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9:59 AM
Sonny, let's continue the discussion here. The current discussion is getting out of hand in the comments on the various posts.
You write: "I would suggest that if someone asks it on this site they want a critical analysis / skeptical approach as opposed to the explanation or referral to the consensus they may receive on a more focused site."
I have a couple of concerns with that, but mainly the idea that on one of the more scholarly StackExchange sites you will receive "explanation or referral to the consensus" where you won't receive that on Skeptics.SE.
Q: So showing a claim exists by referencing studies is not acceptable?

Sonny OrdellI asked a question about psychopathy perhaps causing a lack of response to punishment. There is a standing assumption that all psychopaths fail to respond to punishment. From the earliest work in 1941 in The Mask of Sanity to studies by Hare in the 60's till present and a whole host of subsequen...

I expect Physics.SE, in particular, but also Statistical Analysis, History, Mathematics, Theoretical Physics, Astronomy and Linguistics (etc.) to be taking a scientific look at any claims being made, and expect support. Further, I would expect that answers on Skeptics.SE follow the consensus on any scientific field. So, I don't know why you would expect a high-quality Skeptics.SE answer not to be the same as one answered by someone in the other science-based StackExchanges.
I would expect a different type of answer compared to, say, Programmers.SE, because of the discipline we insist upon in our answers.
@Oddthinking sorry I didn't continue the discussion in here, never saw that comment.
10:15 AM
@Sonny, I only just wrote it! No need to apologise.
I would say the difference that part of what defines a skeptical point of view is critical thinking. This is not so necessary for the other disciplines as the same benefit can be had from peer review. So if I ask a question on physics I may get an answer supported by studies or consensus. On Skeptics I may get that as well, but also a list of alternate possibilities supported by evidence. I would argue the latter is less likely on other sites.
I also have to say I am incredibly frustrated with my psychopathy question be closed for really no good reason.
Would appreciate your input on this: meta.skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/1253/…
10:32 AM
@SonnyOrdell I addressed one aspect in an answer. I was going to suggest that we thrash out in chat what your claim actually was, but I see Sklivvz has tried to tackle that.
If it still isn't clear, then let's discuss - perhaps you could start by stating (in one sentence?) the claim that you are dubious about.
@SonnyOrdell The rationalist in me would argue that all disciplines need the skills of critical thinking, and that peer review doesn't replace that need, it just institutionalises a little bit of it. I'm willing to concede that some disciplines may be lacking in that skill - but I wouldn't say that was true of physics!
Hi Odd
OK, it's simple
it is assumed everywhere in studies, tv, by a lot of people etc that psychopaths don't respond to punishment
there are studies showing that psychopaths tend not to respond to punishment
there are no studies i am aware of actually showing that to be a result of psychopathy
why is it notable? why is it tested for in the first palce? given a whole host of non psychopaths also may not respond to punishment
If I had simply asked "I was watching Law and Order and the resident psychologist on the show stated that punishment would not work on a character because they were a psychopath. Is there any evidence that psychopathy causes a lack of response to punishment?"
then my studies would only show the correlation and the assumption
not any evidence for a cause
@Oddthinking what I found frustrating is that the claim is being referenced, when that makes no sense.
I mean questioned. The claim being questioned as being extant makes no sense to me.
10:49 AM
I am working through that trying to extract the claim:

TV claim: "Psychopaths don't respond to punishment."
Studies claim: "Psychopaths tend to not respond to punishment."
You say: "Many people don't respond to punishment."
So far, no-one is disagreeing.

You say "No evidence that psychopathy CAUSES a lack of response to punishment."
Okay, but did anyone claim causality, or just correlation?
