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Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


It seems in just about every D&D thread, there's a post every ten pages or so with someone asking for help with debating a friend on Facebook, a relative via email, a racist coworker, etc. Since lots of people in D&D have very particular knowledge, it's often hard to debate every issue and be highly informed about all of it. So let's work together to help goons debate crazy people/wrong people with concrete facts and informed arguments!

This is also sort of necessary because, in general, most D&Ders agree on most issues, and it would be good to get a thread with opposing views and discussions of rhetoric for the forum, rather than leaving it as it is, which is mostly a news & politics discussion space.

So let's help each other out with knowing where to look for good evidence to back up arguments, etc.

Here are things which you can read and link to in order to debunk made up bullshit (Thanks especially to internaut several people for linking most of these. The rest of you are Randian leeches.)

2015 update: A lot of these are probably a little outdated at this point (though hopefully all the links still work), and I went a long time without being able to check the thread unfortunately, but if you have an article you think could be added to the OP, either as a new category or to replace an outdated link, just let me know. I'll be reading all new posts and can get PMs.

General US politics, how to argue, and how to deal with libertarians
ShadowCatboy's OP on debating diplomatically
The paranoid style in American politics
A non-libertarian FAQ, contains critiques of various libertarian positions
Liberalism FAQ, articulates many aspects of (American/progressive) liberalism and how to argue liberal positions
Prester John's thread "Decoding Authoritarians: A schizophrenic explains crazy people. A very interesting and original perspective.
Franz Oppenheimer: The Idolatry of the State
Study - studies are worthless when it comes to changing someone's opinion

Employment, economy, and inequality
US Senators' stock picks outperform stock picking specialists
Historically, US economy is much better off under Democratic presidents than Republican
Story's thread deflating the myth of the American Dream. Link to full study on intergenerational social mobility
wigga please's thread in opposition to privatization policies
Poor people didn't cause the financial collapse of 2008: Part 1 Part 2
Mother Jones compilation of charts on wealth inequality
The Anarcho-Libertarian Utopia ? A Critique
Professor Richard D. Wolff - Marxian Economics at UMass Amherst
There is no such thing as a free market.
US Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions: Evidence for when goldbugs and Paulites insist the Fed is the root of all evil in American capitalism. Recessions have been shorter and less frequent with active government intervention and the departure from laissez-faire.
Elizabeth Warren, "The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class"
Minimum wage does not necessarily have negative consequences for economic growth and lowering minimum wage hurts agents in the economy
Rise in minimum wage significantly increased teenage wages without impacting teen employment (PDF). Studies from the '60s to the '80s claiming otherwise are a product of confirmation/selection bias among economists.
Raising the minimum wage doesn't affect unemployment (PDF), with built-in responses to every stupid study and claim you'll probably find claiming otherwise.
The Department of Labor has its own "Minimum Wage Mythbusters" page, which is sure to piss off a lot of conservatives and libertarians. This is good.
IMF study showing that wealth inequality is bad for job growth (PDF)
It's really hard to find work as a recent college graduate
Unionization makes workplaces safer, and right-to-work laws hurt unions' ability to make the workplace safer (PDF)
Virtually no correlation between CEO pay and stock performance
Study showing negative correlation between CEO pay and stock performance
Free trade didn't make the US and Great Britain rich, and it won't necessarily make the underdeveloped world rich either.
NAFTA was terrible for Mexicans(PDF) Really!

The Welfare State
Polls show a huge divide between what people think welfare is and what it actually is - it's from the UK but most of the conclusions are almost certainly the same in the US, where the welfare system is even more spartan.
Often-ignored facts about SNAP beneficiaries - who benefits (children), who can't (undocumented immigrants), how common is fraud (not at all), etc.
A similar article in The Atlantic, quoting a USDA study (the study is from 2010, this one is more up to date).
Drug testing welfare recipients is a giant waste of time and money. Unfortunately I don't know of any authoritative-sounding academic studies of this, but the evidence is clear even in mainstream media outlets. The Salon piece is full of good links.
Drug testing welfare recipients in Florida cost the state money and helped line the governor's pockets.
People who lose their job usually need 5 or more months to find a new one
The Business Case for Increasing SNAP - Annually-updated PDFs showing that SNAP, and increasing SNAP funding and availability, is good for the economy. SNAP has a positive return on investment for the economy!

Taxes
Government study into the effects of the Fairtax (chapter 9) - would be bad
Bush Tax Cuts did NOT increase tax revenue
Economists agree that stimulus helps the economy
Top income earners pay only 16.68% tax in the US
Per CBO estimates, extending tax cuts on the rich will reduce the unemployment rate by between 0% and 0.1%
Dr. Arbitrary's "100 people go to see a movie", an analogy of US wealth and taxation based on 2012 tax data, written in response to a really irritating chain email that misrepresents how things work.

