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The Decent Human Beings' Guide to Speaking at Atheist Conferences

Category: Atheism
Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:00 PM, by ERV

Thanks to PZ for the format/inspiration!

Be self-aware. You are the speaker in a room filled with dozens, hundreds, thousands of people. Especially at atheist/skeptic conferences, we are all very interesting people, but out of those dozens/hundreds/thousands of people who could have been chosen to give a presentation, you were chosen. Your opinion and your words are most likely highly valued, because other people want to hear them. Other people want to learn from you. Other people look up to you. Other people have not had the exact same life history, education, experience that you have had, and want to peek into your world, and hear about your perspective for a few minutes.

Not a round-table discussion where anyone can interrupt or disagree-- you are a speaker, and the audience has chosen to spend their time with you. Not each other in the bar. Not with any of the other concurrent speakers. You. And if you are invited to be a keynote speaker, the conference stops, and everyone listens to you. All the more responsibility.

That opportunity requires one to be self aware. "Am I using words this audience understands?" "Am I taking the appropriate tone for this audience? Too stuffy? Too casual? Is it age appropriate?" "Will this choice of sentence advance my cause, or unnecessarily confuse the audience? Unnecessarily anger the audience?" "Could I be more articulate?" "Am I 100% this statement is true?" "Is the audience interested in this topic? Even if it is important to me, how can I engage everyone?" "Is this joke necessary? Could someone think this joke is offensive? Racist? Sexist?" "Am I talking down to the audience? Am I talking over them?"

All eyes are on you, so your own eyes need to be on you. Critically analyzing your every move, as critically as you would be critiquing an Enemy Speaker.


Be aware of your potential targets. Especially at atheist/skeptic conferences, we are pretty much always attacking/making fun of someone. Whether its Jenny McCarthy or Michael Behe or Deepak Chopra, or Sarah Palin, sometimes you need to talk about a person and their actions, not just purely vaccines or evolution or psychology or politics. Sometimes you might even feel the need to address the words/actions of someone in the audience. If you chose to do this, from a privileged position as The Speaker, where The Target will not have a fair opportunity to respond, you need to be Dexter. You need to be 100% sure. "Is this attack 100% necessary?" "Will pursuing this attack advance my goals?" "Will this attack take attention away from my primary goals?" "Is attacking this individual the best way to call attention to this issue?" "How would I feel if someone attacked me, maybe even misrepresented me, to a group of hundreds of people, and I wouldnt get a chance to respond?" "Am I 100% sure I understand this persons perspective/position myself?" "Is it possible that this persons opinions are equally valid as mine, I just dont understand their world view myself?" "Is this person really relevant to the topic Im speaking about?" "Am I abusing my position as speaker to 'get back' at someone on a personal level?" "If I pursue this attack, is it possible I will come out looking like an asshole? Have I honestly reflected on this attack, or am I actually being an asshole? (see 'Be self-aware')"

Being a Decent Human Being is actually the best defense you can have against abusing your position as a speaker at atheist conferences. Dont abandon it for short-term gain: youre in a community, and youre going to lose that if you think of yourself as a predator on the make.


What about tactics? Lets say you are super passionate about an issue, but is a keynote speech really the best forum for your issue? Would a moderated, recorded brain-storming session be better? An official debate? An intimate, one-on-one conversation in a quiet side room? A light-hearted, open to everyone conversation in a noisy bar? Or maybe even an online discussion, where everyone can take time to think about their input and responses and questions carefully-- where everyone can simply send links to others, so everyone is on the same page, even everyone didnt start on the same page? Using a keynote address to pitch an idea for a skeptics football league is no more appropriate than using a keynote address to confront someone who said something that you found personally offensive (while others did not) is no more appropriate to rant for an hour about how the rent is too damn high. Yes, you have been given the opportunity to give a speech at an atheist conference-- but that doesnt mean a speech at an atheist conference is the appropriate tactic for what you are excited about 2 minutes before you give said speech. You need to put thought into this, or you will alienate your audience not because you are wrong or had a bad idea, but because you used the wrong tactic. People will think you capitalized on your invitation as a speaker, not to engage with the audience, but to pursue a personal interest (or vendetta). You abused the forum you were given. They might not be interested in providing you with that same platform in the future.


Of course, if any more experienced commenters would like to offer further suggestions, theyre welcome to continue...as long as they remember these are guidelines for Decent Human Beings, not assholes who will excuse someones bad behavior just because they are friends with the offender.

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Comments

1

What a refreshing breath of sanity you provide.

PZ doesn't understand that anyone can take offense at anything or nothing, and that offense does not equal injury.

Posted by: Robert Bruce Thompson | July 3, 2011 12:57 PM

2

As someone who helps determine speakers for the Mac IT conference track at Macworld Expo, and allowing for the difference in atmosphere, purpose and size between that entity and skeptic/athiest conferences, anyone, ANYONE who used even a second of podium-time for an off-topic attack on someone would be persona non grata forever. There is no place, no excuse, no justification for that on any level.

As someone who's been speaking at conference regularly since 1999, I cannot imagine doing what Watson did. It was juvenile, stupid, petty, passive-aggressive bullshit that has made me start thinking more critically about how I view skepchicks as an organization

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 1:00 PM

3

"It was juvenile, stupid, petty, passive-aggressive bullshit that has made me start thinking more critically about how I view skepchicks as an organization"

This.

Posted by: Ray Percival | July 3, 2011 2:09 PM

4

I was about to give up reading Science Blogs until I read this post. OK, there is still someone who makes sense on SB.

Posted by: harrync | July 3, 2011 2:29 PM

5

Off the top of my head there are two times in which i disagree with PZ, the whole 'what is an atheist' thing and ... this.

Posted by: lido209boi | July 3, 2011 2:50 PM

6

harry-- 'Starts With A Bang' is *my* favorite science blog on the entire internet, possibly in the history of the internet, ever. 'We Beasties' is also a great blog, and I wish they had a following that reflected that to encourage them to post more often. Branch out ;)

Posted by: ERV | July 3, 2011 2:58 PM

7

Sorry, but I disagree. Intellectual honesty and the ability to have open discussion without feeling obligated to coddle individuals or avoid angering famous people is more important to me than being seen as an asshole. Rebecca's remarks were not off topic or some random pet issue because she was specifically invited to talk about feminism and atheism. And if you're putting your ideas out there publicly (like Stef did), you do so with the knowledge that people can call you out. The people who have been saying it's inappropriate because she's a student leader - or worse, a young girl - a part of the problem. She's an adult, treat her like one. If I - a young female student blogger - say stupid shit that becomes fodder for a talk, you know what I would do? Try to think about why what I said was so goddamn stupid, and correct it in the future.

I guess I'm just not a decent human being.

Posted by: Jen | July 3, 2011 4:10 PM

8
If I - a young female student blogger - say stupid shit that becomes fodder for a talk, you know what I would do? Try to think about why what I said was so goddamn stupid, and correct it in the future.
I do not agree that what McGraw wrote was 'goddamn stupid'. Yet she was accused of being anti-woman and misogynistic in a forum where she (nor I, nor anyone who disagreed) would have a platform to respond to those accusations.


If I quoted a snippet of something you wrote and declared you homophobic at a large convention, when you dont think (and many other dont think) what you said was homophobic, and you had no means of responding to that accusation, that would be wrong, and you would be (rightly) mad.

Accusing someone of racism, sexism, classism, etc, is extremely personal. What Watson did was inappropriate. Just like it was also inappropriate when Casey Luskin did it. I do not want to be able to compare my supposed allies with Creationists.

I am accusing Watson of doing something inappropriate, and I hope she sees that her choices did not have the effect on 'feminism' she was shooting for, and I hope she tries to correct it in the future. But she wouldnt know that I think she was very, very wrong unless I said something. So, here we are.

Posted by: ERV | July 3, 2011 4:27 PM

9

I've pretty much decided people are blind to anything outside their own experience. Therefore I expect people to see things in a simplistic manner.

Posted by: rnb | July 3, 2011 4:30 PM

10

Why are all of the prominent bloggers (PZ, Greg, Jen) going on about naming names. Stef never said she had a problem that her name was mentioned, she didn't say that she felt that as a student she shouldn't of been named nor criticized. She has specifically said the issue at hand in which she thought Rebecca to be unprofessional was that as a "student attendee" she was not allowed to address her accuser.

Why, why, why, why are all of the prominent bloggers making this out to seem as if the whole issue then is that Stef got butt hurt because she felt she was called out on by name (which she should have been immune to because she was a student). She didn't say she shouldn't have been named, she doesn't ask for anonymity, she isn't saying she shouldn't have been criticized. All she is saying is that as a 'student attendee' she could not respond back to the accusations of her being a misogynist sympathizer, and that it was inappropriate for Rebecca to call her out in a forum where she could have gone on about it practically nonstop while Stef had to sit there and listen as if Rebecca was her mommy lecturing her.

It seems no one cares what Stef said, all they care about is Rebecca's elevator guy encounter and what everyone else is saying Rebecca. Not what Stef is saying about Rebecca (why she thought it was unfair and unprofessional), not what Stef thought about the incident, but what everyone else is saying.

Am I missing something here? Heck even ERV isn't saying that it was wrong for Rebecca to name Stef, only that that wasn't the appropriate place for it. Yet still all of the other bloggers keeps shouting "OF COURSE STEF SHOULD HAVE BEEN NAMED!", when that isn't even what Stef took issue with in the first place (nor why ERV is posting all of this).

Posted by: lido209boi | July 3, 2011 4:35 PM

11

Cogent, well-stated, and correct. This post should be the final word on the issue. Alas, I fear petty minds will prevail.

Posted by: frank habets | July 3, 2011 4:37 PM

12

LOL, hey-- Hey you guys? Remember this time last year when everyone was freaking out over Pepsi?

LOL!!!

Posted by: ERV | July 3, 2011 4:45 PM

13

I have to start reading this blog more frequently. Thanks for putting the focus on what seems to me to be the only inarguable thing in this whole shitstorm: Watson abused her position as keynote speaker to make a petty swipe at someone who disagreed with her.

Gender, misogyny, feminism, and skepticism do not come into play here. At all. Watson acted unprofessionally and should own up to that and apologize to McGraw.

Posted by: Chuck | July 3, 2011 4:47 PM

14

Chuck@#13

"Watson acted unprofessionally and should own up to that and apologize to McGraw."

She might know that, if she had a profession. She is an ex street performer and communications major who is working without qualifications as a copy writer, courtesy of internet celebrity and JREF sycophancy.

PZ and Laden are defending her because she kisses their bottoms and I suspect the payoff will be the same as Dawkins got from his personal toady.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 3, 2011 6:11 PM

15
She might know that, if she had a profession.

Ouch! That's going to leave a mark...

Posted by: Onkel Bob | July 3, 2011 6:31 PM

16

I'm probably just re-stating what's been said in different terms, but I see what Rebecca did as inappropriate because she was privileged by being a speaker and having prepared in advance. Stef was at a disadvantage because she did not have a talk and the Q&A was not equal footing, nor did she necessarily have the time to recover from the surprise of being called-out publicly in a talk she was attending.

Posted by: ErkLR | July 3, 2011 6:44 PM

17

I think a commenter on Pharyngula summarized it best:

"Best I can tell, it's apparently because publicly refuting her live in front of 100 people for a couple of minutes of a talk is way worse than writing about it on her blog where at least 10,000 people would read it and it would sit around being able to be read for internet eternity. Or some shit like that."

I honestly don't give a crap anymore about Elevator Guy, or what Stef originally said (even though I *do* think it was goddamn stupid), or even Rebecca calling her out. The thing that upsets me about all of this is how fucking crazy everyone is getting, and the really ignorant or oblivious comments this is generating. Especially by people I respect (like Dawkins, or Hemant, or Miranda Hale, or wtf Jerry Coyne telling me to stop swearing). The fact that Woman Saying She's Uncomfortable ALWAYS devolves into a shitstorm of screaming and/or disregard and/or rape apologetics makes me want to ragequit the atheist movement all together.

Posted by: Jen | July 3, 2011 7:07 PM

18

Well said. It seems obvious to me (veteran of a whole ONE talk at a conference!) that this is not the way to go about disagreeing with someone in public. I find it odd that so many people who have given so many talks CAN'T see that. It's abuse of power far worse than asking someone for coffee in an elevator.

Posted by: hematophage | July 3, 2011 7:14 PM

19

A lesson that I have learned about talks and public speaking (and i had to learn this lesson the hard way): Don't play shame/blame-games with the audience, even when the intentions are noble, good, brave and so on...
It just makes people 'stupid' (in quotes, because it makes otherwise smart, clever and reasonable people do and say dumb things)....

Now, as I give it a second thought, I notice that in other life situations, these shame/blame-thing never (or very rarely) turned into something constructive. And it makes me wonder, why I just cant help and continue doing these things. And I guess that I am not the only one. Maybe it's just because I am a member of the species homo sapiens (and that's latin for 'wise or knowing man', isn't it?). And Humans can be pretty slow learners in some areas (doing and continuing things that just don't work). Maybe these evolutionary psychologists can answer these question....usually they always have something truthy to say about such things.
Well, I hope that saying such things doesn't make me guilty of being a misanthrope :)


Posted by: thememe | July 3, 2011 7:19 PM

20

lido209boi: I'm saying that Steph had a forum and need not have complained. The internet is her oyster. I should say though, that a friend of mine and I were just talking about the idea that she should be offered by someone a chance to have a wider venue if she wants it. Personally, I was thinking of a Bloggingheads TV episode with Steph and Rebecca but that may not go well....


PZ and Laden are defending her because she kisses their bottoms and I suspect the payoff will be the same as Dawkins got from his personal toady.

I haven't noticed that. Any evidence? Examples? I need to know if Rebecca has been kissing my ass because I might owe her a favor or something. She'll be mad at me if I don't pay off.

Posted by: Greg Laden | July 3, 2011 7:36 PM

21

Oh, and did you see the post by Barb Drescher? Mutual admiration society theory deflated.

Posted by: Greg Laden | July 3, 2011 7:38 PM

22

@Greg

I guess that's where we both don't agree with each other. I just really don't see how you can equate someone on stage calling you out in the flesh to your peers and you not able to respond. But then if you go back home and sit in your bedroom blogging about it at night, YOU HAD EQUAL GROUND, PLATFORM, AND TIME WITH THEM!

Posted by: lido209boi | July 3, 2011 7:51 PM

23

PS - I thought these gnu atheists was supposed to be confrontational, but I guess what confrontational meant was that you go out in public, get ripped on in public, and come back home to blog about it on the internet. *shrugs*

Posted by: lido209boi | July 3, 2011 7:55 PM

24

It should be noted that Watson spent almost 30 minutes building up to that 2 minute mention of McGraw's post, before even beginning her talk on "The Religious Right vs Every Woman on Earth". I was there in the audience, and timed it.

And to be honest, I missed a good majority of that talk because my mind was spinning with what she had just done.

Posted by: QuantumSinger | July 3, 2011 8:07 PM

25

Greg Laden@#20

"I haven't noticed that. Any evidence? Examples? I need to know if Rebecca has been kissing my ass because I might owe her a favor or something."

You dumped pages of ecstatic self congratulatory crap about you and Meyers speaking at the Skepchick conference without a blip about being third billing to Watson's less credible uneducated racist false rape accusation apologist buddy Amanda Marcotte.

Isn't it nice to be fancied at our age?

Ass kissed. Watson defended. You are even.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 3, 2011 8:38 PM

26
Sorry, but I disagree. Intellectual honesty and the ability to have open discussion without feeling obligated to coddle individuals or avoid angering famous people is more important to me than being seen as an asshole. Rebecca's remarks were not off topic or some random pet issue because she was specifically invited to talk about feminism and atheism. And if you're putting your ideas out there publicly (like Stef did), you do so with the knowledge that people can call you out. The people who have been saying it's inappropriate because she's a student leader - or worse, a young girl - a part of the problem. She's an adult, treat her like one. If I - a young female student blogger - say stupid shit that becomes fodder for a talk, you know what I would do? Try to think about why what I said was so goddamn stupid, and correct it in the future.

Stef put her ideas out in a forum where all are reasonably equal, and all can respond with close to equal power. Watson did nothing even close to that. I've been behind that podium. even when people do disagree with me, I have the microphone, and I have a position of (implied) power the audience does not possess at that moment in time. I can cut off a question, or, should I choose, completely ignore the questioner and take questions from everyone else. In other words, if I see that someone might be inconvenient, it is fairly easy for me to shut them out and/or down, and they can't do much about it but bitch on the internet, after the session, or to the organizers. But in that moment in time, they ain't doin' shit that I can't stop.

The power imbalance is what made Watson's actions wrong. This is not complicated. Just like being a company with a 90+% marketshare means you play by different rules than the company with 5%, when you're a speaker, you play by different rules than the people in the audience. You don't have to like it, but you do have to accept that reality.

Finally, I'm beginning to think that stef's crime wasn't disagreeing with Watson, it was that she dared question one of the skeperati.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 9:12 PM

27
LOL, hey-- Hey you guys? Remember this time last year when everyone was freaking out over Pepsi?

I'm still trying to decide which was stupider. It's harder than it looks.


(that's what she said)

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 9:14 PM

28

I'm saying that Steph had a forum and need not have complained. The internet is her oyster. I should say though, that a friend of mine and I were just talking about the idea that she should be offered by someone a chance to have a wider venue if she wants it. Personally, I was thinking of a Bloggingheads TV episode with Steph and Rebecca but that may not go well....

I usually agree with you Greg and when I don't I often learn something new (even if I still end up disagreeing with you). Not this time. The idea that the internet can be her oyster, seems absurd to me. When women are treated like objects by key note speakers at atheist meetings (see how pretty Christina Rad is?) do you tell people not to complain or imply they shouldn't be concerned since the internet is available? Does a post hoc podcast make it all better? I don't think so and find it odd that you seem to.

Posted by: Lorax | July 3, 2011 10:45 PM

29

Possibly interesting meta-question — Which issue is more important to the health of the skeptical community: the one addressed by PZ one how to be ethical about trying to get laid after hours at conferences, or the one addressed here about how to be ethical when arguing amongst ourselves during the day at conferences?

Posted by: D4M10N | July 4, 2011 12:01 AM

30

Right now, I'm leaning towards the question addressed (quite aptly) by ERV for a few reasons.

Firstly, it seems like the more difficult question. I just don’t think it takes that much thought to see the potential threat involved in cornering someone and awkwardly propositioning them in an elevator. The actual threat of humiliation from a podium is a bit subtler, and apparently requires a bit of explaining, as we’ve seen above.

Moreover, the way popular speakers behave is far more public and reputational than the way random douche-bags do. Granted, it’s a bit of a stain on us to have such people around, and I’d personally like to see Elevator Guy publicly shamed by name (you can do that here in America without much risk of libel) but I still doubt that his actions carry much weight in terms of how people see the sceptical community as a whole.

Finally, even when the big names actually address the original incident, it has the potential to backfire horribly and make us look like a bunch of privileged old white men. Enough has already been said about that.

Posted by: D4M10N | July 4, 2011 12:33 AM

31

Interesting how the power shifts in our lives. In conference, the one at the podium has power. In elevator, the one with the penis has power.

LOL

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 4, 2011 12:59 AM

32

Yet again, Abbie, you are my hero. BTW: Great minds and all that:

http://evolvingthoughts.net/2011/07/more-on-tone/

Posted by: John S. Wilkins | July 4, 2011 2:01 AM

33

Jesus Christ, I'm agreeing with Jen on this. That's almost as bad as Drescher agreeing with Rebecca.

Posted by: Rorschach | July 4, 2011 5:12 AM

34

Erhmm...

Happy 4th of July to you all. Be you male or female.

From the other side of the pond :)

Posted by: Jack | July 4, 2011 7:14 AM

35

PZ never did address what someone in the audience who is "called out" (insulted) by a conference's keynote speaker, thirty minutes before the end of a talk on some completely different topic, should do. Immediately demand a microphone and equal time? Disrupt the Q&A? Or complain about it in his/her blog?

Does he actually say that the last option is wrong?

Posted by: ttch | July 4, 2011 8:22 AM

36

ttch, well he sort of has: "Suck it up, and blog about it later" would be the general response towards stef on this from PZ's side. Essentially none of them are willing to even entertain the thought that Watson MIGHT have been out of line for what she did to stef. In fact, if it's brought up, their response is OMG, ELEVATOR GUY!!!

They've decided that Watson, at least in this case, can do no wrong whatsoever, and any criticism of her with regards to this incident is therefore automatically wrong.

Which is of course, bullshit, but once you close your mind....

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 4, 2011 8:49 AM

37

The comment about 'Heathers' is exactly right. I stopped being a regular commenter on Pharyngula a few years back when it became apparent there was a party line you couldn't cross and that demarcation line involved criticizing the 'more equal' skeptics. If you have to be 100% behind everything the correct people do and say otherwise you are deemed an enemy of the people then I guess, despite being on the same side on 99% of questions, you'll have to put me down on the enemy column.

Posted by: Sigmund | July 4, 2011 9:42 AM

38

Sigmund, you pretty much nailed it. it's why i *rarely* comment on anything over there.

It's so pathetically bad that when I commented on "pepsigate", i was accused of being an astroturfer for pepsi. Why? Because due to the way SB deals with commenter auth, the only reliable way for me to log in was to use gmail. So CLEARLY, because I didn't agree with PZ lockstep and I was logging in as "jcwelch@gmail.com", I was an astroturfer.

For a group that prides themselves on their mighty brains, they don't think so good sometimes.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 4, 2011 9:51 AM

39

"remember these are guidelines for Decent Human Beings"

Very nice. But now how about guidelines for the rest of us?

Posted by: Divalent | July 4, 2011 10:20 AM

40

libo (22): I think I see what you are saying, but I don't think that anything is ever going to "equate." Unless everyone in ever conversation is always on their own identical podium, there is always going to be an instantaneous difference. And, that will relate to fame and power relations. Dawkins lame comment on PZ's blog is bigger than Rebecca's whole speech (possibly) and standing in front of a room is different than being in an audience.

By the way, I totally get why Steph did not comment in the Q&A. I probably wouldn't have either. But you and many others seem to be asking for people to only say certain things at certain times to somehow even out or compensate for the heterogeneity we have in the broadcast characteristics of a given effort at communication, but that is a) impossible and b) usually not demanded unless it happens to be convenient to supporting an argument, and it really has nothing to do with the argument anyway.

It is reasonable to check and see if someone is not getting a chance to have a voice and to try to step in and help, but it is not reasonable to shape one's discussion to avoid or underscore different things because someone else may or may not speak during a Q&A or because someone else may use livejournal rather than a blog, etc.

Otherwise none of us could make a move.

(Well, that may be a good thing, but still...)

Posted by: Greg Laden | July 4, 2011 11:34 AM

41

Prometheus (25) You need to clarify. So far what I see you saying is that there is something I didn't say. And I'm not sure what it was I didn't say or what the topic is. Also, I think you just told me to not promote my own involvement in an effort to promote science and stuff. Is your preferred strategy that we do this public promotion of science in secret?

John (26/27) The power imbalance position is valid, but it is valid only as a consideration, not as a basis for splitting the community asunder, charging convicting sentencing and punishing Rebecca. Steph was not silenced. You say it is not complicated but I'm afraid that is a stand in for "this is not nuanced." And it is.

Pepsigate was stupider because it was about not wanting to be associate with soda. This discussion is about not wanting to be hit on in an elevator by someone who is probably harmless. On the other and, the degree to which it is dragged out of proportion may be reversed. Or maybe not. Hard to say if people quitting their blogs (which they did for reasons other than soda) is a big deal.

Lorax [28]: Your point is totally valid, but here's the thing: We are telling a woman, effectively, that she is not allowed to complain about a man hitting on her. But she does in fact have that right, and all of the telling her to shut up is mysogynist. Steph is very unlikely to be a mysogynist asshole, but what she did was the act of one and she needs to learn that.

I'm fine with questioning the strategy Rebecca used, but it is simply not true that a) Steph does not have a voice or b) that the fact that anyone you address in a talk can't reasonably jump to the podium and defend themself means that we never mention anyone in a talk.

Here's the thing: One is always going to be able to make a post hoc argument about the nature of the broadcast or about access. Most of what we are seeing here is an anti-Skepchick reaction, little more. Had a skepchick been in the audience and some big-ass skeptic took them down a notch from the podium, most of the people who are now berating Rebecca (who, by the way, I hardly know and have almost nothing to do with despite the sense I'm getting that we are somehow in each other's back pockets) would be silent about it. One piece of evidence for this is the fact that so much of the "Shut up Rebecca" rhetoric comes packaged with some notation or another of the Skepchicks as some sort of negative force.

Does a post hoc podcast make it all better? I don't think so and find it odd that you seem to.

I don't think it does, I don't see the world as so simple. But I do acknowledge that public debates are complex and messy. What is really happening here is post hoc, but not intrinsic to the debate. See comments above.


Posted by: Greg Laden | July 4, 2011 11:50 AM

42

Rorschach [33] Jesus Christ, I'm agreeing with Jen on this. That's almost as bad as Drescher agreeing with Rebecca.

FTW.

John/Sigmund [36,37] FTW also.

Posted by: Greg Laden | July 4, 2011 11:59 AM

43

This discussion is about not wanting to be hit on in an
elevator by someone who is probably harmless.

Maybe elsewhere, but not on ERV.

One piece of evidence for this is the fact that so much of the "Shut up Rebecca" rhetoric comes packaged with some notation or another of the Skepchicks as some sort of negative force.
Where have I told Watson to shut up?

I told Watson that she abused her invitation as a keynote speaker to settle a personal vendetta. This was not a well thought out, carefully considered point-- Watson made a split-second decision right before her speech to accuse someone of being anti-women and mysogenistic in front of a large group of people, where the accused had no position to respond.

That was an unwise decision.

What 'motivated' me to respond was my conscience. I have been in McGraws position, and I have been in Watsons. What Watson did was wrong, and I want her to be concious of her position in the future.

This has been clear on ERV.

Elevator guy is a lark that is being used to excuse inappropriate behavior.

Posted by: ERV | July 4, 2011 12:08 PM

44

I find it disconcerting that the skeptical community has assumed that we're all on board for what would be commonly described as 'liberal' political viewpoints. I, for one, am tired of having this crap shoved down my throat. I've asked several of my female friends (Save your breath. I know that that's not a scientific survey) and they find the whole debacle ridiculous.

There's no debate, no argument. An expression of doubt, a hesitation to unquestionably accept any kind of action touting itself as feminism (in this case, public humiliation of an individual), and 'male privilege' is invoked. From then on, you are supposed to prostrate yourself and beg forgiveness for your ignorance in even questioning this viewpoint.

How patronising! How thoroughly unreflective of avowed skeptics to insist that everybody accept their point of view while providing only ready-bake thinking/heuristics like 'male privilege'.

Posted by: Galwayskeptic | July 4, 2011 12:43 PM

45

But she does in fact have that right, and all of the telling her to shut up is mysogynist. Steph is very unlikely to be a mysogynist asshole, but what she did was the act of one and she needs to learn that.

I fail to see how telling someone to shut up is an act of hatred or dislike towards a gender, surely it's more of an attempt to well, shut someone up because you don't like what they say, or think them foolish. Not that I've seen Steph, or in fact anyone here say that anyway. Perhaps telling women in general to shut-up, or saying someone should shut-up because of their gender, but I haven't seen that either.

I keep seeing this sort of statement, has misogyny changed meaning lately?

Posted by: Peter | July 4, 2011 1:30 PM

46

I was tempted to ask one of those who said a guy's intent doesn't matter, and that anyone who didn't agree was suffering male privilege, if they had heard of Emmitt Till.

Posted by: rnb | July 4, 2011 1:33 PM

47

Erv [43] I wasn't actually referring to your post at all.

I told Watson that she abused her invitation as a keynote speaker to settle a personal vendetta. This was not a well thought out, carefully considered point

That's a reasonable interpretation. I'm not sure how split second it was since there was a screen capture and stuff, but something along those lines, could be.

Galwayskeptic, Peter, I know, I know, it's hard.


Posted by: Greg Laden | July 4, 2011 1:47 PM

48

What's hard, specifically?

Posted by: Peter | July 4, 2011 1:56 PM

49

Seeing how telling someone to shut up is a sexist act, from the point of view of someone who has not had the experiences, learning, training, or self reflection needed to get to that place.

This guy in the elevator thing is totally stupid. So what. He just said some words. He was not a rapist. He didn't do anything but say some stuff, get rebuffed, and then moved on. It seems like nothing.

It is hard for many people to see why it is not nothing.

Posted by: Greg Laden | July 4, 2011 1:57 PM

50

Well, ignoring your second paragraph since that isn't what anyone else is discussing, yes, it is very hard to see how telling someone to shut up is a sexist act, I'd most certainly agree there.

Posted by: Peter | July 4, 2011 2:13 PM

51

It is hard for many people to see why it is not nothing.

Why are you avoiding the topic of the post and trying to keep bringing it back to elevator guy. Do you think elevator guy gave Watson a carte blanche to behave inappropriately?

Being creeped out in an elevator gives you the right to abuse a speaking platform and abuse a student. Since I lived through an attempted drugging/date rape in college and serious stalking in my adult life, can I go to TAM and scream "RAPIST!! RAPIST!!!!" all through Watsons speech for trivializing sexual violence?

Posted by: ERV | July 4, 2011 2:19 PM

52

I mean, surely a man telling a woman to shut up has to be more than a man telling a woman to shut up for it to be sexism, let alone the term you've backed off from, misogyny?

He has to have some sexist sentiment for it to be sexist. He has to be utilising his privilege to put himself above the woman (you know, like Watson abused her privilege?)

Or does he?

Can someone commit a misogynistic act (whatever that means regarding speech) without even targeting someone that they think is a woman? Does the woman have to know it's a man? If just the act is sexism, then it doesn't matter that he knows because you're saying it's an intrinsically sexist act, right? Does misogyny have to even involve a woman? If it doesn't need to involve any privilege or sexism, why not? Words don't have to mean anything.

Certainly not the word "misogyny", that wouldn't hurt any group if the word was completely devalued.

Or maybe, just maybe, a man telling a women to shut up can be, but might not be, a misogynistic attack?

Or are you just talking total nonsense? Am I?

Is this sexist because I'm a woman?

Woo, gender betrayal!

Posted by: Peter | July 4, 2011 2:25 PM

53

Peter, in 52:
"I mean, surely a man telling a woman to shut up has to be more than a man telling a woman to shut up for it to be sexism"
Redundant department of redundancy, or typo?

Posted by: Justicar | July 4, 2011 3:48 PM

54

ERV continues to point out, and at least to me, correctly so, that the only issue worth discussing is "were Watson's actions (in her keynote) appropriate?". Just as with any other speech, context matters. Here, the context appears to be embodied in the question "did Stef deserve what she got?" or, put another way, were her actions wrong enough to deserve being called out? Perhaps another relevant question would be "was she effective?"

Arguing that there is a factually correct or objectively true answer to these questions seems silly. Having said that, my opinion is that calling someone out in that fashion, or "naming names" if you prefer, is a rather drastic remedy. While it is certainly an appropriate remedy at times, this was not one of them. If Stef was wrong at all (a debatable point) it didn't justify Watson's response. I think Watson's goal was a good one but rather than achieving that goal she simply came across (to me) as self righteous and self aggrandizing. In short, not effective. Please note that I am not at all referring to her reaction to the elevator incident; I am solely referring to her reaction to Stef.

Posted by: Petercx | July 4, 2011 3:51 PM

55

Yeah, I've told a lot of people to shut up in my life. Men, women, adults, children, young, old, gay, straight, bi, queer, pretty, ugly, rich, poor, friends, family, strangers on the internet, cats, dogs, birds, alarm clocks... is it misogyny or sexism if it's a female dog? Where's the line? Is it just on sex lines? Or gender lines? What if it's a man with long hair and a skirt? What if he's just Scottish? What if I don't know whether it's a man or a woman?What if I know it's a woman, but I was just telling a man to shut up for the same reason? What if it's a man and a woman at the same time?

Posted by: Rystefn | July 4, 2011 4:25 PM

56

So many on here using the 'youre not allowed to insult us' thing as a way to have a dig at pzm. not rebecca watson but pzm. Nice to have classy side of the argument eh?

Posted by: eddie | July 4, 2011 4:40 PM

57

PZ is an expert on evolution and the non-existence of god. Socially or morally correct behavior? He has interesting opinions, for sure, and he's often right, but he's not an expert.

Posted by: Petercx | July 4, 2011 4:54 PM

58

You're out of your tree on this one Abbie, McGraw's being a student is irrelevant because an atheist/sceptic meeting is not an academic meeting - the rules for disagreement/dissent aren't the same. McGraw chose to disagree in public, Watson responded in public. Your idea that internet drama is not real world drama is bullshit and it hasn't been true since USENET, ie forever.

Posted by: dexitroboper | July 4, 2011 5:14 PM

59

Dexitroboper, I think you've either got this one very wrong or you are unintentionally spot on.
First, OK the student status is not the main issue (although not unimportant given the nature of the meeting). It is also not at issue that RW should not be able to respond to criticism. The argument is, essentially, that her reaction was way out of proportion to the criticism. She essentially accused McGraw of enabling or supporting rapists or those advocating rape.
That is pretty much godwining the debate. That fact and the additional fact that the criticism came during a talk that was on a subject not particularly relevant to the point at hand meant that RW used the talk simply as an opportunity to score points against someone who criticised her.
Then again, I think that, following many of the postings about this, it appears that many people see no problem with her actions. Criticise someone on a blog post and its fair game for them to respond in any way possible, including labeling you a rape enabler.
All's fair in love, war and skeptical blogging.

Posted by: Sigmund | July 4, 2011 6:21 PM

60

"You're out of your tree on this one Abbie, McGraw's being a student is irrelevant because an atheist/sceptic meeting is not an academic meeting - the rules for disagreement/dissent aren't the same."

Maybe that is the case because Watson has turned atheist/skeptic meetings into singles meat markets, fancy dress drinking contests and impromptu (by impromptu I mean elaborately staged coup attempts) wedding ceremonies.

If the environment has changed to the point where you get to elaborately hit on people or pillory students from behind a podium then that steaming pile of crap is all about Watson and her ilk's self aggrandizement...no matter how many rapidly expanding balding internet/atheist celebs she has tickled under the chin for a photo op.

Who the hell do you want making the rules? Academics/students or a self important star fucking former juggler.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 4, 2011 6:45 PM

61

Who the hell do you want making the rules?
James Randi? No, he's a well known entertainer. Maybe Penn Gilette or Adam Savage who are well respected for their science chops.

Atheist/sceptic meetings are much more like SF conventions than academic meetings and you want meetings that mainstream atheism not make it an ivory tower pursuit.

Posted by: dexitroboper | July 4, 2011 7:09 PM

62

dexitroboper@#61

"James Randi? No, he's a well known entertainer. Maybe Penn Gilette or Adam Savage who are well respected for their science chops."

They are well respected for their respect for science and because they were professionally successful celebrities on the basis of merit prior to their association with skepticism.

That also entitles them to have their names spelled correctly. Dunce.

Watson's celebrity is entirely based on association rather than any professional accomplishment as demonstrated by the fact that she objects to bad behaviors in midst of the keg parties she created.

This failing of fundamental diplomacy should disqualify her from pretending to speak on anyone's behalf or act as arbiter of anything.

Like Josh Timonen she is ultimately an embarrassment who does not intend to let merit get in the way of her ambitions.

"......and you want meetings that mainstream atheism not make it an ivory tower pursuit."

Watson let her freak flag fly at a CFI student leadership conference on a University Campus.

That is the very model of an "ivory tower pursuit".

Pro tip: Skeptics don't fling epithets against the institutions devoted to the life of the mind.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 4, 2011 8:16 PM

63

In academia the self-aggrandizing hangers-on who appoint themselves arbiters of what people are allowed to say is called "The Communications Department".

Posted by: ErkLR | July 4, 2011 8:21 PM

64

I just want to tweak your #1 a bit. If you analyse yourself like that in the moment, you WILL choke. The key is to do all that thinking *ahead* of time. Block out time for it in your calendar and don't underestimate how much time it will take.

Posted by: danmeek | July 4, 2011 8:51 PM

65
John (26/27) The power imbalance position is valid, but it is valid only as a consideration, not as a basis for splitting the community asunder, charging convicting sentencing and punishing Rebecca. Steph was not silenced. You say it is not complicated but I'm afraid that is a stand in for "this is not nuanced." And it is.

Rebecca is getting punished for what people perceive as a dick move. it's called "criticism". She has no more right to exemption from criticism than anyone else, especially, *especially* when she is so loudly saying the *exact same thing about stef*. If Stef is not exempt from criticism, then neither is rebecca, and if that is all it takes to "tear the community asunder" then the community had little strength or lasting value and needed to die anyway. Seriously, just a tad overdramatic.

Pepsigate was stupider because it was about not wanting to be associate with soda. This discussion is about not wanting to be hit on in an elevator by someone who is probably harmless. On the other and, the degree to which it is dragged out of proportion may be reversed. Or maybe not. Hard to say if people quitting their blogs (which they did for reasons other than soda) is a big deal.

Actually, no. It has to do with Rebecca abusing her position as a speaker to bag on someone in public from a position of power knowing full good and well they weren't going to say fuck all to her when she's on the podium in a room full of fans. That is *100%* of my, and many people's problems with her. The elevator incident is related to that, but that does not excuse her behavior. If someone treats you like crap at work, and on your way out the door, you kick a hobo in the taint, YOU'RE STILL WRONG.

That is the point. Which you seem to be completely missing. Rebecca's stunt on the podium was a dick move to a lot of people. You may disagree, fine. But stop making it out that everyone who disagrees with her dick move at the podium thinks that elevator guy did nothing wrong. They are in fact two separate, but related incidents and it is entirely possible to agree with Rebecca about Elevator Guy, (WHO STILL HAS NOT BEEN EVEN VAGUELY IDENTIFIED. WHY IS THIS DUDE'S PRIVACY OF SUCH PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE TO HER?), and think she made a dick move at the podium. Really. No one is saying rebecca can't complain. They are disagreeing with her about the severity of the incident, and honestly, if that is causing her consternation, put your grownup underwear on, not everyone is going to agree with you about that kind of situation.

But evidently, unless you are lockstep with Rebecca on this, you're a misogynist. What kind of groupthink bullshit is that?

Seeing how telling someone to shut up is a sexist act, from the point of view of someone who has not had the experiences, learning, training, or self reflection needed to get to that place.

Da Fuck? No, it is not unless the only reason you're doing it is because the speaker is female or male. It is entirely possible to tell someone to shut up because you think they just said something stupid, and the sex of the speaker has nothing to do with it.

This is really simple Greg. I, and many others, (Abbie as well) think that Watson's actions on the podium were wrong. Elevator guy is a related, but separate incident that does not justify nor excuse her actions.

You may disagree of course, but stop trying to justify one with the other, it's not even strong enough to be weak.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 4, 2011 9:02 PM

66

@65-

But evidently, unless you are lockstep with Rebecca on this, you're a misogynist. What kind of groupthink bullshit is that?

Yes indeed. The groupthink is incredibly frustrating. Most people who dared to dissent at Pharyngula, for example, were met with some variety of "STFU YOU SEXIST IGNORANT PRIVILEGED FUCKER!!".

