I'm really happy to see how the #RMS situation played out. Not only did he get to stay on the board, but to see such an overwhelmingly stronger support for him then dissenters gives me hope.
Its not that I like or dislike RMS, but the argument against him was so beyond absurd that it is concerning that it got momentum at all. But of course to listen to the detractors you'd think he supported sexual assault or something. Lets just hope these sort of people who will lie and exaggerate a situation in some false sense of "social justice" never become the majority, there are too many people like that already and it is getting in the way of achieving any real lasting social justice when these people are crying wolf louder and louder every day.
@freemo I just love all the wokies publicly posting their L's, their bitter screaching that RMS was uncancelled. His only mistake was letting the wokies chase him out in the first place.
@freemo yes I quite agree. I actually don't think he's a very good figurehead for the FSF at this point because he's just too weird. Having him on the board is fine by me if he's not the public face and spokesperson for the Foundation. The FSF in general has image problems. All that said, the smear campaigns against him and infighting are disgraceful and do far more damage to the optics of the free software movement than anything Stallman has said.
@freemo Any chance you have that picture without the "I'm back" on it? I'd like to send it to my friends when they recommend proprietary software
@freemo There is a deeper reason why the woke tend to believe absurdity and lie about people:The postmodern philosophy underlying their ideology is anti-realist
For most of us, the concept of “truth” doesn’t seem terribly complicated until we try to define it. Truth is… what’s true—this is actually the first definition for “truth,” paraphrasing a bit, in some dictionaries. Truth is that which is in accordance with reality is another. Philosophers understand that “truth” is a more complicated topic, and people in different schools of thought have different understandings of what truth is. Some, for example, hold that truths must be in some way transcendent of all human contingencies—that which absolutely holds for all people in all times (sometimes in all possible universes). Scientists tend to use a more pragmatic understanding (sometimes called “provisional truths”) that could be rendered as statements about reality upon which we can bet and reliably win. Most people, including nearly all scientists and many philosophers, generally agree that for something to be a “truth” means its having something to do with accurately describing reality.
The postmodern school of thought, which profoundly informs the Theory of Critical Social Justice, however, does not see truth this way. In fact, it is openly hostile and radically skeptical of these understandings of truth, which might generally be described as being “realist” in orientation because they see some correspondence between truth and reality. Postmodernism is generally anti-realist in orientation, meaning that it does not necessarily see a connection between “truths” and reality. Truths might happen to describe reality, say as the Earth and the Sun describing a dynamic system in which both travel along eliptical orbits around their common center of mass (which is inside the Sun), or not, say as the Sun going around the Earth. Under postmodern thought, both of these understandings are “true” in the cultures that consider them true. That is, postmodern thought sees truth as entirely a matter of human (social) contingencies. This is what the American postmodern philosopher Richard Rorty meant when he wrote, “We need to make a distinction between the claim that the world is out there and the claim that the truth is out there.”
Truths, in postmodern Theory, are socially validated statements about reality, which means that they are, ultimately, products of not just the cultures that produce them but of power within those cultures. The French postmodern philosopher Michel Foucault described this as power-knowledge, insisting that knowledge claims (truths) are ultimately only expressions of power. This sound strange, but the logic is accessible. What is considered true is decided by people by some social process of validation, the thinking goes, so “truth” is a social and political status conferred to certain ideas, which is then reinforced by their acceptance as true. Simultaneously, “truths” confer (political) power, as “knowledge is power” implies, because if it is accepted that a proposition is true, then people who accept it as such will behave accordingly. Thus, Foucault Theorized that “truths” are socially constructed by the systems of power (and the powerful within them) in society and then used to dominate, particularly in the attempt to maintain their power and exclusive status (see also, hegemony, episteme, and biopower).
Most of this anti-realist, political understanding of truth (and knowledge) has been imported more or less intact into Critical Social Justice.
In Critical Social Justice, “truth” is still considered culturally contingent, but because of the strong influence of identity politics at the core of the Critical Social Justice project (which could be said to use critical and postmodern Theories to do identity politics – see also intersectionality and positionality), the relevant cultures are ones rooted in various identities Theorized to be “minoritized.” Thus, “knowledge” and “truth” as we generally conceive of them are considered shorthand for “cis, straight, white, Western, male knowledge” or “cis, straight, white, Western, male truth” (see also, white science, white mathematics, and white empiricism, and also feminist empiricism), which are just one way of knowing. In fact, they’re a particularly bad one because these dominant groups not at all aware of their self-serving biases or limitations of their own knowing system (see also, internalized dominance and meritocracy).
Thus, on the other hand, Critical Social Justice generally believes in cultural knowledges (e.g., racial knowledge) that have been marginalized by “dominant discourses,” which are deemed to be straight, white, male, able-bodied, thin, Western, Eurocentric, etc. These are believed to arise because different identity-based cultures have different ways of knowing (epistemologies) thus recognize different knowledges, and dominant ways of knowing (e.g., science, reason, logic, dialectic – see also, master’s tools) are believed to have utilized their greater power to unjustly exclude them from the range of “acceptable” ways of knowing and knowledges (see also, epistemic injustice, epistemic oppression, and epistemic violence).
@Vectorfield A lot of what you have written here is true [sic], but I feel it’s also missing the point. One does not have to be anti-realist to see that culture massively influences what is considered true, and that its power over people comes in a big part of it being able to do so. You give the example of the Earth and the Sun, but you had to very carefully word it to actually be correct. If you wrote “the Earth goes around the Sun, not the other way around”, which would be considered true by a majority of members of our culture, it would have been disputable.
The insight that you seem to be dismissing (or maybe missing entirely) is that a vast majority of statements made by people are not technical enough to be strictly true. In the wiggle-room that creates cultures can express their power in various ways. SJWism claims that in political contexts the power that is expressed often leads to hurting minorities, a claim for which I would say they make quite a good case. And there is nothing anti-realist in that.
Of course there are idiots who misinterpret the above as “there is no truth” and become anti-realist, but the intellectual core of SJWism does not seem to be making that mistake.
I don’t think that looking at the epistemology of the movement does a good job of explaining cancel mobs. If you want to do that taking a closer look at tribalism and outrage culture does a much better job, and also generalizes much better to non-SJWish cancellations. @freemo
@timorl @freemo I would like to inform you that ideas have consequences, the consequences of radical skepticism and subjectivism are many, to name just a few:
In the Academy:
So in the academy- the supposed engine of knowledge production, you have professors and researchers who no longer care about objective reality and dismiss the scientific methodology as tools for white-male-domination, who are only interested in pushing and indoctrinating a certain ideology, then scholarship is transformed into activism. Note that while social sciences and liberal arts are among the most infected departments, the STEM field are not immune. For example( quoting from Cynical Theories):
「Since 2010, there have been an increasing number of proposals from within engineering, arguing for the use of Social Justice concepts in that profession. One 2015 paper proposes that an engineer should “demonstrate competence in the provision of sociotechnological services that are sensitive to dynamics of difference, power, and privilege among people and cultural groups.” In the book Engineering and Social Justice, published by Purdue University Press, we read many variations on the same theme and a worrisome recommendation: “getting beyond views of truth as objective and absolute is the most fundamental change we need in engineering education.” Meanwhile, arguments have been made that mathematics is intrinsically sexist and racist because of its focus on objectivity and proof and because of disparate outcomes in mathematics education across racial groups. One 2018 paper asserts,
Drawing upon Indigenous worldviews to reconceptualize what mathematics is and how it is practiced, I argue for a movement against objects, truths, and knowledge towards a way of being in the world that is guided by first principles—mathematx. This shift from thinking of mathematics as a noun to mathematx as a verb holds potential for honouring our connections with each other as human and other-than-human persons, for balancing problem solving with joy, and for maintaining critical bifocality at the local and global level.」
The result of that? The engine of knowledge production becomes broken
In the Media:
If the responsibility of a journalist is no longer to speak truth about the powerful and to inform the public faithfully of what is going on(since objective reality is unattainable and truth is whatever the powerful decide is true), but instead, to promote agendas that they deem are moral and righteous, then the media organizations will not spend time on actual news reporting, but instead, create narratives in the service of their agenda. Media organizations becomes propaganda organizations.
The result of that? Distrust of the media, Alternative realities.
In the broader society:
A liberal society is able to exist because it has functional conflict-solving mechanisms that can peacefully mediate the frictions and disputes among different interest groups, which requires the willingness and ability to participate in civil conversations and reasoned debates. Underlying these interactions is the belief that through health and repectul conversations people are able to reach a common ground. But what happens if people think is impossible to have civil discussions because there is no objective standard upon which common ground is built and that people of different indentiy background are unable to communicate with each other due to their different lived experiences (e.g. Standard Point Theory, the belief that knowledge comes from the lived experience of different identity groups, who are differently positioned in society and thus see different aspects of it. ). If subjective feelings (determined by different lived experiences as members from different identity backgrounds) is all that matters, what if your feeling disagrees with mine? If peaceful conversation and negotiation is gone, hobbesian style zero-sum power play becomes the only option.
I don’t think the intellectual core of wokeism can be divided from how wokeism is put into practice, we can not solve the problem if we don’t know its root causes, only when we understand what happened and why it happened, can we figure out what is going on and why it’s going on, these knowledge then will guide us in dealing with the problem.
@Vectorfield @freemo I think you are still dismissing the main point – a lot of what is considered true in a society is based on the values of the society rather than actual base reality, even in civilisations following the traditions of the Enlightenment.
I also don’t think characterizing all the problems you mentioned as stemming from wokism is accurate. Academia doesn’t seem to be doing much worse in the wake of SJWs, there are still good publications and shit ones, both in the directly wokish social sciences, as well as much less related fields. Even among the quotes you provided I can see some which might be parts of valid criticism, although it’s hard to tell without context. (Others are obviously bullshit, but as I said there are always shit papers.) Most of the problems I have seen in academia are the result of the whole publish-or-perish culture, for which I like to blame Elsevier, ‘cause I hate them, but I’m aware this is a systemic problem, with no trivial solution. I sincerely doubt removing wokishness would improve the workings of science in any measurable way.
I also think the main drivers of the change in the media are not related to wokishness, although in this case removing it might improve the situation slightly. It still wouldn’t be a long term solution. I strongly suspect the changes for the worse were mostly resulting from the pressure to capture audiences, and thus lower the quality of what they produce, followed by various second-order effects driving reasonable people out of the profession. I am pretty sure this proccess started way before SJWs even existed, although it might have sped up around the same time they came into being, due to the internet becoming more popular (common cause for both).
Finally the broader society thing is closest to the truth, but this is also where you ignore the main message of SJWism. If the interactions in society were really based on a common ground being reached through reasoned conversation, then there would be no problem. The main point of SJWism is that these interactions claimed to be based on civil discussions, but are inherently biased in ways dictated by the culture. From this point of view, a very radical position would be that the breakdown of these discussions is a good thing. Most SJWism I saw does not, however, take that position (although the pop radical version certainly sometimes does). They mostly want to help people identify these biases as problems, and offer some partial solutions. I do agree that even this approach damages some institutions, some of which are not even that broken in the first place, but I think without other factors this would be healthy for the system as a whole. This post is getting long and it’s late here, so I’m not gonna go into these other factors, sorry, ask me again if you want to know what I think.
I also agree that practice cannot be disconnected from theory in this case, but I also appreciate some of the practical results of wokism, so I guess we differ here.