Healthcare
Health insurance one of the least competitive markets
Mortality amenable to health care = US has the highest mortality in the 20 countries
Study - US spends twice as much on health care than the UK and has worse health outcomes
62% of bankruptcies in the US caused by medical bills, 75% of those had health insurance (PDF)
Gul Banana's old OP for the thread "Why UHC is unambiguously necessary for America" in D&D
CBO paper on why tort reform won't magically fix the healthcare system in the US (PDF)
"Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy"
The Plural of Anecdote: Refreshing will pull up different comparisons of healthcare costs and wait times in Canada and the US. The US is never better.

Education
Stronger teacher's unions correlated with better student performance
Toyota offered hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks from Southern states, opts to build plant in Ontario instead, because underfunded education in the South produces barely-literate employees which cost more money to train in the long run. Honda and Nissan encountered similar problems.
White students receive a disproportionate number of private scholarships (PDF). Scholarships targeting students of color don't come close to making up the difference.

Military and war
Increase in terrorism after the War on Terrorism began
1/3 of women in the US military are raped

Middle East, Israel/Palestine, and Mohommadism
Lancet study on the humanitarian crisis in Israeli occupied territories (PDF)
Human Sciences Rsearch Council report on how the Israeli-occupied territories meet the legal definition of apartheid (PDF)
PCPSR, the main polling institution in the Palestinian Territories
fade5's post (with pictures!) from the Right Wing Media thread showing the effects of US airstrikes on IS in Kurdistan. Use this if people accuse the Obama administration of fiddling while IS takes over the entire region, I guess. (Follow-up: Kurds are naming their babbies "Muhammad Obama Muslim" now )
At least in terms of number of attacks, most terrorists aren't Muslims: In Europe disproportionately few terror attacks are carried out by Muslims.

LGBTQ stuff
Study - homophobia associated with homosexual arousal
Homosexuality and Mental Health - summarizes some of the history of homosexuality and psychology, including its former classification as a mental illness
Psychiatry: Homosexuals Can Be Cured - From 1965, an interesting look at the attitudes of the time.
Facts About Changing Sexual Orientation
The History of the DSM and Gender Identity Disorder
Depathologizing Trans* Individuals - Regarding the DSM-V and how the more things change the more they stay the same
Genetics and environment determine sexual orientation. PDF
A study showing a correlation between endocrine signaling and sexual orientation that suggests at least a biological proclivity towards one sexual orientation or another
1,500 animal species practice homosexuality

War on women retaliation station
Study - dressing in revealing clothing does not lead to more surprise sex
The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion
1/3 of women in the US military are raped
Women in STEM fields will be judged unqualified for a position where a man with the same qualifications will be regarded as competent.
Mammalian wombs are not oxygen-rich enough for fetuses to be conscious. Fetuses cannot consciously suffer, contrary to pro-life claims (PDF).
Disinterested's well-sourced post on Female Genital Mutilation. Provides info on where it's practiced and why, as well as how information on the practice is gathered.

Race, crime, and imprisonment
Police brutality and race article with lots of links to studies and the like
Death penalty - no deterrent effect
Study - black men face discrimination in hiring
Study - ligher skinned black people received lesser jail sentences
Zeigeist's thread on a Tim Wise article, collects a huge amount of studies showing the racial disparity in the US. Download article
Story's thread in defence of affirmative action policies
Innocents convicted: an empirically justified factual wrongful conviction rate | Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
The Ferguson Masterpost: How To Argue Eloquently & Back Yourself Up With Facts ("In case you get stuck in any sort of time warp arguing with racists about Mike Brown")
How To Tell Someone They Sound Racist, a short video on the benefits of saying "what you said is racist" rather than "you're a racist".
Collection of MLK quotes compiled by Jerry Manderbilt, for use when white people try and claim MLK would have condemned current protests and riots by people of color.
Black fathers are at least as involved with their children's lives as white fathers
Al Sharpton and other black leaders already do march to protest black-on-black crime, so shut the hell up about it.

War on Drugs
Glenn Greenwald's study into drug decriminalization in Portugal - many benefits (PDF)
An authoritative source that outlines the benefits of legalizing weed and the problems created by not doing so

Guns
Better gun law enforcement rather than further restrictions on gun supply reduce gun crime (PDF)
States with laxer gun laws have higher gun crime
Study - guns in the home more likely to provide health risk than benefit
Firearms and violence: interpreting the connection. PDF download

Environment
How to talk to a climate skeptic, contains responses to various climate skeptic claims with links to evidence
This one is a mirror of the first, from what I can tell, but there may be some slight differences or you may prefer the layout. And it's a mirror of the content, in any case.
Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: A list of "Climate myths" and "What the science says" about each, including links to articles giving more information about each.

Science
Not Saint Darwin (PDF)
An Index to Creationist Claims: A very thorough, if dry, rebuttal to Creationist arguments which distort or misunderstand science on both evidential and ethical/moral grounds.