Posted by: Miranda Celeste Hale | July 4, 2011 11:35 PM

67

Want to know how to determine if Rebecca Watson had the position of power here?
Read PZ's Blog Always Name Names. Who does he link? Whose side do readers get to hear? Rebecca Watsons.
PZ apparently did not even bother to read Stef's blog posts nor did he link to them for others to read.
Rebecca was the only voice he presented.
That is pretty indicative of who had the power.
One of the major defenses that Watson used for calling out Stef at the conference was that Stef could have used the Q&A to respond to her.
So, Please, go to this youtube video and listen from 2:30-3:05 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W014KhaRtik
Watson takes issue with something Paula Kirby said during an earlier panel discussion. Watson says she did not use the Q&A to address it because
"I didn't have a question so much as an hour long lecture, so I would like to give that now, ha ha ha."
She says this from her position on the panel.
When Watson took issue with something someone said, the Q&A was insufficient for her to respond.
She used her position on the panel. In fact, it determined her whole talk.
But Stef McGraw? Student, audience member, mute by protocal from not having a panel?
"If you disagree with my saying you 'propagated misogynist thinking' in front of all your peers, you could have addressed in in the Q&A"
Wow, If that is not showing an imbalance of power, I don't know what to tell you.

Posted by: Peg | July 5, 2011 2:56 AM

68

Miranda @66:
I've just embraced it. If not agreeing to be labelled a rapist-in-waiting, oppressive, hateful, sexist and what not is an appropriate use of those words for saying, "I don't think you're right here", then these terms have lost all meaning. To that extent, I'll wear them happily within that group. However, to the rest of the world, these words still have power and meaning.

But, you know, I'm privileged. My white male power is so strong that saying I'm not convinced actually gets people sexually assaulted. And I'm stupid, too.

One has to wonder the strength of one's position if the riposte to its not being immediately assented to involves: you're too stupid to understand (only people smart like I am smart can "get" this - you're excluded from that - even if you're being oppressed right now), you're a woman hater (even if, you know, you actually hate no woman in particular, or women in general), you're a sexist (yes, I guess I am; don't let my lifetime of arguing for equality of gender and race stand in the way of that charge though), you're a fucker (here, I must confess it's true, but incomplete. I'm happier being the fuckee!).

There was once a time when I worked under the impression that we faggots and women were natural allies in social equality. This weekend has severely damaged that - (hi, blaghag and others!). While I will of course never oppose equality for women, I will no longer be attending women's rights events knowing now that my faggoty ass will be seen as a rapist by a non-trivial set of attendees. Fuck that; I can go get accused of doing things I actually do by other bigots, for some benefit even. Sorry, if one has to denigrate entire swathes of the human population to make a point that one's way is The Way, there's a big problem somewhere.

The problem? It is irrelevant to them to that others must be trampled; their way is The One True Way. Anyone who disagrees with every jot and tittle is the enemy. After this weekend, I will never again say that atheists eschew dogma; we positively eat it up it would appear.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 6:05 AM

69
Being creeped out in an elevator gives you the right to abuse a speaking platform and abuse a student.

That's really the crux of Abbie's (and Prometheus', although he seems to have a personal axe to grind with RW) argument, isn't it. That Watson mentioning McGraw in her talk somehow amounted to "abuse" of some kind. I find that argument unconvincing at best, and utterly naive at worst. There is no power imbalance, if you write stuff on a blog, you better be ready for someone to quote you and take you to task for what you wrote. It's just not true that RW has the upper hand here because she can dial 555-PZ, and her cause will be supported by a Technorati top 100 blog. PZ defended her because he thinks she has a point, not to do her a favor, and so did I by the way. Greg and I have offered Stef a platform to tell her side, same goes for elevator guy, who I after all spent a weekend with.
You write shit about people on your blog or anywhere else, those people might pick up on that. That's what RW did.

Posted by: Rorschach | July 5, 2011 6:06 AM

70
That's really the crux of Abbie's (and Prometheus', although he seems to have a personal axe to grind with RW) argument, isn't it. That Watson mentioning McGraw in her talk somehow amounted to "abuse" of some kind. I find that argument unconvincing at best, and utterly naive at worst.

Let's play a game. It's called, "Who's got the power". I will pack a room with my supporters and friends. I will get them going, all riled up. At some point after I start, I'll put some, or all of this statement on the screen, and call you a "Fucking stupid douchebag". Your assignment? While wearing a nametag that clearly identifies you, walk up to a mike during the Q&A in a room full of people actively opposing you, and call me out on it. You must do so with absolutely ZERO trepidation, and ZERO worry, and you must somehow be ready to shout down a guy with a better mic who can completely ignore you.

That's kind of what Stef faced. There was in fact a power imbalance. Your refusal to acknowledge it doesn't change that fact.

There is no power imbalance, if you write stuff on a blog, you better be ready for someone to quote you and take you to task for what you wrote. It's just not true that RW has the upper hand here because she can dial 555-PZ, and her cause will be supported by a Technorati top 100 blog. PZ defended her because he thinks she has a point, not to do her a favor, and so did I by the way. Greg and I have offered Stef a platform to tell her side, same goes for elevator guy, who I after all spent a weekend with.

You and laden offered her the same platform she *already has*: a blog. Wow. You offered her what she already has. Go you.

Everything is not the same. A blog is not a keynote is not a car is not a Mongonian War-Zeppelin. You want to offer her the same platform? Make her a keynote at the next TAM, pack the room full of her friends and supporters, then plunk Rebecca Watson down in that room, with maybe a friend or two at most.

THAT will then be an equivalent platform.

You write shit about people on your blog or anywhere else, those people might pick up on that. That's what RW did.

No, it's not. Watson could have answered her back on Skepchicks, she could have talked to her one on one, or over email. Those would have been equivalent responses. What Watson did was nuke her from orbit.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 7:19 AM

71

Rorschach-- PZ is listening to Watson, in person. He didnt even bother to link to Stefs response, so Im assuming Watson didnt tell him it existed, and he never read it. And it doesnt matter what PZs motivations were-- my motivations were pure too. What matters to me is how the 'defended' have responded. Ultimately, McGraw and the students at the CFI conference didnt need me to say anything. They have established that they are fully capable of writing intelligent, impassioned responses, far more articulate than anything I have written on ERV. Watson, on the other hand, is hiding behind PZs apron and proud of it, gloating on her facebook page that 'she deosnt need to say anything. PZ covered it perfectly.'

That doesnt 'raise a few red flags' for you?


Welch-- In fairness to Watson, the audience she started with was not the audience she finished with. Numerous students who attended the conference have contacted me with their version of events, and they are 'not pleased' with Watsons behavior. I think McGraw would have been given some slack if she walked up to the mic in the Q&A and flipped Watson off.

And, what Watson did was way worse than calling someone a 'fucking stupid douchebag'. She called McGraw anti-woman and a misogynist. You would need to accuse Rorschach of being a homophobe who wants all gays to shut up, or better yet, strung up.

Posted by: ERV | July 5, 2011 7:47 AM

72

She brings up a youtube discussion in front of a serious audience. I avoid reading those comments and sure as hell won't get involved because it's the most ridiculous form of discussion possible. The fact she not only thrives on crap like this but actually brings it up as somehow being relevant to the greater issue of sexism in the atheist community should immediately have disqualified her from ever being invited back.

It's really not about whether or not she had a 'right' to call out McGraw. Hell, as far as I'm concerned, if you blog your opinions you're fair game. What matters is that she somehow doesn't realize that nobody wants to be involved in her petty little e-feuds, much less her views on 'Thug4Life95' and his 'lol i hop u get raped lol!' comments on youtube.

Posted by: Blargh | July 5, 2011 7:53 AM

73

After a couple of busy days I sit down and surf the skeptic blogs and see what is going down. And the crap at Pharyngula and other places reminds me that my mentor has a point. Miranda nails it above and it is worth repeating:

Yes indeed. The groupthink is incredibly frustrating. Most people who dared to dissent at Pharyngula, for example, were met with some variety of "STFU YOU SEXIST IGNORANT PRIVILEGED FUCKER!!".

Scientists are (usually) trained to be their own greatest critics. That's an important part of skepticism. Not just to question other people's ideas, but also your own. The Pharyngulites have shown that they are not able to do this. The aggressive arrogance of the mob prevents introspection.

I've often skirted around the periphery of skeptic groups, tempted to get involved but there have always been higher priorities. I've mentioned this to my mentor (great scientist, proper old school type, free thinking atheist) who tells me he is not impressed by the skeptic movement; he points out they are often as ideological as those they criticise. I've tried to argue that while no group will ever be perfect, the principles are pretty sound and worthwhile. I've never convinced him, or myself for that matter, that he is wrong on this.

So EG didn't have empathy for Rebecca's position. And Rebecca didn't have empathy for Stef's position. But it is Rebecca who brings (via PZ) a huge internet following to bully anyone who dares to disagree. Free thinking: not so free any more.

Anyway, thank you ERV for being a ray of light in this otherwise stupid episode for rational skepticism.

(Aside. Lack of empathy for another person's feelings is a common symptom of Asperger's. This symptom appears evident in both EG and RW's behaviours. Can we rule out that EG has Asperger's? Even RW? And has PZ effectively declared such people who have difficulties interacting socially are not decent human beings and are not welcome at skeptic events?)

Posted by: Spence | July 5, 2011 8:41 AM

74

The sooner we can close this chapter, the better, IMHO. Everyone's had a chance to be heard, and the schism hasn't changed anyone's mind. It takes two sides to fight a battle. A gracious moment of concession, an apology, or a short online meeting between the aggrieved to clear the air could have ended this days ago. Instead, everyone is nursing bruised egos. If rational atheists can't be frank and honest with each other, put their feelings aside and agree on what really matters, I'm not sure anyone can.

If I come away from this episode with any deep feelings, it is a profound loss of respect for Richard Dawkins for his offensive rhetoric and faulty logic in comments on Pharyngula.

He has become the elder statesman of this community, and his comments were the kind of flame-baiting I expect of YouTubers. Jen called him on it, PZ concurred, and I was glad to see that. I think he needs to go public at RDF forums and just be honestly contrite. It was an egregious error, and it deserves a proportional response.

Posted by: c0nc0rdance | July 5, 2011 9:29 AM

75
Welch-- In fairness to Watson, the audience she started with was not the audience she finished with. Numerous students who attended the conference have contacted me with their version of events, and they are 'not pleased' with Watsons behavior. I think McGraw would have been given some slack if she walked up to the mic in the Q&A and flipped Watson off.

Oh good, i'm quite happy to be wrong about that then. Given the rampant sycophantic behavior i'vs seen towards her, I forgot the rule about how few people in any group ever actually speak up.

And, what Watson did was way worse than calling someone a 'fucking stupid douchebag'. She called McGraw anti-woman and a misogynist. You would need to accuse Rorschach of being a homophobe who wants all gays to shut up, or better yet, strung up.

Good point, but there's only so far I'll go in making a point.

(Aside. Lack of empathy for another person's feelings is a common symptom of Asperger's. This symptom appears evident in both EG and RW's behaviours. Can we rule out that EG has Asperger's? Even RW? And has PZ effectively declared such people who have difficulties interacting socially are not decent human beings and are not welcome at skeptic events?)

Spence, you raise a really good point there, although I tend to blame it on Asshole's, not Asperger's. But PZ's declarations of "unless you behave in this precise manner that "we" approve of, you're not welcome" has a lot to do with my general antipathy towards such gatherings. (That, and the actual conference/talk tracks SEEM to be just a tish full of "Aren't we so much cooler than they are" content. But I could be wrong there.)

I really don't want to be in a place where an inopportune comment and the knives come out. That's just mob rule. It may be a normally polite, well-educated mob, but it is a mob. It makes me really, really not want to spend the time or money to go to a TAM or TAM-like meeting.

It's also somewhat surprising at how many people are so completely lacking in awareness, self- or otherwise, as to even begin to entertain the idea that maybe what Watson did was wrong to many people. Not to agree with them, but be able to see "Okay, yes, given what you're saying, I can see why you think that. I disagree, but I understand." I can, although it's a bit difficult, see where folks don't agree with my opinion on Watson's behavior. I disagree with them, but I understand where they are coming from.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 9:37 AM

76

What if you blog FROM a Mongonian War-Zeppelin?

Welch-- In fairness to Watson, the audience she started with was not the audience she finished with. Numerous students who attended the conference have contacted me with their version of events, and they are 'not pleased' with Watsons behavior. I think McGraw would have been given some slack if she walked up to the mic in the Q&A and flipped Watson off.

Hard to know while you're in the thick of it; it's not like you're going to poll the audience before stepping up to a mic. ;-)

Not to mention people objecting to unreasonable jerkassery don't usually want to respond in kind. You tend to want to respond conscientiously, even if the reverse hasn't been done to you.

Posted by: Joe Fatzen | July 5, 2011 9:37 AM

77

C0nc0rdance, I must say that I'm disappointed in hearing you say this. You see, I had thought you were something or another and because I and others agreed that you should be what I thought you were, imagine my shock when you turned out not to be who I demanded you to be.

Sorry, he is not an elder statesman. He's a man who has thoughts, opinions and views on things, and is amenable to discussion that will convince him to his satisfaction that he's wrong. He's said he'll even apologize publicly if someone can make him understand the issue.

Claiming he owes you anything because of what you demand he's supposed to be doesn't actually burden him in the slightest. Or if it does, how large of a following does it take before we get to vote on what you're allowed to think, say, feel and do that actually obliges you to think, say, feel or do as we tell you're supposed to do?

Goddamned Richard Dawkins. He's just so fucking stupid as to not accede to a bunch of nattering about how he's not a humanist, he's anti-woman, a rapist-in-waiting and other things. He asked for a calm, reasonable explanation to convince him. You whined about it with a guilt trip.

Yes, Jennifer McCreight called him on 'it'. Also in calling him on it, she's pressed into service all convenient minorities she could get away with using: we faggots, those niggers, and kykes, and even some cunts. I'm glad this is what you find an appropriate way to make a point. I'm glad that the oppression I actually deal with makes for a good point to guilt a man into accepting a point that hasn't been cogently made by anyone yet. If we little old minorities can be any further use by firming up our necks to get her better footing while taking on The Man, just let me know. You know we fags love the gym anyway.

An egregious error, like actual human rights violations?, deserves the proportional response of a public apology on a website. One of us doesn't seem to appreciate the gravity of "egregious" with respect to what he's been accused of through RW, Jen, PZ et al. An apology on a website doesn't seem to fit with "egregious". I think we should publicly flog him on the way to the Hague. That might make some people almost satisfied.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 9:45 AM

78

With all the calls to "put this behind us", I wonder why? Might'nt it be better not to? i mean, let's talk the shit out of it... seriously. I for one have learned much by the diverse opinions, and am hoping for someone (erv, pz?) to do a compare/contrast piece between accommodating sensitivities of women v. accommodating other types of sensitivities...

Posted by: tyson koska | July 5, 2011 9:47 AM

79

Tyson Koska:

Well, don't count on PZ to do one. Anything less than complete appeasement is unacceptable. He's going to be so feminist it won't matter who gets trampled in the process. Goddammit, women are going to be equal if it means making everyone else inferior.

If there is a standard of equality that exists, it must, at a minimum, not include the subjugation of one group of people for the advancement of another. It doesn't matter if the group is male, female, gay, straight, black, white, asian, or ninja turtle. The moment you realize the way to help another group advance is to take your foot off their necks is the moment you should realize you haven't been working on equality.

The goal is here to have equal privilege in society; it isn't, such as I understand it, to have distributed oppression. One of those I'll work towards. The other I'll probably die opposing.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 10:11 AM

80

Elevator guy is a lark that is being used to excuse inappropriate behavior.

I can’t see how the ‘elevator guy’ can be divorced from the ‘abuse of platform’ problem, one directly follows the other. Solipsism is neither Feminism nor Scepticism, and if the postulant of the ‘elevator’ experience had actually approached her solipsistical postulation with scepticism, she would in consequence have presented a criticism of her own perceptions along with the inherent criticism of the other occupant of the elevator; if she had done this she would have created a context in which a critical and sceptical dialogue could have proceeded with equity.

For any reasoning person who has a conception that humanity consists of 6 billion plus beings, to see supposed sceptics ‘elevating’ 4 in the morning failings of social niceties, elevated to the modern equivalent of how many angels can stand on the head of pin, is vomit inducing. What happens in ‘conferences’ or ‘elevators’ is irrelelevant to what reasonably must be the current concerns of ‘feminists’, both male and female, which with any sense of priority must focuss on how power and economics impact upon the 2.5 billon women and girls who live lives that mean riding in an elevator or attending a conference are possibilities that are as far removed from them as being able to take a trip into space.

Posted by: In Vitro Infidelium | July 5, 2011 10:12 AM

81
What if you blog FROM a Mongonian War-Zeppelin?

KNEEL BEFORE MING!

I can’t see how the ‘elevator guy’ can be divorced from the ‘abuse of platform’ problem, one directly follows the other.

It's actually pretty simple. Watson had a bad time in an elevator. Elevator guy's intentions don't really enter into it, she is within her rights to see his actions as she sees them. We don't have to agree with her interpretation, but, we all are allowed to see things our own way.

Stef didn't agree with Watson's take and said so. Could she have said it differently? Maybe, but that's not the larger point. (to be honest, i find a lot of the "skeptic community pretty whiny about this. They bitch about being able to "be blunt" et al, then when they get it back, oh my, they get a bad case of the vapors! Dish it out, take it, etc.)

The forum stef used was a blog. A blog is, in general, a fairly equal forum. You do have moderators, etc, but everyone can comment whenever and from wherever they wish. You do not have to do it in front of a room full of people.

Watson then replies, not on her site, not on unifreethought.com, but from the podium at a session.

There is a clear chain from elevator guy to Watson's dick move, but Elevator guy doesn't justify the dick move, nor does Stef's post. Watson's dick move was her choice. She could have responded to Stef in one of many other ways, she chose one that I, and many others view as a dick move, (or any other pejorative for it. The specific term used is immaterial).

it is just that simple. Watson is responsible for her behavior in this case, and it seems obvious that she, and her supporters, are doing whatever they can to avoid that.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 10:54 AM

82

Someone on the Friendly Atheist site made a remark that, I think, answers the underlying problem with this whole debate. As far as I can see it most of the men that state "EG was wrong to make a pass in the elevator, it was the wrong place and bound to creep her out and RW was fine to point that out in her video" were still getting called mysogynist pigs. The answer came in the Friendly Atheist post that stated to the effect that the problem here is the refusal of people to realize that making a pass at anyone at such an event is inherently offensive.
If you actually feel that way then it all makes sense. If it is not just unacceptable, but inherently offensive to try to chat up someone at a skeptical or atheist conference (thus sexually objectifying them) then this justifies RW equating Steph McGraws remarks to remarks condoning rape.
That explains why there has been little or no dispute about RW doing anything wrong with her speech - many people actually agree that condoning the acceptance of attempting to chat up other adults at conferences is akin to condoning calls for rape.

Posted by: Sigmund | July 5, 2011 1:02 PM

83

If that's actually what the underlying problem is, you can pretty much forget about ever working this one out. Call it quits and separate into several groups.

Posted by: Blargh | July 5, 2011 1:47 PM

84

@ 77 Justicar

I wasn't very impressed with your response. I'd much prefer if you offer your opinions or support your position without the sarcasm and reductio ad absurdum. It's always more productive if we keep our barbs to ourselves, and just address actual issues.

I would like it if Richard Dawkins would respond to criticisms of his comment on Pharyngula. I don't think that's out of line. He has celebrity in this community, whether he likes it or not. Certainly he is an individual, but he's also the public face for atheism, an author of best-selling books, and the namesake of a large public fund for atheism and rationality. His considerable name recognition carries some responsibility to the foundation he represents, the movement that he is a leader in, and the people who respect and admire him.

He's welcome to do, say, or think what he likes, but the consequences will affect more than just him. If I post a video extolling the virtues of XMRV assays as a diagnostic for prostate cancer, people understand that's my personal position. If I am Chair of the Institute of Virology Research, that's a different thing entirely. This is a simple reality for leaders and spokespeople of all kinds.

The principle that Abbie is addressing is very relevant. Someone with the audience of Richard Dawkins (or RW) needs to step much more carefully than someone like me (or McGraw). Posting a scathing and poorly reasoned argument "en clair" as Dawkins did is similar to a keynote speaker attacking small-audience critics by name. I agree it's a relatively minor sin, and so was Rebecca's, but it's still worth the effort to clear the air, address it honestly and frankly.

If they don't... *shrug*. I'll deal with it.

Posted by: c0nc0rdance | July 5, 2011 1:53 PM

85

C0nc0rdance:
Given the amount of thought and emotional appeals you put into your post, I didn't think mine required more effort. But I like you, so I'll oblige.

Dawkins is well-known, and his views quite often overlap with the views of many people in the atheist community. Therefore, he's popular. He's not our leader. If you choose to view him as that, then you're welcome to it. I see him as a thoughtful man who quite often has views I share. When it turns out that his views and mine don't coincide, and I see no reason to think his estimation is superior to mine, I'm not disappointed in him. But I don't need him to be perfect, or to think exactly as I think for me to respect that he's thoughtful, and any incorrect views he has are amenable to modification. And when he's not made to understand in a way that convinces him it's probably not for a lack of effort or concern.

To be disappointed implies some expectation of him to transcend the limitations of which both you and I are also subject. You think he's wrong. He's invited you, or anyone for that matter, to explain it to him calmly without using "fuck" every sentence. I also do not see why he's wrong, so if you have the answer to the question, it would likely solve it for me too. Instead of changing our minds with a crafted argument, of which you're overwhelming capable if one is to be had based on your YT channel, you pack your bags and take us on a guilt trip.

I want a frank, honest discussion. One doesn't seem to be forthcoming. I've asked in each discussion about this why it is that I'm wrong for not immediately thinking "rapist" is a proper stance to have when one is approached without previous, explicit consent. Even if it's a less than ideal place.

Also, some women are asking that question. Some of them rape victims. I did a video on it. It's mostly sardonic, but the point is made. Why is it that there are some female rape victims who are saying they do not feel that way in elevators with men who chat them up? For that matter, why don't I?
I'm at risk for being raped as much as is any randomly selected woman, and yet when a guy approaches me in a hallway, parking lot, or elevator and flirts with me, I am no more concerned that he's my rapist, than a mugger, than a suicide bomber, than a spanger (spare changer), or anything else.

I have no fear of it at all. No discomfort. If I'm not interested, I say as much. If it seems like something that could be fun, I might accept.

So, why then is it that you and your side are arguing that all men must walk around considering themselves rapists so as to "get it"? Or, if not that, then what is it?

Since there are some women who think all men are potential rapists, some who think not, some who are aware that some are but refuse to be governed by cowardice, and some like Rebecca Watson (who would much prefer to lambaste McGraw in a keynote speech than answer a single question about this supposed man one notes), how is a man to know? And then the further question: why is someone's irrational fear an argument that anyone else is required to prostrate themselves before said person?

With respect to Abbie's point. It isn't that someone like Rebecca needs to tread more lightly than you or I. It's that someone who exploits the position of being an invited, keynote speaker needs to consider it. When I'm giving a lecture, I have considerable control over what gets said. People who refuse to get with the program get escorted out of the building by force if necessary. Security at events isn't there for decorative purposes.

Remember the youtube videos of students (oh my!) getting escorted out? And then the guy getting tossed out for saying "and earning profit" when Richard was speaking? Three words, he was taken out by the police if I recall correctly. That's what it means to be The Speaker; you control that time period. Rebecca chose that time to excoriate McGraw for the great crime of writing something unflattering on a blog. The man who actually set off the "creepy" vibe by "cornering" her in an elevator - this person she protects, and will not say anything about. Indeed, she's bragging on facebook right now that she is immune to having to deal with that issue anymore because of PZ. And she's positively loving the attention from it, like, say, publicity is a goal. She calls it a "score". I know, that's cynical.

No one is saying that Rebecca pulled out a knife and stabbed McGraw to death. We're saying she abused her position to silence a critic who she knew damn well simply could not respond. Remember the video of RW on stage with RD? Her issue with a previous panel wasn't appropriate for the Q&A because, apparently, the 30 - 60 second time limit to *ask* a *question* isn't sufficient for her. But she makes the non-argument that it's more than fully sufficient for McGraw to have called her out and refuted her. Yeah, I call bullshit.


Oh, and note: I disagree with you. And I've lost no esteem at all for you. See? That's because I understand that your popularity while related to your work on youtube isn't an immunity to error. I don't make gods out of men and women. Why a man who has said that if he's wrong he's fully willing to be convinced and even apologize for being wrong in the first place loses your respect confuses me. It has to be that you expect freedom from error. Or that RD is lying about changing his mind if convinced. Either that, or the Richard Dawkins you've created in your mind doesn't track with the human being we're discussing - which is a point you found unimpressive earlier I note. It's worth repeating: your failure to see him as a man and nothing more is not his problem.

Or, if it is, at what point of popularity will you substitute what your fans tell you to think and do for what you think to be right and proper? It's not a trivial point. If it's a concession you won't make, it's a dick move to demand Richard Dawkins accept it for having the misfortune of being successful.

There, does that more plainly lay out the issues in a way that doesn't bother you by way of ToneCard?

Anyway, all that stands between success and failure is air, opportunity and a cogent argument.

Your move, my friend.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 2:34 PM

86

Is there a link where I can read McGraw's take on the keynote?
(apologies if it's already there and I missed it- there's a lot to wade through)

Posted by: becca | July 5, 2011 4:57 PM

88

BOOP!

Posted by: ERV | July 5, 2011 5:14 PM

89

I see Phil Plait has joined in and has (unsurprisingly) decided to vigorously defend Rebecca's honour. More skeptical opinions are just a clique away. From the bad astronomer:

Rebecca, apparently, handled this situation with aplomb, and I’m glad. She turned it into a useful lesson for men on how not to treat women.

Yes Phil, and she also gave us an object lesson on how keynote speakers shouldn't treat audience members, although perhaps not quite in the way intended. Although "aplomb" isn't a word I would use to describe the handling of that little fiasco.

That said, bad astronomy has a much less aggressive / arrogant atmosphere than Pharyngula which means interesting points are being made by both sides in the commentary.

PS: John Welch, I agree with your assessment re: assholes vs. Aspergers.

Posted by: Spence | July 5, 2011 6:00 PM

90

Abbie:

I've been trying to decide how to explain my point of view on this.

I think your inner /b/tard is affecting your judgement on this case.

A certain degree of obliviousness is forgiveable, but once it's gone, the actions it causes need to stop. Now as far as Watson naming names, I'd take a look at who's got her back on this one -- essentially, complaining about tone or the form of message does nothing to address the issue at hand. I mean, look at Slutwalk -- yes, it could have been a silent vigil with people dressed conservatively, with only women showing up, but it would have completely missed the point of the message. Sometimes you have to get in people's faces.

Look, you're a beautiful woman. A very beautiful one. I'm sure you've gone through the kind of crap Watson is complaining about -- being objectified, harrassed, whatever. Bitching Watson out because you don't like the way she delivered a message that you apparently agreed with shows a bit of a tin ear for others who've gone through the same problem. Remember, not everyone reacts the same way to such things and you can't expect someone to shrug it off just because you can.

I've been a fan of this blog for a few years now, and I probably will be for some time to come. But you're only shooting yourself in the foot here.

Posted by: BrianX | July 5, 2011 6:38 PM

91

Gee, Brianx. That's nice of you to note that she's beautiful. How does she manage to make it through life? It's called not playing the victim card and taking ownership of one's life. It's also a little something I like to call a "good example" of another concept I'm going to call "smart decisions".

You know why? Because Abbie apparently managed somehow against all of the odds, contrary to having a vagina and being attractive to assess the realities of life and deal with it head-on. I'm so proud of her - atta girl, Abbie.

Yes, Abbie, can you explain where would you manage to summon up the strength to deal with and shrug off being invited to coffee by a "man" in an elevator?

Oh, never mind. I'm going to magically guess:
"Watson did not confront her male proposition-er, nor did she 'NAME NAMES!'. Personally, I would have said "Dude, did you hear my speech today? Cause you are being super creepy. LOL. Peace out, Dude, Im going to sleep." I wouldnt trundle off to bed and write a post about it in the safe shelter of my blag. But fine, I recognize that not everyone has my self confidence and quick wit (DUDE!)."

I bet if Abbie were smart, she'd probably take self-defense lessons too. It's just a guess.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 7:17 PM

92

Justicar:

What, fleeing from the Pharyngula beatdown?

Normally I would see no reason to point Abbie's looks out, but it's an attempt to illustrate *why* this is a women's issue. If the entire thing was a mountain out of a molehill, it would be completely irrelevant. However, look at Laci Green -- same deal. Sometimes it seems like she can't win -- people complain about her being attractive and busty, even though it really has no bearing on what she has to say. It's not right, but as long as people are ignoring that it does in fact happen, the problem is not going away.

And for the record, I think Abbie is a generally awesome person, and I thought that before I ever saw a picture of her.

Posted by: BrianX | July 5, 2011 7:30 PM

93

Now as far as Watson naming names, I'd take a look at who's got her back on this one...
Lets do just that.

Who is on her 'side'? People who were not present.

Who is on my 'side'? The students who were actually present in the audience.

An ultimate positive out of this-- all the emails Ive gotten from student atheist groups lately, who didnt know I existed five days ago.


Bitching Watson out because you don't like the way she delivered a message that you apparently agreed with shows a bit of a tin ear for others who've gone through the same problem.
Elevator guy asked her for coffee. She declined. They parted ways. Sure, his choice of venue was a poor decision, and if he were a guy friend relating this story to me, I would slap him upside the head with a "Really? She turned you down? NO WAY! **SLAP!!** THINK MCFLY!"

There was a guy I met in college. He wasnt creepy-- tall, cute, could hold a conversation. He didnt corner me in an elevator. He didnt ask me for coffee. He didnt ask me for sex. Unlike Elevator Guy, he didnt ask me anything. He just dropped some drugs in my one drink for the night, and was planning on raping me while I was unconscious. But it didnt happen because apparently The Virgin Mother, Thor, and an unnamed Cherokee deity were watching over me that night. But that one night at the beginning of my freshman year of college totally changed my life.

There was this other guy-- about this time last summer he said 'Good morning' to me, and I said 'Good morning' right back. This apparently meant that I was into him, and he asked me out. I said 'No'. Unlike Elevator Guy, he didnt take 'No' for an answer. The next >6 months were a living hell. I have always done some kind of martial art, but it was just fun. Kids games. Exercise. Suddenly, it became a life-or-death reality. I had a professional fighter beat the shit out of me, just to know I could take it. He also physically prepared me to kill another human. That wasnt really the problem. I also had to mentally prepare myself. Someone who doesnt do animal research because 'I cant'. Someone who eats meat once every two weeks for health reason, but otherwise hates it. Someone who is a life-long atheist and believes that death is The It for all of us. I had to prepare myself and forgive myself for killing another human, in advance, so I could do it to save my own life if I needed to. Have you ever been that afraid? Saying 'Good morning' to the wrong person changed my life.

Meanwhile: Elevator Guy asked. Elevator Guy took 'No' for an answer. He fucked up the location, but otherwise, he did things right.

I dont agree with Watson.

But my voice doesnt matter to Real Feminists.

Posted by: ERV | July 5, 2011 7:51 PM

94
Now as far as Watson naming names, I'd take a look at who's got her back on this one

Argument from authority? Really?

It's not right, but as long as people are ignoring that it does in fact happen, the problem is not going away.

Apparently, not everyone agrees that the elevator incident and/or Stef's disagreement were good examples of "it" happening.

Posted by: windy | July 5, 2011 7:55 PM

95

ERV:

Well, that's obviously quite a bit worse than Rebecca's situation, but it isn't a binary situation. Just because you've dealt with something as bad as those rapey shitbags doesn't mean Rebecca's situation might not have been intimidating enough in its own right. I mean, just because I once knew a kid who was severely autistic doesn't mean my Asperger's syndrome is any less crippling for me.

*shrug* Getting a sense of perspective does not mean belittling real problems because they aren't as severe as the worst case scenario.

Posted by: BrianX | July 5, 2011 8:08 PM

96

Should say "the issue at hand isn't a binary situation". Original phrasing was fail. Okay, done now.

Posted by: BrianX | July 5, 2011 8:19 PM

97
Well, that's obviously quite a bit worse than Rebecca's situation, but it isn't a binary situation. Just because you've dealt with something as bad as those rapey shitbags doesn't mean Rebecca's situation might not have been intimidating enough in its own right. I mean, just because I once knew a kid who was severely autistic doesn't mean my Asperger's syndrome is any less crippling for me.

*shrug* Getting a sense of perspective does not mean belittling real problems because they aren't as severe as the worst case scenario.

Can these people not see the hypocrisy in their arguments? Yes just because Rebecca was creeped out by a guy in the elevator doesn't mean that others can't criticize her for her unprofessionalism as a speaker and abuse of power to launch a personal attack on an attendee.

Getting a sense of perspective does not mean belittling real problems because they aren't as severe as others. Durr.

Posted by: Cheng Vang | July 5, 2011 8:49 PM

98

I've never asked a girl for sex (directly or indirectly) in an elevator at any hour much less at 4am and I don't have any friends who would do so. If I heard about a friend acting that way, I would give serious consideration to modifying the friendship if not terminating it.
Having said all that though, I wonder, do any of the RW people believe that EG should go to jail for his actions? If not, why the level of emotion? "Wrongs" are relative; everything about our criminal law is based on that concept and I don't think anyone is suggesting that it change. So what's the appropriate penalty for EG? And does it allow room for harsher penalties for worse crimes?

And being a rational community, shouldn't our collective response be related to relative wrongness?

Posted by: Petercx | July 5, 2011 8:49 PM

99

Brianx:
Did you just accuse me of running away from a closed thread where it's literally not possible to write in? Yeah, I'm a fucking coward!!!!! lolololol

Abbie, I wish there were a way I could tweet your last comment here. I wish there were a way I could tell more people to read your thoughts. I wish there were a way that reflective people interested in issues beyond "hey! look at me!" were made more prominent.

Alas, all I can do is read your blog and write (hopefully) an occasionally not entirely useless comment.

I haven't seen a picture of Abbie (that I know of anyway). I don't need or want to. It's not relevant to me what she looks like. She writes like the kind of person who wakes up each day and tries to make her life what she wants it to be, learn about the universe, help others learn about it, and to treat people with the respect they deserve. That I have to type an "s" in front of "he" to get the right pronoun is immaterial to me because race and gender should not be features that are at all considered in evaluating someone's capacity. Bleh, I'm starting to get kumbaya up in this motherfucker.

No, trauma and oppression aren't binary conditions. But the supposed elevator guy did what I consider to be the right thing: he took no for an answer and left it there. Not no means maybe. Not no means let's negotiate. No ended it. I fail to see what other outcome is even equal, let alone superior to that one. I have asked. Including on pharyngula. The answer I've gotten is Schroedinger's Rapist. Well, if that's a valid chain of reasoning then so too is Schroedinger's Fake Rape Victim, which I've made a video on. As well as others. None of them should be taken seriously because I quite frankly think that to give them the courtesy of a reasoned video pretends that the argument has merit. An emotional ploy to exploit people into thinking they should devalue their own existence is not convincing to me. The idea of equality is to pull everyone up to a shared and common equal status. It's not to have a roughly distributed system of situational oppression and self-loathing.

Or, if it is, then the system you're talking about is repugnant to me. If one has to devalue other people to achieve success in equality, one hasn't thought through the problem hard enough or carefully enough. Simply put, it's student work and it's not fucking good enough. Go back and work harder or you must fail this class.

I've been told that all that matters is how a random woman might potentially feel. Sorry, I fail to see how that is a good enough argument that half of the human race is somehow required to do anything. Can I demand certain graces of etiquette from society if I'm just having an emotionally taxing day? Can I just point at random women and accuse them of falsely claiming rape because it's possible one of them might?

If I'm in an elevator with a Rebecca Watson, am I required to leave? After all, she's already uncomfortable just because I'm male and present. Pharyngula is good on identifying perceived problems that I just don't understand. What isn't happening is a non-ridiculous solution to these supposed problems.

So, all that stands between you and my assent to your claim is air, opportunity and a good, cogent reason.

My email is differentialmath@gmail.com if you don't want to have a public pissing contest, but actually want to state a case that will force me to assent to the proposition. You see, that's how good arguments go. Why does no one doubt that Earth revolves around the sun anymore? Because the sheer weight of the reasons to think it does indeed do it is so overwhelming that it is nearly impossible not to accept that it must be the case.

And the benefit of it is that you can make your point without distraction of the groupthink and mob mentality that you seem to think scares me off. And you can be as thoughtful and take as long to compose the argument as you like - no pressure at all from the comments going back and forth saying "what now, bitch?"

So, if you want to explain it to me and convince me that your ethic here is superior to my ethic, you have the option. If you want to be a comment-hero on a blog, you'll do much better back on pharyngula where justifying a conclusion is more important than developing a chain of reasoning.

You decide.

Regards,
Johnathan

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 8:58 PM

100
Can these people not see the hypocrisy in their arguments? Yes just because Rebecca was creeped out by a guy in the elevator doesn't mean that others can't criticize her for her unprofessionalism as a speaker and abuse of power to launch a personal attack on an attendee.

I'm beginning to think that within the "skeptic" community, you're pretty much not "allowed" to criticize her at all.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 9:10 PM

101

Justicar:

Rebecca does not have a problem with men that I'm aware of. Her problem -- quite explicitly -- is with people who make unwanted, overtly sexual comments in tight spaces where the "audience" can't shut it off. As I mentioned above, I'm Aspie. Not very severely, but enough to cause trouble. When I talk about this sort of thing as intimidation, it's because I know what the fuck I'm talking about, because I have trouble knowing where the lines are. I could say something that I intend completely innocently that turns out to creep out the woman I'm trying to talk to, but given that I know I'm socially deficient, I can't really blame her for being offended or weirded out. (Given that my sense of humor tends to lean very dark, it would come with the territory even if I wasn't socially challenged. The fact that I'm a little myopic when it comes to boundaries means I really can't take it personally, because I can't expect someone to know what's going on underneath when all the woman in question sees is some scraggly weirdo spouting dead baby nonsequiturs.)

And no, I don't care to take this private. That would serve no purpose whatsoever.

Posted by: BrianX | July 5, 2011 9:14 PM

102

I'm also a mostly-reformed Nice Guy(tm), so I'm pretty up on that particular brand of shallow, manipulative bullshit.

Posted by: BrianX | July 5, 2011 9:20 PM

103
I'm beginning to think that within the "skeptic" community, you're pretty much not "allowed" to criticize her at all.

People are honestly shouting because some people are questioning the elevator guy event. Isn't skepticism supposed to be, well, being skeptical? Any anecdotal story I hear I take it with a grain of salt. But apparently you're not supposed to be skeptical here! No, if you don't take this as pure hard empirical evidence you're a misogynist!

RW defenders are trying too hard to defend her. PZ is going on about naming names when that isn't the case, which he follows up with a how to get laid FAQ of what he considers to be a decent human being and even going as far as to claim what type of people "we" want at conferences and not (the first time that I could not stomach to read a Pharyngula post). Greg's apologetics is that blogging is the same if not bigger platform than a stage and derailing back to elevator guy. Jen is saying that what Stef said is "fucking stupid". Which in my opinion is just an overreaction due to biasness. Stef isn't a creationist, if you are an instructor and Stef asked you something totally wrong, you can talk it out with her. She may or may not change her mind, she isn't Ken Ham. You don't need to take that chance and yell at her "that is fucking stupid" or "you misogynist!". Can a student learn that way from humiliation or vicious outing? Sure. But that is not the best way, your student is not a creationist who won't change his/her mind.

Just because you can teach by coming to lecture and flipping through power point slides for the whole hour, doesn't mean that you should, especially when you are trying to build a community. Just because you can shout, scream, cuss, and call people stupid doesn't mean you should take every fucking chance to use it. Not everyone is a creationist, antivaxer, or global warming denialist.