@timorl @freemo I think you’re getting me wrong, what I am not saying is that wokeism is the cause of all our problem today(I think it’s the symptom of our problem, just like trump). What I am saying is that one of the intellectual roots of wokiesm, that is, radical skepticism and subjectivism, hostility towards reason and facts, is a very important contributing factor to the problems we have, including wokeism. Yes, I don’t think by simply removing wokeism we are going to fix the problem in the academy, because the academy have lost their commitment to truth first, then they are captured by these wokeish idea second. Yes, I don’t think getting rid of wokeism in the media would be the long term solution, for as long as the reporters and columnists have no interest of telling the truth as it is, it’s just a matter of time before they take on an another narrative, probably more wild and abusrd. And while the environment for public discussion can be improved for a while if wokeism is gone, It’s still impossible to build the common ground if people continues to believe that there is no object reality that preceds our emotions, feelings, cultural influences, that you have your reality, and I have mine. If people fail to build their consensus on the very basics of the physical and social world, there is no way they can move forward, and they can’t deal with the problems facing their civilization.
@Vectorfield @freemo Then I think our main disagreement is how much wokism is hostile towards facts. I think there is a clear intellectual subcurrent within the movement that is, but it’s also unfair to describe the whole thing as hostile to reason. At its core, wokism is pointing out a widespread bias in patterns of thinking and its political implications. From this perspective it’s even part of the greater project to correct our biases, although it’s more of a political endeavour, rather than an intellectual one. It clearly could be a much better movement, mostly if the anti-realist subcurrent was weaker, but I believe that in the end it is making the world a better place in more ways than it is damaging it.
@timorl @freemo It’s one thing is to make a claim based on statistics and facts about widespread bias that may have affected our judgement. It’s quite another to assume that just because one belong to a specific identity category, he is inherently biased, or racist, misogynistic, etc, which is exactly what the woke ideology thinks.
Quoting from Delgado and Stefancic,
What do critical race theorists believe? Probably not every member would subscribe to every tenet set out in this book, but many would agree on the following propositions. First, that racism is ordinary, not aberrational—“normal science,” the usual way society does business, the common, everyday experience of most people of color in this country. Second, most would agree that our system of white-over-color ascendancy serves important purposes, both psychic and material. The first feature, ordinariness, means that racism is difficult to cure or address. … The second feature, sometimes called “interest convergence” or material determinism, adds a further dimension. Because racism advances the interests of both white elites (materially) and working-class people (psychically), large segments of society have little incentive to eradicate it.
(Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (third edition) by Critical Race Theorists Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic. )
Quoting from Robin J. DiAngelo,
Being good or bad is not relevant. Racism is a multilayered system embedded in our culture. All of us are socialized into the system of racism. Racism cannot be avoided. Whites have blind spots on racism, and I have blind spots on racism. Racism is complex, and I don’t have to understand every nuance of the feedback to validate that feedback. Whites are / I am unconsciously invested in racism. Bias is implicit and unconscious.
(Robin J. DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism)
One of the key contributions of critical theorists concerns the production of knowledge. Given that the transmission of knowledge is an integral activity in schools, critical scholars in the field of education have been especially concerned with how knowledge is produced. These scholars argue that a key element of social injustice involves the claim that particular knowledge is objective, neutral, and universal. An approach based on critical theory calls into question the idea that objectivity is desirable or even possible. The term used to describe this way of thinking about knowledge is that knowledge is socially constructed. When we refer to knowledge as socially constructed we mean that knowledge is reflective of the values and interests of those who produce it.
(Sensoy, Ozlem, and Robin DiAngelo. Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, second edition. Teacher’s College Press: New York, 2017, p. 53.)
“we do not intend to inspire guilt or assign blame… But each of us does have a choice about whether we are going to work to interrupt and dismantle these systems [of injustice] or support their existence by ignoring them. There is no neutral ground; to choose not to act against injustice is to choose to allow it.” (Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education)(p. xxiv)
“Critical theory challenges the claim that any knowledge is neutral or objective, and outside of humanly constructed meanings and interests.” (Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education)(p. 187)
“Critical social justice perspectives:
There is no neutral text; all texts represent a particular perspective
All texts are embedded with ideology; the ideology embedded in most mainstream texts functions to reproduce historical relations of unequal power.
Texts that appeal to a wide audience usually do so because they reinforce dominant narratives and serve dominant interests” (Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education) (p .210)
“Our analysis of social justice is based on a school of thought know as Critical Theory. Critical Theory refers to a body of scholarship that examines how society works, and is a tradition that emerged in the early part of the 20th century from a group of scholars at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany” (Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education)(p. 25)
“Efforts among scholars to understand how society works weren’t limited to the Frankfurt School; French philosophers (notably Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and Jacques Lacan) were also grappling with similar questions… This work merges in the North American context of the 1960s with antiwar, feminist, gay rights, Black power, Indigenous peoples, The Chicano Movement, disability rights, and other movements for social justice”
(Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education)(p. 26)
@Vectorfield @freemo I don’t think the introduction you give to the quotes gives them justice, because I clearly don’t think the things it would imply, while in general either agreeing with the quotes or sometimes needing more context. Specifics follow:
Delgado and Stefancic: I see two factual statements made here, one which I think is relatively obvious and another which has a good chance of being true (I think it is, but I’m not certain). The first can be rephrased/generalized as: people from different backgrounds will have systematically different beliefs, due to having systematically different experiences. This statement would be true even if humans were perfect Bayesian reasoners, never mind the actual mess our brain is. The second is that there are incentives within society to keep various structures of power in place, in particular in the US these are in a big part race-based. The general part of this statement seems very plausible to me, that’s what I would expect of any society. The concrete US example I am less sure about, but mostly due to my limited knowledge about the US (I’ve never been there, for once). Based on what I know it doesn’t seem implausible, and many people who live in the US apparently think this is the case. The text of the quote follows directly from these two statements, so I am inclined to agree with it.
DiAngelo: This one is phrased in the performative, self-flagellating style I really don’t enjoy, but if you strip that away the statements themselves are not that objectionable to me. Much of it is just the first statement from the previous paragraph – people experiencing events sampled from a significantly different distribution (i.e. white people very rarely being targets of racist behaviours) will have vastly different beliefs (“blind spots” in the quote). The “invested” part just repeats the second statement from the paragraph above, although it strenghtens it in a way that makes me slightly less inclined to agree with it. The first sentence perhaps requires more comment – I am reading it as “one can be a good person and still have these biases”, which is a very good point to make. It can help people who consider themselves good come to terms with the fact that they might also need to consider themselves racist (in the sense the word is used here) and try to improve that.
Sensoy, Ozlem, & DiAngelo: Oh I love this one. The fact that school curriculums are often created without acknowledging all the subjectivity that goes into them is an atrocity. And I don’t just mean the obvious cases like history or reading lists or things like that. I am personally annoyed that the school of mathematics taught in schools is treated as given and unchallengable, with no mention of the alternatives at any point. Even at university I had to go massively off track to actually encounter them, and that happened after I got my degree. I would gladly talk about this more, but this is not the thread for that, as it’s only marginally relevant.
S, O, & DA 2: Well, this just seems like the claim that morality is important. If you believe murder or theft is bad you will not accept that people can stay neutral in these matters, same for the beliefs about systemic inequality.
S, O, & DA 3: It is worth noting that here, and in the first paragraph you quote from this book, the authors are talking about “knowledge”, rather than “truth”. The distinction is very important, because it shows the ideology does not have to be anti-realist (even if some subcurrents, as we established, are). I am not sure what exact meaning of “knowledge” they are using here, since this is a contentious term in philosophy, but for most I don’t agree with the statement that “no knowledge is neutral or objective” – I believe sufficiently small pieces of information can be neutral & objective. It is worth noting that they don’t really even make the above claim – they say critical theory challenges the opposite claim, not asserts it is wrong, that distinction is also somewhat important. And their definition of knowledge might exclude the small pieces of information that I would consider neutral, I know some relatively popular definitions do.
The following quotes repeat/rephrase various of the above claims and show these are related to the historic and contemporary SJW movement, which I don’t disagree with, so I don’t think I have to comment on them.
@Vectorfield @freemo Oh, also, in case I forget later – thanks for this discussion, I am very grateful you are indulging me! I am also quite happy that it turns out the knowledge I have about SJWism, which in my case was mostly absorbed through popculture, actually agrees with what they write about themselves in books. Without you showing me these quotes I would probably have been too lazy to look them up myself. <_<”
@timorl @freemo Do you really believe these stuff? You seems to be very good at rationalizing absurd claims that otherwise would be obviously wrong. That reminds me of this guy spending thousands of words trying to prove 2+2=4 is a cultural construction.(https://www.mathvalues.org/masterblog/of-course-2-2-4-is-cultural-that-doesnt-mean-the-sum-could-be-anything-else) I don’t know the reason why you are trying to rationalize the woke ideology, probably you think they have got the right politics(on the right side), probably your moral impulse has overridden your common sense, probably you are trying to enhance your rationalizing skills by putting yourself into such a strange position, or you’re sincerely buying into these stuff. Anyway, by putting yourself in this position, you have really chosen a place that is very hard to defend.
So let’s get to the first argument “The first can be rephrased/generalized as: people from different backgrounds will have systematically different beliefs, due to having systematically different experiences.” Well, I think your rephrasing is no wrong, but incomplete. What you are missing here is that 1.Racism has been redefined, meaning not one’s personal attitudes towards race and racism but one’s position in the “system” so what you think or do as as individual doesn’t matter, so long as you are not actively dismantling the system through which your privilege is preserved, you are racist. 2.The system we have today in countries such as the US is entirely racist, by racist it means it’s the “normal science,” the usual way society does business, the common, everyday experience of most people of color in this country, and it’s in the interest of the privileged, both psychically and materially, to maintain that system. I think the change of definition is a dishonest and dangerous move because it manipulates on people’s assumptions of the meaning of the words, if the critical theorists could do it this way, other people could do it as well, it’s an awful precedent. And the words racism, with its meaning redefined, doesn’t make clearer of things, instead it obfuscates, racism in this sense could mean literally anything, and if it could mean anything, it means nothing. So that’s my disagreement with point one, my disagreement with point two is that we shouldn’t assume the conclusion first and use it’s as an uncontestable fact. If you are going to assume something, you need to prove it, by proving I mean not providing subjective feelings and lived experiences that are useless and unfalsifiable, but by offering statistics, facts, logical conclusions. I don’t think the critical theorists, the woke, and people like you have proven it, so it’s silly to treat systematic racism as unquestionable and generally accepted knowledge. Now coming back to your point: “people from different backgrounds will have systematically different beliefs, due to having systematically different experiences.” My question is, what do you mean by systematic? Is it systematic racism? Or capitalism? Or liberal democracy? I don’t think your point would be valid if what you are talking is systematic racism, as it’s not true. It’s a narrative, not a fact. So are people’s beliefs affected by the political system and economical system(and culture) in which they live? Definitely. The question is to which degree are they affected, and would it mean that they are affected in the same way? I should say that I don’t know the exact amount of influence that these systems weild on our thinking, and so far as I can see, no one has quantified them, and I don’t think they will ever be able to, which means when we are using such concepts we are only using them in an abstract sense. We could use examples, give analogies, but we can’t test their effect in a rigorous and empirical way. That means, if we want to talk abstractly, build concepts around them, it’s okay, but if we want to count them as objective standards, no, and it’s not really much helpful for us to understand how people think if we are taking a factual and evidence based approach. And I don’t really think that the social “systems” are the only factors affecting how we think, for example, wheather certainly has an impact on people’s thinking, so is colour, and our health condition, if we are thinking systematically, why don’t we take these into account? Oh, of course we can not neglect the effects of social media, and the different impacts of different types of social media, Twitter users have different behavior patterns compared with users of YouTube, and users of centralized platforms don’t behave the same with users of decentralized platforms. I can add many factors that affects our thinking from all walks of life, the list is almost infinite, depending only on how “systematic” you wish it would be. Do you see the problem here? I hope you do. Even if we take all the factors into account, we still don’t know the actual process of how they affect people. But there’s one thing for certain that even when people are under the same influence of the same factors, experiences, or “systems”, people still don’t react in the same way, this is because we are different individuals and we don’t think the same, we don’t feel the same, and we would naturally behave differently. To thinks that people belonging to the same identity category all have the same ideas is another way to say” If you don’t think this way, you ain’t black!” We should always stress the importance of the diversity of ideas over the superficial diversity of identities. Critical theory, along with its “systematic” thinking is dimnishing individuality and promoting group mentality, which is not only factually false, but also anti-human-nature, it’s also a direct assault on human agency and individual freedom. Whatever ideas you find interesting or useful from this theory doesn’t change this fact.
