• Epistemic Responsibility
    When in fact there isn't much we disagree on. I can think of really just one thing we disagree on: and that is the vehemence with which scientific claims should be held and the ethical status that should be ascribed to them.baker

    We agree on that too, if you deigned to read what I said instead of rushing into accusations.

    All I ever did was call for more caution. For this, several posters immediately classed me as an anti-vaccer, as irrational, evil, and such.baker

    Then take some responsibility and be more clear next time. I’ll do the same with my abrasiveness.

    Incidentally, I never called you “evil.”
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    You're incorrigible!Isaac

    Who told you?

    The spectre of mandates now is absolutely not something which requires some kind of psychologising bullshit explanation in terms of politics.Isaac

    Mandates have been around for decades, without much fanfare or controversy. The reason they’re controversial now is 1) the anti-vaccine movement, starting around 1998, 2) years of right wing undermining of science, media, fact, and truth, and 3) politicization.

    This is why it’s not a surprise where the unvaccinated are found: counties that voted for Donald Trump.

    If this were truly an issue of evidence and truth, of good faith argument, this wouldn’t be the case. It’s politicized, pure and simple. There’s nothing “psychologizing” about it.

    And yes, I’m talking about— and have been from the beginning — the United States.


    It’s not new technology.
    — Xtrix

    So the CDC are lying?

    No, the CDC said just what I said: the technology has been around for decades. I’ll quote them again— from your source:

    Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades.

    To bring up “newness,” implying they’re somehow unsafe because of their newness, is extremely misleading — and you know it.

    The vaccines are safe. This has been shown repeatedly. Playing word games and making implications about their newness to embellish their risks is exactly in line with anti-vax bullshit.

    The vaccines are safe and effective. Mandates are completely legal and justified— as seen from court cases— and are also effective, as we’re now seeing.

    So much for all the smoke that’s been blown. But continue blowing it, by all means.
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    With limited exceptions involving religious objectors, judges have overwhelmingly upheld orders in numerous states that require health workers, public employees, state university students and government contractors to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of employment. These rulings have allowed states to fire workers who refuse immunization.

    "Vaccine Mandates Are Surviving Nearly All Legal Challenges"

    What a shocker.

    Too bad some of our patrons here weren’t asked to testify.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    I guess you lump Hans Rosling in with him too because he isn't a climatologist?I like sushi

    I'm not familiar with his views on climate change, although from what I've read he does seem in the same group as a Stephen Pinker, who I otherwise greatly admire and respect. I hope they're right in their optimism.

    I've heard BOTH of these people say that climate change is a prominent risk. It is others who spin it as 'overly optimistic' or 'climate denial'.I like sushi

    Yes, "others" in this case being actual climate scientists. I should say: it's not strictly "climate denial," so I retract that. It's a new tactic: delay. They say it's not so bad -- or if it is, there's little we can do about it -- or, as in the case of Lomborg, even if we do things about it, it won't have any significant impact and so we might as well turn to treating tuberculosis and other more pressing issues.

    Again -- why this is the first thing you cite is very telling. Not NASA, not NOAA, not the IPCC, not the Royal Society, not any climate research institution in the world -- not world-renowned climate scientists, not any credible scientific organization. No: Bjorn Lomborg, the political scientist of the Hoover Institute who writes regularly for the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal editorial page. After all, he's not as bad as those awful climate deniers.

    Does this book merit such positive attention? Does Lomborg provide new insights? Are his claims supported by the data? A healthy skepticism towards the claims of others is, after all, one of the hallmarks of good science. And, at first glance, Lomborg's book appears to be an objective and rigorous scientific analysis. It is published by a leading academic press, and contains an extensive bibliography and nearly 3,000 footnotes.

    To answer these questions, UCS invited several of the world's leading experts on water resources, biodiversity, and climate change to carefully review the sections in Lomborg's book that address their areas of expertise. We asked them to evaluate whether Lomborg's skepticism is coupled with the other hallmarks of good science – namely, objectivity, understanding of the underlying concepts, appropriate statistical methods and careful peer review.

    These separately written expert reviews unequivocally demonstrate that on closer inspection, Lomborg's book is seriously flawed and fails to meet basic standards of credible scientific analysis. The authors note how Lomborg consistently misuses, misrepresents or misinterprets data to greatly underestimate rates of species extinction, ignore evidence that billions of people lack access to clean water and sanitation, and minimize the extent and impacts of global warming due to the burning of fossil fuels and other human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases. Time and again, these experts find that Lomborg's assertions and analyses are marred by flawed logic, inappropriate use of statistics and hidden value judgments. He uncritically and selectively cites literature -- often not peer-reviewed -- that supports his assertions, while ignoring or misinterpreting scientific evidence that does not. His consistently flawed use of scientific data is, in Peter Gleick's words "unexpected and disturbing in a statistician".

    These reviews show that The Skeptical Environmentalist fits squarely in a tradition of contrarian works on the environment that may gain temporary prominence but ultimately fail to stand up to scientific scrutiny. Others, such as Julian Simon and Gregg Easterbrook, have come before him, and others no doubt will follow. Correcting the misperceptions these works foster is an essential task, for, as noted above, groups with anti-environmental agendas use these works to promote their objectives. It is also an unfortunate, time-consuming distraction, for it pulls talented scientists away from the pressing research needed to help us understand the environmental challenges we face and their prospective solutions.