Posted by: Cheng Vang | July 5, 2011 9:53 PM

104
People are honestly shouting because some people are questioning the elevator guy event. Isn't skepticism supposed to be, well, being skeptical? Any anecdotal story I hear I take it with a grain of salt. But apparently you're not supposed to be skeptical here! No, if you don't take this as pure hard empirical evidence you're a misogynist!

All the noise also makes it difficult for privileged male outsiders like me to even find the rational arguments (there are a few) without spending several hours sifting through endless vitriol. This was a teachable moment, and it's been mostly wasted.

Posted by: DL | July 5, 2011 10:27 PM

105

Brianx:
I see you've decided to decline the offer to make a rational, cogent argument. I am unsurprised.

Note: anecdotes do not an argument make.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 11:36 PM

106

Justicar:

I don't play that game with idiots. Have fun fuming.

Posted by: BrianX | July 6, 2011 12:08 AM

107

Wow, brianx, wow.

That was the most profound argument just presented by justicar and your response is "I don't play games with idiots."

I don't want to sound cruel to all aspies but maybe your condition is much more of a mental retardation in your case.
That or, maybe all the TRUE FEMINISTS are really just FEMINAZIS.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 6, 2011 1:42 AM

108
LOL, hey-- Hey you guys? Remember this time last year when everyone was freaking out over Pepsi?

Yes. It's unfortunate you didn't have this kind of clarity back then when you were alleging that the conflict-of-interest concerns people raised were something your personal experience with occasionally consuming Pepsi products and still being healthy was relevant to.

And I agree that using the privileged position of being a speaker, with an essentially one-way communication with an audience captive at least to the extent social pressure is binding, to rehash a personal dispute is inappropriate, on not-entirely-unrelated grounds. I haven't seen videos of the talk and I can't determine to what extent Rebecca* did that, but if she did, it was inappropriate...with no bearing on her original complaint, the rest of the discussion, or her status as a person. I don't think that affects the broader issues here and I think it's unfortunate that it's received so much focus.

*We've eaten as the same table so I feel justified in using the familiar form. I intend it complimentarily. >.>

Wow, brianx, wow.

That was the most profound argument just presented by justicar and your response is "I don't play games with idiots."

Blatant attempts at gerrymandering what is and is not "acceptable evidence" or "valid rhetoric" is profound now?

Posted by: Azkyroth | July 6, 2011 2:29 AM

109
Blatant attempts at gerrymandering what is and is not "acceptable evidence" or "valid rhetoric" is profound now?

Are those direct quotes? I can't find what you are referring to in this thread.

Posted by: windy | July 6, 2011 4:40 AM

110
I don't think that affects the broader issues here and I think it's unfortunate that it's received so much focus.

Look people, can we stop pointing out that Rebecca Watson fails to meet the expectations of empathy for others that she places on the rest of the world? The cognitive dissonance this causes to Azkyroth is too much to bear. If we could all just stop talking about it, that would be great. Thanks. /sarc

I don't want to sound cruel to all aspies but maybe your condition is much more of a mental retardation in your case. That or, maybe all the TRUE FEMINISTS are really just FEMINAZIS.
Not cool, dude. Not. Cool.

From BrianX:

What, fleeing from the Pharyngula beatdown?

Followed by:
I don't play that game with idiots. Have fun fuming.

Irony can be a cruel, cruel mistress, can't she?

Posted by: Spence | July 6, 2011 7:00 AM

111

"ANYONE who used even a second of podium-time for an off-topic attack on someone would be persona non grata forever."

What about an on-topic attack on someone?

Posted by: Wow | July 6, 2011 7:57 AM

112

"And if you're putting your ideas out there publicly (like Stef did), you do so with the knowledge that people can call you out."

And like Rebecca did.

Which Stef called her out on.

And so on through the whole sorry saga.

The problem IS NOT (IMO) what EG did. The PROBLEM is that we currently have a society where some women will feel scared in that situation. And note: "creeped out" is not the same as "scared".

And that's not a problem with atheist blogging, it's a problem full stop in our society ever since, roughly, 2500 years ago, before which women being the power was more the norm (the mysteries included childbirth, an act of almost god-like creation that is something only a woman can do. Smacking someone's head open is better done by the more robust male, but women can do fairly well at it too).

What EG did: a non-bad.

That women still have to worry for their safety: a bad.

Posted by: Wow | July 6, 2011 8:03 AM

113

"She's Uncomfortable ALWAYS devolves into a shitstorm of screaming and/or disregard and/or rape apologetics"

Jen, if you're uncomfortable, that isn't rape. Being worried you're going to be raped isn't rape. Rape is not the issue.

Therefore defending the non-rape event isn't rape apologising. But continuing to recant any opposition into rape enabling or apologising behaviour is DEFINITELY going to get you discounted as a nutcase.

Posted by: Wow | July 6, 2011 8:08 AM

114

"He has to have some sexist sentiment for it to be sexist. He has to be utilising his privilege to put himself above the woman (you know, like Watson abused her privilege?)"

I think that it would be myscoginy if the "shut up" meant "shut up, you're supposed to only like being hit on by men".

Greg, PZ and other supporters of RW hear the latter whenever EG, Stef, RD or others are defended.

The problem is they "KNOW" (in an almost xian fundie way) that what is meant by any less than wholehearted support of RW is a "shut up and make me a sammich".

Why? Maybe a need to be "right on".

A wee story: A girl friend told me and others about how when she watched "The Accused" (IIRC, Jodie foster movie as a lawyer) and how one of the men said he felt ashamed.

My first thought was "Why? Did he get a boner at the rape scene?". Second one was "Nah, he just wants to be 'Right on' and 'Cool with the ladies equality thing'".

The disappointing thing was she'd not wondered why he felt ashamed.

Posted by: Wow | July 6, 2011 8:22 AM

115

That part would make sense, Wow.

I always get that faintly religious vibe (and I really don't mean this in an inflammatory way, but I'm aware that's how it comes across, but don't worry, I don't care enough to not make the comparison) whenever someone starts telling me that I just don't get it, and that I have to try harder to see something (like the apparently inherent misogyny in 'shut-up', bearing in mind that he was accusing one women of telling another to shut up and then saying that is a misogynistic attack, I was trying to tackle the strongest version of the sentiment).

Or the Emperor's Clothes. "I know it's hard to see the Emperor's Clothes, it's always difficult to see part one's own prejudices".

I bloody well can if you make the argument, but it has not been made, nor is it when the religious tell me I just have to search harder for God, I'll know Him when I see it.

I want to hear arguments. Good solid arguments.

Schroedinger's Rapist much like Schroedinger's Racist is simple guilt by association. You have the right to feel what you feel and suspect what you suspect, but there's only so much you can demand of potential (that is to say people who aren't) rapists or racists.

For example, Schroedinger's Mugger is justification enough for me to feel uncomfortable and note fast exists, it is not justification enough for me to demand that people wearing tracksuits who have done nothing wrong have to have their hands in plain sight, and can't wear hooded tops.

Posted by: Peter | July 6, 2011 9:26 AM

116

That should read see *past one's own prejudices*

... and *and note fast exits*

Posted by: Peter | July 6, 2011 9:45 AM

117

" "That or, maybe all the TRUE FEMINISTS are really just FEMINAZIS."

Not cool, dude. Not. Cool. "

Spencer, that would be cool except for a post from Jen late on in the other RW thread here where Jen absolutely 100% clearly in black and white that ERV was a sex traitor.

Then, rather than being not cool, it's just an over-reaching over-broad broad brush. I.e. just because Jen 100% acted EXACTLY LIKE the caricature of a feminazi doesn't mean everyone supporting RW is one.

Re: Peter, it seems to be the mindset problem. Any attempt to not elevate a woman's concern MUST be an attempt to disregard all concerns women have.

Just like to a fundian any attempt to disprove god is an attempt to invite satan into the world.

PS as a short bloke, can I demand that anyone bigger than me doesn't walk down a dark street that I'm walking down. It creeps me out and makes me worried I'm going to get mugged or worse.

Posted by: Wow | July 6, 2011 10:22 AM

118

@108:
Blatant attempts at gerrymandering what is and is not "acceptable evidence" or "valid rhetoric" is profound now?

My definition is fairly common in answering the question "what is evidence".

Be a dick, arrogant, abusive, condescending and you'll survive perfectly fine in literature so long as you're punctilious in your work and reports of findings. Cut a corner, cheat just a little, misrepresent the strength of a claim, conclude further than your data ethically lets you and you're finished. Only hacks and quacks will publish what you say.

I see no reason why I should demand less of someone claiming that half of the human species is obligated to think themselves rapists, oppressive and misogynistic when a given person is none of those things. All for the sake of someone else's choosing not to deal with reality on all fours? No, you have a high burden; guilt tripping me will not do.

I have a post up about it, and an invitation to be convinced on my newly created blog. If you know someone who has The One Truth for good reasons, send them my way. If I am actually wrong, that's something I'd want to know so that I can improve myself.

But I get the feeling that most people would rather be comment-heroes on blogs than actually work on solving important interests which bear on our most deeply important understanding of living the good, ethical life.

But, hey, why participate in solving human problems and improving our living conditions when you can bitch about it online?

Windy and Spence:
Thank you for noting that those "quotes" bore no relation to what I wrote, and seeing what happens when they're invited to put up or shut up. Of course, they needn't shut up - there's comedic gold in these people I tell you.

Posted by: Justicar | July 6, 2011 10:23 AM

119

I don't want to weigh on this specific "event" because I don't really care or get it- but can anyone explain why Rebecca is a prominent skeptic and on great podcasts like skpetics guide to the universe? She has no science background, a TTT communications degree and literally has zero knowledge of substantive scientific matters. Her public persona is based on no professional accomplishments- merely the platform that skeptics guide to the universe has provided her. She repeats, often without elegance or nuance, the conclusions of certain experts ad nauseum and calls it skepticism. Granted, we cannot be experts in every field and should defer to experts when we have reason to, but it seems like she doesn't even try. In method, I don't see how she is much different from her intellectual opponents (religion, pseudoscience, quackery).

I also can not stand how she readily mixes her politics with science- as if politics are scientific in nature and those with diverging opinions are engaged in pseudoscience. Her BFF, PZ (someone I actually kinda like), seems to largely agree and plays the same game. Those of us with different views are alienated.

Am I way off-base?

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 6, 2011 11:21 AM

120

LOL

Skeptichick comments are subject to approval. So, needless to say, they are having a circlejerk over there.

Some other fundies I know use the same tactic...

BTW, something curious, misandry isn't recognized by spell checker like misogyny is... Seems like being a male simply isn't politically correct.

Schrodinger's Rapist argument is very unconvincing. Let's just keep Schrodinger for his cat, OK? I don't really see why they would hijack his name for such a purpose anyways, it's not like rapists are a quantized phenomenon. They would like to think so though, because to them its a simple black or white issue; you are either in lock step with them or a raving misogynist.

Wait... fundies tend to be incapable of understanding nuance as well...

My irony meter is exploding right now... It truly is a sad day for the skeptical community, but not for reasons the feminazis suggest.

Feminism is supposed to be about equality but now it seems like they just want to kick males to the back of the bus. WTF happened?

They are not feminists. They are misandrists.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 6, 2011 11:33 AM

121

Agent Smith:
I don't know that skeptics guide is prominent. I was completely unaware of Rebecca Watson until about two weeks ago. Reviewing her contributions to the universe I can see how I've managed to not know of her for so long.

How does she get on it? Well, when you found an organization, you kind of get to participate.

Haven't I read this comment elsewhere before now?

Posted by: Justicar | July 6, 2011 11:33 AM

122

Phyraxus,

They are not equality feminists, that aim for full civil and legal equality for women. Instead, the folks over at skepchick seem to ascribe to type of gender feminism that advocates preferential treatment for women, viewing men and women as different classes and portraying all women as victims. The rhetoric (sexual objectification, male power, etc) is right out of the deconstructionist and marxist vocabulary. In fact the whole worldview is class-based, with marxism's concept of perpetual conflict between working-class proletariat and capitalist Bourgeoisie has been replaced with feminist theory that posits perpetual exploitation of women by men, or by a patriarchal power structure. See Christina Hoff Sommers "Who Stole Feminism".

They are "skeptics" yet use the language of a clearly pseudo-scientific ideology. None of these concepts are backed up by empirical research, merely the communications and sociological echo-chamber. Another display that Rebecca doesn't understand philosophy of science or scientific methodology, she sees science as a mere tool of her ideological convictions.

Posted by: Tom | July 6, 2011 11:46 AM

123

I am just suggesting, like Prometheus, that as part of the scientific skeptical movement, I would prefer scientists or those with professional accomplishments speaking on my behalf. Not folks like Rebecca that are merely notable as youtube loudmouths and internet ideologues.

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 6, 2011 11:52 AM

124
"ANYONE who used even a second of podium-time for an off-topic attack on someone would be persona non grata forever."

What about an on-topic attack on someone?

Given the conference and how it's set up, it is extremely unlikely that would happen. Not from any moral superiority silliness, but it's just not designed that way. All conference proposals are vetted before the applicant gets to be a speaker. All decks must be submitted beforehand. I'm not saying it COULDN'T happen, but given the folks I work with on Mac IT, i'd be pretty damned surprised if it did.

It's just not considered appropriate. We even get weird about attacks on products. In the context of "Product A being a better choice because of (reasons) than product B" or a serious comparison of them, that's okay. Something along the lines of "Product A sucks"? Not so much.

The process itself filters that out, because it's just not something we want in the talks.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 6, 2011 11:57 AM

125

Welch-- I also have experience regarding that. When I was asked to speak at the TX Freethought convention, it was during the 'dont be a dick' fiasco. I thought I was going to talk about that. But upon further *reflection* (see this post), I decided that would be stupid, and I said as much in my intro. Aint nobody want to sit there and listen to internet drama and he-said-she-said crap. So I talked about endogenous retroviruses, and people learned something. Yay!

Posted by: ERV | July 6, 2011 12:07 PM

126

You are damn right, Tom.

In RW's first paragraph in the post titled the privilege delusion, she puts words in Dawkins' mouth. He wasn't even really speaking to her but to the raving misandrists at PZ's blog. Others argue that he was saying that there are REALLY bad things, so that means we can't argue against little bad things. I disagree. He was trying to provide some perspective. That her PERCIEVED slight wasn't really a slight at all, and all of them screaming rape is demeaning to ACTUAL rape victims. But she says his argument disregards rape victims (probably because he used the oppression of Muslim women as an example). WTF? FO REELZ?

But at any rate, she disregards his point of view or argument out of hand simply because he happened to be born white, heterosexual, wealthy, and male. And they all cheer her on...

Imagine a black guy had said it instead of Dawkins. Her argument would be, "Oh, well your just a black man and ignorant," then thunderous applause...

Really... these "feminists" just don't "get it"

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 6, 2011 12:20 PM

127

"The rhetoric (sexual objectification, male power, etc) is right out of the deconstructionist and marxist vocabulary."

I'm afraid you're putting in your own requirement of political rhetoric there.

The rhetoric of sexual objectification, male power, etc is purely the rhetoric of those wanting to claim victimhood.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Marxists use it to show how the proles are being victimised.
Capitalists use it to show how the government are strangling them.
Feminists use it to show how men are all bastards.
Myscoginists use it to show how women are all harridans.

It's purely the appropriation of harm so that the one taking on the pain is painted as a heroic martyr as opposed to even partly responsible.

And personally this non-event isn't damaging "skepticism", it's just damaging the viewed persona of some people prominent in one or more of the multitudinous avenues skeptics have an interest and opinion in.

This is no more about skepticism than a discussion with the Archbishop of Cantebury on whether "Constantine" is allowed in Scrabble that has both parties going 'tis/'tisn't is about the Church of England.

Posted by: Wow | July 6, 2011 12:21 PM

128

"In RW's first paragraph in the post titled the privilege delusion, she puts words in Dawkins' mouth."

Worse, Greg put a title up about how RD had a solution to women about to get raped. Except it wasn't. RD had an idea for women who were uncomfortable in a lift with a man: Get out.

"Really... these "feminists" just don't "get it""

I don't think it's as much to do with feminism as an overzealous desire to make women safe.

What I believe got RW's knickers in a twist and made Steff the target to attack was not the stance against what was said, but that Steff was that her comment removed the victim martyrdom from RW.

Being made a victim is fine, but telling her she's not a victim! TERRIBLE!

Posted by: Wow | July 6, 2011 12:29 PM

129
Welch-- I also have experience regarding that. When I was asked to speak at the TX Freethought convention, it was during the 'dont be a dick' fiasco. I thought I was going to talk about that. But upon further *reflection* (see this post), I decided that would be stupid, and I said as much in my intro. Aint nobody want to sit there and listen to internet drama and he-said-she-said crap. So I talked about endogenous retroviruses, and people learned something. Yay!

Preeeeee-CISEly.

Oh, if you find yourself doing something really technical and cool with a Mac, and want to talk about THAT in public some time, I know a guy who could help :-P

(actually, we're about to put out the Mac IT call for papers, and if you don't mind, when we do, could I forward the link to you so you could forward it on to any folks you know that might be interested in speaking? We're changing the format a lot, so folks who might have felt they shouldn't try to submit before should definitely try now, and I would love to get more new people in. I already told my compatriots that I'll not speak if it means a slot for someone who's good and new.)

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 6, 2011 12:34 PM

130

"What I believe got RW's knickers in a twist and made Steff the target to attack was not the stance against what was said, but that Steff was that her comment removed the victim martyrdom from RW."

Which is exactly why Abbie's Vagina ID Card has been revoked on the grounds that she is a Gender Traitor.

Thank you Abbie, you are the light of reason in these dark times.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 6, 2011 12:35 PM

131

I was wondering about the vagina licensure process. I was under the impression that transactions in that field are heavily regulated. I digress.

There's an "open" letter to Dawkins from some rape victims demanding justice for his oppression of women. I say open because there's a lovely little clause at the end:
"Comments here will be moderated as I see fit. Do not even think of trying to mansplain this to me."

Check it out: http://membracid.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/a-letter-to-richard-dawkins-from-victims-of-sexual-assault/

I commended them on their bravery for participating in a public discussion by stating outright that anyone whom they don't consider sufficiently worthy will be silenced. Why it's hard for me to take them seriously is a complete mystery. You will hear me! But you may not speak unless you agree! Assholes.

Posted by: Justicar | July 6, 2011 12:49 PM

132

That stupid rapist argument (I'm not going to tarnish Schrodinger's name by association to it) is REALLY fucking stupid. Seriously, just because every male MIGHT be a rapist doesn't mean they should be treated as such. Just like every female MIGHT be a cum-bucket, money-grubbing bitch doesn't mean they should be treated as such. When a beautiful female comes my way, I don't clutch my money under the assumption that she is trying to take it so she doesn't need to get an education for a well-paying career.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 6, 2011 12:50 PM

133

@ Phyraxus - YES!

Posted by: Michaerl H Anderson | July 6, 2011 12:57 PM

134

Phyraxus-- Dont stop and gender. What about black people. They make everybody nervous in elevators. Never know when they gonna pop a cap in your ass for your Nikes. And the Jews, always commin after your gold. Irish and their infatuation with lucky charms.

Irish do NOT have the right to make me feel nervous in elevators.

Posted by: ERV | July 6, 2011 1:04 PM

135

At the risk of sounding sexist or objectifying you Abbie, I think you are beautiful in more ways than one :)

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 6, 2011 1:09 PM

136

@Abbie:
Hey, did you watch that video I did on that very topic?! You must have because I thought it was impossible for anyone else to figure out the problem!

Leave the Irish alone; they're no threat if history is any indication.

Posted by: Justicar | July 6, 2011 1:39 PM

137

"Leave the Irish alone; they're no threat if history is any indication."

Except to gays at St Paddy's Day, for example.

ANYway, I have to say ERV, I agree with the original post to some extent, but I've got a lot of sympathy for RW, in that I can be somewhat strident in calling someone out publicly (well, as public as my personal facebook status is, anyway) and I've had a few shitstorms to weather because of it. I think that RW is right in that hitting on someone in an elevator of a hotel at 4am isn't a great idea. I think that stef did engage in some apologetics for male privilage in her response. I wasn't at the conference and haven't seen videos yet of it, so I can't say if RW calling Stef out was fair or not. I'm ready to believe it was shocking to Stef, and I could be persuaded that RW should not have included that in her talk (haven't been persuaded yet). I think if you publish something on the net or say something in a public space (and this goes toward both), you're taking your chances that someone will take what you said and use it, probably in a way you don't like.

What's funny is that these sort of things tend to bring in ALL the crazy, so reading threads here and elsewhere is like a crashcourse in in idiocy and the responses to idiocy, so it makes for some great reading!

Posted by: Quietmarc | July 6, 2011 2:09 PM

138

Don't forget about Schrodinger's Terrorist. You never know when a brown person in a turban is planning to blow up your plane.

Posted by: mathguy | July 6, 2011 2:18 PM

139

Or the terror of my day: Schrodinger's User. You just never know when one of them fuckers is going to click on something stupid.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 6, 2011 2:40 PM

140

Hi. New here. Just a lurker chiming in.

It's been quite interesting observing this controvery from afar. I'm an atheist/skeptic myserlf, but it's controversies like this that reinforce my ambivalence to be associated with any kind of atheist/skeptic identity or movement. Being an atheist says very little about someone's values and attitudes, really. Atheists profoundly disagree on a variety of social and political issues -- femimism being one of them (i.e. liberal vs. radical feminism).

Having said that, here's my view on some of the controversy. I agree that the elevator guys's behaviour was a bit uncouth and inappropriate. I think it's best to be a gentleman (i.e. "don't be creepy"). However, I don't buy the radical feminist interpretations of the experience or that men should go out of their way to change their behaviour because they might be seen as "Schrodinger's Rapist". Greg Laden suggested that late at night, men should cross to the other side of the street to avoid passing an unaccompanied woman to avoid alarming her (and perhaps avoid getting into elevators with her as well). I just find that absolutely absurd. Apparently, it's possible to be "creepy" or a "misoygnist" if I'm just minding my own business, according to radical feminists. Grania Spingies nailed it, on Miranda's blog:
http://mirandaceleste.net/2011/07/03/feminists-can-be-bullies-too/#comments

"In particular, one that made me want to either throw up or face-palm so violently that I lost consciousness, was the idea that the sensitive, feminist-aware male should cross over to the opposite side of the street, on spotting an unaccompanied woman so as not to alarm, intimidate or upset the lone female.

Seriously, this is the epitome of a 100 years of feminism? Treating women like helpless, infantile victims?

Thanks, but no thanks. I expect men to treat me like an equal, not like a half-witted invalid.

I'm also turned off by the crazy "gender traitor" rhetoric. That's the hallmark of a sanctimonious zealot who condemns any woman who dares to disagree with her narrow definition of True Feminism™. It smacks of a religious fundamentalist condemning heretics or perhaps a Stalinist condemning anyone who objects to his/her narrow definition socialism. Apparently, feminism has its dogmatists and idealogues too.

Posted by: INTP | July 6, 2011 2:53 PM

141

Well, after whining about Phyraxus upthread, I couldn't agree more with comment #126, which is spot on IMHO.

I note PZ Myers has put another thread up and refused to discuss things by closing comments immediately (dissenting voices not welcome... his blog, his rules, but the decision speaks volumes). PZ then goes ahead and blames evil male bozos not only for upsetting Rebecca Watson, but also for her becoming an "angry feminist". You heard it right, not only is she a victim of POTENTIAL RAPE, she is also a victim in that everything she does is shaped by evil men putting her up to things, which I suppose is meant to be PZ's way of justifying of her bullying antics. She has to bully other women, because nasty men put her up to it.

Now that we know Rebecca has no free will of her own and her entire being is merely shaped by and male privilege apologists, and gender traitors, apparently, can we have her speaker's fees? Just askin'.

Good points being made both here and at BA about assuming the worst of people. It is an elementary statistics fail not dissimilar to Pascal's wager, and it is amusing seeing so many "skeptics" fall for it. They ratchet the worst case scenario to being infinite (which is now rape and murder combined on BA) and ignore both the miniscule probability and the negative cost associated with the action required to avoid said risk - the sterile existence that such action would create. Not only would we be avoiding blacks, jews, etc., we wouldn't even cross the road to avoid becoming a potential road accident casualty, or ever eat anything tasty in case of becoming a potential food poisoning victim. The whole game is stupid.

Interesting that Mrs BA is weighing in on this and promoting the potential rapist scenario as well. I guess she wants to defend hubby, which I can understand. Of course, in playing the probability game she does, she forgets that the single most probable person to rape a married woman would be... her husband. Yep, if we're playing these stupid statistical games, the most likely POTENTIAL RAPIST of Mrs BA would be one Phil Plait. Extending this ludicrous ideology to that point is sure gonna make meal times awkward.

Posted by: Spence | July 6, 2011 2:56 PM

142

I note PZ Myers has put another thread up and refused to discuss things by closing comments immediately (dissenting voices not welcome... his blog, his rules, but the decision speaks volumes)

I thought he was moving to a new network because he didnt want to censor his commentors?

I would rather self-censor a post on a NatGeo program on HIV-1 so kids could get past their school filters to read it (but otherwise be free to write whatever I wanted on any other post on any other topic I wanted), than censor you all from speaking.

Huh.

Its dumb anyway-- close comments on one post, people will just derail another. What a newb move...

Posted by: ERV | July 6, 2011 3:32 PM

143

Meh. You learn pretty quick with PZ that truly different viewpoints aren't welcome. You're allowed to disagree on minor trivial points, but if you actually disagree with something completely, then you're an idiot and the kind of person not welcome anywhere. Whatever.

But it does explain why stuff like TAM is naught but a self-congratulatory circle jerk.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 6, 2011 3:45 PM

144

Hey ERV

While you are noting stuff, have a look at what our favorite set of Roman Catholic cankles has been spouting.

"Guys like Richard Dawkins are no different than any of the entitled, white-haired, pale-faced, penis-stroking fucks that plague our entire civilization"

Posted by: Prometheus | July 6, 2011 4:39 PM

145

I thought RW was uninteresting before. Now, after reading her latest post I'm quite sure she's just a moron. A quite self-absorbed one at that, it seems.

To see P.Z. giving her unquestioned support, even on that latest post, seems as a good a reason as any to find some other blogs to amuse myself with.* Kudos on RW though. She's been more effective at demolishing the credibility of the sceptic/atheist blogosphere than the entire religious right together.


*Since I don't what the hell 'epigenetic control of ERVs' even means, you're probably not it. Definitely one of the sanest voices in this whole thing though, so good job!

Posted by: Blargh | July 6, 2011 4:43 PM

146

I'm still waiting on confirmation that elevator guy actually exists. The probability that this is simply a fake controversy increases as time goes on. Considering that RW is famous for being famous-on-the-intarwebs, I think the odds increase exponentially (Who knows? Some women are attention whores, but I couldn't say if she is one because I don't read her blog). You'd think that someone who goes to skeptic conferences would read skeptic blogs and tell their side of the story or apologize or something.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 6, 2011 5:05 PM

147

Well, that's the thing. Short of EG voluntarily stepping forth, (and why would anyone do that now), you can't prove or disprove his existence. Only one person saw him. She doesn't know his name, won't say what he looks or sounds like, so really, you can neither prove nor disprove his existence. It's all up to how low you think RW would stoop. I'll be naive here and doubt she'd stoop that low.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 6, 2011 5:25 PM

148

"I'll be naive here and doubt she'd stoop that low."

I don't... but I'm a cynic in many ways. Human behavior might confuse me, but it rarely surprises me. I never knew her well, and we haven't spoken in years now, but I wouldn't put it past her exaggerate or outright invent such a story to make a point. It's a relatively small deception, and honestly could easily have been classified as merely a hypothetical posited from the first person for effect if all this shitstorm hadn't sprung up after. Problem is, once the shitstorm does arise, few people have what it takes to say "OK, this got way out of hand. I made it up." Most people just dig the hole deeper and deeper - especially if they have big-name friends backing their play. There's no graceful way out, so the only option most see is "stay the course."

Of course, I wouldn't put it past some drunk guy to hit her in an elevator, either. I mean, really: Some guy + alcohol + reasonably attractive chick + proximity... it makes a good hypothetical because it's so common it's practically an archetype.

Me, I'd say it doesn't fucking matter whether it happened like she says or happened at all or not. Whether it did or didn't, everything after remains unchanged. Ok, that's not entirely true. Well, if it wasn't true, I'd take it into account next time she made a similar claim, but that's the only difference.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 6, 2011 6:03 PM

149

@148

You knew RW personally?

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 6, 2011 6:29 PM

150

Hmmm. Didn't know about Phil Plait jumping in on this. WELL CHRIST FUCK!!! If I disagree with him i guess i have to stop reading all his work. I've already stopped reading PZ and now im done with SGU! I"M INCAPABLE OF LISTENING TO OR BE ENTERTAINED BY PEOPLE I DISAGREE WITH !!!!!ONE!!!ELEVEN!!! THANKS REBECCA FOR THE EXAMPLE WHEN YOU SAID YOU WERE DONE WITH DAWKIN!!!

I thought the skeptics/atheist movements were more rational than this. RW is saying shes now done with Dawkins after one incident, i guess she cant just deal with differing opinions. Plus we've got RW and her clan yelling ZOMG MALE DOESNT AGREE WITH ME MUST BE OVER PRIVILEGED MALE. or ZOMG ANY MALE IS POTENTIAL RAPIST. I guess the idea that someone just disagrees based on something other than male privilege or the idea that "every male is a rapist" is an oversimplified, drastic, and irrational position isn't acceptable. It has to be rooted in sexism, it has to be that simple because nothing is nuanced. Apparently everyone has forgotten what skepticism has taught us. Nothing is that simple and there's nuances to everything.

ERV, I had heard about your blog through PZ's but I've never read it until now after getting a link to 'Bad form, Rebecca Watson.' Fantastic blend of humor and science, I will continue to read.
Also saw that you worked in Antarctica on the archives. Immensely jealous, I've been seriously considering applying for a support staff job there. Been a dream of mine to go there. I'm still 20 so I've got a few more years to get there.

Posted by: tas121790 | July 6, 2011 6:30 PM

151

For certain values of "personally," yes. We discussed a great many things on her site, and a few face to face. There was a little light flirting, but nothing that went very far. We didn't exactly part ways on the best of terms, and I'll freely admit that there may well be some residual bitterness about that whole situation creating a bias.

In short, don't go using me as an example of someone saying she's likely to make something up. I'd have said basically same thing about basically anyone.

..also, I've done worse.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 6, 2011 6:38 PM

152

That was for Phyraxis @149, of course... I'm failing all over the place today, it seems.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 6, 2011 6:43 PM

153

Phil Plait has always been a massive tone troll- just read his "don't be a dick" crap from last year.

Anyway, I still have the patience to listen to the SGU just because Steven Novella is such a great skeptic. In fact he is the model of the movement- doesn't engage in wild hyperbole (i.e. PZ and RW), doesn't get involved in petty personal controversies (god knows that RW would air her personal grievances with the "male class" on the podcast if she was allowed to) and is an extremely intelligent scientist with real professional accomplishments.

I still miss Perry, and think that Rebecca was a terrible addition to the show. She literally contributes nothing but snark. If they were looking for a woman scientist, I don't know why they couldn't pick someone like BugGirl and Pamela Gay. Or ERV. Instead they brought on a blog and youtube troll.

Posted by: Tom | July 6, 2011 7:36 PM

154

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, is a woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Her defense attorneys are being tortured to death in prison for defending her today.

We are not talking about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, we are talking about Rebbecca Watson.

More than 12 percent of Congo’s female population between the ages of 15 and 49 have been raped, about 48 women per hour but we are not talking about Congolese women we are talking about Rebbecca Watson.

The 17 year ban on openly gay members of the military was lifted today, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is constructively excommunicating any politician who votes for gay marriage and they found the fossil of a wombat bigger than a 1958 Buick Roadmaster.....but fuck it, Watson.

Atheism is now about Watson.

Feminism is now about Watson.

All issues are now, for all of us, as they always have been for Rebbecca Watson, to wit all about Rebbecca Watson.

She wins. Everybody else loses.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 6, 2011 7:41 PM

155

I've asked the question if there's any corroborating evidence to suggest that EG exists. No progress yet, just ad hominem arguments. Why am I not surprised?

-/2011/07/elevators_and_privilege_a_lett.php

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 6, 2011 7:52 PM

156

Prom-- She wins. Everybody else loses.
Not true. I have been contacted by numerous student groups recently, who didnt know I existed six days ago. They are looking for 'alternative' female role models within the skeptical community.

They win.


Phyraxus-- Dont worry. I heard they have Mike Nifong on the case. *snickersnort*

Posted by: ERV | July 6, 2011 8:22 PM

157

YAY

Does that mean we can see you give some speeches? Please do

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 6, 2011 8:33 PM

158

Well, I have a job. And I take it very seriously. So probably not very many of these gigs are actually going to work out irl :) I pitched the idea of doing talks/Q&A via Skype, like I did with Dr. Kiki!

Maybe we can still record those, though!

Posted by: ERV | July 6, 2011 8:38 PM

159
Not true. I have been contacted by numerous student groups recently, who didnt know I existed six days ago. They are looking for 'alternative' female role models within the skeptical community.
BTW, I noticed that Skepchick is organizing a letter-writing campaign against Dawkins: http://skepchick.org/2011/07/dear-richard-dawkins/ I have a suggestion. ERV, perhaps you, Miranda,Steph, and others can start a "counter-demonstration" letter-writing campaign in opposition to reassure Dawkins that not all skeptical nontheist women buy into skepchick et al's narrow, exclusive radfem ideology.

Posted by: INTP | July 6, 2011 8:47 PM

160

i'd like to thank justicar, phyraxus and the others who have stood their ground against the pharynguloids.

Posted by: tybee | July 6, 2011 8:49 PM

161

@Tom
Well even after this and the Don't be a dick "episode" I'm still a fan of Phil Plait. He reminds me of someone who just doesn't want to stir the pot too much and thus defaulted to the safe position. He runs a good blog and his lectures online are great. I disagree that hes a troll. But to each there own.
Regarding SGU, I actually didn't mind Rebecca until this shiticane happened. Honestly, after like 2 episodes I probably wont even care that RW is on the show once the Winds of Shit pass. Shes relegated to a minor presence on SGU anyway. ZOMG PATRIARCHY. THE NOVELLA BROTHERS ARE SEXIST. I do agree that Steve is the model skeptic, and that there are numerous more qualified skeptical women that could replace her. Id say ERV should replace RW.

On PZ, I still like his blog, not the first time I've disagreed with him. Example I have a differing opinion on abortion that he does (ZOMG MORE PATRIARCHY) Funny enough my position on abortion is more in line with his daughters based on her responses from a reddit thread she had a few months ago. So maybe PZ can be hyperbolic but its tinged with some troll. Not a problem with me.

Posted by: tas121790 | July 6, 2011 9:03 PM

162

INTP @#159
"BTW, I noticed that Skepchick is organizing a letter-writing campaign"

Yup it has elaborate rape anecdote poetry in the comments and there are a number of theme t-shirts for sale on Zazzle.com.

I hate people.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 6, 2011 9:04 PM

163

Hey, how did I miss this thread? Thank you ERV for being a voice of reason throughout this whole shitstorm! Breaking from this neo-feminist orthodoxy as woman must not be entirely easy.

Posted by: Mox | July 6, 2011 10:44 PM

164

Great post, ERV. I like you too! And your sarcasm - it's about the only laugh I've gotten out of this mess.

Maybe Rebecca missed this article by Steve Cuno when preparing for her talk. It's great advice, too, told with humor.

Posted by: Sharon Madison | July 6, 2011 11:08 PM

165
Phyraxus-- Dont worry. I heard they have Mike Nifong on the case. *snickersnort*

I see what you did there.

Well, I have a job. And I take it very seriously. So probably not very many of these gigs are actually going to work out irl :) I pitched the idea of doing talks/Q&A via Skype, like I did with Dr. Kiki!

Maybe we can still record those, though!

If you're on a Mac, there are a number of Apps for that, I use Wiretap Studio from Ambrosia myself. Windows has a nice selection as well. I don't know for sure about Linux, but I'd be surprised if they didn't.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 6, 2011 11:14 PM

166

I just waded into the whole kerfuffle through B&W. I wish I hadn't. I can't get past the simple fact that the elevator guy did nothing wrong. If I walk into an elevator with RW at 4am, then I present the same potential threat as the bumbling flirter. And I totally see why any woman might be on guard at that moment. But what does this have to do with sexism or gender traitors(!) or women getting paid less?

Posted by: Adam | July 6, 2011 11:22 PM

167
"BTW, I noticed that Skepchick is organizing a letter-writing campaign"

Yup it has elaborate rape anecdote poetry in the comments and there are a number of theme t-shirts for sale on Zazzle.com.

Every time I see that, I want to go in and find the biggest OMG MEN CAN'T UNDERSTAND and point out my experience with being sexually assaulted as a young child, (it was a LONG time ago. i got better) and ask "So, can I still not understand? It happened to me. Or does it not count because I'm a guy. Maybe I did myself?"

Just to really, really fuck with them. But I don't. I rarely bring it up in those forums for a number of reasons:

1) It really did happen a long time ago. (like the year of the Bicentennial. Most of the people screaming weren't even a glint in the milkman's eye then)

2) I got better. I never really blamed myself, and realized in my early teens/20s that the perp was not much less of a victim than I was. (it was a really fucked up situation, he wasn't exactly in happy happy homelife land), so I dunno if I *forgave* him per se, but I stopped being pissed at him.

3) It's fucking tedious to explain, and being the evil bastard I occasionally am, if I am somehow whined at into talking about it, it's work to not say "Well, he had a gentle, but firm touch, and afterwards, I knew I was now a man". The look of horror that creates is pretty awesome, and gets the hint across nicely: Not Everyone Lives In The Past

4) the most important one: My experience ONLY makes me an expert on ME. It means I may have a more...well I may be able to relate to certain things better, but fuck, i'm not an expert on juvenile sexual assault because heavy shit went down when I was a kid. It just means I went through some shit, and yeah, I can talk about that kind of shit differently than someone who didn't go through it. But try to make me some kind of "expert" on it, and I'll either bung something heavy your way, or refer you to people who spend their lives studying this shit, and are ACTUALLY EXPERTS. If Abbie wants to tell me what it's like to be stalked, I give her a lot of credence, she was there. But if you want to tell me that makes her an expert on getting stalked, I'm going to disagree. Getting shot at doesn't make you a sharpshooter. That's why this "I WAS RAPED, YOU MUST ACKNOWLEDGE MY SUPERIORITY" shit makes me want to vomit. No, being raped just means you were the victim of some horrible shit, and I'll understand if you have some strong viewpoints about some things, and try not to make certain jokes around you. But it doesn't make you an expert. It just makes you a victim. That sucks, but that's the truth.

5) It is a HUGE dick move, because I'm not doing it to educate, (how can I even do that? I don't REMEMBER much of what I was thinking or feeling, I was *9*. Most of what I remember from 9 revolves around wanting to be Dusty Rhodes or Steve Austin, or Fonzie. To be honest, I don't try real hard), I'm doing it to fuck with people. (Surprise, victims can be dicks too!) I do it as a brick to the skull of the prats who think that any group has some kind of monopoly on anything, and therefore some inherent moral high ground. No, they do not.

I know rather a few people who were raped, abused, what have you. Unsurprisingly, they're not running about screaming about it, and using it for an excuse for bad behavior.

