Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Not all are bad" indicates inherent flaw

I visited Dr. Amy's post Congratulate me; I'm on the Anti-Vax Enemies List!! and found something  noteworthy in the discussion below.

Commenter MaineJen, replying to an opponent, says:
"...Do you hear the similarity between "But not alllllllll male gamers threatened that female reporter with death!" and "But not allllllll CPMs ignore safety standards, take on high risk cases they have no business overseeing and refuse to transfer care even when both mother and baby's lives are in danger."
When you have to make the "But not alllllll..." argument, there is something inherently flawed and wrong-headed about the culture you're defending. Do you agree?"
(CPM is "certified professional midwife", a poorly trained variety of midwives who are allowed to practise in the USA, God knows why.)

Commenter The Bofa on the Sofa added:
"I like your description so much I am going to co-opt your words:
Bofa's Law
If your defense of a group consists of "Not all of them are bad," there is something inherently flawed about the culture you are defending.

Emphasis added by me. To acknowledge intellectual ownership, I intend to call it MaineJen - Bofa Law.


Estranged said...

There are many flaws in what you say here, Maya, but since you're an atheist, my best way to illustrate it is to say:

"Not all atheists are murderous followers of Stalin."

Now you belong to a group of people that has something inherently wrong in it.

Maya M said...

I do think there is something inherently wrong with us atheists.
To begin with, as you said, atheists of the XXth century proved too inclined to follow figures like Stalin, Hitler and Mao, who also were atheists. It seems that there is something particularly dangerous in newly atheistic societies. And although European anti-Semitism is undoubtedly rooted in Christianity, its worst excesses were planned by Hitler, an atheist, and carried out by largely secular Germans.
After atheism settles, the society is no longer aggressive but it becomes very "old", drained of energy even for self-defense, like in late Antiquity and in today's Europe.
Maybe this is because atheists, not believing in afterlife and posthumous judgement, want to take what they can here and now and are reluctant to make even a small sacrifice for a higher cause. Atheists like Theo van Gogh and Raif Badawi are very rare exceptions.
In my Medical University, some doctors introduced a useless, painful and dangerous treatment with stem cells and charged the patients large sums for it. I've written about it here:
and also in my Bulgarian blog. A young doctor named Marin Genchev was the first to blow the whistle, before the three mentioned professors. Without this man, maybe the treatment would still continue. After he exposed his bosses, his career in Bulgaria was over (he emigrated to Germany). Dr. Genchev is a devout Christian. I am not sure that he would do the same if he were an atheist.
In a word, I fear that atheism diminishes the chance of a society to survive.

Estranged said...

- Communism is just another religion. It worships its leaders and promises paradise on Earth, it doesn't allow other religions. It also hunts witches. There are striking similarities between Communist and Christianity.

- Hitler definitely wasn't an atheist, but I'll leave you to look that up. And he was supported by the Catholic chirch.

- The reason society has no energy for self defense is in the comfortable life we have, this comfort reduces the need to be smart, vigilant, to work hard and to take risks. (Late Antiquity had the same problem). It looks like society always collapses when we start to live well.

- Conflating humanism and ideals a person believes in with religion is fallacious. You know Grigor Gatchev, he also used to be a doctor and stopped working because of ethical concerns. He's an atheist.

With that said, let me go back to the initial post. The logic you defend in this post is fallacious. It can easily be used to demonize a whole group of people. One of the examples (gamers threatening a feminist) is extremely false for many reasons if you dig in the facts - the "victim" never called the police as she claims, the "threats" were either typical unsubstantial internet trolling, or even proven to be written by the feminist herself, and she always uses the "backlash" to gain attention and raise a hundred thousand dollars... Just to give a perspective, the people who defend the anti-feminist "gamer" position also received knives, bomb threats, death threats, and dead rats in the mail, but you don't see anyone reporting on that, right... The "harassment" and "threats" this particular feminist experience are less than the one a male atheist youtuber gets - the difference is that, because she is a woman, she can present it as shocking and capitalize on it.
But I'd rather not go into this, the lies and manipulation here are insane, I have never seen anything like this.

Just consider that demonizing a group of people is also a very real phenomenon. It can also be directed at anyone. We have "not all gamers are like that" but we also have "not all feminists are like that". Both camps try to smear each other. The only reliable way to determine if an ideology is toxic is by drawing a clear relation between the violence and its teachings, and the passive support of the majority that espouses this ideology.

Maya M said...

Communism has many similarities with religions, particularly with Christianity. Among other things, it makes its most passionate supporters willing to become martyrs for it. I guess that, if brains of believers and communists are scanned, it will turn out that their pet beliefs occupy identical zones. However, communism (or any other political credo) is much easier to get rid of than religion. Children of communists are rarely communists, while most grandchildren of Muslims are still Muslims.

I am interested in Hitler's psyche and what made him who he was. I've read his biography by W. Maser. It looked serious. The author stated that, while Hitler respected Jesus as a personality and considered him an Aryan (!), he didn't seem to hold Christian beliefs. The beliefs he had were superstitions of New Age type. Some sources describe him as anti-Christian:

The attitude of the Catholic church was far more complex than support:

I should mention that the vulnerable societies I called "newly atheistic" were also newly republican. It may be difficult to separate the effects of the two.

I'd wish to believe that Marin Genchev would do the same thing if he were an atheist, but the fact is that he isn't. In Nazi Germany, the freedom fighters of the "White Rose" were motivated by their Christian beliefs.

Maya M said...

The first link above should have been this:

About the feminist liar: I haven't researched this particular case, but I remember a similar case (which seemed to be true) described in your blog. The reason why people believed her is that everyone knows what happens to women venturing a zone considered male-only. After a woman won the competitive exam to become the first female assistant professor at our Department, eyewitnesses say that the Head of the Department got drunk and told his colleagues that "this is the beginning of the end of the Department".

About demonizing groups - it matters whether the "not all are bad" expression is used to demonize the group or to defend it. Nevertheless, most cases of demonization have a grain of truth in the middle. I admitted this about the atheists, and I am admitting it about the feminists (partly for the same reasons because of which you no longer consider yourself a feminist).