    [emphasis mine]

    I listen to what people say I don't just dismiss everyone as a lunatic even if I think they are WAY off mark.I like sushi

    I don't believe the best way to do so is to act arrogantly or look down on othersI like sushi

    Fine. I don't think Lomborg is a moron or a lunatic, and never said so. But I've looked at his work seriously and carefully, and it's incredibly misleading -- and I believe deliberately so. It sells books, and gets a lot of attention -- particularly from the political right.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Big changes have to come from the top, forced by people.Manuel

    That’s exactly right. The people profiting off of destroying the environment— mostly the fossil fuel industry— have tried to suppress the data, deny, delay, and convince people that it’s their individual responsibility to recycle and use more efficient lightbulbs (in other words, more delay tactics).

    Now companies admit there’s a serious problem, after years of denial, and you see greenwashing everywhere. That’s “progress,” I guess.

    It’s a good example of epistemic responsibility. Much easier (and better for business) to simply deny the severity of this issue. Better to listen to opportunistic political scientists like Bjorn Lomborg, with his books titled “False Alarm” and the like. Much more comforting.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Is your argument that the health services in several major countries, the Lancet and the BMJ are touting a theory which is on a par with UFOs?Isaac

    I’ll repeat: vaccine mandates have been around for decades — at schools and many workplaces. The sudden resistance to them is due to politicization and the anti-vax movement, of which you’re caught up in — which is why you’re arguing against mandates.

    Also, as you know I live in the United States, not the UK.

    That they now can is new technology.Isaac

    It’s not new technology.

    So why mention "newness" if you agree they're safe and effective?
    — Xtrix

    Come on! It's you that keeps insisting that the word 'safe' doesn't mean 'without risk'.

    So you mention newness because you want to highlight the risks, despite acknowledging that they’re safe. Do I have that right?
  • Epistemic Responsibility

    Lomborg is the guy the WSJ climate deniers and every other person who doesn’t want to appear ridiculous cites as a source. I’m very familiar with him, yes.

    He’s been thoroughly debunked over and over again. He’s not a climate scientist. What he’s doing, as has been pointed out many times, is basically saying we should do nothing about climate change because there are bigger problems out there, and that the solutions proposed will do very little or be harmful to the goal of lowering emissions.

    If you want to throw in with that, that’s very revealing, yes. You’re welcome to. I’ll go with the overwhelming scientific consensus from actual climate scientists.

    Reviews, by scientists, of Lomborg’s books:
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    No we don't. Mandating vaccines is not nuanced. Not even every medical expert agrees with it.Isaac

    There are allowed exceptions, and not every company is handling it the same way. Some allow for regular testing, etc. That's what I mean by nuanced. Remember these mandates are coming after months of allowing it be voluntary. There were too many holdouts, for mostly irrational reasons, and so now it's time for mandates. Seems reasonable to me. Quit your job and keep your kid out of school if you can't bring yourself to take a simple jab in the arm.

    The fault is ultimately on social media, the ambiguous approach of Donald Trump and Republicans, and their media, and the 20+ year growth of the anti-vax movement.

    The claim that we didn't ought to mandate vaccines or that not everyone needs vaccinating is not remotely grand, it's quite an ordinary position, even if an unpopular one.Isaac

    Belief in UFOs and 9/11 as an "inside job" are also "quite ordinary" positions.

    Vaccines, their safety and efficacy -- as well as vaccine mandates -- have all been well established and around for decades. There does indeed require "grand evidence" to justify the sudden wave of resistance. No justification has been given beyond conspiracy theories and misunderstanding data.

    It's really not new technology.
    — Xtrix

    mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases.

    From same source: "Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades."

    Expert opinion is that vaccines are safe, effective, and slow the spread of the virus.
    — Xtrix

    Yep. And we've already agreed on that.

    So why mention "newness" if you agree they're safe and effective?

    The question here is whether that fact is sufficient justification for mandates, whether it's sufficient justification for administering vaccines to low risk groups, whether it's sufficient justification for focussing on vaccination to the exclusion of other health policies...Isaac

    To the first question, I think the jury is in: yes, it is sufficient to mandate safe, effective vaccines during a pandemic, that protect others, slow the spread, and get our lives and economy back on track after 9 months of refusal from a significant portion of the population.

    Low risk groups -- yes, I'm also low risk. It's not about *me*. Whether you're low risk or not, you can still contract and spread the virus.

    I think there should be other health policies as well -- hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing, frequent testing, etc. To say nothing about the general health of our population -- their diets, the lack of exercise, etc. Vaccines should be a major part of an overall project.

    But don't take my word for it. Take it up with the medical establishment and present them your theories.

    But Republicans have grown increasingly hostile to the notion of mandatory vaccines — despite vaccine mandates existing in the background in parts of the United States since the 19th century — and have parlayed the fight against COVID-19 into a political battle, with vaccine mandates as the latest frontier in the great American defense of freedom and liberty.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    I need a substantially stronger reason to dismiss expert opinion than that.Isaac

    Expert opinion is that vaccines are safe, effective, and slow the spread of the virus. I'll repeat that over and over again. Thus, mandates are necessary if people aren't voluntarily getting them. You have no right to harm others. Stay home from school or quit your job.

    If it were up to you and your ilk, we would have never eradicated the diseases we have. This is why the anti-vaxxer movement is so dangerous. All in the name of "freedom," of course.

    It would do us all well to ask: Where did this anti-vax bullshit come from? The answer is that there was a paper published in 1998 that apparently linked autism with vaccines. That was later debunked. But the hysteria stuck around. Enter social media, and here we are today.