Hmm...maybe that could be a session: "Your victimhood does not grant you the right to be a dick". Now THAT would be a TAM session to remember! :-P

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 6, 2011 11:33 PM

168

"Your victimhood does not grant you the right to be a dick"

QFT

Posted by: Rystefn | July 6, 2011 11:41 PM

169

Anyone see PZ's latest thread-
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/i_guess_ill_never_get_a_retail.php#comments

Someone put forward a opposing "gender" argument and was repeatedly called "fuckwit", insulted, and then subsequently banned. The funny part is that the Pharyngula users were merely making up legal arguments on the spot and then citing to american state appellate cases as if those statutes were applicable in England. So on top of being merely oppressive, PZ and his users were wrong again. Pharyngula is looking more stalinist by the day.

Honestly, the more this goes on the more I am starting to see Chris Mooney's perspective.

Posted by: Tom | July 6, 2011 11:46 PM

170

Yeah, I was reading it and it really didn't seem like an open honest debate. I do not believe the ban was justified. They mostly used appeal to emotion and ad hominem arguments.

He was basically saying that it wasn't sexist (or at least not illegal/grounds for government intervention) because they are a private enterprise and they can set up their own business practices. The ladies sell things like perfume and makeup, so obviously they want ladies that LOOK like they know what they are doing. I would say in a perfect world, its sexist (I don't think any woman should need to wear any makeup). However, that being said, his arguments were not unreasonable. Even now, someone says that its dolled up old, rich ladies that they are trying to impress, not men.

"Anyways, I see makeup as women objectifying themselves. Men aren't FORCING them to do anything. It is biological warfare (survival of the fittest, I mean) in the sense of providing false cues for fitness and it essentially is escalation of combat all the way up to plastic surgery. Because who peddles makeup to women? Other women (think, covergirl). It really is sad that our society promotes this shit and women buy it up. If all women tomorrow decided to throw away their makeup, they could, but I doubt it."

I mentioned this over there, not a single response in agreement or disagreement, but this is when they were already circling him like sharks.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 7, 2011 12:28 AM

171

The Skepchick "Campaign" makes me ill. It's viciousness and nastiness of the highest degree, and it's a perfect example of groupthink at its worst.

And let's call a spade a spade: it's nothing less than an attempt at character assassination.

Rebecca and her fellow "chicks" (and their supporters) are acting in the most irrational, childish, and un-skeptical way possible.

I just can't grasp how *anyone* who possesses even an ounce of intellect or empathy could support what they're doing. But what do I know? Like Abbie, I'm just a "gender traitor" who needs to "die in a fire", blah blah blah.

Seriously, this is some really messed up stuff.

Posted by: Miranda Celeste Hale | July 7, 2011 12:30 AM

172

PZ has decided that atheism is a social movement which should embody the values he thinks it should. To that end, he repeatedly blogs about those values. One of them is feminism. However, in typical PZ style he gets preachy, overreaches, then gets his herd to suppress dissenting opinion. This of course prevents both he and his flock from ever even considering that they might be wrong.

Oh Sagan where art thou?

Anyway, this is a breath of fresh air. I'll be reading you much more often and PZ, much less.

Posted by: Williwaw | July 7, 2011 12:41 AM

173

There's about 3 commentors on PZ's blog that seem to act as PZ's ID. They lead asshole, continue asshole, and finish asshole, and PZ justifies everything they do with "Don't like it, leave".

They get to say the shit PZ doesn't want to, and given PZ's passive-agressive tendencies, it would not surprise me if he actively encouraged them off-site. I used to think it was cool that PZ and I shared a birthday. Now, not so much. He's a smart guy, he does a lot of good overall, but he really is a bit of a cunt.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 7, 2011 12:46 AM

174

How the hole Elevatorgate-thing was handled and communicated by RW and the Skepchick-gang, let me somewhat question their motives. But I think, some of their expressed concerns are legitimate, although I think it hasn't much to do witch sexism at all...but with manners, empathy and social intelligence.
I sometimes think that my fellow humans are often a bit to paranoid and overly fearful of each other. But I recognize that people have different cultural backgrounds and biases (legitimate or not), life experiences and security-mentalities, and I can accept that. How people can think of me as a threat is sometimes beyond me... however if think about twice, it occurs to me how i must appear to people (i am a rather tall guy, and mostly wear black clothes!...creepy isn't it?), middle in the night no one else around. So, yes, i often crossed the street, when i notice that peoples (man and woman alike!) steps become slower, more hesitating, giving me a hint that they may be fearful of the upcoming silhouette (me). So in elevators or other situations: When someone gives me a scared, fearful or nervous face i leave him/her alone..no big deal. But, for example, I also step into an elevator, when my new neighbour (female) gives me a smile and asks how i am doing, even when its middle in the night.
I don't think that their are really any Golden Rules (as suggested by PZ Myers and others) on this. When to do what - depends on the situation, context and certain subtilities...so it requires a certain amount of social intelligence...something many of the more geeky/nerdy-types seem to lack of (thats my subjective experience, and i could be wrong about it).
Why are they so eager to make a sexism-thing out of it??

Posted by: thememe | July 7, 2011 12:56 AM

175

"Why are they so eager to make a sexism-thing out of it??"

Because when you have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 7, 2011 1:05 AM

176

@169:

"Someone put forward a opposing 'gender' argument and was repeatedly called 'fuckwit', insulted, and then subsequently banned."

I was there watching the whole thing unfold. What's funny is that the offender was unfailingly polite and respectful while being viciously insulted. In the end PZ banned this person on the basis that they were posting too much and too often, and this is indicative of trollish behavior.

Posted by: Williwaw | July 7, 2011 1:21 AM

177

Tybee @160:
I would like to say as I did earlier today that it takes nothing to type words on the internet. But then I checked my e-mail a little while ago. Apparently, I'm now a threat to google's revenue source for some, um, recently unkind satire I've partaken in. Therefore, I have now lost my beer and hooker fund from ad sense. I'm being oppressed!!!!!!!!! hahahaha Curiously though, they're still trying to serve ads, just not for revenue sharing. Bastards. *note to self - play nice with attention-whoring drama queens*

Anyway,"[o]n an occasion of this kind it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one’s mind. It becomes a pleasure." - Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Earnest. So, after a bit of reflection, I thought I'd start doing some research on Rebecca's public commentaries, and now my legions of "fans" (about a dozen!) are doing some grunt work.

So, we'll just have to see how her consistency stacks up over time. Of course, I'm only doing this, naturally, because I obviously hate women and all that jazz. Fuck people and wrapping themselves in some feigned status to stave off criticism. It's cowardly.

With respect to PZ's banning of people whom he disagrees with, I cannot express how repugnant I find that. The same is going on with respect to an open letter to "Dick" Richard Dawkins from some sexual assault victims. They want to participate in public debate and demand, demand I tell you, that they be heard. But the comments are moderated as "[they] see fit" because someone might undertake "mansplaining". (comment 131 for link) In other words, some people might say words that don't agree with their sentiment, and therefore are excluded from participating in the discussion.

Granted, my following is trivial, so it's a non-issue for me now. But were it otherwise, I still would not moderate comments for anything other than extremely obvious spam. Suppression of people's ability to speak no matter how repugnant their views is not a matter I take lightly. It is the sign of a diseased society. Ugh.

John C. Welch:
It's almost hard to imagine that isn't a tshirt yet. Why people fail to grasp this elementary concept escapes me. Being injured by one person is not an excuse to in turn injure a different person.

Abbie:
If you do happen to find time to attend some meeting whereat you're giving a speech, please make it known. I might revisit my position of boycotting atheist/"skeptic" events until they stop paying bigots to come speak against oppression while simultaneously encouraging it so long as it's directed at others. I will positively not be supporting any event where the revenue brought in is used to pay a two-bit hack like Rebecca Watson to be a speaker. So, try to make it a different event!

Sorry, there are people whose thoughts are worth payment to hear. She is not among them.

Posted by: Justicar | July 7, 2011 2:24 AM

178

I just wanted to post here to say that this blog seems to be the sanest thing on the internet right now. I was so disgusted by humans generally after seeing the madness on PZ (and following it around the internet). I've read ERV before for interesting information on HIV and I think I will stay here, because good grief, I like to read about people doing things that matter rather than people wailing about bugger all.

I'm yet another woman who doesn't understand the elevator thing or why RW hasn't been blacklisted from every conference for being an internet dramaqueen. And a woman who threw up a little bit into her mouth after reading the Laden blog.

I think I am waiting for the turnaround to come, though. There's got to be a point where people recognise this for what it is - bullying, name calling, and fame-whoring. Now they have a respected target for their hate who has a history of passionately supporting women's causes, I hope the light will start to shine for others.

Posted by: Rayshul | July 7, 2011 2:32 AM

179

Good News :)

I am officially a college grad, my B.S. degree in chemistry and biology just came in the mail. They say its only for decoration but the bureaucratic bastards only put chemistry on there because they only allow one on there. If its just for decoration ("Oh, to the people that matter, they will read your transcript"), then why not acknowledge that I just put in a little bit more work for it.

Since they only allow one major, I insisted chemistry be on there even though I was a biology major first. My experience is that biology is mostly about memorization and regurgitation, whereas chemistry is about comprehension and retention.

I just listened to your link Abbie and I am a pre-med too! :)

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 7, 2011 3:06 AM

180

Even though I strongly disagree with PZ on a number of issues, I'll still read his blog because he can be an entertaining writer. Likewise, I'll still read Lubos Motl's blog. Even though both of these people have opinionated views - one left wing, one right wing - they are both entertaining writers and in many ways I like having my political views challenged. (My political views are not aligned with either Pharyngula or the The Reference Frame btw). I will probably continue to lurk more than I post. (Certainly at Pharyngula because of the login requirements which I can't be bothered to comply with)

As for the Harrods thing... yeah, that's another fail. Harrods have an equally OCD-like requirement for male staff. While the make up requirement for male staff probably is less onerous than that of female staff, there are peculiar male obligations under the employment contract as well. I haven't seen the full list but I know there are detailed requirements for facial hair (banning certain types, and specifying maximum dimensions for beards/sideburns) as well as some make up requirements (male sales staff must wear clear nail polish at all times).

Harrods also has a customer dress code. I'm not kidding. And it is applied generally in a non-discriminatory way. Famously, a high profile football team - full of wealthy, privileged males - were refused entry to Harrods because they turned up in tracksuits, which is against the customer dress policy.

Harrods is an oddball place with some weird policies. I haven't seen the full list of policies, and couldn't find it on the web, so I cannot comment on whether the OCD requirements on male and female staff are more, or less onerous. Unlike posters at Pharyngula who are presumably using telepathy or some other sixth sense to work it out. There have been serious problems at Harrods regarding employment (bullying, racism and sexism) so it wouldn't surprise me if they screwed up again. However, there is not enough information available yet to make this a "gotcha".

Posted by: Spence | July 7, 2011 5:00 AM

181

Well, all I can say is Rebecca Twatson delenda est!

I have a post up on my blog about her and, um, what's coming up in researching her. While I can't state with certainty a couple of things right now, I'm reasonably confident, and I'm still working on definitively verifying some information.

Yes, that's my motto for the next little while. Rebecca Twatson delenda est!

So, if you want to help in my one man (yes, I know the irony yawns before me. I wish a woman were doing this instead!) campaign to work towards removing Rebecca Twatson from being an *invited* and *paid* speaker at events, feel free. She's not in a position to teach; the force is not yet strong with this one.

Posted by: Justicar | July 7, 2011 5:09 AM

182

Congratulations, Phyraxus, and sorry for any misunderstanding in the other place.

I recently earned a degree (in computing and networks, not a traditional science) finally (Single parent, so did it late), and the paper is not just for decoration, it's for pointing at whenever someone disagrees with you on your topic.

Posted by: Peter | July 7, 2011 5:09 AM

183

"I agree that the elevator guys's behaviour was a bit uncouth and inappropriate. I think it's best to be a gentleman (i.e. "don't be creepy")."

Although you wouldn't do it, think on this: IF EG wanted to get to know RW better, when else would it have been possible?

The story doesn't seem to hold that EG stalked RW, they just got in the same lift, a lift in a hotel they both were staying in.

So, IF EG really wanted to get to know Rebecca better, when would it have been possible?

Posted by: Wow | July 7, 2011 5:41 AM

184

Hey Justicar, you never answered my question about why anyone should take your opinion over that of the collected wisdom of numerous police departments.

Posted by: Carlie | July 7, 2011 6:51 AM

185

Oh, Carlie. I see you've not gotten any smarter since last we met.

I have answered your question no fewer than three times; I have pointed you to it at least as many times. I am not responsible that you refuse to read it.

Incidentally, what's all this "collected wisdom" bit? Did I miss some kind of memo where the number of people who proclaim a thing somehow imply the thing is correct? Not that this is at all related to anything said. Still, it's a bad argument to go around bandying about x number of people say y; therefore, y is true! Pwned!

I realize that you work under delusions of adequacy, and that might fly on pharyngula. But, the only difference between where you say it deals not with the value of what you say, but rather the number of people in a mob who in some emotional fervor agree with people who decide to have the same enemy.

Congratulations, on simultaneously being an idiot and a liar. I'm so proud.

Posted by: Justicar | July 7, 2011 7:25 AM

186
Who is on her 'side'? People who were not present.

Not entirely accurate, since I was there.

Watson, on the other hand, is hiding behind PZs apron
.

I think Rebecca has shown by now that she doesn't need PZ to hold her hand, your assessment is rather unfair, how is she hiding behind PZ ?

Posted by: Rorschach | July 7, 2011 8:06 AM

187
My experience is that biology is mostly about memorization and regurgitation, whereas chemistry is about comprehension and retention.

you--and/or they--did it wrong

Posted by: Sven DiMilo | July 7, 2011 8:17 AM

188

Jeez, it's a veritable temple of narcissism over here.

given PZ's passive-agressive tendencies, it would not surprise me if he actively encouraged them off-site.

lol
That's right: Myers is a Mad Puppeteer, controlling his commentariat with Sekrit Mind Rays!!!

I used to think it was cool that PZ and I shared a birthday.

Are you 12 years old?

but he really is a bit of a cunt.

aaaaaand whoomp! There it is.
Thanks for displaying your bona-fides on the subject.

Posted by: Sven DiMilo | July 7, 2011 8:40 AM

189

I need to check if the Innocence Project takes donations.

Posted by: rnb | July 7, 2011 8:42 AM

190

Justicar, I comment on here very, very rarely, definitely not often enough to make a pest of myself with multiple comments to you, so this will be my last one. I just wanted to point out to everyone here that you like to run away from very simple questions.

Posted by: Carlie | July 7, 2011 8:59 AM

191

"That's right: Myers is a Mad Puppeteer, controlling his commentariat with Sekrit Mind Rays!!!"

Isn't that exactly what PZ is saying when he blames radical anti-feminists of making Rebecca go apeshit?

Posted by: Wow | July 7, 2011 9:25 AM

192

Carlie, you haven't made a question. All you've done is make a statement about another question you might have made somewhere else.

Please go and ask on that thread because as far as evidence goes, we only have hearsay:

You say it hasn't been answered.
He says it has.

Nobody knows what the hell you two are talking about.

So, rather than waste your very rare commenting on a thread where your complaint is completely Off Topic, go and post on a thread where it actually makes sense.

As it is, the most obvious reason for you to make your request here is to show Justicar up. Which then gives reason for you to tell porkie-pies about whether any question was answered or not.

Posted by: Wow | July 7, 2011 9:28 AM

193
Jeez, it's a veritable temple of narcissism over here.
As opposed to what, Pharyngula? ROFLMAO. I'm gonna need a bigger irony meter to follow this debate. . Carlie: Since I haven't read through all of the many thousands of comments on multiple blogs, I (and I suspect many others) have no idea what you are talking about. Being skeptics, we like to see evidence rather than assertion. If you provide a simple link to the specific comment in which you asked the question, we can see the question in full, the context in which it was asked, and any possible replies. Without that, your simple assertion is uninteresting. Thx.

Posted by: Spence | July 7, 2011 9:31 AM

194

Meh. I've got to stop using blockquotes on this blog. There should be two paragraphs in my #193, split before the word "Carlie". Although I see wow has made the same point anyway.

Posted by: Spence | July 7, 2011 9:34 AM

195
Sven DeMilo: Jeez, it's a veritable temple of narcissism over here.

Sven's definition of narcissism: "Anyone, male or female, who dares to disagree with radfem ideological dogma."

Posted by: INTP | July 7, 2011 9:40 AM

196

With rhetoric like "anti-woman" or "gender traitor", does anyone getting the subtle feeling the other side is moving away from "I disagree with you" and moving towards "you are my enemy because you don't think the way we do"?

Posted by: INTP | July 7, 2011 9:57 AM

197

So when Jenny McCarthy spouts nonsense about science, do I have to agree with her because she's gone through something very tragic that I can't completely understand as an outsider(standpoint epistemology!)?

The character assassination (pointed out by Miranda) is the worst. Then the guys who are so pleased with themselves for crowing about how non-sexist they are and how they "get it".

Posted by: Adam | July 7, 2011 10:23 AM

198

Wow. So naming someone publicly is all it takes for disqualification as a Decent Human Being? I did not know that.

Because that's the only thing everyone agrees happened. From that, this post has extrapolated many other sins (which, one might argue, considering all of the sins RW extrapolated from EG's invitation, is fair enough). If RW took unfair advantage of an asymmetrical power relationship in naming a name, then of course it was a crappy thing to do. But there is disagreement between the RW agree-ers and disagree-ers over whether that is, in fact, what she did. Is the appropriate evaluative context of RW's naming just the keynote speech? Or maybe even the conference? Is it the entire realm of interaction in the skeptical community, on- and off-line? Who gets to say, and what's the basis for their decision?

Likewise the subject of whether the naming had anything to do with her keynote topic. Is sexism within the skeptical community intimately, or only tangentially (if at all), related to the religious right's misogyny? And if it be intimately related, was RW's preface to her keynote even about sexism within the skeptical community?

These are not questions with black and white answers, as this entire debate illustrates. And each person's answer to them is going to determine her reaction to RW's naming a name.

Posted by: drbubbles | July 7, 2011 10:44 AM

199

Drbubbles:
I'm sorry, your questions indicate that you have not bothered to read what people have bothered to write.

The basis for the power imbalance has been stated by dozens of people spanning FSM only knows how many blogs and posts.

These are questions with fairly straightforward answers. When you call someone out and accuse them of things but prevent them from being able to respond, you're wrong. Stef had no way to respond in the forum; she was not on equal footing with any speaker. Not because any speaker is smarter, or better, but simply because they're the speaker.

They have the power. They have the microphone. It's nigh impossible for the speaker to disrupt his/her own speech. So, if there's a disruption, guess who security throws out? The audience member, not the speaker.

You want to call someone out, fine. Choose a playing field where each person is equally free to present his or her ideas, though perhaps not equally capably of doing so. To exploit the ability to force people to shut up so that you can castigate them is an abuse of a power.

It's also an affront to the whole idea of skepticism: asking questions and discussing things - you know, that trivial concern.

Posted by: Justicar | July 7, 2011 10:51 AM

200

Wow. So finding some bones in the ground is all it takes to prove evolution? Since that's the only thing everyone agrees happened.

Posted by: windy | July 7, 2011 10:53 AM

201

Oh here we go again.

Jeez, it's a veritable temple of narcissism over here.

Nah, we need more mirrors and LSD for that.

given PZ's passive-agressive tendencies, it would not surprise me if he actively encouraged them off-site.
lol That's right: Myers is a Mad Puppeteer, controlling his commentariat with Sekrit Mind Rays!!!

Yes. That's exactly what I said. he's controlling them. Oh wait, not at all, but you don't actually care what anyone said, you're in MUST DEFEND THE CAUSE MODE. Fuck listening, you've a crusade to press on with.

I used to think it was cool that PZ and I shared a birthday.
Are you 12 years old?

No, I'm like anyone else who finds random commonality between people who don't know each other fascinating and kind of cool. I share a birthday with rather a lot of people and things, some cooler than others. If that makes me a "Twelve year old" in your eyes, well, I don't know you, so really, who the fuck cares?

but he really is a bit of a cunt.
aaaaaand whoomp! There it is. Thanks for displaying your bona-fides on the subject.

O NOES! I USED A BAD WERD! THAT IS USED THE WORLD OVER BY PEOPLE WHO DON'T GET THE VAPAHS BECAUSE SOMEONE SAID "CUNT".

Cunt's a fun word, and if you hang out with people from other places, you find the american fear of it is not universal, nor even close. My wife rather likes the word. She hate's "twat" which is a shame, because it is SUCH a good word for some folks, but cunt's okay.

Oh look, not everyone sees everything the same. But do run off and tell the world how much of a misogynist I am for saying "cunt" ya cunting cunt. AAAACK! I SAID IT AGAIN! AND RIGHT THERE! ACK!!!!

Also, when you start being afraid of *words* instead of *people* you kind of lose moral high ground in the "are you 12" thing.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 7, 2011 11:05 AM

202
So when Jenny McCarthy spouts nonsense about science, do I have to agree with her because she's gone through something very tragic that I can't completely understand as an outsider(standpoint epistemology!)?

Actually, that's not a bad analogy. What a lot of people are saying seems to be that if you are a victim of (crime), then you have special standing to talk about it and disagreement with your views is the same as attacking you personally.

I'm also seeing a lot of the "All women are potential victims of rape, so therefore, if you are a man and disagree with them on a situation, you're always wrong, because as potential victims of rape, they have special standing that you as a man do not" points.

So yeah, basically it is similar to, although not EXACTLY like McCarthy's assertions that because she is the mother of an autistic child, she has special standing and you are essentially not allowed to disagree with her on anything related to autism, mothering or any combination of the two.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 7, 2011 11:10 AM

203
They have the power. They have the microphone. It's nigh impossible for the speaker to disrupt his/her own speech. So, if there's a disruption, guess who security throws out? The audience member, not the speaker.

Good point there. That's the truth for conferences in general, in my experience. if there is a problem between a speaker and an audience member that can only be calmed down by one of them leaving the room, then it's going to be the audience member. The speaker may get a nice lecture from the organizers afterwards with a lot of pressure to apologize, but it would have to be a pretty huge act on the speaker's part to have them removed during the session. Like "things we call the cops for" huge. Being a dick ain't one of them.

Now they may never, ever speak at that conference or other conferences again, they may even have the rest of their sessions cancelled, if applicable. But that specific session will go on, they'll retain the podium, and the power.

I really don't get how PZ, or anyone thinks that being able to physically yell at someone from a chair or an audience mic equalizes out the speaker's power. It does not do that. This is not speculation, this is reality. It is provable, and in this case, I say this as someone who can in fact prove it, at least for one set of conferences. I highly doubt other conferences are *that* different.

In fact, had Watson not pulled her dick move, i'd have ignored the entire thing, because fuck, i don't really care. PZ's one of the "more feminist than thou" group, and many of the rest are part of it as well. They get to feel that way, I get to agree, it's the circle of life.

But what Watson did was wrong. It was an abuse of power, it was rude, it was a dick fucking move, and I have seen nothing, nothing whatsoever that even *begins* to come close to refuting my experience, work, and data that leads me to that opinion. It's going to take a lot more than calling me names, (Seriously folks, I've been an internet curmudgeon for a looong time. People I don't know calling me names is really not going to work) or telling me I don't know what I'm talking about when clearly I do, to get me to change my stance here.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 7, 2011 11:21 AM

204

"They get to feel that way, I get to ^dis^agree, it's the circle of life."

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 7, 2011 11:23 AM

205

In a comment she made on her own post at pandragon, Amanda Marcotte links to this 1976 article on "trashing" in the women's movement. I think it makes a point exactly opposite to the one she thinks it makes. Ms. Marcotte writes "Rebecca’s crime was using her bullhort to create change." The article she links to details one woman's experience of the wrong end of that change, that the quest for power via political solidarity and "purity" tends to destroy dissenting voices rather than winning them over via fair argument.

Posted by: ttch | July 7, 2011 12:10 PM

206

just finished reading the thread at pharynguloids paranoia, or at least down to where nefarioususurper got banished.
pz is a chickenshit. the rest of the coven is allowed to rant on ,"taking over the conversation", but one of the few who has dared to differ gets sent away.

yeah, chickenshit pretty much covers it.

Posted by: tybee | July 7, 2011 12:46 PM

207

It has truly gotten ridiculous.

Tell someone to stop bitching? You're a bigot
Call someone a twat? You're a bigot

Call someone a rather long string of profanity, belittle them continually by referring to them as cupcake, or talk down to someone new by "telling them how it is"? Oh that's just fine.

ye.
fucking.
gods.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 7, 2011 1:26 PM

208

Whiny little privileged boys.

Stay the fuck away from women, and stay the fuck away from me.

Posted by: The Panic Man | July 7, 2011 1:45 PM

209

Welch-- IRONY ALERT!!! IRONY ALERT!!! PLEASE TURN OFF ALL IRONY METERS BEFORE CLICKING ON THIS LINK OR READING FURTHER!! THIS IS THE LAST WARNING!! IRONY ALERT!!!

Dawkins himself was molested as a child.

He was a victim of sexual assault from a male.

He wrote about it in 2006.

This sheds a whole new light on things, reading that piece from 2006:
Happily I was spared the misfortune of a Roman Catholic upbringing (Anglicanism is a significantly less noxious strain of the virus). Being fondled by the Latin master in the Squash Court was a disagreeable sensation for a nine-year-old, a mixture of embarrassment and skin-crawling revulsion, but it was certainly not in the same league as being led to believe that I, or someone I knew, might go to everlasting fire. As soon as I could wriggle off his knee, I ran to tell my friends and we had a good laugh, our fellowship enhanced by the shared experience of the same sad pedophile. I do not believe that I, or they, suffered lasting, or even temporary damage from this disagreeable physical abuse of power. Given the Latin Master's eventual suicide, maybe the damage was all on his side.

Of course I accept that his misdemeanors, although by today's standards enough to earn imprisonment followed by a life sentence of persecution by vigilantes, were mild compared to those committed by some priests now in the news. I am in no position to make light of the horrific experiences of their altar-boy victims. But reports of child abuse cover a multitude of sins, from mild fondling to violent buggery, and I am sure many of those cases now embarrassing the church fall at the mild end of the spectrum . Doubtless, too, some fall at the violent end, which is terrible but I would make two points about it. First, just because some pedophile assaults are violent and painful, it doesn't mean that all are. A child too young to notice what is happening at the hands of a gentle pedophile will have no difficulty at all in noticing the pain inflicted by a violent one. Phrases like 'predatory monster' are not discriminating enough, and are framed in the light of adult hang-ups. Second (and this is the point with which I began) the mental abuse constituted by an unsubstantiated threat of violence and terrible pain, if sincerely believed by the child, could easily be more damaging than the physical actuality of sexual abuse. An extreme threat of violence and pain is precisely what the doctrine of hell is. And there is no doubt at all that many children sincerely believe it, often continuing right through adulthood and old age until death finally releases them.

Richard Dawkins was ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY MOLESTED, and he has the ability to say "Compared to what happened to other kids, it wasnt that big of a deal." His mistake was having the same level of 'perspective' from Watson & Co when what happened to her WAS NOT A BIG DEAL. SHE WASNT EVEN MOLESTED.

FAIL levels rising!!

FLOOD DETECTED!

Posted by: ERV | July 7, 2011 1:53 PM

210
Whiny little privileged boys.

Stay the fuck away from women, and stay the fuck away from me.

Interesting... So you are saying that you deserve the privilege of deciding who is a whiner, and who has a legitimate complaint. And upon making that judgment, you can also decide with whom they may associate and their spatial relationships with other people; i.e., you retain the privilege of subjecting all to your whims.

No problemo, I usually avoid psychotics raving on the street. I safely can assume I am staying the fuck away from you.

Posted by: Onkel Bob | July 7, 2011 2:07 PM

211

Oh, don't bother whining, bigot ERV - I've killfiled you for your sexist shit.

Posted by: The Panic Man | July 7, 2011 2:07 PM

212
Also, when you start being afraid of *words* instead of *people* you kind of lose moral high ground in the "are you 12" thing.
You make absolutely no sense. No one is afraid of words. And surely being afeared of words would not cause one to lose any type of high-ground, except maybe the sanity high-ground, but especially not a moral high-ground.

I personally found Rebecca Watson doing the appropriate thing: calling someone out on behaviour which should not be acceptable. Who cares what the venue is. If you act inappropriately then you should be afraid of public shaming at the least.

Posted by: screwy the squirrel | July 7, 2011 2:11 PM

213
Sven's definition of narcissism: "Anyone, male or female, who dares to disagree with radfem ideological dogma."

Haaaaahahahahaha.
That's actually pretty humorously ignorant. I mean, I'm no celebrity, internet or otherwise, so there's no reason at all you should know me, but maybe one of the regulars at Pharyngula could tell you about my reputation over there for 'agreeing with radfem ideological doctrine'. (hint: I've lost count of the number of times I've been called a 'sexist asshole' over there)(they're wrong, of course)

But no, my definition of narcissism is "making anything and everything all about meeee!!!!"

Isn't that exactly what PZ is saying when he blames radical anti-feminists of making Rebecca go apeshit?

What?
That makes no sense at all. The answer would be "no" even if he had said anything like that, which I'm pretty sure he didn't.

As opposed to what, Pharyngula?

Oh, there's plenty of narcissism to go around. I was not drawing any contrasts.

Fuck listening, you've a crusade to press on with.

Please tell me what my crusade is. Then we'll both know.

Oh look, not everyone sees everything the same.

That's correct, Welch. Not everybody sees everything the same. The difference between you and me is, I actually suspect that the way other people see things might be worth listening to occasionally.
Let's take the word 'cunt'. You like it. It's "fun". It's fun for you to refer disparagingly to a male as a 'cunt' because it's such a fun little insult-word.
Yet you know that not everyone sees it that way. You twist it rhetorically into an 'american fear of the word' but you know better: you know that there are a lot of people, yes, most of them North American and many, if not most of them, women, who do not like that word because they are sincerely offended by its use as an insult. Because its use is at root demeaning to women.
[Do you see how using a word for female genitals as an insult applied to a male might be the wee-est bit offensive? Have you ever asked your no doubt long-suffering wife why she 'doesn't like' the word 'twat' (such a shame)? No, probably not. Well, it doesn't matter for my argument whether you get the 'why' or not; just that you know damn well that some other people are sincerely offended by it, for what they see as good reason.]
So your response is to use it anyway. Fuck 'em! Bitches ain't shit anyway, am I right?
Yes, Welch, that's precisely the message you sent by using that word. If that's what you meant, so be it. You're an asshole. If it's not what you meant, then you are sending the wrong message and you might want to think about that.

Now, let me clarify: I am not personally offended by any words you might choose to use. I do not get the vapors, and nor am I 'afraid' of words. Any of 'em. However, I am not an ignorant narcissist, and therefore I try to take into account the feelings of other people when I am trying to communicate with them.

You don't. It's far more important to you to stick to your stupid guns against the radfem onslaught. You're exactly like the commenter at Pharyngula who said he refused to cross the street at night to avoid frightening single women because that would be "validating victim mentality" and he "doesn't do that".

And it's exactly what I meant by 'narcissism'.

Posted by: Sven DiMilo | July 7, 2011 2:23 PM

214

He should obviously move to the back of the bus.

I mean, cross the street.

Posted by: Peter | July 7, 2011 2:29 PM

215

@Sven
"Let's take the word 'cunt'. You like it. It's "fun". It's fun for you to refer disparagingly to a male as a 'cunt' because it's such a fun little insult-word.
Yet you know that not everyone sees it that way. You twist it rhetorically into an 'american fear of the word' but you know better: you know that there are a lot of people, yes, most of them North American and many, if not most of them, women, who do not like that word because they are sincerely offended by its use as an insult. Because its use is at root demeaning to women.
"

My first post ever on ERV, and it's about language. Don't ever come to Britain, then, it'll blow your mind. If you find it degrading to women, then, may I suggest "wanker" instead, that'll be nicely up your street, since it calls out something men and links it to being an idiot? Or how about when something is clearly awful being "bollocks"? By your definition, is that demeaning to men?

Or are they ACTUALLY just words, and you're overreacting?

Still, one good thing that's come out of this whole kerfuffle (seriously, I realised how much popcorn I was eating watching it, wich ain't good for a diabetic) is that I found a new blog to read!

Come for the shouty, stay for the virusy science! Or something!

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 7, 2011 2:40 PM

216

The "cunt" talk reminds me of that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where he blurts it out at that guy while playing poker.

OMG, Larry David made a JOKE about the word "cunt". He can do that because he's a male and doesn't know how hurtful the word really is. Even if he meant it as a joke, it could still hurt people who don't get his humor!

Yeah, Sven, people aren't advocating going around calling people bitches and cunts left and right.

John is not the person who started the shit-storm. His swearing doesn't change the fact that nothing that important happened with either the elevator guy or RD.

Posted by: Adam Bertolett | July 7, 2011 2:48 PM

217

Sven DiMilo (fixed a bit):
"You don't. It's far more important to you to stick to your stupid guns against the Muslim onslaught. You're exactly like the Arab commenter who said he refused to not get on the plane to avoid frightening US Republicans because that would be "validating victim mentality" and he "doesn't do that".

And it's exactly what I meant by 'narcissism'."

Just to repeat what Grania said elsewhere:

"In particular, one that made me want to either throw up or face-palm so violently that I lost consciousness, was the idea that the sensitive, feminist-aware male should cross over to the opposite side of the street, on spotting an unaccompanied woman so as not to alarm, intimidate or upset the lone female.
Seriously, this is the epitome of a 100 years of feminism? Treating women like helpless, infantile victims? Thanks, but no thanks. I expect men to treat me like an equal, not like a half-witted invalid.

I suppose you would consider Grania to be a "gender traitor" as well?

Posted by: INTP | July 7, 2011 2:53 PM

218

I think it is amazing that these people think calling someone a bigot when they have a sound argument is some legitimate counter argument. Seriously, holier-than-thou arguments don't work, it doesn't matter if it comes from fundie christians or from fundie feminists.

As for wanker and bullocks, yeah, that is totally demeaning to men, but you know how these people don't give a flying fuck about them. Just don't use the word bitch cuz then they will start... bitching LOL

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 7, 2011 2:53 PM

219
Panic Man: Whiny little privileged boys. Stay the fuck away from women, and stay the fuck away from me.

Like I said: "...does anyone get the subtle feeling the other side is moving away from "I disagree with you" and moving towards "you are my enemy because you don't think the way we do"?

Perhaps it's not so subtle after all. I'm happy to be stay away from sanctimonious radfem zealots.

Posted by: INTP | July 7, 2011 2:59 PM

220

@Phyraxus

Funny thing is, over here in Blighty, wanker's an appropriate and slightly affectionate name to call a friend. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaany times have I been called it by my best mate, as I have been known to call her "you soft cunt" and "smeghead". :-P

Right, serious head for a minute... Since my passion is language, and meaning, and all that, I just had a thought that popped into my noggin, when I was typing the language thing up there: might SOME of the reaction to Dawkins' post be because of cultural differences between Limeys and Yanks?

I say that, 'cos I read it, and didn't see "massive, massive dick", but "sarcastic Englishman being a sarcastic Englishman".

Although I'm prepared to concede those two are one in the same thing :P

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 7, 2011 3:02 PM

221

screwy the squirrel wrote:

I personally found Rebecca Watson doing the appropriate thing: calling someone out on behaviour which should not be acceptable. Who cares what the venue is. If you act inappropriately then you should be afraid of public shaming at the least.
And that's the problem. The idea that some feminist/atheist/skeptics should go about "publicly shaming" their feminist/atheist/skeptic colleagues for "unacceptable behavior". Pointing out problematic actions and opinions, yes. "Naming names", yes. But following it up with the "conclusion", in this case, that Ms. McGraw was "espousing anti-woman sentiment", no.


Calling a fellow feminist/atheist/skeptic an enemy is not the way to convince her that she is mistaken. (Skeptics are supposed to use rational argument, no?) It is, however, an excellent way to splinter feminism/atheism/skepticism into ineffectual squabbling sub-groups.

Yes, let's "shame" everyone who disagrees with us! We're always right, right?

Out-groups like feminists, atheists, and skeptics don't need purity. They need "big tents", the willingness to argue about their differences, and the ability to live with those that can't be resolved.

Posted by: ttch | July 7, 2011 3:12 PM

222
You're exactly like the commenter at Pharyngula who said he refused to cross the street at night to avoid frightening single women because that would be "validating victim mentality" and he "doesn't do that".

Oh no, the pods got Sven!

...would that be anything like the commenter that goes into certain emotionally charged threads and says things that are likely to be interpreted as 'rape apology'?

Posted by: windy | July 7, 2011 3:16 PM

223
Oh, don't bother whining, bigot ERV - I've killfiled you for your sexist shit.

I was be sarcastic (and nasty) when I wrote that I avoid raving psychopaths on the street, but apparently I was a little closer than I imagined. Appparently panic is the condition not the handle.

Hint Panic, errr, Man, you don't need to set a Firefox Killfile to mute Abbie's posts, all you need to do is not visit her blog. That is unless it's being uploaded into your fillings as we speak. Then you'll need a tin-foil hat.

Posted by: Onkel Bob | July 7, 2011 3:21 PM

224
...would that be anything like the commenter that goes into certain emotionally charged threads and says things that are likely to be interpreted as 'rape apology'?

No, of course not; nothing like that at all.
or...hmm...OK maybe just a little bit.

I do not think that disagreeing with people about what is and isn't prudent behavior and what is or isn't 'victim blaming' is the same thing as consciously refusing to take others' perspectives and feelings into account.
If I think you are wrong about something I am likely to argue with you about it. If I think my behavior might frighten you, I'll try not to do it. If I know you are personally offended by some term or word I'll try not to use it (unless I am trying to offend you).
None of that seems inconsistent.

Posted by: Sven DIMilo | July 7, 2011 3:45 PM

225

And Lo, the misogynist (me I suppose) replies!

Let's take the word 'cunt'. You like it. It's "fun". It's fun for you to refer disparagingly to a male as a 'cunt' because it's such a fun little insult-word.

actually, I like it because of how single-mindedly offensive it is. it is not a weak, flaccid word like "asshole" or "dick". You can't explain it away as easily. You call someone an asshole, they might just take it as a compliment. Same thing with dick. Those are weak words, weasel words, they allow you to wiggle out of things.

Calling someone a stupid cunt leaves you no wiggle room. You meant to be offensive. You meant to piss them off, and it shows that you have a rather low opinion of the person or at best, their behavior. I admire PZ's intellect, the way he fights for science and many other of his causes. But on his blog? He's regularly a cunt about things, and encourages a level of abuse that would probably frighten him, with good reason, were it heaped upon him in person.

I think it's a fun word because it is a precise word, in terms of intent, both in its sexual use and its use as a personal pejorative. I like precision. It's fun.

Yet you know that not everyone sees it that way. You twist it rhetorically into an 'american fear of the word' but you know better: you know that there are a lot of people, yes, most of them North American and many, if not most of them, women, who do not like that word because they are sincerely offended by its use as an insult. Because its use is at root demeaning to women.

I'm not "twisting" anything. The largest population group that gets butthurt about "cunt" is that of the United States. Canada could, en masse, disapprove of the word, and they're still not even close to the same numbers. Mexico is not a primarily english speaking country, so their reaction to english profanity isn't going to be the same, because profanity in another language tends to not have the same intensity of meaning, especially if you don't actually speak the language in question. In countries where english is the primary native language, the US is *by far* the largest group blindly offended by "cunt".

However, there are lots of people around the world, in primarily english-speaking countries for whom "cunt" is no more inherently offensive than any other example of profanity. My pointing that out is not "twisting" anything. It's a fact. You don't have to like a fact, facts don't depend on your approval.

As well, honestly, someone being offended by a word, not how it's used, not why the person using it is using it, but the mere existence of a word? Don't. Fucking. Care. Now, if I'm using it in a hurtful manner, then I expect people will not be happy about that. I may still disagree with them, but I'll not think them wrong for not liking how I use it.