General religion
Sinnlos' brief summaries of American Protestant denominations (history and beliefs): Baptists -- Methodists -- Pentecostals
American Catholics lean left on gay rights and pretty much every other issue too

Miscellaneous bullshit and curios, to be categorized when more articles are linked
Hand sanitizers worthless to prevent infection
Average football game has 11 minutes of play (more time devoted to showing replays)
The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition. - By Deborah Blum - Slate Magazine
Prevalence of Child Malnutrition (Percent Underweight Under Age Five) - GlobalHealthFacts.org
Why We Don't Need Money - A sane alternative way of allocating resources
Do conservative governments make people want to die? Mortality and political climate: how suicide rates have risen during periods of Conservative government, 19012000 (PDF)

Cognac McCarthy fucked around with this message at May 6, 2015 around 08:22

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Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Paul MaudDib posted:

Would a sources and citations thread/post help? I know I'm always hunting for that citation I saw someone use that one time...

Yes, please. I don't want this to be a simple "tell me what to think/say" thread: we should be helping each other debate more effectively. Both because it's important to discuss the issues from a supported position and because we could all be better at engaging with people who disagree with us. Given the diversity of knowledge bases in D&D, including "looking for an article I read" posts in this thread would be great, too.

Note: this isn't meant to be a groupthink thread. Like I mentioned in my request for help, we each have some understanding of what arguments will work better than others with the person we're debating. This should serve as a resource and document base we can all check into and help each other out with, if we want.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play




This is great, thanks. If you want to compartmentalize it into various broad issue categories, I'll add it to the OP. Or if you don't want to I'll do it myself.

I'll just add to this thread that I don't want to make it a cheerleading conservatives-are-dumb thread. We have the "crazy conservative email" thread for that.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


The Landstander posted:

This thread is a good idea, I hope requests are okay


Yes, please, I had requests in mind when I started the thread.

I could still use some help with a response to my question in the OP.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


The OP's been updated with roughly-categorized links. Posting more is always helpful, so try to format them the way internaut did so I can add things to the OP more easily.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Hieronymous Alloy posted:

I've looked just now for the source articles on this, but can't find them right now; perhaps someone else can help me out. I honestly thought the "forum consensus" on gun issues was essentially "don't bother with them" at this point, so I was surprised to see someone posting gun-control related data. Even bringing it up just hands ammunition (pun intended) to Republicans.
Well I've thrown it in with the race and imprisonment section of the OP because anyone debating some "I have lots of black friends!" uncle on Facebook is likely to run into "an armed citizenry stops crime" and "there's no racism in the justice system" in the same discussion. But I agree that it's an inopportune fight to pick.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Dominoes posted:

The OP is a list of American Liberal talking points. It's a D&D groupthink-branded "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must):", with no regard for exploring new policy ideas or fairly evaluating effects of existing ones. It serves to reinforce existing biases, representing a fundamental problem with modern politics.

I won't even disagree with this; please contribute radically-different articles or ones calling for new paradigms in political discussions. I think the most useful articles so far are those that specifically address the arguments and rhetorical bases of American conservatives. But I also wanted this thread to help posters with specific debates they're having elsewhere, be that with regular, "mainstream-thought" liberals, or crazy conservatives. Sometimes you can't even hope to convince someone they're entirely wrong: it suffices to disprove myths. So we should be seeking to think more critically about our own positions, and this thread can and ought to help with that. I invite you to contribute to that.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


I've returned and updated the OP with some of the links you guys have provided. Thanks to everyone who's been adding them, especially when they're formatted like in the OP so I can just copy and paste.

But seriously, stop making GBS threads up my thread with Monsanto bullshit, start a new thread for that. This should be a place where debate help is sought and received, not another thread for debating itself.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


I can't speak to ancient Athens or some of the more specific debates about women in medieval society, since I actually haven't read much of medieval women's social history, however McAlister's argument that the Industrial Revolution and modernity "set women back" is not really unfounded. Carole Pateman's fantastic The Sexual Contract made this argument in 1988, though from a legal perspective rather than an economic one. Early modern and modern historians have similarly argued that modern political institutions systematically disenfranchised women by formalizing and standardizing informal social and political practices which previously allowed women significant economic, social, and political freedom in the pre-modern world. Chad Black's The Limits of Gender Domination is also really wonderful and deals with the same issues in the Andes at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, where Pateman studies British Empire and the early US. These are pretty well-accepted narratives among historians of the period.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


I'm talking about the specific and nuanced (but I'd argue very profound and real) ways in which women's subjugation was systematized and exacerbated by industralism and the modern political order, not any supposed "invention" of subjugation in the 18th century. Of course to what extent the status of women changed during the period depends on how broadly you're looking at different criteria, and what you consider meaningful change between periods. Yes, there were forces which kept women's status in Europe relatively below that of men in obvious ways before the 18th century, however it would be an oversimplification to assume this inequality operated uniformly or exactly as we'd expect it to operate from a modern perspective.

