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General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: Jim Jones on March 27, 2017, 04:09:25 PM

Title: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Jim Jones on March 27, 2017, 04:09:25 PM
He recently tweeted what I presume is an excerpt from the book, and in typical Molyneux fashion, literally everything in the excerpt applies to himself.

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C7zH8FEW0AEME_-.jpg:small)


"Will say anything to achieve his goal other than admitting that he will say anything to achieve his goal"

"has a hidden goal of self-profit, which he clouds in a murky fog of pretended virtue"

"the methodology is not objective, not rational, not empirical, but rather seductive, manipulative - and vicious, should you expose the mendacious machinery of linguistic theft"

Jesus, that is literally word-for-word a description of Stefan and his tactics.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Jim Jones on March 27, 2017, 04:16:17 PM
And the title is "The Art of the Argument"

Someone should pre-empt this book with "The art of the non-argument" and just create a book filled with how not to argue, chock full of examples from Stefan.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Monster on March 27, 2017, 04:54:38 PM
(https://s16.postimg.org/abfdz7wgl/Molument.jpg)
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Rafaman on March 27, 2017, 05:51:04 PM
Stefan's written work is really poor.

It's a pretentious word salad with conclusions stated in the arguments. The copious fluff that he jams into every sentence is a big distraction.


Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Brainpolice2 on March 27, 2017, 09:06:09 PM
Word, he always was a terrible writer, and in a sense a terrible debater (by the standards of ethical and reasonable debate). Where he excels at influencing people is in the realm of oratory and salesmanship skills.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Jim Jones on March 28, 2017, 12:52:21 AM
hahaha Monster that is good, "getting triggered by imaginary insults" so true

Stefan's written work is really poor.

It's a pretentious word salad with conclusions stated in the arguments. The copious fluff that he jams into every sentence is a big distraction.

Yeah seriously, I've never seen anybody pepper their speech/writing with more unnecessary and superfluous language than Stefan.

In high school and undergrad courses, I would always receive As on my writing assignments, and then I had this one English lit professor who pretty much changed how I wrote on a fundamental level. She would mark up all of my papers with red ink, not because of grammar but because of how much excessive and unnecessary language I would use while getting my point across. At first it was a huge shock and kind of an annoyance, since I'd felt as if I had been such an amazing writer yet I was receiving Bs and Cs. Up until that point, I had been [almost on a sub-conscious level] just adding crap to meet length requirements but blending it in well enough to where most professors either didn't care or didn't notice. Anyway, she taught me that plain language that best gets your point across is much more effective than trying to sound intelligent or wax eloquent, and ever since her class I've followed this advice.

Point being, Stefan reminds me of my writing style before that course (except Stefan is much, much worse about this). His use of flowery, bullshit language seems characteristic of cult-speak. There's probably a technical term for this...in fact I think I've read it on this very forum, but my memory is failing me right now.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Jim Jones on March 28, 2017, 12:53:43 AM
Word, he always was a terrible writer, and in a sense a terrible debater (by the standards of ethical and reasonable debate). Where he excels at influencing people is in the realm of oratory and salesmanship skills.

bingo

He would've thrived as a used car salesman. I actually tend to avoid that comparison because I know used car salesmen and they're actually a lot less slimy than Stefan.  ;D ;D
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: The Observer on March 28, 2017, 01:28:07 AM
I almost posted this exact same thread today.  Monster, that is hilarious!  hahaha... good stuff. 

I noticed in recent shows he's been talking about his new upcoming book.  I'm assuming it will be self published, which is fine, but notice he charges almost nothing for the books on amazon.  Vox Day did an interview with him a while back and offered to look at Stef's writing to see if he could publish it (Vox does have a successful publishing company).  I'm guessing he didn't think too highly of Stef's work to publish it. 

I remember when I was a young composer, I asked one of my friends (who happened to be pretty well established with over 40 publications) about rejection.  He immediately told me that he just received a triple rejection from one of his publishers.  He later went on to publish more than 100 pieces and now lives off his concert music entirely.  Anyway, the point I'm getting at is that writing is a tough profession.  Even those who are successful will often face rejection and constant challenges.  It's definitely not for those who want everything to be handed to them.  Self publishing sometimes works, but I don't consider giving away your books for free as self publishing.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Monster on March 28, 2017, 01:45:08 AM
Stefan reminds me of my writing style before that course.

No, no, no, you just aren't trying, let me help you out . . . .

"The degree to which Stefan's writing style reminds me of my writing style is the degree to which his writing style mirrors my writing style before I took writing classes at several "Ivy League" colleges here in Canada, I just wanted to point that out as that's really important for people to understand. It's like a mirror, what happens when you look in a mirror ? Do you see someone else's reflection ? No of course not, that would mean you were insane, or didn't know how to think, you see your own reflection ! If you saw someone else you wouldn't be looking at a mirror, you'd be looking at a painting or a photograph or, if you're a single mom on the left, you'd be watching daytime TV paid for by a steady stream of government cheese. But when we see our own reflection reflected in that which we recognise as fundementally ourselves then we have empirical evidence that what we are seeing is the shadow cast by the way we express ourselves in the word, that's really important for people to understand."


Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Marc Moïni on March 28, 2017, 09:19:12 AM
No, no, no, you just aren't trying, let me help you out . . . .