Your second point: There are incentives within society to keep various structures of power in place. Again, few people would deny it, the question is to which degree these incentives are effective? are they quantifiable? I don’t think we can answer these questions and we can only talk about them in an abstract way, except for that you can read everyone’s mind, and measure them, which is impossible. And by stressing on the significance of these particular bad incentives, you are neglecting people’s other incentives of good will, for example, the incentive to care, to help, to heal, and the incentive to build a fair and just society. It’s the good intentions of people, despite their identity categories, that have made the astounding progress in the history possible (it’s simply false to claim that no progress or very few progress has been made). The danger lies here if you have such a deeply cynical view of human intention that everything people do is for the purpose of preserving power and privilege: If people are constantly being blamed or demonized despite doing nothing wrong have have no malicious intentions, they will actually stop engaging the other camp of people of good will, and start the Hobbesian zero sum power play, where the most unscrupulous wins. The result of this may range from the complete discard of historical progress to the establishment of an autocratic state. This is why It’s very dangerous and irresponsible to demonize the other side and not respecting your opponent. Besides, the same logic can also to applied to your own camp as well. For example, your said the dominant identity group who enjoy more power and privilege have the ill-intentioned will to preserve their power(for the sake of argument let’s assume it’s true), but what about the subordinate identity group? Don’t they also have the desire for power and privilege? The desire for power and privilege is ugly, why do you think this particular group’s desire for power and privilege is noble? It seem to me really absurd to think this way. A argument can easily be made that the true intentions of the so called anti-racists to to build a caste system where the one with the most victim status enjoys the most privilege power. And It’s largely true, Some people in the United States argued that gay white men and nonblack people of color—generally assessed as marginalized groups—need to recognize their privilege and antiblackness(news.trust.org/item/20190502130719-tpcky/), somebody insisted that lighter-skinned black people recognize their privilege over darker-skinned black people.( mediadiversified.org/2018/04/26/we-need-to-talk-about-light-skinned-privilege/),Straight black men have been described as the “white people of black people.”(verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/straight-black-men-are-the-white-people-of-black-people-1814157214). The white liberal’s commitment to anti-racism and anti-fascism can also be read as ill-intentioned too. Why? Because the white establishment is playing identity politics in order to hide people from the fact that these corrupted DC politicians, especially these within the Democrats, are detached from the lives of average American citizens, that they have led people down, cheated on the people, what they did during the Iraq war and financial crisis was a brazen betrayal, and they have implemented mass surveillance without people’s consent. By playing identify politics, they have diverted people’s attention from their corrupt deeds onto something superficial. The Media class is corrupted as well, that’s why they don’t report the news and use identity politics as the justification for propaganda.
Do you see the double-edge effect of Cynicism? I hope you do.
The part of DiAngelo
It’s more than obvious that Robin DiAngelo’s claim is entirely based on the claim that the American society is systematically racist—a vague term that carries little substance nor is it based on facts. Extraordinary Claims requires Extraordinary Evidence—something they are not providing. The sentence “Being good or bad is not relevant.” is a complete rejection or human agency and historical progress. “Whites have blind spots on racism” is a total denial of human’s reasoning capacity and their ability to overcome prejudices.You seems to be extremely versed in extracting “merits” from awful theories, but I’m sure you can extract similar stuff from 「Mein Kampf」 or 「Краткий курс истории ВКП亅, if you only focus on the “merits”. The question is not whether or not the woke ideology is entirely bad(the same could apply to literally everything in the world), the question is how would these ideas play out in reality and in which way the society would mainly be affected. Telling people on the other side that they are inherently bad people no matter what their intention are while rejecting individual agency is a bad way to formulate racial progress, in fact this approach is the hindrance to racial progress, it doesn’t continue the legacy of civil rights movement and it’s running the risk of losing out the progress entirely.
I noticed that you said you are personally annoyed that the school of mathematics taught in schools is treated as given and unchallengable. I don’t know which country you grow from in or which civilization you belong to, but as soon as your country have stopped teaching 2+2=4 or ceased to teach the law of gravity, your country, and your civilization is doomed to fall quickly, a country or a civilization that denies the very basis of objective reality will soon self-collapse, if not be conquered by countries like my own: China. The country that spends least time on the fashionable nonsense and recognizes the importance of science and technology will become the most competitive country, the country that rejects 2+2=4 will lose the ability to self-defense. That’s very simple.
S, O, & DA 2: “Well, this just seems like the claim that morality is important. If you believe murder or theft is bad you will not accept that people can stay neutral in these matters, same for the beliefs about systemic inequality.” Morality is important, but if your moral impulses override your reason, the noblest intentions may well end up with the most disastrous outcomes. Morality that is incapable of handling the reality is not morality at all. If being moral means believing hidden oppressive power structure underlies all of the society’s interactions, yet are visible only to the ones who are woke, then I am afraid this kind of morality is the pseudo-marality that is only compatible with pseudo-realities. Pseudo-realities are conspiracy theories without conspirators, such conspiracy theories challenges the basics of human reasoning, even the most ardent supporter of Donald Trump still maintain the sensibility that prevents them from believing wild stories like these, I used to believe the rise of alternative realites is an isolated problem that is limited to trump supporters, I’ve changed my mind after seeing how the left behaves.
S, O, & DA 3: I’m not sure if it’s still meaningful to write about this, to talk about abstract stuff detached from daily experience. But since we’ve came so long and it’s about to finish, let’s continue. Before I start I would like to ask you a question: You seem to agree with the idea that racism is bad, immoral, but really, why do you thinks so? How do you know it’s immoral? Is is just your subjective personal feeling or something built upon objective standards? If the answer is the former, then how is it that your subjective feeling is superior than other one’s? A white supremacist’s subjective feeling is no bad than your own, if morality is subjective. If the answer is the later, that is, there are some objective standards upon which our moral decision could be made(for example, less harm, more care, reciprocity). It must means that there are objective moral principles that precede our feelings, and can be known. If these moral standards can’t be known, then how did you know it? You might answer “these moral principles happens to correspond my subjective feelings.” But the question continues: How do you know your subjective feelings correspond these objective standards? And how did you which moral standards are objective? If there exists knowable moral standards that apply to all, then, by definition, there are objective knowledge about morality, which is also to say, knowledge can be neutral and objective, except you are going to agree that racism is as moral as anti-racism.
Here is my reply to your questions, hopefully I’ve made myself clear. I don’t think I’m ever going to convince you as you seems to be too emotionally invested in critical-theory-style anti-racism, although you try to distance yourself from Social Justice Activism. I’m writing to people who might be reading our debates on this thread. I think both of us have made our position clear, If you still want to continue this debate, that is, in my view, not very meaningful, it’s fine, we can go on.
@Vectorfield @freemo I tried mentioning explicitly how much credence I have in each claim made in the previous post. So for many of them, yes, I do believe them, for others I at least find them plausible. None are obviously wrong. And the article you link is actually reasonably good, for pop mathematics, but I’ll get deeper into that in the mathematics section.
The first claim is not about racism, at least my rephrasing of it isn’t. (Both the rephrasings don’t quite correspond to how the original argument was divided into two, I felt the division I chose made the actual statements being made clearer. Sorry for not stating this explicitly.) As I mentioned, I am less certain about the concrete racism claims, due to my limited knowledge of the US. Concerning the different usage of the word racism, referring to systemic racism rather than overt racism, I also don’t like the name, but I have yet to see someone propose a better one for the concept. After all the concept refers to different experiences people of different races encounter within the system, ending up in some races worse off. If you have a better name than “systemic racism” for the concept I would gladly hear it. Whether this is actually the case in the US is an empirical question, for which I think SJWs have provided some evidence, but as already mentioned I am not completely sure about this.
Now I see we tripped over a small language barrier: “systematic” is not the same as “systemic”. In this context it just means that people will be exposed to experiences drawn from different distributions, and these distributions depend on various properties of their backgrounds. The traits of these backgrounds are also not distributed evenly, so the distributions will be different in systematic ways – to give an uncontrovensial example people in Poland will have different experiences than people in China, and these differences are not purely random. They will be exposed to different languages, religions, teaching styles etc. This is also the case within societies – people born into poor families will have different experiences than people born into rich families, and, I expect, people born black will have different experiences than people born white. All these differences are not purely random, but systematic. I don’t think any of the above is controversial. Then there is the fact that learning from different experiences leads to different beliefs, which is a claim for which I could even get citations (ranging from recent ML work, through earlier work on rational agents, and probably also from neuroscience and social sciences if I tried, although I am not an expert in any of the latter), so I don’t think you would consider that debatable.
The next part of this paragraph is you completely dismissing a lot of data and research. The field is not trivially quantifiable, but there is a lot research being done on various groups of people, subcultures, ethnicities etc. And a lot of the differences in the beliefs of these people are actually known. Any social sciencist would be laughed out of the room if they suggested e.g. using only white people for a study that’s supposed to be about society in general – such an approach would invite tons of biases in the data, almost irrespectively of what the study would be about. Many of these biases have been quantified in various studies (as much as they are able to; I am well aware of the problems with statistical quality of many publications). If you were trying to imply these influences are completely not quantifiable you are just plain wrong, if you are complaining that there is no comprehensive theory of how the differences arise then, well, afaik there is no field of knowledge that started with a theory, they (almost?) always start with a lot of research and only formulate a theory after lots of work. Finally, these are claims about statistical properties of the distrubutions of beliefs confitional on backgrouds. So, at least at it’s core, wokeism does not imply that thinking in a specific way is necessary to belong to a group.
As for individualism vs collectivism this is an enormous separate ideological topic. I tend to lean somewhat on the side of individualism, but I also have the impression that the US is wa~y too slanted that way and more collectivism would do it good. A big part of the SJW movement is too collectivist for my taste, which is definitely to an extent the result of the ideology focusing on the biases that stem from group membership, but not enough to scare me. And I disagree collectivism is anti-human – humans are, after all, very social animals.