I think it's pretty dismissive to say it's "theoretically highly questionable" that modern political and economic orders represent a profound shift in the extent or nature of inequality between men and women in Western society, unless you've read the books I linked to or other similar works, and would like to comment on them specifically, because they're compelling and well-supported. Particularly Black's book, which points to really very significant economic autonomy for Andean women even into the modern period. Unless you view all intellectual and cultural history as suspect for not being strictly materialist?

Cognac McCarthy fucked around with this message at Dec 29, 2014 around 11:04

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Sorry, I was confused about how my first post came across. I think we're largely in agreement, and it's largely a matter of framing. To clarify, the book about the Andes is still a "European" case study in that it's about (mostly white and indigenous) women's navigation through the Spanish colonial legal framework, which is generally much closer to what I would consider myself an expert in. Women in early modern Spanish history is an interesting topic because it's arguably there that you see the most pronounced autonomy for women. If it's less common in early modern England that could be why we see things differently, as I'm much less familiar with the rest of Europe. That said, the litigiousness of early modern Spanish society is pretty unique from what I can tell, so it may not be unreasonable to apply some of the conclusions historians have been able to draw from the source base to the rest of Europe where similar sources may not be available to the same extent. I can't pull up my books or notes right now because I'm living in another country, but if I recall correctly this is the book I was thinking of with regard to women's political agency in early modern Europe. Women aren't the focus of the book but it does touch on them with regard to official and semi-official (and in all cases protected) legal autonomy and agency in municipal political matters.

Also the materialist comment was because what I read above was largely about the economic status of women, and I wasn't sure exactly what you meant by "theoretically questionable" claims from scholarship about early modern women.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Speaking of the OP, if anyone wants me to add something to it feel free to message it to me or just respond to this post. I've been away from regular D&D posting for a long time until recently so haven't updated the OP, but I can if there are obvious omissions.

Content: I've never actually heard a libertarian provide a proper explanation for why racism exists or how it operates. Don't most libertarians tend to operate under the assumption that power resides pretty much entirely within the state? What would a libertarian explanation for racism actually look like?

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


You'll probably get a good response in either case but check the libertarian/AnCap thread too: it may depend on what sort of libertarian you're thinking of.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Morton Haynice posted:

This reasoning is baffling to me because it seems to ignore really basic givens w/r/t motivation and behavior. Why do they give so much benefit of the doubt to people who would only lose out by being honest?

Keep in mind libertarianism generally lacks a developed intellectual framework for explaining or resolving lots of things: racial prejudice, power imbalances between private individuals entities/etc. It could be that AnCap explains these things better (I doubt it), but the only distinction or conflict that matters to most libertarians is that between the public and private spheres. To a libertarian, a big company screwing over a customer in the current world and endangering his health is the result of the corporation being in bed with government, which allows the company to get away with it or incentivizes bad behavior or something. In their ideal world, customers would immediately recognize bad practices and take steps to find another company to do business with, and with no government to legitimately use force, customers would somehow have more bargaining power. This is because, to libertarians, corporations don't really have power without the State. The State has power.

It's easy to see why libertarians think this way: the US was essentially founded on this same ideology, whereby the government is the only force or source of power individuals need to worry about, and the Constitution doesn't really say much about keeping private individuals from screwing each other over (the Constitution doesn't even take a goddamn stance on enslaving human beings). I've never really heard a run-of-the-mill libertarian explain to me how libertarianism differs from classical liberalism, and I think the only real distinction is that libertarianism implies an industrial economy and society. It's essentially an 18th century ideology, based on 18th century philosophy and assumptions about "human nature", shoehorned into debates about problems facing the post-industrial US.*

It's also worth noting that libertarianism is at least present in the rhetoric of much of the US "left". Most Democrats have to pay a lot of lip service to some libertarian ideas just to get elected, and many more truly believe what they say. This is why you'll hear Democrats concede points about reducing government interference in business (though usually through simplified regulation rather than eliminating regulation, as harder libertarians want), and there are few areas in which Democrats will outright say "government can do this better than the private sphere". American political rhetoric is highly influenced by libertarianism because it's essentially the ideology of the Constitution and Founding Fathers.

*To be clearer, it seems that most libertarians' assumptions about human nature are that people are fundamentally rational, and that it's easy to identify what institutions "have" power - the State is this institution to them. As someone who spent a long time in school studying history, I don't like to make a lot of claims about what history "can teach us" broadly speaking, but if history teaches one thing I think it's that people are absolutely not rational. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, I just think that there's a tendency to put "rationality" on a pedestal as if it's easy to identify: you see this a lot, for example, with "New Atheists" like Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens assuming their perspective is the rational one because they are men of science, completely blind to their own cognitive biases.

