- Welcome to the Dollhouse! ħuman 20:58, 30 July 2008 (EDT)
You've dodged it long enough...
Why can't I use Conservapedia to breed memetic vectors? ~jfraatz
- Well, I don't know exactly what breeding memetic vectors means, so I can't be of much help to you there. From what I've read about MemeShock, it doesn't sound to me like a worthy cause. In coining new, usually insulting words and phrases to describe people with whom you disagree, you are actually trying to stifle debate. Though you may find this difficult to believe, there are some political and ethical questions which do not have clear and obvious answers. Sometimes there really is something to discuss. Sometimes our opponents have good reasons for disagreeing with us, and we might both learn something if we listen to each other. If you describe abortion as "Murdering our nation's children", you make it impossible (in your own mind) to imagine any reasonable person supporting it. If you describe Obama supporters as zombies or lobotomy patients, you likewise paint them as brainless, and unworthy of engaging in discussion. This is wrong. No doubt every cause is supported by at least some nutters, but attempting to cast all your opponents in that light is an underhanded attempt to win the argument before it has begun.
- You aren't the only person to engage in this behaviour, though yours is the least subtle example of it I've seen. On the news, to give one example, you'll often see references to "tax relief", rather than the more neutral term "tax reduction". And of course relief sounds like something which is positive by definition - the things that a person might normally be relieved of are worries and heavy burdens - the implication is that tax relief must be a good thing, when the truth may not be so simple. Framing the debate in those terms ("so, senator, why are you opposed to tax relief?") is a dishonest attempt to gain an unfair advantage over your opponents. Johann 07:55, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
"Well, I don't know exactly what breeding memetic vectors means,"
They're the memetic equivalent of biological vectors. People who are immune to a given virus, but who pass it on to others. In this case conservatives (who are just about the only people to go to conservapedia) pick up my memes and transmit them to the larger populace. Think of it as analogous to a means of mass genetic engineering, but instead of genes I am manipulating memes and thereby the thought patterns of those who pick them up.
"In coining new, usually insulting words and phrases to describe people with whom you disagree,"
Hmm, yes we do a little of that, but that isn't the primary thing we do. Primarily, we engineer sets of language using deep structure manipulation, and then try to viral it out there. The idea being is that we can change an entire mindset by altering the language. And by and large the language only propagates if people do not have their hackles up. Though we have some insulting language, that does not serve our purposes in most cases.
"you are actually trying to stifle debate."
Well sometimes yes. It's a fairly efficient method to grease the political skids. I prefer not to use it, but I've noticed irrational tendencies in the populace at large, that have to be addressed by rationally engineering non-rational means to balance this out. As long as peer pressure is properly overseen, it can be managed in a more productive way.
"Though you may find this difficult to believe, there are some political and ethical questions which do not have clear and obvious answers. Sometimes there really is something to discuss."
Sometimes, but I've grown cynical. I used to think like this. Only I discovered that when I debated most of the other reasons boil down to excuses or fallacies. One time I questioned my opponents regression of premises and found out that they eventually looped back on themselves. It was then that I realized that there is a limit to the usefulness of rational discussion.
"Sometimes our opponents have good reasons for disagreeing with us, and we might both learn something if we listen to each other."
Well that is true, I do like to listen to what is out there, and occasionally I'll find someone who has a legitimate point of view opposing mine, but for whatever reason my experience has largely been as above.
"If you describe abortion as "Murdering our nation's children", you make it impossible (in your own mind) to imagine any reasonable person supporting it."
Well yes that's the whole idea. See if you can parameterize the acceptable then you can control public opinion. The linguistic deep-structure algorithm we use is designed to "re-sequence" language in such a way so as to change the framework people think about something with. Thus if something is one way in my mind, it enables me to viral that and make it that way in someone elses.
":You aren't the only person to engage in this behaviour, though yours is the least subtle example of it I've seen."
Well they aren't doing it scientifically enough.
"Framing the debate in those terms ("so, senator, why are you opposed to tax relief?") is a dishonest attempt to gain an unfair advantage over your opponents."
All right, you might not be like this, in which case I'd be ok with not giving you the spin attack. But in my experience most of politics is not like this, and if I am forced to play with a cheater I don't like to play with my hands tied behind my back.
Research critical theory, I hope it explains why I take this approach.
Let me give you an example. The term "unborn child" used to be the standardly used term for a kid who wasn't born yet. "Fetus" was around but that was used only in scientific and medical contexts -similar to how "Homo sapiens" is the correct scientific term for a human being. However, catching onto the fact that "fetus" had a scientific ring, fetal rights opponents misappropriated it for ethical discussion. "Aborting a fetus" doesn't sound as bad as "killing an unborn child" in the same way that "terminating a homo sapiens with a lead projectile through the cranium" doesn't sound as bad as "shooting someone in the head." Yes it's accurate in a technical sense, but it doesn't have the same ethical context. Thus they exploited the scientific ring of "fetus" to alter the tone of the debate in the sphere. At the same time they managed to make the term "unborn child" associated with "those crazy right-to-lifers." So in essence they unfairly reframed the debate through memetic engineering.
To compensate I came up with the term "fetal child" as a bait&switch meme. The base word "fetal" retains the official scientific ring of "fetus," but tacked on at the end is "child." Seeing "fetal" fetal rights opponents will naturally latch onto it subconsciously as it sounds like there word, but will then bite the hook as well and use the term "child." I've used this before and it's interesting because it actually works after a couple of exposures.
The overall point being though is that I merely wish to level the playing field. The other side cheats and so to compensate I'm cooking up memetic weapons to counterbalance this effect to my liking. ~jfraatz
- Yes, I think I understand your motives, and thank you for your reply, but I am still not persuaded that your course of action is a good one. Let us suppose, for the sake of example, that abortion is morally wrong and that its inherent wrongness is not a matter of opinion, but something which can be demonstrated to any reasonable and open-minded person. If that were the case, you would have no need of special terms and phrases cynically crafted to influence people's judgement on an irrational, emotional level. Describing abortion as murder, or Obama supporters as zombies, or a fetus as a child, is an appeal to emotion. If your antagonists in the debate were attempting to use similarly underhand tactics, would it not suffice to point out what they were doing, and reduce the debate to neutral, non-emotional terms?
- I do not doubt that your approach is an efficient one in circumventing debate, providing an excuse not to listen to the arguments of your opponents, and winning people over on an emotional level (the "hearts" half of "hearts and minds"). But are you more concerned with winning the debate, or with being right? Johann 01:33, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
"If that were the case, you would have no need of special terms and phrases cynically crafted to influence people's judgement on an irrational, emotional level."
That assumes that they will respond to reason. See I argued this for several years on forums with liberals of the "intellectual" variety, and from the replies I got, I could tell they were not even processing my argument. So yes I could, but the problem is not that I didn't have arguments it was that they were not listening.
"(the "hearts" half of "hearts and minds")."
Once again, that assumes they have minds. (I hate to be condescending like this but in some cases it really is true)
"But are you more concerned with winning the debate, or with being right?"
In academia/intellectual discourse I am concerned with being right. In politics I am concerned with winning, because there is no point in trying to argue past sophists that don't listen anyway.