Finding a proof of causality is unlikely in any case. Generally, that requires a randomised controlled trial, and there is no way to randomly assign psychopathy to a test subject.
causaility is claimed many times
I give examples in my meta question
I don't think because finding an absolute proof may be unlikely that means the question should be closed
Help me out. Which example did you mean?
for example I found some more advanced studies involving brain scans, which are out of my depth although potentially could have helped in an answer.
any example
its not hard to find people talking about lack fo response to punishment as though it were a consequence of psychopathy
rather than a correlation
I'm really fishing for a quote (from a notable source) that we can use to base the question upon.
thats what i dont get
thats what is pssing me off
many other question don't have the same burden of proof
a cursory search or even episodes of tv shows will imply or directly say that it is a consequence
I don't understand the need to find a single attributable quote
when so many other questions don't have that same requirement
10:56 AM
Yes and no (that the other's don't have the burden of proof).
We want to see notability, especially for the controversial ones.
I'm not saying that all other questions don't, I am saying many don't
This wasn't controversial
Sometimes people sneak by without it.
my question was fine until one user started arguing
then a mdoerator agreed and clsoed it
when originally sklivvz didn't seem to have a problem with it and the question was upvoted
I don't see why there is a need for a quote when tv shows, games, media in general, people having discussions
they all assume that it is a consequence of psychopathy not just a correlation
if a character on Law & Order says "He won't respond to punishment, as he is a psychopath", I am not seeing that as supporting your claim.
this is not my interpretation
look at this a different way
10:58 AM
if all/most psychopaths dont respond to punishment
there is the possibility that in psychopaths the aspect of not responding to psychopathy is caused by the condition, right? Just like
not saying it is probably just possible
no one disagrees with that , that is is possible
Okay, I accept that is remotely possible. [Note to people reading this later: I retract/correct this statement below.]
remotely, why remotely?
This isn't my area of expertise, but it seems odd to say "Little Johnny was suffering from a lack of response to punishment, until it grew into a full-blown psychopathy."
But, I am not ruling it out - not my area of expertise.
that is because you are reversing them
a lack of response to punishment will not necessarily have anything to do with psychopathy
psychopathy more often than not results in a lack of response to punishment
all humans have hands but not all things with hands are human for example
11:04 AM
In my mental model, lack-of-response-to-punishment is to psychopathy as sneezing is to a common cold. Sneezing doesn't imply a cold, but a cold implies very likely sneezing, and sneezing is one of a cluster of symptoms used to diagnose a common cold.
im not saying a lack of response to punishment cause psychopathy
Oh, let me re-read what you wrote.
OH MY! I think I misread you.
@SonnyOrdell I misread this line.
How did you do that, reference a line?
11:06 AM
I retract my "remote possibility" statement, with apologies, and say "Yes, I accept that psycopathy could be a cause of non-responsiveness-to-punishment."
OK, thankyou
OK, so the cause is possible. I'm not even saying likely just possible
Start the line with a colon, and then the number on the right of the line. I have a StackOverflow userscript in my browser to make it easier.
now the case I am masking, is that many sources assume the psychopathy is the cause when the subject is also a psychopath
if johnny is a psychopath and doesn't respond to punishment, it is assumed that it is because he is a psychopath
as opposed to him being a psychopath and not responding to punishment for some other reason
Ah, so they say "He didn't respond to punishment, therefore he is a psychopath."?
11:09 AM
Awww, I thought I had it :-(
I am frustrated that I am having trouble communicating this.
you can't infer that someone may be a psychopath because of a lack of response to punishment
I'm really hoping or a breakthrough soon!
as there are too many other possibilities
I agree.
I'm blaming myself here
but if someone is a known psychoipath
and doesn't respond to punishment
in that case it will be attributabed to the psychopathy
also I apologize for my lousy spelling/grammar in chat
So it is only these cases I am asking about. The cases where X is diagnosed as a psychopath, and also does not respond to punishment
11:11 AM
I am translating that in my head: If someone is known to have a cold, and sneezes, the sneeze will be attributed to the cold.

