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Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

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Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

Post  Dar on Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:35 am

When many people express their feelings and concerns about an issue, perhaps it is time to stop assuming that you are right and they are evil hatefull creatures out to undermine you and your goals and consider the possibility that they might have a point. Perhaps their perspective has some validity to it. Perhaps they are not shit and they do not deserve to be treated as such.

Looking at the athiesmplus.com forum, it seems blatantly obvious to me that the prevailing culture is infested with stereotypical thinking. Whenever someone dissents from the unwritten party line, instead of focusing on their arguments, the regulars and the moderators assume that the person is acting in bad faith. There, insinuating that they are not thinking, accusing them of anti-feminist conspiracies, insisting that they must be ignorant if they disagree, and dismissing them due to privilege are all acceptable forms of ad-hominen attack... if it comes from one of those cloaked in the privilege of that board. This is especially sad since many of these ad-hominem attacks are made with little to no justification. If these people show any backbone at all and attempt to defend themselves against such abuse, they are told to fuck off, banned, or otherwise attacked for their sheer gall.

Can a social justice movement possibly gain any traction when its first and primary forum for public discourse is so socially unjust?

If so, I want no part of it. To me, it represents the laziness of thinking in stereotype. A hallmark of hate.

If not, how can such a culture of thinking in stereotype be exorcised?

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Re: Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

Post  Cuduggan2K2 on Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:01 am

Here is a place where all objections will be either discussed or ignored (hey, nobody can force posters to take time to answer someone). If you have concerns over the goals of A+ go ahead. You will receive no moderation for dissent in either bad faith or good. Hopefully ovver time stock answers will be available int he resources forum to direct people to on common questions, and where the A+ ideology or tactics doesn't hold up to scrutiny, then people will have to make a decision about how to go forward.

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Re: Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

Post  Westprog on Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:33 am

Cuduggan2K2 wrote:Here is a place where all objections will be either discussed or ignored (hey, nobody can force posters to take time to answer someone). If you have concerns over the goals of A+ go ahead. You will receive no moderation for dissent in either bad faith or good. Hopefully ovver time stock answers will be available in the resources forum to direct people to on common questions, and where the A+ ideology or tactics doesn't hold up to scrutiny, then people will have to make a decision about how to go forward.

It might, perhaps, be useful to have a separate sub-forum to allow people to vent their feelings about the A+ "safe" forum. People are going to do it, regardless, and if it isn't confined to one place, it might become the dominant topic here. This is especially the case since there will be people (such as myself) who have been banned from A+safe, and wish to pursue areas of discussion that were previously discouraged and prohibited.

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Re: Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

Post  mood2 on Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:03 am

not a bad idea imo

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Welll...

Post  Argyle on Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:29 am

If we create that sub-forum, whenever someone complains about the A+ safe space can we just direct link them there?

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Re: Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

Post  Westprog on Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:13 am

Argyle wrote:If we create that sub-forum, whenever someone complains about the A+ safe space can we just direct link them there?

There's no need to be pedantic about it every time someone refers to the Other Place. It would just be a way to stop threads end up being nothing but a series of complaints. It seems quite reasonable that people should have a place to complain if they feel ill-treated, but not to the exclusion of everything else.

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Re: Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

Post  piginthecity on Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:14 am

Hey Cudoggan -

Well, we can arrange the forums how we like of course, and I can see that dramatic, anecdotal stuff about the other place can potentially derail the other, more constructive, threads.

However the phrase 'Complaining about the safe space forum' can cover a multitude of things in actuality. For example, we've already started discussion about how 'safe space' is actually counterproductive and falsely secure, and also how the concept of 'safe space' is mainly there to empower the moderators as opposed to the supposed 'vulnerable'. There's also the thornier question, which we haven't discussed yet, which is topic as to the role that this 'safe space' is playing in the wider question betweens the 'skeptical animals' and the 'political animals' (those who may be atheist, but this isn't really important - the political positioning is the priority).

Anyway, I hope we can have these discussions without some functionary saying the equivalent of "Into the Education Forum with You !"

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Re: Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

Post  Westprog on Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:58 am

piginthecity wrote:Hey Cudoggan -

Well, we can arrange the forums how we like of course, and I can see that dramatic, anecdotal stuff about the other place can potentially derail the other, more constructive, threads.

However the phrase 'Complaining about the safe space forum' can cover a multitude of things in actuality. For example, we've already started discussion about how 'safe space' is actually counterproductive and falsely secure, and also how the concept of 'safe space' is mainly there to empower the moderators as opposed to the supposed 'vulnerable'. There's also the thornier question, which we haven't discussed yet, which is topic as to the role that this 'safe space' is playing in the wider question betweens the 'skeptical animals' and the 'political animals' (those who may be atheist, but this isn't really important - the political positioning is the priority).

Anyway, I hope we can have these discussions without some functionary saying the equivalent of "Into the Education Forum with You !"

Yes, I think that the aim is to permit as wide a range of discussion as possible.

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Hahaha yeah.

