While I was talking to Dakota we were talking about university and how just sloppy a lot of professional academics are in their thinking and argumentation and then Dakota says, “You wouldn’t get away with it on 4chan, someone would rip you apart” and I was pleasently shocked when it dawned on me that she’s been on 4chan, maybe even /pol/ quite a lot.
I laughed, I so laughed because it’s something that I say quite a lot. If you go on /pol/ there’s a sticky of a picture of Plato, Aristotle and Socrates under the Legend “Thou shalt not commit logical fallacies” and it is true that if you decide to ignore this you will be immediately called on it by someone. I’m not saying that /pol/ is the online version of Vulcan but there are enough people there who want to look smart and be right and who will jump on you if given the opportunity.
I’ve never seen this in academia, in fact I’m always shocked at the nonsense that gets through the peer review process and also the fact that you can call an academic on a specific logical fallacy and they’re unaware that such a fallacy even exists. I’ve had times when I’ve said “Well that’s a fallacy of composition because………..” and they’ve come back with, “What’s a fallacy of composition?”.
I think one of the problems Dakota has is the same problem I had when I first went to university is that I was expecting serious intellectual debate of the kind which can be found on the internet, even on /pol/ of all places and university isn’t like that at all. You’re not even exposed to differing points of view most of the time and you’re definitely never encouraged to fiercely debate; there’s no intellectual crucible where the nonsense is burnt off.
Milo Yiannopoulos is currently doing a tour of American universities called, “The dangerous faggot tour” and he’s saying that often when he meets faculty they can parrot off left wing talking points but they’re totally unaware that there is a competing viewpoint. For instance they can talk about the wage gap, but they’re totally unaware that there’s a whole line of argumentation that totally refutes it from leading economists, so students never learn to debate and critically engage with the world: they just get spoonfed dogma.
This was my experience of university when I first went, except that I had grown up on 4chan and YouTube and I was aware that there were other viewpoints and I could argue them very well because I’d come from 4chan which is the most hostile environment on the internet and if you can hold your own on 4chan you can hold your own in university with a hangover, half asleep swinging on your chair at 9am against the best that academia can throw at you.
So I suspect she feels a bit unstretched.