Intellectual Integrity

Tomlinson & the Burning Fertility Clinic

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Hello friends! As you have likely heard, writer Patrick Tomlinson tweeted out a slightly dramatized version of the “burning research lab” thought experiment, and (for whatever reason) it went somewhat viral and now everyone thinks this is some kind of devastating analogy that absolutely destroys the pro-life position on abortion.

Here’s a link to the first tweet in the chunk (click to to read the whole thing):

The horror!

The problem is, this analogy has been refuted countless times by people well before Tomlinson tweeted it, and hundreds more times since. But it doesn’t stop “news” outlets like LADBible and Salon from featuring Tomlinson, as if he invented this analogy or something.

Usually, I’d just post a response article (like this one or this one or this one or hundreds of others) and leave it at that, but I guess a mere response article won’t do nowadays because the internet has become a place where everyone actively searches for their biases to be confirmed, and who needs to be challenged to change their beliefs, right? It turns out, Tomlinson is also really good at confirmation bias, because he has been blocking people who show the stupid analogy for what it is; nonsense. He blocked Ben Shapiro, which is how I found out about him.
So I made a meme (cuz that’s what I do over at DPLM), tweeted it, and tagged Tomlinson.

In response, he called me “desperate” because making fun of him in meme format is desperate I guess? lol

and then told me that he doesn’t block everyone, just those who “acts the fool”.

So I asked if he is interested in engaging me on the subject.

He never responded to that.
However, he did respond to some other things.

Someone else asked if Tomlinson would save 1000 comatose people or a 5 year old…

… and he said that he would save 1000 people in comas.
As would I. But this still doesn’t justify abortion or the analogy in any way. And I do my best to flesh out why the analogy doesn’t prove what he (and those who think like him) think it does.

Obviously not, and he would never admit such a thing. But that’s what he is trying to get us to conclude with “his” analogy.

It’s true. 1000 comatose patients and 1 5-year-old are not equivalent.
But again, this doesn’t do anything to remove the inherent moral worth of the 5-year-old. I try to explain that to him:

… and he didn’t respond to what I said with anything even remotely coherent. He just responded with a gif saying that I’m missing the point.

So then I tried to get him to explain the point that I missed.

… and apparently he didn’t want to clarify what point I missed.

… and that’s when he told me to “read the fucking thread” and blocked me.

Which is ironic, because I was actually not “acting a fool” at all, but really doing my best to engage with the argument. He didn’t block me when I made a meme (which is arguably “acting a fool”) and decided to block me when I showed his analogy to be silly.

Thanks for confirming the meme, buddy.

I guess any argument is invincible if you ignore those who refute it.
If you’re curious as to how to refute the argument (outside of what I said to Tomlinson), visit the links I provided above. They’re great.

Or look at some of the resources in the comments under this Facebook post!

Or watch Ben Shapiro beat him up a bit on his show, here:

 

Ep 38 – In Defense of Dank Memes

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Look at this dank meme

Hello friends! Thanks for listening to episode 38, where I give a handful of excuses as to why i’ve been gone for over a month, and then dedicate way too much time talking about memes. But hey – at least I’m not a normie.

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Dank ProLife Memes

Pls liek n shair dis eppisōd k thx bye

Ep 36 – Being Comfortable with Controversy

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Hello friends!

I’ve got something a little different for you today, I hope you like it. Many people are uncomfortable with controversial conversations, and I hope to change that. I want people to be comfortable with controversy so that we can have productive conversations on issues like (but not limited to) abortion.

The three articles I read in this episode:

Links to things on the backfire effect:

Announcement! I am working on my first book, tentatively titled “Comfortable With Controversy – How to Talk to Your Friends and Family about Politics and Religion”. If you want to be a part of the group of people who get a free copy of the book before it is released, send me an email at FetalPositionPodcast@gmail.com.

If you enjoyed this or thought it was absolutely terrible, let me know in the comments below, on the facebook page, private facebook group, twitter, or by email (FetalPositionPodcast@gmail.com). Thanks so much for reading/listening!

Recognizing Your Own Ignorance & Avoiding Sensationalism

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Let’s admit it.
Critical self-reflection is a lost art. And I don’t mean finding faults in your physical appearance while trying to take a selfie. I mean intellectual critical self-reflection. We have no idea how to do this.

Yet, it is probably one of the most important things we can do, as seekers of the truth. We have to be able to look at a situation, idea, or event and say, “wow, yea I really have no idea what’s happening here. Maybe I should wait a frickin second before diving into this with my unjustified opinion!“.

Unfortunately, most people don’t do that. Uninformed people make uninformed decisions and this inspires other uninformed people make additional uninformed opinions that none of them understand. And they all get together and pat each other on the back cuz of how incredibly informed they believe they are.

The problem is worse than just a bunch of ignorant people, however. The effect of this inability to engage in critical self-reflection is compounded when paired with our ever-problematic pride.
I’ve experienced this first hand. As soon as you publicly attach your name to a particular ideology, it is very difficult to reverse that decision. Even when that position is obviously wrong! Because not only would you have to admit that you were wrong about something, but you’d have to re-evaluate how you come to your conclusions. And if that isn’t a punch in the pride, I don’t know what is.