"The degree to which Stefan's writing style reminds me of my writing style is the degree to which his writing style mirrors my writing style before I took writing classes at several "Ivy League" colleges here in Canada, I just wanted to point that out as that's really important for people to understand. It's like a mirror, what happens when you look in a mirror ? Do you see someone else's reflection ? No of course not, that would mean you were insane, or didn't know how to think, you see your own reflection ! If you saw someone else you wouldn't be looking at a mirror, you'd be looking at a painting or a photograph or, if you're a single mom on the left, you'd be watching daytime TV paid for by a steady stream of government cheese. But when we see our own reflection reflected in that which we recognise as fundementally ourselves then we have empirical evidence that what we are seeing is the shadow cast by the way we express ourselves in the word, that's really important for people to understand."

This cracks me up. And your book cover above too! Thanks for the laugh!  ;D
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Monster on March 29, 2017, 02:36:23 PM
This cracks me up. And your book cover above too! Thanks for the laugh!  ;D


The thing is, it's petty close to what he'd actually say ;D whereas other people are able to communicate ideas straightforwardly ('it's a good idea shop around for a TV' or 'a government has no money of its own' or 'don't choose a partner you don't share values with' . . . etc), Molyneux manages to take even the simplest idea and turn it into a 10 minute twisting meandering monologue, delivered as if by a applicant to a school theatre group.

If you were to take one of his monologues, and remove all the conversational parts, the jokes, the asides, the silly voices, the tangents, the pronouncements, the endless meandering analogies, the emotional/angry outbursts . . . at the core of his message you'll find little other than very basic, even axiomatic, points and a whole lot of ornamentation.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Rafaman on March 29, 2017, 05:31:36 PM
hahaha Monster that is good, "getting triggered by imaginary insults" so true

Stefan's written work is really poor.

It's a pretentious word salad with conclusions stated in the arguments. The copious fluff that he jams into every sentence is a big distraction.

Yeah seriously, I've never seen anybody pepper their speech/writing with more unnecessary and superfluous language than Stefan.

In high school and undergrad courses, I would always receive As on my writing assignments, and then I had this one English lit professor who pretty much changed how I wrote on a fundamental level. She would mark up all of my papers with red ink, not because of grammar but because of how much excessive and unnecessary language I would use while getting my point across. At first it was a huge shock and kind of an annoyance, since I'd felt as if I had been such an amazing writer yet I was receiving Bs and Cs. Up until that point, I had been [almost on a sub-conscious level] just adding crap to meet length requirements but blending it in well enough to where most professors either didn't care or didn't notice. Anyway, she taught me that plain language that best gets your point across is much more effective than trying to sound intelligent or wax eloquent, and ever since her class I've followed this advice.

Point being, Stefan reminds me of my writing style before that course (except Stefan is much, much worse about this). His use of flowery, bullshit language seems characteristic of cult-speak. There's probably a technical term for this...in fact I think I've read it on this very forum, but my memory is failing me right now.

A female, academic had the audacity to impose their authority over you? Molyneux's ears just pricked up.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Hierophant on March 29, 2017, 08:16:48 PM
Even Ayn Rand would be "whoa there buddy you don't have to be so melodramatic"
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: money detonator on April 09, 2017, 02:01:14 PM
So, he's found time to write (or just promise to write?) a new book, while making excuses for several years that he doesn't have enough time to work on or finish the parenting book, a UPB follow-up book, and a documentary that he's been promising donors who have specifically donated for those promised items?

Can he endure the humiliation of another disastrous book after UPB and RTR?  LOL.

I think the parenting book would be hilarious to pick apart after all the stories he's told on his own show and on Rogan's show that make him look like a passive aggressive, tyrannical, emotionally manipulative, narcissist husband and father.  If he ever came out with a parenting book, I predict parenting and psychology experts as well as his critics will be making videos digging out all the examples of his horrible parenting, which I'm sure his daughter will find if he ever lets her out on the Internet in her lifetime.  I'm sure her childhood is a maximum security prison.

Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: The Observer on August 27, 2017, 03:03:57 PM
Looks like it is out now on Amazon. 
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Hierophant on August 28, 2017, 06:28:02 PM
Well, what's the link?
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: poopmeat on August 28, 2017, 09:02:48 PM
Curious why do not fdrliberated members help write a book rebuking that book?
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Jim Jones on August 30, 2017, 04:37:07 AM
So funny that the only two reviews both freely admit they haven't finished the book. One has made it a quarter of the way and the other has not even cracked it open, yet.  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: megi on September 04, 2017, 10:43:40 PM
The book is now being destroyed in comments by actual professors of logic, due to people mistaking the book for textbook on argumentation and reading it as such. :)
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: money detonator on September 05, 2017, 02:47:45 PM
I don't feel right writing a one star review myself without reading the book, so I went through and up-voted every single one star review as helpful!   :D  ;D  ;)


Some comedy gold:

Description of book (sounds like it is written by him):

Quote
'The Art of the Argument' shocks the dying art of rational debate back to life, giving you the essential tools you need to fight the escalating sophistry, falsehoods and vicious personal attacks that have displaced intelligent conversations throughout the world. At a time when we need reasonable and empirical discussions more desperately than ever, 'The Art of the Argument' smashes through the brain-eating fogs of sophistry and mental manipulation, illuminating a path to benevolent power for all who wish to take it.

