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Thread: Objectivity

  1. #1
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Objectivity

    If there's one thing I've noticed about the debates here in Vehicular Cycling, it's that posts are not always completely objective. It's usually more apparent when reading opposing views.

    As a result, while good points are often made on opposing sides, each side can also turn a blind eye to the validity of the opposing side's arguments. It's one thing to hold your ground, but to argue with every position presented in an opposing argument is unrealisitic. Even the most untenable position is not completely wrong, and even the strongest argument is not without it's weaknesses. Nobody is always wrong, nor is anyone always right.

    How is it then that we argue with people simply because they are on the opposing side, regardless of the validity of what they say? Or that we support the arguments of people who we think are "on our side," yet ignore the things they say that are not supportable?

    And we nit-pick.

    Isn't it time we lost our fear of admitting that the other side (whatever that might be) is sometimes right? And that "our side" is sometimes wrong?

    Can we find objective truth in these debates? I don't want to bring up "science," for what we are doing is not science, it's debate. But in science, for example, researchers don't seek to prove what they already believe, they seek to believe what they can prove.

    Can we open our minds to learn from each other and arrive at some common beliefs we can all support? What's the harm in admitting agreement in whatever area we do agree on?

    Eh?
    No worries

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    LBM, good luck! I've tried centrist position and am still centrist, and the usual result is both sides unite in telling me I'm wrong!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  3. #3
    Senior Member BLIZZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan

    Can we open our minds to learn from each other and arrive at some common beliefs we can all support?

    Eh?
    And where would be the fun in that?
    It wouldn't be near as interesting of a read.
    Last edited by BLIZZ; 04-04-07 at 04:30 PM.
    I'm not totally useless....I can be used as a BAD example.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BLIZZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    LBM, good luck! I've tried centrist position and am still centrist, and the usual result is both sides unite in telling me I'm wrong!
    Like a police man breaking up a fight between a husband and wife.
    He gets it from both of them, while all the neighbors criticize police brutallity.
    I'm not totally useless....I can be used as a BAD example.

  5. #5
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLIZZ
    Like a police man breaking up a fight between a husband and wife.
    He gets it from both of them, while all the neighbors criticize police brutallity.
    But its really funny if the man is covered in flour

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  6. #6
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne
    But its really funny if the man is covered in flour


    <ahem>

    No worries

  7. #7
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    LBM, good luck! I've tried centrist position and am still centrist, and the usual result is both sides unite in telling me I'm wrong!
    Amen, brother.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  8. #8
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    You are right LBM.

    There. See how boring that is?
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    I think that in acknowledging the strengths of the other side you make your critique at least seem more objective.

    A problem arises when someone tries to use reason to persuade another to their perspective. This often is very difficult, and prone to all kinds of attacks, and definition confusion. Resorting to name calling is unfortunately common but it also shows how weak that person's point is. Anecdotes are usually somewhat compelling, but not necessarily rational.

    Can anyone give 5 strengths and 5 weaknesses of a polarizing bike issue without down playing the other side at least a little bit?

    Can you tell what side I'm on?

    Helmets
    Save lives, good example for kids, less insurance money paid out, looks sexy, safety factor outweighs inconvenience.

    Unnecessary the vast majority of time, helmet less look is more sexy, cooler to go without on a warm day, rather be dead for real than just brain dead, free to choose in America.

  10. #10
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    You blew your cover when you said helmets look sexy.
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  11. #11
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    You blew your cover when you said helmets look sexy.


    Let's not forget that head associated with said helmet matters. (waiting for Chipcom to have picture with helmet ...)

    Just to make a point, a G-string might be sexy, but me in a G-string is not sexy.

    -G

  12. #12
    Senior Member BLIZZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    You are right LBM.

    There. See how boring that is?
    Yep....that's boring all right.
    And LBM is right also.
    I'm not totally useless....I can be used as a BAD example.

  13. #13
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slagjumper
    I think that in acknowledging the strengths of the other side you make your critique at least seem more objective...5 strengths and 5 weaknesses of a polarizing bike issue without down playing the other side at least a little bit?

    Can you tell what side I'm on?

    Helmets
    Save lives, good example for kids, less insurance money paid out, looks sexy, safety factor outweighs inconvenience.

    Unnecessary the vast majority of time, helmet less look is more sexy, cooler to go without on a warm day, rather be dead for real than just brain dead, free to choose in America.
    I think I can tell what side you're on and how objective this is.

    Try this,

    - mitigates injuries, suitable for children, hardly know you're wearing it

    - does not prevent brain injury, unsuitable for high speed riding, rarely needed

  14. #14
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    I think I can tell what side you're on and how objective this is.

    Try this,

    - mitigates injuries, suitable for children, hardly know you're wearing it

    - does not prevent brain injury, unsuitable for high speed riding, rarely needed
    Are we talking about something you put on your head or something you put on some other part of your body?
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  15. #15
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    maybe a problem is objectivity is a relative term (or at least, what's objective to some, is not to others)?

