Sunday, October 22, 2006

Respect Meme: 5 Simple Questions

This project is a "two sides of the coin" type of thing. It was done jointly with Maria. Her answers to this meme are here. If anyone else wants to tackle this meme, post a comment and I will post a link to your answers on this page.

Other bloggers who took a stab at it are Ian and Not Mercury, so go check 'em out.


1 What is respect for others?

Respect for others is:

A) The avoidance of questioning of motive and the avoidance personal attacks.

B) Trying to attack the most charitable interpretation of another’s argument as possible.


2 What are things that appear to respect issues, but are not?

The big thing here is the argument. Some people can not separate the argument from their personhood. Mocking an argument and or dissecting it is not the same as disrespect for a person.



3 Is this relevant to the autism discussion and why?

Yes, very relevant. The respect issue has had a profound effect on the autism world. The bitterly felt implication that parenting caused autism helped guide us away from a “learning” based etiology of autism and towards a biologic/genetic view. It is also what partially colors the modern question of whether autism is caused by vaccines and whether medical officials know this.


4. What can we do to help resolve these issues?

Try to accurately and charitably define others positions and arguments. Also, the recognition that emotional investment/depth doesn’t equal a good or valid argument.

5. How well do you think this will be accomplished?

Very poorly indeed. I think that, people will continue to look for ill-motivation in others or accuse others of being liars, or naïve, when they offer opposing arguments.

12 Comments:

Blogger Kassiane said...

the thing is, respect has to run both ways.

I have seen people (not necessarily Maria, but MANY others) who insist that autistic people who are by their standards "broken" show respect, then in the next sentence treat them like dirt. Sometimes the same sentence.

AND we all have to be operating with the same definitions of terms, which will, like, never happen. TOo many people

3:48 PM  
Blogger Autism Diva said...

I can't respect people who, right out of the box, right out of the starting gate are dishonest. The mercury parents have worked to keep their connection to the lawyers in the dark. We are supposed to believe that NAA is totally a "grass roots" organization but they have a very strong tie to the law firm of Waters & Kraus.
And that's just for starters.

These are deeply dishonest people who are deeply suspicious of the government and who long ago decided that all was fair, because this was a "war." They lie. They lie all the time, and when called on it they don't admit to lying.

I didn't start out thinking they were liars, but after seeing it over and over again a few dozen times, respect at that point was out of the question.

Maria doesn't seem to be able to see the level of scumminess that surrounds the mercury/vaccine/autism hypothesis and keeps trying to dive through the slime to find something reasonable and scientific. I appreciate how Maria continually tries to keep her tone respectful. I respect Maria for trying to keep it scientific, but it makes me uncomfortable how she overlooks or can not see the level of criminality that suffuses the mercury/vaccine/autism hypothesis. There's a reason why they are called the mercury mafia and it's not out of sheer cruelty on the part of those who use the term. They use it because it was earned.

I think if Maria had an idea of how criminal and vicious the leaders of the anti-vax/mercury gang have been she would be less respectful toward them or wouldn't want to defend any of their ideas. I think Maria will continue to follow her ideas about vaccines and HM indefinitely, which is her right. I don't have any patience for it though and so don't discuss it with her any more. I don't discourage anyone else from reading her ideas or agreeing with her science based ideas.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem though is that people are seen as being just one homogenous group. When I first got online the vast majority of groups were being taken over by mercury onlyists - however - those people being new often do not know that there is this HUGE controversy going on out there. But for some reason anyone who questions anything quickly gets labeled as one of them. Education instead of marginalization is key for many of these parents. They are being brainwashed about this stuff and only see one side of the issue. The core group of people are an entirely different matter. So, I don't think many parents who seem to be on the side of the mercury only groups are really even aware of what autism advocacy groups are or what they are about. Even something as simple as pointing out a "fact" as being untrue can cause some people to think.

LB

7:16 PM  
Blogger Alyric said...

Hi John

I have something of a problem with B:

"Trying to attack the most charitable interpretation of another’s argument as possible"

What has "charitable" got to do with it? I think you have an a priori assumption buried in there that the 'truth' lies equidistant from two opposing viewpoints. Not so. I find that a very troubling, even irrational, view of argumentation, which is at core, the making of a case When you make a case, you need to do so logically, with clear statements of assumptions, evidence etc. Charity or other wise should be totally irrelevant.

I'm going to make one hell of a generalisation. Assuming that the topic is one where evidence is abundant, the person seeking to be "charitable" has a) a deficit in their ability to use language with precision and assumes that b) everybody else does too.

This is going to be a problem especially with the autistic community. Ironically, the deficit will be attrributed to the autistic person under the guise of 'bluntness' or whatever the person with the deficit can rationalise.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Interverbal said...

