Rationalwiki Essays Of Elia

This essay is an original work by RationalWikiWiki editors.
It does not necessarily reflect the views expressed in RationalWiki's Mission Statement, but we welcome discussion of a broad range of ideas.
Unless otherwise stated, this is original content, released under CC-BY-SA 3.0 or any later version. See RationalWiki:Copyrights.
Feel free to make comments on the talk page, which will probably be far more interesting, and might reflect a broader range of RationalWiki editors' thoughts.

“”In fact, i consider myself exsptionally more of a rational man than those of the likes of Rationalwikie and the Libral/Luvvie-Left Bum tart's. [sic]

—Anglo-Saxon Foundation user "Teutoburg Weald"(link)

"I thought this was supposed to be RATIONALWiki!" cry the critics.

Indeed. How can a site that calls itself "rational" not see the obvious superiority of whites, persecution of males, efficacy of homeopathy, truth of the Bible, and/or [belief XYZ]?

The obvious answer is that RationalWiki is made by humans, and humans aren't always right. Our articles may be flawed or incomplete or dead wrong.

The obvious followup is that this is also true of our readers (that's you!). You're human, and humans aren't always right. Your views may be flawed or incomplete or dead wrong.

In short: We don't call ourselves "RationalWiki" because we think that our every word is Gospel truth. (Or the atheist equivalent.) We call ourselves RationalWiki because we think we're mostly right. (Actually, that's a lie.) If you think you can disprove us or our articles, have at it. Whining that "we should call it IrrationalWiki!"(link) is the laziest criticism possible: We already know that we aren't perfect. Tell us why.

Why?[edit]

Perfection incarnate[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Nirvana fallacy

"Rational" as a word doesn't just mean an appeal to logic and reason (though anyone putting too much trust in a dictionary would undoubtedly spit this definition back). "Rational" also suggests that a "rational" person, far from just "appealing to logic and reason", is very much intellectually superior and absolutely 100% correct and justified.

Of course, this is ridiculous. Nobody has ever got everything correct, ever. Sources that screw up but still try to provide the truth are better than no sources at all. Just because science has been wrong before doesn't mean that science isn't worth a damn. (If you disagree, please consider what device you're reading this on.)

Obviously, RationalWiki is different. We're the cream of the crop. OK? We're 100% correct and never make mistakes. That's why we have this. And this. And this. And this and this and this. And, of the most relevance, this.

I am right, you are wrong[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Fallacy of opposition

The trouble is, no one ever believes they are thinking irrationally. This is quite easily demonstrated, because whether we like it or not, in the mind of pretty much every single person in the world is a little script that reads like so:

“”I am right, everything I think is right. This much is obvious because I wouldn't think something if it was wrong, would I? If I could point to an opinion of mine and say "that's wrong, and very irrational", I would simply stop thinking it and discard it. As this is empirically true, we can safely define "right" as "whatever I think" — making whatever I think right. Therefore, if you don't think like me, you are very much wrong by definition. QED bitches.

This leads to an impasse where two (or more) parties can each believe, quite firmly, that they are being rational and the other is being irrational. Nine times out of ten, when someone is verbally accusing you of being irrational, they're actually just accusing you of disagreeing with them.

Calm and rational[edit]

“”Sorry for you chaps, a bit more humbleness would make you more trustworthy as people really dedicated to KNOWLEDGE.(link)

See the main article on this topic: Style over substance

There is also a small but significant confusion between appearing rational and appearing as a calm, Zen-like figure of reason, so those with a sharp tongue or a good eye for snark may well be accused of being "irrational" too regardless of their actual content. But again, this isn't the case and accusing someone of being "irrational" for using laconic or foul language is fallacious, i.e. the tone argument.

Whoops[edit]

In hindsight, "RationalWiki" was probably a bad choice of words, but "SkepticWiki" was already taken, "Skeptical Empiricist Wiki" isn't catchy, and "Liberapedia" is just embarrassing (by name and nature). What else could it have been?

Examples[edit]

“”Real rational people don't need to label themselves as rational. So a so called rational wiki is necessarily full of bullshit.