I think you are somehow misunderstanding the word “incentives”. Maybe you are confusing it with “intentions”? Incentives are pressures extracted by a system on people’s decision making, e.g. capitalism provides incentives for providing people with what they want by transferring money to the people that do that, law often tries to provide incentives to avoid doing things agains the public good in the form of punishments or fines, schools provide incentives for learning in the form of getting good grades etc.(not all of the above work well, just giving examples). This framework does not speak about people’s intentions at all. It rather explains that, if the system provides wrong incentives, then even people with good intentions will follow these a portion of the time, and make bad actions.If anything, this is a very anti-cynical view (or at least the version of it I subscribe to) – people are generally good, but the systems in which they operate make them do things which end up having bad consequences, despite no one (or almost no one) having any ill will in the process. It’s the good intentions and hard work that actually change society and the incentives within for the better – I’m pretty sure a majority of wokism agrees with that, that’s why they are actually trying to change things. They also state that there are many bad incentives remaining, and working to fix them is an important goal.
DiAngelo: I think you are misinterpreting him quite a bit. “Being good or bad is not relevant” is not a statement about the futility of morality, but rather of the above – incentives, rather than inner motivations, will make people take actions often enough, that they are much more important than whether these people are moral. If it implied it is futile to try to change that, then SJWism wouldn’t be a political movement at all. “Whites have blind spots on racism” highlights the different-experiences aspect stemming from racial backgrounds, and communicating experiences is hard. Yes, human reasoning capacity can compensate for that somewhat (again, if it couldn’t then the whole SJW project wouldn’t be a political movement), but you have to spend an enormous amount of resources to actually do that and there are few incentives for you to do so. Even when you do, it’s very hard to be sure you are still not missing something, because you have to work with people who don’t even know what knowledge you might be missing.
Yeah, I am quite a fan of trying to learn from whatever I read, and I am very anti-cynical, so by default I expect that things people invest lots of time into contain at least something useful. In this spirit I often recommend people read “SCUM manifesto”, which maybe isn’t as bad as “Mein Kampf”, but still written by a stark raving mad person. I recommend it because it contains some insights about society that I think are relatively correct and not neccessarily explained clearly in less crazy sources. It’s also interesting, reading something that looks like cutting satire, only to notice halfway through that the author is actually serious. But I digress. I am quite sure I am not doing this in this case, I not only value insights provided by the perspectives we are discussing, but also more or less agree with the values much of the movement represents. And i honestly think you are misinterpreting the quotes to mean something dofferent than the authors intended. Also note that all this is very much opposed to thinking that “people on the other side are inherently bad”.
Oh goodness, mathematics. I don’t know how good your background in that is, so I’m not sure how far into details I should go. The article you linked is actually a reasonably good resource on that for laypeople, it mentions some of the crucial concepts at least. Anyway, for the short version to avoid growing this thread even more – I agree that any formalization of mathematics that does not imply some form of the statement “2 + 2 = 4” is mostly useless (note that the article also confirms that, already in the title). There are, however, many choices made in formalizing mathematics that are not obvious, and definitely not universal. For approaches which take different decisions you can look up finitism (although the Wikipedia article is lacking) and hyperrreals/nonstandard analysis. The former can be seen as a better formalization for computer science applications, while the latter for analysis and possibly physics. Crucially, I believe that the most common, ZFC-based, formalization is strictly worse than either of these. Anyway, my main point is not even that these are better, but that people are unaware they exist, and worse, believe they cannot exist, because they are taught that mathematics is universal. This is the exact point the article you linked is making.
S, O, & DA 2: well,, yes, my point is that just believing that morality is important brings nothing to the discussion. The Nazis believed morality was important and that Jews were doing immoral things so they opposed them, slavery abolitionists believed morality is important and that slave owners were doing immoral things so they opposed them. The difference here is that one of the above was right, and that is what the discussion should be about – how much a specific ideology is correct. The fact that the ideology believes morality is important and must be acted upon is a bit of a non-squitur in this context. I don’t think we have an actual disagreement here, I just don’t think that specific quote was relevant.
S, O, DA 3: I have no idea why you suddenly started talking about moral relativism here, it doesn’t seem to relate to the quote nor to my response to it. If you ask, I subscribe to preference utilitarianism and my position on moral realism is too long to fit in this paragraph. I also read too much philosophy on that to be too sure about anything in this area – morality is clearly a hard problem. If this is about moral knowledge not being neutral and objective then well, this is such an complicated concept that I am sure my knowledge of it is neither neutral nor objective. This doesn’t mean I am not looking for truth in this, as well as in other areas. If anything, the awareness of much of my knowledge being biased by my experience helps me seek the truth, by making it easier to change my mind when I’m wrong. Being wrong is also a scale, so the fact that knowledge is subjective and biased doesn’t mean it’s completely detached from reality – one can still be more or less wrong while being biased. And to answer the direct question – I am quite sure that being overtly racist is clearly immoral and somewhat suspect that not opposing systemic racism is mildly immoral (I’m not sure which “racism” you have been talking abut here; as I said above I also don’t like that the term is overloaded).
I am sad to hear that you think this discussion isn’t productive, I think I am learning from it. I also don’t think I am that emotionally invested in critical theory, I think it provides a very useful perspective on common biases and the social justice movement it spawned seems to be doing more good than harm, but it’s not the core of my being. (With the exception of the mathematics part, I am quite invested in that, bloody tertium non datur and other nonconstructive bullshit. ;P) If you want to see me being actually invested in something we can talk about veganism or Agda or type theory or bayesianism or recursive Harry Potter fanfiction or, well, there probably are someother options, but SJWism is not one of them.
@timorl @freemo Well, since you want to continue this nonsense, let’s continue, but this time I”ll keep it short.
1.You are still not offering any sufficient evidence to support the claim of systematic(or systemic, depending on what kind of language game you want to play) racism.
2.You are still not taking other factors within the system (e.g.weather, colour, heath, social media, economy) into account.
3.You still failed to provide empirical data that quantities how one’s identity category (or the social and political system one lives in) affects one’s thinking. For example, data that quantities how one chinese’s mind would transform had he grewn up from Poland, or how a Blackman’s thinking would(Systematically or systemically, choose as you wish) change if he were white.
4.Even you change the word “intentions” into “incentives”, it doesn’t change the fact that the anti-racists, or liberals have the incentives to do bad, for example, to accumulate more power and privilege, to justify the lying, to divert people’s attention from their own corruption. And it doesn’t change the fact that the non-woke have incentives to build a equal and just society, for example, to reduce inner conflict, to solidify the country, to ensure peace and order, to be moral.
5.You are not disagreeing with the cliam that 「Mein Kampf」 and 「Краткий курс истории ВКП亅are not meritless, you just put out another book and said it’s also not meritless, so? Being not completely meritless doesn’t make it any better than 「Mein Kampf」 or 「Краткий курс истории ВКП亅because even these books has some “insights” as you might call it. You can find all the useful things from Robin DiAngelo, however “Being good or bad is not relevant.” is a complete rejection or human agency and historical progress even if people truely have the incentives to do bad.(they have incentives to do good as well, you’re only focusing on the part to do bad, yet you didn’t apply the same standard to the woke) “Whites have blind spots on racism” is a total denial of human’s reasoning capacity and their ability to overcome prejudices even if people belonging to different identity categories experience differently and they have incentives not to overcome prejudices( again, you are only focusing on the incentives to maintain prejudice, and apply this standard only to one side) The fact that you can find “insights” from them doesn’t make it a good theory , because you can do it with any theory as long as you think they’ve got the right politics, although you tried to appear neutral.
6.It’s completely predictable that you would find this 2+2=4 is cultural construction interesting and insightful, Western civilization seems to have produced a lot of intelligent sophists who are extremely capable of building complicated concepts and constructing abstract ideas. I’m not going to elaborate on why a civilization that denies the objective of something as basic as 2+2=4 is doomed to fall, maybe the western civilization indeed has reached the end of development.
7.You are now saying you subscribe to utilitarianism and moral realism. But really, how do you know you subscribe to utilitarianism and realism? Maybe what you are truely believing is white supremacism(or black superemacism), you just didn’t know it, because your knowledge about yourself is biased and not neutral, your brain have deceived you into believing you are an utilitarianist and moral realist while you are not. You said you are sure your knowledge of moral objectivity is neither neutral nor objective. However, if all knowledge is inherently biased you shouldn’t be sure of anything, you shouldn’t even be sure that you are not sure. The idea that knowing your knowledge being biased by your experience helps your seek the truth may also be nothing more than a delusion, because how do you know your knowledge is bias by your experience? And how do you know knowing this would help you become less biased? It could be a story you tell yourself as well. Being subjective and biased doesn’t mean it’s completely detached from reality? Come on! Seriously? You don’t even know when or if you are being subjective and biased, and if you don’t know when or if you are being subjective and biased, how would you even be able to know anything about reality, let alone knowing how your perception is related to it? Are you saying racist is bad? Sir. May you are a racist but you just don’t know it, maybe you don’t think racist is bad, maybe your don’t even know what is racist at all. Unless you are going to admit objective knowledge is possible and attainable, we can go and on and on and on. Sadly, you seems to be only interested in defending”the guy on the right side”.
Ok, here is my response, do you want to continue?
1.1. These are not language games, these are different words with different meanings. I use “systematic” mostly in the same meaning as in the phrase “systematic error”. So my claim here is not about systemic racism at all, it’s much less controversial once you understand what I’m saying. I won’t be rewriting my explanation, but if you reread the one in my previous post keeping in mind that I’m not talking about systemic racism it should be obvious.
1.2. I do somewhat believe that systemic racism in the US is a problem, although not with much credence. As I mentioned before I have never even been there, which limits my knowledge. Anyway, I don’t have a comprehensive list of the data that convinced me of that, but a quick internet search returned https://www.thoughtco.com/systemic-racism-3026565 , which seems to provide a reasonable overview after you click on some of the links inside of the article (the article itself is an overview, so it doesn’t have citations, but the articles linked within do). And I really want to stress that I don’t know exactly how much various claims about systemic racism are true – some are clearly much better documented than others, and I am certainly not endorsing the whole package as true, due to my limited knowledge. If you want we can play by looking for evidence for or against specific claims of systemic racism, but since it’s a very broad topic by nature finding a single citation that will support its entirety is not feasible.
Why not? I never excluded them, some of them are known to introduce biases others are known not to, and yet others are uncertain. For example, as far as colours go there is the whole field of priming (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priming_(psychology)), which, while hit hard by the replication crisis, still provides some insight in how these might influence reasoning. Anyway the question is not whether these factors influence beliefs and experiences, but rather to what extent. There is quite a bit of research on that, e.g. a quick internet search returned https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/027277579290003L, which seems to me to be a pretty standard article in the field. Note that despite the title it looks at many factors other than ethnicity and religion and performs statistical analysis on these factors. That also is usual in these branches of science.
The article I linked in 2. is an example of empirical data, but it’s also unnecesssary. For example I don’t think you would argue against a person who grew up in Poland being vastly more likely to be Christian, than a person who grew up in China, so I am not sure what you are trying to argue here. I don’t think “people’s beliefs are influenced by their experiences” is a controversial claim?
Again, these are completely different words with different meanings, you really shouldn’t be conflating them. In particular incentives are properties of the system, moreso than of people, so obviously they influence both wokes and non-wokes. There are some differences in the incentives because of group membership resulting in slightly different environments, but the wokes are well aware that they are also influenced by the incentives they criticise. Hence all the self-flaggelation which is so strong, that it sometimes ends up comical.
