's an internet forum. [...]

... they're likely to continue critique from afar, with a disengaged understanding of the dynamics at play. I mean that's why you've made repeated efforts to influence them by asking them to fight your battles. Aren't your ideas and winning personality enough?

You're smart enough to know that they are susceptible to your whining. Which has had enough of an impact that they have cosigned with you in forum disagreements -- at least via commenter court. Most recently, by using your out of context complaint-- which they later backed off of (check Aryeh's mea culpa), they are choosing sides or at a minimum attempting to appease the chronic complainers. Under the guise of attempting to realize a vision for what their ideal forum ought to be, they are undermining free expression and a potentially organic, self sustaining forum model.

But of course, it's still business as usual around here:


That would be harry-hat the sarcastic, yielding to her Irish ire (your words - not mine) in defense of ... what exactly?
Second.
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  #13  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:33 PM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Instead of putting the topics in blue, why not just put the word "Links" somewhere?
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  #14  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:26 AM
laura laura is offline
 
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Default no blue

With the exception of comments, almost every word on the page is a link so, no, we all know they are links.

You should get Brenda on, she has great advice.

Thanks for noticing my post!
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  #15  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:42 AM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
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Default Re: no blue

Quote:
Originally Posted by laura View Post
With the exception of comments, almost every word on the page is a link so, no, we all know they are links.
Who are 'we'? Bob's comment was that some people don't know the the titles below the DV heads are links to specific parts of the diavlogs. Hence my suggestion for the word "Links' - I'd be more specific but not Bob's not paying me.
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  #16  
Old 04-01-2011, 03:35 PM
handle handle is offline
 
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Default Re: no blue

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcocean View Post
t Bob's not paying me.
Perhaps he should, you are our guy in the field right now. Haven't seen any status reports, did I miss anything?
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  #17  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:52 AM
propagandhi propagandhi is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

I was at the conference in LA when Bob debated Sam Harris, and as a huge Sam Harris fan (both of his ideas and his debating style) I have to say that he did an astoundingly bad job of keeping to the topic and adapting his ideas to answer questions Bob posed. Most of the time Sam simply asked a question, waited for Bob to say about half a sentence, and then immediately began clarifying his question with a dozen other hypotheticals. It was disappointing. I have to say that Bob is one of the more formidable opponents Harris has debated, and I've been swayed a lot by his objections to the new atheism.
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  #18  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:15 AM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

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Originally Posted by propagandhi View Post
I was at the conference in LA when Bob debated Sam Harris, and as a huge Sam Harris fan (both of his ideas and his debating style) I have to say that he did an astoundingly bad job of keeping to the topic and adapting his ideas to answer questions Bob posed. Most of the time Sam simply asked a question, waited for Bob to say about half a sentence, and then immediately began clarifying his question with a dozen other hypotheticals. It was disappointing. I have to say that Bob is one of the more formidable opponents Harris has debated, and I've been swayed a lot by his objections to the new atheism.
I agree with Wright mopping the floor with Harris. But I'm not surprised. The "new atheists" are incredibly lame. Harris is an idiot and does nothing more than plagiarize Bertram Russell.
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  #19  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:24 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

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Originally Posted by rcocean View Post
... does nothing more than plagiarize Bertram Russell.
That's a lot more than nothing!
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  #20  
Old 04-03-2011, 08:06 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcocean View Post
I agree with Wright mopping the floor with Harris. But I'm not surprised. The "new atheists" are incredibly lame. Harris is an idiot and does nothing more than plagiarize Bertram Russell.
Not to piick nits, but it's Bertrand.
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  #21  
Old 04-01-2011, 03:45 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

I have never been that impressed with Harris as a debater. He seems to be too emotional and goes on tangents. That said, I would love to see Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Daniel Dennett, or Jerry Coyne on the ticket. I think that they make very good arguments (especially from a scientific/educational perspective) of why Bob's more accomodationist approach is ill-advised. Even John Horgan for that matter, gave Bob fits when he interviewed him for the publishing of EOG.
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  #22  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:46 AM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

I feel like Aryeh just might have certain people in mind here.

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/351...6:16&out=26:26
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  #23  
Old 04-01-2011, 03:45 AM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx View Post
I feel like Aryeh just might have certain people in mind here.

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/351...6:16&out=26:26
Fascinating. Maybe someone else could write more than one sentence.