And not, the word at its use is not demeaning to any woman unless I use it against one. You calling someone else a stupid fucking mick is not demeaning to my ancestry in the least. It may make me think you're a bit of a tool, but you're not demeaning my Irish ass in the slightest. Same thing with Whore, Dick, Prick, tit, twat, pussy, bitch, dickhead and all the rest. Those words just lay there until they are used, and then their use doesn't demean anyone outside of who its used against. You are free to disagree with me on this, but I've yet to see proof I'm wrong here.

[Do you see how using a word for female genitals as an insult applied to a male might be the wee-est bit offensive? Have you ever asked your no doubt long-suffering wife why she 'doesn't like' the word 'twat' (such a shame)? No, probably not.

considering my wife uses cunt far more than I do, I think *I'M* the one suffering more than she does. I asked her about that, because the first time I used that word around her, she said "Ew. Hate that word". (OH LOOK, SHE FUCKIN' SPOKE UP) I asked her why, because it seemed odd, given that she doesn't mind cunt. Her answer was she just didn't like the way the word sounded. It squicked her out, it just makes her feel Ugh. Since, as someone I both know and care about, her opinion matters more than that of people I don't know, I don't use that word around her. She is of some importance in my life, for her, I don't use the word. For you, not so much. Most people do that. For the people who have special meaning in their life, whether family, friends, bosses, coworkers, etc., they will of course, temporarily modify their behavior so as to go through life easier.

Since, unlike you presuppose, I am actually aware that a lot of women don't like that word, I don't use it as much as others. It's not because it "demeans" them. I don't care *why* they don't like it, nor do I *need to care*. It is enough for me that a lot of american women don't like it and so, in vaguely polite company, i tend to not use it.

It's not because i'm protecting women, I don't think of them as beings in inherent need of protection, and if you said that to most of the ones I know, I'd be the one keeping them from putting your head through a wall, (mostly because I've studied martial arts longer than them, and am better at it.) It is for the same reason I don't fart loudly in meetings, or eat ear wax at the dinner table: it's rude in those situations. In others, I don't see a reason not to, so I merrily cunt away, not giving a cunting fuck if you like it or not. In fact, I may now use it more, because you're being such a whiny bitch about it.


Well, it doesn't matter for my argument whether you get the 'why' or not; just that you know damn well that some other people are sincerely offended by it, for what they see as good reason.]

You could give two squirts of piss what I actually think, Cthulu knows you've not fucking bothered to ask.

So your response is to use it anyway. Fuck 'em! Bitches ain't shit anyway, am I right? Yes, Welch, that's precisely the message you sent by using that word. If that's what you meant, so be it. You're an asshole. If it's not what you meant, then you are sending the wrong message and you might want to think about that.

Projecting a bit? I'm not the one trivializing the real problems of discrimination and misogyny by stating that the mere use of a single word, rude and offensive it may be, forever labels one as a misogynist, until...well, until they fall to their knees and fellate the great powers of feminism, whatever that may be. This "YOU USED A WORD I DON'T LIKE, YOU'RE A (LABEL)" shit is the same misguided, (i'm being kind there) reasoning that thinks shit like "the n-word" or "the f-word" will end racism or homophobia or even make the SLIGHTEST dent in it. It's only one step up from the moronic slacktivisim that makes people think that changing their twitter avatar background color will end an oppressive theocracy in Iran.

You want to stop people from hurting other people by calling them "fag" or "nigger"? laugh at them. When you're out with people normally the targets of those words and someone screams them at you, don't get all preachy or angry or ready to fight. Point and laugh at the little morons, laugh like you're going to piss yourself. When others ask why y'all are laughing, tell them you're laughing at a group of little morons who actually think calling a group of grown-ass adults a BAD WERD is going to fuck up their self-esteem and make them hate themselves.

You get a good laugh out of it, always a good thing, and you have not let the little morons control your mental state. (By the way, thanks for letting me know I can piss you off so easily. I'll remember that.) You also publicly shame someone in the one way that there is no real mental or emotional defense for: laughing at them. Anyone who has ever had large group laugh at them, especially a group they felt superior to can attest to how harsh that can be.

Point and laugh. We've tried preachy slacktivism and anger. How well has, or is that working out for you?

Now, let me clarify: I am not personally offended by any words you might choose to use. I do not get the vapors, and nor am I 'afraid' of words. Any of 'em. However, I am not an ignorant narcissist, and therefore I try to take into account the feelings of other people when I am trying to communicate with them.

Because calling me a sexist and all the other glorious implications in your little screed here, (thanks for the implications about my wife too) show me in bright, shining lights how much you care about the feelings of others.

You don't. It's far more important to you to stick to your stupid guns against the radfem onslaught. You're exactly like the commenter at Pharyngula who said he refused to cross the street at night to avoid frightening single women because that would be "validating victim mentality" and he "doesn't do that".

I'm not going to cross the street at night to avoid frightening people because I don't assume a grown-assed adult is a frightened child, and I have the same right to walk down the fucking street as I see fit as they do. If my mere presence frightens them, then how is crossing the street going to help? That just makes it easier for me to hide and later sneak up on them. If a 44 year old slightly paunchy dude walking down the street in ugly shoes frightens you that much, then you have real issues that you need to deal with, and I'm not being snide there. But I am not going to evaluate every random encounter with every random person and wander back and forth across the street just so I MAYBE don't scare someone.

"Not validating victim mentality" nothing, that's just fucking stupid.

And it's exactly what I meant by 'narcissism'.

I'm not narcissistic, i'm an asshole. There's a difference.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 7, 2011 3:49 PM

226

>199

You offer assertions warranted by the existence of people in agreement with you. And yet there are many who disagree, or this debate would not be. (And I'm the one who hasn't read what people have written?)

The very existence of the debate proves my point: people disagree about the significance of naming the name. The debate is fundamentally about whose interpretation is right.

>200

I've always thought that the independent corroborating material evidence for evolution is not ontologically equivalent to different individuals' assessments of a social interaction.

Likewise, I'd thought it fairly well established that science is epistemologically different from the interpretation of interpersonal interaction. And I say that as a one-time anthropologist.

>204 "They get to feel that way, I get to ^dis^agree, it's the circle of life."

So does this not apply to what people think about RW's naming the name? And, if not, who decides when it does and when it doesn't?

I have my opinion, of course. But, who cares? Actually I'm not at all sure why I even commented in the first place. Maybe to suggest some perspective? Maybe because the Casey Anthony verdict has me thinking about certainty and what we think we know? Maybe because I'm not sure what good the polarization over RW will accomplish? I don't know.

But, again, who cares? Even I sort of don't anymore.

Posted by: drbubbles | July 7, 2011 3:52 PM

227
I suppose you would consider Grania to be a "gender traitor" as well?

Not a term I have ever applied to anyone. In part because it's a judgment that's not up to me.
But since you kind of asked my opinion of Grania's comment (whoever that is): I think she's lying. I think that if, say, she was walking alone down a Brooklyn sidewalk at 1am and I was walking behind her in the same direction, she would feel more comfortable if I crossed the street to pass her than if I approached and passed on the same side. I think that in the actual situation in real time her personal safety would suddenly seem more important to her than her high-minded demand for equal anxiety-inducing treatment.

If not, then I think she's stupid. But not a gender-traitor.

Posted by: Sven DiMilo | July 7, 2011 3:53 PM

228

As a member of the sidelines, I'd like to thank ERV and the posters here so much for one of the (relatively) few sane takes on this whole shitstorm.

I've noticed that an awful lot of the commenters elsewhere have seen none of the context of this whole thing, and are just running on the attacks posted on Blag Hag, Bad Astronomy, Skepchick, et al. Most have no idea that Stef McGraw even exists. On the occasions where I've bothered to jump in and attempt to provide context, I've been called several kinds of idiot and pelted with all the usual links. Then I post a timeline of events showing the lead-up to and context of, say, Dawkins' remarks, and... hey, where did everybody go? All that's left are the members of the echo-chamber.

Honestly, I've seen a lot of straw-feminists set up by the usual suspects in the past, but some of the posts I've seen in these threads blow right past them into "did I really read that right?" territory. Scary.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 7, 2011 3:59 PM

229
I think that if, say, she was walking alone down a Brooklyn sidewalk at 1am and I was walking behind her in the same direction, she would feel more comfortable if I crossed the street to pass her than if I approached and passed on the same side.

If I was walking alone down a Brooklyn sidewalk at 1am and you were walking behind me in the same direction, I would feel more comfortable if you crossed the street to pass me. And I can be mistaken for an ex-pro-running-back. Thats not the question. The question is, would she want you to cross the street because she is a woman? And I dont think she is either lying or mistaken when she says she doesnt. In fact, I think its rather condescending of you to say that you know what she would want in that situation better than her. Which, come to think of it, is a large part of her point.

Posted by: Dave | July 7, 2011 4:22 PM

230
Or are they ACTUALLY just words, and you're overreacting?

They are ACTUALLY just words, but I am not over-reacting. I merely let Welch know that I had judged him harshly for his use of the word 'cunt' as an insult.

Yes, yes, the connotations are different in Britain. How loverly.
You clearly have no clue how many times the 'cunt and/or bitch' conversation has occured over the last 5-6 years at Pharyngula and elsewhere on the internets. It's not a conversation I'm willing to repeat yet again; it's all out there and you could read it if you wanted to.
I will say that if you think that calling a man a 'wanker' or a silly idea 'bollocks' is comparable to calling somebody a 'cunt' then I suspect you'll never get it anyway. Think social asymmetry.

(fixed a bit)

You are a nut. Maybe leave the Dawkinsing to Dawkins? Because there's no comparison there.


It's precisely this weird anger at merely being asked to consider the viewpoints of other people different from you that I am talking about as narcissism. (If I was a real ideological-dogma-bound radfem I'd call it 'privilege' as well.)

Nobody is trying to take away the rights of anybody else to walk wherever the fuck you want or use whatever fucking words you want. Go ahead! You have every right in the world to behave as a complete jackass if you want.

However, you should also expect to be judged for your behavior; it is reflective of your personality and your opinions and thought-patterns.

When I see somebody who:
- follows a woman onto an elevator at 4am to proposition her
- refuses to alter his walking trajectory to avoid freaking somebody out because he doesn't think people ought to freak out
- insists on his right to call somebody else a cunt in the face of clearly expressed objections
- or otherwise insists on the primacy of one's own personal insular viewpoint despite knowledge of the different viewpoints of others
I conclude that the person is rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, narcissistic, and, in general, an asshole.

Shoe fit?

Posted by: Sven DiMilo | July 7, 2011 4:22 PM

231
And I dont think she is either lying or mistaken when she says she doesnt.

*shrug*
Stupid, then, I guess.

eh, I'm done here.

Posted by: Sven DiMilo | July 7, 2011 4:25 PM

232

Sorry Sven, I simply don't buy the idea that men need to treat women as victims like that. I perceive women as human beings and as equals, not victims whom I have to go out of my way to constantly tiptoe around to avoid alarming her. When I pass an unaccompanied woman on a street or get on an elevator with her, I mind my own business, respect her privacy, and act like a gentleman. Nothing more is required. I don't think that makes me a narcissist, or "mysogynist" nor women who agree with me as "liars", "stupid" or "gender traitors" as some like to put it.

Posted by: INTP | July 7, 2011 4:32 PM

233

#226

"They get to feel that way, I get to ^dis^agree, it's the circle of life."

So does this not apply to what people think about RW's naming the name? And, if not, who decides when it does and when it doesn't?

They're quite free to disagree. I may *think* they are wrong, and have some actual "data" (not in the strict scientific sense) to prove my point that I've not seen from their side, but that doesn't ACTUALLY make them wrong.

It means they agree with someone who, as I see it pulled a dick move.

It's when they start with the *all* disagreement with RW here is wrong that I get kind of cranky. Or the gender-traitor bullshit they're pulling with Stef and ERV. Or the rest. That's bullshit.

I also think that if they really believe the person at the podium doesn't have more power than the audience member, they've either not been at the podium much, or they haven't been an unknown in a while. (PZ saying he has the same power as the person at the podium, even when he is in the audience is NOT the same as a (relatively) unknown student saying it. I'm pretty sure in that situation, with that crowd, PZ is going to have a lot of power due to his fame and history. In a different crowd, he's going to get told to STFU and get the fuck out of the theater, because there, he has no power, nor any ability, in that time and place to speak up.) The power of the podium is real, and so yes, I also get cranky with people denying it exists.

#227

But since you kind of asked my opinion of Grania's comment (whoever that is): I think she's lying. I think that if, say, she was walking alone down a Brooklyn sidewalk at 1am and I was walking behind her in the same direction, she would feel more comfortable if I crossed the street to pass her than if I approached and passed on the same side. I think that in the actual situation in real time her personal safety would suddenly seem more important to her than her high-minded demand for equal anxiety-inducing treatment.

If not, then I think she's stupid. But not a gender-traitor.

Or, maybe she's like a lot of people who understand that personal danger is real, and rather than hoping the rest of the world crosses the street, they accept the risk, and have taken measures, and have tactics in place to handle any stupidity you may wish to attempt. Maybe she doesn't let fear run her life, but rather respects the causes of that feeling, and by preparing for the possibilities, reduces her fear to that of a healthy awareness of her surroundings

I know rather a few women who, on your biggest and baddest day could take your best shot, and if you were stupid enough to leave them conscious, would turn you into the friggin' elephant man, then stick around, loudly screaming for the cops whilst you laid there bleeding. That's if you were lucky.

By the same token, I know a lot of guys who shit themselves every time they're outside after dark. Sex doesn't have a whole lot to do with that. The individual and their background does.

Friend of mine in college long ago got jumped by three dudes in Japan. She's a nigh 6' tall blonde, they figured, they were men, she's a stupid american whore, cake right?

Well for her. Left one dude with a busted femur, another one rather unconscious, and when the cops arrived, she had the third one on his back, her hand around his throat, and was methodically breaking every single one of his ribs. "They just made me mad" was her reasoning. "Everyone else had been so nice, and these assholes were trying to ruin it for the rest of them."

Seems she had a shotokan teacher who didn't believe women were helpless, and refused to treat them as such. My first Kuk Sool teacher was like that. Grip like a fucking steel trap. No mercy in those eyes. Her technique for escaping hair pulling was awesome. Involved damned near twisting the attacker's arm off at the shoulder. Actually, if you did it right, it was supposed to tear the arm off after a couple spins. Dislocations were for the weak.

I know a few local roller derby ladies who could put such a hurt on someone, and even if you hit them widda brick, they might not even notice. High pain tolerances, those wonderful ladies have.

You seem to think that women are really quite helpless as a group. You're rather wrong.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 7, 2011 4:33 PM

234

Sven DiMilo@#239

"....or otherwise insists on the primacy of one's own personal insular viewpoint despite knowledge of the different viewpoints of others
I conclude that the person is rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, narcissistic, and, in general, an asshole.

Shoe fit?"

I don't know Sven. What's your size because what you describe is definitely in your style?

Posted by: Prometheus | July 7, 2011 4:36 PM

235

Phyraxus @ 175:

Because when you have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

cf. Zuska.

Posted by: NJ | July 7, 2011 4:41 PM

236
When I see somebody who: - follows a woman onto an elevator at 4am to proposition her

is not the same as

- refuses to alter his walking trajectory to avoid freaking somebody out because he doesn't think people ought to freak out

is not the same as

- insists on his right to call somebody else a cunt in the face of clearly expressed objections

is not the same as

- or otherwise insists on the primacy of one's own personal insular viewpoint despite knowledge of the different viewpoints of others

shows you're not listening to anyone who disagrees with you.

I conclude that the person is rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, narcissistic, and, in general, an asshole.

Mirror. You should find one.

Point #1 seems to be causing the most problems. RW/PZ/You take it a certain way. Steff, ERV, others take it another way.

No one is wrong here, but your crowd is doing a good job of pushing the meme that no one is ALLOWED to disagree with you and be anything but a misogynist.

Point #2 just sounds stupid. Do you wander down the street doing that for every woman you see? What if there are women on either side of the street? do you stand in the median until they pass? How does the logistics of that even work? What if you can't tell until you're really close? What's the pass/fail distance? What if they cross the street too? Do you immediately change direction or keep going then cross back or what? I mean, you're pushing this as some kind of good idea, you HAVE to have thought about this before.

(Can you imagine a woman who figured out that someone was doing this and wanted to be a dick about it. I bet you could have ol' Sven perched in the median until daybreak if you worked it right.)

Point #3 I have the "right" to call anyone whatever the fuck I want provided I am willing to live with the consequences, from an equally profane retort, to mass shunning, to the person I called a cunt balling up a fist and beating my ass. Or someone else attempting to do the same. But the "right" to call someone a cunt is the same "right" as I have to call someone a genius.

Point #4 Right, because only your viewpoint is the right one, all others are illegitimate, sexist, bigoted and misogynistic. it's that we won't acknowledge the primacy of YOUR viewpoint that matters. How DARE we gore YOUR ox.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 7, 2011 4:47 PM

237
I do not think that disagreeing with people about what is and isn't prudent behavior and what is or isn't 'victim blaming' is the same thing as consciously refusing to take others' perspectives and feelings into account.

Those are not mutually exclusive, surely? All of us dismiss other's perspectives and feelings occasionally. For example: people who declare they are atheists despite knowing that it will hurt Granny's feelings.

...I think that in the actual situation in real time her personal safety would suddenly seem more important to her than her high-minded demand for equal anxiety-inducing treatment.

But your crossing the street does fuck all to improve her actual "personal safety", so maybe as a skeptic she is willing to endure some passing anxiety? (Is there some place where people are actually expected to cross the street as a general rule? Brooklyn?)

Posted by: windy | July 7, 2011 4:58 PM

238

@Sven

"Yes, yes, the connotations are different in Britain. How loverly.

Is it wrong that I'm kinda excited about being vilified by Sven? Anyhow, looks like I'm commited to the semantics argument, so here goes...

I will say that if you think that calling a man a 'wanker' or a silly idea 'bollocks' is comparable to calling somebody a 'cunt' then I suspect you'll never get it anyway. Think social asymmetry.

Oh my, the irony in this sentence is SO beautiful. So, calling someone a "wanker" (no, let's go with "bell-end", since it directly applies to male genitalia which makes it more pertinent, plus it makes me titter more) is sort of fine, but calling someone a colloquial name for female genitalia is just plain wrong?

How is that not the kind of social asymmetry you just mentioned?

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 7, 2011 5:02 PM

239

"I will say that if you think that calling a man a 'wanker' or a silly idea 'bollocks' is comparable to calling somebody a 'cunt' then I suspect you'll never get it anyway. "

YOU MIGHT THINK ITS SILLY, BUT I AM A MAN AND IT OFFENDS ME! THESE ARE WORDS DERIVED FROM MALE SEXUAL ORGANS AND ARE DEMEANING TO ALL MEN REGARDLESS OF THEIR USAGE! THE FACT THAT YOU CAN'T SEE THAT MEANS YOU JUST DON'T "GET IT" BECAUSE YOU ARE A RAVING MISANDRIST ASSHOLE!

Dammit, Prometheus, you beat me to it :(

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 7, 2011 5:19 PM

240

I've been reading ERV off and on for a while now, trying to educate myself on her area of expertise through e-osmosis. Little did I suspect that it would turn out to be the blog where the saner voices would be heard in this teapot tempest.

// I was especially impressed by Justicar's posts. And also by that asshole, John Cunt Welsh.

Posted by: frank habets | July 7, 2011 5:28 PM

241

How dare that Arab boarded a plane with American tourists on it. Doesn't he know that he's causing those Americans to feel alarmed or afraid for their safety? If he was an American-sensitive Arab, he would have the courtesy to take the next plane that has a bunch of other Arabs on it.
Wow, what a narcissist!

Posted by: INTP | July 7, 2011 5:32 PM

242

John C. Welsh:
Yeah, it would be a rare occasion for the police to need to get involved. Less severe for security, or some "official" to politely ask someone to leave. However, I don't think anyone who attends conferences as an audience member does so under the premise that they're on equal footing with The Speaker who's been specifically requested by the event organizers to be The Speaker.

Certainly, anyone who's been The Speaker should know full well that the prearranged time period for whatever lecture, or talk, or whatever is Their Time. If one doesn't have that kind of "I'm in charge for the next hour", I'm curious to see how a speech like that would turn out.

But just assume a really, really stupid audience member is there. That doesn't remove the knowledge from The Speaker that s/he is The Shit for the next 50 minutes. The really, really stupid audience member would find out one way or another who owns that particular talk - asked to leave, thrown out, shouted down by everyone else, over-talked by The Speaker. Meh. There are many ways to handle it, but I think we're ultimately agreed that no matter what happens, audience member loses.

And at this very event, a man got escorted out by either the police or security (I couldn't tell which) for shouting during a session at Richard Dawkins "and making profit". Surely, news of that would have spread around the convention.

All of that being what it is, we still have the case that Stef McGraw reacted with perfect grace and respect for the event. I think she's owed an apology. Hell, if she shows this kind of discernment, and careful thought about things, I'd like to hear her presenting instead of . . . well, you know.

Posted by: Justicar | July 7, 2011 5:35 PM

243

@Justicar

I agree, about Stef McGraw, that lass has handled this with grace and aplomb, when she had every right to go batshit. Soooooo, the good thing that's come out of this shitstorm is that she's proven she's got both the smarts and the attitude to go VERY far.

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 7, 2011 5:49 PM

244

The Panic Man:
Thank you for approaching us to let us know to stay away from you since, you know, none of us bothered to walk over to you in the first case. But I'll take the hint and continue not trying to find you. You're welcome.

[/equip tinfoil hat
+5 intellect
+10 spell power
+50 sexual charisma]

Posted by: Justicar | July 7, 2011 5:50 PM

245

I must, again, register my disagreement with some who castigate Ms Watson for her behaviour.

Propositioning someone for sex (and I was not initially aware that the offer of 'coffee' was actually a thinly veiled request to begin an intimate liaison) at any time, let alone at 4am alone in a elevator, is immoral and wrong.

The two were not married!

Or indeed, even in a relationship.

That is not to say that Ms Watson is a moral/righteous person (as an atheist she is most certainly not).

But she is right to call people out for excusing this! The sexual mores of our times are abhorrent.

Mr. Pete Rooke

Posted by: Pete Rooke | July 7, 2011 5:55 PM

246

I see I was beaten to the tin-foil hat thing. Damn you!

John C. Welch:
I don't know what your experience is with cunts, but the only one I got near I wiggled away as fast as possible. Hell, so fast, they had to my mom open because I was. not. touching. that. cooter.

Posted by: Justicar | July 7, 2011 6:01 PM

247

Rooke is funny

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 7, 2011 6:04 PM

248
Stupid, then, I guess.

So, you think a woman is stupid for valuing stopping the infantilization of women over reducing her own personal anxiety.

Im glad you are "done here," I dont think feminism could stand much more of your "help."

Posted by: Dave | July 7, 2011 6:15 PM

249

Rooke, I don't speak for everyone here, but I agree with you to some extent. What the EG did was a bit socially clumsy and inappropriate, in my opinion. I can understand how RW would feel uncomfortable. It's not something I would do. I agree that context is important in social situations.

What I don't agree with is how this whole thing turned into a cause célèbre for radical feminism. There are people suggesting now that it would have been wrong for EG to even get on the elevator with RW in the first place, even if he said nothing and minded his own business -- and those who dare to to disagree, male or female, are condemned as mysogynists or "gender traitors". I really find that quite disturbing.

Posted by: INTP | July 7, 2011 6:20 PM

250

Frank Habets @ 240:
If you think I'm a voice of sanity, reason or even coherent thoughts, I pity you, my friend. Like my grandfather once remarked when a car coming head-on veered into our lane: that man's either drunk or drives like me. In either case, god help'm. I think there's a parallel here.

@226:
I don't want to be the one to break this to you, but I do not get the impression that anyone here is arguing about whether using someone's name is appropriate or inappropriate. Indeed, we've been discussing the circumstances under which it's inappropriate. That would imply, at base, we're all agreed that naming names isn't categorically wrong. Yes, you're not following the conversation we're having.

@228 Wild zontargs:
The nature of the discussion depends on what people want out of it. For the most part, the blog host sets the tone by what they write. Sure, snark is fun and I don't mind a good flame war now and again. But here, there seems to be a happy mixture of levity, sarcasm and wit. But all of that is interspersed among actual conversation to see about fleshing (teehee) out the contours of the issues.

So, if learning something (hopefully anyway; I'd be sad if I didn't) or possibly teaching someone something (a great honor) is your goal, then you have to look long and hard on the internet. If you want to just prattle away about a topic where the words are forgotten as soon as they appear, type a random word and put .com after it. You'll be in the right spot.

So long as this remains true, I'll hang out here as long as they'll have me (even if I don't get voted in as Gay Mascot).

@243 Marco:
I completely agree. Let's say she was dead to rights wrong on everything she's ever said: she's curious, and serious where necessary. Given those traits alone, she'll do well at whatever she turns her hand to.

@245 Pete:
How puritanical! What do you think this is, the USA or something?

Posted by: Justicar | July 7, 2011 6:23 PM

251

Honestly, if I was Stef McGraw, I would be suing RW for defamation. The person's name is now associated with rape and misogyny because of RW and her "white knighting" spambots. Potential employers now read RW's horseshit about male power structure just by googling the name.

Stef is clearly a private figure that was publicly defamed during a public event on a private issue. Most states have found a minor blog isn't sufficient to make one a public figure. The vast majority of her speech concerned not an issue of public importance, but personal attacks directed at a private person.

Sue her.

Posted by: Tom | July 7, 2011 6:30 PM

252

Tom,
They were in Ireland. No state's laws on this matter control; they lack both personal and subject matter jurisdiction I should think.

Posted by: Justicar | July 7, 2011 6:56 PM

253

I know I should be aiming at more challenging targets than this, but I couldn't resist, and anyway Gummi de Milo has already been torn to shreds by everyone else. The Panic Man sez:

Stay the fuck away from women, and stay the fuck away from me.

Huzzah! Brave, valiant "the panic man" will boldly protect the fair young maidens by doing his best to prevent them from being able to talk to men that he personally deems unsuitable. Whether they like it or not.

Hmm, actually, on spelling it out, that sounds all patriarchal and... well... creepy.

It is funny, well not haha funny, but strange, that the most common argument put forward promotes the idea of vulnerable, weak women that need protecting. That must be delicately handled, and not offended. Not only is it supremely patriarchal and patronising, it is exactly the line of argument used by the likes of Muslim Imams for the oppression of women in the middle east.

As many sensible posters have pointed out here, that a few "good guys" cross the road to avoid worrying the solo female does nothing to reduce the actual number of assaults on women (or men for that matter), it just serves to reinforce irrational fear of strangers rather than promoting a rational handling of real life risks. How does that help anyone?

Posted by: Spence | July 7, 2011 6:57 PM

254

Richard Dawkins was ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY MOLESTED, and he has the ability to say "Compared to what happened to other kids, it wasnt that big of a deal."

Interesting, for me it casts his commentary in a slightly new light.

I still think Dawkins' opening gambit was not a good one. For example, I give to a local cats charity and people have asked me how I can do that when there are starving children in the world. Yeah, but it isn't an either-or situation. It makes no sense to direct all of our resources to the single worst problem of the day.

That said - I still think Dawkins' had a point, he just used an opener to the debate that was a sitting duck. And of course, after his opening gambit was swept aside, the whole debate became so incoherent nothing else was heard through the Pharyngulean jibber-jabber.

But knowing that he himself was abused, and that he dismissed it as unimportant compared to other things in the world today, does shine a new light on his comments.

Posted by: Spence | July 7, 2011 7:13 PM

255

Spence-- I know, right? Even I feel like an asshole.

Im sure all the victims of sexual assault demanding apologies will feel terrible about assuming that since Dawkins disagreed with them, since Dawkins is a *man*, he must not have ever been sexually assaulted himself. Thats a pretty ugly mirror theyre going to have to look into.

Posted by: ERV | July 7, 2011 7:26 PM

256

Dawkins was molested as a child and that affected the way he views similar situations. I'm surprised that this is much more complicated than it seemed. As a skeptic I'm shocked things have nuances SHOCKED!

Posted by: tas121790 | July 7, 2011 8:07 PM

257

this entire episode has reminded me that many are willing to be skeptical of the old gods (ie organized religion in the forms of most versions of christianity and islam), but skepticism of identity politics, critical studies or large swaths of feminist theory are verboten. and that pz, watson, the bad astronomer, laden et al are just as likely to be as rigid and dogmatic in these realms as the priests and mullahs in theirs.

pz's peevishness on this topic is actually more vicious than my mormon grandfather ever has been to my atheism. his shown himself to be a dogmatic and petty asshat of little value to skepticism.

thank you for this post.

Posted by: Anton | July 7, 2011 8:49 PM

258
Oh, don't bother whining, bigot ERV - I've killfiled you for your sexist shit.

So you write you kill-filed her, yet you come to her blog to post this. Jesus you're fucking stupid. No wonder you're on Watson's side. Hey do you juggle too?

Posted by: JD | July 7, 2011 9:04 PM

259

While reading the pandering missives of Herr Myers and his traveling troop of feces slinging monkeys, I wondered whether Abbie would post her thoughts about the unaccomplished Watson's blatant attention whoring, hypocrisy, and bullying. Thankfully, she did and I'm not the least bit surprised hers was the most cogent and sane response on the matter. I'm also not surprised the thought police would call her a gender traitor and try to revoke her "vagina license". Pathetic.

Posted by: JD | July 7, 2011 9:14 PM

260

>250 "I don't want to be the one to break this to you, but I do not get the impression that anyone here is arguing about whether using someone's name is appropriate or inappropriate. ... Yes, you're not following the conversation we're having."

Oh, here, no. But have you been following other blogs discussing the matter? Those are where you'll find disagreement with the consensus here. I guess I assumed that was obvious. It's why I said that naming the name is the only thing that everyone – meaning, here and on other blogs – agrees happened.

Posted by: drbubbles | July 7, 2011 9:27 PM

261

I was doing such a good job of not commenting on any of this nonsense anywhere, and then I read #213 and now I just can't resist. Okay, so I could. And I'll feel absolutely silly for not doing so, but oh well...

Even if it's 1 AM...

Even if it's Friday the 13th...

Even if it's a new moon...

Even if we're walking on a street in Hell...

Even if (why not?) I'm covered in blood for some reason...

...you can cross to the other side of the street yourself if it bothers you so much that I might pass you while we're on the same side of the street.

Posted by: Stephen Bahl | July 7, 2011 9:32 PM

262

Stephen Bahl wins the internet.

Posted by: ERV | July 7, 2011 9:35 PM

263

LOL

I pointed out that RD was a victim of sexual assault on

http://almostdiamonds.blogspot.com/2011/07/letter-to-professor-dawkins-from.html

And the author removed it like any genuine fundie would.

I am currently having a "discussion" with the author of the blog on greg laden's blog.

-/2011/07/elevators_and_privilege_a_lett.php

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 7, 2011 9:59 PM

264

Thats disappointing, Phyraxus.

Also, sorry to the people getting caught in the spam traps. I dont see anything wrong with your comments, I just think ERV is sick of this crap (not you, just this topic in general).

You all should number your replies with names, just in case this keeps happening.

Posted by: ERV | July 7, 2011 10:08 PM

265

(Sorry if this is a double-post: my browser crashed when I clicked "post" the first time. Also I pretty much forgot how I said it.)

>250 "I don't want to be the one to break this to you, but I do not get the impression that anyone here is arguing about whether using someone's name is appropriate or inappropriate. ... Yes, you're not following the conversation we're having."

I admit I was flippant at the beginning of #198. But the whole thing wasn't commenting about naming, it was commenting about the allegation that RW exercised asymmetrical power. While the consensus here is pretty much that RW was asymmetrically powerful, if you look at other blogs, you will find vehement disagreement, such that the only thing that everyone – meaning, here and on other blogs – agrees happened is that RW named someone. And, absent asymmetrical power, the naming is the only thing left to deprive RW of Decent Human Beingness according to the OP here. Which would be silly. Which is both why I was flippant, and why I wanted to point out that the asymmetrical power thing should not be taken as a given.

Posted by: drbubbles | July 7, 2011 10:18 PM

266

@Phyraxus 263
Dawkins should sign that letter.

Posted by: tas121790 | July 7, 2011 10:34 PM

267

tas121790 wins the internet.

Ive got a bucket of internets, people. Keep em comin!

Posted by: ERV | July 7, 2011 10:43 PM

268

Phyraxis @263

I'm not surprised. I don't go 'round Greg Laden's blog or Almost Diamonds anymore, since the authors of both have deleted comments of mine because I had the audacity to disagree with them and not knuckle under and take it back. My limit for that sort of shit is once (well, for the unrepentant).

It's sad that people really act like that. I genuinely cannot follow their reasoning... well, unless they were fumbling about for Rystefn repellant and one accidentally stumbled upon it, so the other immediately followed.

Also, apparently, someone has been following my comments back to my blog, so I guess I should make a post about it so they won't be disappointed. After dinner, probably.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 7, 2011 10:44 PM

269

Phyraxus:
I was following your discussion elsewhere. I was amused by a post there.

Erv:
I don't want to say I told you so, but I did tell you it wouldn't vindicate Dawkins.

"Aw, Phyraxus, that was you leaving the anonymous comment on my blog? How very brave of you. Yes, Dawkins was sexually assaulted as a child. This makes it fine that he doesn't understand that grown men and women face different threats how?" -Stephanie Z

" FYI, Richard Dawkins is a victim of sexual assault.

Translation: "LOOK! Over there!"

Pathetic." Sallystrange

Posted by: Justicar | July 7, 2011 10:58 PM

270

@Pharyxus:

After years of being a cynical bastard, you'd think I'd have learned, by now, NOT to find it incredibly bloody depressing that asshats like StephanieZ refuse to listen to any form of logic or, in fact, anything that's not generated in their own heads.

Well, ye tried dude. Want some painkillers? I mean you're were smacking your head against that brick wall pretty bloody hard!

@tas121790 #266:

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd I'm cheered up again! Ta dude. lol

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 7, 2011 11:04 PM

271

I dont know how anyone could not feel like an asshole after learning about Dawkins past.

I mean, I cant get on my high-horse at all-- I didnt know about this until this morning, and even I didnt even *consider* the possibility Dawkins himself has had to deal with something like this. I feel like a gigantic douche, and I wasnt saying "You dont understand sexual assault because you are a rich white heterosexual male!"

Posted by: ERV | July 7, 2011 11:08 PM

272

@ERV #271:

I know what you mean, but I tell ya what, it's given me a whole new level of respect for the man.

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 7, 2011 11:14 PM

273
http://almostdiamonds.blogspot.com/2011/07/letter-to-professor-dawkins-from.html

That's really some fucked up character assassination campaign. I mean..
When friend of mine recently told me that he thinks that some parts of secular movements became quite cult-like..i thought that he is crazy. Now i am not sure about that...
But I am getting tired of this BS...and iam getting a lot of cynical and misanthropic thoughts right now..shit.

Posted by: thememe | July 7, 2011 11:59 PM

274

I remember reading that post of his back when he wrote it but I didn't remember that he had been abused when everyone was screaming "privileged misogynist" at him. Cruel irony that is.

As for those asshats, near the end there I just WANTED to be misogynistic to piss them off but decided against it. Because they couldn't refute my logic they said to me what misogynists say to them.

"ITS NOT THAT BAD, SO STFU!"

Cruel irony this is too.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 8, 2011 12:06 AM

275

It's funny, first they make broad generalizations. Then when you call them out on their bullshit they refine their argument. When you destroy that, they deflect to another topic or move the goalpost. After that fails, I got the "not so bad, stfu."

Fundies are fundies, religious or not.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 8, 2011 12:12 AM

276

I conclude that the person is rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, narcissistic, and, in general, an asshole.
Heywaitaminute... Wasn't Dawkins labelled a huge, inconsiderate, misogynistic, dismissive, poopy-headed jerkface for asking someone not to lay down so many profanities in their replies to him?

Posted by: cthellis | July 8, 2011 12:15 AM

277

@Phyraxus #274

You have no idea how much I was desperate, DESPERATE I TELL YA, to leave my one and only post on that thread, and have it say "TITS OR GTFO", just to make Steph and Sally fucking livid...

I figured if I was going to go out, I was going out in a blaze of glory. But yes, my self-preservation instinct kicked in, too.

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 8, 2011 12:27 AM

278

LOL i didnt think about tits or gtfo

for some reason sugartits came to mind

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 8, 2011 12:46 AM

279

re: #273, @thememe, it IS absolutely fucked up. Trying to turn Dawkins words into those of a rape apologist is the most disgusting thing I've seen in a long time. And I completely agree with your friend's sentiments on the matter regarding the cult-like elements of some parts of the secular movement. A quick trip to a few of the more famous blogs proves it beyond all doubt. Thankfully, there are a few sane people speaking out against it though. Thanks Abbie, Miranda and Stef.

Posted by: JD | July 8, 2011 12:50 AM

280

BAHAHAHAHAHA! It's a good job there's no hell, or we'd be going there. :P

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 8, 2011 12:52 AM

281

Naw, everyone knows god is a misogynist so we'd fit right in up there in heaven :P

I think sugartits came to mind because it has just the right amount of sexism, objectification, and condescension. As in, "Keep up the good work, sugartits!" then a tasteful office slap to the rear. Funny thing is, my ex-gf watched Mad Men and that shit is CRAZY misogynist. I never really got into it.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 8, 2011 1:06 AM

282

LOL aye.

What we've therefore done tonight is, essentially, have completely futile arguments with people, and laugh sundry bits off.

So, average night on the internet, really!

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 8, 2011 1:47 AM

283

Hi Abby,
I’m preparing a keynote address, and I wanted to ask for pointers on the title. It is:

“Hatred and bigotry in the atheist community: Is my (former!) best friend Jeff Doe acting as a mouthpiece for Nazi-fascist ideology? (Yes, Jeff, I’m talking about you.)”

There’s nothing that could be construed as “passive aggressive” in there, right?? You might’ve noticed that I sort of call someone out by name, but that’s just because I respect him so much. You see, it's really a question of respect. It’s clear from the wording that I’m just a hard-nosed skeptic who calls things like I see them. You know, cause that’s just how we skeptics role! Right????

Posted by: TR | July 8, 2011 4:27 AM

284

Justicar:

I don't want to say I told you so, but I did tell you it wouldn't vindicate Dawkins.

Sure, and I'm not surprised about this either. This is how cognitive dissonance works. When new evidence arrives, you don't change your belief, you rationalise how that evidence fits in with your existing belief, no matter how contorted the logic is to get you there.

"FYI, Richard Dawkins is a victim of sexual assault. Translation: 'LOOK! Over there!' Pathetic." Sallystrange

Let's get the sequence of events that led to this straight. Dawkins wrote a post that trivialised the elevator incident. RW's buddies immediately extrapolated from that something that Dawkins absolutely did not say - that he belittled their sexual abuse or rape. He obviously said nothing of the sort, but that doesn't matter to them.

Then, when people point out that Dawkins himself is the victim of abuse, SallyStrange trivialises his experience.

That is: SallyStrange is guilty of exactly the thing that RW's team are accusing Richard Dawkins of.

The only problem is, in Dawkins case, he simply didn't do what they claim he did. And the irony that SallyStrange implicitly accuses Dawkins of playing the victim card is not lost on me either.

Oh evidence, you are such a fickle creature.

Posted by: Spence | July 8, 2011 4:28 AM

285
As many sensible posters have pointed out here, that a few "good guys" cross the road to avoid worrying the solo female does nothing to reduce the actual number of assaults on women (or men for that matter)

And anyway, any difference that makes in her anxiety level should be trivial compared to the fact that she is walking down the street alone at night in the first place. I don't think women should be called stupid if they choose to do something like that, but ironically this is one of the issues that has frequently caused Sven to run afoul of almost everyone else at Pharyngula.