Being subject to incentives is also not a thing that should imply a person is good or bad, since it’s a property of the system they live in, not of them. If anything, it’s an explanation why sometimes good people do bad things, despite really being good people. The more combatative parts of the SJW movement scream at people who disagree with them not because these people are subject to incentives to do bad things, but because they refuse to recognize that this is the case. I personally don’t think this is a useful approach (obviously, as I am not screaming at you :D), but it’s also not at the core of the ideology. Many other SJWs prefer explaining these things calmly and discussing rather than screaming.
On the object level I still think the ideas expressed in the quotes you provided are good, you are just misinterpreting them. I think I explained this in the previous post and you seem to be repeating yourself from theone before, so I’m not sure if me repeating myself will do much good, but lets try anyway: “Being good…” – not about human agency, read the second paragraph of point 4. above to see my interpretation. “Whites have…” is a claim resulting from the fact that communicating experiences is really hard, not that reasoning is completely impossible.
SJWism is focusing on the bad incentives, because these are the ones that need fixing. We can endlessly talk about all the good that humans and humanity does (seriously, I can, I greatly appreciate the beauty of what we achieved over history), but this won’t help much if we are trying to fix the bad parts. And it’s definitely not just applying it to one side, see the comments on self-flaggelation above. Maybe this needs some illustration: https://leagueofthesouth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Whites-apologizing-for-slavery-July-2015.jpg . When SJWs go to such lengths criticizing themselves for the things they criticize others, that they end up doing comically stupid stuff, then criticizing the movement for not being critical of itself is really silly.
Oh, now you just haven’t actually read what I (and apparently even the author of the piece you linked) have written. Neither of us denies the underlying truth of “2+2=4”, we just recognize this statement is part of a framework that has a lot of historical baggage. This is not just sophism, being able to recognize that the frameworks we use are frameworks and not universal truths is absolutely crucial to progress, also scientific. Galileo would not be able to revolutionize physics if he didn’t recognize Aristotelian movement as just a model. Otherwise you might end up saying things like https://libquotes.com/albert-a-michelson/quote/lbx2i7j .
You seem to be unaware of any kinds of reasoning under uncertainty. If you want a relatively non-ideological, but quite technical introduction to the topic I heartily recommend “Probability Theory:The Logic of Science” by E. T. Jaynes, if you want something more ideological (although I suspect you would really enjoy that specific ideology) I recommend https://rationalitybook.com/, you can download the full book for free if you put 0$ as the price.
Anyway, the point is that knowledge is not binary. I don’t either believe something is true or false, but I have levels of credence I assign to various statements. I am as sure of “2+2=4” as I can be, very sure about where I am right now, quite sure where I will be in an hour, mostly convinced that the theory of relativity is close to correct, strongly suspect that my epistemology is close to correct, weakly suspect that the multiverse interpretation of quantum mechanics is close to correct etc. When I say that my knowledge about anything (including morality) is biased I am not throwing my hands up in the air in woe and declaring that I cannot know anything, just that there are biases there the strength and direction of which is too complicated to eliminate them completely. Thus, these biases have to lower (but not eliminate!) my credence in my beliefs affected by them. If I learn more about the biases or get any other evidence about a specific subject I can adjust my credence up or down. The formal theory about how that should work is in the books I recommend above (spoiler: it’s probability), but obviously in practice one has to use approximations. Even if objective knowledge is unattainable, truth can still be approximated to the best of our ability.
Sure I want to continue, what makes you think I wouldn’t? Although I am quite sad you think this is not productive, if it’s any consolation I am pretty sure it’s productive for me.
1.Your first argument:
“systematic” is not the same as “systemic”. In this context it just means that people will be exposed to experiences drawn from different distributions, and these distributions depend on various properties of their backgrounds. The traits of these backgrounds are also not distributed evenly, so the distributions will be different in systematic ways – to give an uncontrovensial example people in Poland will have different experiences than people in China, and these differences are not purely random.
My response: I think it is true that 1. backgrounds affect experiences 2. experiences affect people’s thinking. But I think you are quite unclear about what backgrounds mean here, It could be identity categories, but it could be cultures or places as well, it could also be economical classes, or political systems, etc, the questions is which virable is the most important? I don’t think a white working class male truck driver is more privileged than a rich black transwomen, by stressing the significance of one virable your are inevitably going to downplay the others. The example you gave is that people in Poland will have different experiences from people in China, of course they will, but you neglecd the fact that an urban middle class Chinese would have more in common with a middle class Polish than with a poor Chinese farmer or worker who lives in a remote village.There are 1.4 billion Chinese people, the difference between one Chinese with the other might well be larger than his difference with a foreigner. So I agree that backgrounds affect experiences but the backgrounds we are talking about is more complex than you might realize. Backgrounds are complex, so are experiences, for example, both A and B are born from a middle class family, and they are both Male Han Chinese, but it’s still wrong to suggest that they share the same experiences, the likelihood is high that their may encounter very different people and very different things. Do backgrounds affect experiences? Yes. Systematically? Again, the term is still vague, so I can’t give you an answer, but I can tell you people from the similar backgrounds still have very different experiences. And it should also be called into question that people would react to the similar experiences similarly.
2.Regarding to systematic racism:
First, you are not offering a clear definition of the word systematic, second, the article you provided is too long, I have no time to look into each arguments and give answers to all of them, I agree we can look for evidence for or against specific claims of systemic racism, but I’m afraid this would be too time-consuming.
3.On empirical data:
OK, now you acknowledged other factors, for example, colour affects thinking(it should also include class, politics, ideology, culture, social media, etc) the question is you don’t seem to take these factors into consideration when analyzing race and racism. Which is exactly what I pointed out earlier, that the background is more complicated than you realized. If the link you provided (which I can’t access) indeed proves multiple factors other than race influence people’s beliefs, it would exactly demonstrate what I said was right. The other question is whether it is quantifiable, I can not access the link you are providing(only the abstract is available), so I don’t know what is says, but I don’t think it can, because human mind is not that easy to understand. Even ourselves cannot tell the exact percentage of different factors’ influence on us when we are making decisions. For example, you saw my toot and replied to it, why did you do that? To which extent it’s because you are interested in the topic I’m discussing? To which extent it’s because you want to defend the woke ideology? If it’s because you want to defend the woke ideology, to which extent it’s because people around you share your politics, how much is it connected which your economics status and educational background? Another reason why we are having this discussion is because we are both using decentralized social platform that has little cenorship, so why is it that you choose to use mastodon, not Twitter, as the platform? We can go on and on and on, I don’t think you can analyze all the factors and attribute the right numbers of percentage. If such a small and plain action that yourself had you can’t be explained in a quantified way I don’t think you can do it with other people’s more complex activities(I don’t think anyone can). To make such a general claim on a group of people is more impossible .
4.Intentions and incentives:
What you seem to be arguing is that incentives are the objective mechanisms leading people to different actions, which does not necessarily have anything to do with intentions. So a good person may have the incentives to do bad things, right ?
But even if it’s true, it still doesn’t invalidify my argument. Let me put my argument again: it doesn’t change the fact that the anti-racists, or liberals have the incentives to do bad, for example, to accumulate more power and privilege, to justify the lying, to divert people’s attention from their own corruption.(although they may not be bad people) And it doesn’t change the fact that the non-woke have incentives to build a equal and just society, for example, to reduce inner conflict, to solidify the country, to ensure peace and order, to be moral.(although they may not be good people) I don’t know why you’re arguing this. The woke screams at people because they refuse to recognize that this is the case? No no no, it’s because although they may be genuinely anti-racism, but objectively they may accumulate power and privilege by framing these who disagrees with them as bad people. I think we should be talking about woke privilege, or left privilege, which has largely be ignored because these people portrayed themselves as good guys. Woke politics is exactly the system you are describing where people’s good intentions are served for awful ends
5.Merits of bad ideas
I don’t think being good or bad is irrelevant is a good idea, I think you take it as a good idea because it serves the woke politics that you agree with, you are to emotionally invested into the woke agenda so you just ignore its obvious absurdity and awfulness.(make it should be called the woke bindspot, to paraphrase Robin DiAngelo’s words) Why Being good or bad is not relevant is an attack on human agency? Certainly it is, it means it doesn’t matter whether you are good or bad, racist or anti-racist, you are inherently incorrigible, why can’t you see something so obvious? “Whites have blind spots on racism” is a general claim that misses a lot of nuance, basically it means when the white people think they are not racist it’s because they can’t see they are, so whatever how hard you are trying to overcome racist bias, you are still racist, because you are blind to racism. Really, it’s really weird to see people holding these preposterous claims, it’s like they are never growing up.What you are doing is seeing a asburd wokish claim through the positive lens of social justice, ignoring their absurdity, justifying them with language games, then declaring it as the right interpretation. The woke are constantly calling everyone a bigot, but really, they should check their own prejudices and biases. SJWism is focusing on the bad incentives? Yes, anyone’s but their own, claiming moral high group and attacking people from a position of authority, that’s something everyone can do, if they are childish and irresponsible enough, or that they see themselves as arbiters of righteousness.
I’m not going to argue with you abstractly on this matter, It’s pointless, you want to believe 2+2=4 is a story we tell ourselves? Fine, believe whatever you want. You want to believe physics is homophobic or biology is misogynistic? Fine, but “a bomb made with white math and white science is going to blow someone up regardless of whether they accept the truth of its reality or not.” The discussion here is meaningless.
7.On objective knowledge
You have not answered my previous questions: How do you know you subscribe to utilitarianism and realism? How do you know you are sure your knowledge of moral objectivity is neither neutral nor objective? How do you know what racism is? How do you know you are not a racist? You haven’t answered these questions, you just proposed something new, which only brings more questions: How do you know you don’t either believe something is true or false? How do you know you are as sure of “2+2=4” as you can be? How do you know you are very sure about where you are right now? How do you know your knowledge about anything (including morality) is biased?(that mean this knowledge is biased too) How do you know your biases have to lower (but not eliminate) your credence in your beliefs affected by them? How do you know even if objective knowledge is unattainable, truth can still be approximated to the best of our ability? How do you know you would be able to know about yourself? How do you know I think you wouldn’t? How do you know “systematic” is not the same as “systemic”? How you know systemic racism in the US is a problem? How do you know being subject to incentives is also not a thing that should imply a person is good or bad? How do you know being able to recognize that the frameworks we use are frameworks and not universal truths is absolutely crucial to progress, also scientific? How do you know I seem to be unaware of any kinds of reasoning under uncertainty? Do you really know what uncertainty is? Do you really know what objectivity is? Do you really know what knowing is? If your answer to these questions is that you know all these through subjective feelings and lived experiences, then how do your know that your subjective feelings and lived experiences correspond to the reality? How are you sure that my subjective feelings and lived experiences is not superior and more correct than yours? And what if I give a different answer to these questions, are you going believe your answer or mine? Unless you are going to acknowledge there are basic principles of logic and reason, that are knowable and applicable to all, you will be stuck to these questions forever.
(I’ve spent too much time on this thread, which, as far as as I can see, isn’t meaningful, I guess you are going respond endlessly, but I don’t want to give endless replies. I’ll reply two more times up to maximum, and close the conversation)
Oh, I didn’t notice how QOTO formatting screwed up my last post, sorry you had to fight your way through that. @freemo might want to take a look at it?
So it seems we really don’t have a major disagrement here after all.