Civilization is defined by our willingness and ability to use words instead of fists – in the absence of reason, violence rules. ‘The Art of the Argument’ gives you the intellectual ammunition – in one concentrated, entertaining and powerful package – to engage in truly productive, civilization-saving debates. Armed with this book, you will be empowered to speak truth to power, illuminate ignorance, shatter delusions and expose the dangerous sophists within your own life, and around the world.


Description of author (sounds like it is written by him):

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About the Author
Stefan Molyneux is the founder and host of Freedomain Radio, the largest and most popular philosophical show in the world. With more than 3,500 podcasts, 10 books and 250 million downloads, Stefan has spread the cause of liberty and philosophy to listeners throughout the world. Prior to launching Freedomain Radio, Stefan built a thriving career as a software entrepreneur and executive. In 2006, he left his work in the tech industry to devote his efforts to Freedomain Radio. Now a self-identified full-time parent and philosopher, Stefan speaks regularly at liberty-themed events all over North and South America. His speeches cover subjects ranging from politics, philosophy, science, atheism and economics to relationships, parenting and how to achieve real freedom in your life. Past live appearances include presentations at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum, Libertopia, Students For Liberty, FreedomFest, LibertyNow, Capitalism and Morality, LibertyFest West, the Brazilian Mises Institute's Idieas em Movimento, Freedom Summit, and The Next Web Europe Conference. Stefan has participated in a number of live debates, among them: "Bitcoin vs. Gold: The Future of Money" with Peter Schiff, "Zeitgeist Versus the Market" with Peter Joseph, "The Function of the State in Society" with Professor Vladimir Safatle and "How Much Government is Necessary?" with Michael Badnarik. In addition to hosting his own regular show, Stefan has been a guest on audio and television programs such as RT America's "Breaking the Set" with Abby Martin, "Adam vs. The Man" with Adam Kokesh, "The Keiser Report" with Max Keiser and "The Joe Rogan Experience" with Joe Rogan.

Biography:

Quote
Biography
Stefan Molyneux is the founder and host of Freedomain Radio, the largest and most popular philosophical show in the world. With more than 3,500 podcasts, 10 books and 250 million downloads, Stefan has spread the cause of liberty and philosophy to listeners throughout the world.

Prior to launching Freedomain Radio, Stefan built a thriving career as a software entrepreneur and executive. In 2006, he left his work in the tech industry to devote his efforts to Freedomain Radio. Now a full-time parent and philosopher, Stefan has given speeches at liberty-themed events all over the world. His speeches cover subjects ranging from politics, philosophy, economics, relationships, bitcoin, parenting and how to achieve real freedom in your life.

Past live appearances include presentations at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum, Libertopia, Students For Liberty, FreedomFest, LibertyNow, Capitalism and Morality, LibertyFest West, the Brazilian Mises Institute's Idieas em Movimento, Freedom Summit, and The Next Web Europe Conference.

Stefan has participated in a number of live debates, among them: "Bitcoin vs. Gold: The Future of Money" with Peter Schiff, "Zeitgeist Versus the Market" with Peter Joseph, "The Function of the State in Society" with Professor Vladimir Safatle and "How Much Government is Necessary?" with Michael Badnarik.




some of the one-star reviews   ;D:


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Indefensible waste of energy

Molyneux's <i>The Art of the Argument</i> may not be the worst piece of popular philosophy writing I've ever read, but it is certainly close. The sheer volume of obvious and embarrassing errors (including confusion about basic philosophical concepts like validity, the correspondence theory of truth, absurd Plato exegesis, etc.) should make this book a masochistic exercise to anyone even remotely familiar with the field and its disciplinary standards.

Molyneux has a dedicated fanbase who no-doubt lap this sort of thing up, but the insistence that this is an appropriate assessment of argument, and includes in its pages prescriptions for how to argue, leave those fans far worse off.

I'll have a full review of the core ideas of the book posted elsewhere, likely as a guest post on PZ Myers blog Pharyngula. However, a summary of some of those general thoughts on the poor contents of the book is, hopefully, of some value in the meantime.


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This reads like it was written by a high schooler who likes ...

This reads like it was written by a high schooler who likes arguing on online forums.
Aristotle wrote a more compelling and informative treatment of logic, rhetoric, and argumentation over 2000 years ago. If you are interested in popular or applied argument, "Thank You For Arguing" is a better contemporary text than Molyneux's weird volume. If you are interested in actual logic, there are myriad free online resources that actually make helpful conceptual distinctions, appropriately define valid arguments, and show how to do proofs.


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Best Book if you want to lose arguments

Stefan Molyneux is a charlatan of the most hilarious kind and my boy Gottlob Frege is rolling in his grave right now. Anyone interested in seriously learning or expanding their knowledge in logic should stay very far away from this book, lest they want to get dunked on in any real argument.


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Read a real book instead

I am a lawyer, a philosopher, and was a very successful college debater. I tutored logic in college. For a year I taught a class called Argumentation and Debate. I know a few things about arguing, building a good argument, and about spotting wannabes. This guy is a wannabe. Other reviewers have explained the obvious signs in the book that he has no clue what he's talking about (e.g., doesn't know what "valid" means -- literally something you'd learn on day 1 of a logic class). This reads like a sophomore in college wrote it in one night after realizing it was due the next day. There's no genuine connection to any of the political elements, and getting your politics from the book will not help you win any arguments (how could they when argumentation is first about form, then substance? He tries to merge the two so you won't notice.). The writing in this is pretty bad, verging on difficult to read. The author comes off as arrogant instead of bright. Argumentation requires empathy, charity, and engagement with another in good faith. This book fails in each of these ways.

