I've recently noticed a new variant of failure mode in political discussions. It seems to be most common on political discussions where one already has almost all Blues or all Greens. It goes like this:

Blue 1: "Hey look at this silly thing said by random silly Green. See this website here."

Blue 2, Blue 3... up to Blue n: "Haha! What evil idiots."

Blue n+1 (or possibly Blue sympathizer or outright interloper or maybe even a Red or a Yellow): "Um, the initial link given by Blue 1 is a parody. That website does satire."

Large subset of Blue 2 through Blue n: "Wow, the fact that we can't tell that's a parody shows how ridiculous the Greens are."

Now at this point, the actual failure of rationality happened with Blues not Greens. But somehow Blues will then count this as further evidence against Greens. Is there any way to politely get Blues to understand the failure mode that has occurred in this context?

Another failure mode I noticed is that of a particularly rational Blue noticing that his fellow Blues frequently exhibit failure mode X and concluding that the same is true of Greens.

4linkhyrule57yThis isn't entirely a fallacy: if you can't tell a signal from random noise, either you're bad at seeing signals or there's not a whole lot of information in that signal. Maybe presenting it in that format? "It's possible the Greens really are that stupid, but alternatively it's possible that you just missed a perfectly readable signal?"

Open thread, July 16-22, 2013

by David_Gerard 1 min read15th Jul 2013305 comments


If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.

Given the discussion thread about these, let's try calling this a one-week thread, and see if anyone bothers starting one next Monday.