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Everything posted by wellnamed

  1. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you I'm sure I'm more in agreement with TrueScotsman than many here about increasingly plausible threats from authoritarian strains of nationalism in the US. Despite that I think if this forum is going to comfortably accommodate people from across the political spectrum we do have to try to afford each other some minimal amount of respect, and that should extend as far as not going too far insulting each other as clueless bumbling idiots. To be clear, I also wish that notion of respect would prompt at least one or two of the more conservative members here to be less hostile and trollish in their posting as well, but since I've complained about people on the conservative side of late I guess I feel like I'd be hypocritical not to lightly chide you here also, TrueScotsman. Take it for whatever you think it's worth...
  2. It's broken again. Weird. I'm not sure if someone had to manually intervene last time or not, it was fixed so fast. It almost seems like sending a PM is related to it getting into a bad state. Might be a coincidence.
  3. Given your views on individual liberty, does it really matter if there is no difference between "moral outrage" and "self-righteous ranting"? I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, it would just seem to me that it shouldn't matter in this context. Perhaps I'm mistaken on that point, but previously you've said things like this: which suggests to me that you would agree that the restaurant manager should be free to refuse service, even if her sense of "moral outrage" is really just "self-righteous ranting". It also seems to me that the distinction isn't really even important to the point that Scotsman was making, since that point is entirely about the difference between organized political strategy and individual actions, rather than being about the justification for any particular action.
  4. To try to clarify, I was attempting to outline something like a pragmatic principle and not an absolute truth. If there's an obvious problem with a rule and a clear solution then by all means fix the rule immediately. If there's a very unambiguous danger associated with some institutional policy, and reasonable ways of trying to address it, then it should be addressed. But, I don't think end's post really raises any issues with that level of specificity or certainty. He says people might do this or might do that, but there's no reason given to suppose that any of those things are at all likely. The pragmatic principle I have in mind is that it's there's a lot of drawbacks to proposing strictly defined rules and bureaucracy in the absence of some actual need for them. I think it's basically inevitable that rules will fail to account for every possible thing that might or could happen, and it's usually pretty painful to try to make them do so. Slippery slope fallacies are not really very useful here. That doesn't mean there are no cases where proposed rules have clear and obvious problems. There definitely are. I can imagine workplace policies that someone might propose in response to #metoo that I would oppose along these lines. But I can only be bothered to worry so much about things that haven't happened unless I have a reason to believe those things are likely to happen. What I was pushing back against in that post was the failure to actually argue that any of the things he was worried about were likely.
  5. I mean my general inclination is no, we should mostly not prosecute people for using words. If we contemplate limiting speech we should have very compelling reasons to do so, and we should favor other approaches where they might accomplish our policy goals with less downside. We do have some exceptions to speech protections though. I think I mentioned a few earlier in this thread. I think there's probably some reasonable argument to be made for hate speech laws that would inhibit literal neo-nazis from speaking publicly but not most other people. On the other hand, it's not clear to me if those laws would accomplish much in the present climate. To some extent social norms accomplish much the same thing. That said, there's been a disturbing uptick in dehumanizing rhetoric out of certain parties of late, most notably from the President when he speaks about immigrants. I don't think that rhetoric is entirely inconsequential, although at the moment I think it's the actions that are far worse. The two are related though, clearly. I don't know what the best solution is.
  6. I think it's probably inevitable that definitions of bigotry will have some subjective component, but I wouldn't agree that a definition is necessarily entirely subjective. I don't have a strong opinion on the usefulness of hate speech laws, but I also think laws like that could be given a roughly objective basis of some kind. Law is often like that, where courts have to (somewhat subjectively) assess objective evidence. Just as an example, I think there is an objective distinction between a statement like "Christians are misguided idiots adhering to a bronze age tribal religion" and "Christians are animals who should be rounded up and exterminated". I think a standard of bigotry or hate speech could be elaborated that would properly distinguish between the two statements. Such a distinction would recognize the way that the latter contributes to dehumanizing Christians and suggests violence against them. I would call the second bigoted, but not the first. Any attempt to outline such a distinction will inevitably have some fuzzy boundaries, but I don't think it follows that therefore the entire enterprise is subjective.