If you'd like to learn how to argue well, take some classes in logic, debate, philosophy, or join the debate team (and stick around long enough to learn from your losses). There are also many good books out there on logic, argumentation, fallacies, and related topics. Find a few from folks with expertise in these areas and start there. Then you can use this book in an exercise to spot the errors.


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Propaganda, not a textbook
Since many of the (other) critical reviews focus on the early examples, I decided to focus my review on the Correlation and Causation chapter.

The chapter is poorly organized. Molyneux opens with some sweeping generalizations about Christianity, atheism, and ethics — that Christians are opposed to "massive government growth" based on "principled arguments," while atheists "tend to prefer consequentialism." Besides being poor generalizations, this taxonomy is conceptually confused. The most well-known version of consequentialism, act utilitarianism, is defined by a moral principle: "an act is morally right if and only if that act maximizes the good, that is, if and only if the total amount of good for all minus the total amount of bad for all is greater than this net amount for any incompatible act available to the agent on that occasion" (see the *Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy* entry on "Consequentialism"). Principle-based approaches to ethics are better contrasted with virtue ethics and moral particularism, both of which are minority views in professional philosophy and public political discourse more generally.

In any case, this discussion of ethics doesn't have any obvious connection to correlation, causation, or inductive logic more generally. The next section argues that the purpose of an argument is to "produce truth for the purpose of happiness," and apparently for this reason it's illogical to criticize an argument's conclusion. It's not clear why this section is in a chapter on inductive logic either.

Molyneux then begins something that superficially resembles an introductory discussion of inductive logic. He tries to explain the difference between deductive and inductive logic using a predator-prey metaphor: "The lion calculates absolutes, while the zebra calculates probabilities." This is followed immediately by the following paragraph: "In a very real sense, deductive reasoning is empirical, while inductive reasoning is mathematical. Deductive reasoning is absolute; inductive reasoning analyzes trends." The "empirical" vs. "mathematical" contrast is utterly cryptic. Physics, for example, is both empirical and mathematical, and employs both deductive and inductive reasoning.

The next section is titled "Inductive versus Deductive: Reactionary versus Proactive." Here Molyneux argues that "Initiating action requires the certainty of deductive reasoning." That is, apparently, proactive behavior requires deductive logic; inductive logic is associated with merely reactive behavior. Molyneux then links this to the predatory-prey metaphor, and dominance hierarchies: "The pursuit of the lion is the initiating action, the flight of the zebra is the reaction. This is why I talk about deductive reasoning being predatory, or alpha, while inductive reasoning is prey-based, or beta."

Here are the opening paragraphs of the next section:

"Parasitical or dependent people often fear and hate absolute, since they are always weighing costs, benefits, and probabilities: their parasitism can be destroyed by absolutes — particularly moral absolutes.

"Think of an abusive woman and her beaten-down husband: she is the predator; he is the prey. She initiaties; he reacts. She twists values to damn him and excuse herself. Those who feed him spine-stiffening absolutes are her natural foes, since they help him to stand up to her abuse and free himself from her manipulations."

The title of this section is "Absolutism and Society."

At this point, it's clear that Molyneux's chapter on inductive logic has very little to do with inductive logic, except perhaps has a series of examples of *bad* inductive reasoning. The chapter contains numerous generalizations (about Christians, atheists, feminists, "parasitical or dependent people," and so on) with no supporting evidence of any kind. The argument for linking deductive logic to predatory behavior is a hypothetical about "If you were to program a lion with syllogisms" (the syllogism Molyneux gives here is missing several premises and its conclusion). Hypothetical programmed lions don't obviously tell us anything about *actual* predators; and even less about actual *prey* animals. Philosophers of ecology will point out that the predator-prey distinction is conceptually incoherent, since most animal species *both* eat other animals and are eaten by other animals (i.e., they're both predators *and* prey).

Instead, it seems that the point of the chapter is to make metaphorical connections between certainty (represented metaphorically by deductive logic, in contrast with inductive logic), confidence (in the sense of self-esteem), and a kind of dominant-predator masculinity. This fits well with the rest of the book, which treats logic as a weapon for alt-right white men to use against their real and imaginary opponents (leftists, feminists, Black Lives Matter, and so on). Perhaps ironically, Molyneux's association of deductive logic with masculinity roughly resembles certain feminist critiques of analytic philosophy in general and formal logic specifically. These feminists argue that an "abstract, 'generalized,' and disengaged" approach to philosophy reflects stereotypical masculine ways of thinking or the privileged social location of white men; instead, these feminists philosophers encourage alternative approaches that are more concrete, particular, and socially engaged. (See the discussion of Loraine Code in the *Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy* entry on "Analytic Feminism." Note that there are many different types of feminist philosophy, and not all feminists agree with Code's critique.)

In short, these feminists and Molyneux both see logic through the lens of specific political commitments. However, the feminist philosophers are explicitly about their leftist political commitments. Molyneux' political commitments are implicit — though, as the quotations above indicate, they are fairly easy to identify.

