RationalWiki talk:What is going on in the blogosphere?

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What is going on?

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[edit] Animal Suffering

I understand why the article would initially set off alarm bells in people's heads, but I think it's reasonable enough to not deserve all the downvotes. The article acknowledges that any rushed solutions to even minor wild animal suffering would lead to disaster, which is why it needs to be more heavily researched. The arguments that people should stop romanticizing nature and are too focused on its subjective beauty to preserve it for any other reason. The article only lists a few random examples of how things could be done rather than laying out concrete plans. It simply advocates for a change in viewpoint, from viewing nature as something that's just pretty and being obsessed with preserving it to seeing its inhabitants from a humanist perspective. After all, I'm sure there have been plenty upper-class people who, from their perches, have found the class system and the peasant's struggles "beautiful" and insisted it is the way things are meant to be.TheriziπosaurusG (talk) 23:20, 14 December 2015 (UTC)

I wasn't sure whether the piece was sincere or tongue in cheek, myself. I upvoted it mostly because it struck me as satire. Nature is indifferent to animal suffering, and both the animals in the jungle and the animals in the factory farm are judged according to the same standard: reproductive success, or the success of your closest relatives, all scored by the supremely indifferent algorithm of counting genes. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 03:22, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
I actually support treating the animals we eat reasonably well, but only because 1. the gross overuse of antibiotics is wreaking all kinds of unnecessary havoc on treating human diseases and 2. they taste a lot better if they're treated well (the people in the Middle Ages had that figured out). But beyond that I don't care a bit what people want to do with any animal outside of things that will actively FUBAR an ecosystem and/or cause extinctions. They're not humans, so people are quite free to create their own standards for animal treatment. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 04:23, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
"They're not humans, so people are quite free to create their own standards for animal treatment" -> So it's fine if I torture a dog to death? Carpetsmoker (talk) 10:50, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
I have no inclinations towards such things myself, but what you do with your animals is up to, well, you. Better a dog than a child. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 13:15, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
Do you deny that animals lack a capacity for emotions and suffering? Animals obviously aren't human, but even a casual look at pigs, cows, dogs, cats, etc. should make it very obvious that these animals have some sense of emotions (they can be happy, scared, in pain, experience stress, etc). If we disagree on that, then I can understand your viewpoint.
However, if you accept that animals can experience emotions & suffering, I am at a loss to even understand how anyone could consider any and all suffering-inducing behaviour acceptable and merely a matter of personal choice. Of course, there is a meaningful debate to be had about what can be considered "acceptable", but simply accepting everything as a matter of personal choice seems to mean that the torturing of animals for no other reason than the person's pleasure is acceptable...
Also, "better a dog than a child" is not related at all to the question on how animals should be treated. Carpetsmoker (talk) 13:30, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
Animals at a certain point (obviously excluding jellyfish and insects and such, which are also quite tasty if you can get over the mental block) certainly experience suffering. Perhaps it's the ASD, but I can't muster up much in the way of sympathy because humans don't treat each other much or any better in a lot of cases. Being a human I'm more inclined to look out for my own (hence my earlier statement about children, although I agree I didn't connect it well), so I place less importance on the pain of anything else. As I reread it I realize it's very cold, yes, emotionality (which is essential to rational thought) and ASD don't mix well so make of it what you will. And I certainly don't encourage people to torture animals, don't misunderstand, but there are plenty of reasons why that don't have to do with their suffering (waste of resources, aggressive animals that attack people, etc.; there's quite a list, so I might very well get to a similar answer via different means). The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 18:52, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
I agree that human suffering is more important—if you ask me why, I can't really give an answer, though, probably just because I happen to be a human—and given the choice of relieving human or animal suffering, I'd choose human suffering every time without thinking. But it's not a choice. We can do both. Carpetsmoker (talk) 12:15, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
"Nature is indifferent to animal suffering" Rocks, rivers and air molecules may be indifferent to animal suffering, but animals aren't. Really, just try it out. Induce suffering in an animal and you'll see it magically react as if what you're doing is unpleasant! Fucking magnets nervous systems, how do they work? (talk) 20:31, 15 December 42015 AQD (UTC)
I think one of the problems is that organisations like PETA, Greenpeace, and such have been so unreasonable and counter-productive, that many people now associate new and interesting thoughts on animal welfare (and even animal welfare in general) with those sort of people... Carpetsmoker (talk) 10:50, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
Animal-rightsery attracts my utter contempt for the same reason that the anti-abortion cult does. There's something about the combination of maudlin pithering and fanatical judgmentalism that hardens my heart entirely. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 15:28, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
Not everyone who's interested or cares about animal welfare and/or rights is like that. Just like not everyone who is against abortion is religious (eg. Christopher Hitchens). It is unfortunate, in both cases, that those who shout the craziest and loudest get the most attention... Carpetsmoker (talk) 15:44, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
IMNSHO it's completely OK for humans to use animals, which is I have no problems at all with mass farming (made meat from a luxury article to a part of everyone's diet), animal experimentation, getting their meat, milk, hide and other stuff form their bodies but I disapprove of pointless suffering for the animals (bull fights, letting animals fight each-other for bets on the outcome, kopi luwak and such stuff). People should use animals, not abuse them.--Arisboch ☞✍☜☞✉☜ ∈)☼(∋ 11:04, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
That isn't really what the article discusses though -- it talks of aiding wild animals rather than animals already in human protection, captivity, or use. ℕoir LeSable (talk) 20:03, 15 December 2015 (UTC)