Of course the impact of various variables differs, and checking in what ways is an interesting question. I think SJWs make a reasonable case for race, sexual identity etc. having impact that is big and mostly slanted against minorities in these categories, but, again, my knowledge about the US is limited. Also, the parts of the movement I interact with the most usually talk quite a bit more about economical class, and I tend to agree with them that it will have bigger impact over many dimensions.
Yes, inner differences within a group might be bigger than between the groups, and it’s often the case over many dimensions (although there are some dimensions that will be extremely correlated with group belonging, like e.g. knowledge of the Polish language for Polish people vs Chinese people). The issue is, if you just treat people as individuals you might miss actual problems caused by society. To give a silly example imagine all doors are by custom 190cm tall. You will have a group of people (~4% of the population?) who will be more likely to believe back pain is normal, that you should alwas be vigilant when walking from room to room, that wearing thick hats indoors is a good idea etc. Not all tall people will believe these things and many non-tall people will also believe them, but when you want to actually solve the problem you probably should talk about tall people as a group with these specific beliefs. And of course this is a silly example, you can trivially demonstrate what the problem is about to anyone – if the problems are more subtle, recognizing the affected group becomes more important.
The question of course becomes, whether these groups are actually affected by problems.
Yeah, I was a bit surprized that you said that you want proof for systemic racism while at the same time indicating that you are somewhat tired of the discussion. This is a big question, because the claims of systemic racism cover a big part of US society, so obviously the answer will be quite long, if it is supposed to be comprehensive. I agree it would be very time consuming, and most likely impossible within the post number constraints you have given below.
I don’t think this is the most interesting question in the discussion, but unfortunately it is very relevant to evaluating whether wokism is a force for good in the US. If the claims are completely false, then it’s clearly not worth it, if they are completely true then it almost certainly is. I suspect they aree true in a big enough portion that it ends up being a net positive, but apparently we won’t be able to establish that in this discussion.
Well, of course the other factors affect thinking! I don’t think anyone claims otherwise. But see the final part of the first section – if you want to improve problems affecting a group of people, you have to focus on the group to find better solutions. If systemic racism is a thing, then focusing on the effects of race on various things might help proving it exists and solving it. Of course we again end up at the question how correct the claims about systemic racism are.
(I don’t think it’s particularly relevant, but if you want access to the article then here: https://sci-hub.st/10.1016/0272-7757(92)90003-l . I heartily recommend sci-hub as a great resource for any papers you lack access to.)
The results in social sciences are quantifiable, although only on the level of statistical analysis with relatively weak (compared to e.g. modern physics) models.
Yes, you cannot explain exactly how various factors influence even our decisions. But you also cannot explain how a specific rain droplet two days from now ends up falling in a specific place. This doesn’t make weather forecasts impossible, same as the complexity of the human psyche does not mean we cannot extract statistical predictions about societies.
Since that’s the second (I think?) time you speculate about my motivations for participating in this discussion, let me explain. I have a different belief about the world than you do, and you clearly are smart enough that I expect to learn from the discussion. I enjoy such discussions, especially if I’m not very invested emotionally in the topic while also finding it interesting (epistemology! mathematics! structure of society! fascinating things). To add to that I’ve had a hard week at work, so this is definitely helping me relax. Thank you once more for giving me this opportunity!
Incentives are not the only mechanism driving people to do things, if I claimed that I would really be denying much of human agency. The point is rather that if many people are subject to an incentive to do something, then statistically they will end up doing it more than if they weren’t. This also works for a single person and many decisions they make over time – statistically many of the decisions will end up being mostly influenced by incentives. That’s why most of the systems we use to run society are build to provide consistent incentives, they are a really powerful tool. Because of this power it’s extremely valuable to be able to recognize which direction they are pointing to.
Most of the incentives between woke and non-woke people are shared, since they live mostly in the same society. Where do you think the differences in incentives you are describing would be coming from? Because I don’t really see a strong source for these differences.
I don’t think most people participating e.g. in cancel mobs can be described as following the incentive to accumulate power. Maybe the feeling of power, but a member of such a group does not get more actual power out of this act. I agree many woke people are privilaged, but this stems from the ideology being overrepresented among already privilaged groups, rather than wokeism increasing someone’s privilage. Could you provide an example how you think such an increase would happen?
Relevance of being good or bad – it’s not about being inherently incorrigible, it’s about the fact that many of your actions will be determined by incentives stemming from the social system you live in, and however you are good or bad these incentives will influence you. There is still agency, e.g. you can have very strong beliefs about a topic which will override a portion of incentives pretty consistently, but no person has strong enough beliefs about everything. And even then, there is also the problem of actually noticing the incentives and what results they end up leading to. If you have incredibly anti-racist beliefs that are strong enough to override any incentive to do anything racist, you might still consistently do things that hurt other races if you don’t see the incentives driving you to do these things and don’t recognize the long term results of your actions. That’s actually where the term “woke” comes from, right? The woke claim they see some of these results more clearly, they are “awake” to them (although it’s mostly a term used sarcastically by oppenents of the movement). Anyway, in this framework most human agency comes in the form of being able to influence changes in society, and the incentives present in it. IMO that is quite a lot of agency.
Blind spots – from my perspective you are trying really hard to interpret this claim as if it’s idiotic. A blind spot does not mean something is unknowable, it means it’s very easy to miss. If the claim about the scale of systemic racism is correct, then it wouldn’t be surprizing to say “people who don’t experience it first-hand will most likely miss parts of it”. And having a blind spot on racism does not mean you are racist, it just means you don’t completely understand the phenomenon. Of course, as I write in the paragraph above, these blind spots might translate to taking racist actions without racist intentions, but that also would not make you racist. If you ignore people trying to point out that your actions are hurting some group, then you might still not be racist, but that’s about the point when SJWs get mad.
Attacking SJWs for not being aware of their prejudices is a really strange criticism. That’s why I linked the silly picture in the previous post, if anything they are so aware of their prejudices that they often overcorrect and end up looking stupid.
You seem to get very angry when someone even speaks about a certain claim not being completely objective, so much that you immediately stop reading. So let me write in very big letters, so that maybe you catch it even through the anger: NEITHER I, NOR THE AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLE YOU LINKED CLAIM THAT THE TRUTH UNDERLYING THE EQUATION 2+2=4 IS NOT CORRECT Keeping that in mind, you can try re-reading either my claims or the article, to understand what we are really trying to say. And spoiler: we aren’t trying to say mathematics is racist or anything even close to it.
As established above you don’t really want me to answer all these questions in detail, as it would take way more time than you want to spend on this conversation. Fortunately, there is a common meta-answer to all of them, and I was trying to provide it in the previous post. The epistemology I subscribe to is Bayesian reasoning with Kolmogorov complexity-based Occamian priors build up using methodological solipsism. I am in the (very slow) process of writing a blog post summarizing what this means and why I believe it, but this will take a while. The long version of this answer is in the books I linked before, especially the second one – that’s why I linked them! Another reason I linked them is that I suspect you won’t recognize most of the jargon used in the description I have given above, it’s extremely technical and you don’t seem to be particularly familiar with these parts of philosophy.
Maybe there are these bacis principles of reason that are universally applicable, but humanity has not discovered them yet. Epistemology is still a hard problem. I think the one I subscribe to is as close as we have gotten, but it clearly still has problems.
As for logic, well, Bayesian reasoning is the only extension of logic to reasoning under uncertainty (this is an actual mathematical theorem, with only minor additional assumptions), so my approach definitely stems from the same general school of thought as yours. Crucially, it also allows a person to be uncertain, that’s why it’s better when you are trying to take biases into account, and not end up epistemologically impotent (which is what you seem to be implying, with the deluge of questions, I should be, if I acklowledge my knowledge is biased).
Thank you for these two replies you still intend to give, I’ll attempt to use them wisely. Sorry for taking your time in ways you feel are unproductive, and I want to once again stress how much I appreciate that you are indulging me – thank you!
@freemo (Removing the other mention to avoid accidentally wasting my response budget <_<”)
Ohh, it’s a cool bug actually! It’s this post: https://qoto.org/@timorl/106028729447776091 . It renders correctly when you open the above link in a separate tab, but it’s screwed up in the column view, the enumerated points are rendered as stars.
Oh, and the enumerations themselves are screwed up because they contain multiple paragraphs, but that is mostly my fault.
I also checked Fedilab, they are bullet points there, so another possibility. :>
@timorl Interesting. I am looking at it in column view right now and it doesnt appear to have the problems you mentioned. The formatting looks forrect for me and there are no bullet points only numbered and properly indented sections.
I wonder why it is rendering correct for me and not you…
@freemo Considering the fact that is also renders these as bullet points in Fedilab, it might be that the HTML that got created out of Markdown is slightly faulty. Then it could be rendered differently depending on which heuristics a specific renderer uses to guess what the intention was. This can depend both on browser (Fedilab and Firefox in my case) as well as on the surrounding structure of the page that is being displayed.
And this might only marginally be the fault of the Markdown to HTML converter, it’s possible what I wrote in Markdown cannot be exactly converted to correct HTML without losing information.
@timorl Could be. I am on Brave at the moment which is basically the same in that regard as Chrome. So it might be the browser making the difference here.
1.backgrouds and experiences
No, we still have major differences, the differences include the meaning the word systematic(or systemic) I don’t think this word bears enough clarity, I think the system is complicated and does not necessarily lead to similar experiences, let alone similar ways of thinking. You can not separate one factor of the so called system from the other, for example, if a poor black man is having a hard life, maybe it’s because he’s black, maybe it’s because he’s poor, maybe it’s because he didn’t have a father, maybe the culture where he grows up from has a negative effect on his accumulation of wealth. If one is a black millionaire then I don’t think he shares the oppression the poor blackman suffers , and certainly I think he is more privileged than a white truck driver. The woke people you interact with talks a lot about race? What if I say the woke I interact with don’t? How representative are the people you interact with? The rise of identity politics is often analyzed in combination with the decline of class politics, by dividing people according to their inherent biological identities of combating interests you are inevitably going to wreck the unity of the working class. One of the major opposing voice against wokeism from the left has been coming from the traditional economical-class-oriented ones. Robert Reich, Zizek Slavoj, Russel Brand, Paul Embery, to names just a few, have long been critical of the new left’s obsession of identity politics,
The word socialist website was one of the first and most firm adversaries to counter the woke narrative of American history after the NYtimes had published the 1619 project, saying,「The interaction of racialist ideology as it has developed over several decades in the academy and the political agenda of the Democratic Party is the motivating force behind the 1619 Project. Particularly under conditions of extreme social polarization, in which there is growing interest in and support for socialism, the Democratic Party—as a political instrument of the capitalist class—is anxious to shift the focus of political discussion away from issues that raise the specter of social inequality and class conflict. This is the function of a reinterpretation of history that places race at the center of its narrative.」, and「The racialist campaign of the New York Times has unfolded against the backdrop of a pandemic ravaging working-class communities, regardless of race and ethnicity, throughout the United States and the world. 」 If the woke were so concerned about class politics, why would the traditional socialists and economic leftists consider the woke to be reactionary forces? I don’t think the woke ideology, the woke movement, or its rationalizers placed much significance to class.