All together, Molyneux's book is better understood as a piece of alt-right propaganda than an actual logic textbook. Insofar as his goal is to actually teach people logic, the book is a miserable failure — it is full of errors and unintended examples of flawed reasoning. However, insofar as his goal is to inspire conservative-leaning people to the causes of white supremacy, anti-feminism, and fascism, the dozens of positive reviews on this site suggest the book may be dangerously successful.

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I hope this is a joke.

Before writing a book on logic, one should understand logic. The author of this book gives examples that show he doesn't understand logic. Do yourself a favor and buy a different text book.

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Doesn't know his stuff
Full of mistakes no one who has passed a logic course could make. For example, the author doesn't seem to know the difference between validity and soundness.

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Total garbage.
'The Art of the Argument' is a brain-eating fog of sophistry and mental manipulation, masquerading as serious philosophy. Run, don't walk, in the opposite direction.

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Students: Molyneux does not understand what he's writing about.
As a professor of philosophy I have to take issue with this book. I teach logic (the formal study of argumentation) each semester. Mr. Molyneux, within the first few pages, fundamentally misrepresents basic concepts in formal logic. He incorrectly defines "argument", misuses the technical term "valid" among other elementary mistakes. While I firmly believe that teaching logic is one of the most important things we can do as educators, and I applaud the spirit of Molyneux's project, the execution is nothing short of a complete disaster. If this text represents Western civilization's last stand, then it is too late. We are already doomed.

The very popularity of this text suggests that we are in serious trouble. Please, please do not buy this book.

If you would like to know anything at all about logic, reason and argumentation, this is decidedly not the book for you.

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Laughable mistakes and overblown rhetoric

I looked at the sample pages. This book makes some fairly laughable errors in explaining elementary logic and reasoning. The rhetoric and tone is also fairly overblown. I recommend getting an introductory text that might be used in a standard logic or critical reasoning course, instead of this.

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you know it's garbage. Do yourself a favor and read a real ...

When a logic book can't even get elementary syllogisms right, you know it's garbage. Do yourself a favor and read a real book on logic, written by a philosopher with a formal training in the subject. This book is so wrong, it's not funny.

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A book for weaklings who want to believe 'argument' might make them strong.

Saw an advance copy. Western Civilization wasn't built by 'argument', and won't be saved by 'argument.' This book is perfect for his young audience that fights on Twitter and Facebook. Nothing in here for real-life.
Title: Stefan Molyneux self-publishes new masterpiece, is immediately humiliated
Post by: QuestEon on September 12, 2017, 02:04:11 AM
Okay, so my blog posts have slowed down to an almost semi-annual affair, but this latest mess by Molyneux is too funny to pass up. I hooked the article into this thread, which was already awesome, rather than starting a new one.

Stefan Molyneux self-publishes new masterpiece, is immediately humiliated (http://www.fdrliberated.com/stefan-molyneux-publishes-new-masterpiece-immediately-humiliated/)

Feel free to link it around.

Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: money detonator on September 12, 2017, 12:07:36 PM
More one-star gems:   ;D

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1.0 out of 5 stars This is an incredibly stupid and incompetent book

I am a professor of philosophy, who teaches logic. This is an incredibly stupid and incompetent book. If Molyneux knows anything about logic, he is doing a great job concealing this fact.


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1.0 out of 5 stars Fake Philosophy

I read the first few pages of this and just laughed. It's as bad as Molyneux's YouTube videos. If you like basing your arguments on false premises and cherry picking evidence to satisfy your own already made-up mind, you'll like this book. And his videos. Have you heard his logical argument as to why you should disown your family if they disagree with you and your new ideas (well, they're his ideas that you've listened to for days on end): your family believes in the government, the government uses force, so your family believes in using force against you, therefore they are abusive, therefore you should disown them. He doesn't advertise this cultish tactic so much anymore, but you can find these types of logical gems on many different subjects. The fact that he calls this book the Western Civilization's Last Stand is just as embarrassing as the time he told his listeners that if it wasn't for him they'd have to wait another 2000 years for someone to come along and enlighten them.

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1.0 out of 5 stars Dishonest: political propaganda disguised as a logic guide

I am a philosophy lecturer at the University of St. Andrews. I don't normally review books on Amazon, but I felt the need to issue a serious warning about this book. It is NOT a reliable introduction to logic. If anything it could damage your understanding of logic and reasoning.

The author has no expertise in logic or even in informal reasoning. He is very clearly disguising his political propaganda as a guidebook on logic.

If what you want is a reliable guide to elementary logic, please buy a book by somebody with some relevant expertise and no manipulative political agenda. Irving Copi's introduction is a good place to start, and I highly recommend Stephen Read's _Thinking About Logic_. A classic book by a highly competent logician that does honestly what Molyneux here pretends to do is Geach's _Reason and Argument_.


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1.0 out of 5 stars How to Lose Friends and Influence Nobody
 
I'm not sure if this will come up as a "verified purchase", but I've read this book in its entirety through Kindle Unlimited.

The Art of the Argument purports to present an effective method of argument (The Argument) which is the means of saving civilization, but it won't help civilization and it won't help you. The language is muddled and confusing enough that nobody will learn logic from this book. The philosophical grounding of The Argument is incoherent to the point where nobody will come away with a good idea of what makes a statement true or known. The advice to ostracize those who won't play by the rules of The Argument is likely to, if followed, result in you losing friends and colleagues for no good reason.

