ID Adverts on ILP

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ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Faust » Thu May 15, 2008 9:23 pm

Okay, folks. Log out of YouTube, turn down the hardcore in your headsets, and stop watching that stupid fake celebrity porn. We've got something important to talk about. Here's the rundown of the inaugural ILP Chamber of Debate deathmatch.

Should ILP allow advertisements for Intelligent Design organisations on its site?

First Mad Man's position:

"The Intelligent Design people are a well funded organization who are spreading deliberate lies to the general public meant to keep them ignorant. And this forum is activly supporting their compaign by allowing their ad to be placed here. As a public forum you have a certain responsibility, and even more so as educated human beings. . . we should all strive to be the exemplars of the principles we endors. However small our contribution."

And now, Carleas' take:

"Philosophy should not hinge on denying anyone the ability to express their ideas. As backwards as it is, creationism has convinced many thousands of people. If we can't present a compelling argument against them, if our only recourse is to ban them from advocating their views, have we really found a better theory? As a philosophically focused site, I feel I may be remiss if I let my personal views make my actions biased. If a creationist had purchased this site, I wouldn't want atheist ads to be banned, and I feel that I should not be similarly partial."

The judges who will ultimately decide are:

Smears

Anthem

Xunzian

The rules for this debate are:

Three posts each;
24 hours from the time of opponent's post to respond

As moderator, I will be standing by helplessly.

I think.

Gentlemen: Have at it!
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Re: ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Mad Man P » Fri May 16, 2008 7:00 am

Thank you Faust for that lovely introduction... and for somehow managing to mention porn.

This will be my first official debate of any kind.. I hope I manage to entertain an persuade. And as an added bonus I'll try to show some contempt for my oponent... even though I rather like Carleas and think highly of him. I just figure it'll be more entertaining for you that way, and I might have some fun with it too :P

First thing's first, however... I'm not here to argue against ID adverts in general, rather my problem is with their anti-evolution adverts specifically. Why? Because it's misinformation. because It's a lie.

"Are people not allowed to be mistaken?" you might ask... Off course they are! But I don't see why people who know better should help spread that mistake..

"sticks and stones may brake my bones but words will never hurt me"

We all know the children's rhyme... yet I believe if we thought about it, we might come up with a few bad ideas transmitted through words, that did in fact end up hurting a whole lot of people. Ideas brought to life by words do effect our world, ladies and gents.. and they effect it dramatically.

My oponent will be relying on such an idea. It's called "free speach"... it's a powerful idea, a wonderful idea that I fully endorse, one that very few would dare speak ill of. But let's examin this idea.. what it means for my oponent.

Basically, free speach as a concept means that everyone should be allowed to voice their opinions and have them heard, within reason. But something not often said about free speach, is that it entails responsibility. That's right... If you say something bad, you are responsible. If you lie, you are responsible. Why? because with freedom comes responsibility!

This applies to individuals, newspapers, tv stations and other media, such as internet forums.. they are responsible for what they print, the ideas they spread, and the words they use to do it.

You will notice that my oponent will be attempting to forgo his own freedom to decline an invitation to spread, what he himself consideres harmful lies, in order to forgo his own responsibility for doing so. He will argue that the intelligent design people are allowed to voice their opinions, and therefor that he is helpless when they pay him to do it for them, in the form of an ad, he could have chosen to decline. Or he might put it differently. He might say that he believes he shouldn't have the freedom to decline anyone's request to have their ideas advertised by his media.

Either way It's an intellectual ostrich tactic. "If I don't want that responsibility... I don't have it."

He will say things like "Philosophy should not hinge on denying anyone the ability to express their ideas." and "As a philosophically focused site, I feel I may be remiss if I let my personal views make my actions biased."

As if he were defending another's right to speak. I mean to make it clear, durring this debate, that freedom to advertise is not a necissary component of the freedom to speak... Advertisements are business propositions. It's the act of someone paying you to add your media or voice to their cause. It does not magically take away your responsibility for what is said. Nor is declining the offer a blow against the other person's freedom to speak. That person could voice his opinions like everyone else... by speaking for himself.