But I love I cryptic comments - they're so efficient, and save the writer so much time and effort.
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  #24  
Old 04-01-2011, 03:46 AM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Good post.
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  #25  
Old 04-01-2011, 11:16 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcocean View Post
Fascinating. Maybe someone else could write more than one sentence.

But I love I cryptic comments - they're so efficient, and save the writer so much time and effort.
And precludes the disappointment of reading something tortuously long by someone like you and finding there's nothing there.
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:36 PM
handle handle is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

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Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
And precludes the disappointment of reading something tortuously long by someone like you and finding there's nothing there.
LOL... sorry RC
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  #27  
Old 04-01-2011, 07:18 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Dear Bob,

Here is the link:

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/349...5:48&out=36:07

I will say again that I found the above remark egregiously stupid, not only because it stood in sharp contradiction to what Shadi said throughout the diavlog about US foreign policy in the Middle East (namely that it has been based on the US "national interest," narrowly construed), but also because it is historically untrue: the idea of spreading human rights and democracy was born in Europe, indeed was a commonplace throughout the 19th century in "advanced" circles. Even European imperialism had its roots in the European Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

It is certainly true that the US is militarily the most powerful country in the world today and wields more influence than any European country, although I think Americans overestimate the extent to which other countries want to emulate their institutions and way of life. In any case, it remains to be seen whether the US will prove better than the Europeans at managing the "westernization" of the rest of the world---assuming that is a good thing!
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:00 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Florian View Post
It is certainly true that the US is militarily the most powerful country in the world today and wields more influence than any European country, although I think Americans overestimate the extent to which other countries want to emulate their institutions and way of life. In any case, it remains to be seen whether the US will prove better than the Europeans at managing the "westernization" of the rest of the world---assuming that is a good thing!
So what accounts for the recent unrest? I think it would be safe to assume that the people in the middle east want a more democratic structure and that they want to be done with the dictators. I doubt that they understand fully all that it takes to get there and that if asked would be able to articulate what life in a democracy would really mean. But the impulse is there and may be a universal as has been suggested for centuries. We should be prepared for a long evolution and the institutions may look significantly different than those which exist in the west.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:11 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

With regard to the "Islamophobia" topic and dieter's comment about faitheism (it was new to me too), Bob says that perhaps Islamophobes are underrepresented as 'heads and he wants to feature more in debates. I'm wondering about this, especially in light of the reaction to having a creationist on and the fact that we haven't had one since then. If it's good to have Islamophobes on, because they play a role in the public debate and thus are representative, isn't the same true of creationists?

(I'm not saying I want creationists on, although having one didn't bother me and I didn't care for some of the reaction following that event. But I really don't see the benefit of having people on to express hatred of Islam or fear of Muslim immigrants or the idea that Islam is not a real religion or whatever the view would be. And that's especially true since there already seems to be an understanding that not all views -- even all views important in the political arena -- are represented.)

Moreover, it seemed as if Bob was agreeing with dieter's idea that we needed a right-wing, atheist critic of Islam -- kind of a Sam Harris type -- in order to be representative, and being representative would be extremely weak grounds to invite such a person on. It's interesting that dieter (an Austrian poster) had the impression that the right-wing and anti-religious (or non-religious) population was generally behind what anti-Muslim feeling there is in the US, but that seems to me to be an obvious misunderstanding of US politics and demographics. Right-wing (or left-wing foreign policy hawk) atheists may have some presence on the internet, but they are hardly a driving force in US politics and especially in the Republican Party where some of the anti-Islamic issues have been taken up. I seriously doubt a bunch of atheists were behind the anti-sharia-law law in Oklahoma, for example, or that Newt Gingrich would attribute his decision to demogogue the "9/11 mosque" issue to his concern about religion in American life.

If you feel compelled to give more of a voice to this unfortunate strain of thought, it wouldn't be the Sam Harris types dieter seems to be longing for, but someone like Pinkerton. (For the record, I like Pinkerton, though I disagree with him on a huge number of things, perhaps most strongly on his views touching on this issue.)
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:37 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
With regard to the "Islamophobia" topic and dieter's comment about faitheism (it was new to me too), Bob says that perhaps Islamophobes are underrepresented as 'heads and he wants to feature more in debates.
I doubt anyone would respond to a call for Islamophobes. That presupposes that not liking the religion has some kind of pathology to it. From my experience I think the people who don't like or fear Islam have some well-reasoned ideas behind their fear.

I say 'bring em' on' and hear what they have to say. Their numbers are so small that they are unlikely to have much influence in our country but talking is always good.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:53 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

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Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
I doubt anyone would respond to a call for Islamophobes. That presupposes that not liking the religion has some kind of pathology to it.
Well, Bob used the term. I was just responding to what he said.