Likewise, one of the first things you'll hear in an intro to economics college class is that "Economists assume that people are rational". Libertarians being who they are maybe just took some undergraduate econ courses and took it to heart? From what I understand the higher you go in studying economics the less these sort of fundamental assumptions or axioms apply, but I could be wrong about that. In any case, it's not hard to find successful people being totally irrational, even big businesses do it: look at the leaked Sony emails - these are enormously successful individuals who basically admit to one another that they're often fumbling through their work with little to no idea whether something will work and make them money or not.

The other big problem which I mentioned is the assumption that power simply "resides" in different government institutions. Aside from the fact that even non-libertarians can see that plenty of private entities "have" power over the lives of other private entities, the mechanics of how power operates has been the main focus of leftist political theorists, historians, and philosophers have spent the last ~35 years. The basic outline (which is supported by loads of compelling evidence) is that power doesn't really "reside" in any institutions, because power is not static and institutions themselves don't always control things like cultural beliefs and practices which themselves exert a lot of power. It's better to see power as a pattern of interaction, habits, and practices between people and institutions, a pattern from which it's basically impossible for anyone to fully escape. This approach to understanding power requires one to accept that people are rarely if ever "free" even in the absence of the State, and that eliminating the State won't reduce the "amount of power" to which people are subjected, because you can't just remove a "source" of power from society.

Again, it could be that AnCaps have much better intellectual and philosophical frameworks for explaining all of these things, but to your average American libertarian there are a lot of very specific assumptions about the world, and it's no wonder they hold these views since they're deeply ingrained in American history and politics.

Cognac McCarthy fucked around with this message at Jan 5, 2015 around 09:59

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play



This is a good post, thanks for clarifying that I wasn't distinguishing between the philosophies of libertarianism/classical liberalism. I guess I fail to see what the distinction is in concrete terms, exactly? At what point do libertarians break with classical liberals? Aren't they both fundamentally about limited government interference in private industry, and aren't they both rooted in 18th century Enlightenment thought?

Also you're right that not all anti-statism is necessarily libertarianism, but I guess I'm conflating libertarianism and classical liberalism.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


spacetoaster posted:

Instead honestly show interest in their statement/belief and ask them to explain it to you. Hopefully they might, in the process of explaining it to you, see the errors.
This works really well, at least at making it really apparent to everyone else how loving crazy the other person is. New Left Media does this superbly. Well, when they were still making new videos.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Parallel Paraplegic posted:

Does this person spend a lot of time in 4chan's gun nut section? Because they're the only ones I've seen seriously pushing that sandy hook was a false flag besides fringe conspiracy nuts.

If the answer is "yes" then sever and seek therapy.

It's actually quite common among InfoWars-brand libertarians, who pop up pretty often these days.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


I'll put those in the OP, thanks. If you have more, feel free to post them. Also, just a reminder that I once again have the time to update the OP so if there are things you want added or updated, just post them here.

Cognac McCarthy fucked around with this message at Feb 9, 2015 around 10:39

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Added, thanks!

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Thanks, added. I've also been pulling links from other threads which I find helpful, so there are at least some updated/more relevant articles in the OP now. I know people tend to ask in individual threads themselves for help discussing that topic, so if there are good posts/explainers you see in other threads feel free to link them directly in here and I'll add those too.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


I've added the article to the OP, but on top of the criticisms in these posts, something that's always bugged me about these claims, and something that a savvy opponent could easily use in response, is that it measures incidents of terrorist attacks, disregarding their scale and motive. At least in the US, this makes a pretty big difference: The "Latino Groups" category is, I believe, made up largely of Cuban Nationalist groups who did all kinds of poo poo in the '70s and '80s to intimidate and extort people, and while there was a political element to what they did, they often didn't operate unlike the mafia, which generally wouldn't be regarded as a terrorist organization. Nor did Cuban Nationalist groups actually want to bring about the deaths of as many people as possible like, say, Al Qaeda does.

I'm sure if you disregarded the number of incidents of terrorism and looked instead at casualties, things could look very different, at least in the US. 9/11 probably accounts for the majority of terrorist victims in the US since 1970 or whenever, and that was a single incident. It just seems like an inadequate way of looking at the issue to me.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


I updated the OP with some new articles and split up a couple of the clumsier categories yesterday. If anyone has good resources for any of the categories that are currently a little thin, it would be a good time to share them.

I'd also like to add some resources for dealing with anti-vaxers.

Also, even though it's maybe not the most productive for debates, it would be fun to have a section for dealing with libertarians. I remember in the libertarianism/ancap thread there were links to quotes from influential libertarians saying really racist or crazy things, does anyone remember what those were?

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


All this talk of food stamps made me realize there was very little in the OP, so I've added a section on welfare with a few sources and articles. There's room for the section to grow and improve, though, and this was literally just 20 minutes of me digging through google results, so if anyone knows of better sources feel free to share them here.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


I'd wait for someone to post better info that will address your specific question, but one option would be to simply ask them to identify the mechanism through which Islam itself leads to violence.