Some justification for these points:

1. Molyneux confuses his reader with misleading terminology and convoluted analogies. As several other reviewers have commented, he mixes up sound and valid arguments, and refers to true premises as "valid". What's more, inductive reasoning is given three distinct meanings, none of them getting to the bottom of what inductive reasoning is. Truth is conceived of as both a relation on statements and a relation on concepts, without any explanation of how one conception of truth is supposed to help us understand the other. "Synonym logic" is conceived of as being two terms presented as having different meanings when they are the same, and in the next moment as being two terms presented as having same meanings when they are different.

I conclude that no naive reader will come away from this book with an understanding of the basic elements of logic.

2. For Molyneux, an understanding of arguments requires an understanding of truth. For one might either argue the truth or value of a position, but an argument concerning value (for him) must be grounded in truth. Let's go by Molyneux's definition of truth on statements. According to him, a statement is true if it is "a rational statement about empirical reality that can be objectively verified." This can't be the case, as we would presume that "all truths are empirically verifiable" is true, but by his own definition it can't be, because that's not a statement that can be empirically verified.

If we concede that not all true statements are empirically verifiable, but they're either "obvious" or empirically verifiable, there are at least two issues left in being sure of what we know. First, it's not clear what exactly is obvious; second, there is no account here of when we can discard empirical evidence in the face of reason. As Molyneux mentions, we can produce prima facie empirical evidence that the earth is flat, but how do we discount that evidence? When we acquire knowledge, how do we balance what is known through reason with what is obtained by sense experience? Molyneux's incoherent hardline empiricism betrays a lack of understanding of the extent of this problem.

I conclude that no naive reader will come away from this book with an understanding of what makes a statement true or known.

3. The Argument, such as it is, is meant to be a debate between at least two interlocutors who first agree to precise definitions for all of their terms, then proceed to persuade each-other of the truth or value of their position using only reason and evidence. It is meant to be the form by which all nonviolent disagreements are resolved. I've already argued that this book does not provide a good idea of when a statement is true, or whether reason or evidence should be prioritised in a given situation.

While agreeing on definitions beforehand is nice, the demand to reach agreement beforehand is unreasonable. After all, the meanings of terms like "dark matter", "bipolar disorder", "race", and "intelligence" are underdetermined by what we know; not only might our mutual understanding of these terms change over time, but because we don't really know what they represent in reality, there are reasonable competing hypotheses for what they are.

Molyneux thinks that debates can be resolved "nine times out of ten" by demanding everyone defines their terms beforehand, but this is being disingenuous. A wide variety of reasonable debates of substance concern objects or ideas we don't know enough about to spell out exactly what they are. Furthermore, he advocates that those who don't follow the doctrine of The Argument should be ostracized, a harsh penalty for simply not agreeing to an unreasonable condition to define all terms.

Therefore, a naive reader who takes this book's doctrine to heart will end productive discussions before they start (by quibbling over definitions) and is likely to lose friends and colleagues for no good reason (because they won't follow the letter of The Argument).

I don't recommend that you purchase this book. A good introduction to logic is Irving Copi and Carl Cohen's Introduction to Logic. A sensible guide for writing a persuasive essay (a more important skill IMO than making a succinct point at debate club) is found in Anthony Weston's A Rulebook for Arguments (Hackett Student Handbooks). A good introduction to the study of argumentation is Stephen Toulmin, Richard Rieke, and Allan Janik's Introduction to Reasoning.

I've elaborated on these points in a lengthy review on medium.com, which I won't link here because I'm only supposed to link to other amazon products, but if you're curious you can google my name and "art of the argument".



Quote
1.0 out of 5 stars Total garbage.

This book is full of bad logic, complete trash.

Quote
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Very Good

Wow. I couldn't get past the first couple of chapters. This book is terrible. I'm not quite certain who Molyneux is (a co-worker recommended this book to me), but he has, at best, a high-schoolers level of knowledge regarding philosophy, logic, and rhetoric. I learned more from Philosophy 101 than this book. He writes as the stereotypical butt-hurt white male (mind you, I'm a white male) who is upset that society has not yet recognized his greatness. The book really just seems to be an attempt at justifying his low quality set of beliefs by casting it as a defense of western civilization, which it isn't.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: sacredfire222 on September 13, 2017, 08:23:57 AM
One of the biggest problems with the entire concept of "The Art of the Argument" is the attempt to resolve things using words.  Given that Europe, Canada, the US are being forced into multiculturalism with groups who don't even speak the same language, and if they do, have a much lower command of the language, debate is not going to be possible in the areas where potential conflict will occur.  Moreover, even if someone from another culture has an excellent command of the English language, the world view of people in other cultures is radically different from the English speaker in the host country.  I speak 3 languages and my entire thinking pattern shifts when I am thinking/speaking in one language versus another.  This leaves me wondering, concerning global matters of pressing importance, how is debate going to resolve issues to avoid physical conflict.  Well, it's not.  Just look at what is happening in Europe and brace yourselves to be able to deal with it in other ways besides verbal debates.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: money detonator on September 13, 2017, 09:21:23 AM
One of the biggest problems with the entire concept of "The Art of the Argument" is the attempt to resolve things using words.  Given that Europe, Canada, the US are being forced into multiculturalism with groups who don't even speak the same language, and if they do, have a much lower command of the language, debate is not going to be possible in the areas where potential conflict will occur.  Moreover, even if someone from another culture has an excellent command of the English language, the world view of people in other cultures is radically different from the English speaker in the host country.  I speak 3 languages and my entire thinking pattern shifts when I am thinking/speaking in one language versus another.  This leaves me wondering, concerning global matters of pressing importance, how is debate going to resolve issues to avoid physical conflict.  Well, it's not.  Just look at what is happening in Europe and brace yourselves to be able to deal with it in other ways besides verbal debates.