    But of course it's "different" this time -- we're not anti-vaxxers. Likewise, we're not conspiracy theories or climate deniers -- we just don't want to do anything about climate change.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    When something like vaccines and mandatory vaccination -- or any other phenomenon that's been around for decades -- suddenly becomes "controversial," we have to start asking "Why now?"
    — Xtrix

    Because it's a new technology, a different economic climate, a different political climate and the pharmaceutical companies have more than a tenfold increase in lobbying power since childhood vaccinations were first mooted.

    It's really not new technology. But even if it were, this excuse can be used at any time. The polio vaccine was "new" technology, too, after all.

    A different economic and political climate is like saying we're in a certain point in history. No kidding. compared to what?

    Big Pharma has lobbying power for all tax breaks, subsidies, etc. That has nothing to do with whether aspirin is safe and effective. There are instances where perhaps they rush things and sneak things by the FDA, that eventually need to be pulled from the shelves. If you think the COVID vaccines -- the most widely watched in world history -- are in this camp, you're just off in space.

    But anyway -- I figured you'd have some reason to believe it's "different" this time. You say you're against and always have been against mandatory school vaccinations. That pretty much sums it up for me.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    If a 'climate scientist' is being paid by the oil industry, that's a reason to disregard his conclusions. If a holocaust denier consistently views ambiguous evidence in favour of the Nazis and against the Jews. that's a reason to disregard his conclusions. If a creationist geology professor is a life long fundamentalist Christian, that's a reason to disregard his theories about the age of the earth. They may not be affected by these conflicts and biases. I might be wrong to dismiss them. But I have good reason to.Isaac

    I think so too.

    You're saying first that anyone whose theory is that vaccination should be restricted must hold that theory because of some bias or conflict of interest, then you go looking for what that might be.Isaac

    Someone who holds that holds a theory that the Grand Canyon was carved out by something other than glaciers doesn't necessarily have some bias or conflict of interest -- they could be doing so because that's where the evidence has led them. Ditto with natural selection -- for example, with the ideas of punctuated equilibrium (often cited by creationists, out of context). Is Stephen Jay Gould "biased"?

    No, I wouldn't say so. I would look at what they have to say, check out what other experts think about the proposals and theories, etc.

    If someone holds a theory that the Grand Canyon was carved out by the Genesis Flood, then we rightly dismiss them.

    If someone gives a theory about vaccinations -- who is a layman -- during a time when the issue has been highly politicized, and vaccine mandates have been around for years, and who would otherwise just trust the opinions of medical experts...yeah, at that point I think we have good reason to simply say "This is coming from a place of x, not from an unbiased assessment of evidence."

    Again, we'll probably have to just disagree about that. I do believe this is what you're doing and you're as unaware of it as a creationist looking at the Grand Canyon is.

    You're not first finding some bias or conflict of interest and then saying "well, we might want to take whatever they say with a pinch of salt", you're assuming there must be a bias, just because they're saying something you think is implausible.Isaac

    No, I'm doing exactly the first part. I'm saying we should take you with a pinch of salt -- despite the fact that you could be the rare exception. But I've ALSO engaged with you many times on this issue, and so far I've seen a lot of smoke being blown. If all you're arguing for is a nuanced and careful approach to vaccines -- fine, we agree. Just say that. I find it more likely that you just like attempting to poke holes in what you consider "pro-vaccine dogma" -- and are doing so very poorly.

    The problem I'm highlighting here is that if you establish nefarious motive from the argument's conclusion only, then you're just dogmatically dismissing anything you don't find plausible.Isaac

    So we'd be wrong to attribute any "nefarious motive" to the conclusion that the earth is 6,000 years old and the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood? Knowing nothing else about the person, of course -- just that conclusion alone. Is that wrong? No, I don't think so. I think the conclusion gives away the bias and the motive, to a degree.

    I'm not saying your case is as cut and dry as creationists. If you told me, for example, that you've been protesting or arguing against the use of vaccine mandates for years, then that would separate you from most people arguing against mandates today -- although I still would think you're wrong.

    Why do you think politicisation only affects one side of the disagreement?Isaac

    I don't. But in this case, I think it's being brought out by anti-vaxxers, not "pro-vaxxers." During the Scopes Monkey trial or the controversy about teaching "Intelligent Design" in schools, biologists and other experts had to come out and "debate" the issue, in the latter case in court. They were just effected by the polarization and politicization as well. Climate change has been politicized as well -- and many on the side of scientists don't know a thing about it, despite being what I would say is the "right side."

    The reason I engage with anti-vaccine nonsense, and mostly ignore creationists and holocaust deniers and flat earthers, is because I do consider this a time when it matters. It's important. I've known of the anti-vax movement for years and don't engage with them. But this is a special case. So I'm part of the conversation as well. But I feel it's only honest if I say what I really feel about it -- that it's on par with these other "debates" as well.

    I do tend to "align" with science and medicine, yes. I align with the consensus of biologists that we evolved. I align with epidemiologist and virologists and doctors that vaccinations are safe and effective and that people should get them. I align with the vast number of historians that talk about the holocaust. If this is me being "political," fine. Consider my political party that of science. True, it can sometimes seem as dogmatic as religion. But it's the best we have. These conflicts are all, ultimately, about what we want to believe running up against facts and evidence and expertise and consensus -- and science.

    I choose the latter.
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    No Yohan is spot on. It's exactly the question the medical ethicists are asking.Isaac


    It is vanishingly unlikely that there will be absolutely no risk of harm from any biomedical intervention — Professor Julian Savulescu in the BMJ

    No kidding. Notice this person doesn't ONCE say that vaccines are "dangerous." They're not: they're safe and effective. Safe does not = "absolutely no risk of harm." Dangerous does not = "0.000015% chance of harm."

