[extropy-chat] On Gut Feelings

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Sat Jan 14 19:10:32 UTC 2006

On Jan 14, 2006, at 6:54 AM, Jack Parkinson wrote:

> The fairly recent acrimonious political debate in this forum and  
> the airing of the WTA 'dirty laundry' has made me wonder a little  
> about the reliability of the 'gut-feeling' as an arbiter of what  
> intelligent life ought to be listening and paying attention to.
> In the case of Danila Medvedev: To be sure, I am no apologist for  
> Stalin: But - I do believe in free speech. I see no benefits  
> whatsoever in sweeping unpalatable political facts - or even  
> unpalatable political fictions and delusions - beneath some  
> metaphorical carpet. We are reasonable people (or should be) and  
> able to engage/reject a topic with reason and informed debate.

Wholesale rewriting of history and denial of atrocities has nothing  
to do with reason on informed debate.  Such denials are not debatable.

> So I was somewhat taken aback some time ago when I mildly  
> remonstrated against the ad-hominem attacks Danila Medvedev was  
> being subjected to on the WTA list and was promptly denounced as a  
> 'commie' and an admirer of Hitler and Pol-Pot. Almost immediately  
> the signal to noise ratio made further discussion impossible. Pity  
> - because something important was lost. Reasoned response was  
> sacrificed (eventually moderated out) because a few individuals  
> persisted in their pejorative attacks - making it clear that their  
> sacrosanct world view was not to be threatened on THEIR list...

The notion that all opinions no matter how absurd or evil are worthy  
of defense and serious consideration is shallow thinking.

> This list, this group, and the values it generally shares (values  
> which some members sometimes seek to ferociously protect) has no  
> comfortable sanction on what will and will not be a part of our  
> extropian future. We each have our subjective reality. All the  
> things that this group (or some elements of it) might seek to  
> exclude will continue to be factors influencing the future  
> regardless of your willingness to admit them or not. So what is the  
> point of limiting debate? The truth is - there is no point - if you  
> admit that reality is more important than the maintenance of some  
> fictional comfort-zone.

I do get to decide what I sanction and abhor.  So do groups of people  
and organizations.  By what they sanction and stand for they will be  
judged.   Debate is not limited.  Having such an open mind that your  
brains fall out is not "debate" or respect for reality.

> Just my opinion: But moderation might be (could be):
> Anything goes - provided it has an extropian angle.
mostly the way things are here.
> Politics, religion and sexual preference are exclusively the  
> preserve and prerogative of the writer. Respect them.

What does this "respect" of politics or religion mean?  Does it mean  
that we don't rigorously examine and criticize each other's notions  
in these areas?  If so then I am not interested.
> Although you may seriously doubt the mental health of the poster -  
> you may attack the concept/proposition as outlined in the post ONLY  
> on reasoned, rational grounds. Under NO circumstances will you  
> resort to pejorative labelling: ie, telling the author s/he is  
> crazy/commie/anarchist/etc etc, or otherwise attempt to discredit  
> the person rather than the argument. If you do so - you will get  
> moderated out of the discussion forthwith.

Yes,  again part of this list.

- samantha

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