I suspect it'll be a long conversation if everyone continues to engage in it without backing down, and a difficult one to sway them on. While it's hard to say exactly what you should argue, especially since I don't have a good resource showing that religion alone isn't responsible, I suspect you'll probably have the opportunity to challenge them on a few points over the course of the conversation:

1) Defining "Islam": This one seems obvious, but what gets attributed to a given religion or ideology and what doesn't can be pretty ridiculously arbitrary. The obvious illustration of this is white mass-murderers in the US being treated as "troubled" or "bullied", whereas Muslim (or just foreign) mass-murderers are identified by their ideology without hesitation. Similarly in the Middle East, it's very difficult to actually isolate religious zeal as a motivating factor in acts of violence. During the Cold War, the media may have been more likely to attribute certain acts of violence to socialism, for instance. Ask them if there's only ever one motivating force behind their decisions.

2) Defining "terrorism": Are targeted political assassinations acts of terrorism? In many non-Arab or non-Muslim contexts, the Western media doesn't usually jump at the chance to use the word. Sometimes they do, and a lot of the time they should. But state-sponsored violence is rarely decried as terrorism, despite, for instance, US drone strikes traumatizing innocent people in a way that sure as poo poo sounds like terrorism. Or Israeli soldiers opening fire on Palestinians when their lives aren't actually in any danger. (Look around B'Tselem for other good info on this.)

3) Defining "violence": This is where things might get abstract, and you'll probably lose them if you even get to this point. Violence is not just using guns to shoot people. Violence can be economic, social, or cultural. I don't know of any authoritative or easy-to-read links on this, but needless to say in the minds of, say, Palestinians and those who sympathize with them, the blockade of Gaza is a tremendously violent act. But it isn't really recognized as such most of the time, because don't call that sort of thing violence. To use an American example, gentrification is violence. Again, very few people will be on board with this because it's not a definition presented in the media, but I think they're fair definitions of the word. And, in any case, these are the definitions used by those subjected to them. In purely conservative, pragmatic terms, to understand and defeat people who resist imperialist violence or economic violence, you need to be willing to understand their perspectives and pre-empt or respond to their grievances.

4) Bring up the very recent history of imperialism, and of foreign-sponsored brutal dictatorships which legitimate and encourage a culture of political violence with religious rhetoric. A lot of foreign-backed dictatorial regimes are ostensibly secular, meaning resistance to oppression gets tied up with perceived assaults against religion. Likewise, modern Islamic fundamentalism itself largely came about as a response to European imperialism, and has of course been legitimated by more recent foreign imperialism (or funded by other powers as a means of fighting one power's incursions, as with the Taliban).

5) You can go the opposite route and give them plenty of evidence of nonviolent Muslim movements, ideologies, or places. I'd say this isn't going to do much because they'll just handwave it away and say "those are the exception that proves the rule".

6) You can ask them if they'd say the same things about Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism. I'd also say stay away from this, because it'll get handwaved away as "not being at the same rate", or they'll hilariously fall into the trap of numbers 1) and 2), and either explain other motivations for those acts of violence or say they're not terrorism.

7) If you really want to clown on them you can ask them what they know about different Islamic movements like Sufism, Ibadi, Ahmadiyya, or groups like the Druze who are sort of almost Muslim (they'd at least be confused for Muslims by any conservative American dumb enough to say "Islam causes violence"), none of which are associated with fundamentalism or endorsements of violence, though they have many, many, many adherents.

Basically if you can't get them to admit that local political and social factors shape, well, politics and society, you're going to reach an impasse with the people you're talking to. Which is frustrating, because the point of this thread is to try and get past things like that, and I think a lot of the time we can do it, but when you've identified that the opponent has a dishonest epistemology for coming to conclusions, there's only so much you can do.

Incidentally the Middle East section in the OP is still lacking good resources, so if anyone has suggestions feel free to share them.

Cognac McCarthy fucked around with this message at Mar 30, 2015 around 19:30

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


TwoQuestions posted:

These look like a great way to convince someone who's a victim of bad data, but I doubt its effectiveness in dispelling full-tilt hatred. If you're trying to convince a Freeper that not all Muslims are terrorists, all the hard evidence in the world won't matter at all.

TBH I'm not sure of the best way to argue against undiluted hatred.

Yeah this is why I said it would be best to wait for someone to post more concrete information. Everything I posted is a matter of rhetorical framing, and it's just what I expected he might run into over the course of the debate, but it's not a roadmap to convincing the other side by any means.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Accretionist posted:

Any advice for belief that Islam causes pedophilia via child brides?

