slatestarscratchpad socialjusticemunchkin Some further notes on the discourse…



Some further notes on the discourse about meanness and Bailey:

  • When your “scientific theory” ends up claiming that millions of unpopular low-status people are disgusting liars and filthy perverts, there’s a pretty damn good chance you’ve been biased in making it. Just saying.
  • Just because you wrap your words as “scientific theory” doesn’t make it value-neutral. I have a “scientific theory” that Bailey is a massive shitlord and can present quite a bit of evidence for it. It’s a scientific theory, don’t be mean to me just for presenting it. And I’m not actually doing science, I’m just popularizing the obvious and universally accepted theory that “Bailey is an Epic Shitlord”, and thus if my evidence is shoddy and ethics questionable it doesn’t matter anyway.
  • If you make sweeping generalizations of groups, don’t act surprised when the group reacts as if you had made the claim you sweepingly generalized, about every single individual of that group. Goes double with the above. If A = B and B = C then (A == C) = true, that’s just simple logic.
  • The obvious solution is to maybe not make sweeping generalizations about groups. Especially if said sweeping generalizations are things people would get really upset about if you said them face-to-face.
  • Especially if the sweeping generalization you’re making involves the claim that millions of people are lying about something pretty big.
  • Or if you do, you better have some goddamn bulletproof evidence for the sweeping generalization you’re making and an ironclad explanation of alternative hypotheses and why you’ve discarded them. A good rule of thumb would be to make sweeping generalizations only if you believe your evidence could stand a libel court case (even when there is no actual grounds to actually sue you for libel; just think how comfortable you would be defending your case in court).
  • Get the fucking hint: don’t make sweeping generalizations about specific groups if the generalization involves “everyone who says otherwise is just lying”, that’s just bad form. The truths you will miss that way are probably far less significant than the errors you will avoid.
  • This applies in all directions. If you say “all men are scum”, don’t act surprised when a lot of people are justifiably very upset and hurt by it and react accordingly.
  • As a general rule, maybe approximately don’t say things about groups that you wouldn’t say about individuals. Saying things about groups might be less personally targeting and thus less harmful, but it also inevitably targets people you aren’t thinking of (people who say “all men are scum” are usually thinking all men have the underlying state of psychological security which lets them shrug off such things, when a huge number of people actually don’t, at all) and is more fraught with risks.
  • Niceness is a two-way street.

“Digusting pervert” is your term, not Bailey’s. Bailey said that a phenomenon *has a basis in sexuality*. If you think anybody who does something for sexual reasons is a disgusting pervert, that’s your problem and not his.

Your idea that he is calling anybody a liar is equally unfounded. One of the most basic ideas of psychology and psychiatry is that people don’t necessarily know their own minds. Sometimes this can become very complicated. For example, some people have pseudoseizures – seizures which are not caused by epilepsy, which occur at moments when they need to get out of a situation quickly, and which are what most people would consider “fake” – but most neurologists believe this is not conscious dissembling but the subconscious mind responding to stress in the best way it knows how.

A lot of science involves attributing behavior to people who might not approve of those attributions. For example, many people claim that homophobes are secretly gay. The evidence for this is currently mixed. I assume some homophobes are angry about this – should they be able to harass, doxx, and try to fire the scientists who think this? Some people use Implicit Association Tests to show that lots of people who don’t think they’re racist are actually racist; these tests have recently been found to be sketchy. Should all the scientists who supported them be killed? Or should we just turn their lives into a living hell? Why even have psychology at this point?

I think Bailey’s theories are likely false, but science is full of false theories. The whole point of science is that we expect there to be dozens of false theories for every correct one, and the correct one will eventually win out. If everybody who proposes a false theory gets harassed, science can’t progress – and I’m sure that your harassers will be *super diligent* in making sure they only firebomb the homes of scientists whose theory is *genuinely false*.

And if you think anybody who attributes a phenomenon to something you don’t like deserves to be hurt and harassed, I think you’ve excluded yourself from the category of people who can discuss things maturely, and that any community that cares about epistemic integrity needs to exclude you for their own safety – not just the safety of their truth-orientation, but for the physical safety of their members. I think this is a super super super basic rule and I am surprised we cannot manage it.