Posted by: windy | July 8, 2011 7:26 AM

286

258:

Hey, don't hating on juggling just because some stupids do it. We just ignore them.

277,278,281

There's also the Carlin version:

"you wanna have a really good time? Walk into a feminist meeting and yell out "HEY! WHICH ONE OF YOU CUPCAKES WANTS TO GIVE ME A BLOWJOB? They like it when you're direct!"

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 8, 2011 8:32 AM

287

>285 "As many sensible posters have pointed out here, that a few "good guys" cross the road to avoid worrying the solo female does nothing to reduce the actual number of assaults on women"

Where has it been suggested that crossing the road is intended to reduce assaults? My impression was that it is simply intended to reassure the woman that the road-crosser isn't stalking her.

I can assure you that the anxiety difference can be substantial. It's the difference between an uneasy "please let me get there safely" and an acute "OMFG maybe this is the time it happens, oh god what should I do".

---------

Anyway, what I really came here this morning to say:

So now we know that Dawkins was molested as a boy.

(1) Does that really authorize him to decide when another is justified in speaking out, any more than anyone else? The larger question being, are overtly similar events not mediated by considerations such as gender identity, which themselves affect one's sense of personhood?

This is not to dismiss Dawkins' experience, but rather to contextualize it. Otherwise we risk a simplistic hierarchy of authority without regard for competence.

(2) Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed by others through coitus-colored lenses, and with the possibility of being molested again always in the back of his mind?

Not looking for answers; just wishing some of you would give some thought to these things.

Posted by: drbubbles | July 8, 2011 9:02 AM

288
Where has it been suggested that crossing the road is intended to reduce assaults?

It was suggested that a woman was stupid for not wanting men to cross the street to protect her "personal safety". It was then pointed out that this does nothing to reduce the risk of actual attack. Are women stupid for not demanding an illusion of safety?

Posted by: windy | July 8, 2011 9:21 AM

289

"So now we know that Dawkins was molested as a boy.

(1) Does that really authorize him to decide when another is justified in speaking out, any more than anyone else?"

YES.

Why?

Because, by the very arguments that RD has been belittled and railed against have included "you're a privileged male and have no clue about how bad it is to be sexually assaulted".

Seems like he DOES know what it's like to be sexually assaulted.

"(2) Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed by others through coitus-colored lenses"

YES.

Every single male who has heard that women think all men are potential rapitsts know that they're being looked at through coitus-coloured lenses.

What do you think "rape" is? A type of plant?

AND YES AGAIN:

EG asked for a coffee. This, apparently, means I want to put my willy in you. Smacks rather of the Monty Python sketch: "Weeyl yooo foondool mai boot ooks?" "Yes, take the third right, past the post office and second on the left".

"I can assure you that the anxiety difference can be substantial."

And my anxiety difference can be substantial too. Except that I'm not allowed to call you a gender traitor and insist that you hand your todger in., nor allowed to jump from "You CAN say no to a proposition for a date" to "All women are frigid bitches" and if told that this is a vile calumny, get a hoard of screamers yelling at you calling you a molester.

It's very anxiety producing, not being able to tell a woman that "no" means "yes".

Does that mean we should push for a society where men can do that? A society that is sensitive to the male anxieties and fears about being told "no"?

Or, rather, should I get over it, just like a woman who is anxious because a man doesn't cross the other side of the street late at night, no matter how much safer she feels about it?

Posted by: Wow | July 8, 2011 9:46 AM

290

I said something like this on the other post, but the Gawker article reinforces it. I miss the days of people like Carl Sagan and Martin Gardner and Isaac Asimov. In the modern skeptical movement, Sagan would be called an accommodationist, Gardner an idiot, and Asimov a sexist. God forbid they try to post a pharyngula--between begin called Cupcakes and handed rotting porcupines, they wouldn't be able to get a word in edgewise.

Posted by: mathguy | July 8, 2011 10:17 AM

291

>289, Wow: "Every single male who has heard that women think all men are potential rapitsts know that they're being looked at through coitus-coloured lenses."

Excellent point, well-taken, and one I have not yet internalized (obviously). Permit me to restate, articulating my unspoken assumption: Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed through coitus-colored glasses by people with the ability to (try to) make it happen if they so wish, some of whom actually do?

As for your response to anxiety difference, I may just be dense but I have no idea what you are getting at.

Posted by: drbubbles | July 8, 2011 10:25 AM

292

"So because there “presumably” “would have been” an “opportunity” to talk (RW could have blurted out a few words about the weather while EG was yanking her pants down) therefore EG was not sending the message that he was interested in her only for sex?!"

So Ophelia Benson can visualize him pulling down her pants. This is the madness I can't understand. How do you make these leaps??? Maybe a few people were or were not rude to other people. The end.

Posted by: Peter | July 8, 2011 10:29 AM

293

Per advice from ERV I'm numbering and naming this reply.

I'm calling it Princess Pricella Jellywompkins II.

Yeah, I know, Abbie. I was just pointing it out earlier before I even bothered to read what was going to be said about it. I was fairly confident that it wouldn't mean one bit to most people opposite. Surprised I am not.

I think even if we held Dawkins down and gang raped him with concrete dildos while chewing gum it wouldn't count to these people. Even if Dawkins managed to come through it without having some immortal fear of chewing gum or concrete dildos.

It's not that people are saying "you're not entitled to feel uncomfortable, or to look after your own safety" or anything of the sort. It's more in the vein of, "just because you're uncomfortable doesn't mean we owe you some ridiculous deference, and you are not entitled to make that demand" with a little bit "there are people who were actually being victimized right that second. You simply were not one of them - sorry that you weren't really being a victim to justify playing that card."

But, apparently, I've crossed a line to becoming persona non grata for Tone reasons. So long as the vitriol is in a direction some people like it to go, it's all fine and well, and needs to be done. Free speech and all that jazz. Take Ophelia Benson's comments to me on Miranda's blog.

The fucking second someone uses language she finds objectionable, well, now you've gone too far and need sensitivity training. Let's see if her tone, and the tone she supports atheists having towards the religious changes in her future work, for consistency's sake.

I knew going into this taking the derisive track I chose towards Rebecca Watson would not be without its consequences. One consequence I wasn't expecting is the making of hypocrites and/or liars out of some people.

Oddly enough, on my blog only three people have clicked the "I hate you" option on the post ratings. Most people at the start were clicking "no mouse". Now it's fairly well dead even between "funny" and "let's fuck"

Spence, if you're aiming to say that your comments extended beyond this blog, then I'll happily concede that point. And I'm sorry if I didn't read what you wrote in the way you were aiming to mean. Going back over it, I see that I too narrowly read it, and I apologize for that.

Posted by: Justicar | July 8, 2011 10:45 AM

294

"Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed through coitus-colored glasses by people with the ability to (try to) make it happen if they so wish, some of whom actually do?"

Yes.

Women are looking at Richard Dawkins like he's a rapist. Rape is coitus, unrequested, but still coitus. And ask Julian Assange about how that assertion can make it (arrest, vilification, guilt-assumption) happen.

PS when you find yourself having to narrow down your question until you get to precisely one scenario, maybe your question isn't about asking for an answer but a question begging a conclusion, a' la Glen Beck "I'm not accusing, just asking the question".

Posted by: Wow | July 8, 2011 11:14 AM

295

"Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed through coitus-colored glasses by people with the ability to (try to) make it happen if they so wish, some of whom actually do?"

Plus YES. Someone DID look at Dawkins and DID make it happen.

You know, all that kiddie fiddling? Remember that?

So, yes it DID happen.

And there are priests out there kiddie fiddling little boys today.

There are women teachers who are even today instigating sexual encounters with male pupils. Those men are being objectified. Yet if they complain: "What are you? GAY???".

So YES, in the specific case of Dawkins, he HAS been looked at through coitus-coloured glasses by someone who can and did make it happen.

Posted by: Wow | July 8, 2011 11:19 AM

296

So, given the rapidly expanding semi-mainstream coverage, a tiff over a blog response to a Youtube video about being invited up for coffee has turned into a massive character assassination attempt on Dawkins. Based on comments which are almost exclusively shown without a scrap of the original context involving Stef McGraw and the intended purpose Rebecca's talk.

This is just sad.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 8, 2011 11:24 AM

297

Peter @ 292:

So Ophelia Benson can visualize him pulling down her pants.

IOW, she is sexually objectifying him? In a negative sense, to be sure, but that would seem to be the conclusion.

Posted by: NJ | July 8, 2011 11:28 AM

298

Justicar, with reference to your comment #Princess Pricella Jellywompkins II

Wait, what? I'm confused!??! Have we disagreed on something? I must have missed that. Or, more likely, I wrote some gibberish which could have been read in about ten different ways. I'm pretty sure so far I've meant to agree with you in any post I've written. I may just have not made that clear. And something tells me this paragraph that I am writing has probably confused things even more.

What were we talking about again?

Posted by: Spence | July 8, 2011 11:33 AM

299

>294

I don't think your argument leads where you think it does.

PS How long do I have to wait before it's acceptable to post clarification? Or am I stuck forever with an overstatement once it's been pointed out?

Posted by: drbubbles | July 8, 2011 11:34 AM

300

>295, Wow: " 'Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed through coitus-colored glasses by people with the ability to (try to) make it happen if they so wish, some of whom actually do?'

Plus YES. Someone DID look at Dawkins and DID make it happen.

You know, all that kiddie fiddling? Remember that?"

Perhaps you could re-read what I wrote. Specifically the "adult life" part. Unless kiddie = adult now.

Posted by: drbubbles | July 8, 2011 11:37 AM

301

So, given the rapidly expanding semi-mainstream coverage, a tiff over a blog response to a Youtube video about being invited up for coffee has turned into a massive character assassination attempt on Dawkins. Based on comments which are almost exclusively shown without a scrap of the original context involving Stef McGraw and the intended purpose Rebecca's talk.

THIS!

The McGraw thing is what pissed me off the most and made me dislike Watson (up to this point I hadn't heard of her). It's a shame that this has become a feminism thing instead of a Watson-abused-her-position thing.

Posted by: mathguy | July 8, 2011 11:47 AM

302

#287, drbubbles
Where has it been suggested that crossing the road is intended to reduce assaults?

Thank you, drbubbles, for fixing my error. There I was, with others here, trying to figure out what might fix real world, measurable, testable problems in a way that actually reduces harm. When instead, I could be trying to solve imaginary, untestable problems that exist in people's heads.

The slight issue here is that I am not sufficiently arrogant to think I know what is going on in people's heads, nor am I equipped with any kind of telepathic skills. Furthermore, many people lack empathy (Rebecca Watson springs to mind here) and are likely to do exactly the wrong thing. Indeed, if you go around trying to second guess what goes through people's mind and try mitigating their emotions through your actions, I suspect you'll get it wrong as often as you get it right. Net gain: zero. But the gain would be untestable anyway. So it doesn't really matter.

"I can assure you that the anxiety difference can be substantial."
I can assure you that the anxiety that someone who suffers from triskaidekaphobia can also be substantial. However, the solution is not to eradicate the number thirteen from the universe. You're solving the wrong problem

"Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed by others through coitus-colored lenses, and with the possibility of being molested again always in the back of his mind?"

Ah, now this is a lovely example of the type of contorted logic I was referring to in #284 when talking about cognitive dissonance as the mechanism for rejecting Dawkins' sexual assault. The new evidence jars with prior beliefs. So a discriminator is required: a reason why there is a difference between Dawkins and others who have experienced sexual assault. This difference (outlined in the quote above) is then used to justify a dismissal of this new evidence (Dawkins' assault can be dismissed, essentially, because he is a man). The jarring evidence is thus dispatched. The beauty of the choice here is that the reason for dispatch is based on emotions and feelings, i.e. once again untestable, thereby unlikely to ever be challenged again.

I'm not saying drbubbles is suffering from cognitive dissonance. I can't know that. But that would be an examplar symptom.

"Not looking for answers"
Trust me, drbubbles, when I say I believe you to your word when you say you are not looking for answers. I really do.

Posted by: Spence | July 8, 2011 11:48 AM

303

287:

Where has it been suggested that crossing the road is intended to reduce assaults? My impression was that it is simply intended to reassure the woman that the road-crosser isn't stalking her.

I can assure you that the anxiety difference can be substantial. It's the difference between an uneasy "please let me get there safely" and an acute "OMFG maybe this is the time it happens, oh god what should I do".

WHY would this reassure anyone with a functional brain? Tactically, it makes it easier to get behind someone because now you've passed out of their direct/peripheral vision, and can take your time sneaking up on them. Seriously, that should make you feel no safer at all. Unless you're completely delusional about personal safety.

Again, HOW DO YOU IMPLEMENT THIS. Do you do this for every woman you see? What if where you're going is five meters behind her? You cross the street, then immediately cross back? What if there are women on either side of the street? What then?

You and others keep pushing this meme, you clearly believe it has actual functional benefit, SURELY you can explain the details of how this works.

Same thing with the elevator. Take another one. Shit, another single woman. Fuck, wait more. Oops, that one already has a single woman in it, DEAR CHRIST WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO GET BACK TO MY ROOM AND TAKE THIS WICKED SHIT I GOTTA TAKE?

It's amazing how stupid this kind of shit sounds when you take ten seconds to actually think about it. I prefer the longer term solution that ERV herself has implemented: Don't be helpless. Don't walk around unable to fend for yourself. Don't think that being so physically weak, (barring actual medical issues of course) that you cannot even begin to defend yourself is a good thing.

Learn to take AND THROW a punch. This is a HUGE issue when teaching women martial arts. As long as it's shadowboxing, they're awesome. But getting them to where an actual shot to the head doesn't destroy their will to survive, and to where they will unapologetically throw a friggin' blow, and if it happens to knock their opponent loopy, "shit that was cool", is really, really hard. QUite often, it's the punching that's harder to manage than taking a punch.

Be able to beat feet the fuck out of a situation, at least be able to drop yo' shit and haul ass for 100-200m. If you like to wear heels, at least once in your life, run in them. Maybe practice getting the fuck out of them.

(Yes, I think about all these things. It's why I dislike certain kinds of mens shoes. No traction.)

In other words, while we undertake the longer task of getting people to behave better, make being a victim as fucking hard as possible.

No, this does not do shit for children, or other people physically unable to defend themselves.

(although I taught my 8 year old son how to rain high holy hell on anyone who broke in the house when he was home alone. "Wait, I can throw things at them?" "Yep. I recommend glass and knives. Also scream like a banshee, and try to drive your fingers through their eyes." "What if i kick them in the balls" "nah, that's crap, it's too easy to manage that, it's just pain. But you jam your fingers in their eyes, they're blind. Then you can stab the bastards." "Won't I get in trouble with the police?" "Little dude, i promise you this: a grownup breaks into your house, trying to do you harm, and you leave them broken, blind and bleeding on the ground, you won't get in trouble, you'll get a medal." "Will they hit me if I do this?" "I won't lie, they might. But you never stop fighting. You make it suck so ungodly much to do you harm, you make them crawl over broken glass and fire to do you harm, and you may not escape unscathed, but you'll be alive, and you'll be reasonably whole, and that is of PARAMOUNT importance to me. What happens to the guy that broke in? I could care less. You always win with me man. Just try not to burn down the building. Fire's a pain in the ass, it causes paperwork" Once he realized that it was not only okay, but expected that he would do whatever it took to get out of a bad situation alive, and that I'd absolutely support him in it, his fear levels of being home by himself dropped. He realized he was not helpless against someone trying to do him harm, and that he was, as small and skinny as he was, able to stand up for his own safety. )

The idea, the concept, that women are somehow *helpless* against men, that they are helpless children unable to defend themselves other than by waiting for men and society to remove the danger of the world from them is so *viscerally* repugnant to me, that I cannot properly describe it. We ALWAYS work to make things better as a group, but as individuals, we make damned sure that if those efforts fail, we are not helpless victims.

So now we know that Dawkins was molested as a boy.

(1) Does that really authorize him to decide when another is justified in speaking out, any more than anyone else? The larger question being, are overtly similar events not mediated by considerations such as gender identity, which themselves affect one's sense of personhood?

This is not to dismiss Dawkins' experience, but rather to contextualize it. Otherwise we risk a simplistic hierarchy of authority without regard for competence.

Da fuck? That's what most of the screaming ninnies are saying. "WE WERE VICTIMS OF RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT, WE ARE RIGHT ABOUT THIS, ALL ARGUMENT IS MANSPLAINING AND MISOGYNY BY PEOPLE WHO CANNOT UNDERSTAND OUR PAIN."

All of a sudden, it turns out that Dawkins CAN understand it, HAS been there, and has simply chosen not to let that incident dominate his life. What's the reaction? "HIS EXPERIENCE DOESN'T MAKE HIM AN EXPERT, IT DOESN'T COUNT. ONLY WOMEN OR MEN WHO WERE VICTIMS AND AGREE IN LOCKSTEP WITH US COUNT."

Fuck. That.

Shit, i'm waiting for someone to say that since he only got fondled once, it doesn't count. Only actual vaginal or ass penetration counts. It hasn't happened yet, thank reason, but I'm confident.

(2) Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed by others through coitus-colored lenses, and with the possibility of being molested again always in the back of his mind?

So because Dawkins didn't let fear of a repeat performance rule his life, his experience is invalidated?

THis shit, THIS is why I don't talk much about my own abuse. Because as soon as it becomes clear that you only say you were a "victim" in the dictionary sense, and you stopped thinking of yourself as one years ago, and in the case of the man once turned into a newt "I got better", you don't count. The people who managed to live through varying levels and lengths of hell and now see that as something that happened, but it's over, and while we can't forget it, (nor should we), we will.not.let it coat our lives in fear and shame?

We're somehow not *really* victims. Well, go fuck yourself on that one. Yeah, shit went down for me, dawkins, and probably a lot more people than you think. Definitely more men than you think. I dated a woman, still one of my best friends who was repeatedly raped by her stepbrother, and abused by her father for years. She refused to play that broken bird shit, and if you tried to treat her like one, she'd unleash a truly withering torrent of "Go Fuck Yourself You Arrogant, Condescending Shithead" on you.

Just because you were a victim at one time doesn't mean you have to be a victim for the rest of your life. But at some point, you, the person, has to decide for yourself: "Do I let fear rule my days, or do I kick fear in the fucking neck and get on with my goddamned life?"

If you're saving pictures of yourself with black eyes and burn marks, fear has won.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 8, 2011 11:50 AM

304

I've noticed that the discussion has changed its focus. It is now all about "Elevator Guy's Influence on 21st Century Feminism". Whatever happened to simply excoriating Rebecca Watson for being a petty bitch who abused her podium power to belittle Stef? In this context, EG is a side issue that takes the spotlight off of Watson's immature behaviour. And I'm sure she likes it that way.

Posted by: frank habets | July 8, 2011 11:53 AM

305

"Perhaps you could re-read what I wrote. Specifically the "adult life" part."

Perhaps you could tell us why only adults need to be protected?

Posted by: Wow | July 8, 2011 11:55 AM

306
It was suggested that a woman was stupid for not wanting men to cross the street to protect her "personal safety".

um, I suggested she might be stupid, but I did not use the quoted phrase.
And wtf with the "illusion of safety"?
We're talking about avoiding the illusion of peril.

I just find it very very strange that people seem to be arguing there is some higher ethical good to be accomplished by refusing to acknowledge the feelings-justified and legitimate or not, it doesn't matter (and this, ONCE AGAIN, is the entire fucking point of the EG argument)--of others. Everybody has the right to be treated equally inconsiderately, is that it?
weird.

Look, I'll extend this bit of fucking common courtesy to everybody, woman, man, linebacker, indeterminate. OK? And yeah, I'd appreciate it if others would do the same for me. So it's really, for me, not about sexism but rather, and pretty much like this whole ridiculous brouhaha, it's about simple consideration for the feelings of others. If I think that two minutes of anxiety (mild, moderate, or crippling) can be avoided bu me going 5 seconds out of my way, then I'm going to cross the street. Every time.

If you think that's somehow demeaning, insulting, sexist, or sappy, then, OK, yeah, you're stupid, I guess. *shrug*

Posted by: Sven DIMilo | July 8, 2011 12:02 PM

307

Sven, who here is not recognising the feelings?

What several people are saying is that EVEN IF recognising the feelings, why the heck should I have to walk over the other side of the road?

"it's about simple consideration for the feelings of others."

As long as it isn't Elevator Guy, Stef, Richard Dawkins or men who want to "mansplain" (which seems to be code for "doesn't agree with me") their point of view.

I can recognise RW felt creeped out.

Stef did too.

Stef asked "but why should you make such a fuss out of nothing?".

Then RW, having the comfort blanket of victim taken away, called Stef a sexist pig when she had the mike and Stef had no place to respond.

Very little consideration of Stef's feelings there, Sven.

And ABSOLUTELY NO acknowledgement of that fact from RW's supporters.

Posted by: Wow | July 8, 2011 12:10 PM

308

And, Sven, don't you agree that "men have a rape switch" is more than a little "demeaning, insulting, sexist"?

My brain is in charge of me, not my dick.

Posted by: Wow | July 8, 2011 12:12 PM

309

>305, Wow: "Perhaps you could tell us why only adults need to be protected?"

Perhaps you could point out where I said that, or even implied it.

Posted by: drbubbles | July 8, 2011 12:14 PM

310
Look, I'll extend this bit of fucking common courtesy to everybody, woman, man, linebacker, indeterminate. OK? And yeah, I'd appreciate it if others would do the same for me. So it's really, for me, not about sexism but rather, and pretty much like this whole ridiculous brouhaha, it's about simple consideration for the feelings of others. If I think that two minutes of anxiety (mild, moderate, or crippling) can be avoided bu me going 5 seconds out of my way, then I'm going to cross the street. Every time.

What I would not give for a map of your walking schedule and 100 women in the 5'0" - 5'5" range. I bet with little effort, we could have you walking in a spiral in the middle of the road.

Christ, the relentless defense of this as anything but an IRL version of "change your twitter avatar background color" slacktivism is astounding.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 8, 2011 12:17 PM

311

it's about simple consideration for the feelings of others.
So when PZ ran his cracker series, did you speak up about his failure to consider of the feelings of many Christian people? After all, it's just common courtesy to consider the feelings of others.

Or are some people more equal for this consideration than others?

Posted by: Spence | July 8, 2011 12:17 PM

312

"Perhaps you could point out where I said that, or even implied it."

Because, you said:

"Perhaps you could re-read what I wrote. Specifically the "adult life" part."

So if his objectification in a past where he was a child means he hasn't been assaulted, then you don't care if children are assaulted.

If you think kiddie fiddling is sexual assault, then on the question of "Does Richard Dawkins have experience of being objectified as a sex-object", the answer is YES.

The only way it can be "no" is either

1) Children being sexually assaulted is not a case of being objectified as a sex object

or

2) Being treated or viewed as a sex object in the past is irrelevant.

the last option would mean nobody who isn't currently being sexually abused whilst typing on the internet has no valid experience.

Posted by: Wow | July 8, 2011 12:33 PM

313

Further to 308, if you meet a guy whose dick is in charge, as a woman you have several options:

1) Distance. Don't be there. Richard has one example: if you are uncomfortable in a lift with a man, exit the lift. You have now achieved distance.

2) Dissuasion. Be with friends. Don't go down dark alleys. Don't walk home drunk. Don't LOOK like a victim. It's what's meant when some bloke says "Why was she walking home drunk?". Not defending the man, protecting women.

3) Damage. Beat the crap out, scream, shout, get the police and any good samaritan to help. ERV did that.

4) Disdain. Even if you've been assaulted, you are alive, you are BETTER than that animal that assaulted you. (NOTE: a large cause of paedophilia amongst males is that they were assaulted by a father figure and haven't gotten over it, so are now trying to prove they aren't a victim by being a predator) Richard Dawkins does that. Your revenge is to live your life well.

Posted by: Wow | July 8, 2011 12:39 PM

314

A black football player that I went to high school with once told me that when he walked through a parking lot he frequently hears the "click!" of doors locking when he gets near them. It's people locking their doors (even in broad daylight) when the big, scary black man walks by.

Were the people who locked their doors racist? Should my friend carefully screen every car he walks by to make sure it's empty and, if it's not, go out of his way to avoid getting to close so he doesn't cause any anxiety?

Posted by: mathguy | July 8, 2011 12:44 PM

315

>312, Wow: (pretty much the whole comment)

Now perhaps you could point out where I said any of that, or even implied it. (N.B. Reading things into my comments doesn't count because such things come from you, not me.)

Posted by: drbubbles | July 8, 2011 12:48 PM

316

I love the "MY WERDS DIDN'T PRECISELY SAY THAT" crap. because it's the perfect dodge. If your words are imprecise, and people get the wrong message, you get to say "I didn't actually type the specific words you are saying, ergo your comment is meaningless". Yet, if someone argues about what your words literally say, you can then bitch at them about being a literalist, and we have to use our minds.

Then when they do that?

"MY WERDS DIDN'T PRECISELY SAY THAT"

Beautiful, when you think about it. Simply beautiful.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 8, 2011 12:54 PM

317

"Now perhaps you could point out where I said any of that, or even implied it."

It was in the entire comment.

Why, then does the "as an adult" come into Richard Dawkins' knowledge about being watched with covetous eyes?

Why not just go the whole hog and say "Since Richard Dawkins isn't a woman, how can he know what it's like to be a woman?". Isn't that REALLY your guff?

Posted by: Wow | July 8, 2011 1:01 PM

318

"N.B. Reading things into my comments doesn't count"

Uhm, you DO know what "Implied" means, don't you?

in·fer
   /ɪnˈfɜr/ Show Spelled [in-fur] Show IPA verb, -ferred, -fer·ring.
–verb (used with object)
1.
to derive by reasoning; conclude or judge from premises or evidence: They inferred his displeasure from his cool tone of voice.
2.
(of facts, circumstances, statements, etc.) to indicate or involve as a conclusion; lead to.
3.
to guess; speculate; surmise.
imply [ɪmˈplaɪ]
vb -plies, -plying, -plied (tr; may take a clause as object)
1. to express or indicate by a hint; suggest what are you implying by that remark?
2. (Philosophy / Logic) to suggest or involve as a necessary consequence
3. (Philosophy / Logic) Logic to enable (a conclusion) to be inferred
4. Obsolete to entangle or enfold

+++

So to read an implication, you HAVE to -Read things into what's said-.

If you didn't have to read things into what's said, then it's not implied, it's explicit:
ex·plic·it Pronunciation (k-splst)
adj.
1.
a. Fully and clearly expressed; leaving nothing implied.
b. Fully and clearly defined or formulated: "generalizations that are powerful, precise, and explicit" (Frederick Turner).
2. Forthright and unreserved in expression: They were explicit in their criticism.
3.
a. Readily observable: an explicit sign of trouble.
b. Describing or portraying nudity or sexual activity in graphic detail.

Posted by: Wow | July 8, 2011 1:08 PM

319

Spence @298:
My fingers must have been drunk when they typed that. That should have been addressed to drbubbles in response to post number 260. Many apologies for that confusion!

Mathguy:
You criticize her, and she'll make it a feminism thing. Remember, she sees misogyny and sexism at every turn, and so do her supporters. Just disagreeing with them is "mansplaining" and "irrational". Read the comments on her blog. I'm loving the ones that tell Richard Dawkins to go back and think rationally and then come back with his apology. This implies, at base, there is only one potential outcome - so, if you don't accept their conclusion, you're irrational, hateful, oppressive and what not. Never mind all of the work that Dawkins has actually done for human rights. Never mind his support for anyone who's disadvantaged. No, don't agree with them and you're actually practically raping women. Assholes.

John C. Welch @303:
You said, "Shit, i'm waiting for someone to say that since he only got fondled once, it doesn't count. Only actual vaginal or ass penetration counts. It hasn't happened yet, thank reason, but I'm confident. "

I note that I said:
"I think even if we held Dawkins down and gang raped him with concrete dildos while chewing gum it wouldn't count to these people. Even if Dawkins managed to come through it without having some immortal fear of chewing gum or concrete dildos."
And using the logic the opposing side is using, not refuting this is what makes it true. QED!

Also, your "victim forever" bit is something I wrote about on my blog earlier today.
http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/you-fuckers-owe-me.html
It is exactly that - there are victims and there are survivors. The distinction isn't trivial, and one can roughly guess what mindset someone has by how they describe themselves. I am not a victim. I was a victim; I am currently a survivor.
And then you have the vicarious victims who have imagined victimization to the extent that their victim status is a product of their imagining. They are their own abusers - not me.

Thank you for saying it otherwise and so clearly.

To the stupid question of the "adult life" thing:
Seriously? One's capacity to understand requires the misfortune of not only being abused, but making sure it continues to happen to have "perspective". Fuck you.

I don't need to get shot to know it fucking sucks. I don't need to recover from being shot and then get shot again for "real" perspective. Fuck you.

"Oh, that time you were hit by a car doesn't count. You have to have a sample size > 1 in order to really know how bad it was for you." Fuck you again.

@306:
No. Stop. No one is saying that someone isn't entitled to their feelings. You're free to feel whatever you'd like, and I hope that when you have feelings, you deal with them square on - good or bad. This isn't about Rebecca Watson saying, "Ommigod! I was creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeped the fuck out today!"

This is about, "Ommigod! I was creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeped the fuck out today! Therefore, you 3.5 billion people need to do x!"


@310:
John: it would be more poetic if you could have him trace out cardioids. Clothoids are easy, and meaningless - this conversation is about feeling, not substance!

[/endmathhumor]

Posted by: Justicar | July 8, 2011 1:47 PM

320

>302 Spence, 303 & 316 John C. Welch

I make an effort to understand what others are trying to say, and I would appreciate it if you would reciprocate.

>317 Wow: "Why, then does the 'as an adult' come into Richard Dawkins' knowledge about being watched with covetous eyes?", and
>319 Justicar:

Dawkins was assaulted as a child, by an adult. There is an authority/privilege/strength differential there that is analogous to that between women and men (on average). (If you google "infantilization of women" you will be find, if you have not already, another dimension of sexual politics that is relevant to this discussion but a bit more abstruse than seems to receive successful discussion in forums like this.)

This does not mean that Dawkins' experience is invalid. It means that it is not entirely equivalent to those of women. Children grow out of the child/adult differential. Women are stuck with the female/male one. Again, this does not invalidate, but it does differentiate. Adults do not have to worry about being child-molested. Likewise men do not (as a first approximation) have to worry about rape. Thus, as a man, Dawkins is now (and has been for some time) in a structurally privileged position with respect to both children and women. The fact of his being assaulted as a child does not strip him of that, nor does it necessarily render him fully attentive to it. To put it another way, he was assaulted analogously to rape, but it has been some time since he has had to be concerned about its happening again.

I am not saying that Dawkins WAS an assault survivor BUT IS NOW a privileged white guy. Those are not mutually exclusive; he IS an assault survivor AND a privileged white guy. And that that is different from being an assault survivor and a woman.

Please do not take any of this to suggest I think Dawkins', or your, experience is irrelevant. Having spent a couple of hours writing I'm reluctant to delete what's left, but I suppose it might be distilled as "there is more to it than just having been assaulted." For example: the distinction between victims & survivors. I've only just read Justicar's post and haven't entirely collated it with what I've been thinking, but at the very least it's an acknowledgement that, as I tried to say in #287 (as amended by #291), there are nontrivial distinctions that matter. Justicar, do you really think it is irrelevant that you do not now bear the same risk of assault as women? Would you say that your experience is equivalent to that of a woman who was assaulted as a girl? (If I am being intrusive or presumptuous, I apologize.)

>318, Wow

So the difference between an implication and a reading into is that implications can be backed up without resorting to cherry-picking, but readings-into cannot. If you thought my previous comments said or implied something contrary to what I have written here, you were reading it into them.

>319, Justicar

Now that I know the last bit of #293 was intended for me, I appreciate it very much. If the rest of #293 was in response to me as well, I must say I'm utterly floored.

Posted by: drbubbles | July 8, 2011 4:07 PM

321

I make an effort to understand what others are trying to say, and I would appreciate it if you would reciprocate.
My best guess, at present, is that your posts are drivel consisting of strangely contorted logic aimed not at furthering an interesting debate, but at reducing the dissonance in your own thought processes. I explained this in detail in my last post.

I take your unresponsive answer quoted here as an acceptance of the points I made in comment #302.

Posted by: Spence | July 8, 2011 4:41 PM

322

Well, fuck me running, drbubbles @320:

It is immaterial where Dawkins is now on any hierarchy to what he experienced when his "power" was "inferior". You can't magic that away simply because time has elapsed. The frame of reference your side is claiming is the exploitation of the balance of power for sexualizing someone. Nothing about the Dawkins situation is distinguishable from that. The only difference is who the victim was; viz., it was a male.

Exactly how minimal must the power imbalance be before the fact that it exists and can be exploited is relevant? Severe imbalances of power seem to fall outside of your category. Adult => child = too disparate to be relevant. Male => female is relevant so long as it's not as disparate as adult => child?

So, there has to be a power imbalance between a and b, so long as it's just a little bit - that's when I'll take interest. The power imbalance has to be just small enough that it's indistinguishable from existing at all? No, sorry, student work. Try harder.

Men do have to worry about rape. About 10 percent of the male population has this as a concern. I am among them. I am gay. I can get drugged and raped when I'm out just as easily as could Abbie here. I could get "cornered" in an elevator as easily as Rebecca Watson. In fact, I have been. And, like her, I managed to make it out of that fucking "corner" alive. And rape free. I'm a goddamned elevator-rape escape artist I guess.

You know what I didn't do? Make a deal out of it because it wasn't a big deal. I wasn't interested, said as much, and buddy left it there. That is how this works. Even were I uncomfortable, I still wouldn't have made an issue of it because my feelings would have been clearly irrational. My emotional state would not have been congruent with reality. Going around bragging that I'm too fucking emotionally unstable to properly take stock of the actual state of affairs is not something I would be proud of saying.

Hello: my name is____; I react to situations that don't actually exist in unreasonable manners and then expect to be praised for my bravery. Would you like to take me to a drink sometime? Fuck that.

But for Rebecca Watson, it's like a goddamned "special skills" line on her fucking cv. Come to mention that, it is exactly like that - this pads her cv, increases her profile and generates cold hard cash for her - all on no evidence whatever that there was even another person in that elevator in the first place!

You're claiming he's a.) a "victim" and b.) privileged. Privilege doesn't seem to count for a great deal if it cannot miracle away some harm that will befall one. And why is it that you imagine white, rich, educated men are in some position not to understand that? Oh, that's right - it's easier to call success and happenstance a privilege so that you can exclude their views from having merit. Of course, you're just going to reverse engineer any set of facts to accommodate your goal: to exclude Richard Dawkins specifically from having a meritorious right to express an opinion. His views are worthless because whatever it is that he happens to be able to know, we can point to some other shit and exclude him. He's such a dick!

My risk of being killed/maimed in a car crash is greater than a woman's risk of being raped. Her risk for being killed/maimed is also greater than her risk of being raped. To follow the logic based on potential futures, they should be even more weary of being around cars than of men. Their risk of being raped by a loved one/associate is greater than that of stranger. They should be even more afraid of their boyfriends/husbands/coworkers/friends/classmates/fathers than of EG. She's not made a video talking about how uncomfortable it is when her her husband gets her alone and invites her to coffee. But he's statistically the bigger threat!

I'm making claims of equivalence as it isn't relevant. I'm accused of not "getting it" not of being in all conceivable ways exactly another person. I'm being accused of "potential rape" because I happen to have a dick, and then I'm told that I can't "get it" because I'm privileged for being a straight white male. Of course, when I said I was gay, it wasn't relevant. If my sexual orientation was irrelevant a cause for stating a privilege I have, why did it need to be on the list?

You're not making those claims, but those claims are being made en masse by your side of the discussion. Any means necessary to exclude and ignore a contrary opinion are perfectly fine.

- Doesn't understand, not sexually assaulted; therefore, excluded
"actually, I was"
- doesn't understand, not sexually assaulted good and hard enough; therefore, still excluded.

It's a shifting goalpost.

Posted by: Justicar | July 8, 2011 5:16 PM

323

320:

Likewise men do not (as a first approximation) have to worry about rape.

Really

Can I be there when you tell Abner Louima that? or any of the 10% of all rape victims that they weren't raped, and that men have nooooothing to worry about?

Please?

That may be one of the most astoundingly stupid and ignorant things i've read in this entire nontroversy, and that's really impressive

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 8, 2011 5:36 PM

324

"What about Abner Louima? Does he finally the fuck count?"

"Oh no, he wasn't a woman raped by a man"

it's coming. We've already dismissed all sexual assaults that happen prior to 18, and stated that men cannot be raped.

Who's going to go for the top position, and finally state that only rapes committed against a woman by a man count?

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 8, 2011 5:40 PM

325

I see my word "nontroversy" is getting used!

Let me google that to make sure it didn't exist beforehand.

Crap, it did. But its definition isn't mine; its definition has to deal with a controversy not existing until it was politically convenient. My definition (definition 2 I suppose now) is a topic that isn't a controversy being treated as though it is; a trivial matter. Or something.

But I wasn't clever or original, alas.

/wrists

Posted by: Justicar | July 8, 2011 6:10 PM

326

@ 287 - Yeah, over at greg laden's blog ( -/2011/07/elevators_and_privilege_a_lett.php), sally said that "making certain types of behavior less socially acceptable" in men (taking the next elevator I guess, for some reason she didn't like the crossing the street argument) causes increased overtness of rapists (they don't take the next elevator?). She didn't really describe how. The only way I think that it would, is that literally EVERY SINGLE MAN that is not a rapist (notice how I didn't even say potential rapist) takes the next elevator. But at that point, we literally have segregation of the sexes in public places. This is bad (I hope I don't have to explain why), and is not a world I would like to live in.

Oh, another one I liked was "Still working on explaining how requesting _increased situational awareness_ from men is akin to violently forcing black people to engage in public displays of inferiority, I presume?" I was using the kicking males to the back of the bus argument. _Emphasis on weasly words_ and I called her out on it for changing goalposts and that shit could mean anything. Needless to say, she disagreed. -_-

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 8, 2011 6:30 PM

327

Err, swap taking the next elevator with not taking the next elevator in previous =/

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 8, 2011 6:36 PM

328

Phyraxus:
When will you learn that these Real Feminists want us all to be equal? Just in different brackets.

Look, it's perfectly reasonable to expect that men should avoid using elevators are certain times. Just like it was perfectly reasonable that blacks should avoid using certain seats on buses during certain times (like when a white person was present, say).

Posted by: Justicar | July 8, 2011 6:39 PM

329

Rich white celebrity guys seem to be pretty vulnerable today.

At least as far as thirty something opportunistic slacktivist hipster white women are concerned.

Somehow the thought of what the Skeptical movement's equivalent of Carrot Top is going to do with all the money she will extract from her team of enlightened fellow wymyn vyctmz sickens me more than anything else.

Since she slapped it together all her "team of activists" has done is link mine Google and throw theme parties celebrating themselves.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 8, 2011 6:49 PM

330

"Since she slapped it together all her "team of activists" has done is link mine Google and throw theme parties celebrating themselves."

Now, now... in their defense, at least one of those themed parties involved a subset of that team actively purchasing me a large quantity of alcohol, so it can't be ALL bad. Having never gone to a conference where any of them were speakers, I for one, have managed to come out ahead on their celebrity.

Of course, that probably means very little to anyone other than me...