Well a lot of the countries where child marriage is most common are in fact Islamic majority countries, and Islam itself doesn't actually set a minimum age for marriage (then again, neither does Christianity, both just say "don't marry your daughter before she's hit puberty"). The role of Islam itself in this is probably pretty hard to dispute: marriage is, obviously, something very closely tied to religion, so if a religion doesn't have much to say people following that religion have at least one less incentive to encourage marriage from a very young age. [e: Disinterested's distinction between marriage and consummation is also very important, yes]

That said, child marriage is common in a lot of the world, for example in India. Most organizations (and this Wikipedia article) define the practice as anyone getting married before the age of 18. 18 is a good marker for maturity, but in different economic, social, and cultural circumstances it may be viewed very differently. It could be that most of these marriages are taking place at 16-17, when the girls are unquestionably sexually mature at least. Another complication is that I don't see any information on average age discrepancy in cases of child marriage: two 16-year-olds getting married is obviously very different from a 35-year-old marrying a 16 year old girl. It could be that this discrepancy is on average greater in some places than others. I'm not familiar enough with gender in some of the more conservative parts of the Middle East to know if there are commonly-held ideas of when a girl becomes a woman, it could be 18, 16, or when she reaches puberty.

That leads into the other part of what you're arguing against, regarding pedophilia itself. The first question is which is whether child marriage and pedophilia are actually the same. I would argue that, while 18 is probably the best rough age to set for legal maturity, in societies that set this at a lower age, marriage of children who are under 18 is not necessarily pedophilic, even if they often or usually are, and even if someone that young is unquestionably not mentally prepared to make that kind of decision and probably doesn't do so terribly freely.

If you concede that all child marriage, even in cases of sexually-mature older adolescents, is still pedophilia, you then have to grapple with whether Islam itself "causes" pedophilia or merely doesn't impede that particular manifestation of it. Certainly there's nothing I know of in Islam which dictates that women should be married as children or adolescents - Islam's contribution appears merely to be that it doesn't strictly prohibit the practice.

Finally, there's the very obvious and important social factors to consider. We all know people, particularly women, are more likely to marry young if there's no prospect of an independent career for them. The evidence from history and economics supporting this claim is absolutely irrefutable. Conversely, in places with few economic opportunities for women, it's no surprise that you see women being married off by their families at a young age. For the Arab world, it appears that Yemen is by far the most egregious place for child marriages, and the practice there is due to family structure and overall poverty, specifically for women. Still, if people are going to flatly claim that it's "Islam" and not local practices encouraging this, you can show them the map of underage births in that Wikipedia article linked above, it shows that Saharan and and Subsaharan Africa have far and away more young mothers (and presumably young brides) than anywhere they're probably thinking of. And according to the map, Saudi Arabia and Iran have roughly the same rates of childbirth for underage mothers as the US, even though underage marriage may be more common there.

Making these arguments is pretty tricky because you will have to concede the following:

- Child marriage is bad, and often legitimates pedophilia
- Child marriage is relatively common in the Middle East and other Muslim-majority countries
- Islam itself doesn't prohibit underage marriage

These concessions might make your argument look weak, but hey, that's part and parcel of arguing with nuance. This interview with Reza Aslan on CNN is a really, really great example of how to successfully navigate an argument that requires you to agree with your opponent that certain practices are very bad, while redirecting the conversation to a more intellectually honest place and critiquing the way they frame the issue. It's really fantastic and I recommend you watch it, as it's actually very close to what you're asking for help on anyway.

Disinterested posted:

I believe, as with female circumcision, that you're actually there dealing with a social practice that long pre-dates Islam. That poo poo used to happen in aggressively Christian medieval Europe all the time; it didn't exit or enter the scene because of religion, but for other reasons.
The interview I posted right above has Reza Aslan arguing that FGM is really almost nonexistent in the Arab world.

Cognac McCarthy fucked around with this message at Apr 1, 2015 around 08:56

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Disinterested posted:

Except where it isn't. It's principally a cultural practice in a section of the African continent, parts of which are Islamic, which is my entire point: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...UNICEF_2015.svg

Arab and Islamic are very different things, which is why Aslan makes the argument that it's not a Muslim problem, and certainly not an Arab one. Egypt and Yemen appear to be the only exceptions in the Arab world.

e: I don't know if Sudan, Chad, etc. are regarded as part of the Arab world. If they are, fine, it doesn't actually weaken the argument in any way. In any case, people arguing "Islam = FGM" are probably thinking Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc., where it's not practiced at all.

Here's another good interview with him that talks abstractly about the weird and frustrating ways in which we tend to think of and talk about religion, particularly Islam - it's worth a watch. I don't mean to just pimp this one guy, but he really is the only academic I know of at the moment who is willing to engage with the media on these matters and can present the perspective shared by a lot of experts on the left in a compelling, concise, and approachable way.

Cognac McCarthy fucked around with this message at Apr 1, 2015 around 09:10

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Disinterested posted:

I don't think we're disagreeing about anything here.