Well, it seems you and other followers of Stefan communicate in English just fine.  Just how well do you think they resolved conflicts in their (English speaking, of course) relationships using Molyneux's advice and methods, for instance, RTR, defoo, etc?  I highly doubt the problem with Molyneux's ideas have to do with others' lack of English skills.  Do you really think people who speak other languages don't debate or form arguments?

Molyneux's followers have better chances of having relationships with people who DON'T understand English, because their cultish oddity will be more likely be brushed off as some kind of cultural difference.  Among English speakers, it's all too obvious that there's something off, and unappealing.  It's no mystery why, before his podcast, Molyneux was rejected by just about everybody in real life.  He had no friends in college, he said.  Advisors dumped and avoided him.  Everyone who worked with him, including his brother, jumped ship and formed a different company behind his back.   They did so because they understood English all too well.  As one reviewer said, the book is about "How to Lose Friends and Influence Nobody".  That could be said of all his other books, and advice as well.

The reason many of the negative reviews are written by concerned legitimate Philosophers and logic professors is that they are alarmed that some fraud is corrupting the language they rely on to communicate their complex ideas.  In their field, it is important to understand the proper meaning of a lot of words and concepts that Molyneux mangles.  I highly doubt these critics could not be persuaded by Molyneux's "arguments" because they aren't "English speakers".

One of the fallacies that Molyneux promotes is that criticism of him is the result of inadequacies in his audience.  Explanations range from lack of empathy, small female brains, low intelligence, being child abusers, "Leftists", "cultural Marxists", "SJW's", "statism", lack of virtues, brain damaged from spankings, and yeah, the "can't speak English" garbage from his anti-immigrant material.  Take your pick, depending on your grievance-du-jour.  Basically, it means one has already concluded Molyneux is in the right, and is merely depending on one's biases to look for flaws in the person who is disagreeing with him.
Title: Re: Stefan Molyneux self-publishes new masterpiece, is immediately humiliated
Post by: QuestEon on September 17, 2017, 11:50:18 PM
Okay, so my blog posts have slowed down to an almost semi-annual affair, but this latest mess by Molyneux is too funny to pass up. I hooked the article into this thread, which was already awesome, rather than starting a new one.

Stefan Molyneux self-publishes new masterpiece, is immediately humiliated ([url]http://www.fdrliberated.com/stefan-molyneux-publishes-new-masterpiece-immediately-humiliated/[/url])

Feel free to link it around.


Threw a few more links into the article, FWIW
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Hierophant on September 19, 2017, 09:45:23 PM
Quote
Imagine that you have no discernible talents. You are not very intelligent. You are not particularly athletic. You are not good-looking. You can’t sing or dance well. Your jokes are basic and predictable. You read the newspapers and have political opinions, but, although you may not know it, you are part of the reason newspaper editors have to enforce the standard reading age of eight or under.

However, your need for approval is boundless. And your lust is ferocious and uncontrollable. You demand to be admired by admirable people and sexually desired by beautiful people. These hopeless demands breathe bile into your impotent rage, which soon turns rancid and bitter. Slowly, you come to adjust your entire worldview to support a single proposition: that you are a very objectively impressive person, and that the world’s disinterest in you is evidence of a gigantic conspiracy. The fact that nobody finds you in any way noteworthy is evidence of their intellectual and spiritual deficiency. If people cannot see how impressive you are, it must be because they reject objective facts.

This is the book for you.

Holy f*cking burn, Batman. Probably not only the best description of Molyneux fans, but the best description of MRAs, Objectivists, and the libertarian-right in general I've ever read.

To my shame, also a great description of the kind of person I was when I was in that mindset.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: money detonator on September 23, 2017, 06:05:45 PM
"Stefan speaks regularly at liberty-themed events all over North and South America."


"...  full-time parent and philosopher, Stefan has given speeches at liberty-themed events all over the world. "





So, he's a "full-time parent" while also working full time traveling the world giving speeches and running a show, writing books, supervising employees?  Does this mean all those other full-time working people earning money to support their families are also "full-time parents" rather than negligent parents who need to be defoo'd?

Was he parenting his daughter while giving those "world wide speeches", or while recording and broadcasting his speeches about how inferior females are, and what parasites and sluts and sperm-jackers they are, showing off his exemplary parenting skills in constantly reminding his daughter what he thinks of her, and her tiny brain and evil civilization-killing vagina!  I can't imagine how grossed out and traumatized I would be at her age (5-10?) hearing the garbage he says about girls and women swallowing sperm for money while destroying the world by seeking an education and career.  If he's saying he's a "full time parent" and making his podcasts full-time, she's with him all the time listening to this crap.  Unless she's deaf and illiterate, I don't see how she's not going to turn out as psychologically damaged and brain-damaged and mentally ill as him and his wife (if she is allowing this to happen).  I get that he wants to maximize his money-making in his "business-model" of being an "all things to all people cult leader", but for goodness sake, and "for the children", any good "business person" knows not to put the childcare facility and pornographic content manufacturing in the same room, sentence, and podcast.  I can't believe he's still trying to sell that he's an "ideal parent", and even more outrageously .. the "only ideal parent on the planet", while spewing out the hateful garbage he does for hours a day, every day, on the Internet.