That would be an unsafe conclusion, I agree.
so my point is that to use your analogy, the cases where someone doesn't have a cold and sneezes are irrelivant
as they could have allergies or any number of causes
but the common assumption is that if there is a cold and someone sneezes then the sneeze is due to the cold
im asking for proof of that, or at least evidence
So, now we need to find an example (in Law and Order?) where they say "He is a psychopath. He didn't respond to punishment, because he is a psychopath."
well, that's the thing
It doesn't sound like something they would say.
now we are back to where we were before
in that why do I need to work so hard to find a specific quote
I think that is unreasonable
11:14 AM
If someone said "He is a psychopath. He didn't respond to punishment, because he is a psychopath." we could have a lot of fun with it.

But I am claiming no-one ever said that. And if no-one ever said that, it isn't on-topic.
Not every question about a claim on skeptics, has the claim attributable to a quote
so why does mine have to be?
The wikipedia page should be enough to show that within context, the lack of response to punishment is attributed to psychopathy
To your first question: Everyone should be required to show notability, not just you. The general exception - when several people confirm that they have heard the claim.
I need to re-read the wikipedia page to see if I can find such a claim.
heres a question using your analogy again. If someone is talking about someone with a cold and then goes on to talk about how sneezing affects that person, given the context is it not reaosnable the sneezing is being attributed to the cold?
Take for example the quote : Maudsley included the psychopath's immunity to the reformational effects of punishment, owing to their refusal to anticipate further failure, and punishment.
Is the immunity to reformational effects of punishment not attributable to psychopathy here? Is it just unrelated information?
@Oddthinking I am not saying it is true of physics, but I feel it is less true of any other SE than of skeptics, which is why some people may want a question on skeptics rather than a more focused site.
My interpretation: Maudsley claims: Psychopaths refuse to anticipate further failure and punishment. Reformation through punishment affects require anticipation of further failure and punishment, Therefore, Psychopaths cannot be reformed through punishment.
Didn't mean to notify you there was just replying to an earlier message
11:23 AM
Got it.
that's a conclusion, but it doesn't answer my question. Is the lack of response to punishment in that quote not being attributed to psychopathy?
or: Psychopaths often fail to learn from past experiences and do not modify their behavior to avoid trouble. They often pursue the same old bad habits despite having suffered retribution and humiliation numerous times. Punishment and rehabilitation have no positive effect on them, and their condition is considered untreatable
again, same question
I am torn while answering that. Yes, they both claim that psychopaths don't learn. They attribute not learning to psychopathy. But, I don't think that means they claim that all failure to learn/anticipate/reform is due to psychopathy.
People with colds can't sing, because they sneeze all the time. Doesn't mean all the sneezes are due to the cold.
thats my point though
in cases of psychopathy the failure to respond to punishment is assumed as a consequence of psychopathy
you basically just cofnirmed that
You are saying such a claim would be wrong, and they are making such a claim.
I am agreeing that such a claim would be wrong, but I can't see them making it.
my question was challenging that assumption
looking for evidence
im not saying such a claim is wrong, just that i would like to know if it is supproted or not
11:30 AM
when you agree that the lack of response to punishment is attributed to the punishment
is that not an implicit claim?
to psychopathy.
yes, sorry
I have to say I am not seeing it as such.
It seems a reasonable statement to say "Psychopaths don't respond, so I can't teach them." without implying "Any of their lack of response must be 100% attributable to psychopathy."
lets not get away from punishment, as teaching is indeed very general
11:33 AM
i agree with what you write, but I feel you may be mssing my point
I clearly am missing your point.
john is a psychopathy, so he will not respond to punishment. the lack of response to punishment is implicitly attributed to the psychopathy no?
it is considered a consequence of the psychopathy
this is not to say that 100% of the reason he will not respond to punishment is due to psychopathy
I feel that is a trick question. The easy answer is yes, but I can see where you are going to go next.
