Christopher, on Jun 24 2003, 02:47 PM, said:
But the point was that it was supposed to be about discussing the social science behind current events, just as EtU is for discussing the sciences behind SF. It's still discussing current events, but in a more in-depth manner -- not just engaging in the debate, but providing background and context for the debate, and presenting hard data and scholarship as a counterweight to raw polemic.
And I think that is just what has been done in most cases. Well, as close as you can come in social sciences anyway. Social sciences involves far more than just numbers and figures and analysis of raw data. These areas of study are very much tied to human behavior, something isn't always rational, logical, predictable, or even measureable.
Remember, Sid, what you and I did so much on the Andromeda Forum's periodic debates about Islam? When some people would come along spouting anti-Islamic rhetoric or misconceptions or myths, we'd respond with a heavy dose of hard information, detailed explanations of the history and actual teachings of Islam and the political history and social science of the Islamic world, as an antidote to the stereotypes and misinformation that those people were basing their opinions on. That's what I wanted OT to be -- a place where people could come to gain a full, nuanced understanding on which to base their opinions.
Is this not the very thing that has been happening? Like it or not, study of the social sciences is going to involve peoples beliefs and why they hold them. You cannot seperate the beliefs of the people composing a society from the social structures within that society.
It seems to me that you have really gotten hung up about the recent homophobia/same sex marriages/religion based threads. By discussing with others what they believe and why, we have been exploring what our opinions are based on. There have been, from all sides of these issues, a "healthy dose" of the historical and cultural context for the basis of the various beliefs. I fail to see how this is any different from the example you are citing.
No matter what Ogami claims, that's what matters most to me -- that people base their opinions on the full range of evidence, absorbed with an open mind, rather than just swallowing the ideology or propaganda of one side or the other, rather than just reducing everything to some simplistic black-and-white caricature. Like Aaron Sorkin, I care far less about right vs. left than I do about intelligent, responsible politics vs. shallow factionalism. (Ogami, there are conservatives whose positions I respect, because I respect the thought that went into them. But all I hear in your words is kneejerk, dumbed-down, us-vs.-them polemic, stirring up hatred and hostility between factions instead of seeking to synthesize opposing viewpoints for the good of everyone. And there's nothing in that which I can respect, no matter which side of the political spectrum it's on.)
I haven't seen a whole lot of stirring up of hatered for the opposition here. Sure, there were some heated comments and some misunderstandings. However, the vast majority of people worked past those and were able to express why they believe such and such a thing to be true. When I have read the recent threads, I have seen people come to an understanding of why someone believes such and such, even if they don't agree.
What I see you saying Christopher is that because you
do not accept the validity of what some people base their decisions and beliefs upon, then they have no place in the kind of "scholarly" debate you
want to see. You
wish to dictate what sort of information is brought to a discussion. If you
don't like the source of the information, then it is raw polemic. Well, then really, what is the point of discussion? You
have already decided what is worthwhile.