  7. Annoying Christians is just one of the many perks that atheists enjoy
  8. Basically my view is that we have good reasons to feel generally confident in the scientific validity of well-designed survey research carried out by reputable organizations or academic scientists. We also know that there are real problems that can affect the reliability of any individual survey, so we should pay attention to how a survey was conducted and not just accept any results without question. One helpful strategy, and "the rise of the nones" is a useful example of it, is to try to look for consensus between different researches and across different methods. This is called "triangulation". So for the changes in religiosity we don't have to rely on a single poll, we have multiple surveys from Pew, Gallup, and PRRI over several years with similar results. We sometimes have data on attendence and membership from church organizations themselves. By evaluating all the available evidence together we can be more confident in the conclusions than in a case where we have only a single survey. So I would say that the "rise of the nones" as a phenomenon is better established than any of the data in this survey, although I do suspect there are some other data out there on men's attitudes or responses to #metoo which I haven't looked for.
  9. Speaking as someone who also loves food and music, I'm hopeful that you might be able to find some new social groups that enjoy eating and music without all the religious baggage. I don't know if I have any particular insight, but it does seem to me that the changes in social networks are a real issue for a lot of people. It's not just that you change your beliefs, you have to disentangle yourself from a bunch of problematic relationships, and it can be hard to find new relationships to replace them with. Even when you don't lose relationships, their character is altered in a way that can feel like a big loss. My only advice is that I think it takes time, and you have to hang in there. I think sites like this one can be useful to people as they work through all of those changes. Or at least that's the goal. Also, this is just my opinion, but I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with continuing to appreciate some of the cultural elements of religion. I myself am still pretty enamored of some eastern orthodox church music. I do think that deconversion can be traumatic and that music can be something of a trigger, so I understand why some people feel like they need to make a clean break from stuff like that, lest they get sucked back in emotionally in ways that they feel are detrimental to them. That's something you'll have to figure out yourself, I think, but if you enjoy the music and it doesn't stress you out than by all means enjoy it imo.
  10. Oh totally. Lucky for everyone I really enjoy wasting time on the internet.
  11. Sorry, I do repeat myself sometimes. I totally respect your approach here and wanted to encourage you to continue to participate. That was the main point I was trying to make.
  12. I think you've hit on a pretty important issue here, which is about trust in institutions or organizations. I think it should be clear that one is forced to trust at least some institutions and some organizations, at least to some extent, or else one's knowledge of the world is going to be severely impoverished. I've never carried out Young's double slit electron experiment, but I trust that the authors of the QM textbook are not lying to me. I wasn't there when various fossil hominins were recovered and I haven't seen them myself, but I trust that the scientists who piece them together to tell us something about human evolution are not lying. I can't prove that 538 didn't fabricate the data for the survey from whole cloth, but I trust that they didn't. I don't think my trust is unreasonable or unwarranted (I've been following 538 for a decade for example, and so have had many opportunities to evaluate their trustworthiness), nor is it blind, unconditional, or absolute. But it's certainly true that I have to have a certain amount of trust or else there is very little I could claim to know about the world. In fact, I feel like a worldview with no trust for organizations would be so impoverished that I sincerely doubt you actually have such a view. I expect that you at least implicitly trust many organizations, as well you should. I think that for ex-Christians, especially those coming out of very fundamentalist sects, figuring out a reasonable epistemology, figuring out an approach to validating ideas, institutions, and organizations, is often a very real problem. I could understand if the idea of knowledge where you never have to trust anyone or anything at all could seem theoretically ideal. But it's not practically feasible, unless you want to retreat into a near solipsism. The harder task, but a worthwhile one, is to make the effort to establish where trust is warranted and where it isn't. Trust doesn't have to be "faith" though. It doesn't have to be given with absolutely no evidence whatsoever, without criticism and without condition. But my trust in various scientific institutions is not like that, and I don't think you really have any particular reason to impugn the trustworthiness of 538, or at least you've given no such reason. I used the word "unlikely" because it adequately conveys my level of conviction, which is not absolute, but which I consider to be reasonable, for reasons I've given. Like, I was literally being clear that I cannot be absolutely certain that some possibilities (like 538 committing fraud) are false. I'm not sure why you're bothered by this. To me it sounds like a young-earth-creationist expressing bitter skepticism about evolution because she can't be entirely certain that God didn't place the fossils to test her faith. Absolute certainty is a rare commodity in science, or really just in human knowledge in general. I don't think that's much of a real issue in practice. It's much like the issue of trust. In practice you have to make some reasonable and pragmatic decisions, intelligently assessing the information you have to work with. If you want absolute certainty, you're probably better off sticking with religion.