However, we did have a lengthy discussion of the meaning of "Islamophobe," including in the thread Bob was referring to (you were there, as I recall), so you probably already know that I don't agree that the term "Islamophobe" implies that not liking Islam is pathological. As we discussed in the other thread, the term is applied in a more specific way, at least as I think it makes sense.

Quote:
From my experience I think the people who don't like or fear Islam have some well-reasoned ideas behind their fear.
You think the anti-sharia-law law in Oklahoma is a rational response to well-reasoned ideas? You think Newt's comments such as: "There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia" or his comparison of it to handing a Nazi symbol outside a Holocaust Museum is a rational and well-reasoned point?

What about the following ideas: (1) that we should not apply the First Amendment to Islam, because it's not really a religion? (2) That we should strictly limit the immigration of Muslims? (3) That we should teach that Islam is incompatible with American values? (4) That we should "kill them or convert them to Christianity?" (5) That we should worry that America is going to start imposing sharia law or that Obama is signalling that he will submit to Islam?

These are the kinds of nutty (or unamerican, IMO) ideas that I'm understanding are meant by the term "Islamophobia."

As I said in the thread on the other diavlog, I think it gets muddied some when the person going on about the threat of Islam and how we'd be better off if it didn't exist also is generally anti-religion. I still disagree, but it's less obviously sectarian prejudice when the person says similar things about Christianity (even if not identical, as in the case of Harris or Hitchens) than for those who rant about the obvious inability of serious Muslims to be real Americans given various quotes from the Quran, yet who think nothing of the ability to pick out equally problematic quotes from their own scriptures.

I think it's obnoxious and ignorant for non-believers to tell me that I'm lying about my religious beliefs and must really believe something or other they get from my scriptures, rather than repecting how I say I understand it (or perhaps by insisting that co-religionists, now or at some time in the past understood it in a particular way). Similarly, then, I think it's obnoxious and ignorant for non-Muslims to act in the same way toward individual Muslims, many of whom see no conflict between their religious beliefs and the same American values I believe in. However, when anti-religious types do this, they are at least consistent. That doesn't mean, however, that they are actually representative of the mainstream version of anti-Islam attitude, which is not at all bothered by religion in politics when it's the right religion.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:28 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

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Quoting Stephanie: You think the anti-sharia-law law in Oklahoma is a rational response to well-reasoned ideas? You think Newt's comments such as: "There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia" or his comparison of it to handing a Nazi symbol outside a Holocaust Museum is a rational and well-reasoned point?
OK so let's talk about terminology. Well reasoned does not neccessarily mean I agree with it. In this case it means that the person who holds that idea has thought about it and can articulate the reasons why he thinks that way. But I can see that I should have been more specific. So I will say instead that some people who dislike and fear Islam have well thought out reasons for that thinking and feeling. There's a guy on this forum, (WmBlaxton?) who has some interesting views about why he's not at all keen about Islam.

Quote:
What about the following ideas: (1) that we should not apply the First Amendment to Islam, because it's not really a religion? (2) That we should strictly limit the immigration of Muslims? (3) That we should teach that Islam is incompatible with American values? (4) That we should "kill them or convert them to Christianity?" (5) That we should worry that America is going to start imposing sharia law or that Obama is signalling that he will submit to Islam?
Hmmm 1) doesn't make any sense. 2) don't agree 3) That could be a discussion. I doubt many Americam women would like to abide by the rules of that Islam. But what is compatability, anyway? In some sense you could just as easily say the Amish are incompatible with American values. 4) who is saying that? 5) who is saying that?

Quote:
These are the kinds of nutty (or unamerican, IMO) ideas that I'm understanding are meant by the term "Islamophobia."
I doubt there are too awfully many people who hold these views, thankfully. I doubt even Newt Gingrich holds these views.

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As I said in the thread on the other diavlog, I think it gets muddied some when the person going on about the threat of Islam and how we'd be better off if it didn't exist also is generally anti-religion. I still disagree, but it's less obviously sectarian prejudice when the person says similar things about Christianity (even if not identical, as in the case of Harris or Hitchens) than for those who rant about the obvious inability of serious Muslims to be real Americans given various quotes from the Quran, yet who think nothing of the ability to pick out equally problematic quotes from their own scriptures.
All religions are nutty to some extent but some are nuttier than others. However, to each his own, really. Just don't make me do it. As for atheist criticism of Islam as opposed to Christian criticism of Islam, I just don't get too worked about it. It's just words. I really don't understand why people get so passionate about something that isn't likely to change or change anyone's mind. Give Islam another 600 years and it'll be fine.