I might ask why it is that you are getting paied if it's the "right" of the other person to advertise on your page... well? why ARE you getting paied, Carleas?

So what exactly is it that is being said in the video ad I'm trying to have removed?
This:
Genetic scientists now know that darwin's theory of evolution is impossible.

The DNA code with its 3 billion characters never changes into different species.

DNA could never just happen by chance.

See that all the real scientific evidence adds up. Evolution is impossible!


Given that this hardly even qualifies as "advertisement" for anything, but rather is a stright foward smear campaign... it strikes me as very strange that my oponent would feel even the least bit uncertain as to what ought to be done.

He asks
"if our only recourse is to ban them from advocating their views, have we really found a better theory?"
Yes, Carleas... we have... and you know it.

Also we're not banning anyone from advocating their brainless views by refusing to do it for them. They are free to scream at the top of their lungs trying to spread thier beliefs... The real question is, why should this forum advocate their views? Because they have a good argument? because it's enlightening? educational? or Because they paied you?

In closing I would like to add that "philosophy" literally means "A love of wisdom"... Wisdom is a rare word these days, and an underrated quality, scarcely recognized when met, much less loved... I would argue that we do nothing to rekindle anyone's love of it, by allowing, what we know to be lies, to litter a forum dedicated to it.

Alright... I've thrown down the gauntlet, now let's hear what Carleas has to say for himself... Assuming he still feels like he has a case.
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Re: ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Carleas » Fri May 16, 2008 8:39 pm

Lies!? That is a bold assertion. On what grounds can it be maintained that they are lying? And I don't mean how are they wrong, because it's no secret that I believe they are wrong, but how do we know that they know that they are wrong? My opponent can't possibly be making that case from anything other than personal incredulity. But there are people that believe these claims, and fervently. This is not a case of ILP propagating known lies.
But if the organization is doing nothing wrong, aside from being mistaken in the eyes of any desciple of science, on what grounds should their ad be removed? In the eyes of someone, what ad that could be displayed here wouldn't be wrong? There are ads that run here that advertise a school of remote viewing; ones that advertise a movie that makes the case that Jesus never existed; ads for political candidates of every stripe; all objectionable to someone. The way ads work around here is that they are automatically assigned to the site based on the content of the discussions here. That almost guarantees that the ads will be about subjects that someone here feels strongly about, because all the context they have to feed off of are discussions about subjects that people feel strongly about!
This isn't about of freedom of speech, as my opponent paints it. Rather, it's about freedom from bias. In order to encourage a lively philosophy forums, that attracts people from all backgrounds and representing all philosophical systems, I need to maintain neutrality. The options, then, areas follows:
-Remove ads I disagree with, or you disagree with, or someone disagrees with. I would have to remove any ad that someone finds to be a 'lie' by the stardard we've set up. If I removed one ad and not others, the policy would be stilted, and I would be removing ads by rule consequentialists and leaving up those by act consequentialists, compromising neutrality. On the other hand, such sweeping removal of ads would doom the site, depriving it of the ad revenue needed to keep up the server and maintain the domain name.
-Remove no ads, and allow inanimate software to place the ads it deems to fit the topics. In my experience, the software is accurate, and does a good job determining the ads by context. The neutrality is perfect, because every topic discussed here creates context for ads to cater to. And the site survives, because content appropriate to someone is delivered.

Becuase I want these forums to stick around, and I need to advertise to be able to afford that, I find that the best way to remain neutral is by letting an algorithm decide the ads, rather than anyone's bias, or the sum total of our collective biases.
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Re: ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Mad Man P » Sat May 17, 2008 8:58 am

Well ladies and Gents.. How was that for an accurate prediction?

I said:
Mad Man P wrote:You will notice that my oponent will be attempting to forgo his own freedom to decline an invitation to spread, what he himself consideres harmful lies, in order to forgo his own responsibility for doing so.


Lo and behold:

I find that the best way to remain neutral is by letting an algorithm decide the ads, rather than anyone's bias, or the sum total of our collective biases.


AMAZING!
And for the lowly price of 99.99$ I'll predict your future! Call now on 555-I-Can't-Decide!

Well folks.. my oponent has made it impossible for himself to decline adverts.. the porn industry will be pleased!