  16. #16
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  17. #17
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Anyone who thinks "objectivity" is a relative term or equates to centrism in any manner does not understand the meaning of objectivity.

    Much to the surprise of most everyone, I'm sure, I consider myself to be quite objective. Being objective is how I formed my views. The fact that they tend to be controversial does not mean I did not reach them by objective means.

    In fact, views that are consistent with what is popular are likely to not have been reached objectively.

    If your political and religious views match your parents, you probably did not form them objectively.
    If your cycling views are pretty much what they always were, you probably did not form them objectively.

    As far as comparing and respecting views, I try to share the objective logic and reasons underlying my views, and inquire as to the objective logic and reasons underlying those of others. To me, that is being as objective as one can be.

    I think my opinion alone is worth about as much as anyone else's: nothing. What matters are the objective logic and reasons that caused one to hold the opinion he holds. This should be the material of our discussions, not sharing subjective "opinions".
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 04-23-07 at 09:50 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    I think my opinion alone is worth about as much as anyone else's: nothing. What matters are the objective logic and reasons that caused one to hold the opinion he holds. This should be the material of our discussions, not sharing subjective "opinions".
    I couldn't agree more.

  19. #19
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I couldn't agree less.

    people are allowed differences of opinion without analyzation, in the context of an internet forum. you should stop analyzing others points of view, mr. head, and accept others will have different views from your own.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  20. #20
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    I couldn't agree less.

    people are allowed differences of opinion without analyzation, in the context of an internet forum. you should stop analyzing others points of view, mr. head, and accept others will have different views from your own.
    Of course others have different views. But what is the point of sharing those views and learning about them if not to understand why those views are held, and how those reasons compare to the reasons others hold different views?

    What is the value of sharing mere "opinions" if the objective reasons for holding those opinions are not also shared?

    I mean, do you just like hearing that other people hold the same opinion as you? Does that have value for you?

    Do you value objectivity, Bek? What does it mean to you?

  21. #21
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slagjumper
    I think that in acknowledging the strengths of the other side you make your critique at least seem more objective.

    A problem arises when someone tries to use reason to persuade another to their perspective. This often is very difficult, and prone to all kinds of attacks, and definition confusion. Resorting to name calling is unfortunately common but it also shows how weak that person's point is. Anecdotes are usually somewhat compelling, but not necessarily rational.

    Can anyone give 5 strengths and 5 weaknesses of a polarizing bike issue without down playing the other side at least a little bit?

    Can you tell what side I'm on?

    Helmets
    Save lives, good example for kids, less insurance money paid out, looks sexy, safety factor outweighs inconvenience.

    Unnecessary the vast majority of time, helmet less look is more sexy, cooler to go without on a warm day, rather be dead for real than just brain dead, free to choose in America.
    This is a good point. But I think this type of neutral point of view objectivity is more appropriate for newspaper reporters and Wikipedia article writers, who are supposed to just report the facts and withhold their opinion altogether, not an internet discussion forum.

    There should be a happy medium between the sterility of "just the objective facts" and pointless sharing of opinions/views without explanation: one should be able to express his or her view and opinion, as well as the objective logic and reasons that cause him or her to hold that opinion.

  22. #22
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    I couldn't agree less.

    people are allowed differences of opinion without analyzation, in the context of an internet forum. you should stop analyzing others points of view, mr. head, and accept others will have different views from your own.
    of course everyone is allowed their opinions, but if there is no analyzation or objectivity, an opinion is not worth much and time is wasted considering them

  23. #23
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    I couldn't agree less.

    people are allowed differences of opinion without analyzation, in the context of an internet forum. you should stop analyzing others points of view, mr. head, and accept others will have different views from your own.
    I disagree. You clearly do not understand the meaning and implication of your own words.

    Please accept that I have a different view from yours and do not analyze mine on the issue of you being the village idiot on this forum, and everybody else thinking that too.

    P.S.

    Are posts like this helpful? I think not, yet this is what you're defending Bek. Think about it.

  24. #24
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head

    Are posts like this helpful? I think not, yet this is what you're defending Bek. Think about it.
    and this is why it's helpful to see the icon under the username, so you can ignore the post, or not, based on the users previous postings

  25. #25
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    in a previous thread, I posted a bit from the book, Freakonomics, by economist Steven Levitt

    An expert doesn’t so much argue the various sides of an issue as plants his flag firmly on one side. That’s because an expert whose argument reeks of restraint or nuance often doesn’t get much attention. An expert must be bold if he hopes to alchemize his homespun theory into conventional wisdom. His best chance of doing so is to engage the publics emotions, for emotion is the enemy of rational argument. And as emotions go, one of them - fear - is more potent than the rest...The first trick of asking questions is to determine if your question is a good one. .. It would be silly to argue that conventional wisdom is never true. But noticing where the conventional wisdom may be false - noticing, perhaps, the contrails of sloppy or self-interested thinking - is a nice place to start asking questions.

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