Now you’ve acknowledged that inner differences within a group might be bigger than between the groups, yet you gave the argument that treating people as individuals you might miss actual problems caused by society, the word “might” is quite subtle, I’m sure you do recognize the fact that the word “might” isn’t the same as “surely”, so what’s the problem here? Of course you “might” neglect something while not focusing entirely on one specifics issue , but to which degree? And the question could come in the other way round: By focusing on the group identity, you might miss the other factors, which of course does not just include invidual decision making, but also Class, Culture, Region, Religion, etc. Isn’t it also a problem? If you think you have to eliminate the possibilities implied by the word “might”. The biggest problem with not treating people as individuals but as members of a group is that when you stop viewing people as real humans with flesh and blood, but instead, cogs of machines, incarnations of abstract forces, you opens the door for dehumanization and demonization, which then clear the pathways for genocide, mass murder and starvation, as human had experienced during the 20th century, many of which were started with good intentions. Should we improve the living conditions of individuals by not making their outward biological characteristics become reasons for discrimination?(which in the process, might lead to the temporary focus on certain group categories) Yes. Should we treat individual as means for the collectivist utopia? No.
Yes, I’m tired of the discussion, I’m wasting my energy, but I didn’t forbid you from offering arguments for systematic racism, and yed it’s a very relevant question, if you feel the need to do it, write whatever you want.
I’ve responded to your first two claims in previous paragraphs, so let me just answer your third claim: The results in social sciences are quantifiable. What do you mean by the word results? The results of what? The results of the entire social science? I’m afraid that’s too broad. The question I asked was “Too which degree people’s thinking are affected by the external factors, such a identity backgrounds, are they quantifiable?” The example I gave is whether you can tell the exact percentage numbers attributed to each factors when you replied to my toot.You still can’t do that. And no social scientist was able to do something similar, for instance, trump was elected in 2016 as the US president, did any social scientist figure out the reason X Y Z why he was elected, and attribute the right numbers? For example “ The reason Trump’s election as president is 20% due to people’s dissatisfaction of the establishment, 10% due to Trump’s stance on border issue, 25% due Hilary Clinton’s unappealingness, 20% due to Trump’s economical policy, etc” So far I’ve seen none of them. Neither have I seen analysis like “Racism in today’s America is 15% due to historical injustices, 20% due to capitalism, 10% due to unconscious bias, etc” What? Percentage numbers are insignificant, prediction is what really matters? Well, did any social scientist before 2020 successfully predict that there would be a pandemic in the next year, we would be living under lockdowns, and America would handle it poorly? I don’t see any. Were there any social scientists in the 1980s who could successfully predicted that Soviet Union would collapse in 1991? I don’t think so, probably by survivorship bias someone did the right predictions. But no social scientist would say it with the certainty of a weather forecaster that these and these(such as a pandemic) would happen, or wouldn’t happen in the next year, the next month, even the next day. You can’t predict human events in the same you predict weather, I’m surprised to learn that a man like you, who values so much of the importance of uncertainty, would be so sure in our ability to predict something as unforeseeable as our human society.
4.Intentions and incentives
What do you think are behind the statistics? Feelings, motives, experiences, objective factors? or are they merely results of random data distribution? The definition of the word incentive on Wikipedia is that 「An incentive is something that motivates or drives one to do something or behave in a certain way.An incentive is something that motivates or drives one to do something or behave in a certain way. There are two type of incentives that affect human decision making. These are: intrinsic and extrinsic incentives. Intrinsic incentives are those that motivate a person to do something out of their own self interest or desires, without any outside pressure or promised reward. However, extrinsic incentives are motivated by rewards such as an increase in pay for achieving a certain result; or avoiding punishments such as disciplinary action or criticism as a result of not doing something.」, do you agree with this definition? If you don’t please offer a better one, the current one you provide is indeed too abstract, and too detached from real life. So I agree with Wikipedia that an incentive is an factor that leads one to certain actions, whether it’s intrinsic or extrinsic, subjective or objective. So do the woke have the incentive to to bad things? Of course they do, as I mentioned before, the desire to accumulate or maintain power, as you agreed, many woke people are not marginalized at all, they are very often privileged middle class white liberals, very often the media people, the academics, the bigtech oligarchs or the establishment politicians. So the resaons these people embraced the woke ideology, were, at least in part, due to the fact that the woke ideology helps establish or reinforce their moral authority, grants them the censoring power, diverts people’s attention from their own corruption. Even an average woke person were able to benefit materially from the woke ideology, for example, the call for more diversity in high paid jobs make get some wokish blackman or transwoman into a position of privileged without a fair competition. Today, diversity training has become a multi billion industry,(while knowing it won’t work) about $8 billion a year is spent on diversity trainings in the United States alone, according to (https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/gender-equality/focusing-on-what-works-for-workplace-diversity#)
Those who are engaged in the training industry—the crital theorists, woke activists, certainly benefit a lot from this. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/christine-rosen/the-hard-truths-of-the-latest-anti-asian-attack/
A black New Yorker is over six times as likely to commit a hate crime against an Asian as a white New Yorker, according to New York Police Department data. In 2020, blacks made up 50 percent of all suspects in anti-Asian attacks in New York City, even though blacks are 24 percent of the city’s population. Whites made up 10 percent of all suspects in anti-Asian attacks in 2020 in New York City but account for 32 percent of the city’s population. Yet according to the woke narrative, Asians and Jews are stripped of marginalized status due to the comparative economic success of their demographics, their participation in “whiteness,” or other factors.
Affirmative action were also used to disadvantage Asians(who are stripped or the victim status by woke ideology) in favor of African Americans https://southerncalifornialawreview.com/2019/01/01/justice-or-just-us-sffa-v-harvard-and-asian-americans-in-affirmative-action-note-by-cynthia-chiu/
The woke supporter could benefit a lot materially from this by discriminating the other groups in favor of their own.
Ibram X Kendi said on the Atlantic that “To oppose reparations is to be racist. To support reparations is to be anti-racist.” So by advocating woke politics, people like Kendi were able to be paid materially using someone else’s money for their historical victim status, which is a benefit.
Could the woke be incentivized to do bad things? Absolutely.
5.Merits of bad ideas
Relevance of being good or bad – it’s not about being inherently incorrigible. Why it’s not incorrigible? Your understanding of the texts seems to be very different from average people? If what you do as an individual agent doesn’t matters because you are hopelessly incentivized to be a rasist, not matter how anti-racist you are as a person, you are considered incorrigible. Unless you join the woke and dismantle the system, you are racist. What if one disagrees with the woke’s take on the system? What if one think the system systematically benefits the woke? Why is it that the non-woke should check their privilege, not the woke themselves? As I talked before, the woke are also incentivized to do bad things. The woke have absolute certainty about their claim of the system as if it is the truth, but shouldn’t they realize that their own framework have their own blindposts that they are not the arbiters of truth? You have claimed yourself to be well aware of existent models’ imperfections and the importance of uncertainty, why aren’t you being uncertain now? You seems to be absolutely sure that the woke ideology is true? It’s very had to believe you are the one spending so much time trying to prove 2+2 is laiden with historical baggage. Maybe your absolute certainty of the wokeness is exactly the result of dismantling 2+2=4.
Oh, there you became a skeptic again, maybe a person need to become a 2+2=4 skeptic first, in order to embrace something as absurd as wokeism.
7.On objective knowledge
Did you feel I just asked too many questions? Yes, indeed. So what about just answering the first three of them? How do you know you subscribe to utilitarianism and realism? How do you know you are sure your knowledge of moral objectivity is neither neutral nor objective? How do you know what racism is? Please answer them in the language of common folks, no jargons, no specialist expressions, would you?
@Vectorfield @freemo Systemic means encompassing the entire system (or most of it). “Systemic racism” is called that, because the claim is that it permates the entire way the society is organized in the US. Systematic I use in the same sense as in the phrase “systematic error”, i.e. biased (in the statistical sense) in a non-random way. These are very different meanings and I am quite sad that the surface similarity between these words confused our discussion so much.
As far as I can tell class politics wasn’t strong in the US for a long time, so I don’t think it declined much, just didn’t become stronger. In fact almost all of the critiques of capitalism I hear from USAians come from people who are also advocating quite hard for various woke claims. I see the point, though, that perhaps the Democratic Party, and definitely many USAian corporations promote SJWism with the economic class parts carefully omitted. If you were criticizing only that form of SJWism, then I might agree this is on balance harmful (not completely sure, mostly because I am unsure about the extent of systemic racism).
Note that the quotes you provided criticize specific organizations for specific actions, not the ideology of wokism. I haven’t watched the YT videos (on principle, videos have a terrible information/time spent ratio), but the article seems to be doing what you accuse wokism of doing, but with social (not even economic!) class rather than race – only focuses on this one characteristic, and claims that politics should be centered around it. I don’t think that is particularly helpful, even if some of the criticisms in the article are valid.
I only used the word “might” to be technically correct even if you included utopias or at least extremely egalitarian societies. In any contemporary society there definitely are problems which would be extremely hard to fix if you refused to look at groups of people sharing some characteristic (and yes, that includes social & economic class, geographical location, religion, etc.). And I think we are even in agreement about this issue since you write “which in the process, might lead to the temporary focus on certain group categories” – that is exactly my point.
Now, of course, the critical question is whether systemic racism really is one of such problems in society – would you agree that if it was, then focusing on race as a group category would be appropriate?
(Note it’s systemic, not systematic. I don’t want this to be a criticism, I’m just trying to make it easier for you to distinguish these words in the future.)
As mentioned before systemic racism is a big topic, so I don’t even know what kind of evidence you would find relevant. I doubt proving a single claim of it would be convincing, and you refused to read through long lists of claims with evidence (I’m not criticizing here, knowing the worth of your time and investing it wisely is very reasonable).
Ok, so example: https://sci-hub.st/10.2307/350932 A paper from 1978, even then there was proper math being done on these issues, and it’s being improved all the time. If you just want to take a quick look to see some percentages, look at Table 1. This one is about influence of parents’ beliefs on the children, if you want something more modern (2016) and more related to race see https://sci-hub.st/10.1073/pnas.1516047113 . Both of these give you statistics which you can use for predictions about beliefs. There are more advanced methods of statistical analysis, which allow you to disentangle the influence of variables on outputs, the second study uses some very simple variants of them to examine the effects of some beliefs on others
I don’t understand what you mean by these percentage values. What does it even mean for something to happen X% for of a reason? In a Bayesian framework reasons (i.e. relevant evidence) are used for applications of Bayes’ theorem to the hypothesis, it doesn’t make any sense to express them in percentages that sum to 100%, and I don’t know of any other framework which does that. What framework are you using here? Although I suspect you won’t be able to clarify this in one response. :/
There are clearly predictions being made about the future shape of society, so implying they are impossible is very strange. The most obvious example are financial markets, which can often be interpreted as predicting some changes in society, e.g. rising values of companies working with renewable electricity can be interpreted as a prediction that society will be moving to relying more on these. More directly there are prediction markets, both literal as well as reputation-based. For the second option, one of the bigger ones is metaculus.com . You can take a look there and check that there are predictions about society there, and that they are quite often correct.
Social science itself is not quite advanced enough to give as good predictions about society as meteorology gives about weather, here I agree. Bah, it’s not even advanced enough to even try as far as I know. For now they are building up the basic knowledge within their discipline. That is still enought to make predictions about people’s beliefs based on various characteristics, see studies linked above.
I am quite surprized to find that you, who argued against unknowability of truth, now postulate that human society is unforseeable. That seems extremely defeatist to me. I hope the above arguments convinced you that it is possible.