He says:
Remove ads I disagree with, or you disagree with, or someone disagrees with. I would have to remove any ad that someone finds to be a 'lie' by the stardard we've set up. If I removed one ad and not others, the policy would be stilted, and I would be removing ads by rule consequentialists and leaving up those by act consequentialists, compromising neutrality. On the other hand, such sweeping removal of ads would doom the site, depriving it of the ad revenue needed to keep up the server and maintain the domain name.


What my oponent fails to grasp is that there is a difference between an ad being mistaken and being opinionated.. I repeat... There is a difference between being mistaken and opinionated. Most ads are opinionated... few are mistaken... please keep this in mind for the future ladies and gents. He's about to blurr the lines on this one too..

Also he's relying on the "you can't please everyone" song and dance to try and prove his lack of choices.. Well, Carleas.. No one is asking you to please everyone! I'm asking you to base your choices on your own convictions rather than someone elses!

What conviction?
This one:
it's no secret that I believe they are wrong


Well then... if you believe they are wrong and you think spreading this mistake is a bad thing... then what in the hell is the problem? You like getting paied for spreading lies? uups.. I mean "honest mistakes"

Surely that's not your take on ALL the ads on this forum! in which case you can easily reject this one while keeping the others around.

This fuss about having to "remove ads because SOMEONE disagrees" is just not true... You don't HAVE to do anything of the sort... You can allow ads to advocate various opinions and points of view without allowing them to be blatantly mistaken! besides this is your choice.. and only your choice.. and it is therefor YOUR responsibilty alone!

The only ads you HAVE to remove, in order to be true to yourself, are the one's you think are "mistaken", harmful or distasteful. Relegating the task to an algorithm does not take away your responsibility! You can't bury your head in the sand and pretend the choice isn't there... through your inaction you choose to spread this "mistake" and the only reason you do this... is because of money... money you could have gotten from an ad that wasn't mistaken, to your knowledge... and you could have defended that choice.

But noooo... "just following orders" is a good defense!
=D>
That's great!

But... there's a problem.. I do hold you responsible for the ad, Carleas... because you have a choice. The question is.. can YOU defend that choice? or is "I know the ad is wrong but I'm just trying to get paied" your only defense? if so, I can give you a whole list of ads that would get you paied what you need, without being mistaken about anything despite being opinionated... and that would utterly defeat your position.

If you have any other defense... It's now or never... My next post is my last one.
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Re: ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Carleas » Sat May 17, 2008 2:05 pm

Man Mad P seems to have forgotten a few things. When he suggests that "through your inaction you choose to spread this 'mistake'", he forgets that the same line of argument applies to users! I could ban anyone whose beliefs I believe to be mistaken. Why does my supposed responsibility end at the advertisements? The principles that he's advocating cannot be applied evenly. But who's surprised, when he makes his appeal to bias clear: "I'm asking you to base your choices on your own convictions rather than someone elses!"

Perhaps the better question is, Who am I do define truth? I would need a damn good argument to make that case here, and I just don't have it. I am not the bearer of truth simply because I am the bearer of the kill-switch, and because I can bias the ads, because I can remove posters I disagree with, simply because I can make decisions on my whims, does not meant that I should. My argument here is that I should not have my personal philosophy be the only one that can be run in banners at the top of the screen. I should remain neutral.

What's more, Mad Man, you've actually conceded this argument to me in your last post. If I am to run this site by my convictions, if I am to be true to myself, the only reason I could see to remove the ID ad is my disagreement with it, and that's not good enough! My convictions tell me that the governance of this site should be as neutral as it can be, and so I am being true to my convictions when I chose not to remove ads based on the position for which they advocate. I'm behaving exactly as you are asking me to behave, I'm just coming up with a different answer!
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Re: ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Mad Man P » Sat May 17, 2008 4:41 pm

First a repeat of my opening statement:
I'm not here to argue against ID adverts in general, rather my problem is with their anti-evolution adverts specifically. Why? Because it's misinformation.


Ok. With that in mind... Let's wrap this up.

My oponent said:
When he suggests that "through your inaction you choose to spread this 'mistake'", he forgets that the same line of argument applies to users!