    I think the real question is why I even bother with this nonsense...
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    The science is pretty unanimous about the fact that for healthy, young people below 35, the chance of getting seriously ill from a covid infection is much smaller than the chance of experiencing serious adverse effects from a vaccination.Tzeentch

    No. This isn't true. But even if it were true, as usual it excludes the point about slowing the spread -- which the vaccine also does.

    "Seriously ill" and "serious adverse effects" are meaningless until explained. Feel free to cite credible sources.

    If vaccine safety and efficacy meant that vaccines weren't dangerous, then I should think everyone would be on board with them. But I am not hearing anyone claim vaccines aren't dangerous.Yohan

    Everyone is on board with them. This is why experts are overwhelming advocating vaccinations. Precisely because they're safe and effective.

    If something is safe, it doesn't mean risk-free. Planes are safe, but they crash occasionally. Does that mean planes are "dangerous"? If you want to play word games, sure. In that case: everything is dangerous.

    Maybe this needs pointing out: an activity cannot be safe and dangerous at the same time. If you want to create your own semantic universe (which is usually necessary for anti-vaxxers and other deluded individuals) to justify your position, feel free. Excuse me while I laugh, however.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Xtrix You can find stuff here:

    This guy you've probably heard of:
    I like sushi

    I asked for your economic claims -- I don't see the relevance of the first link, and certainly not for the second. If you're really getting your climate change information from Lomborg, you might as well go to Prager University.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Should we engage in the “hard work” of thoroughly debunking each and every claim made by these people?
    — Xtrix

    No. As I've said dozens of times before. They don't meet the normal minimum standard of being experts in the appropriate field without discoverable conflicts of interest or histories of bias.

    They would disagree with you. It's as if you think you've stumbled upon just the right wording, or the magical principle upon which we can finally ground a criterion for truth.

    Creationists, infamously, tout their credentials and often point to the "conflicts of interest and biases" of "evolutionists" (as they call them). They say that "evolutionists" are working from a framework or "model," and that they are working from a different one -- the "creation model."

    Given this, do we just ignore them? Isn't it wrong to assume because others are ridiculous that this INDIVIDUAL making claims is also ridiculous?

    What are the reasons that these individuals are saying such things?”
    — Xtrix

    And you'd have insight into this how?

    It's not insight -- they tell you outright. But aside from that, ask yourself the question: exactly what "insight" do you have for determining someone's "conflicts of interests or histories of bias"?

    Apart from my views, what do you know about me that could possibly provide you with any data at all about my reasons?Isaac

    Your views are enough. As for your intentions or motives, of course I can't be 100% certain. I can make an educated guess -- as I can for creationists, and as you can for those with a "history of biases" or whatever criteria you want to use. Remember: everyone claims to be the "exception." Unlike those other people, you don't fit the mold and it's absolutely wrong of me to lump you in with anti-vaxxers or creationists or anyone like that.

    It's the same objection I hear from Christian or Muslim people when I point out that they come from areas that are predominantly Christian or Muslim, hence their belief. They want to believe they've decide things on their own, that while it may be true of others it's not true of them, etc.

    Hence the ridicule of your notion. You're saying that on no other grounds than that they disagree with you, you can somehow determine a person's motives. Do you seriously not see how utterly absurd and frankly messianic that sounds?Isaac

    But I haven't once said that. It's not simply that they "disagree with me." Nor can I ever say for certain what their intuitions or motives are -- what I care about is actions, decisions, and evidence. As I said before -- I think you, and many others I disagree with, are sincere people. I'm sure you think the same about many creationists or 9/11 truthers despite disagreeing with them.

    But in the same way we shouldn't be shocked that those counties that voted for Trump are more likely to be unvaccinated, or that someone from India is more likely to be Hindu than Christian, or that someone who says the Bible is the inerrant and literal word of god believes the earth is 6,000 years old -- I don't think it's much of a stretch to say those who are pushing against mandates or who are "questioning" government or "critical" of vaccines are doing so largely because this issue has become politicized. Why? Because it's clear it has been politicized, for one thing -- plenty of data about that. Secondly, because vaccine mandates have been around for decades.

    When something like vaccines and mandatory vaccination -- or any other phenomenon that's been around for decades -- suddenly becomes "controversial," we have to start asking "Why now?" We can engage with people who have questions and go through the arguments and debate the data and all of that as well, if we want to. But it should be fairly obvious something else is happening here. If you can't see that in this case, or feel it's an exception, or believe it's truly just good faith "skepticism," and not manufactured or motivated by political ideology, then perhaps we have to agree to disagree.
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    Of course the vaccines are safe and effective.
    The problem is that vaccines are dangerous

    Safe, effective, and dangerous.

    Very sensible, as always.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    You think it's disinformation and lies. They disagree.Isaac

    Yes, flat earthers, creationists, and Holocaust deniers also “disagree.”

    Should we engage in the “hard work” of thoroughly debunking each and every claim made by these people? Or should we say, beforehand: “What are the reasons that these individuals are saying such things?”

    The reasons for all this talk about mandates, vaccines, etc., is because of politicization. We’ve had mandates for DECADES. Why are they controversial now?

    You answer that question, and it’s like answering the question posed above for Creationists: it’s because they believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis.

    Why do some climate deniers, with scientific credentials, make their claims? They’re sponsored by fossil fuel money. Why did scientists “question” that smoking and cancer were linked? Because they were funded by tobacco companies.

