When did you stop beating your wife? Challenging loaded questions in FQ

To speak further to your misconception of what “premise” refers to, perhaps another *reductio ad absurdum:

FQ OP: I have read that the way the brain processes visual information can be complex and counterintuitive. So I’m wondering if the sky is really blue. Are there any scientific studies that have gathered air samples and attempted to detect blue pigmentation molecules?

Here, “the sky is blue” is the thing under consideration, analogous to “teaching kids bodily autonomy”. That itself is not what we’re talking about when we say the OP is loaded with a dubious premise. The problematic premise is obviously the embedded assumption that evidence of pigmentation molecules is relevant to whether the sky is blue. To answer this question solely with evidence about the pigmentation content of the air (or the absence of studies on this) would obviously not be appropriate or adequate.

And that’s the problem. Challenging the premise is an integral part of answering factual questions. If the premise contains factual inaccuracies, you cannot give a valid fact-based answer without challenging that premise.

Allowing the OP to declare those off-topic makes it where they can (intentionally or not) post misinformation that cannot be challenged. In this case, the misinformation is the idea that (1) we teach consent for hugs to prevent abuse and (2) that a lack of studies would mean the experts are wrong.

Even if a post only asked for studies, it would be on topic to explain why there aren’t any studies. The OP should not be able to declare that off-topic, any more than they could say that posts that disagree with them are off topic.

As per above, a simple google search demonstrates that people teach consent for hugs to prevent abuse.

They also teach for other reasons. That is irrelevant.

This isn’t part of the OP in question.

Thus, there was no misinformation to challenge.

I think you mean “some people teach consent with one of the objectives being to prevent abuse.”

If the other reasons are the primary reasons, then really it’s the preventing abuse reason that is irrelevant.

The OP certainly questioned if the experts were correct about what the OP incorrectly assumed the experts were saying if there were no studies to back them up.

There certainly were quite a number of untrue assertions and implications in the OP. That you seem to agree with them doesn’t make them right.

The lack of an “all” is a clue that I believe all native English speakers picked up.

To you. Asking about a minor reason is a perfectly valid choice if that’s what the OP is interested in. It neither asserts nor implies anything about the other reasons.

Asking if research supports a conclusion is different from questioning whether the conclusion is correct. This is basic science literacy that seems lost on many.

Nobody in this thread has identified any untrue assertions yet, and the implications are imagined.

You keep repeating this, even though OP has been cited several times. Here it is again:

OP has not spelled out what conclusion we should draw from an absence of rigorous studies and empirical evidence. But one could hardly be more explicit in in inviting the inference. There’s really no ambiguity here, and I think it’s disingenuous to keep claiming that this is “not part of the OP”.

Because “not studied” != “wrong”.

Well, thank you. That is exactly what I pointed out in the thread, to add information and context in case anyone interpreted the OP that way. It was reported by OP and moderated as off topic. I’m glad you have come around.

Correctly. Because the OP asked if it was studied, not whether it was wrong. Two different questions.

OP talked about “experts”, in scare quotes. What do you imagine the scare quotes indicate, if it’s not that we should infer that they are wrong, absent the supporting empirical evidence that he demands?

I’m not going to dispute this with you further. I think the meaning of the paragraph from the OP quoted above is quite obvious, and I’ll leave others to judge for themselves.

As well as the implication that you laid down. You also didn’t address the other modification I made to your statement to make it less false.

They certainly were implying that the reason that people taught their children about bodily autonomy was to prevent sexual abuse.

But, that’s not what they asked.

Basic literacy seems lost on many.

Basic literacy seems lost on many…

So, do you think that the OP was great, it was a good question that could be answered factually? If so, why didn’t you answer it? Why didn’t you cite those studies that the OP asked for?

Or are you agreeing with me that it was a bad OP, one that had no answer that would be acceptable given the OP’s parameters?

If you agree that there should have been no response to the OP, that their question should have gone unanswered and unaddressed, then we have little left to disagree on.

That some posters wanted to be helpful in spite of a bad OP is a fault of people wanting to be helpful. Shit like this is why people aren’t, why they don’t want to help others. No good deed and all that. No one likes to be punished for trying to help out, so, they stop, understandably.

Next time the OP has a question like this, they will likely be ignored entirely, as they should be.

I see how you can read that into Tired_and_Cranky’s posts as an ulterior motive. But that would be an assumption on your part, and not a premise put forward by Tired_and_Cranky so far as I can tell.

He (or she) expresses skepticism of parenting strategies but doesn’t go so far as to say all good parenting strategies must be backed by data.

In my experience people who ask for studies in conversation or personal correspondence are usually trying to prove a point, strike down a straw man, what have you. Most people don't ask questions with an open mind; most people ask questions in search of reinforcement. Play their game and they'll twist your words into a cheap victory at your expense.

I try my best to suspend such commonsense cynicism here.* In an organic conversation it would be highly relevant to address someone's true motives rather than their explicit questions. FQ, as I perceive it, is a different environment where addressing an underlying motive would only be appropriate if you have a good excuse for doing so.