Does it? Who's forgetting things now?

I said:
freedom to advertise is not a necissary component of the freedom to speak... Advertisements are business propositions. It's the act of someone paying you to add your media or voice to their cause.


And I asked you why you think it is that you are getting paied?

There is obviously a difference between forum users and advertisements!
burying your head in the sand dosn't make things go away, Carleas... The difference is there plain as day.

It's not a user that is spreading these falshoods.. It's the forum itself! Who do I object to? who is wrong? who needs correcting? the forum itself!
but what do i find? You already know it's nonsense... you already know it's factualy wrong! I don't even need to convince you or present a case... you already agree with me.. and yet you see fit to advertise it!

How do you defend yourself?

"I don't want to be biased"... So let me get this stright... you are saying that you are willing to lie for money?

"It's not a lie" you say? "it's just an honest mistake" you say? Well, seeing as how YOU know it's false, and yet continue advertise it on your forum, I'd say that's lying! maybe those fools who paied you didn't know better... but you do!

The principles that he's advocating cannot be applied evenly.


Principles? Algorithms? you are desperately looking for something to which you can relegate the responsibility of making a moral choice! Do you aid in the spreading of false information, for money or not?

Perhaps the better question is, Who am I do define truth? I would need a damn good argument to make that case here, and I just don't have it. I am not the bearer of truth simply because I am the bearer of the kill-switch, and because I can bias the ads, because I can remove posters I disagree with, simply because I can make decisions on my whims, does not meant that I should. My argument here is that I should not have my personal philosophy be the only one that can be run in banners at the top of the screen. I should remain neutral.


If you take a black and white frame and chop it into tiny fragments, mix them together, and look at it again... you will only see shades of gray.

So don't chop and mix!

there are limits to what can be said to be an opinion or a point of view... and what just happens to be demonstrably false!

Say for example a racist ad saying that scientists had revealed that blacks are genetically inferior to whites, or prone towards violent behavior or some other such nonsense. Would you want that flashing in the face of people who come here? how about a nazi banner claiming that the jews are lying about the holocaust?

What's more, Mad Man, you've actually conceded this argument to me in your last post. If I am to run this site by my convictions, if I am to be true to myself, the only reason I could see to remove the ID ad is my disagreement with it, and that's not good enough! My convictions tell me that the governance of this site should be as neutral as it can be, and so I am being true to my convictions when I chose not to remove ads based on the position for which they advocate.


And so now we're back to the "Neutral" bit again... If you wanted to be neutral you wouldn't have ads at all. But you need money so now you have to decide who to take money from and what you are willing to display on your forum. You don't want that responsibility, because you want to be neutral... So what do you do? you relegate the responsibility to an algorithm, stick your head in the sand and pretend you're neutral in all of this.

That's not how it works...

Your choice.. your responsibility!

Also... yes, I agree, you do have the freedom to choose to suppert and aid the distribution of false information, such as was delivered by the creation ad in question. Just don't pretend it's out of your hands or that you are not responsible for doing so!

Whatever principle or algorithm you choose to adopt and run with is your business... So long as you take responsibility for the results!

And before I wrap this up... let's have another look at the ad in question:

Genetic scientists now know that darwin's theory of evolution is impossible.

The DNA code with its 3 billion characters never changes into different species.

DNA could never just happen by chance.

See that all the real scientific evidence adds up. Evolution is impossible!


Denying absolute certainty and rejecting absolute knowledge is all well and good in philosophy... but that dosn't make you innocent nor ignorant!

You know for a fact that this is false information... it's not a matter of opinion... it's a matter of fact!

You want a principle?
Don't advertise what you know to be factually false information! How's that?

Thank you and goodnight, ladies and gents.