This re-evaluation would FORCE you into being the kind of person who doesn’t immediately have a loud opinion he can shout as soon as something important happens!
And that kind of person is so boring! Waiting to understand a situation is totally lame. How else are we supposed to feign being informed for 27 facebook likes and 17 retweets? We want knee-jerk emotional reactions to all things, right away! And we want to form groups of people who have the exact same knee-jerk, emotional reactions to everything, so that we can be isolated from alternative opinions!

Here’s my solution. Be actively thinking about your own self-reflection. You ought to know yourself better than anyone else, other than possibly your significant other. Or your mom.
I have found that when I am ignorant on a topic and someone presents an opinion that I think is wrong, I immediately feel an anger well up inside of me. I have this unrelenting urge to tear them to pieces, but I have no idea how to do that. And my inability to slap them around makes me even MORE ANGRY!

I was presented with a situation like this a few weeks ago. I forget the topic, but I found myself immediately angry. I stopped myself and thought, “wow, ok. So this anger means that I am ignorant about this topic. Instead of publicly declaring my knee-jerk, emotional opinion on this (that I will likely have to revoke later, with my tail between my legs), I should do a bit of research.”

And I’m glad I did.
Turns out, I was wrong. And had I publicly declared my opinion on it, I would have had to defend the false view in order to maintain my pride.

So, if you’re like me and you find yourself angry at a particular topic, follow these steps:

  1. Ask, “why am I angry?”
  2. Is it because I am ignorant about this topic?
  3. Should I delete what I just wrote, or take back what I just said?
  4. How can I become more informed on this topic?
  5. What does the other person believe about it, and why?

If we all could just chill out for 1/2 a second before launching into an ideological battle about something we haven’t studied at all… the world would be a better place.
Start with yourself.
Today.
Be the change you want to see in the world.

What We Can Learn from MTVNews’ Racism

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MTV News recently posted a video where a bunch of uninformed, poorly-dressed young people are on a rant about white men, suggesting a variety of ways that this despicable class of people might improve their lives in 2017. You can watch the video here.

Edit: Alright so it looks like they took it down again.
Here’s my upload of the video.

You may think, “LOL is MTV really that oblivious to the world that they would think this is a worthwhile video to make a publish?” Well, MTV News ended up getting basically nothing but negative comments on the video all across social media, so the admins took the video down off of facebook and youtube. I managed to snag the video off of twitter before they deleted it, but they never ended up deleting it. They did repost the video, but with the update: “This video was reposted on Tuesday, December 20 with updated graphic elements” (which was believed by absolutely nobody).

Just speculating here, but my guess is that the video was taken down due to the negative feedback, but the PR team stopped it from being removed everywhere and needed a new reason to post it back up, so that the internet wouldn’t blow up because of their actions. Did they really expect anyone to believe that they reposted it because of the desire for some updated graphics?
I know you haven’t been relevant since the late 80s, but welcome to the internet MTV. You can’t post something hilariously racist, take it down, and expect people not to notice.
There have been a handful of funny responses, so I’m not going to respond to the individual points here. That’s for other people to do. What I want to do is focus on something different.

That is the problem of creating your own intellectual bubble, as MTVnews obviously has.
Its something that I’m calling reverse narrowcasting. It’s like creating an ideological echo chamber.

Narrowcasting is a term used in marketing circles that refers to where you send a particular message. If you’re selling product X, and males between the age of 30 and 45 are the likely buyer (maybe it’s a grill or something), you don’t want to waste advertising dollars sending ads for X out to 15 year old girls creating homoerotic fantasies about Obama and Biden on Tumblr.
You want to send it to a particular audience. That is narrowcasting, or target marketing.

Facebook essentially allows you to place yourself in your own category based on what you like and share; a category that makes it very easy to identify you in a particular category so that advertisers (and facebook itself) can send you targeted ads and content. You can mess around in your settings to see where you’ve been placed, if you want. Its in your settings somewhere.

But here’s my point.
As people attempting to be as objective as possible, it is our duty to avoid placing ourselves in an ideological bubble. Yes, it can be tempting to find a group of people who agree with you on everything and where a taxation is theft comment will get 53 likes, but please… avoid reverse narrowcasting. Engage with people with opposite views. Do your best to understand where they’re coming from.
Not everyone who disagrees with you is a backwards hillbilly racist bigot teapartier or an ignorant snowflake self-obsessed communist. Some are. Ooohh yes, some are. But #NotAll.

If you were genuinely surprised that Trump got so much of the popular vote, congratulations. I know how to cure you. It’ll be tough, but you have to get out of your ideological echo chamber and start engaging with real people who have real ideas. The same goes for all of you who thought no one would support a socialist like Bernie Sanders.
If you can’t answer the question “why does my opponent believe the way that he does?” without defaulting to “probably because he’s an uneducated fool”, you need to end the reverse narrowcasting immediately.

Bring back intellectual integrity.