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Poll

Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion/debate?

Yes
- 21 (27.3%)
No
- 45 (58.4%)
Not decided entirely, maybe
- 11 (14.3%)

Total Members Voted: 76


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Author Topic: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?  (Read 22965 times)

smjjames

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2015, 12:26:29 am »

I think the internet is too big to generalize an answer to this question. Some places and formats are worse for arguing, and some are better.

Very much this ^

It can also vary by the people arguing.
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Neonivek

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2015, 12:27:50 am »

A long time ago a scientist stood on a dock and actually wrote down what people talked about...

One of the major topics? The weather

---

The internet isn't really any worse then most places for "intellectual discussion"... YOU try to go into a bar with 30 people and try to get them interested in a discussion about epistemology.
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wobbly

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2015, 12:28:11 am »

Do you have an opinion? Does the Internet discourage people having intellectual debate and actually coming to conclusive answers? Do you have any experiences or evidence to back up your claim?
It's probably somewhat sideways to the intent of the question you're asking, but I would probably argue that the internet has done more to encourage intellectual debate and coming to (the next best thing to) conclusive answers than any human invention since relatively effective courier mail.

Evidence: Internet enabled academic/experimental/economic/etc. cooperation and communication and the freakishly improved capabilities we've had in that field since the internet started to propagate. There has not existed a point in human history where we were as physically capable of holding robust intellectual debate as we are now, and there's frankly any number of fields (academic or otherwise) where that's incredibly visible -- basically any that's seeing any meaningful degree of international cooperation would be a dead-on example thereof. Even if there has been some sort of reduction of the average level of discourse, the sheer expansion of the amount is what I'd call a gigantic net positive, even if that leads to its own problems.

This. Just to add something, as someone who grew up before the internet was a thing, try researching information with a physical set of encyclopedias sometimes & see how hard it is to find factual information on a subject.
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jaked122

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2015, 01:04:28 am »

I believe that there are places on the internet moderated in the same fashion as debates. I don't know where they are, but they have to exist, after all, debate clubs exist, if we can have things like that in real life meatspace, we must also have them on the internet.


In any case, point out how an argument isn't an argument, and occasionally you can stop the circlejerk for just a little bit. In any case, pro-life versus pro-choice is such a venomous argument that nobody really listens to the other side, as one side is motivated by religion or squick factor, which are both things that tend to disincentivize rational debate, and the other is motivated by a lot of other things (I have trouble isolating them as I subscribe to this myself, but this would seem to be indicative of the fact that there are a lot of motivations that make arguments hard to hear).


It's one of those subjects that I imagine would require very strict moderation in order to facilitate anything like a debate.


Go looking for this place and you'll likely find it. But the internet is much like real life, in that most people aren't interested in changing their views. The ones that are seek it out will respond well, it's just that if the people who aren't willing to change their views are flinging shit everywhere, you'll never see it.

Morrigi

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2015, 12:40:07 pm »

I think the internet is too big to generalize an answer to this question. Some places and formats are worse for arguing, and some are better.

Very much this ^

It can also vary by the people arguing.
Yeah, you have ridiculous "safe spaces" like Neogaf, you have Bay12 which allows free debate, and then you have places like /pol/ which.. well... they kind of defy classification. Point is, there's a spectrum.
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RedKing

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2015, 04:06:35 pm »

I'm pretty sure "hellish anarchic shitscape" is a classification.
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Strife26

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2015, 04:14:15 pm »

Nah, that should only be used to describe randian utopias.



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Boatsniper

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2015, 04:30:49 pm »

Nah, what you're actually talking about it school. School discourages intellectual discussion and debate, the students never learn how to hold an argument in turn, and then they become self-centered bigots with anxiety issues few of them realize they have.