  13. @ag_NO_stic fwiw I'm 100% sure that florduh wasn't referring to you. In the case of the "shitposting" comment that is definitely a reference to someone else. Speaking for myself, I welcome your contributions and have absolutely no issue with your posts challenging various methods or conclusions. I think I can understand where you are coming from given your history. Speaking of where folks are coming from, I think -- and this is probably more of an issue for @Orbit than for me, since she's a professional sociologist where I'm an amateur -- it can be frustrating for people with a lot of knowledge in a field when others are entirely dismissive of the very foundations or validity of the field as a whole. Sometimes channeling that frustration into productive conversation is a challenge, but of course that is not your problem at all, nor something that moderation should be involved with. Nor do I mean to beg the question about the validity of social science or suggest that challenging it should be intellectually off-limits for anyone. Basically I'm just hoping we can all bear with one another, recognizing that we are each coming from different perspectives. That said, I do also think there's a meaningful difference between good-faith skepticism and a desire to think critically (but openly) about various issues, and the tendency I sometimes observe (and here I'm not referring to you) where people seem to have already settled on the desired conclusion and are merely searching for any convenient reason for rejecting any argument that challenges that conclusion. Critical thinking is a good thing, but motivated reasoning masquerading as critical thinking is not quite the same. There again though, it's not my desire to enshrine that distinction in forum rules. I think people should have the right to entirely dismiss social sciences out of hand for reasons I consider entirely wrong, and make posts to that effect. It's clear to me though that the former kind of skepticism allows for discussion where the latter kind of dismissal does not, so I rather prefer the former
  14. No problem, I get paid by the word. Thanks for stopping by.
  15. Ideally, the answer is randomly, where every member of the population in question is equally likely to be selected. In practice, this is very difficult to do (not just for pollsters) so other methods are often used to approximate random sampling. In this particular example they collected a randomly selected sample of SurveyMonkey users and then weighted the responses by demographic characteristics of the respondents to approximate the demographic distribution of the US population overall. What that means is, for example, if the percentage of 50-64 year old men in their sample was smaller than the actual percentage of 50-64 year old men in the population then they would count the responses of that sub-group a little bit extra so that the weight of their responses approximates what percentage of the population they actually represent. They made similar adjustments for other demographic variables. They don't specify which, but I would expect likely candidates are age, geographic location, race, level of education, level of income, possibly others, or possibly only age, geographic location, and race. This technique of re-weighting a sample to match the known demographic profile of a larger population is common in electing polling, and while I would say it's never completely ideal it has empirically good results over the last couple decades. Good enough for the kinds of rough conclusions the article discusses at least. This is a known issue in survey design, and one that 538 specifically has published articles about in the past, so I would expect them to do a fairly reasonable job at it. You can evaluate it for yourself, the questions and possible answers respondents can give are in the article, as well as in the provided raw data. They all look pretty neutral to me. Obviously this would invalidate any survey but I think this is highly unlikely in this particular case given the organizations involved in producing the survey. It's also unlikely because, as noted before, there's really nothing particularly controversial or provocative about the results. There's no real reason to be concerned about this here. This should hopefully be answered above in the explanation of demographic weighting. I wanted to make a few more general comments towards what @Joshpantera wrote: 1) To reiterate what Orbit said, statistical sampling and the relationship between sample size and sampling error is very well established. I'm not a statistician so I doubt I can give an absolutely complete overview (see your stats textbook), but in a nutshell: given the ability to randomly sample, and given some assumptions about the variable for which one is sampling, there's a simple relationship between the sample size and the sampling error (what surveys generally report as "margin of error"). There are some extra complications depending on the way the variable is distributed and how you can determine standard error for it, but those don't really matter to the general idea. When Orbit says that there's diminishing returns, she just means that survey researchers are generally content with margins of error in the +/- 3-5% range, and you don't need larger sample sizes to achieve that limit on sampling error for the adult US population, or registered voters. Sampling error isn't the only possible kind of error, but it's the only one that is contingent on sample size. 2) It's not just surveys or social science that rely on statistical sampling. It's a pretty foundational method in modern science. In medicine, biology, zoology, and probably a bunch of other fields. So not just political science or sociology. Good sampling can definitely be tricky, and a deep dive into how political opinion polling really works is interesting. Like in this particular case I might rate their methodology like a B-, because I think randomly sampling SurveyMonkey users is probably less ideal than a poll that calls some mix of landlines and cell phones. But then, where live telephone surveys used to be the gold standard, they've gotten worse over time as fewer people have landlines and it has become more problematic to get people on the phone. So there are always difficulties, but... 3) One of the nice things about some of these polling techniques is that we actually do have a good empirical test for their reliability: election polling. We get pretty decent feedback on the accuracy of the polls every couple of years, and for the most part if you look at the average of national election polling in Presidential elections you'll find that American pollsters are pretty good. In 2016 national polls were off by about 1-2% on average, which is about the margin of error on this poll as well. Obviously some pollsters perform better than other, and you should keep margins of error in mind before drawing too fine-grained of conclusions from a survey like the one in this thread, but considering the mathematical foundations of statistical sampling, the wide consensus across many scientific disciplines that such sampling techniques allow for representative validity, and empirical support for polling accuracy specifically found in election polling, I think you can feel reasonably confident that surveys like this one are providing you useful data, within the scope of the known limitations like margins of error.