* As an aside, Tired_and_Cranky disavowed that specific premise in this thread. Maybe you have difficulty thinking of another motive for the linked OP? Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I suggest a motive of mere curiosity mixed with skepticism, based on this quote:

"There are lots of articles about it but I’m thinking about it now because of this advice column on Slate. I’m wondering if this works."

My opinion is that light discussion of the feasibility of hypotheticals should be allowed, for the express purpose of guiding members who are trying to find such studies, which the FQ asked for.

For example Tired_and_Cranky (the OP) described a hypothetical when asked what kind of study he (or she) was looking for. Chronos (a moderator in personal capacity) responded by pointing out why such a study might not be feasible. This exchange was not hidden by subsequent mod action and is kosher.

(b) appears totally off-topic, unless you went with the angle that an ethics board would reject proposals with a control group (kids who aren’t taught about consent), and that’s why no such studies exist (direct answer to FQ).

I disagree that the poster actually advanced such an agenda. If I look between the lines and squint real hard, I can admit the possibility that Tired_and_Cranky believes valid parenting requires scientific data to back it up. But under no circumstance do I see Tired_and_Cranky advancing that hidden agenda.

Besides, he (or she) explicitly disavowed that position.


And I’ll add that the responses in the original thread were non-confrontational, seeking to add information and context, and I think giving OP more benefit of doubt than they deserved. Maybe it had some chance of getting back on track in FQ if OP had just acknowledged that some of the assumptions and opinions embedded in his OP might be incorrect. Instead, it was OP that turned this into a clusterfuck by reporting every post that sought to reframe the question in a better-informed manner that didn’t fit his preconceptions. People generally don’t react well to having discussion shut down when discussion is warranted.

If someone asks, “Are there any studies that show that water is wet?” then that’s being curious.

If someone says, “People drink water because it is wet. ‘Experts’ get quoted and imply it leads to better outcomes, and people pretend their ideas or personal experience are data. I can’t tell where the research is on whether water is wet. Is there any scientific evidence that water is wet? This isn’t about whether you think that water is wet, I would like citations to studies supported by some science that water is wet.” then it is fairly clear that not only are they starting with faulty assumptions, but that they have some point they are trying to prove.

Then, when someone points to some science that is adjacent to the question, that is rejected as not being exactly what is being asked. As well as pointing out that people don’t drink water because it is wet being rejected as irrelevant to the question.

Like I said, that never belonged in FQ in the first place.

I’m a native English speaker, and no, saying just “people” is more equivalent to saying “all people” than it is to “some people” in my dialect.

For the same reason I wouldn’t need to address the notion that “people go to school to learn organic chemistry” is not made “less false” by pointing out that people also, and mostly, go to school for other reasons. Never mind that most people don’t learn it at all. So yes, people teach hugs to prevent abuse. Whether it’s one, two, or all people, and whether other reasons exist, is neither here nor there when it comes to addressing the factual question that was asked.

does not mean that “a lack of studies would mean the experts are wrong” because that’s not how science works.

Just asking questions won’t identify misinformation that needed correcting.

This part of the OP is really problematic, for a couple of reasons.

First, and most importantly, the idea that people “pretend their…personal experience are data” suggests that making decisions, or offering perspective or advice, based on personal experience is invalid and even dishonest. Of course it isn’t.

Further, the OP presumes that parenting based on scientific research is more effective than parenting not based on scientific research. Where is the evidence that this is true?

Later, the OP states:

This is an absurd excluded middle: either an approach to raising children has rigorous scientific research behind it, or it’s a fad.

The OP continues:

More absurd excluded middle: either there’s rigorous scientific research behind a strategy, or there’s no valid reason to engage in the approach.

I find the basic question mildly interesting, and I think the answer is, “No, there’s no long-term research on this subject, since the specifics of the approach are relatively recent in our culture.”

The deeper question is whether we should prioritize rigorous scientific studies in child-rearing decisions. That’s a GD question, not a FQ question, and I’ve got some opinions about the harm it does to our children to put them in Skinner boxes.

Something I would urge whichever moderators may be reading this thread to consider is that it is possible to discuss a “factual question” without actually answering it. Discussing the question without actually answering it is still on topic in the sense the question is the topic of the thread.

An OP should not get to limit discussion of their topic to the point that false premises (explicit or implied) and/or errors in logic presented by the OP are off limits.

And if those false premises were truly unintended by the OP, they should welcome clarification that those are untrue premises, and that the OP did not mean to imply them, rather than shut down any such attempts at cleansing the well.

@engineer_comp_geek has repeatedly used the word “premise” wrongly to refer to the parenting strategy itself, not to the problematic surrounding assumptions laid out in the OP. And he seems to have just ignored me when I explained this misconception (twice). I would like to see a moderator at least acknowledge that they understand what we mean when we say that false premises were loaded into this OP.