I value not uncertainty itself, I only accept it as a fact about our cognition. For that reason I value the possibility of expressing it quantitatively within an epistemic framework.
The definition seems alright. I was almost exclusively talking about extrinsic incentives, although they usually also influence intrinsic ones (you have extrinsic incentives to believe certain things, and the resulting beliefs create intrinsic incentives – I think you know that, you already spoke of incentives to believe things).
Oh, this is a criticism I agree with (a version of it also appeared in the first section). There are definitely incentives for people in power to promote wokeness, especially a version that excludes economic class. This is the whole premise of corporate fake-wokeness, which possibly annoys the woke even more than the non-woke.
Moreover, this analysis is exactly the kind of analysis the woke (or rather Critical Theory) do, and the reasons I agree with it are almost exactly the same. If this is a convincing argument to you, then maybe the epistemologic claims of Critical Theory are of some value after all, hmm?
I don’t agree with the later part though – the proportion of SJWs working in wokeness-related jobs is miniscule compared to the whole movement, an overwhalming majority are working normal jobs. As for people being privilaged by calls for diversity within high-paying jobs – that’s the point! (Of course it only makes sense if you actually agree that the people being privilaged would be treated unfairly otherwise. Again the question, is systemic racism a thing?) These don’t target the woke, but the categories the woke consider underprivilaged, without regard for whether a specific member of the category is woke themself. This means that there isn’t much extrinsic incentive for a black transwoman to become woke – her doing that only has miniscule effects on the strength of the movement, and she would get (almost?) all the benefits without joining.
As far as I can tell wokes are recognizing anti-Asian racism, although it seems to be much less systemic. In particular most of the systemic problems reach back to slavery and later segregation, which was mostly happening on the white vs black division. Some of it is purely pro-white, so by necessity also anti-Asian, and I believe SJWs agree this is also a problem.
The fact that these crimes are more likely to be commited by black people also makes sense within the woke narrative – in general black people are more likely to commit violent crimes, because of socioeconomic factors (i.e. more likely to be poor, live in unstable communities etc.). From this perspective, eliminating systemic racism against black people would reduce also anti-Asian crimes, by improving the socio-economic status of black people, and thus making them commit less crime.
Oh, and renaming “systemic racism” to “white supremacy” (or rather collating the two terms) is definitely an idiotic thing that happens in some parts of the movement. Even “systemic racism” is not a great name for the problem (although I don’t know any better one), but calling it “white supremacy” is demented. So yeah, that is another criticism I agree with.
I don’t think my understanding is that unsusual, I got it mostly from talking with people, so they passed it on to me.
It’s not true that what you do as an individual doesn’t matter! It is true, however, that what you believe as an individual matters much less than you would like, because extrinsic incentives keep influencing all your actions, while your beliefs only influence the ones you notice are related to them.
The people who don’t join the movement are not automatically racist, although the movement claims that they will commit racist acts due to extrinsic incentives. If they refuse to acknowledge that after it has been explained, then more combatative SJWs will assume they are racist, as other explanations will seem unlikely to them. I want to expressly stress that I don’t believe that, and wholly support criticizing the parts of the woke movement that assume ill will in these situations. I would usually assume that a person who doesn’t want to join the movement after systemic racism was explained to them was not convinced by the presented evidence – that is also what I assume in your case.
Oh goodness, the woke love checking their own privilage, we have been through this. Of all the criticisms you make, this one is the least based on reality. Great Scott, even one of the original quotes you provided was doing that – DiAngelo wrote “I have blind spots on racism.”, right? Seriously, I respect you, but this specific criticism is actually idiotic.
(Fun anectode, feel free to skip if you think it will just waste your time, since it’s only mildly related. When the pandemic started and gyms got closed where I live, I read a complaint about this on a mailing list. The person (lets call them A) said that the gyms should open. A received multiple responses about this being irresponsible, to which A responded by lamenting that the other participants should take into account the mental wellbeing of some people (in particular A) not just the pandemic. Something really bothered me by that argument, because it was the general shape of some arguments I read in wokish places, but something felt wrong. A friend had to point out to me that this was the same argument as the woke would use, but the unusual thing was that it was being used for the gain of the person making that argument (A in this case). This was so jarring to me, because in general wokish speech I almost never encountered arguments being used for the immediate benefit of the speaker. That’s how rare it is. Obviously this does not invalidate your points about some incentives making people in power adopt the rethoric – in their hands it doesn’t give immediate benefit, but it goes through a more complex route.)
The woke don’t have to be absolutely certain about their claims, and I definitely am not. I would say I only assign ~70% probability to the proposition that systemic racism is one of the main forces fueling inequality in the US. That is far from certain. At the same time it’s high enough to think that trying to do something about it is worthwhile.
UGH! I think I wrote too many negations in that sentence trying to make it precise, and you misunderstood it. Two and two is four, I am not disputing that.
This is the one part of the discussion I am actually emotionally invested in, for reasons completely unrelated to SJWism. Fortunately, possibly due to the emotional investment, I came up with a way of explaining what I mean that should be useful. I assume from your username that you have some background in mathematics, and if this the case the explanation below should be interesting to you. Please try forgetting for a moment that this can be related in any way to SJWism (this relation is completely unnecessary) and try reading the text below carefully even if you skim other parts of my response.
Imagine we are in ancient Rome and we are talking about the fact that “II en II est IV”. This corresponds to the same underying truth as “2 + 2 = 4”, it is just written in another language and using other symbols for the numbers. I will argue that it not only is (part of) a cultural construct, but also that the way in which it is a cultural construct has relevance to mathematical progress. The way the numbers are written is crucial here – they are technically using a positional system, but not the power-based one we use. Why? Because ancient Romans did not have the concept of “0” as a number (there was obviously the concept of nothing, or a lack of something, but that was not treated as a number), so they couldn’‘t incorporate it into their numeral system. In particular most Romans would not have thought of all this as a framework, after all “II en II est IV” is obviously correct, only an idiot or madman would argue with that. Actual outside influence was needed to add “0” to their framework, and even then it was met with resistance. So even though “II en II est IV” is correct (exactly as correct as “2 + 2 = 4”) thinking of it as a cultural construct is crucial in noticing major obstacles to developing mathematics further. Especially now, when globalisation homogenized our mathematical culture, it is crucial to remember that all of mathematics is a social construct (even though big parts of it correspond to actual truths about the world!), because we won’t necessarily be able to receive help from an outside culture in creating further breakthroughs (as the Arabs brought “0” from India to Europe).
There are also cultural assumptions in how we write “2 + 2 = 4” today. A culture more focused on minimalism would maybe write it as “10 + 10 = 100”, a culture more focused on computation might write in RPN “2 2 + 4 =”, one more focused on formalism “SS0 + SS0 = SSSS0” (although that’s stupid enough to be unlikely), one focused on provability could be always writing it as a function into a type from assumptions about numbers. I think it’s unlikely we are missing some discovery of the magnitude of a “0”, that could be made if we carefully examined how we write “2 + 2 = 4”, but how we write other things certainly has such implications. The way most mathematics talks about converging series, with epsilons and deltas, is one such artifact – I already mentioned nonstandard anlysis, which is the result of looking critically at this construct. I won’t be able to point you to a specific example where our mathematical culture is making a stupid assumption in notation that no one notices, because if I knew such a thing I would be too busy publishing it. I still strongly suspect that such assumptions exist, they existed in all previous versions of mathematics humanity was working with, so it’s unlikely they were completely eliminated in the version we learned today.
Sure, I can answer these. The common part of the answer for the first two is that I have some amount of evidence for each statement over alternatives.
In this case this is a belief about my beliefs, these are one of the things I can be most sure of, because the evidence for me is the most direct – in the form of my thoughts. When I ask myself “What moral philosophy do you subscribe to?” I answer “utilitarianism”. When I encounter a moral problem that I have to analyse to find the ethical course of action, the justifications I consider are utilitarian in nature – what the consequences of the actions are, and whether the world created by these consequences has a higher utilitarian value than the worlds resulting from other actions. When someone argues with me stating that an action would break a moral rule, I don’t consider this a strong argument, which is evidence against me subscribing to deontology. When someone presents the case for contractualism I wince and point out the massive problems this approach has, so I’m most likely not subscribing to contractualism. When I think how I acquired my moral beliefs I think back to reading Peter Singer’s “Practical Ethics”, a book about utilitarianism.
Not writing about realism, since I never claimed to subscribe to realism (I only mentioned moral realism, which is a much different thing, and even about that I said my position is complex), but essentially all the philosophies I subscribe to have the same kinds of evidence as in the case of utilitarianism – mostly thoughts,, thought patterns memories and reactions to other philosophies.
In this case the evidence is mostly external. Throughout history many people had thoughts about morality, and there was no single majority view. This means that most (probably all) these people were wrong – since they believed different things they cannot all be right. This means that the initial probability of my moral views being correct is already pretty small. If they are not correct they have to not be objective, since they are not directly related to reality (I think we agree that knowledge has to be true to be objective?). Then I can look at what the beliefs of these people were, and whether there are reasons to believe the shape of these beliefs was influenced by the societies these people lived in. This seems to often be the case, most people got their moral beliefs from their parents or communities and did not examine them much. Even the philosophers who did examine their moral beliefs were often quite obviously biased (Plato endorsing philosopher kings in The Republic is an especially egregious example).
Obviously I have some evidence (mostly in the form of arguments) for my moral philosophy being closer to correct than others, otherwise I would not believe it, but I assign a pretty low probability to it being the correct one, I expect the right one has not been discovered yet.
Uh, this question is quite different from the previous ones. It’s not quite about a belief, but rather about the definition of a word. I usually like to have words defined by examples, with an implied meaning that people using them have to infer – this is how most people use words after all. So I guess my answer is that people have shown me lots of examples of a set of behaviours and beliefs, called them “racism”, and I learned that definition? I’m really not sure what you were trying to ask about here.
Since you already precommited to having only one more response I think it would be unfair for me to respond to your next toot and have the last word (although I will obviously read it with interest!). So I will include some closing remarks here, think of them what you will.
I think many of your criticisms of SJWism are based on actual problems within the movement – too much tribalism and aggression, parts of the movement misinterpreting the nonobjectivity of knowledge as anti-realism, the corporate and probably political fake-wokism etc.
At the same time I think you went way too far with the criticism of the underlying epistemic framework SJWism is based on (Critical Theory, postmodernism etc.) – while these also have their faults, you are criticizing them from a layman position, with only minimal knowledge of epistemology, and thus are missing the mark on most of the criticisms. I quite strongly believe that the perspectives these framewoks provide are very valuable. Even if I got convinced that SJW is actually a force for evil in the world, that wouldn’t change my mind about the frameworks significantly.
As for whether SJWs are actually a force for good or evil – I suspect they are a mild positive. But this position rests mostly on the claim that systemic racism is a significant problem in the US, a claim I am not very sure about. Due to that I definitely understand you might think differently.
Thank you once more for the discussion, I really appreciate the time you put in.
For most of us, the concept of “truth” doesn’t seem terribly complicated until we try to define it.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip K. Dick
Only a provocation obviously, but I immediately though to this sentence, while reading your toot 🙂
I won't forget that @davidrevoy signed for the eviction letter.
This 40y old dude who draw only teenage girls had no argument and choose the "block" option with fallacious argument: "aggressive and unsourced".
This witch-hunt reveals people and their immaturity.
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