  16. I agree that there's lots of ways people could act inappropriately, but that's not what the survey asked about, and you're conveniently skipping past the part where you try to find out whether those things are actually happening with any frequency. A hypothetical disadvantage is not actually a disadvantage. I will agree that the #metoo movement is creating change, and while I think that change is necessary and good, it's also certainly true that changing social norms creates some upheaval and uncertainty (as florduh pointed out), and I'm sure some things will go wrong along the way. I wouldn't take an endorsement of #metoo in general as a blanket approval of literally everything that does happen, let alone everything that could or might happen. A while back I read this article about political debates balancing between concern with equilibria and limits. I think it's a useful way of thinking about #metoo. I support the movement because I think it's pushing the equilibrium in a better direction. Some of the pushback is concerned with navigating what the limits should be with respect to work boundaries and the like. I think the conversation about limits or concerns that men might have about being called harassers unfairly can be valid, but I also don't think people should wield them as a defense mechanism against considering the valid and longstanding complaints of women. I expect it will take some time to work some of the questions about social norms out.
  17. It turns out being perceived primarily as a sex object (which you seem to be doing above) isn't always an advantage in one's career. I'm not sure what physical strength has to do with harassment. I'm not sure what any of this has to do with the question of whether men have certain advantages or face certain other disadvantages.
  18. I agree that the fear is probably exaggerated, and having done some research on the MRA movement I agree that the rhetoric MRAs use tends to rely on fomenting outrage. But I also think it's probably easy to overestimate how widespread or important the MRA movement is, unless we're going to include more mainstream outlets who probably also contribute but which I wouldn't refer to as MRAs specifically. I think also what's noteworthy is that the advantages listed are somewhat diffuse and visible only in the aggregate; they aren't necessarily easy for an individual to observe unless they are paying attention specifically for this kind of thing. It's easy for me to believe that the majority of men feel like they are not advantaged in those ways. On the other hand, being accused of harassment is pretty concrete and easy for people to imagine. So I think that explains some of the difference. There's a school of epistemology in feminism called Standpoint theory that I think has made a lot of interesting contributions by way of thinking about how different people's social situations impact what knowledge is readily available to them purely as a consequence of that position.
  19. Nothing in particular. I think the results are fairly banal, and nothing too surprising. I would guess the most interesting result (even if not very surprising to me) is that men in the survey are more likely to believe that being male is a disadvantage in the workplace than an advantage. I seem to recall some other Pew surveys that have similar-ish results. But, from my perspective the discussion about what qualifies as science and what doesn't, and how to evaluate various methods, is probably more interesting than this actual survey. The attempts to find methodological reasons to reject the survey's validity strike me as more interesting than the actual content.
  20. The survey was conducted online, so your ability to identify biological males by sight is not very helpful. Given the description in the article, it appears to me that they relied on gender provided by SurveyMonkey users who were active on the site because they were taking other surveys. In other words, the gender provided by the user was provided in a context prior to them knowing they were going to be offered a survey on gender attitudes, in case you were worried about a lot of people deciding to lie about their gender specifically to try to skew this one survey. What percentage of SurveyMonkey users do you suppose regularly lie about their gender? It seems likely that the number is too small to really be of concern when evaluating the results here.
  21. Unless you expect the interviewers to inspect people's genitals you wouldn't have that guarantee regardless of the wording.
  22. Is it because those are the folks you go to when you need a socialist professor?
  23. Thanks. I can see it now actually. Very efficient service around here
  24. I'm having the same issue as OP. Clearing browser history/cache/cookies did not resolve it. Can I also get a hand?
  25. Some articles on flaws in research that I've enjoyed reading: How a subtle mistake in a poli-sci paper became headline news P-hack your way to scientific glory An Erratum on trends in men's facial hair Also Howard Becker's recent book Evidence is really good. I especially like the way he discusses the relationships between data, evidence, and ideas in scientific work. He has a way of getting to the heart of the difficulties with research very clearly and accessibly. I feel like a lot of the time the actual process of science is pretty obscure from reading news articles about studies. It becomes a lot more meaningful when you are able to start reading articles themselves and thinking about the methods used and their limitations. I also like that, in the case of the facial hair study, the authors included the raw data as an appendix to the original article, which is what allowed others to find and point out the error. Especially now with the internet making it very easy to share even large datasets, I think all scientists should try to make all the data necessary to reproduce their results/calculations available.
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