Post  Argyle on Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:33 am

I was not suggesting it be a rule that there is no talking about the safe space anywhere but the forum about it, but rather, that we should be able to un-derail a thread where it veers toward the safe space topic by pointing the users to that forum. (at least in theory...) Suspect

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Re: Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

Post  Westprog on Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:05 pm

Argyle wrote:I was not suggesting it be a rule that there is no talking about the safe space anywhere but the forum about it, but rather, that we should be able to un-derail a thread where it veers toward the safe space topic by pointing the users to that forum. (at least in theory...) Suspect

Exactly so. The idea of a forum isn't to prevent people talking about what they want to talk about - it's to ensure that when someone is looking for a discussion, it's happening where one would expect it to happen. Any discussion will touch on all kinds of different areas, and tend to drift about as part of the natural course of things.

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Re: Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

Post  Skep tickle on Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:37 pm

Dar wrote:When many people express their feelings and concerns about an issue, perhaps it is time to stop assuming that you are right and they are evil hatefull creatures out to undermine you and your goals and consider the possibility that they might have a point. Perhaps their perspective has some validity to it. Perhaps they are not shit and they do not deserve to be treated as such. ...
Bravo. Yes. And this goes both ways, or I should say all ways.

"Perspective is reality" is IMO useful to keep in mind when interacting with others. It seems sometimes that personal experiences or feelings get treated like facts, as if they can be argued away & corrected. The point another person* always has in their* favor is that they* know their feelings, concerns, and experiences (barring lying or a poe or some serious difficulty with introspection or memory, but I'm veering pedantic here). That's their reality. There's rarely any basis on which another person can argue or tell them they're wrong...nor a basis on which to dismiss their feelings or concerns or experiences publicly. Neither, though, is there a basis for them to tell you that their feelings, concerns, or experiences must affect your feelings and thoughts.

Whether or not you want to consider whether those feelings, concerns, and experiences might be useful for you to consider, on some level and for some purpose, is your choice.

*See what I did there? Used "they" as a neutral singular pronoun. Apologies to tysixtus, who appropriately commented at the safe space that this was improper English. Let's just say that conversation didn't go well for tysixtus: http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2331

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Re: Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

Post  Dar on Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:24 am

Thanks Skep tickle for perhaps bringing the thread back to my initial concern.

Regardless of the alleged "safe place" forum, I would really like to know what people think about the questions I asked. Can a group whose inner culture is unjust actually have any chance of working for justice? I would think not, but if you disagree, I'd love to learn why. If not, how can the injustice be addressed?

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Re: Exorcising Stereotypical Thinking

Post  AliRadicali on Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:36 am

Dar wrote:Thanks Skep tickle for perhaps bringing the thread back to my initial concern.

Regardless of the alleged "safe place" forum, I would really like to know what people think about the questions I asked. Can a group whose inner culture is unjust actually have any chance of working for justice? I would think not, but if you disagree, I'd love to learn why. If not, how can the injustice be addressed?

I think the biggest problem with a+theism isn't the injustice per se, it's the lack of skepticism/criticism that inevitably leads to injustice and dogmatism. The people moderating these fora show a clear disdain for critical thinking and skepticism, evidenced in their unwillingness to discuss/debate their policies and ideas, and their rush to make unfounded assumptions about the poster (in order to dismiss the post) rather than actually addressing the posts on their own merit. They are unable to eloquate or substantiate their claims, but they don't care because reason and evidence isn't what matters to them. Demanding these things elicits the following response:
"Everyone who comes here asking these questions thinks they are some kind of GREAT, CRITICAL THINKER, who asks MEANINGFUL and INSIGHTFUL questions that we ourselves could never have thought of! You want to know why people want you to actually take time to read? Because we've answered your questions fifty billion times over. You have two choices: continue to be smug and never actually get educated (90% likelihood, given the past track record of others who have done exactly what you did), or take at least a couple of days, or more if you need it, to read some stuff that will answer your questions (10% likelihood, but I hope it's this one...)."

Essentially: "I don't care that you have arguments and ideas, you disagree with A+, so you're wrong ("uneducated; smug"). Go read the FAQ until you agree with us, or go away."
It's a false dichotomy, where the basic presuppostion is "A+theism is good/morally right/beneficial in its current form".
Then the "logic" that follows is that everyone who disagrees with A+theism must either be ignorant of WHy A+ is good, or bigoted/biased against it, thus preventing them from seeing the good in A+. Either way, the problem can't be the doctrine, it must be the individual voicing complaints.
I'd have no problem accepting the presupposition "a+theism is good", if these people could demonstrate this presupposition to be valid. And the way to do that is not to assert it, or to have figureheads assert it, but to actually make a reasoned argument supported by data.



It's the kind of attitude that would make scientology proud. In fact, it's exactly like the method used by scientology to get people to understand the more kooky, nonsensical space opera parts of the "religion". Once you get to the point where they let you in on the big secret (namely that all the bad feelings are caused by invisible alien souls), many people start to doubt or reject the notion, despite years and years of indoctrination and a huge investment in the religion. The answer to these people is that, if they "don't get it", they have to go back and redo the basic courses (for money, of course) until they DO "get it". Only once they "get" that they are covered by malignant invisible alien souls are they allowed to progress further in scientology's teachings.

What we've seen devlop on the A+ forum is a miniature cult. They have dogmas that may not be questioned, rigid social control, censorship of dissenting ideas and people and of course powerhungry authority figures, abusing the social structure for personal advantage (be it the A+ bloggers professional victimhood or the mods' capricious powertripping).


It's rather disheartening to see a group of self-professed skeptics and atheists become a cult in, like, a year.
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