You were a fantastic audience! Quiet but great! :D

And thank you for the debate Carleas... Good luck with making your final points!
=D>
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Re: ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Carleas » Sun May 18, 2008 6:56 am

I have not made a decision to run any particular ad on this site. Not one. That needs to be clarified, because Mad Man P has consistently mischaracterized the choice that's being made. I am not choosing to run particular ads on the site, but rather to allow a finely tuned algorithm to place ads on the site based on its content. The difference in choice is clear, and the difference in the moral weight is clear as well.
And that brings us "back to the 'Neutral' bit again". In fact, we've never left the neutral bit. From my introductory paragraph, to my final fair-well, I will have made my case on the importance of the neutrality of a philosophy forum. Mad Man P speaks of knowledge, but what the hell is that? Yes, I feel that I know that ID is false. But I would also say that I know there to be no god, and that I know that the mind is nothing but the brain. I would comfortably apply the concept of knowledge to many of the positions I adhere to, and so could many of the people here who disagree with me! The people who know that they speak to God, the people who know that liberals are slave drivers, the people who know that evolution is false, I would bet dollars to dimes that there is someone on this board that will proclaim knowledge of each of these positions, while I am here proclaiming my knowledge of their falsity! What good then, is my knowledge, when I am seeking to foster an environment that attracts all perspectives, and one that shows no favor of one belief system over another?
The algorithm, the automatic placement of ads, is not a ploy for me to avoid my responsibility as site administrator, but rather a deliberate act of embracing that responsibility. While I or anyone else who picked or banned ads would do so based on their own beliefs, an algorithm has no such baggage. It places ads based on the discussions that appear here, and, whether my opponent chooses to accept it or not, the validity of evolution is something that is discussed here. There are people who use this site that agree with the statements that those ads are making, and that is why the ads are displayed. By choosing an automatic ad placement mechanism, by refusing to ban ads based on ideology, I am choosing, I am acting, I am confronting head-on the need for this site to be neutral, and in this case to the detriment of my desire for my own beliefs to be propagated.

And perhaps it comes down to a matter of priority. Where my opponent would have me prioritize the views about which I agree with him, I am prioritizing the impartiality of the site. Where he would have me prioritize what I consider truth, I am prioritizing what I think makes for good discussion. Where he would have me prioritize an issue, I am prioritizing the meta-issue of how to go about prioritizing issues. And I think that, in the philosophy of how to administer a philosophy forum, the meta-theory is more important.


Thank you Mad Man for the opportunity, and for the stiff opposition. Thanks to those who've followed along, I look forward to continuing the discussion after the judges weigh in.
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Re: ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Anthem » Sun May 18, 2008 7:09 pm

Stand by for the final verdict...Xunzian, Smears, and I are talking about how to weigh in.
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Re: ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Anthem » Mon May 19, 2008 4:08 pm

All three of us are in agreement: the debate goes to Carleas.

Congrats to Carleas, and thanks to Mad Man for participating in the first debate in the new chamber!

I'll be posting my thoughts on the decision later today or tomorrow.
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Re: ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Anthem » Tue May 20, 2008 3:21 am

Xunzian and I both came into this debate biased towards Mad Man's position. I hope that says something that we decided the other way. I can't speak for Smears on that; you'd have to ask him.

As some of you know, I'm also horribly biased towards correct grammar and spelling. Mad Man's from Denmark, so I mostly let it slide. I really couldn't avoid the style in Mad Man’s posts, however. It was over-the-top; sorry Mad Man. That's definitely a consideration when setting up future debates: style, grammar, spelling, etc, and their respective weights.

Anyway, on to the points and tactics. This isn’t an all-encompassing point-by-point list for exactly why Carleas wins, these are just the major things that stuck out for me in case Mad Man and Carleas were curious. Mad Man first:

His basic problem was that Carleas was helping propagate lies and that lies can be harmful. He also anticipates Carleas' position, which can be a good rhetorical device, but he does it with certainty. You always have to pose such a prediction as a maybe… "Now, my opponent may say," not, "My opponent will rely;" there's a difference. This bites him in the butt when he makes another prediction that doesn't pan out (yes, I saw that :) ). Mad Man also suggests that the ads are not a legitimate part of philosophy, and that Carleas is making a lot of money off them.