    And so on and so forth.

    Every individual “questioning” and presenting “evidence” I’m sure are often sincere. I’m sure you’re sincere.

    But what they fail to see, necessarily, is why they’re even questioning in the first place. Why this specific issue and not others?

    The sticking point is always over people like you wanting to avoid any hard work by simply declaring your version to be self-evidently true and in no need of any debate.Isaac

    Evolution isn’t “self evidently true” either. Nor the Holocaust. I assume you don’t put in much “hard work” with people who deny either? Maybe you do — fine. Sometimes that’s necessary. But what’s important isn’t so much the content, but the reasons why they’re making these claims to begin with.

    When it comes to a lot of these claims surrounding vaccines and mandates, which have been around for decades, a similar question should be asked. And there’s no secret as to why this is happening. There’s no secret why the unvaccinated, for example, are overwhelmingly concentrated in counties that voted for Trump. All of those people I’m sure feel they’re truth-seekers, freedom lovers, and righteously skeptical of government/big pharma.

    But they fail to see that they wouldn’t be saying what they’re saying if they lived somewhere else. Creationists fail to see that the reasons they’re questioning the science isn’t because of some legitimate discovery of flaws or good faith confusion— it’s because they’re Christians.

    This has been my basic point all along. You won’t think it applies to you, I know. You’ll say it applies to me, etc. I’ve heard that from creationists too. Perhaps you’re right— perhaps they’re right.

    But from what I see, you’re just swept up in the manufactured controversy. But don’t get me wrong: I am too. How? By even engaging with it.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    The better the economy the lower the birthrate, the better the economy the more opportunities for individuals and the better the economy the more room for environmental concerns (because first and foremost people need to see the horizon before they care about what is over it).I like sushi

    If you have sources to support these claims I’d be interested. I have no reason to believe or disbelieve them— except I’m leery about the “more opportunity” part. That’s difficult to define.

    And you didn’t seem to learn much by the looks of it? Shame (in both ways)I like sushi

    I’m not sure I understand this remark. Learned much about what?
  • What should the EU do when Trump wins the next election?
    2024 is far too distant to know what will happen. But it’s very likely Trump is nominated and, once again, has the enthusiasm on his side as the “outsider.”

    Given that Biden will likely have a Republican Congress for two years and hence have very few accomplishments, depending on the economy Trump could have a shot. Republicans will try to burn everything down so the country blames Biden. But even then, I doubt he’s elected. He was never elected to begin with.

    Maybe people will forget that he was the worst president we’ve ever had, and the four years of chaos we endured — it really depends on how enthusiastic the more sane majority of the country feels. If there’s even some enthusiasm, Trump stands no chance. But Biden is a fairly uninspiring guy…

    The thing to keep an eye on is this reconciliation bill. Looks like the Manchin and other Republicans are doing their best to destroy it— in which case we won’t have a livable planet for much longer anyway.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    If you truly cannot fathom/believe how the rich can get richer whilst the poorest of the poor also get richer then look at the history of economic growth on a global scale over the course of human history.I like sushi

    Yes but you see how this argument is often used to justify massively disproportionate growth. A good example is the 2017 tax cut. Yes, it’s true that middle class people got a modest (and temporary) cut to their taxes…but I think you know the rest.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    This whole thread is just Xtrix having another stab a creating a version of epistemology in which it's impossible for him to be wrong. Last time we had that opposing views need not be engaged with, this time it's that opposing views are actually morally required to switch allegiance. I'm opening a book on what's next if you're interested in a wager...Isaac

    One thread was asking if it was worthwhile engaging with deluded individuals like yourself— and the answer was in the affirmative, mostly for the benefit of others.

    This thread is about the responsibility to at least have sufficient evidence for believing something, especially when said belied has dramatic effects on others.

    So much for your reading comprehension.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Evidence of previous bias (always coming down on one side of an ambiguous dichotomy), ideological commitments (politics, academic allegiances), publication biases (shock value, issue-of-the-day)...all of these can be used heuristically to weight evidence, or reject it entirely, without needing any expertise in the field at all.Isaac

    Similar to why we should ignore the rantings of people like you, who try to manufacture controversy where there is none to justify the fact that you’ve been duped into aligning yourself with anti-vaxxer stupidity, mostly due to displaced fear and distrust.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Epistemic responsibility, due to its moral flavor, would mean that Donald Trump is an evil/bad person.TheMadFool

    Yes. Although I don't like "evil," too many Christian connotations. I never thought Trump was a complete idiot -- although he is certainly a buffoon.

    Believing in something without evidence is a choice,
    — Xtrix

    It is neurologically impossible to believe something without evidence.

    No, it isn't. It happens all the time.

    Now please go on to dazzle me again with wordplay. Actually, don't - I'll save you the trouble: since what you're saying will be reduced to mere truism, I concede. In the same sense it can be argued for the opposite, as well -- but never mind.

    but they don't themselves function without inputs (real time evidence). Beliefs are just too high level a structure to develop independant of inputs.Isaac


    Called it before reading it.

    "Inputs." Well done.

    No one deliberately decides to get it wrong.Isaac

    Yeah, they do. All the time.

    Yep. I'm offering 4:1 on 'genocide', 8:1 on 'Armageddon' and 10:1 on the zombie apocalypse outsider.Isaac

    No, just agreeing with the following:

    It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.