Oh, with the last line proviso, yes.
but rather that in ort statistically significant sample size psychopaths don't respond to punishment and well feel some amount of that is due to the psychopathy
its not implying it is the only cause in all cases but at the least that it is part of the cause in a notable amount of the cases
11:37 AM
Sure, I accept that.
so why can't i question that on skeptics
its an assumption and i find little evidence supporting it
just a correlation
to the best of my knowledge not a lot of study has been done here.
but someone with more knowledge may know better, and as I said I saw studies involving fmri brainscans which could be relevant
but were out of my depth to understand
I'm just trying to extract the claim again.
I thought you just got it
I thought I did too, which is why I want to restate it back to you to check.
11:41 AM
1) Psychopaths are much more unlikely, statistically, to respond to punishment. Uncontroversial.
2) This lack of response is because they are psychopaths.
I am converting to the sneeze version and it doesn't make sense.
People with colds sneeze more. They sneeze more because they have colds.
people may sneeze without having a cold, but when a sneeze is in conjunction with a cold, the sneeze is assumed to more likely be a result of the cold
Yes, and the extra-than-expected sneezing can be attributed to the cold.
there you go!
well more than that, we can actually show the cold causes the sneezing
in that we know it is an estasblished symptom
or consequence
that same is not true for lack fo response to punishment and psychopathy although it is assumed
I have to say, still not seeing why this isn't suitable as a question. You have agreed their are implicit attributions and assumptions which is enough for a claim. Why then can I not question that claim and ask for further evidence?
11:50 AM
Wait, if I change my second statement above:
2) This *extra* lack of response is because they are psychopaths.
except you can't measure that
well, not with an indiviual like you can with a cold
No, not with an individual.
the analogy also starts to break down because all people sneeze sometimes. Not all people fail to respond to punishment
2) This extra lack of response, in the psychopath population, is because they are psychopaths.
So, when we have these two statements, I have to ask: Who made them? Are you dubious about them?
I think framing the claim as an extra lack of response make it unnecessarily complex, as a baselines for lack of response has to be established
11:53 AM
You say they are implied by the Law & Order style statements.
Now you have confused me
Your argument is that the Law and Order style dialogues imply the two claims that we are thrashing out, right?
Odd...I don't know why we still have to discuss this. I really don't get it.
You have accepted the implict claims and attributations
why then is that not enough to ask a question asking for further evidence
If I ask a question X implicity claims Y, is there any evidence to support this
surely that is fine
here X can be numoerus sources and y is that lack of response to punishment observed in psychopaths in a result of psychoapthy
s/result of/attributed to
Because the scope of the site is limited to claims you are skeptical about. Saying "Justin Bieber is cool. Is there more evidence for this?" isn't a skeptical question.
Sure, but im not asking for an opinion
I'm asking a question about an objective claim that can be supported by evidence
you can see the implicit claim and attribution. You said as much unless you have now changed your mind
the question I am asking can be supported by evidence and a skeptical approach
There is a claim. It is in scope. What's the problem?
11:59 AM
I can just see it, yes.
But the next hurdle is this business of being suspicious about it - which is easy enough to fake!
the thing I find frustrating is that it is not a weak attribution. Most of the litrature based on Hare's studies all assume it as a defining charteristics and direct consequence of the condition
One of the problems in the original question is you seemed to provide good evidence for the claim, leaving nothing for the answerers to do.
People stated that but that was false.
The studies showed the link between lack of response to punishment and psychopathy
they did nothing to show the cause
nor did they try
when you say the next hurdle is being suspicious which is easy to fake, can you clarify?
How could they? All they can show is correlation.
I am skeptical of the assumption and would like to see more evidence.
well no, as I said a few times there are studies for example showing brain scans which can show a mroe definitive link
but that is outside my depth
12:03 PM
I'm just saying it isn't hard to turn a question into a skeptical question. "How do you track satellites?" becomes "Scientists claim they can track satellites? Bah! Sounds like nonsense to me!"
not seeing your point
there is a claim made which is an assumption. I would like to find more evidence for this assumption.
the claim is prevalent
it is not like asking about a pop star or turning a random question into a skeptical question
Restating to make sure I have ti right: You are doubtful of the assumption that the extra non-responsiveness that psychopaths express (and are, perhaps, defined by) is caused by the psychopathy.