It's a well-meaning idea that needs to be tread extremely carefully. I know it's a 90's cartoon, but I'm reminded of the episode of The Wild Thornberrys where Eliza gives long sewing needles to a flock of Galápagos finches as a bug larva gathering aid, which ends up causing a domino effect on the local ecosystem (sped up for the sake of time, of course). We've already seen similar enviromentally-minded ideas have unintended consequences: birds getting fricasseed in solar farms, for instance. I can agree with the techniques the author lists that we currently use -- vaccines, culls, birth control -- but I am not sure the author grasps the kind of risks involved from their comparison to the research of medicine (not that overzealous people aren't doing things that risky with the environment already, but my point stands) ℕoir LeSable (talk) 20:03, 15 December 2015 (UTC)

Well they did say that people should tread extremely lightly. It's confusing that some people here are concerned with human suffering (from serious suffering to "this TV show is sexist") but completely reject a simple statement that people should be concerned with the physical suffering of animals (which is really all the article is saying, and what most of the commenters here are arguing against).TheriziπosaurusG (talk) 21:53, 17 December 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Luke the terrorist

Nice playing around with words there, but in the end, just an exercise in trying to use emotions and words with emotional context (for example, linking the "bombing" of the death star with terrorist attacks or by calling "sheating your weapon and let yourself be killed" a "suicide attack") for manipulating people. The empire would love it.--Irian (talk) 09:26, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

I think the overarching idea has some merit; you know what they say about terrorists and freedom fighters. A few of the connections are valid when made with broad strokes, e.g. Luke's home and family being destroyed by an imperialist government causing him to partake in violent rebellion against said government. But you're right, the way this particular article is written makes it apparent the author is just trying to stir shit. (talk) 20:23, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

[edit] What went wrong?

So after reading that article about how Obama's spirituality led him to try to unite everyone across the US's political spectrum, which arguably made him more conservative, I have to wonder why everyone in the US seems to be so divided. There are more hate groups, less tolerance for minorities, more politically polarization, and more distrust of just about everything. So why did this happen under such a pragmatic presidency?--Owlman (talk) 04:23, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Maybe people are just more aware of the hate groups and intolerance now. More media attention or social media perhaps.TheriziπosaurusG (talk) 21:14, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
It's also hardly a US-specific development, as the same applies to most parts of Europe. Carpetsmoker (talk) 21:17, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Well true, but the US tends to at least switch between a dominate left or dominate right where it seems like now both sides are at a sort of equal footing. I mean the Tea Party has taken over the Republicans and the left wing of the Democrats seems to feel the same disenfranchisement. Every Republican and Democrat (more so with the Republicans) I talked to, no matter what their political leaning or age, seems to believe both parties are the same and/or rotten. This anti-establishment feeling seems to cause more belief in the 'other' being dominated radicals (whether that is justified is another matter) and has led to more distrust and conspiracies theories.--Owlman (talk) 21:55, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
nothing went wrong, per say, except life happens. People expected too much too soon. AMassiveGay (talk) 18:44, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Richer, whiter, more educated

I feel like in addition to Vaccine denial, this describes a lot of the groups that generate material for rationalwiki. I have this feeling that there's this sense of entitlement and authority that comes from a modest education, a lucrative career, and good old fashioned white privilege, that gives people a sense of moral or intellectual authority they don't really have. Fringe, viral, seductively simplistic ideas are very good at festering in these environments.