    — "The Ethics of Belief" (1879) W. Clifford

    I would say we have a responsibility to argue in good faith, to try and understand others rather than pretend ignorance or misunderstanding, and to remain open to the evidence presented to us by others.Olivier5

  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    I see no cited evidence. Whatever you've posted before, I have no idea.
    — Xtrix

    Then follow the conversation. I'm not going to conduct six different conversations all saying the same thing to six different people.

    Then don’t complain about it. You said you cited evidence— you didn’t. I’m not going up follow conversations I’m not involved in. Next time, don’t interject yourself in others’ conversations.

    Evidence, to me, is a stack of studies with statistically significant correlations between variables.Isaac

    You truly have a superficial understanding of science I’m afraid.

    This idea you have that overwhelming evidence just speaks to us somehow, is nonsense.Isaac

    “Speaks to us somehow”?

    It’s fun watching you try to squirm your way out of this.

    That vaccines are safe and effective is supported by overwhelming evidence. That climate change is real — overwhelming evidence. That’s why we “believe” these things. Not because of “votes.”

    They all claim exactly what you're claiming. They also cite "bone fide experts," etc.
    — Xtrix

    They absolutely do not, hence my request that you back up this assertion with evidence. Your consistent failure to do so just incriminates you further. Cite the bone fide expert with no history of bias or discoverable conflict of interest who claims the holocaust never happened or that the earth is flat. If you can't cite one then you're clearly just making this up.

    I have— in other conversations. You’ll have to follow them. I can’t conduct six different conversations saying the same thing, after all.

    Things are safe enough, effective enough, depending on that which they are pitted against.Isaac

    No. The vaccines are safe and effective, as has been demonstrated over and over again. That’s science. That’s mathematics.

    Not “safe enough,” or any other home-brewed bullshit you now need to invent to save face in your quest to justify a nonsense conspiracy theory. They’re safe.

    But please continue.

    You’re truly an intellectual fraud.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Indeed, something you should try every now and then.baker


    Coming from you, this is hilarious.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Because being wrong is not a choice, it can't be immoral.frank

    Believing in something without evidence is a choice, and in some views immoral. I generally agree with this view.
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    even if they exclusively chose vaccinations -- it's still legitimate
    — Xtrix

    Just a repeat of the original claim. No counter argument, no contrary evidence, nothing. You claim it's legitimate, I give reasons why it's not, you just repeat that it's legitimate. Why? Well, because you said so. What more reason could possibly be required than that, eh?

    No, if you continue reading I give plenty of reasons why.

    I raise the idea that evidence is not overwhelming but appears so because of a bias in study design, funding, media reporting and government influence - all backed up previously with actual cited evidenceIsaac

    I see no cited evidence. Whatever you've posted before, I have no idea.

    It's not by vote. It's by overwhelming evidence.
    — Xtrix

    That's the same thing.

    No, it isn't.

    Eight studies concluding one thing, two studies concluding another. All ten studies meeting the minimum threshold for acceptable science.

    My claim is that all ten are equally legitimate because they've all met the threshold for acceptable science.

    Your claim is that the two are unacceptable because fewer people support them. A popularity contest.

    I haven't once claimed that.

    What I claim -- and forgive me for "repeating" myself, but I have to do so often with you -- is that it's the overwhelming evidence that determines what to do, not votes or popularity contests.

    My 'line' is...

    1. I can support my view with citations from bone fide experts in the appropriate field who have no discoverable conflict of interest or evidence of previous bias.

    You haven't done so with me. Where are these citations? And what are they regarding, exactly?

    Now prove your point by doing the same for the view that climate change isn't real, or that the earth was made by God 6000 years ago, or that the holocaust didn't happen, or that the earth is flat...Isaac

    They all claim exactly what you're claiming. They also cite "bone fide experts," etc.

    If my view is just like those others, you should be able to prove it.Isaac

    I didn't say "exactly like," I said you're on the way.

    All the hot air you've blown has nothing to do with the fact -- the overwhelming evidence -- that shows the vaccines are safe, effective, and slow the spread to the virus. If you have "citations" from credible sources suggesting otherwise, I'm happy to take a look. But that's all that is relevant here -- not that Big Pharma has too much power or other truisms. If you can show Big Pharma is faking the data, or that there's institutional pressures that biases the results, by all means do so. But again, that's a very big claim, and until you show it it's nothing more than conspiracy theory. When you have nearly 7 billion doses given around the world, I think the jury is in on this one.

    I've seen no evidence so far to suggest that vaccines aren't safe or effective, and I believe you even conceded that beforehand. So once again, are you arguing against this or not? Because if you're not, then your stance about vaccine mandates are completely absurd -- and it was precisely this that was being discussed when you once again interjected.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    What makes a difference to any kind of epistemic responsibility is having good reasons to select or dismiss evidence before weighing what is left in the 'accepted' pileIsaac

    And they often aren't "good reasons" at all. They usually come from exactly what I mentioned.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    "If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call in question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it—the life of that man is one long sin against mankind." — WK Clifford

    Figured this was worth sharing.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
    Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
    Everybody knows the war is over
    Everybody knows the good guys lost
    Everybody knows the fight was fixed
    The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
    Tom Storm


    We live in the age of resentment.Tom Storm

    I don't know if it's resentment so much as hopelessness and anger. But perhaps I'm splitting hairs.
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    It's as sound as banning smoking from the workplace. That's legitimate.
    — Xtrix

    Not in the least. The aim of the smoking ban was to prevent illness from passive smoking, there was only one way to do that (cut down on smoke). Hence the ban.

    There were multiple ways of doing that, actually. There were different sections for smoking, at first. That's now stopped as well, until we have an outright ban.