I've said this multiple times and you haven't really given me an answer. My question has a claim attributed to it, is in scope and can be supported/answered by evidence. So why is it not suitable?
Why are you saying extra?
that word complicates things unnecessarily
I am doubtful of the assumption that the non-responsiveness that psychopaths express (and are, perhaps, defined by) is caused by the psychopathy.
(The "easy to fake" thread was just me showing it isn't hard to turn a general question into a skeptical question, and sneak it into scope. One of the reasons we like to see notability/)
ahh, gotcha
12:07 PM
Sorry, when I didn't have the word "extra" you gave an unhappy face, so I thought you weren't happy with it.
no I don't think it was that
while I am frustrated I want to say that I really really appreciate you discussing this with me
Cool. I'm going to have to call it a night soon though.
so then
why can't I ask the question?
notable claim. makes implicit assumption and attribution. I wish to ask for more evidence to support that assumption and attribution. An answer is possible, which will either show data or say that there is insufficient data and perhaps why the assumption is likely or not.
it meets all of the criteria for a question on skeptics
We need to make the question very clear - and the implicit assumption is definitely the tenuous part that needs to be made very direct.
Not why to the question being clear
why to the implicit assumption having to be made more direct
is it not clear from the context?
I would also like to ask you to delete the quetsion i asked on meta if possible
12:15 PM
I am still struggling with it.
Yes, and so were a few other people who read the question
and it was those few loud voices that got the quetsion clsoed
given the people who upvoted and followed it didnt have trouble with it
not everyone will have trouble with it
presumably those more familiar with the subject wont have trouble with it and won't need such great proofs of the claim
If i could post passages from the books I have or from the papers I have read i would
I just don't see why that is necessary, given the context
johnny has been sick with a cold and wont stop sneezing
given the context the sneezing is attributed to the cold
there is nothing hard about that and it shouldnt have to be made clearer
yes, that question
12:29 PM
@Oddthinking still there?
Only just. I tried editing the question, but it is getting late and my head is starting to get fuzzy.
I am stuck at the bit you say is easy.
I should save what I have, so you can look at it, even though it isn't finished...
or just leave it till later
I'm in the UK at the moment so my night time will be your monring
I would prefer not to interact with the other moderators as I haven't had the best experiences, and dont expect a positive response.
I've saved it half-finished, which I don't like.
I just don't get why you think the part I think is obvious is hard
I saw what you have done with it
how do we extract from the quotes below etc...
its because of context
how do you extract from the quote "john has a cold and has been sneezing a lot lately" that the sneezing has anything to do with the cold?
we know that sneezing and colds are linked and that frequence of sneezing increases when a cold is present
furthermore we know that colds cause sneezing, not just a correlation
with psychopathy we have a higher incidence rate and only the assumption of a link
no, sorry, assumption of attribution
@Oddthinking why is seeing the implicit attribution in a quote about punishment and psychopathy harder than sneezing and colds?
5 hours later…
5:40 PM
@SonnyOrdell The fact is that MDs and medical sources are typically very cautions with regards to causation. It's perfectly possible to sneeze without colds and have colds without sneezing. In general, you will find that not all patients display all sypmtoms (especially in psychiatry).
For example "increased appetite" and "lack of appetite" are both symptoms of depression! :-)
So, typically, "lack of response to punishment" is a symptom of psychopathy. It may be that psychopathy is simply a co-factor, or a facilitator, etc. etc.
This is why I don't think that going from "psychopaths generally don't respond to punishment" to "psychopathy causes lack-of-response-to-punishment" is a warranted assumption
the first is correct, and is what we commonly read and hear. the second is possibly wrong, but someone needs to be making that claim explicitly.
your question then becomes super simple: "Dr. John Doe, a notable psychiatrist has asserted that "psychosis causes lack-of-response-to-punishment", however all the literature I could find points to a correlation. Is his statement supported by studies or is it a slip of the tongue?"