Carleas maintains that the ID ads are representing legitimate philosophy, along with ads for ESP, and religion and anti-religion. He also says that just because they are objectionable that doesn’t mean they aren't philosophy. He defends being paid for the ads because they are what keeps the site running. He covers all his bases by then saying that he lets an algorithm do the dirty work even if particular ads are wong (this tactic can be criticized, but Mad Man failed to do so). Carleas also makes a slippery slope argument: if he can ban adds, it’ll also apply to members. Mad Man could have made a distinction between ads and members here.

After the first two posts, not much progress was made by either side.

I think Mad Man's mistake was that he didn’t focus on the ad itself and the problems with it, but mostly with Carleas' decision. The ad is clearly wrong…evolution has not been disproved. But Mad Man had to fully demonstrate why the ad was wrong, show any suppressed evidence that suggests the ad makers were lying, and then explicitly say why either or both was bad. Unfortunately for Mad Man, equivocation does not work; the debate between ID and evolution is hardly similar to the debate between Nazis and Jews. I do believe it is bad, but it’s not that bad. Mad Man went for an 'A', when the topic was only worthy of a 'C' or 'B' at best, especially without further justification for why it might be 'A' worthy...if that makes sense. I guess Mad Man didn't convey the exigence.

I think Mad Man made a few very good points, but Carleas was able to make reasonable replies to them. I think by throwing out one or two parts of his argument and focusing harder on the others, Mad Man could have won this debate.

Anyway, not trying to get down on either of you, just calling what I see. I could be wrong, and hell, we can have a debate on the debate if you'd like :) I really love the fiddly bits of the English language, so if you want to discuss the verbiage and tactics please do; send me a PM or put criticisms of my criticism in the discussion.
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Re: ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Mad Man P » Tue May 20, 2008 12:21 pm

Thank you for writing down your reasons Anthem. That always helps.

Congratulations on the victory Carleas. This was good fun. Even though I failed to please the judges.


A few comments about the comments.

Anthem wrote:As some of you know, I'm also horribly biased towards correct grammar and spelling. Mad Man's from Denmark, so I mostly let it slide.


I'm rather confident that I could muster proper grammer and spelling in the english language, if ever I tried. So I'd happily take the full brunt of the criticism, thank you very much.

He [Carleas] covers all his bases by then saying that he lets an algorithm do the dirty work even if particular ads are wong (this tactic can be criticized, but Mad Man failed to do so).


True... I merely denied the validity of that "tactic", I didn't actually do much to back that denial up. My thinking was that the judges would share my view on this.

However I agree that this was a failure on my part... Nothing ought to be taken for granted in a debate, and all points should be made clearly, and argued for. A good lesson and a good call on the judges parts.

Carleas also makes a slippery slope argument: if he can ban adds, it’ll also apply to members. Mad Man could have made a distinction between ads and members here.


Again... I merely asserted the distinction, and didn't go into detail. Expecting the judges to agree with me on their own.

I think Mad Man's mistake was that he didn’t focus on the ad itself and the problems with it, but mostly with Carleas' decision. The ad is clearly wrong…evolution has not been disproved. But Mad Man had to fully demonstrate why the ad was wrong, show any suppressed evidence that suggests the ad makers were lying, and then explicitly say why either or both was bad.


Actually, the fact that the ad in question was wrong was never disputed. That was a given throughout the debate. It's a bit unfair to require me to provide evidence for an undisputed premis.

Unfortunately for Mad Man, equivocation does not work; the debate between ID and evolution is hardly similar to the debate between Nazis and Jews. I do believe it is bad, but it’s not that bad.


I don't feel this is fair. I never meant to argue against ID in general. I don't care about ID. What I have a problem with, is utterly false information being passed off as true. It's no different than what the nazies do when they deny the holocaust... it's no different than what a racist does when he claims there is scientific evidence to show that blacks are a inferior. False information used to argue for a point of view or "philosophy" is necissarily the same kind of "bad". I don't even see how it matters what the point of view is.

All in all, however, I agree with the criticism. I took too much for granted, and I commend the judges for being able to distence themselves from their own views and judge this on the basis of what was argued successfully and not take assertions for granted.
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Re: ID Adverts on ILP

Postby Anthem » Tue May 20, 2008 3:35 pm

I responded here because I think Faust wants to close this forum:

viewtopic.php?f=32&t=164131&p=1992324#p1992324
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