Question

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Reg Cliff

Progressophobia??

Bill Maher had a bit about 'Progressophobia', that seemed to start with an argument based on a false premise about people thinking that racism is worse now than in the past.  

Video link

... and that therefore people are afraid to admit there's been any progress. 

How would one refute his arguments from the video? 

This is my first question here and would appreciate any input from all the experts. 

Brgds,

Reg.

 

 

asked on Saturday, Jun 12, 2021 01:35:45 PM by Reg Cliff

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Rationalissimus of the Elenchus writes:

Hi. 

Your post is welcome, but we generally prefer our OPs to convey the arguments being discussed rather than link to a video :)

posted on Saturday, Jun 12, 2021 01:49:17 PM
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Reg Cliff writes:
[To Rationalissimus of the Elenchus]

My apologies.  I was trying to understand the rational for his argument.  I may be incorrect but it seems like he's using a fallacy of relative privation to dismiss current concerns about racial injustice by saying it's not as bad as it was.  Maher seems to use an argumentum ad populum fallacy, pointing out (5:02) that Kevin Hart expressed a view that 'many' hold that, "You're witnessing white power and White privilege at an all-time high" as an example of dismissing progress, whereas Hart's NY times interview was focused on Police Brutality. 

But honestly I don't know if I'm on the right track.

Brgds, 

Reg.

P.S.  for what it's worth I'm a white due and not American. 

[ login to reply ] posted on Saturday, Jun 12, 2021 02:36:10 PM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Reg Cliff]

Rationalissimus of the Elenchus is correct about summarizing the argument. In this case, however, I am a fan of Real Time and plan on watching that episode tonight anyway, so I will keep this post in mind and post my thoughts after.

[ login to reply ] posted on Saturday, Jun 12, 2021 02:39:11 PM
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Rationalissimus of the Elenchus writes:
[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

Just reminding you about this post, doc :)

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Jun 13, 2021 08:45:35 PM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Rationalissimus of the Elenchus]

I keep falling asleep—getting old. I'll try again tonight!

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Jun 14, 2021 07:11:07 AM

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Answers

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Steven Hobbs
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Maher commits a fallacy of defective induction by implying all progressives have Hart's view.  He is also committing an ad hominem (guilt by association) transfer fallacy.  Maher states that all who identify as progressive hold the same narrow (wrong) view as Kevin Hart's (unelaborated) statement.  He is intimating all progressives are oblivious, which is disrespectful in addition to being specious.

answered on Sunday, Jun 13, 2021 05:19:54 PM by Steven Hobbs

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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:

Maher states that all who identify as progressive hold the same narrow (wrong) view as Kevin Hart's (unelaborated) statement.

I am embarrassed if I missed this, as this is certainly a problem. Do you recall where in the video Maher stated this?

posted on Tuesday, Jun 15, 2021 06:11:46 AM
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Steven Hobbs writes:

Reg Cliff notes Maher's statement regarding Kevin Hart is at 5:02.  Let me clarify that Maher did not say, "all."  He simply overgeneralized with "progressives," which to an undiscerning listener has the rhetorical effect of meaning all.

posted on Tuesday, Jun 15, 2021 09:49:08 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Steven Hobbs]

He said, "and yet there is a recurring theme on the far left that things have never been worse." He was referring to racism here. He didn't even use the word "progressives" (Maher claims to be one). He said "far left." So unless I have the wrong statement, there is no no overgeneralization here.

[ login to reply ] posted on Tuesday, Jun 15, 2021 11:08:52 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Just watched this.

Bill Maher had a bit about 'Progressophobia', that seemed to start with an argument based on a false premise about people thinking that racism is worse now than in the past. 

I wouldn't call this a false premise. There are certainly people who think racism is worse than ever—he even provided an example (a Google search turns up many examples). He made no claim that all people believe this—the implication is that this is becoming a familiar narrative (I would say from a vocal minority).

... and that therefore people are afraid to admit there's been any progress. 

Maher is using Stephen Pinker's definition of progressaphobia from his book, Enlightenment Now, where Pinker defines it as "hostility to the idea of progress and a fondness for narratives of decline, decadence, degeneration, and doom." In my professional view, as a social psychologist, this is certainly a thing. Celebrating progress is often seen as holding right-wing views, dismissing concerns, and even being racist/sexist/transphobic, etc. Personally, I took heat on social media when I would post about the progress we were making with COVID. This negative feedback and accusations of "not taking COVID seriously" let me to shut up about it publicly, and no longer celebrate the progress we were making. In other words, I was afraid to post about the progress we made. And I am not alone.

Perhaps Maher did commit some fallacies in the specifics that I missed, but I don't see anything fallacious with his general argument here.

answered on Tuesday, Jun 15, 2021 06:10:09 AM by Bo Bennett, PhD

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