Response to “RationalWiki”
My last post seems to have attracted the anger of several rabid “RationalWiki” drones on the internet. They didn’t take their grievances up directly with me, but instead chose to quote small bits of my material on a part of their site and pontificate on it like clowns (though to their credit, they did link the post in it’s entirety). I found this when I was browsing through the stats of my blog, and quite unsurprisingly, they proved my point for me. For those of you who haven’t read my article on “RationalWiki,” I’d suggest you read it so you can understand what’s going on here. If you’ve already read it, then I’ll simply state that my biggest critiques of “RationalWiki” (I put that in quotes for the simple reason that it is Rational only in name) were the following.
1: They didn’t actually read any of the material that they’re critiquing (which was very easy to prove), and what little that they quoted (they quoted about one sentence worth of Murray Rothbard, which was found on the first page of the work of his that they hyperlinked for example), they didn’t understand.
2: Their arrogant tone and ad hominem attacks prove that they weren’t trying to inform anyone or make a genuine rational inquiry, they were trying to do a hatchet job on positions that they didn’t agree with (and the “article” that “RationalWiki” did on the Austrian School isn’t an isolated incident).
Those were my biggest critiques, which was a little too much to grasp apparently for some of the people over at “RationalWiki.” Now, there is one serious critique they have (the only one they have, in fact) that I will deal with. They’re claiming that I misquoted the paragraph that I quoted from the pseudoscience page; that I intentionally altered the paragraph. This isn’t the case. I copied/pasted the entire paragraph as it was on the site. The bit that is quoted is what was on the page at the time. Now, maybe it was edited by the original poster to clarify, which is possible, or maybe someone else spotted the mistake and corrected it, but I didn’t alter the paragraph myself.
Now, with that said, I have to deal with their lesser critiques.
Quote from the site: “Skepticism is arrogance. Scholars should be objective. Statistics cannot indicate a null hypothesis. Demanding proof before conclusions indicates left-wing progressivism. Left-wing progressivism is a kind of socialism. Yep. This person does not actually understand things.”
There is nothing wrong with being skeptic, and scholars are supposed to be objective, but the entire point of the critique was that the writers of “RationalWiki” are being neither of those things (which was, again, easy to prove). I don’t put faith in statistics for the sole reason that you can “prove” just about anything with statistics. Demanding proof before conclusions doesn’t indicate Left-Wing Progressivism, your arrogant “matter-of-fact” tone and your shallow treatment of the issues that you’re writing on (and your general cow-towing to the idea that government programs and agencies outside of law enforcement and military are needed) indicates Left-Wing Progressivism. Left-Wing Progressivism is, in fact, a form of Socialism. If you don’t believe me, look at the things that Left-Wingers typically advocate. They want Social Security to be expanded even more than it already is, they want healthcare to be run entirely by the government and to be free upon demand (paid for in taxes, but free upon demand none the less), they want the financial sector to be so regulated that the government practically runs the financial sector, they want the richest to be taxed at ridiculous rates (often called the FAIR SHARE) in order to pay for various social programs for lower income brackets, etc. This is their (the Left-Wing Progressive’s) rhetoric, not mine.
I’m not going to get into the merits of these programs that Left-Wing Progressives advocate and whether they can or can’t work, I’m simply going to say that it isn’t enough to laugh at the idea of Left-Wing Progressivism being Socialism and just white-washing the accusation. You have to prove that Left-Wing Progressivism isn’t Socialism, and you simply can’t do it. So I find it very interesting that this person wants proof, he’s/she’s a skeptic and an objective scholar, but not only doesn’t present proof, but utterly ignores the proof that was given to him/her. That’s not objective or skepticism, that’s simple ideological agenda.
They interestingly enough chose, instead of the mountain of other things that I slammed them for, to complain about one particular quote that I made, which was this; “that this material is on the internet and no one has challenged it tells me a lot about the intellectual bankruptcy of the Western World.” Here’s what they said about it.
Quotes from the site: “In other words, “How incredible – the internet includes things I disagree with!” “And apparently his only recourse is to bitch about it…fallaciously…on a blog that no one else will read. Can we add him to our Pissed At Us article?”
Now, there are two different quotes because they were made by two different people. The first quote conveniently ignores the fact that I was irritated because the material hadn’t been challenged, not simply because it was on the internet. The second quote claims that my reasoning was fallacious, but doesn’t offer any sort of proof to the claim (again, that objective skeptic/scholar title just doesn’t seem to fit here). Instead, the person just complains that I’m being fallacious and then proceeds to demonize my blog as, quote, “a blog that no one else will read.” Again, no substance, just personal attacks.
Now, for the last critique. Apparently, one of the regulars at “RationalWiki” read some of my other works, or more specifically, my article on Morality. I made the case against murder. “First and foremost, it is completely illogical to murder someone (unless in self-defense or in the defense of someone else, which needs no explanation) because for every act of murder you commit, you physically destroy business opportunities. You are killing a man you could’ve traded with, or co-operated with at a later date. You must also account for the resources you would use in committing this completely silly act (which vary from person to person). The resources you’d waste in killing the person and disposing of the body could’ve been used in the market, or it could’ve been kept as savings for future consumption/investment.”
Those were my words exactly. Now, whether you agree or disagree, it’s not enough to do what the regular on “RationalWiki” did. He/she responded in a fashion of shallow satire (which is auto-fail in my book).
Quote from the site: “Yep, the logical reason for not committing murder is that you might be able to make a profit out of him. My sort of guy!”
The MY SORT OF GUY bit at the end was really his tongue-in-cheek way of saying that I’m a piece of shit for saying something like this. I am, first and foremost, a realist. I recognize more than most that reality is a bitch. Your choices are; do you want people profiting off of each other, or do you want people killing each other? It is that simple, and there is no in-between. If you eliminate one of those options, the other option is inevitably taken. I would prefer people profit off of each other as opposed to killing each other, but hey, that’s just my opinion.
Once again, nothing of substance comes from “RationalWiki” but ad hominem attacks and shallow analysis. I keep, in the back of my mind, trying to give these people the benefit of the doubt; that they’re going to come back and prove me wrong. So far, however, I’m deeply disappointed.