It takes a very careful, very self critical analysis to pause on ideas once you've accepted them. The notion that I have all these weaknesses myself terrifies me. How can I be sure I'm an adequately skeptical person who carefully considers his ideas, and is not just one of these people, blissfully unaware? Does anyone else wonder that after seeing all these fringe groups with insane ideas about how the world works? ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 15:34, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

The fact that they're educated and have stable income also make poorer and uninformed people, like those around me in the middle of a state which tried to set the value of Pi to 3.2, reason that these people know what they're talking about. I've seen it all the time, and it bothers me.
Even skepticism has its limits. If you're skeptical enough, you could reason that you can't even trust what you observe since it's just the electrical impulses in your head, but yeah, you aren't the only one that wonders about whether or not they're skeptical/rational/logical enough. jrussellwrites (talk) 23:25, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
The good news is, you're dealing with a shrinking demographic. Many young people of a healthy age for breeding lack sufficient confidence in the durability of any part of their lives to have the confidence to start a family. People with lucrative careers and modest educations are a dying breed. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 05:36, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Idiocy comes no matter what your skin tone happens to be, as the melanin theory morons (several of whom I've had the misfortune to run into in my life, in New England it's apparently "progressive" to give losers who have a passionate love for the ravings of Louis Farrakhan a megaphone) so easily demonstrate. Getting back to the basics of neurology, and remembering that I as an individual am no more or less likely to fall victim to these ideas because my brain (with some exceptions) is made of the same flavorless material as everyone else's, helps me a lot. And as a side note, I know Don Henley helped turn the song "Don Henley Must Die" into "Michael Bolton Must Die" (a sentiment with which I entirely agree); I think a great new version would be "Jenny McCarthy Must Die". The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 04:34, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Gamers

I agree pretty much with everything the author said, but I don't personally think letting a minority of zealots define the word "gamer" is the right response. Letting them do so is exactly what they want, to create a clear demarcation between "game enthusiast" (which is what gamer has always meant and still largely means to people who have never heard of GG), and them. They WANT everyone with a differing opinion from them to be put in another camp. Imagine if someone tried to do the same thing with "sports fan" or "cinemaphile". Hentropy (talk) 18:50, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

I fully agree. It's like associating "basketball fan" or "hockey fan" with the people who caused millions of dollars of damage during sports riots over the past twenty years. ℕoir LeSable (talk) 19:18, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

I do think some of the claims were kind of overblown -- That Dragon, Cancer, for instance. It had already been a target for the trolls since it was first announced for the OUYA system years ago, it currently has a "very positive" 92% (153/166) approval rate in its user reviews, and outside of a handful of nutjobs, there really doesn't seem to be a connection between "profiting on cancer"/"neckbeardy anti-theism" and "Anita's approval" as reasons for the community attacks (Other games given the thumbs up by Anita, such as Never Alone: Kisima Ingitchuna, Crypt of the Necrodancer, and Read-Only Memories -- the last of which being, let's be frank here, prime target material for anti-Tumblrite/SJW types considering the Technicolor hair and the surfeit of the pronoun "zhe" -- aren't targeted).

That being said, I do fully agree with the author about the progression of the "Gamer" community, at least at its extremes. It's incredible how childish the community on Steam and elsewhere has gotten towards criticism, particularly criticism with a feminist slant, to the point where some are actually siding with Jack Thompson. It's just incredible. Most of me wants to dismiss this as just immaturity -- ten minutes on any public online FPS with voice chat makes it pretty clear how many literal children are on -- but as time goes on, that hope is fading. ℕoir LeSable (talk) 19:06, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

That Dragon, Cancer is getting a fair amount of people causing a ruckus, but the most vitriolic tends to be those misguided individuals who think that they shouldn't have charged at all for the game. So while some of the usual suspects are coming out (duur walking simulator), I'm not sure if I'd conflate it wholesale with the GG crowd. Strangely enough the only real heat I've seen Read-Only Memories get is from the more progressive crowd for trying to conflate the otherkin stuff with transfolk. I may have contributed to that a little... still liked the game overall though. The more you think about it the more you realize that there are more "progressivey artsy" games than there ever was in the past and most of the former GG crowd has basically given up trying to decry them or make much stink out of them, probably because they finally realized how hypocritical that was. It's a matter of the modern internet that someone is going to say something nasty in their shoutbox, but I don't think that means it's some kind of epidemic problem that requires us to change the meaning of words. Hentropy (talk) 20:03, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Here is a rebuttal by ZenofDesign Re this piece. I especially like this quote from the comments section:

"Gaters aren’t their parents; they don’t care for the kind of military adventurism of the Dubya years (which doesn’t prevent their favorite games from being infected with it, which makes me suspect that their objection is mostly that to die in battle would be too much of a personal inconvenience to their playing video games), they don’t deny the reality of climate change, they’re not the Christian Right.