Quote:
I think it's obnoxious and ignorant for non-believers to tell me that I'm lying about my religious beliefs and must really believe something or other they get from my scriptures, rather than repecting how I say I understand it (or perhaps by insisting that co-religionists, now or at some time in the past understood it in a particular way). Similarly, then, I think it's obnoxious and ignorant for non-Muslims to act in the same way toward individual Muslims, many of whom see no conflict between their religious beliefs and the same American values I believe in. However, when anti-religious types do this, they are at least consistent. That doesn't mean, however, that they are actually representative of the mainstream version of anti-Islam attitude, which is not at all bothered by religion in politics when it's the right religion
So I guess here you're talking about fundamentalism vs a more relaxed view of a particular religion. I guess you're saying that there are lots of Muslims who like the spiritual and community aspects of the religion but stay away from strict adherence.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:09 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

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Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
OK so let's talk about terminology. Well reasoned does not neccessarily mean I agree with it.
Sure, I was not equating the two. The question still stands.

Quote:
In this case it means that the person who holds that idea has thought about it and can articulate the reasons why he thinks that way.
Hmm. I'd add that the articulated reasons would be, well, reasonable. Peope can think about things and assert reasons for just about any conclusion, but that doesn't make the conclusions "well-reasoned" in any sense that we should care about (i.e., to elevate them above mere prejudice, as you seemed to be saying we should).

Quote:
There's a guy on this forum, (WmBlaxton?) who has some interesting views about why he's not at all keen about Islam.
Yes, I've talked with him about this very subject. I think you are classing a variety of views as "Islamophobia" (while disapproving of the term) as if they were all one thing, and as I said before I don't think the term makes sense used that broadly. When someone says we need more Islamophobes on, to be representative, I don't assume that means we need people who are generally critical of the influence of Islam in government or of the cultural effects of conservative interpretations of Islam or any such thing. I mean people who make the kinds of arguments I listed.

I do have problems with the more mild form of the anti Islam argument -- most particularly that it fails, usually, to sufficiently acknowledge the differences between various practioners of the broad and varied religion and insists on something intrinsic in the religion that precludes it from changing in the way that others do. That seems to be a mistaken argument, but I don't think it's quite the same thing. (The interesting argument here would really be the one over some of Bob Wright's main premises in his last book -- that religion changes due to environment, etc. I tend to agree with much of his argument and think the radical atheist crowd, or whatever we are now calling them, are generally wrong in their critique, and that's where I think this particular criticism of Islam's essential nature fails, but that's really part of this broader argument, and not related to any of the public policy arguments I'd class as Islamophobic (or, really, the demogoguery related to Islam for right-wing political ends).

Quote:
But what is compatability, anyway?
Can someone consider oneself an American and a Muslim? A good American and a good Muslim?

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So I guess here you're talking about fundamentalism vs a more relaxed view of a particular religion. I guess you're saying that there are lots of Muslims who like the spiritual and community aspects of the religion but stay away from strict adherence.
I'm saying who are you to decide who is a good Muslim and who isn't? I consider myself religious, not just someone who likes the "spiritual and communal aspects of the religion" but not adherence. I'd say I take the questions of what it means to to be observant as seriously (more so, in many cases) as those who come to more fundamentalist or orthodox (I'd argue about this) or "conservative" (this too) interpretations of what it means to be religious. So it does irritate me when people claim that those who don't practice religion in the way that they've decided, from outside, is the real way to be religious is somehow not really religious or lying or just playing at it for communal purposes or cultural ones. One can be religious in a liberal way (which I'm actually not, especially, but I shouldn't make this too personal) yet be serious and sincere and observant in doing so. I see this same dynamic in all the arguments that Muslims who accept certain ideas about the state that are common in the US (1st amendment, for example, equality under the law, women's rights) must be not really good Muslims in the way that, oh, Osama bin Laden is.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:53 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

You know, I actually just realized there's a simpler way to respond to this.

My problem with what some would called "Islamophobia" doesn't really have anything to do with whether people are irrational in their dislike of the Muslim religion vs. other religions (or even in their dislike of religion). Some of the anti-religion stuff I find silly and annoying, but mostly I don't care much about it.