—/u/katabn, commenting in /r/TheRedPill, which has promoted The Rational Male (book) for 3 years(link)

This is a very common criticism. (No, really.) Here are some quotes:

  • Ah, IrrationalWiki and TalkOrigins. Two biased Atheist-driven think tanks. Wikipedia is unreliable anyway. Look up Michael Behe.(link)
  • This section is so skewed with anti Fundamentalist rhetoric that is is obviously not scholarly. So much for Rational!(link)
  • "Any man who must say 'I am the king' is no true king." Tywin Lannister[.] Similarly[,] any site that must call itself rational isn't truly rational.(link)
  • Considering racism as irrational is itself irrational(link)
  • Calling All Writers! Operation: Irrational Wiki(link)
  • It's too anti-conspiracist
    • Rationalwiki is a CIA-sponsored propaganda website posing as a rational critic.(link)
  • For 'Rational', read: utterly unsceptical of the propaganda one is raised with — or why else would mainstream news sources not be similarly ridiculed? — combined with a wholly misplaced arrogance that such a stance represents the 'truth' and everything else 'bullshit'.(link)
  • What RationalWiki really is[:] A bunch of people irrationally thinking they know what anything really is.(link)
  • YOU ARE (allegedly) PAID TROLLS AND YOU KNOW IT.(link)
  • RationalWiki (nicknamed IrrationalWiki) and Wikis on politics tend to have a certain viewpoint, such as Wikipedia is mainstream US liberalism. Conservapedia is mainstream US conservatism. For IrrationalWiki, it is pro-neo-Marxism, pro-Globalism, and the hypocritical position that conspiracy theories are hoaxes.(link)
  • I didn't know Skepticism consisted in unquestioning [sic] the views that are taken for granted by the majority. Try BandwagonWiki, it's available.(link)
  • IrrationalWiki is a load of bullshit. Politically Correct culture at its worst. It literally bashes anything that isn't mainstream feminist-approved far-left bullshit.(link)
  • The name RationalWiki is the most disgusting euphemism. It's like the Ministry of Peace in 1984. It's the headquarters [What a compliment!] of batshit crazy SJWism.(link)
  • Go take a look at "RationalWiki" to see what happens when radical feminists and SJWs take control of your wiki.(link)
  • YOU GUYS ARE FUCKING MORRONS? what the fuck is this site? Your no better than FOX news, your fucking wankers and weaklings. Get a fucking real job you bastards instead of sitting on a site spreading literal communist Ideas, fucking commie scum.(link)
  • It's too liberal
  • Comrades! The rationalwiki article on communism fucking sucks.(link)
  • Rationalwiki is not so rational when it comes to politics after all. At least they are still good for debunking anti-science stuff.(link)
  • Rationalwiki has always been filled with smug liberals that claim to be neutral. I'm not drunk enough for their shit.(link)
  • Rationalwiki's pages on communism, AKA, a hive of smug liberalism(link)
  • I know you people are fruitcakes but try to aim for some semblance of rationalism. [....] No wonder your icon looks like a brain starved of oxygen.(link)
  • If it's a group and women are present... don't bother with logic. It's irrelevant to the feels[.] Also usually true for groups that boast about being logical. (cough rationalwiki cough)(link)
  • Why not call that wiki autismwiki instead of rationalwiki?.(link)
  • Rationalwiki? - More like Irrationalwiki(link)
  • I thought rationalwiki was rational, I see them make all the same fallacies as libfems who've never read any radical literature.(link)
  • Think of rationalwiki as wikipedia without reliable sources and edited almost entirely by MRAs and Trans Activists.(link)
  • So, my blog was recently linked to from the ‘Rational’ Wiki talk page on "TERFs". The person said that my blog is "useful for debunking practice". I've seen no comments forthcoming from him or any other anti-feminist trans activists (AFTAs) on my blog, so one wonders.(link)
  • 'Rational' Wiki's irrational article on radical feminism(link)

What constitutes a suitable, sensible and above all rational response?[edit]

Drink!

This essay is an original work by anyone who wants to improve it.
It does not necessarily reflect the views expressed in RationalWiki's Mission Statement, but we welcome discussion of a broad range of ideas.
Unless otherwise stated, this is original content, released under CC-BY-SA 3.0 or any later version. See RationalWiki:Copyrights.
Feel free to make comments on the talk page, which will probably be far more interesting, and might reflect a broader range of RationalWiki editors' thoughts.