Why do you think most arguments inevitably degrade into festering mounds of hate spittle? No one wants to admit they may be wrong as they obsessively guard their ideals and opinions with fury and abandon. They never learned how to learn, and instead were taught to shoot down and ignore everything that goes against anything they already know.
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miauw62

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2015, 04:32:09 pm »

Yes

:P
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Bohandas

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2015, 04:36:10 pm »

In theory it encourages debate, but that varies inversely wih the amount of moderation.
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Bohandas

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #25 on: December 15, 2015, 04:41:13 pm »

I believe that there are places on the internet moderated in the same fashion as debates. I don't know where they are, but they have to exist, after all, debate clubs exist, if we can have things like that in real life meatspace, we must also have them on the internet.


In any case, point out how an argument isn't an argument, and occasionally you can stop the circlejerk for just a little bit. In any case, pro-life versus pro-choice is such a venomous argument that nobody really listens to the other side, as one side is motivated by religion or squick factor

To be fair the other is motivated by a combination of disdain and eugenics.

The real problem is that both sides are motivated by sanctimony more than anything else.
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Neonivek

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2015, 04:48:15 pm »

A tip for internet debates

Always start with making sweet passionate love to what people are talking about :P

Marcus Aurelius was onto something.
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Flying Dice

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2015, 05:57:06 pm »

Nah, what you're actually talking about it school. School discourages intellectual discussion and debate, the students never learn how to hold an argument in turn, and then they become self-centered bigots with anxiety issues few of them realize they have.

Why do you think most arguments inevitably degrade into festering mounds of hate spittle? No one wants to admit they may be wrong as they obsessively guard their ideals and opinions with fury and abandon. They never learned how to learn, and instead were taught to shoot down and ignore everything that goes against anything they already know.

It also encourages the use of sweeping generalizations, evidently.

The single best and most consistent place for arguments I've ever had was a high school IB English class. It lasted for two years, and every single day was an interesting self-moderated debate. The instructor was one of the cleverest I've had: the first day of the first year, we walked into a room with tables laid out in a (square) circle around the edge of the room, with the chairs all facing inward. He told us that the main body of our grades would be drawn from the quality and consistency of our participation in Socratic seminar. Every day after that, we'd come in, he'd say, "Okay, this is what you read for the class today, go," and then sit down and take notes on what we said without commenting or directing the discourse at all.

I reiterate: the single best experience in argumentation that I've ever had, and it was a high school class full of Reaganites, a Randian, a Marxist, weeaboos, football players, a heroin addict, tumblrites, and middle-class middle-brow ignorant white suburbanites all discussing literature.
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Reelya

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2015, 06:01:45 pm »

It seems to me that any time I am online and get into an argument (or am reading one) in which the people arguing are severely polarized into two sides of an argument, then many times it eventually falls into insults and finally offrails into people personally attacking each other and their views or beliefs.

Do you have an opinion? Does the Internet discourage people having intellectual debate and actually coming to conclusive answers? Do you have any experiences or evidence to back up your claim?

You act as if people had "intellectual debates" that came to a conclusive answer before the internet. That didn't happen. So your framing of the issue is doing what is called "begging the question", which is setting up a false dichotomy then asking people to take sides between the options.

Back pre-internet people would have long-winded arguments in the pub, without providing any sources, and their main source of news was the daily tabloid newspapers. Do the math to decide whether online arguments are better than pre-internet pub arguments over Daily Mail articles. Now, we have debates, but there are checkable sources and a multitude of new sources to pick from, not just a small number of corporate mass-media broadcasts.

If anything, almost every argument I had before the internet was marked by the anti-intellectualism of who I was arguing with. A common argument was that anything that wasn't on the TV was "bullshit". And they'd just accuse you of being a "liar" if you cited anything from a book they didn't know about. Not being able to link sources means that people used to just call you an outright liar for mentioning anything that wasn't on the corporate TV news.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2015, 06:15:42 pm by Reelya »
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GiglameshDespair

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Re: Does the Internet discourage intellectual discussion and debate?
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2015, 06:06:55 pm »

It encourages debate, but not the changing of opinions.
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