Hi Alyric

“What has "charitable" got to do with it? I think you have an a priori assumption buried in there that the 'truth' lies equidistant from two opposing viewpoints.”

Not necessarily. I would say that I have a priori assumption that when given an argument that allows for some ambiguity one should take the more generous interpretation when selecting how to rebut it.

“Not so. I find that a very troubling, even irrational, view of argumentation, which is at core, the making of a case When you make a case, you need to do so logically, with clear statements of assumptions, evidence etc. Charity or other wise should be totally irrelevant.”

When one is faced with ambiguity, one has three choices that I can see (there could be more)

1 Ask for clarification

2 Select as less charitable route

3 Select a more charitable route

Of course it never hurts to ask for clarification, but I do think that some arguments may logically allow us to take a charitable interpretation when in doubt. It is these I refer to.

Looking back at my own experience in autism debate, I think that many a straw man, both going and coming, could have been avoided had the person attacked the more charitable interpretation.

”I'm going to make one hell of a generalisation. Assuming that the topic is one where evidence is abundant, the person seeking to be "charitable" has a) a deficit in their ability to use language with precision and assumes that b) everybody else does too.”

I think you stumble onto an ad hominem here. That there must be something wrong with the person if they are seeking to be charitable. And a psychogenic fallacy in asserting what such people believe. I do not think you have the evidence to logically deduce such, or at least, you have not presented it.

“This is going to be a problem especially with the autistic community. Ironically, the deficit will be attrributed to the autistic person under the guise of 'bluntness' or whatever the person with the deficit can rationalise.”

I agree, this will be a problem.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Alyric said...

Psychogenic fallacy huh? Well, could be but when the right example comesc along, I'll point it out.

Asking for clarifcation rather than your other options seems entirely reasonable. But, you still seem to want to hold onto some grey middle ground, a position which you then want to label as 'respectful'. I don't find it so. To me, It simply means that you don't want to commit to a particular belief/position and that's not respectful at all, merely wishy washy. There is such a thing as having the strength of your convictions. Note, I am only referring to situations where there is sufficient knowledge to make a coherent argument. Speculative topics are a whole nother ball game.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Interverbal said...

“Psychogenic fallacy huh? Well, could be but when the right example comesc along, I'll point it out.”

(grins) Fair enough Al.

“Asking for clarifcation rather than your other options seems entirely reasonable. But, you still seem to want to hold onto some grey middle ground, a position which you then want to label as 'respectful'. I don't find it so. To me, It simply means that you don't want to commit to a particular belief/position and that's not respectful at all, merely wishy washy. There is such a thing as having the strength of your convictions. Note, I am only referring to situations where there is sufficient knowledge to make a coherent argument. Speculative topics are a whole nother ball game.”

I recognize the difference you are drawing. However, I have not seen an argument from you that deals with the situation where we have enough information to make a decision in an somewhat ambiguous circumstance.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Soapbox mom said...

Jonathon-
I have followed your posts on AutismWeb's forum for a long time now. I apologize that some commenters there are mistakenly assuming that you and I are either the same person (jeez wouldn't that be special) or that I "sicced" you on the forum after I was banned for multiple user names. What a crock.
For the record, this is the first time I have ever had ANY correspondence with Jonathon at any point. period.
Please accept my sincerest apologies for any guilt by (mistaken) association that you are experiencing now.
Kassiane said,
the thing is, respect has to run both ways.
I agree. I honestly tried to be respectful, but was bullied, harassed and attacked numerous times on that particular forum, and eventually lost any desire to "play nice."
To me, even shouting "I HATE AUTISM!!" in all caps is pretty damned disrespectful, not just to autistic people, but to those of us who love our autistic people. So, I will admit it, the gloves came off.
I have found Maria to be very polite and respectful in her posts on bulletin boards and on blogs. However, Maria is the exception to the norm. Thank you Maria.
Please accept my apologies, Jonathon. I won't clutter up your comments with my fairly Off Topic posting. :)

10:14 AM  
Blogger Soapbox mom said...

*blushing furiously"
Sorry I misspelled your name. I spelled it as my newphew spells his.
So sorry.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Interverbal said...

Hi Soapbox mom,

Thank you for having the integity to talk about this.

I would be pleased to accept your apology, but you have done nothing wrong.

I lay no blame for the silliness at AW on you. The problems there are the result of the poor reasoning of certain participants.

I have a deep respect for many of the people there and I think.... that constructive conversation can occur.

That has been my attitude so far and I hope I can keep it.

You are always welcome here.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Ian Parker said...

Hi Jonathan,

Okay, I gave the meme a shot (it is in your links).

Thanks,

Ian

7:28 PM  
Blogger Interverbal said...

Ditto Ian,

I added it in.

8:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home