Posted by: Rystefn | July 8, 2011 7:06 PM

331

Aw, fuckit. A political/skeptical/news-type podcast I occasionally listen to decided to do a "Dawkins Sucks" episode. No context. No idea how it started. Nothing but Dawkins Sucks, with a side order of Men Are Pigs. I hang out on their forum, so I posted a detailed timeline with links to the Stef McGraw backstory, etc. Nope, the context of Dawkins' comments doesn't matter, because PRIVILEGE! Dawkins being molested doesn't matter, because PRIVILEGE! Watson's behavior doesn't matter, because... anyone? anyone? PRIVILEGE!!!!11one

Ideology > Facts, except when it's the other side doing it.

@Justicar, did you already run across / remember the Usual Suspects getting bent out of shape at Dawkins' response to the nontroversy at the last convention? The same arguments, links, etc. cropped up at Skepchick last time, but the volume was lower, with less emphasis on Dawkins himself. Guess they decided to "do better" this time.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 8, 2011 7:12 PM

332

phraxus, don't forget the most important point on Laden's post:

"MY NAME IS STEPHANIE, GET IT RIGHT, AAAAAAAAAGH"

And she then proceeds to continually mangle Stef's name.

Self-awareness is not her friend.

Posted by: John C.Welch | July 8, 2011 7:13 PM

333

What about a nuntroversy?

Posted by: cthellis | July 8, 2011 7:17 PM

334

I think we should officially call this controversy.

The Cuntroversy.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 8, 2011 7:25 PM

335

Rystefn@#330

"Now, now... in their defense, at least one of those themed parties involved a subset of that team actively purchasing me a large quantity of alcohol, so it can't be ALL bad."

nice.

Got to love those expense accounts. Did she ever get the 501(c)(3)status she wanted to turn the city of Chicago into a tax deductible hook up and booze up for her political bien pensant?

Posted by: Prometheus | July 8, 2011 7:32 PM

336

Re #333. This.

Definition

Oh yes.

Posted by: Spence | July 8, 2011 7:34 PM

337

Can't speak to that, Pro. My knowledge of their finances began and ended at "You're buying? Then I'm drinking."

Full disclosure: I did purchase some of my own and some for others as well. Just to be clear.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 8, 2011 7:34 PM

338

Love in an Elevator by Aerosmith the theme song for TAM 9?
I think yes.

Posted by: tas121790 | July 8, 2011 7:48 PM

339

tas121790@#337

"Love in an Elevator by Aerosmith the theme song for TAM 9?
I think yes."

Do you think Adam Savage will weld up a divorce decree so that she and poor Sid Rodrigues can Bogart that meeting too?

Posted by: Prometheus | July 8, 2011 8:01 PM

340

Sigh...I'm almost jealous Rystefn. no one even TRIED to start up shit on my site. It's a shame really, we haven't had any meat there in a while

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 8, 2011 8:23 PM

341

It's ok, John. Not everyone can have my special combination of charisma and... ummm... whatever it is that makes people hate me.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 8, 2011 9:07 PM

342

@ Rystefn

It's ok, John. Not everyone can have my special combination of charisma and... ummm... whatever it is that makes people hate me.

Eggnog? :-P

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 8, 2011 9:18 PM

343

Wild Z:
No, actually, I'm ordinarily more concerned with ideas and discussions of import than the minutia of public people's lives.

I'm only involved here because this is an issue. I spend money donating to various atheist groups. Some of that money has no doubt gone to support Rebecca Watson's lifestyle, thus providing a means for her tactics. I am therefore trying to very carefully suss out which organizations have paid her money, and will do so again so that I can modify my expenditures.

I take these matters very seriously despite the approach I've taken on youtube and my newly created blog. What Rebecca Watson is the parent of what is actually standing on the backs of the oppressed. I am unamused.

I am tired of being in a culture where the phrasing someone uses is more important than the content of what they're saying. Sorry, but if I'm having, say, a conversation with someone about the south before the Civil War and all the atrocities exacted against black people and someone is ok with that conversation but can't handle the word nigger, I have problems.

People will discuss the methodical, cultural execution and enslavement of humans without wincing. But if the word nigger appears in the literature, they have to say "the n-word". If you can't bring yourself to say the words in the literature while discussing torture, and rape, and murder,and subjugation of people, then I have to dismiss you from the conversation. You simply are not appreciating the full range of issues of the situation. Rape, torture, murder - those words we can say knowing full well what they fucking entail. Read the word nigger, well, that's just too vile to be said. I cannot read an account of the times without wanting to use the word. Yes, it is hateful. Yes it is powerful. That is why it is not to be trivialized to "the n-word". When one reads on such matters, one is obliged--in my estimation anyway--to look square on the fullness of it that it may resonate and remind one of why it can never again be allowed.

Just don't say any naughty words though. That we can't deal with; I guess we have our standards for what's indecent.

If any of those words is too repugnant to be spoken, it is surely not the one that is an insult. Why not the "r-word" or the "m-word"?

Then again, these are normally the same variety of people who think if they call me a faggot they've done something. No, preventing me from being married is an affront. Calling me a word? It barely registers a courtesy laugh.

For the relevant situation, Ophelia Benson has castigated me for calling her Twatson - taking offense. It's not acceptable I'm told. Well, I'm glad we've identified what's inappropriate here - my use of Twatson.

Posted by: Justicar | July 8, 2011 9:23 PM

344

@Me in 343:

Ophelia Benson hasn't castigated me for calling Ophelia Benson Twatson; it's for calling Rebecca Twatson Twatson. Sorry about that pronoun oddity - as well as changing from you to one. That wasn't a model of good writing or consistency. Many apologies.

Posted by: Justicar | July 8, 2011 9:32 PM

346

HOLY SHIZNUTS THATS EPIC!

Fuck, why didn't I think of something like that, dammit?!

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 8, 2011 9:40 PM

347

Awesome! Where do I sign up?

Posted by: Rystefn | July 8, 2011 9:47 PM

348

Holy shit, read Jen's latest post:

http://www.blaghag.com/2011/07/dawkins-is-not-misogynist.html

Have you ever read a more condescending post?

Posted by: Blargh | July 8, 2011 9:48 PM

349
Holy shit, read Jen's latest post:

http://www.blaghag.com/2011/07/dawkins-is-not-misogynist.html

Have you ever read a more condescending post?


Am I the only one who reads that as "backpedalling furiously, while trying to save face"?

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 8, 2011 9:54 PM

350

@ Blargh 348
Am I missing something? I found the post interesting.

Posted by: tas121790 | July 8, 2011 10:06 PM

351

I have been, and remain, unimpressed with her take on this. She's backpedaling a bit, but not nearly fast or far enough.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 8, 2011 10:11 PM

352

My favorite part of the new "Agenda"

13.00 Expert Panel discussion: ‘Women in the Atheist movement, are we being denied a voice?’ (Panelists Panders are PZ Myers, Greg Laden and Jeremy Stangroom)

BWAHAHAHA. So much lulz.

Posted by: JD | July 8, 2011 10:15 PM

353

It strikes me she's trying to save face with BOTH sides. She doesn;t want to alienate Dawkins, because let's be honest, he's one of the names everyone knows. But at the same time, she doesn't want to alienate Watson, 'cos they're, like, sistahs!

This whole thing is a bloody mess, isn't it.

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 8, 2011 10:16 PM

354

ERV@#345

"OMFG you guys, you have GOT to see the schedule for TAM this year."

That is fantastic.

I wonder where thirtyish skepchicks dressed like teenagers crawling all over an 82 year old gay guy for party pics falls on the new creepy continuum?

TAM Rule of Conduct #2873: Do not dry hump Dumbledore.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 8, 2011 10:19 PM

355

"I wonder where thirtyish skepchicks dressed like teenagers crawling all over an 82 year old gay guy for party pics falls on the new creepy continuum?"

My Creep-0-Meter reads 5.2 kilospiders on the back of your neck.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 8, 2011 10:31 PM

356

I'm loving her patronizing tone: it's hard to understand; it's hard to figure it out, but I'll help that poor old man learn what's what. All this flopping out of her mouth the whole while she's talking about how it took her so long to understand her "white" privilege.

Apparently, she's still working on recognizing her "holier than thou, so smart I can condescend for a moment to school your dumb ass" privilege.

But all's not lost: you're not a gender traitor if you don't girlcott his books and lectures.

I guess learning that he was molested has softened her heart - just look at her coddle his booboo to make it all better.

But hey, he's just stupid and privileged, and old and male, and rich and educated, and has a house of elephant tusk.

I love that she "disagrees" with Watson on one detail. Click the link and what's in the first line? Watson saying that she agrees with Jen when Jen, among others, says that Dawkins is saying to Watson to shut up about being sexually objectified like a good girl. (Anyone have a copy of the half-nude calendar she posed in as the "sexy skeptic"?)

Presumably then Jen agrees with, "Feminists in the west have been staunch allies of the women being brutalized elsewhere, and they’ve done a hell of a lot more than Richard Dawkins when it comes to making a difference in their lives."

And, "You wrote blog posts and made videos and were kick ass, and you made me realize that Dawkins is not the present. He is the past."

And, "But those of us who are humanists and feminists will find new, better voices to promote and inspire, and Dawkins will be left alone to fight the terrible injustice of standing in elevators with gum-chewers." So, Dawkins still isn't a humanist anymore? He no longer advocates for the equality of all peoples? Jen is explicitly endorsing this message. Lovely.

What a useless sack of shit Dawkins is then. I'm glad they brought to my attention how ineffective he was back when he pretended to work for human rights. I'm glad to know that he's now opposed to human rights. I guess I should send him a letter: Dear Dick . . .
That's how it'll start, but it won't end being so polite!

I would ask her on twitter, but for some inexplicable reason Watson and McCreight seem to have accidentally blocked me. Probably a clerical error - secretary was no doubt a woman and you know how they are . . .

Posted by: Justicar | July 8, 2011 10:35 PM

357
My Creep-0-Meter reads 5.2 kilospiders on the back of your neck.
Surely you mean 1.21 JIGGASPIDERS?

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 8, 2011 10:36 PM

358

@tas121790

"Having privilege is not intrinsically a bad thing. It does not make you a horrible person." - Oh good! You mean the fact I happened to be born male, white and straight means I'm not all evil?

"But more disappointing than his initial obliviousness about his privilege was his stubborn denial of said obliviousness when called out on it." - Or perhaps he just meant what he said; What the fuck is all the fuss about?

"But honestly, it's understandable. No one likes being told they're wrong in general.." - Awwww.. she's being compassionate. He just doesn't see -why- he's wrong. But once he's told, he'll see the light and realize his mistake!

That's just three lines. And it's condescending as hell. There isn't even the slightest possibility of someone actually having an opinion worth considering. There's no debate whatsoever. Dawkins disagreed, therefore he is wrong. But thank heaven, Jen thinks there's still hope for him.

To P.Z., Jen and RW, and all the others who have basically supported everything these people are doing without a shred of criticism there's only one right way of talking to them. You apologize for having a penis. Then you tell everyone that, now that you've read about privilege, you realize how wrong you've been your entire life. Then you bow before your feminist overlords, keepers of the one and only truth.

Posted by: Blargh | July 8, 2011 10:37 PM

359

"Surely you mean 1.21 JIGGASPIDERS?"

Hmmm, maybe I need to recalibrate this thing...

Posted by: Rystefn | July 8, 2011 10:51 PM

360

Interesting comments. Now we're getting the concessions:
"'He may not be a misogynist, but his actions in this case were. He may not be a rape apologist, but his actions in this case were.'

^ This, so much. This is an incredibly important distinction to make, as even the most enlightened person will say some offensive things."

Yes, this is the distinction we now need to make. He's not a rape apologist, most of the time. He's not a misogynist, most of the time. But last week, boy howdy, he was a rape apologizing misogyny advocating mother fucker. So, let's keep in mind it's only a part-time hobby for him!

And, of course, "Good scepticism is based on telling people when they're wrong, and then attempting to explain why with evidence, it doesn't mean that you necessarily consider them bad in any way. A lot of people, like Jen, have been doing this very patiently now for days, and it's working by the number of people who comment to say 'oh, I get it now'."

Yes, about that evidence thing some on her blog are now speaking of . . . where is it pray tell? Noting he's doesn't understand what it's like to be sexually assaulted? Patently false. That he's never been called a faggot? Patently false. Hell, there's an entire episode of Southpark with him in it. Wasn't he like ass-fucking some guy in it or something?

He's white, male, rich, educated, British? Ok, those are factual claims. What it evidence of? PZ is white and male. He "gets it" so those two can't be used. That leaves British. I guess the British don't "get it". Nor do the rich. Man, I love evidence!

Fuck, they can't even credit his personal experience in the way they're demanding we bow down and credit Watson's. Apparently, being sexually assaulted is one of the fucking things that makes Dawkins privileged! One wonders what then doesn't?

"This is a good point, and well worth emphasizing, although it still is indicative of a sort of privilege (generalisations of this sort: "oh, I was molested and it wasn't so bad, therefore molestation must not be that terrible" are still a problem), and I'm not sure whether or not it puts his comments on a better footing."

This is loltastic!
"While being abused means that he has not benefited from the fact that boys are molested at half the rate of girls, there is still an issue of male privilege where threats of rape and victim blaming are used to both regulate women's behavior and blame them for being non-receptive to certain types of attention."

Welcome to hell, Professor Dawkins. Pick a door - on the left is damned if you do . . .

"This argument would be more compelling if he didn't specifically follow that up by saying it had no effect on him and that he considers it a misdemeanor. "
Yeah, because his actual sexual assault which he got over isn't nearly as good as Rebecca's non-sexual assault which she still hasn't gotten over. lol

Apparently, misdemeanor sexual assault

Ok, I'm going to stop before I become a nuisance (more so than Abbie will tolerate anyway).

Posted by: Justicar | July 8, 2011 11:16 PM

361

Abbie:
That comment you made there is just so fucking full of win. (To Marcotte)
My sides hurt; you're a devil woman, you know that?

Posted by: Justicar | July 8, 2011 11:24 PM

362

When people get boring, I start entertaining myself.

:)

Posted by: ERV | July 8, 2011 11:36 PM

363

Justicar:
Wait, there are winning comments I'm missing? damn it, man, share!

Posted by: Rystefn | July 8, 2011 11:39 PM

364

LULZ! Sigmund's TAM Schedule thing is frigging hilarious! I'm pleased that we gender traitorzzz get a shout-out :)

Posted by: Miranda Celeste Hale | July 8, 2011 11:41 PM

365

Rystefn:
If you haven't yet, go find Abbie's comment there. It is fucking hysterical.
I thought it was going to be a link to the news article explaining how it all got put wrong. And it was, just all rolled up into a neat little package.

I was going to leave a comment, but, surprise of all surprises, I've been preemptively banned. I bet it has something to do with a conversation with Jen the other day when I said she said something and she said she never said that and then I sent her an exact quote. She said in response to that something like and now I'm just going to ignore you.

Imagine my shock that when she says yeah prove it and you link her to something she's written she ignores you! I suppose, you know, if I were more polite to them during this whole nontroversy, she'd have responded better.

Even Watson doesn't have my back on this one for some reason.

It's a good thing they don't know if I've written any books so they can't girlcott me!

Man, 99% of feminists totally give the rest of them a bad name. Fuckers!

Posted by: Justicar | July 8, 2011 11:55 PM

366

Quick question, now the luyz are fully underway...

Would anybody be hideously offended if I suggested this situation needs a lolcat made about it?

Also, would anybody be hideously offended if I had already actually MADE a lolcat about it, to share only with the funky people on this thread?

:-P

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 9, 2011 12:04 AM

367

I'm not going to lie... I LoLed

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 12:08 AM

368

Rystefn-- Follow the link over to BlagHag :) Thats been my standard bit for the past few days (I also dont 'get' why Marcotte is invited to atheist/skeptic events) but I also tried out my impersonation of Marcotte leading a lynch mob: GO!!!

Miranda-- THUGS 4 LIFE!! Or until you disagree with me on something. Then I think I have to tell you have to die in a fire or something, and I have to completely miss the connection between me threatening you with fire and the fact women used to die in fires for being heretics.

Justicar-- I dont know what you are talking about. I linked to a poignant news piece, which Im sure youve rewatched ~500 times by now. :P

Posted by: ERV | July 9, 2011 12:09 AM

369

Marco, I am offended. Don't you know that everyone on the internet is (rightly) terrified of being confronted by a LoLcat? You privileged jerk, can't you understand that millions of people are shown LoLcats every day? Every link and every e-mail is Schrodinger's LoLcat in our world. How dare you suggest such a thing might be ok?

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 12:10 AM

370

Marco-- The rules on ERV are no death threats and nothing illegal. If it doesnt fall into either of those categories, I have no problem with my commentors expressing their creativity in a humorous manner.

Posted by: ERV | July 9, 2011 12:11 AM

371

Rystefn, that's... hauntingly appropriate considering the picture I shopped together...

Ah well, in for a penny, in for a pound... :-P

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j289/johnbonhamatron/elevatorgatelolcat.jpg

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 9, 2011 12:12 AM

372

@365:
Marco, go ahead, show me your pussy.

ERV, I must confess it's the most concise, to the point piece of journalism I've seen in a long, long while. Did you plagiarize it from Johann Hari?

Actually, on further reflection of that news piece, I think we have summed the entire kerfuffle: you have one bitch trying to drag some unwilling girl to the "truth".

(goddamn. I am so going to hell for the shit I've said this week)

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 12:15 AM

373

Zomg!

Schroedinger's lolcat. Bwahaha! Seriously, that's hysterical. I think someone spiked my coffee; I'm laughing way too much this evening.

Now if only we could photoshop in a coffee tin in the background. Nothing too flashy mind you, just an understated (in that English gentleman kind of way) tin of coffee haplessly milling around in the background. (but not too dark, fucking white guys who've been passed by a black guy will start up with their shit again).

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 12:19 AM

374

Ahh, where is the fight? I lost the linkz! BTW, that cat IS creepy

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 9, 2011 12:20 AM

375

I think I've found an amicable solution to this whole ordeal:

http://www.dirtybutton.com/videos/627-sexual-harassment-and-you/

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 12:29 AM

376

My comment just got eaten the spam filter! Abbie, stop oppressing me!

Blog-writer's privilege doesn't look good on you!

HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP!

Anyway, I was linking to a video that was posted on an article on reddit (where I'm mentioned I might add.) My blog is like not 3 days old, and it's already being cited in a reddit article as the "guy [who] has her number". I was wondering why my blog's page counter went crazy today.

Hopefully, Abbie will stop oppressing my poor little comment so it can run free, in equal status to everyone else's privileged comments!

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 12:33 AM

377

345:

BAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA

But they're missing the mandatory 'crossing the street when a woman is near you" session!

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 9, 2011 12:36 AM

378

I LOVE this one:

When someone performs 90% of the same actions that a sexual predator would, possibly for benign reasons, how is the person who has received the attention supposed to distinguish between the two situations before the fact?

Yes. 90% of sexual predators:

move about
Move about in buildings
use elevators
get in elevators
PRESS A BUTTON! WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE ELEVATORS
Talk to people
Invite them to go somewhere private by talking to them
Sometimes in elevators

wait, did I say predators? I meant EVERY-FUCKING-BODY.


Also, I think the next time one of these nincompoops trundles out their lamer wish-it-was-logic,

I shall refute them thusly

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 9, 2011 12:54 AM

379

John C. Welch:
That photo you've posted to can't refute them. Have you learned by now that their arguments have the ability to jump the shark? With ease. No running start required.

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 1:02 AM

380

Duh. That's what the eye lasers are for. Zap 'em in da bunghole!

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 9, 2011 1:05 AM

381

I knew you supported laser rape!

Now I know to stay out of elevator if a shark is in them because, you know, every shark is a potential laser ass-rapist.

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 1:09 AM

382

OMG, i just saw kriss' video about all this shit. She is awesome and deserves the invite to vegas.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 9, 2011 1:10 AM

383

Told my wife about drbubble's moronic statement about how men don't have to worry about rape.

(evil smile)
"Oh gimme a roofie and an hour with him, I'll change his mind on that one."


I love that woman. I also fear her.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 9, 2011 1:13 AM

384

I fear rape, more so if its a woman that's trying to rape me. Because men have absolutely no reproductive rights after sperm leaves their bodies.

http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2000/10/19/mens_choice

Read that for the horror stories of RAPED men that still have to pay child support.

Women, if they are raped, can at least choose not to have the baby and thereby prevent ruining her financial future. Men have no such recourse.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 9, 2011 1:26 AM

385

@ERV
For the act of trolling on Blag Hag in such a great fashion. I award the internet I won previously back to you.

Also I found this when Googling Amanda Marcotte http://www.formspring.me/AmandaMarcotte

Posted by: tas121790 | July 9, 2011 3:21 AM

386

From RW's video "Don't invite me back to your hotel room, right after I finished talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner".

Clearly what she is saying here is that polite invitations to casual sex constitute "sexualization", that this is what her talks are about, that this is a social ill that must be combated and guys should not do that.

I would like to know, how that could possibly be considered anything but dogma? Casual consensual sex is something men and women engage in in large numbers. RW victimizes the women and criminalizes men who chose to engage in a perfectly harmless activity. How can she present this nonsense unopposed at a meeting of "skeptics"?

Dawkins' verbal eyeroll is absolutely spot on here.

Posted by: Michael | July 9, 2011 5:32 AM

387

Ack! I've been discovered; my secret is revealed. http://www.boards(dot)ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056320768&page=22
replace (dot) with . I hope I can sneak past the oppressive spam filter this time!

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 6:17 AM

388

I just have to get this snarky comment off my chest.

RW is NOT "attractive". I don't recall if anyone on this particular blog described her this way, but most others have described the situation as such. Maybe EG felt sorry for her because even at closing time, no one tried to hook up with her. I don't know, if someone is "tired and just wanted to go to bed," why is she staying up until 4 am? Who's decision was it to be out alone at 4 am in a foreign country? Not EG's. His crime was not so much that he invited her to coffee. It was that she failed to indoctrinate him properly during her talk.
Same with Stef. Her crime was that her thinking was all wrong. Same with Dawkins. Common sense, rational arguments are no match for ideology.While everyone is scratching their heads over her irrational justification for the abusive behavior, remember that she is launching an ideological war. Her speech was "The Religious Right's War on Women." The propaganda is not exactly subtle to begin with. Anyone who would attend this lecture, has already drunk the political Koolaide.
There is one bright spot, however. It seems this may have been an eye-opening experience for the students as to how extreme ideology is the enemy of common sense. Calling people out or using them as examples of everything that is wrong in society is so ridiculous. Her supporters have revealed their true colors as the ideologically-driven windbags that they are. Bully tactics are fair game when the goal is indoctrination. She might as well stuck a dunce cap on that poor young lady.
OK, back to lurking. This is the most rational discussion I've seen so far. Way to go!

Posted by: smitty | July 9, 2011 9:08 AM

389

Anyone think this is the final and conclusive proof that politics and gender ideology do not mix with a movement about scientific skepticism and/or atheism?

Prior to this PZ and RW had tirelessly attempted to argue extreme liberal politics and feminism were part and parcel of skepticism. There was an air that the politics were just as "evidence-based" and "objective" as the science.

I wonder what will happen now. Somehow, I don't think RW wants a complete "real feminists vanguard party v. gender traitor/male privileged class/anyone right of lenin" skeptical-movement split because she would lose alot of business on her speaking circuit. ERV says people are already contacting her to find a woman scientist (that could actually talk about her work in the field) rather than a youtube carnival barker. However, she thinks so highly of herself and her communications degree that I doubt she backs down. Will be interesting TAM this year......

Posted by: Tom | July 9, 2011 10:06 AM

390

I've been visiting science blogs (and related blogs) off and on for the past few years but generally leave when I feel that I'm wasting too much time or some ridiculous shit like this blows up all over the internet.

I'm glad to see that the blogger and those making comments provided an eye of reason in this storm of bullshit. I think I'll be sticking around here for a while in the safe zone, though I won't be getting into this argument directly as I think it has run its course.

By the way, Abbie, you are hilarious and I mean that in the best possible sense.*


*Perhaps I should run that statement by the Feminist Brigade before publishing it to make sure that it doesn't qualify me as a misogynist who wrongly (due to privilege) believes that he is qualified to pass judgment on the comedy value of females? Eh, fuck it.

Posted by: Thomas M. | July 9, 2011 10:28 AM

391

I woke up thinking about making this documentary. This is a short video explaining this entire last week's drama.

http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/twatson-story-abridged-rare-footage.html

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 10:43 AM

392

@377

No they're not. Laden will just show slides of the path he took to get to that first panel when he finally DOES get there at 8:00pm.

Posted by: cthellis | July 9, 2011 11:10 AM

393

"I just have to get this snarky comment off my chest.

RW is NOT "attractive". I don't recall if anyone on this particular blog described her this way, but most others have described the situation as such."

hyperbole.

It is a relative proposition. In a general context she is a hygienically challenged off-the-shelf fish belly white yawn with a personality like a case of prickly heat.

In the context of the collection of horse frighteners that defend her or the beardy sweetums that haunt skeptics conventions, she is Helen of Troy with a wheelbarrow full of your favorite candy.

which, if we are back to taking this shit seriously (and I don't think we should be), what they leave off every time in the dubiously reported supposed EG come-on is this:

Caveat, Qualifier, Mission statement Disclaimer,consisting of....


"Don't take this the wrong way but...."

Followed by:

Coffee & Conversion invitation.

She just gave a lecture consisting of "Don't hit on me."

He said "Not hitting on you."

Followed by "Will you talk to me and be my friend?"

She said "NOES!" followed by a you tube video announcing that clearly excusing yourself before asking if it would be okay to talk to her is creepy and sexualizes her.

Kay.

What else sexualizes RW?

"You forgot your change."

"The number you have reached has been disconnected."

*wind fails to blow in the direction that irks her the least*

I've dealt with this mentality before.

I once got an elaborately loud public dressing down by a young lady at a law school party because I put my hands on her and how dare I do that and I was predatory sexist human filth etc..

My friends had to point out after I left that her hair was on fire and I put it out with my bare hands.

She never apologized....or graduated for that matter.

meh.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 9, 2011 11:11 AM

394

391:

OMFG, I think I love you man.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 9, 2011 11:19 AM

395

Thomas M.@#390

"By the way, Abbie, you are hilarious and I mean that in the best possible sense.*"

Nice try Mr. Rapist.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 9, 2011 11:27 AM

396

Prometheus, the video I linked to might be relevant for hair fires. Plus, this ends the Rebecca Watson debacle for good. I just can't believe Abbie would participate in an interview like this Dawkins and Watson - I was shocked I tell you. SHOCKED.

She could have let us know first!
http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/twatson-story-abridged-rare-footage.html

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 11:29 AM

397

I have been curious about something for a long time now. So I am going to go ahead and ask, if it's ok.
When I found out that RW had her wedding ceremony at TAM, I was somewhat baffled. How did it come about? As an outside observer to the "movement" it struck me as fairly narcissistic to have your guests not only pay to attend, but basically finance the whole affair. But heck, what do I know? If she is the darling of the skeptical community, perhaps they also thought TAM was the obvious choice. Is TAM as sacred to RW as church?
BTW, what happened to her hubby? Excuse me! I mean spouse. It's hard to imagine irreconcilable differences could have played a role.
Anyone have a link I could go to so I can get up to speed? TIA

Posted by: smitty | July 9, 2011 11:32 AM

398

Just de-lurking to point out that as I read, I'm having coffee alone. Until this dust-up, I wasn't aware that this was a form of masturbation.
Also, I've noticed that there are certain posters here that cause me to take longer and deeper drinks, and to slurp more audibly. I'm confused and frightened by what this reveals.

Posted by: Gabby | July 9, 2011 11:37 AM

399

I'm having coffee too, Gabby! Holy fuck, we're cybering right now!

Oh yeah baby, sick my duck. Sick my DUCK!

Smitty: I have no idea about Rebecca Watson's failing marriage. Other than, you know, it's failing.

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 11:40 AM

400

http://skepchick.org/2011/04/a-note-about-my-personal-life/

After a ridiculously public and outlandish marriage at TAM, they are separated within 2 years. Fits with her publicity seeking personality.

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 9, 2011 11:41 AM

401

Gabby@#398

I'm having coffee too.

We are now sexting.

Hope THE BRIDE doesn't see this. She just bought 250 rounds for her boom stick.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 9, 2011 11:42 AM

402

There are about 15 old coots hunkered over their mugs playing dominoes at the diner up the street.

lemonparty

ewwwww.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 9, 2011 11:46 AM

403

Prometheus, I guess this makes a threeway? Get more and we can have a forgy. Fuck that, let's get a full on LAN going!

(tell her not to wear panties so she can get a better grip on it)

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 11:48 AM

404

#402

The lemon party? After Justicar outted himself as elevator guy on his blog, and then admitted that there was a picture of his brown eye on teh interwebz, I thought Justicar might then out himself as goatse.

I have to admit, I'd be slightly disappointed now if that wasn't true.

Posted by: Spence | July 9, 2011 12:00 PM

405

http://www.theskepticsguide.org/

Apparently Steve Novella broke down and let RW unleash her bullshit. The new episode has a piece of "elevator-gate".

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 9, 2011 12:13 PM

406

Check out the whore:

http://www.youtube[dot]com/watch?v=DYaNqtQMlXY

Posted by: Prometheus | July 9, 2011 12:13 PM

407

Remember, Bonnie Tyler dedicated that song to me: turn around, brown eye . . .

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 12:17 PM

408

Her Maxwell House tastes good, if you know what I mean, *winkwink**nudgenudge*

Posted by: ERV | July 9, 2011 12:17 PM

409

I prefer to "fill it to the rim with brim" if you know what I'm shayin'!

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 12:22 PM

410

Oh god-- I cant stop the puns now.

"You two look like a couple of star bucks."

"You wanna come upstairs and put some Folgers in my cup?"

"Baby, Im Seattles Best."

"I like my women like I like my coffee- Chock full o'Nuts."

"Nescafe."

Posted by: ERV | July 9, 2011 12:26 PM

411


"I want to put some cream in yo coffee, but first, you need to give me some sugar!"

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 9, 2011 12:37 PM

412

"I like my women like I like my coffee, bitter and murky."
"My house blend brings all the boys to the yard and damn right it's better than your. Damn right, it's better than yours..."

The funniest part for me is that I'm actually in the coffee business. I feel like I should have a pimp name now.

Posted by: Gabby | July 9, 2011 12:41 PM

413
It was suggested that a woman was stupid for not wanting men to cross the street to protect her "personal safety"
um, I suggested she might be stupid, but I did not use the quoted phrase.

um, you know we can still read your earlier comments? There's even this handy 'find' function in most browsers nowadays.
#227: "I think that in the actual situation in real time her personal safety would suddenly seem more important to her than her high-minded demand for equal anxiety-inducing treatment."

As long as we are talking about common courtesy, how about checking what you actually wrote before arguing that someone else got it wrong. But 'stupid is as stupid does', I guess.

#343:

For the relevant situation, Ophelia Benson has castigated me for calling her Twatson - taking offense. It's not acceptable I'm told.

She doesn't like vulgar language (or things like telling someone to go in a fire) and she's consistent about it - I don't really see the need to mock her for it. It's like RD asking people not to overuse the word 'fuck' - I guess it's partly a generational thing.

Posted by: windy | July 9, 2011 12:59 PM

414

Agent Smith:

http://www.theskepticsguide.org/

Apparently Steve Novella broke down and let RW unleash her bullshit. The new episode has a piece of "elevator-gate".

...yeah..and she makes it sound like the shit-storm was just all about the little remark in her youtube-video when she actually knows it better...

Posted by: thememe | July 9, 2011 1:08 PM

415

LOL @412

"I like my women like my coffee, frigid and bitter."

Hah, that's not true, its actually warm and sweet :)

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 9, 2011 1:12 PM

416

Damnit! How dare you people make a bunch more jokes while I was in bed? Don't you know that I can't get up until my mommy checks under the bad and in the closet for Schrodinger's Rapist?

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 1:28 PM

417

I'm drinking Columbian coffee....everybody's okay with the donkey, right?

Posted by: mathguy | July 9, 2011 1:30 PM

418

"...Colombian, and tied up in a sack"

Now, if the President of Burundi asks do you want a cup of coffee...

Posted by: windy | July 9, 2011 1:37 PM

419

"I like my women like I like my coffee, in a plastic cup."

I'm a long-time lurker, first time poster and I just wanted to say, keep up the good work you guys! It feels nice to be surrounded by sane people for a change. :)

Posted by: Sophie | July 9, 2011 1:53 PM

420

@418 - I was a lurker myself and very rarely made comments because I never felt the need to let my voice be heard. But the lack of critical thought being displayed right now made me feel like I had a moral obligation to speak up against it. The fact that others have come out of the shadows to say, "Thanks for being sane" has made it worth it.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 9, 2011 1:57 PM

421

@419 - Ditto.

Posted by: mathguy | July 9, 2011 2:06 PM

422

And Sophie was being sarcastic, right?

Posted by: mathguy | July 9, 2011 2:08 PM

423

@420:

Semi-ditto. I only FOUND this blog because of the whole elevatorgate nonsense. Ended up finding a worthwhile blog to read, so win, definitely.

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 9, 2011 2:16 PM

424

#422: are you trying to imply that *my* blog isn't worthwhile to read? *offended*
Abbie! He's oppressing me! Help!

Rystefn: does she make sure to check for Schroedinger's Invisible Rapist?

I just got told on youtube by this guy made an invalid step in logic that my correcting it was an "ad hom". I answered in a Princess Bride kind of way, which he then to be yet another "ad hom". ::blink blink:: I suppose some people are really invested in their arguments if to say this doesn't follow that they in turn cry personal attack! (not that an ad hominem is always fallacious, mind).

For Abbie:

Nothing wakes you up like Soldiers in your cup . . .

Did you catch that documentary I made, Abbie? Hrm?

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 2:30 PM

425

#423:

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, go on, then, yours too.

Wait, were you retroactively oppressing me for quasi-oppressing you? You and your dastardly "functional human being" privlege! :-P

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 9, 2011 2:37 PM

426

Oh, look! More cheesecake sexual objectification fundraising calendars!

And just so none of us get any "ideas":

"(Hint #1: This is one of those contexts where it would be okay to comment on my appearance.)

(Hint #2: Because this one instance of an acceptable context exists, that does not mean that all future contexts are to be ignored. One yes does not mean "always yes.")"

Get it, guys? You may drool now. Preferably in the comments section. But for fuck's sake, don't compliment her at the con.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 9, 2011 2:47 PM

427

I have black typing privileges, but I want them to be white!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 2:57 PM

428

424:

What to do if you think you've encountered Schrodinger's Invisible Rapist? Roll a D6

Coffee Sex?

Oh baby, lemme give you some of my taster's choice.

I want it strong, with an extra shot and extra foam.

and with many, many apologies to John Valby:

"One night, i was hanging out with tim horton and juan valdez at the old maxwell house when in she walked.

I could tell by her huge bustello that she was the kind of woman who liked to get chocked full 'o nuts, and hard.

She was smooth, dark, and strong, a true taster's choice.

I really wanted to give her an extra shot of foam all over her latte, so I walked up and invited her back to my place for a grind.

She reached down, grabbe my douwe egberts and said "you're hung like a caribou, let's go!"

In no time, I'd folger'd her over the kitchen counter and sanka'd her deep and hard.

"Oh PEET!" she cried, and in no time I was giving her seattle's best up her brim to the rim.

When I awoke later, she was gone, but not forgotten, as a few weeks later, I came down with the seattle drip.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 9, 2011 4:19 PM

429

426:

"YES MEANS ANAL"

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 9, 2011 4:23 PM

430

Justicar: "I answered in a Princess Bride kind of way"

1. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
2. As you wish.
3. Yes you're very smart. Shut up.
4. You warthog-faced buffoon.
5. There will be blood tonight!
6. You miserable, vomitous mass.

???

Posted by: Stephen Bahl | July 9, 2011 5:09 PM

431

So today I was reading the comments on a blog, and then some guy posted a link, RIGHT AFTER I WAS TALKING ABOUT SCHRODINGER'S LOLCAT! The link he posted to, Roll a d6? It hurt my ears. Guys, don't do that. Don't post links to stuff because it might be LoLcat, and even if it's not, it hurts our ears. Those of you who don't have sensitive ears don't... I mean, CAN'T know what it's like to live in constant fear of hearing something that might hurt your ears, so you should never make sounds around us because we could be traumatized.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 5:29 PM

432

Princess Bridge in the - that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

My lolcat barely gives courtesy chuckles. :(

Well, here's a song of woman regaling us with the story of how she raped a man, poor little fellow. Don't tell me full grown men can't be victims!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXS0nEOx_20

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 5:47 PM

433

maybe the problem isn't EG. Maybe there is something Watson isn't telling us....


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmTjZeRdGuU

Posted by: Prometheus | July 9, 2011 6:31 PM

434

I just noticed there's an elevator in the background of this cartoon:

http://www.cartoonbank.com/1930s/you-wait-here-and-ill-bring-the-etchings-down/invt/106061/

Posted by: BoxNDox | July 9, 2011 6:34 PM

436

I forgot rule #1 of the internet. Arguing on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're . . .

Well, here's my last hour or 3 on youtube summed up:
http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/i-meet-dumbest-people-ever.html

It might be time to start drinking again.

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 7:47 PM

437

Well, reading this I think Team James is on the side of Team Rebecca. Her name gets first, her issue gets mentioned over and over, and Richard is bumped in with everyone else whose made "important" contributions in science.

And this gem: "We’re discouraged to see the depth of division in our movement that has been brought to the surface by recent statements by various leaders, but we are optimistic that the conversation and debate will generate more light than heat. We believe that an open discussion of sexism and harassment will ultimately strengthen the skeptical movement."

Who was being harassed? Who was falling prey to sexism? Bleh; I'm glad I'm not going to this goat rodeo.

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 8:11 PM

438

You know, I read what DJ wrote there, and I think he's trying hard to write something that people on either side could read as supporting them. Failing, but trying. It's so full of weaseling and not taking a stand. Strikes me hard as someone trying to mollify friends (and paying customers) on both sides.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 8:22 PM

439

cthellis and Justicar-- You are reading a statement written by a magician whoever. I will casually remind you that looks can be deceiving.

Posted by: ERV | July 9, 2011 8:23 PM

440

Good point, ERV... for all we know there are carefully calculated layers upon layers of meaning and implications there carefully designed to produce an exact effect we aren't even aware of yet. In the words of Penn, "The key to a really great magic trick? Put in WAY more work than the audience thinks is worth it."

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 8:34 PM

441

You got it, Rystefn.

Posted by: ERV | July 9, 2011 8:35 PM

442

Yes, looks can be deceiving, but I've read it four times. If there's a bit of text you think that would balance it, I'd be keen to know it.

If you're right Rystefn, then I guess we can officially call it a religion now. Who needs values anyway? Hasn't slowed down those pesky Catholics one bit!

I'm happy, at least, that they've got a good complement of women speaking at the main talks - better than half!

One thing I always hated first day of class was looking out on the class and seeing mostly pasty white young men. :( (only because it made it harder to find a woman to sexually harass, you know?)

Nothing better than walking into a room and seeing an expected representation of a society. Makes me happy. =^_^=

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 8:38 PM

443

Who was being harassed? Who was falling prey to sexism? Bleh; I'm glad I'm not going to this goat rodeo.

Watson. By some YouTube jagoffs. Which is why all men must walk across the street to avoid being rape-enablers.

...or something. I'm having a hard time following the chain of events for this vitally imperative situation that is hey why are you people making a big fuss about this it's not a big deal but wait you are sarcastically downplaying it RAAAAAAAAAGE

Posted by: cthellis | July 9, 2011 8:44 PM

444

I will have you know that I didn't start blasting her on YT until this shit came down the pike.