6:26 PM
@Sklivvz I don't understand the requirement that someone make that claim explicitly, when there are numerous examples of the claim being made implicitly. There is no guideline on the website that all claims have to be explicit, that I am aware of.
Of course you can sneeze without having a cold. However if sneezing is mentioned in the same context as a cold, the sneezing will assumed to be attributed to the cold. The same goes for response to punishment and psychopathy.
The difference is the cold - sneezing link and causation is well documented as where the punishment - psychopathy link is not and is assumed based on the correlation
1 hour later…
7:41 PM
@SonnyOrdell There is no such thing as an "implicit" claim.
State or assert that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof.
An assertion of the truth of something, typically one that is disputed or in doubt.
You can't "state" or "assert" something "implicitly"
Implied though not plainly expressed: "implicit criticism".
State a fact or belief confidently and forcefully
Express something definitely or clearly in speech or writing: "the report stated that more than 51 percent of voters failed to participate".
So something should be clearly, definitely expressed in order to be a claim.
3 hours later…
10:43 PM
@Sonny, you are not going to like this, but I have had time to sleep on it, and I am less happy with the "tenuous" part.

I am referring to our conversation around here:
> john is a psychopathy, so he will not respond to punishment. the lack of response to punishment is implicitly attributed to the psychopathy no?
> it is considered a consequence of the psychopathy
> this is not to say that 100% of the reason he will not respond to punishment is due to psychopathy
> [...]
>1) Psychopaths are much more unlikely, statistically, to respond to punishment. Uncontroversial.
11:06 PM
I have a claim that I'm skeptical of, but it is so obviously false that I'm afraid that posting it will get me downvoted into oblivion.
11:23 PM
Why not share it here, and get some feedback?
Sure. Hold on.
Conservapedia claims it's "the trustworthy encyclopedia". Is Conservapedia trustworthy?
My question to you would be what would you consider to be good evidence for or against? How could someone answer it?
I mean some left-wing, godless scientist could say Conservapedia is wrong, but the maintainers of Conservapedia might simple argue they are wrong. How would you assess it?
Exactly. I'm a bit torn about that. The problem is that the evidence against that claim is so abundant that it's hard to assemble.
But someone might have done a study, after all, there are several studies comparing the accuracy of Wikipedia with conventional encyclopedias.
Sure, but Wikipedia plays by the same rules as conventional encyclopedias.
You mean "reality"?
11:35 PM
Let me explain. If I say "My mother makes the best pancakes in the world..."
There is no way you can prove that wrong.
You can assemble lots of evidence that other people prefer pancakes from other providers, but that won't sway me.
I think the Conservapedia claim has to be taken in a similar vain. "You can trust us to match your conservative values, and not have any articles that you wouldn't want your home-schooled children to see."
Oh, but I'm not interested in swaying you, I just want a scientific study that shows that the most tasty pancakes, according to a double blind randomized study, are made by Gregs mother.
Except that Conservapedia is heavily critized by conservatives.
Ha. I would hope so! In that case, I just need to further restrict the target audience of the slogan.
Nevertheless, it's not like I would be asking "Is conservatism the best (worst) political standpoint?"
My point is that no-one is making the claim that Conservapedia is "trustworthy, as measured against evidence provided by scientists"
I agree that the question should be possible without dragging people's personal standpoints into question.
@Zano We have addressed specific claims from Conservapedia, but I definitely think the question is unanswerable if you expand it to the whole site.
To be honest I didn't like the "is wikipedia trustworthy" analog either
11:49 PM
I can image if you get a couple of references from their target audience stating that they are untrustworthy, that would work toward an answer.
@Sklivvz: Nevertheless, the question "Is Wikipedia reliable?" gets 50 net upvotes.

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