You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 04, 2016, 02:25:17 AM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick  (Read 1141 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« on: August 24, 2010, 10:24:36 AM »
Phil Plait - Don't Be A Dick

Seeing this concept finally start to spread gives me hope for the future of the world.

It's difficult. I know I give in to anger myself on occasion, but I know patience and friendship works wonders. I've seen it happen here, I've written a thread about it (that many probably still doubt : / )

But watch, please. : )

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 03:50:59 PM »
That was delightful! I especially enjoy his anecdote at the end. It should always be the highest priority to provide evidence rather than ridicule (or at least, if you can't manage to do that, never provide ridicule without also providing evidence). The only way we can advance is through educating ourselves and others.

On a complete tangent: I do have to say, I really have never liked how the empirical movement (which I am a strong proponent of) has appropriated the 'skeptic' moniker. Skepticism has always been, and should remain, a distinct philosophical movement.

Offline Trieste

  • Faerie Queen; Her Imperial Lubemajesty; Willing Victim
  • Dame
  • Carnite
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2005
  • Location: In the middle of Happily Ever After with a dark Prince Charming.
  • Gender: Female
  • I am many things - dull is not one of them.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 4
Re: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2010, 09:17:18 PM »
I'm glad he mentioned Mary Roach, because she is a fantastic author as far as looking at the evidence, presenting it, and just kind of letting you wonder.

Plus, she's really, really hilarious. The first book I read by her was Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers which has a giant foot with a toe tag on the cover, and I'm sitting there giggling like a crazy person on the bus to and from school reading this book. I got some of the strangest looks...

Offline Neroon

  • Sneaky Little Weasel
  • Oracle
  • Addict
  • *
  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Location: Stationed with the Slug-Slaying Cavalry
  • Gender: Male
  • Beware of geeks bearing gifs
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 3
Re: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2010, 07:48:58 AM »
I love the reference to Simon Singh (and his hair) who is one of my favourite science commentators.  I also loved the "Homeopathy is diluting itself out of existence" line, though I fear that many homeopaths might claim that that only makes it stronger.

One thing from near the beginning might well give the ID brigade some succour.
Quote
Our brain is not wired for sceptical thinking; it's wired for faith.

It made me smile to think that the all selective advantages of hardwired thinking in a pack (such as those of the early hominids from which we evolved) will be ignored by people jumping on it to claim, "Aha! Proof that God designed it that way."
« Last Edit: August 25, 2010, 08:06:18 AM by Neroon »

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2010, 09:18:56 AM »
I also loved the "Homeopathy is diluting itself out of existence" line, though I fear that many homeopaths might claim that that only makes it stronger.

+1

That line totally almost made tea come out my nose.

Offline Trieste

  • Faerie Queen; Her Imperial Lubemajesty; Willing Victim
  • Dame
  • Carnite
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2005
  • Location: In the middle of Happily Ever After with a dark Prince Charming.
  • Gender: Female
  • I am many things - dull is not one of them.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 4
Re: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2010, 09:34:20 AM »
Heh heh heh

This is one of the podcasts I picked up to listen to on the elliptical, and it had me laughing a lot, too. It makes you think a lot.

James Randi's TEDtalk on psychic fraud

It was only put up in April, so it's possible that not EVERYONE has seen it yet. :)

Offline Neroon

  • Sneaky Little Weasel
  • Oracle
  • Addict
  • *
  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Location: Stationed with the Slug-Slaying Cavalry
  • Gender: Male
  • Beware of geeks bearing gifs
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 3
Re: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2010, 12:13:22 PM »
I remember the series he had on the BBC in the late seventies: "The Amazing Randi Magic Show".  I believe Mary Whitehouse complained because she thought it had to be pornographic. 

/digression

Offline Serephino

Re: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2010, 09:15:08 PM »
The man has one point.  Calling someone an idiot isn't going to make them listen to you; only fantasize about shoving you off a cliff.  He's also right about the way skeptics are perceived.  Other than that, I found it hard to watch.  I took into account he was speaking to other skeptics, but still...  Something I would like to add is to listen to other person you're speaking with.  Just because you may not agree with the logic that the other person's beliefs came from doesn't automatically mean that they are delusional, anti-intellectual, or in other words, wrong.  I really didn't like the fact he was lecturing on how to show people they are wrong.  One very important tool in debating with others civilly is to always keep in mind that it could in fact be you that's wrong.     

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2010, 01:52:44 AM »
One very important tool in debating with others civilly is to always keep in mind that it could in fact be you that's wrong.
This is a principle all empiricists keep in mind. Indeed a foundation of the philosophy is that you constantly seek new evidence to falsify your assumptions. We are completely open to the idea that we might be wrong and are genuinely asking to be presented with evidence to back up alternate claims. The Randi Challenge referred to in the second video is an excellent example of this.

Offline Lithos

Re: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2010, 02:05:47 AM »
Without being able to realize and admit that one is wrong, there would be no science as we know it. The need of proof and the need of being able to reproduce experiments and their results is the very foundation of empiric science.

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2010, 02:43:46 AM »
One of the things we are hardwired to do is to think that other people are like us. This shouldn't be very surprising, but it has consequences when we try to work around our own biases when relating to other people. A person steeped in faith based beliefs will make assumptions about the person they are dealing with while they believe the other person is 'like them' - projecting their own reasons and goals onto those of others.

This is irrespective of religion, creed, or even belief in gods - I've seen atheists do this on a wide variety of topics, themselves.

When those assumptions are proven to be wrong, though, the person of Faith (see the above sentence for the qualifier) tends not to assume well of the other person, because changing and testing your own beliefs is not a natural thing to do, and the assumption becomes that there is something seriously wrong with the other person.

When someone changes their tack based on the situation of the person they are talking to, lacking any empathy and trying to make the most out of every interpersonal situation as they perceive it, we call them a sociopath (sound like a politician? A lot of them are, and all of them are by necessity going to have similarities). When someone does this with Nature - but not with people - they're skeptics.

For this reason, hostility needs to be very measured or else the natural fear gets confirmed - and exploited by the genuine sociopaths behind many pseudoscientific movements. I do think it has it's place, but not when discussing empirical issues, and straight up insults are never the way to go. It works best when friendship has been established and it's an equal rights issue - over on Blue Moon an opponent to gay marriage broke down over being forced to confront his friend on the issue. It worked, but only after a lot of patience, first.

Offline JohnWolf

Re: Phil Plait: Don't Be a Dick
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2010, 03:49:31 AM »
I also enjoyed the talk- I've noticed (based both on the behavior of others and on my own behavior in the past) that there is a great temptation to, well, be a dick when it comes to disagreeing with other people. This gets justified by saying "well, you have to have shock value to get through to people," or "we can't be seen as being weak/accomodationist," when in fact these are just rationalizations for being a dick because, let's face it, sometimes it feels good to be a dick. There can be something strangely enjoyable, almost therapeutic, about getting out one's anger, proving to ourselves how clever we are, etc., and it's not surprising that people who did this justify it by trying to claim that it is the most effective way of getting through to people (besides, I think at times we are all tempted to take up extreme views). I think that much of the disagreement with Plait on the part of skeptics who criticize him for being "accomodationist," etc. are those who enjoy being dicks and try to rationalize it by thinking that that is somehow the best way of getting through to people.
But what it comes down to, as Plait pointed out, is that any time we're trying to communicate an idea, we need to be mindful of what our goals are- if one's goal is to really get through to people, then being a dick may not be the best approach.