This guy claims in numerous hours-long podcasts that as a minor, he found his mother's porn around the house, and this left him irreversibly brain damaged and mentally stunted, and from the reviews of his book and his repeated failures and rejections in his life, it's obviously so. 

Like in the movie "Psycho", I think his mother was long gone, and what is left of her is a projection of himself.  The "Against Me" argument is a projection also.  He thinks everyone who disagrees with him want him shot dead because he wants everyone who disagrees with him shot dead.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Elucidated on September 24, 2017, 01:46:49 PM

I can't imagine how grossed out and traumatized I would be at her age (5-10?) hearing the garbage he says about girls and women swallowing sperm for money while destroying the world by seeking an education and career.  If he's saying he's a "full time parent" and making his podcasts full-time, she's with him all the time listening to this crap.

His daughter is approaching 8 I believe. I recall one podcast he made when she was still a baby. You could hear her in the background trying to get his attention, he kept saying something like 'I'll be with you in a minute sweetie' but it was about 20 minutes till he stopped prattling.

Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Kronze21 on October 11, 2017, 05:17:55 PM
How would you know it's awful if you haven't read it.  I wasn't even going by his book but your irritable hatred for him has convinced me too.  He can thank you later for the extra book sale.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: JimJesus on October 11, 2017, 06:04:53 PM
Trump guy gives a good critique of Molyneux's book
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjH0YHuZop4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjH0YHuZop4)
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Jim Jones on October 14, 2017, 01:09:54 AM
How would you know it's awful if you haven't read it.  I wasn't even going by his book but your irritable hatred for him has convinced me too.  He can thank you later for the extra book sale.

Actually he'd be thanking you. Because we...we didn't actually spend money on that garbage.
Title: Re: Stefan Molyneux self-publishes new masterpiece, is immediately humiliated
Post by: Jim Jones on October 14, 2017, 01:11:15 AM
Okay, so my blog posts have slowed down to an almost semi-annual affair, but this latest mess by Molyneux is too funny to pass up. I hooked the article into this thread, which was already awesome, rather than starting a new one.

Stefan Molyneux self-publishes new masterpiece, is immediately humiliated ([url]http://www.fdrliberated.com/stefan-molyneux-publishes-new-masterpiece-immediately-humiliated/[/url])

Feel free to link it around.


QE back with some blog posts! I enjoy reading them, glad to see there's another.

By the way, your avatar is hilarious.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: money detonator on October 14, 2017, 12:29:54 PM
Beat your own head against a brick wall 1000 times.  It will do less damage than his podcasts and books.  :P
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Kronze21 on October 15, 2017, 04:39:40 PM
Yes but because of your irrational pre-review comments is the reason I bought it.  Without you I wouldn't have bought it so again he need to thank you.  I may even buy a 2nd copy now since you continue to talk about how garbage it is without even reading it.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Kronze21 on October 15, 2017, 04:43:21 PM
Beat your own head against a brick wall 1000 times.  It will do less damage than his podcasts and books.  :P

I'm pretty sure that's this anti-stef website not his podcasts and books where you actually learn something.....not get off in a circle jerk for your hatred for him.

Whatever though carry on, haters gonna hate.  You can't help yourself.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Bhez7 on October 15, 2017, 07:42:22 PM
We'll keep on talking buddy, you keep on buying. Hell, spend all your money on Moly's books, not like you'll single-handedly keep him in business, only waste your own resources.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Kronze21 on October 25, 2017, 07:14:56 PM
Sure thing champ, he deserves it.
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Brainpolice2 on October 28, 2017, 02:25:20 AM
"Throatf*ck me Molyneux"
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Jim Jones on October 30, 2017, 05:43:08 PM
A: "I think __________ is a terrible writer with bad ideas"

B: "Oh yeah?! Well I just bought a copy of his book because of you!!"

A: "Oh....okay?

B: "I JUST BOUGHT A THOUSAND COPIES INSTEAD OF PAYING MY BILLS, HAHA OWNED U IDIOT"


Lol, this is a hilariously irrational strategy...
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: QuestEon on October 30, 2017, 08:47:08 PM
Lol, this is a hilariously irrational strategy...

Kinda like this....?

https://youtu.be/l8N800bP-R4
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: money detonator on October 30, 2017, 10:01:53 PM
 ;D  It's like the right-wingers that protested Starbuck's non-use of "Merry Christmas" on their coffee cups by telling everyone on social media to go to Starbucks, order drinks, and then say "Merry Christmas" instead of their real names so that the cashier would be "forced" to write "Merry Christmas" on the cups.  Wow, they really showed Starbucks who's boss!  ::)   lol
Title: Re: Looks like Stefan is writing yet another awful book
Post by: Kronze21 on October 31, 2017, 09:16:54 PM
A: "I think __________ is a terrible writer with bad ideas"

B: "Oh yeah?! Well I just bought a copy of his book because of you!!"

A: "Oh....okay?

B: "I JUST BOUGHT A THOUSAND COPIES INSTEAD OF PAYING MY BILLS, HAHA OWNED U IDIOT"


Lol, this is a hilariously irrational strategy...

LMAO you're just made because your hatred of Stef has led to him making more money. ; )