    The aim of the vaccine mandates is the prevent illness from passive inhalation of the virus from those who are unvaccinated. Hence the mandates.

    If the aim here is to reduce covid infection there are several ways that can be done - regular testing, distance working, hygiene practices, antibody tests for natural immunity...

    They've chosen vaccination.

    Not sure who "they" are, but there have been multiple approaches, and social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, and testing still go on as well. Where I work, they test everyone every week, vaccinated or not.

    But even if they exclusively chose vaccinations -- it's still legitimate. Just as they require them in schools, and have done so for decades. And workplaces, for that matter.

    The one option that aligns with the agenda of the most powerful industry in the world. There's an absolute need to mandate something. There's no reason at all why that something has to be the product of a private corporation.Isaac

    So it's a conspiracy to make money, pushed by Big Pharma. That's essentially what you're saying. And the entire medical community is in on it, apparently.

    Unfortunately for you, the exact same argument can be made for all the others vaccines which have been required for decades in schools and workplaces. It's all "big pharma." Never mind the fact that these vaccines are perfectly safe and effective -- apparently that's irrelevant.

    But it isn't. It's exactly the point. If you accept that, then your argument is absurd. You have said before that you agree the vaccines are safe and effective. So...

    the issue is, for you, is that you don't trust the enterprise of science.
    — Xtrix

    Well then I would have chosen an extremely self-defeating career path wouldn't I?

    No, I have no problem with the enterprise of science. I don't agree that it's conducted by vote, that's all.

    No one is suggesting it is "conducted" by vote, least of all me.

    If you're referring to scientific consensus, which is an important factor to consider as a layman, that's a different subject -- and one you apparently still don't understand.

    It's not by vote. It's by overwhelming evidence. The overwhelming evidence shows that these vaccines are safe and effective. That they were manufactured by large pharmaceutical companies is irrelevant.

    Just hypothetically imagine that corporations did indeed have academic establishments under their thrall, how would overwhelming evidence within those establishments be evidence of anything except the corporate agenda?Isaac

    Then you really do believe in conspiracies.

    No, the overwhelming evidence is available for all of us to see and learn about, if we so desire. Same with the theory of evolution -- overwhelming evidence, if we want to learn about it. Same with climate change -- overwhelming evidence, if we wish to learn about it. Teachers, experts, doctors -- all should be able to explain things to you and show things to you, if you have questions or are skeptical or are simply interested in learning. That's true for everything.

    If you start down this line of argument, without any evidence for it presented, then you can justify anything -- climate denial, creationism, holocaust denial, a flat earth...anything. But it's not exclusively a matter of trust or consensus -- it's the fact that you too can check yourself, through your own observations, experiments, research, data analysis, etc. If you choose to throw it all out with a wave of the hand, claiming all evidence is faked and all the experts are bought off, then you're off in cloud cuckoo land and there's little that can be done to remedy it. But that's your choice.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    And yet we're also as polarized and tribal as ever before.
    — Xtrix

    Not everyone is like that

    Nor did I say that, notice.

    It's not possible to meaningfully and without hostility address this while thinking in the above-mentioned polarized terms.baker

    Stating the fact that we're more polarized now -- which has been well studied -- is not the same as thinking in "dichotomous terms." Nor am I "hostile." Your projections are about as accurate as your reading comprehension.

    isn't it irresponsible to believe in things that lead to harmful actions? Shouldn't we be more careful about what we believe in?
    — Xtrix

    Of course. So who do we trust to tell us whether the thing we're believing in is going to lead to harmful actions?

    I'm not sure anyone tells you that. Even if they knew they were spreading dangerous ideas, they'll insist that they aren't. The responsibility is on us, ultimately. Do we have good reasons to believe something or not? Is there good evidence to support the belief? If not, we should withhold judgment one way or another.

    As I said in the other thread, you can't use the evidence from an institution someone doesn't trust to prove that their not trusting them is harmful. They don't trust them. So they're not going to believe that evidence either are they?Isaac

    That doesn't matter much, because the judgment has already taken place. In other words, this hypothetical person has already taken a position by trusting someone else, or a group of people, and the corresponding evidence offered there. Creationists are a good example -- they don't trust evolutionary biologists or any evidence they will present. Or, maybe a better example, is the media. It won't matter if we were to present an article from the New York Times to someone who believes they're "fake news."

    In this case, the issue is simply "Why did this person take this position to begin with?"

    But no real-time data can inform that decision because the decision about which data sources to trust obviously has to precede the use of any data from them.Isaac

    It's not always a matter of trusting sources. Sometimes the data is one's own life and experiences. Simply looking around would do it. If one closes oneself off to any person or argument that challenges their beliefs, this is simply dogmatism. This seems to be what you're talking about, exclusively.

    We are not responsible for what's in our minds, only for what we let out.T Clark

    Right, but what's in our minds almost always gets "let out" in what we say or in how we behave -- i.e., in our actions. Which has an impact on the world around us, including others.
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    All these questions are perspectival, because we're talking about trust, not facts.Isaac

    A good point -- yes, it is largely about trust. Who do we believe? Since we can't be experts in everything, we have to trust all kinds of people.

    Trust is also ubiquitous and necessary in a functioning society. We have to trust in others whenever we're driving on the road, for example.

    It's true that trust in authority, especially institutional authority, is at an all time low. That's across the board, and well documented: media, government, business, academia. We're skeptical of politicians, religious leaders, corporate leaders, advertisements, salesmen, teachers, scientists, doctors, pollsters -- and even our neighbors.