"They are, however, scientistic to the point of the ridiculous, where everything that can’t be quantified becomes irrelevant. (Can you picture people like them even bothering to consider something as fuzzy as “ethics in journalism”?) They, and their belief in universal logic, and reason, where everything that doesn’t fit in this just Does Not Compute. It’s also why they tend to take everything literally, from 'gamers are dead' to talking of 'corrupt' journalists not as we normally would, but 'corrupt' as a computer file would be, to be replaced by a properly functioning copy that doesn’t deviate from the rigid Gamer Consensus.

"And where did they pick that kind of mentality up? From video games. The glorious world of the Skinner box where minmaxing yields tangible results, and where some choices are Empirically Superior to others, and where all that matters is to get ahead by any means necessary. And because video games are self-centered, solipsism becomes a universally applicable model – hence the result where GamerGate is always insisted upon as having no leaders, while every Gater’s personal goals are made the movement’s, regardless of who’s winning the tug of war.

"The cause of GamerGate is video games themselves." Blitz (Complaints Box) 02:55, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

I would say that's a pretty good description of many of the GG types, probably better than what I could come up with. Interacting with them doesn't yield much of a "Christian Rightist" tone even superficially, and it seems the author is just making a somewhat lazy comparison because the Christian Right is reviled. However, I think the overgeneralization of people and deciding their political philosophies for them is partially what led to the outrage in the first place and repulsed people who might have been liberal progressives. Hentropy (talk) 04:14, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
So videogames are what causes people to act irrationally and get angry about silly things. As if that never happens anywhere else. Why do people insist on writing these pseudo-analytical articles that proclaim with certainty that they've discovered the weirdly specific complex motivations behind every single angry person? "Oh, you see, their parents were right-wing religious people, but now they act like life is a videogame, and they see people who disagree with them as enemies to eliminate at all costs in order to win, just like a game". It reminds me of how people argue "people are feminists because they are fat and ugly and they can't get a man" in that it constructs some story behind every member of an enormously broad group based on armchair psychology that sounds convincing enough to support a certain narrative. I don't care who it comes from, enough of the pseudointellectualism.TheriziπosaurusG (talk) 18:26, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
That has to be one of the shittiest, most insulting way to characterize an entire group I've ever seen. It's got this "I'm calling you a sociopathic coward with a fundamental dysfunction in your human empathy as well as a hypocrite but no offense meant BRO" vibe that you only ever see in self-righteous political extremists of all sides. NewFrenchHotness (talk) 10:28, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Enjoyed this comment:

Guys, seriously. We're not about eating people. That was that other great white shark. And I reported him. We're opposed to attacking boats and humans. You just bit yourself in half for sympathy. Where's the pictures or video or chat logs of me eating you? I have yet to see any proof of these attacks your talking about. If you don't have any proof, then you're just fearmongering and ignorant about my community, SJW facist!

Laughed at this one:

I don't think I ever saw so many lies in a single article, even by SJW standards! SJWs are the group doing 90% the censorship in reality! It's hilarious that a group that actively promotes censorship (like SJWs) would accuse anyone of being a "censor", but that's what this clickbait author is attempting to do.

SJWs have way more in common with the religious right than the normal, non-political gamers. SJWs are the ones who want to censor and ban games for all sorts of reasons : fictional sexism, fictional racism, boobs too big, etc...

Herr FuzzyKatzenPotato Moderator (talk/stalk) 16:56, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

I felt that this was just a moment of another, more politically oriented version of the "Video Games Cause Violence" Argument. (talk) 01:08, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Learning The Hard Way

Not to nitpick, but that "Learning The Hard Way" article is from way back in April of last year. I'm fairly confident it was even posted here closer to when it came out. While it's a good read and pretty interesting, why is it posted again, now?AcidTrial (talk) 17:28, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Commented out Pippa (talk) 18:27, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
I posted it because I failed to check the date. Oops. I removed it rather than commenting it out because it had accrued zero votes. BicyclewheelToxic mowse.gif 16:33, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Pro-Palestinian Paranoia

I personally don't agree with France's anti-boycott laws - they're indeed a rather egregious violation of free speech -, but implying that theys specifically exist to stop anti-Israel criticism or to gag antisionists is overblown paranoia. Yes, such a thing can be considered hate speech under French law - pretty baffling to me as well. Things'd be the same if one called for a boycott of Libanese goods - funnily enough, no one calls for that, despite the rather poor treatment of Palestinians in Liban. NewFrenchHotness (talk) 21:38, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

They don't specifically target anti-Israel criticism, no. But it's always been trivially easy to place speech you oppose in the category of 'hate speech'. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 16:47, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
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