This is the passage that stuck with me from this first time I read Graham's essay.
But the greatest benefit of disagreeing well is not just that it will make conversations better, but that it will make the people who have them happier. If you study conversations, you find there is a lot more meanness down in DH1 than up in DH6. You don't have to be mean when you have a real point to make. In fact, you don't want to. If you have something real to say, being mean just gets in the way.
If moving up the disagreement hierarchy makes people less mean, that will make most of them happier. Most people don't really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can't help it.
I saw this image on a friend's Facebook page, and I was intrigued. I was pretty sure I had seen images by this artist before, but I could not bring the artist's name to mind. I was pretty sure it was a nineteenth century painting of the Circe cycle, though. Thanks to Google Image search, this came up.
It's John William Waterhouse's The Magic Circle (1886), painted when Waterhouse was 36, two years before he became a member of the Royal Academy. There are several versions of this composition, as according to the WikiCommons citation of the image, Waterhouse often had the habit of simultaneously working on several versions of compositions. Waterhouse (1849-1917) probably began actively producing art and sculpture in the mid-1860s, as an apprentice in his father's studio.
I was wrong, though, about the painting intending to represent Circe. It seems it was Waterhouse's imagining of some distant time in the past, perhaps medieval, when women were thought to be commonly doing magic.
Technically, Waterhouse is not included in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (which formally began in the year of his birth), but his friendships with several in that circle put him in the larger set, loosely speaking.
Back last August, I heard about a great, great opportunity for... well, I don't know what exactly, but it was an invitation to a cruise in which many many conspiracy theories and varieties of pseudoscience would be featured (vaccine "science", geoengineering, AIDS denialism, dowsing...)
Image Source: http://www.divinetravels.com/ConspiraSea2016Speakers.html Click to embiggen
So Colin McRoberts decided he had to experience this. Who is Colin McRoberts? Now, I've never met Colin in person, but I became aware of him after he published a blog post, The Most Important Playground Conversation: How to Persuade a Friend to Vaccinate. I was really impressed with his approach. Later, I participated in a sort of webinar he gave, on the topic of persuasion in the context of talking with vaccine-hesitant and vaccine-resistant parents.
Here's what he said about himself for his GoFundMe page:
My name is Colin McRoberts. I’m an attorney and a consultant in the field of negotiation and persuasion. Fringe beliefs and their believers fascinate me. And for the past few years, I’ve been thinking a lot about how the outside world relates to those beliefs. I’m writing a book, tentatively titled “The Good Fight: Engaging Irrational Ideologies." It looks at how and why people come to believe irrational things like, well, like all the beliefs that will be represented on the ConspiraSea Cruise. I’m also explaining how to engage with someone who believes in things like that, either to understand them better or to try to help them see why their beliefs are irrational. (Since that requires understanding them and their beliefs anyway, understanding is the critical step here.) To better understand people who believe things I can’t believe people believe, I’ve interviewed some very interesting people for the book. I’ve also done a lot of research on the people who wouldn’t or couldn’t grant an interview. That’s been educational, but the Conspira-Sea Cruise is an unprecedented opportunity. When else will so many prominent believers in so many strange beliefs be gathered together for the explicit purpose of explaining themselves?
January 26, 2016 A skeptic on the Conspira-Sea Cruise: Day 1- Brief description of what is to come; emphasizing the quality of personal relationships; emphasizing that he will NOT be discussing the personal conversations he had with most people.
January 30 Troubled Waters: ConspiraSea Cruise Day 4(ish)In which Colin learns that at least three other reporters will be covering the ConspiraSea; Anna Merlen, Bronwen Dickey and photographer Dina Litovsky; how Horowitz and Kane publicly berated Litovsky.
I want to emphasize something that Colin wrote - he repeated this sentiment several times with different phrasing.
I want to reiterate that the ConspiraSea Cruise was an overall very positive experience, due largely to the friendly and open people who attended it. People with fringe beliefs need more opportunities like this to come together and openly discuss their ideas. They’re going to draw some criticism, and that’s fine. Ideas that can’t withstand criticism aren’t very good ideas.
On September 15, 1963 a bomb exploded before Sunday morning services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama–a church with a predominantly black congregation that served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders. Four young girls, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair, were killed and many other people injured; outrage over the incident and the violent clash between protesters and police that followed helped draw national attention to the hard-fought, often dangerous struggle for civil rights for African Americans.
PRATT: A point refuted a thousand times, commonly abbreviated as PRATT, refers to a point or argument that has literally been refuted so many times that it is not worth bothering with. It is a common phrase on internet forums - as debates have a tendency to go in circles. Once people have refuted a point the first thousand times, it's hard for them to muster the motivation to do it again.
The story of the Glass House is one of the most fascinating historical events of that era. Much like the man behind the operation, Kraus, this event has somehow evaded public attention and never received the recognition it deserved. The Beit Haedut museum in Nir Galim has recently built a replica of the Glass House, in efforts to right this historical wrong. The forgotten story is now beginning to shed its anonymity thanks to the initiative of Ariel Bariach, the head of the museum.