There are several common criticisms of RationalWiki (RW) as a source. It should be noted that attacking RW doesn't disprove its points.

It's a wiki[edit]

The obvious cautions that apply to using Wikipedia as a source apply to using RationalWiki as a source. Anyone can edit it, check the references, and so on.

It's got terrible tone[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Tone argument

True, RationalWiki has a "snarky" point of view, and sometimes it perhaps it goes a bit overboard. But that doesn't mean it's wrong.

It's biased[edit]

“”Basically the material presented is what a slightly left of centre atheist needs to win an internet debate.

—Konkvistador(archive)

“”Good on debunking theism and woo. Horrible on politics. Heavily biased.

—/u/jdkeith(archive)

See the main article on this topic: Appeal to bias

Is RW biased? Yes. All information is. However, "biased" does not necessarily mean "wrong", but merely "opinion-having". RW just hopes that its bias agrees with reality. If you think RW is wrong, there are several solutions

It can't criticize ...[edit]

One decent way to tell if an arguer is closed-minded (and thus hopelessly, harmfully biased) is if they cannot accept or make any criticism of something they broadly support.

What can't RW criticize...

Liberalism?
Category:Authoritarian moonbattery, Category:Liberal moonbattery, Category:Libertarian moonbattery.
Conservatism?
Category:Authoritarian wingnuttery, Category:Conservative wingnuttery, and Category:Libertarian wingnuttery.
Libertarianism?
Category:Libertarian moonbattery and Category:Libertarian wingnuttery.
Authoritarianism?
Category:Authoritarian moonbattery and Category:Authoritarian wingnuttery.
Secularism?
The Amazing Atheist, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris.
Religion?
Category:Religion, especially Category:Apologetics and counter-apologetics, Category:Cults, and Category:Fundamentalism.
Environmentalism?
Category:Hard green.
Anti-environmentalism?
(much of) Category:Environmentalism.
Feminism?
Category:Feminist moonbattery.
Anti-feminism?
Category:Antifeminism.
RationalWiki?
Category:Turdblossoms, Category:Site-related essays, RationalWiki talk:Community Standards

Don't believe it? Consider that RW has managed to piss off someone of essentially every ideology.

Solutions[edit]

If bias bothers you, there are several solutions:

  1. Read other articles that are unrelated to the subject. If you still find articles you hate, see 2:
  2. Ignore the bias, read the cited sources, and see if RW is actually right. If you still disagree, see 3:
  3. Bring it up on the article's talk page, preferably with sources. If you fail to convince RW, see 4:
  4. Perhaps RationalWiki is at least partly correct?

It's a shill[edit]

“”For the last goddamn time, RationalWiki is not even worth talking about. It is literally run by paid US government shills.

—/u/KindaConfusedIGuess(archive)

See the main article on this topic: Shill gambit

Is RW paid off to write disinformation articles? RW is entirely funded by volunteer donors (no ads!) and has criticized damn near everyone. It's hard to shill for someone when there's nobody to shill for.

It's insignificant[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Argumentum ad populum

Popularity has nothing to do with truth. RW isn't the most popular skeptic website. That said:

It censors dissent[edit]

“”Ah, yeah, I love their "free speech" claims. It's adorable they can even say it with a straight face.

—/u/willfe42(archive)

Does it?

  • As a rule, RW treats talkpages as "public" property and does not remove content, excepting vandalism (such as spam, doxxing, or malevolent trolling).
  • As another rule, RW explicitly opposes ideological bans and supports only vandalism-related bans. A quick look at the block log reveals that most bans are joke bans from sysop to sysop or bans for vandalism.

If you think RW isn't living up to its standards, bring it to the Chicken Coop.

It's just ...[edit]

“”Rational Wiki is just as bad as conservapedia. There is no difference. They are both terrible. Hell I'd say worse. I think it is because conservapedia isn't hiding it's[sic] agenda. It is a conservative wiki and you know it. Rational Wiki is like "hey we are the rational ones. come read our rational wiki!"[sic]

—/u/dvfsdvfedgvfervgre(archive)

Some people try to handwave RW via comparison.

See also[edit]

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