Probably not. Just that it's decidedly not practiced in the countries that probably spring to mind when people think Islam

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Disinterested posted:

Actually it is - it is practiced in Saudi quite a lot. Problematically data collection in the middle east is a lot weaker than in Africa on this subject. It seems that in the Middle East in general it occurs on a more regional or sectional basis from what is known.

Oh, and amongst Kurds.

Hm, do you have a good source for this?

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Useful info, thanks! I'll link your post in the OP.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Cingulate posted:

But only one of them is actually relevant to the people we'll probably end up debating. And trying to argue both will lead to losses, and in the end, you may face an actually non-sequitur argument where the empirical fact of ISIS is somehow wielded against people who are on average, and with extremely few exceptions, much, much more similar to you than to ISIS members.
This is a good point, yeah. I guess the question of what premises and definitions you should concede to your opponent can depend a lot on who your opponent is and what the medium for debate is.

quote:

And we shouldn't try to defend Islam out of solidarity with minorities or otherwise disprivileged groups anyways.

quote:

And while it is true that Islam is violent by at least some sensible definitions, it does not follow that this licenses hostility towards muslims, and it is this "it does not follow" I would argue with, not the premise.
I do find this tendency on the left interesting inasmuch as it extends beyond anti-racism or anti-imperialism. I think most of the time when the left criticizes the way conservatives and others discuss Islam or the Middle East, that criticism is valid and well-founded, if often obfuscated or inarticulate: I think the left has a long way to go in being clear that anti-Arab/Islamophobic/orientalist rhetoric and tendencies, not legitimate objections to extremist violence or fundamentalism, are generally what drives us away from agreeing with the right on these issues.

That said (and this probably isn't the place to hold the discussion), I do think there may be internal contradictions in how the left views and uses religion. Scholars of religion like Reza Aslan (sorry to bring him up again, it's just fresh in my mind) argue that religion is basically whatever we bring into it, and this is a generally agreeable to the left. That is, modern Islamic fundamentalism doesn't necessarily reflect any distilled essence of Islam (a distinction between capital-I Islam and the concept of islam would be useful here, like with communism). I find this tricky, because without knowing otherwise, it could be seen as a pretty dogmatic assumption that the text itself has no bearing on the religion which emerges from it. It's a political taboo, for understandable reasons, to say that lowercase-i islam -- that is, the Quran, hadiths, fundamental practices, and other authoritative materials -- might lend itself to more violent dogmatic practices by followers than with other religions. ( I am not saying this is the case )

Bear with me while I explain why I think the left has this blind spot: I've heard people argue that the Islamic world was much more scientifically advanced and much more open to ideas from the Greeks and Romans in the Middle Ages than were Christians; this is used as proof that Islam isn't inherently backwards, and that it is compatible with other modes of thought, in contrast with the superstitious, dogmatic West, which rejected Greek and Roman thought and learning. These are argued as positive, but nonetheless intrinsic qualities of Islam.

The issue is that by making claims about Islam's "compatibility" with science and other cultures, aren't you defining the religion as one with certain intrinsic properties (in this case, compatibility with science and enlightenment)? Doesn't that both run counter to assumptions that all religions are pretty much the same and that the text doesn't really make that much of a difference? And doesn't it open you up to rebuttals that, if Islam is more compatible with science than Christianity*, it's also more compatible with violent enforcement and evangelism?

*This isn't just used to argue about the Middle Ages, either: I see people invoking Al Andalus to argue that Medieval Islam was more science-friendly than modern middle America

This seems like a pretty big gap between what we assume about religion, and how we use religion to defend certain people. Is there some way of reconciling this in a way that doesn't turn us all into Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens and hopping on the race realist-equivalent bandwagon of "Not all religions are created equal, ergo gently caress this brown person religion"? Or am I missing obvious rhetorical and logical leaps in what I've written above? I don't even know if any of this makes sense to anyone.

Cognac McCarthy fucked around with this message at Apr 1, 2015 around 13:58

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Accretionist posted:

Can anyone recommend non-batshit criticisms of contemporary feminism? There's these MRAs who may just be hosed up from single-sourcing their material and I'd like to be able to show them something normal but in-line with their concerns.

V. Illych L. posted:

it depends a lot on where you're critiquing from, to be honest. what do you want?
Yeah, it sounds like you're asking for a non-MRA rebuke of feminism? Uh good luck finding one on the internet that isn't a critique of straw feminists.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


You guys, if he's arguing with MRAs, and is looking for anti feminist stuff, I don't think criticisms of feminism from the left are what he's after...

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


It's worth distinguishing between radical feminism and trans-exclusive radical feminism and the like . Most branches of radical feminism are perfectly fine.

Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


V. Illych L. posted:

then you don't need critiques of feminism, you just need data tbh

Bonus: That data will all support feminism

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Cognac McCarthy
Oct 5, 2008

It's a man's game, but boys will play


Jerry Manderbilt posted:

Added two more quotes by MLK on riots to my megapost.

Thanks for these, adding them to the OP.

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