My issue with the anti-Muslim stuff has to do with what policies are being advocated. That's one of the reasons the very vagueness about the political use of the "hmm, shouldn't we be worried" or "liberals are too soft on Muslims" or whatever the favored spin is is so bothersome. There's an implicit support for the more extreme rhetorical positions that are taken by those who do support worrisome policies, but they aren't directly stated, to allow deniability or for different groups to perceive different things.

So I'm not interested in a debate about whether Islam is good for the world any more than I'm interested in a debate about whether religion generally is good for the world. It seems to me basically unanswerable. And, more significantly, it seems to me unrelated to any policy question facing the US (or elsewhere) in connection with these vague anti-Islam attitudes often get trotted out.

So if someone just doesn't like Islam (or Catholicism or Mormonism or, hell, United Methodism or whatever) I don't really see why that's worth a diavlog. If someone starts getting into anti-Islamic policy statements -- we should oppose the building of mosques, the immigration of Muslims, the acceptance of private acknowledgement of sharia (no products that comply with religious food laws can be sold!), or take such attitudes into consideration otherwise in foreign or domestic policy, that's what I'd consider Islamophobic.

For example, you mentioned WmBlaxton. From talking to him, his policy views seem basically the same as mine, so the fact that our views about Islam may be different (who knows, although I realize our views about religion are) doesn't seem particularly significant given our agreement on the key policy issues that came up. Similarly, that I think generalized anti-Islamic attitudes aren't helpful (different than saying they should be silenced) doesn't mean that I have a relativistic attitude about religion or about all forms of Islam. Quite clearly I find Islam as practiced consistent with the culture I live in (and as demonstrated by some I've worked or gone to school with) much more personally sympathetic than that dominant in, say, Saudi Arabia.

My original point was just that to the extent that these attitudes are significant to American politics, it's not because there's some broad anti Islam from an atheist or keep religion out of politics POV. It's because it's being used by some who support right wing positions. (I think it's being used is a somewhat dishonest and definitely cynical way by those who know better -- including Newt -- but we don't even have to go there.) Maybe it's not that significant anyway -- seems hard to tell given the divisions in this country -- but I think the only way to talk about it clearly is by talking about the policy arguments being made. I can't think of any policy arguments I'd call Islamophobic (or which I think would generally get termed as such) that are "well-reasoned" or defensible. That's what I guess I'm asking. What policy arguments haven't been given a fair shake on bloggingheads that we'd need an anti-Islamic 'head to defend?
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:12 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
You know, I actually just realized there's a simpler way to respond to this...
I like the way you are thinking about this, Stephanie. That's a really great post about policy (which I didn't entirely quote, to appease the commenter court).

But I'm not opposed to Badhat either. An anti-Islamic diavlogger would be great, if one could be found who had something reasonable to say. Reasonableness is in the eye of the beholder, but I would be fine with your definition of reasonable.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:25 AM
Mannish Boy Mannish Boy is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
It's interesting that dieter (an Austrian poster) had the impression that the right-wing and anti-religious (or non-religious) population was generally behind what anti-Muslim feeling there is in the US, but that seems to me to be an obvious misunderstanding of US politics and demographics.
Austria is a notoriously xenophobic country in Europe, at least stereotypically. I don't want to imply what dieter is or is not, but parts of Austrian society's objection to Islam probably influenced him, rather than what he thinks of Americans' views of Islam. Going off on a tangent...I don't know what other non-American commenters think, but I occasionally find Bloggingheads' Americentrism a bit annoying (if completely understandable).
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:46 PM
chamblee54 chamblee54 is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

This conversation featured Bob Wright urging viewers to use dingalinks.( Spell check suggestions: dinginess,singalongs) Mr. Wright also described the joys of your viewer. The only problem is, today the viewer is not working.



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Old 04-02-2011, 02:02 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Brenda

Wow. Will we ever get to see Brenda?
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:19 AM
Alexandrite Alexandrite is offline
 
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Default Re: Commenter Court: The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown (Robert Wright & Aryeh Cohen-Wade)

When I saw this all I could think was, "Wow, that's fast! Maybe I should have made those posts I was thinking of making, but didn't because they would be too (controversial / long / idiotic / trolling). I could have won an imaginary award on my favorite website if I had been sufficiently (offensive / intelligent)."

But no, it was just the same 'diveylooge' split in two.
:|

I don't like it when you guys split it like this. It's only OK when it's legitimately two different ones (which I think only Robert is the only one willing to do sequential podcasts).
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