    People's lives are so crappy, despite having followed all the rules and done all the "right" things, that they're rightfully distrustful and looking for something or someone to blame.

    And yet we're also as polarized and tribal as ever before. We're as dug-in about our beliefs as I can recall. So we're still clearly listening to someone. We're clearly "throwing in" with some group or religion or dogma or system of beliefs -- and so we're trusting something, even in the political or academic or medical realm. A good example of this is polling. If a poll reflects what we want to believe, we "trust" it -- it's accurate. If someone says something we already want to believe, they're on our side. We see this manifest now in election claims: we don't like the result, so there must be fraud. Doesn't matter if there's no evidence of it and 3 audits find nothing -- there's still fraud.

    So then the issue isn't really about trust, because we're all trusting someone or something. Whether it's Donald Trump or Sean Hannity or Thomas Sowell. The question is really about why we happen to trust this particular person or institution over others? Why do we refuse a vaccine? Why do we believe the election was stolen? Who are we listening to, exactly?
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    we know better than to see academia as anything other than just another capitalist industry.Isaac

    No, what the issue is, for you, is that you don't trust the enterprise of science. That's generally not a bad thing -- one should question authority of all kinds, not just political and religious, but scientific as well. That's how change occurs.

    But when the evidence is overwhelming, and there's vast consensus, and one persists in taking the "skeptical" position nonetheless, we have to start questioning the motives -- just as we do with creationists who vehemently argue against the evidence of evolution. Should we take them seriously? Why or why not? After all, it's important to question things, is it not? They're the first to argue that point. Is there a deeper psychological issue at play here?

    Yes, there is. It's simple: they've been brought up believing in a literal interpretation of Genesis, and so evolution, which conflicts with these cherished beliefs, has to be wrong. Ditto for many arguing against vaccines, against medicine, and against the government. It all has some truth to it, of course -- like the arguments against Big Pharma, or about how corporations care only about profits and don't give a damn about their workers or customers. Throw in a few "truths" like that, with the obligatory story about how everyone once thought the world was flat, etc., and now you have a much more convincing argument, at least on the surface.

    I personally don't give a damn about the coronavirus for myself. I'm not afraid of it. I don't even care if those who are unvaccinated end up dying - so be it. What I care about is this dangerous level of stupidity that lies at the basis of the decisions that lead to these outcomes. It will, eventually, blow up in our faces if we don't confront it head on. We're seeing that right now with global warming, in fact. We saw it with 4 disastrous years of Donald Trump. Ideas and beliefs and attitudes and perceptions and interpretations -- all of the things upon which we decide and act and justify ourselves -- are what matters.

    The issue, at heart, is truth. Or to put it more accurately: epistemic responsibility.
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    "these companies actually exercise their power for legitimate, medically and scientifically sound reasons" - are you really that naive?Isaac

    Vaccines are safe, effective, and slow the spread of the virus. It's as sound as banning smoking from the workplace. That's legitimate.

    It's got nothing to do with public health, it's to do with getting workers back to their job (being exploited for profit) as quickly as possible.Isaac

    This is so obvious it barely needs to be mentioned. But the same is true of smoking bans. True, it's not solely about public health -- but it just so happens that it aligns with it.

    These companies would do all kinds of things if it increased profits, like polluting. When that behavior becomes too costly or illegal -- or "repetitional damage" occurs -- then they change. Like with smoking bans. But that doesn't make the change scientifically or medically unsound.

    I don't think a single person involved in this thread would, under normal circumstances, assume corporations act for the public good.Isaac

    No one, so far as I have read, is arguing that.
  • The US $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Bill
    The left won't do that to Manchin or Sinema.James Riley

    Is it really going to take violence to get people to listen? Maybe the right has the correct tactic, like you mentioned. Their representatives are so terrified that they'll go along with any ol' batshit crazy thing -- "The election was stolen," "Trump is a great leader," etc. Whatever the mob wants (which the establishment themselves created, remember, through years of neoliberal policies and through their media), they'll more or less get at this point.

    But these proposals of the democrats are going to directly impact corporate power, and so they're pushing back much harder. Whereas with Republicans, it's just crazy bullshit -- you never see them proposing raising taxes or more regulations or anything like that.
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    Also, in case you missed it the first time, what about testing people for the virus instead? If employees are willing to turn up to work 30mins in advance and take a Covid test then surely the employers should provide a test? IF the primary concern is for the workers safety this seems to make perfect sense.I like sushi

    I think I mentioned elsewhere that this is fine with me -- provided the employees pay for it themselves.
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers
    I’m not saying, and have not said, that the vaccine isn’t effective. My point remains with allowing adults to make a choice or not. If private companies choose to stop people working then my position here becomes more hazy. I’ll grant you that. That they are right to do so, as you say, I just don’t agree.I like sushi

    They tried to go the other way, and it wasn't working. Mandates are working. If that's what it takes to get people to push through the lies they're ensnared in and do the correct thing for fellow coworkers and the community at large, I think that's a legitimate use of corporate power.

    I find it ironic that this is the hill mostly conservative people want to die on when it comes to corporate power. They've been anti-union and pro-business for years, pro corporate tax cuts, pro trickle-down economics -- and now, when these companies actually exercise their power for legitimate, medically and scientifically sound reasons, they become Eugene Debbs.
  • The US $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Bill

    Death knell.

    Might as well say goodbye to each other, because some asshole from West Virginia cares more about money than the future of his grandkids — and the human species.
  • Climate Change (General Discussion)

    The death knell for the species.

    It’s surreal that it’s happening right in front of us, and no one notices.