I love how a woman will put out a half-nude calendar, write posts about how she likes the occasional strange man hitting on her, sees a guy and writes a blog entry about how she just wanted to lick him from head to toe but then cries when someone asks her to coffee.

She's a work of art.

I guess what bothers me now is that this was a payday for her. And he's proud of that.

/sigh

Abbie, when are you grow up, finish school and become a real live biologist so that we can start hearing you give speeches instead of these parade of horribles?

If it helps, I'll buy you a cup of coffee.

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 8:49 PM

445

Well, it does specify that "Continued unwanted behavior directed toward another person is harassment." That means that if you do it once and stop, then it isn't harassment. That means Rebecca was not harassed. Also they want to "make the skeptics movement a welcoming place for all people, regardless of gender." Note, not a welcoming place to women. I don't see a lot of people in RW's camp giving a shit about men feeling welcome, or mens feelings at all.

Yeah, it's weak, but that what I said in the first place.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 8:51 PM

446

Also, I move that the official greeting at all atheist/sceptical/whatever gatherings when we are in an elevator with someone we don't know should be "Don't take this the wrong way, but would you like to come back to my room for coffee or something?" Hilarity ensues.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 8:55 PM

447

I'm skeptically dubious. I suppose I'll wait to see what happens when the shindig gets kicked off.

Maybe they should start inviting Mrs. Betty Bowers to give speeches there.

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 8:55 PM

448

I don't mean you, of course. I mean the seed jagoffs that led her to conclude things were so problematic that she had to disrupt an AAI panel to slag off Paula Kirby without any real consideration as to what was said. The same jagoffs who are of indeterminate number and value.

And are YouTube trolls.

I mean... seriously. YOUTUBE TROLLS.

This is like calling all IT departments racist because /B/-tards use the N-word.

Posted by: cthellis | July 9, 2011 9:39 PM

449

Oh, I knew you didn't mean me. I should have put a smiley in there. To make up for it, here's my clown

Speaking of youtube, I need to start putting together my next hatchet job! Err, I mean objective and unbiased reporting: the spin starts here, but it's lefthanded.

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 9:49 PM

450

LOL!!!!

Someone should post on all the TAM elevators:

Elevators closed due to harbls.

Posted by: ERV | July 9, 2011 9:50 PM

451

I'd probably be kicked out if I went. I'd do up a "wanted" poster of the Kool-aid guy and throw it up outside the elevators: "Have you seen this man? Walls can't stop him!"

That and if I wound up in an elevator with Rebecca Watson, I'd scream "Schroedinger's Fake Rape Victim - HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and then I'd run out.

And then no matter who replaced me, she'd be happy to have them.

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 10:01 PM

452

How much does it count to go to TAM? I'm just wondering if it's worth getting kicked out pulling one or more of these kinds of stunts... Well, it's too late to do this year, so nevermind. I doubt it would carry the same force doing it later.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 10:10 PM

453

...and by "count," I obviously meant "cost." I have no idea how I did that... probably stupidity.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 10:14 PM

454

When do you suppose she will have to automatically start discounting her own opinions, now that she has a "Team" on equal-if-not-greater standing than Dawkins?

Is "privilegism" a thing? It seems to be a more problematic problem, if conference speakers are anything to go by.

Posted by: cthellis | July 9, 2011 10:24 PM

455

Well, maybe we can plan it for her next attention grabbing wedding.

Excellent video here if you want to feel stupid:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYeN66CSQhg&feature=related

There are days when I feel really, really smart, when I'm in the "zone" and under the impression I'm making progress on my quirky, useless area. And it falls through, but I still don't feel bad. Then I watch things like this and realize how poor my knowledge of the world is. *frownie face*

And then I get in blogtv sessions with some of the more prominent youtube atheist "I love science" skeptics and hear shit like, "Newtonian Mechanics is almost entirely wrong." And then the coup de grâce is that relativity is completely off the mark because it fails to explain quantum mechanics. DPRJones and I were in there, and we were both fit to be tied.

But not our blogtv event so, you know, not allowed to talk and shit.

The guy who was prattling this nonsense about does a great deal of "philosophical" discussions in what DPR calls middle class dinner party style. And then it all made sense - buddy has a degree in music.

It's disheartening.

I'm half-beginning to think Dawkins was on to something with the whole brights thing, but I don't like elitism and "class" distinctions. Hell, my kids call me by my first name. When asked why, I return what seems to a very obvious answer: it's my name. Why is it that people who are closest to me in the world are the only ones who shouldn't be extended the courtesy of using my name?

Meh, I'm rambling now!

I needs me some coffee methinks!

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 10:27 PM

456

Justicar-- I think that might be one of the problems we are dealing with, here. Many of the women I would consider good role models and great voices for science/skepticism... have jobs. They could attend conferences occasionally, but we have these conferences ALL THE DAMN TIME.

Which means the speakers with tenure or who are 'unencumbered' with what many of us would consider a standard form of employment are the ones who *can* speak regularly... which means they are the ones who constantly have a platform, whether its deserved or necessary.

What I loved about the TX Freethought Convention was that they recognized they had someone local, me, and jumped at the chance (drive down to Dallas was no big whoop). But speaking at something like TAM would be a big time investment, and thats something I dont currently have a lot of.

I would *really* encourage local groups to look for *local* speakers, within and outside the 'official' skeptic group. Everyone has something they are good at, whether its how to start a blog, or amateur astronomy, or you might have a professional astronomer in your ranks. Its not as *cool* as bringing in someone from half-way across the country, but you are half-way across the country to someone else.

Posted by: ERV | July 9, 2011 10:29 PM

457

This place is so refreshing after the depressing, hateful, sycophantic, myopic, black and white quagmire that Skepchick has become. And never mind that bastion of ill-tempered cardigans, Pharyngula!

I mean just imagine, people actually having some fun, allowing sarcastic humor to enter the picture without hitting High Dudgeon in G minor, and some folks actually exchanging differing opinions regarding the possible nuance involved in all this outrageous mess without telling each other to fuck off.

Just imagine.

I hope you folks don't mind if I lurk around a bit?

Hi Rystefn. How's things? You knew me by another name over at Skepchick ... once upon a time.

Posted by: John Greg | July 9, 2011 10:45 PM

458

Well, I kind of stay out of the spotlight, and I doubt I'd accept even a paid, cordial invitation to speak at any of these things (on the remotest chance they all got drunk and called me up or something, or even knew my name lawl). And not that I'd have anything of any particular merit to talk about. I'm just some goofy mathematician turned pro-gamer who's taken a shining to getting Watson off the panels (and I understand if you're not sympathetic to that - I do get it; she's just not.the.person whose name needs to be in everyone's mouth). The last thing we need is yet another pasty faced white dude who came from a well-to-do family. We have so many of those we can't throw a goddamned stick without hitting a gross of them.

We need another Neil deGrasse Tyson, we need to see more of Carolyn Porco (although, she's busy doing actual science and all). Not to say "look, we got us another black!" either. After the shit past weekend, the very last thing we need to see much of is another white guy talking to a group of mostly white guys and a smattering of women, black people, asians and what not.

That panel discussion Jerry Coyne put up, look at the traffic on it. Thousands of posts and hundreds if not thousands of conversations happening all over, rippling through the hoi polloi over elevatorgate to show how much we can be outraged over minutia and show that we're not all rapists or whatever. Meanwhile, there was a panel with Paula Kirby, Bobbie Kirkhart, Tanya Smith and Anne Marie waters and that's only being discussed at Jerry's place and Miranda's. Hell, for that matter, we have Miranda who is criminally unknown. Bleh.

If you look across our community on youtube, you get pretty much a bimodal distribution: cute girl with tits who says nothing worth hearing, or thunderfoot, aronra, dprjones and then some younger guys who I would lump with the cute girls, but they don't have tits.

They had Eugenie fucking Scott on the Magic Sandwich show and almost no one showed up to watch. Get venomfangx and the blogtv had umpteen bazillion people. And yet these assclowns run around day in and day out talking about "skeptical" they are, and how they "love science" and they want to have "real" conversation about "important" issues. But when there's an opportunity thrown in their fucking laps to find out how they can bring it about, no. Can't be bothered to show up and listen, or maybe even donate money to a useful public institution.

Get VFX on, and fuck, you can't keep people away with a stick. Welcome to the new atheism - I've been here before and I don't like this circle.

You're youngish. What's your feel with the late teen early 20 something crowd? Just apathetic, or am I having a really unfortunate run of shitty samples? Granted, it is the internet - what do I expect.

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 11:03 PM

459

People should get me to do public speaking engagements. I'm good at that kind of crap, and won't even pretend to be an expert on other things. I'll totally prepare by digging up a bunch of quotes from experts on various subjects, jam it all together, make fun of someone who deserves it a litter the whole thing with profanity and personal anecdotes from having a hundred different jobs traveling all over the world (that was slight hyperbole - I've never been to Africa). I promise I would only charge cost of travel, room, board, and drinking.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 11:12 PM

460

Also, hey John Greg. I'm living, more or less... What name would I have known you by?

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 11:16 PM

461

lawl.

Even if I were inclined to want to speak at one these shindigs, my field isn't actually one people are breaking their necks to get into. I could talk about gaming, but that would draw people in for the wrong reasons.

If you could see my blog's server logs, or that of my YT channel, whenever I do a math something another, it comes to a grinding halt. People are just not interested in math until you get the "oh, pretty cool shit" phase. But if they can appreciate why it's pretty cool shit, they don't need the talk in the first fucking place.

I bet if you asked Miranda, ERV, what her traffic slow was like on her analysis of the Catholic Priest Report it will not be, oh fuck. That's right. PZ Pharyngulated it. so, it might have pulled in some decent traffic. There she is a PhD in a liberal art taking apart this shitty report bit by bit.

ARGH!

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 11:22 PM

462

He went by Susan back in those days - remember him now?!

Posted by: Justicar | July 9, 2011 11:24 PM

463

Yeah, my area of expertise is living and traveling on wits and charisma without getting killed for pulling the kind of stupid shit I pull. Giving speeches about that would make it dramatically more difficult, so I'm not gonna.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 11:36 PM

464

Ishtar's ivory bosom! Stop posting while I'm typing!

Yeah, I know Susan. It's been a while. Hey Susan, how did things turn out with that whole... pecans and rattlesnakes situation?

Posted by: Rystefn | July 9, 2011 11:47 PM

465

Pecans good; rattlesnakes, not so much.

I was SicPreFix. We had some disagreements, but I think we ended on an up ... I hope.

Posted by: John Greg | July 10, 2011 12:49 AM

466

Yeah, that's a name that totally rings a bell. I disagree with a lot of people about a lot of things, it's not the sort of thing that I hold a grudge over. I certainly don't currently have any lingering issues with you, so I'd say we're cool.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 10, 2011 12:53 AM

467

"I love how a woman will put out a half-nude calendar, write posts about how she likes the occasional strange man hitting on her, sees a guy and writes a blog entry about how she just wanted to lick him from head to toe but then cries when someone asks her to coffee."

LOL, I want to see that link if you have it justicar. The one where she wants to lick the man, not the calender. If you thought the calender, you have a NASTY mind.

Oh man, I'm on the blag hag blog and someone said that men can't be raped by women. Well, to her rape is "unwanted penetration" so women can't "rape" men unless they have a strap-on. Seriously, she said so.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 10, 2011 12:56 AM

468

http://www.blaghag.com/2011/07/dawkins-is-not-misogynist.html

Oh, here is the link if you want to see the raving loony.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 10, 2011 1:02 AM

469

Oooh. Out of interest, how exactly do you apply to be a speaker at one of these events - local or otherwise? My folks both fit ye olde minority profile and are published experts in their pretty interesting fields (maths education and feminism/women's studies). I bet they'd like to do something fun while they're semi-retired.

Posted by: Rayshul | July 10, 2011 1:20 AM

470

Men can't be raped by women.

That makes me want to scream. I've had a friend who recently escaped being raped (he was drugged, but managed to get away) and is too ashamed to report it because of the persistent "men can't get raped" idea.

They've become a sort of impromptu cult, haven't they? They're just sitting there spreading their mad ideas amongst each other and congratulating themselves on it. Well done, let's blame all men for everything.

Posted by: Rayshul | July 10, 2011 1:28 AM

471

Yeah, I mentioned that if a man said he was raped, a typical response would be, "WTF? U some kinda fagit?!

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 10, 2011 1:44 AM

472

I have known Randi for over 25 years,

Jilly and the erstwhile Ray for at least 20.

Dawkins I know, because I used to get crazy blasted in cov garden with Tom Baker at Keith R's bar.

Having stuck my butt out more than I normally do and just to hear ERV shout..."Holy shit snacks Batman!" I might feel inclined to reveal some crap tomorrow....

I am hungry, sleepy and full of gin, see you kids at sunrise...for coffee.

Turgid coffee.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 10, 2011 1:47 AM

473

@Phyraxus

I KNEW I'd seen the name WMDKitty before, on UnreasonableFaith. UF has gone into full-on circle jerk mode, in defence of RW too (itonically named site, given the complete faith in RW that everyone's showing).

Can't honestly say I'm surprised she said what she did...

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 10, 2011 1:59 AM

474

A self-proclaimed elevator guy named "ytheworldgoesround" just came forward in the privilege delusion post on skepchick. My favorite part of his post.

"Instead, I think you reduced me to your stereotype of a male and, ultimately, objectified me."

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 10, 2011 3:25 AM

475

It's going to be very interesting to see what develops from this -- I thought it was a reasonably thoughtful, and thought-inducing post. I suspect there will be a lot of "fraud" calls. Do you suppose Watson, or one of her Mighty Minions™, might just delete it? That's happened before with posts that make them uncomfortable and which they cannot control.

Posted by: John Greg | July 10, 2011 3:58 AM

476

Yes, developments will be interesting. Someone should pick up his response for a front page blog post, providing he is really elevator guy. I already left a positive response and asked for his side of the story.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 10, 2011 4:20 AM

477

Oh man, I'm on the blag hag blog and someone said that men can't be raped by women.
Hmm... depends on how the word "rape" is defined; one thing to be aware of is that, for example, under the British legal definition, the statement is true. The UK legal definition of rape is narrow such that only someone wielding a penis can be convicted of rape. A woman would be charged with the lesser offence of sexual assault. In the UK, the ability to be convicted of rape is a part of that "male privilege" people keep talking about.

Of course, this is just pedantry with words. And if you live in a legal jurisdiction that has a broader view of the word rape there is no reason to expect you to be aware of the narrow British definition.

Posted by: Spence | July 10, 2011 7:48 AM

478

@474-475: Except not. Turns out it was just a "thought experiment" to check out the reaction. And Rebecca's was: "Hilarious! I actually thought you were a misguided supporter of mine, since your “thought experiment” actually clearly supported my position." Yeah, sure it did.

@467: Oh, ick. Not only rape, but the other associated legal/moral issues can't happen to men (or underage boys!) either. The sheer volume of "none of this matters if you have a penis" is astounding. Equality my ass.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 10, 2011 9:22 AM

479

Brian Dunning's having a bit of a lark with this:

http://twitter.com/#!/BrianDunning/status/89925919535407104
http://twitter.com/#!/BrianDunning/status/89933477625085952

Man that carousel looks fun. :-D

Posted by: cthellis | July 10, 2011 11:20 AM

480

Hello,

Most of this week I had been reading the comments on Pharyngula, Skepchicks, et al and getting upset, dare I say I was feeling uncomfortable. But I found ERV, Scented Necktar, and Justicar and things have gotten better.
Things seem to have gone where she-who-is-not-to be-named (and her bulldog) I suspect wanted them to go. This post on Skepchick:

jansob

07.10.2011


You know, one thing that occurs to me is the resources we’ve been given. We have thousands of post by cretins who have no business in polite society. We have the ear of the leadership of the skeptical movement. We have the momentum (JREF felt obliged to add a Code of Conduct, after all).

Use it. Use all of it to the fullest. Us the comment threads and Twitter feeds to identify the people who threatened women and used awful language to silence them and showed their misogynistic ways….name them. It is effective and has consequences. One dangerous pervert has already been removed from TAM due to his tweeting a threat to assault women at TAM…when his employer found out, he lost his position. That’s the sort of pressure we can put on these scumbags. Name them, shame them, and make sure they are put on the spot in their local groups, and weed them out of participation in blogs, podcasts. Work with JREF to see that they don’t get tickets to TAM10.

Second, I think this is the perfect time to put in place a TAM Women’s Advisory Group to vet speakers and presentations. This group could weed out people who have shown themselves to be hostile to women (Dawkins is a gimme, but I’m thinking of other person-”oids” who need to be ejected from the skeptical fold). Removing these anti-woman people from TAM would go a long way toward getting people like me to show up there!


and a quote from the bulldog from 2009 ( I guess I missed the implications previously):

Of course, such a move would piss off the libertarian/conservative wing of the atheist movement, but I can't see a down side to jettisoning them, anyway.

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 11:50 AM

481

@480: So, Night of the Long Knives: TAM Edition? Seriously? (Yes, I know. Godwin's Law. Fuck off.) This is where the Skeptical/Atheist "community" is at now?

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 10, 2011 12:10 PM

482

@422, clearly you're not an Eddie Izzard fan ;)

You know, as I've been watching all of this unfold, I just feel really disappointed with how the majority of people at Skepchick, Pharyngula et al are handling this. I only realised I was a skeptic in late 2009 - I was linked to Orac's blog around about the time that cheerleader Desiree Jennings got dystonia, supposedly after getting the flu shot. Anyway, from Orac's blog I just sort of started surfing around and discovered Skepchick and Bad Astronomy and all these other cool sites. Now, I had been an atheist and a skeptic for years, I just didn't know there was a word for it. And now suddenly there was this whole community online who felt the same way I did about science and reason and logic. And there was a name for us! It felt awesome! Here were a group of people, who I'll probably never meet, but who made me feel welcome and who were all united in a common goal to rid the world of pseudoscientific nonsense.
I read Skepchick pretty regularly from then on, mostly because there are a couple of good writers on the site, like Buggirl and the girl who does the geology posts (sorry, I can't remember her name at the minute), but I never really liked Rebecca Watson and I never really liked any of the posts on feminism, because they just never seemed to be that, well, logical to me. I never really agreed with them, but I never wrote comments on the posts because everyone else always seemed to be in agreement and I wasn't confident enough to say how I felt. And now looking at what they're doing, it actually makes me feel kind of disgusted. These are the people who helped me figure out who I was, in a way, and now they're acting like anyone who doesn't agree with their silly world view is a woman hater. ridiculous.

So thank you ERV, and Justicar and everybody else here that are proof that skepticism and logic and common fucking sense are still around, and hopefully won't be going anywhere soon!

Posted by: Sophie | July 10, 2011 12:18 PM

483

highjohn-- That makes me ill. That makes me physically ill.

Also-- Id once again like to apologize for the random spamming of legit responses. Ill approve them ASAP, but I suggest replying with names or numbers+names cause numbers might be off and I dont want that to be a source of disagreement or confusion :)

Posted by: ERV | July 10, 2011 12:20 PM

484

Wild Zontargs asks:

"This is where the Skeptical/Atheist "community" is at now?"

No, but certainly that is where some parts of the Skeptical/Atheist "community" are at. Some parts of the community are healthy, such as here and to some degree Skepticblog, while other parts are either diseased, i.e., pandagon.net or anything people like wmdkitty say. But places like here at ERV help to keep perspective and keep us healthy ... in my opinion.

What's a Wild Zontarg?

Posted by: John Greg | July 10, 2011 12:25 PM

485

The above posting sounds outright stalinist. i.e. The party must be purged from spies and wreckers, so that the one true ideology can prevail.

It is also a bit amusing that a so-called scientific skepticism movement settles disagreement not by rational discourse and scientific empiricism- but through leftist tactics right out of the 60s/70s (shout them down, don't let them speak, ruin their careers). Steven Pinker chronicles these same tactics being used against legitimate scientists that disagreed leftist social positions (i.e. the blank slate, noble savage doctrine, rape as power doctrine, etc) in the Blank Slate. In fact Dawkins has already been through this crap before when he published the "selfish gene" was subjected to same brain dead ideologues that called him a "reactionary" and "tool of the elites".

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 10, 2011 12:25 PM

486

And thanks to phyraxus for posting on Skepchick that Dawkins was responding not to Watson but to the commenters on Myer's blog - though don't expect many to notice, they'd have to pause to breathe for that to happen...

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 12:30 PM

487

At 480:

Good lord, I generally dislike the overuse of this word, but this concept of reforming the atheist/secularism movement and community into a leftist/feminist wonderland is taking an Orwellian turn, in particular suggestions that we should throw out (or seek to alienate) certain people based on difference of opinion with the feminist movement or their politics in a broader sense.

Granted, seeing as my politics are loosely aligned with libertarianism (albeit, with a large swing left on environmental issues) it's possible that I'm biased on this matter. But in reality I suspect that I dislike it because I'm not a fucking dick who believes that a person holding different political views (or views on feminism) than mine means that they have no value as a member of the skeptical community (or any other community, for that matter).

I think it's fucking insane that members of a so-called 'skeptical' community are advocating for GroupThink and conveniently disposing of members of the community who disagree. I find it even more insane that the suggestion is being made that any one group of bloggers has right to act as judge and jury in regards to these matters.

Posted by: Thomas M. | July 10, 2011 12:35 PM

488

@487

Thomas, I would call myself a liberal (though sometimes I call myself a libertarian - I don't like force being used against anyone not using force themselves) and it strikes me the same way. You feel that way cause you're not a dick.

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 12:47 PM

489

@John Greg: Yeah, I know it's not everyone, but it seems to be the same people who always go on about the "community" who are the ones trying to chop it up into little bits. Then again, I suppose that's the same for any other interest group. That's life, I guess.

"Wild zontargs" are some of Spaceman Spiff's (imaginary) nemeses from Calvin and Hobbes. Apparently, even they couldn't drag secret information out of him. It's one of those things that just stuck with me, so I went with it as one of my usernames. For reasons that are looking increasingly less paranoid, my meatspace self doesn't exist on the internet.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 10, 2011 12:49 PM

490

Also notice about the above posting at 480- the implicit assumption is not only that their political opponents are WRONG (fine, we all have different values)) but that they formulated their different opinions because they are malicious. Notice the subjective bad-faith implicit in terms like "cretins", "dangerous pervert", "scumbags". This is in-group out-group language at its finest.

Once that assumption (bad faith, out-group dynamic) happens there can be no more rational discourse or settlement between the parties- in their mind it is now a full out battle between good and evil.

Very similar to the groupthink dynamic that exists within certain religious groups and communist/socialist parties. We all can fall prey to the same instinct, and the skepticism movement should be no different. Human nature is human nature.

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 10, 2011 12:50 PM

491

@ 480

Bloody nora...

I said it over on Justicar's blog, I'll say it here: the witch-hunt that's been stirred up is going to cause harm; there's no way I can see it NOT doing. The more rational, sensible members of the movement are going to feel forced away, and people, male OR female, who were thinking about this whole skepticism thing might be put off.

It's completely bloody sickening!

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 10, 2011 12:55 PM

492

Thomas M. again, switching to a more recent screen name. Based on a few comments here it seems that I'm not the only one who finds this nuts and I'm glad that it's not me. I'm not sure I can think entirely rationally right now in my rage induced state over what I just read.

Seriously, I just watched a video over on Coyne's blog* where people were asked a number of questions to test scientific trivia knowledge. One of the questions was 'Which animal has the biggest testicles?' As it stands, if the question was 'Which animal has the biggest dick?' my reply would be 'The one holding P.Z. Myers.'

No doubt I am going to regret this when my rage cools, but so be it.

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 10, 2011 12:59 PM

493

Phyraxus @ 467:
If you followed my blog, you'd have had an accounting of that already. So, get with the program already! I write about it here:
http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/ceterum-censeo-rebecca-twatson-esse.html

Rystefn:
I just started reading to blog today. Good stuff.

I'll go ahead and plug my post from today. It's on Jennifer McCreight (rhymes with wrong), and her, um, outright lies, and non-apology for it. It's link/citation heavy just to show that it's not hard information to find. But she banned my ass because I called her out on twitter for, at the time anyway, being wrong. Now that she's banned me, refuses to concede she made misstatements of facts, it's a lie. It's deception; she should know that it's false, but still let's it stand without correction.

So, my voice isn't sufficient to make her take it seriously (as she didn't) and then when I start making sense, she prevents me from saying anything to her (I suppose I could e-mail or whatever, but she accused publicly, she needs to defend publicly). So, you gang of people are going to have to be part of that. Or not. I guess it depends on whether the simple matter of what is true continues to remain unimportant in this whole ordeal.

http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/ceterum-censeo-rebecca-twatson-esse.html

There. Go read it. Call me out if I screwed something up. (I don't even censor people there! unlike on blaghag!)

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 1:05 PM

494

Abbie, your moderating queue has eaten another post of mine!

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 1:07 PM

495

@481

May I call you Wild,
My worry was more Poe's Law than Godwin's. To bring up an example that Agent Smith didn't list: "person-oids" How can any person actually type that? Can't they see what it "sounds" like? But that applies to the whole post.

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 1:19 PM

496

Fuck me running! That is the wrong hyperlink.
The correct one is: http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/i-do-not-support-womens-equality.html

Actually, just click my name and look for the most recent entry. There. That'll get you to the right one.

(sorry, Abbie)

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 1:32 PM

497

You know, it's times like these I find myself wishing I could post on Skepchick... Although I'm honestly not sure if I'm actually banned over there or not, I'm about 137% certain that if I posted on this, I'd be deleted and banned before it got through moderation.

Also, there is seriously someone arguing that on blaghag that because some people lie about rape, the whole gender should never be believed when claiming it, regardless of evidence. Really. Apparently pointing out that this is insane is the same as running around screaming "OBEY THE PENIS!"

Posted by: Rystefn | July 10, 2011 1:43 PM

498

Zontargs:

"'Wild zontargs' are some of Spaceman Spiff's (imaginary) nemeses from Calvin and Hobbes."

Eech! I should know that; I've got the whole kit-and-kaboodle collection in hard cover.

/slaps my Calvin/Hobbes oversight

Posted by: John Greg | July 10, 2011 1:56 PM

499

So I linked your post to Jen, Justicar. Don't think she's likely to respond to me, of course... More likely I'd just get myself banned too.

I really don't get it. Like you, I only moderate for spam. I did put someone on moderation once, but that's the limit.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 10, 2011 2:05 PM

500

The illiberal and authoritarian approach at places like PZ, BlagHag etc., is made all the more obvious with the aggressive attempts to control commentary; closing threads and banning people for disagreeing with them.

The ignorance about rape is astonishing as well. Several have claimed that rape is essentially always male-on-female, and this is staggeringly ignorant. Male-on-male rape is more common than most people think; perhaps even than most on this blog may realise. Not just homosexual male-on-male rape either (which has been at least recognised here). Heterosexual male-on-male rape is far more common than most people are aware of.

This shocks many people when they find out. They assume rape, being an overtly sexual act, is motivated by sexual desire. But this is not usually the case. Rape is about exerting control, which is why hetero male-on-male rape is so (surprisingly) common. It is about the rapist saying, I choose what happens to your body, not you; the ultimate control.

Similar behaviour has been witnessed in both men and women; even though it is physically more difficult for a woman to commit rape, there are many examples of gang rape taking place while women in the gang cheer on the rapists. Many were astonished and asked why they would do this. Such people do not understand rape. It comes as no surprise to people who understand what rape is really about; the rape was an exercise of punishment and control, and the women in the gang wanted to impose that control just as much as the men.

Most of the radfems view rape through the lens of a horny male looking to get his end away, and are thereby linking EG to potential rape, because that is how they perceive rape to come about. This is essentially the same error as the anti-pr0n movement make. Because both pr0n and rape contain sex, one causes the other. As most skeptics know, this is all manner of BS. Despite many studies, no compelling evidence has been found linking pr0n and rape.

But the linkages being made on SkepChick and BlagHag are just as simplistic, and most likely just as wrong; and their desire to impose draconian rules on this basis absurd.

Posted by: Spence | July 10, 2011 2:25 PM

501

Spence, I found this interesting: "Most of the radfems view rape through the lens of a horny male looking to get his end away, and are thereby linking EG to potential rape, because that is how they perceive rape to come about."

In the past I have been called a misogynist and a rape apologist by commentators at feminist blogs for suggesting that rape is sexually-based in part rather than being based entirely upon power or control. Apparently the actual cause of rape varies based upon whatever point they're trying to prove.

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 10, 2011 2:50 PM

502

@Southern Geologist and Spence: That's like how the new anti-pr0n brigade is up in arms because pr0n makes men less likely to want actual sex, which is harming their relationships!!!11one

It's amusing to note the near-total overlap between the new and old anti-pr0n brigades. Remember: 'realfacts' are for those who are making decisions, 'goodfacts' are for justifying them to everyone else.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 10, 2011 3:15 PM

503

Souther Geologist, most of the evidence is on your side of things. The rape as power theory is completely pseudo-scientific in origin, backed up by no empirical evidence, and originates from feminist arm-chair philosophy. The theory didn't even stem from emperical data, however badly misconstrued or understood. It came from Susan Brownmiller, not a scientist but a feminist activist and journalist.

Steven Pinker, the harvard experimental psychologist, said on the topic:
"This grew into the modern catechism: rape is not about sex, our culture socializes men to rape, it glorifies violence against women. The analysis comes right out of the gender-feminist theory of human nature: people are blank slates (who must be trained or socialized to want things); the only significant human motive is power (so sexual desire is irrelevant); and all motives and interests must be located in groups (such as the male sex and the female sex) rather than in individual people. The Brownmiller theory is appealing even to people who are not gender {362} feminists because of the doctrine of the Noble Savage. Since the 1960s most educated people have come to believe that sex should be thought of as natural, not shameful or dirty. Sex is good because sex is natural and natural things are good. But rape is bad; therefore, rape is not about sex. The motive to rape must come from social institutions, not from anything in human nature. The violence-not-sex slogan is right about two things. Both parts are absolutely true for the victim: a woman who is raped experiences it as a violent assault, not as a sexual act. And the part about violence is true for the perpetrator by definition: if there is no violence or coercion, we do not call it rape. But the fact that rape has something to do with violence does not mean it has nothing to do with sex, any more than the fact that armed robbery has something to do with violence means it has nothing to do with greed. Evil men may use violence to get sex, just as they use violence to get other things they want.

I believe that the rape-is-not-about-sex doctrine will go down in history as an example of extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds. It is preposterous on the face of it, does not deserve its sanctity, is contradicted by a mass of evidence, and is getting in the way of the only morally relevant goal surrounding rape, the effort to stamp it out.

Think about it. First obvious fact: Men often want to have sex with women who don’t want to have sex with them. They use every tactic that one human being uses to affect the behavior of another: wooing, seducing, flattering, deceiving, sulking, and paying. Second obvious fact: Some men use violence to get what they want, indifferent to the suffering they cause. Men have been known to kidnap children for ransom (sometimes sending their parents an ear or finger to show they mean business), blind the victim of a mugging so the victim can’t identify them in court, shoot out the kneecaps of an associate as punishment for ratting to the police or invading their territory, and kill a stranger for his brand-name athletic footwear. It would be an extraordinary fact, contradicting everything else we know about people, if some men didn’t use violence to get sex."

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 10, 2011 3:18 PM

504

ZONTARGS! Y U KEEP GETTING CAUGHT IN SPAM FILTER??? Are you posting from Turkey or something???

Posted by: ERV | July 10, 2011 3:29 PM

505

I'm dubious, Spence. I've been trying to get Tom Cruise to rape me for like fi . . .oh, you said straight. Nevermind.

One thing, among so very many, which is repugnant is that someone who wasn't actually sexually assaulted is telling someone who actually was sexually assaulted that their opinion doesn't count (and the explanations as to why are plenty and plenty divergent) in the same breath they're demanding that their experience of being near someone who could have conceivably decided to rape them are completely fucking valid. In reality, neither person's previous experience can tell us anything about a new situation. All it can do is justify negative emotions. Ok, but no one is saying people aren't entitled to feel what they feel!

I agree without any reservation - if something scares you, you're scared. It's a necessary artifact of evolution - the critters that don't get scared and want to run away wind up being the food. But, that doesn't make the emotion someone experiences an actual map of reality.

A false positive is better than a false negative here. Yes, there's an expense paid in the false positive; you burn energy running from something that isn't there, the caloric expenditure on the stress, all of that stuff. It's a price to pay. But to think there's not a danger when the lion is bearing down on you, well, that kind of stops you from having to ever worry about a cost benefit analysis again. You lost that argument, and now you're dinner.

Yes, we ALL have this built in to us. If we didn't, we wouldn't be here talking about it. But that doesn't make it the fucking highest ideal we should engender (is this word allowed anymore?) for how people interact: please, make sure you're as scared as possible at every conceivable situation involving strangers. Strangers who are, incidentally, far less statistically likely to do fuck all to you than your wife/husband/brother/sister/neighbor when you get home to tell them about how fucking scared you were.

ACK!

With respect to your valedictory there, Spence, yes, some people whose views largely map onto mine got there for the wrong reason. It is unfortunate, but I have to do triage as I navigate this world. The level of wrong attendant to "stop playing victim for shit that didn't happen" isn't in the same league as what Rebecca Watson and Jennifer McCreight's coterie of special brand of wrong. They're just the same category of wrong.

Thanks to anyone who's linked to my blog about Jen. And for the comments there. This brings me to a video I watched a long time ago and forgot about, which is funny since Christina Rad is coming here and PZ's all excited. I was like, um, does he know her views on feminism? She's not a feminist like he's a feminist: she's interested in women making choices for themselves and bearing the consequences of those choices. Just like everyone else. Want to be a hooker? Here, let me get the door for you - have fun, and be good at it.

Guy approaches you don't like? Tell him to fuck himself. If he touches you, fingernails in the eyes will stop anyone. That kind of shit. If you do wind up being raped, or beaten, or mugged, or harassed, or abused or, and or, and or, that sucks. Now you do what everyone else does: you fucking respond; you file police reports, you document, you sue - whatever it is that needs to be done to punish the evil fucks who violated you.

What shouldn't you do?

Sit around bitching about how your life sucks and it shouldn't happen to you. No one is so goddamned special that they shouldn't have to take the risk all of the time the everyone else has to take. Stop painting me as a victim; save that for your goddamned diary.

That's not an exact quote incidentally.

Feminists: oppressing women since men aren't doing a good enough job.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TdEYqOZY_E&NR=1

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 3:45 PM

506

For the record, I don't intend to get into an extensive debate here on the subject of whether rape is based on sexuality or power (or both); I was using that example to demonstrate the intellectual dishonesty of the attitudes of some of the feminist blogger movement. Clearly, switching gears on what the 'true' motivation behind rape is to make it fit whatever goal you want is wrong. I do have a couple of thoughts, though:

The first is that it seems a bit over-simplifies as Pinker expresses the idea. To clarify: He seems to be setting up a false dichotomy. I agree with him on the point that declaring that rape is completely non-sexual has gone too far (though PLEASE note that this is based on a viewpoint I've formed after hearing stories from several victims, I have not done any formal research on the subject) but he seems to fail to address the issue that rape can be both sexual and based on power. It would not surprise me to find that some rapes are entirely sexually based, some are based entirely on power, and many fall into a gray area in between. I haven't read The Blank Slate, though, perhaps he takes on that issue after the quote ends.

Also, Agent Smith, your argument seems to be partly based on the fact that the germination of the rape as power idea came from an unreliable source. While I do think there is a case to be made for tracing the intellectual heritage of an idea (or argument) to determine if it has any merit one can easily rely too heavily on that and end up with a sort of reversed argument from authority. The originator of the idea may be an armchair scholar, but I'm curious to know what research has been conducted on the idea by professionals and their conclusions on the subject before dismissing it for that reason. A blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut, after all.

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 10, 2011 3:47 PM

507

@ERV: Uh, no? Did a Canadian send CHEAP V1AGRA messages to the programmer once? Maybe the spamfilter thinks my email address looks like an auto-generated one, or someone from my IP block is being an ass. Sorry to make extra work for you. :)

@Agent Smith: From "The Blank Slate", yes? I just read that recently. Amazing how so many of the online reviews state that this book is terrible, horrible, no-good very-bad science because of this section alone. Gee, rape can be about sex in situation a, but power in situation b, and both in c? Not possible! Just like killing is always about premeditated revenge. That's why we don't have different grades of murder, or charges of manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, etc. Because that would make killing less bad.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 10, 2011 3:56 PM

508

Grats to Rystefn! He got Jen to lock to the thread by posting to my blog entry on her mendacity!

This is a hoot, Jen says:
"Justicar is completely off his rocker and is known for filling Pharyngula comments with ludicrous crap. After he kept spamming me with tweets and multiple videos, I knew he was going to be a loony so I banned him early. That post only proved my point. It's borderline libelous to suggest that I'm falsifying data in my research because he doesn't agree with me on a certain topic.

He can continue to b'aawwww over at his blog about how butthurt he is. He has the freedom to express himself over there. "

She says it's borderline libelous. Note, that instead of just saying I'm crazy, implying I'm stalkrish (my last comment to her was like on the fifth? I gave her plenty of time to come clean) and that I should be ignored and dismissed, the one thing she didn't do is show that I was wrong.

She's a turd.

More from the, um, comment-battle - queue dueling banjos here:

Ry: Off his rocker or no, I'd still say at the very least an "I'm sorry... those things I said never happened actually happened. My mistake." is warranted.

Jen: He hasn't proved anything other than an amazing ability to twist my words. He's arguing with a strawman.

Ry: Yeah... taking "You've never been called..." to mean "you've never been called..." is so twisty that it amazed me, too.

Jen: Yeah, and you're also supposed to read things without context! Oh wait, no.

Ry: So there's some context where "You've never been called..." actually means "You've repeatedly been called..."?

It's a goldmine of comedy over there.

But you can't participate; she's stopped that conversation too!

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 4:04 PM

509

Southern Geologist, Agent Smith:

I will confess I'm probably not the best person to ask. My GF was involved in providing a support service to rape victims in the recent past. I glean some info from her but she has probably forgotten more than I know on the topic. I might see if she is interested in weighing in.

As with anything, though, it is not a simple either-or situation. Certainly there are situations when rape cannot be explained by the power thing. For example, drug rape does not involve any power/control so it is likely in those cases that sexual desire is a dominant cause.

On the other hand, heterosexual male on male rape is very poorly explained by sexual desire. These almost always occur in bullying type situations, in which the power / control thing is the far more credible explanation. I think I did ask my GF about the possibility of repressed homosexual behaviour, but she said that wasn't the case - I can't remember the justification off hand.

So unfortunately the answer is that there isn't a simplistic explanation. Both are factors, depending on the case. But the het male on male rape seems to point to power / control in the vast majority of cases, and the situation of these cases carry over to many male on female cases as well.

Posted by: Spence | July 10, 2011 4:07 PM

510

See? That's why I should be invited to give talks. I can come up with that kind of stuff all day. I'm at least as qualified as 80% of current speakers at these kinds of things, and it won't be taking time and energy that could be better filled by doing research or juggling, since I do neither.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 10, 2011 4:10 PM

511

@Southern Geologist: Regarding the quotation of Pinker above, I'm not sure if you've read the book, but that is just a small portion from a rather long section on the topic. He's just explaining how "rape is never about sex!" is nonsense. Next comes the section promoting an effort to understand all the causes of rape, in order to better combat it. It's actually a good read. He gets into several other "hot button" topics and explains why the public understanding of them is overly simplistic and counterproductive.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 10, 2011 4:11 PM

512

Just got back from Barnes&Noble. I ordered Dawkins' The Extended Phenotype. I've wanted to read it for a while, could never find it, figured now I could do it in a good cause.

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 4:26 PM

513

@highjohn: You know, that's a very good idea. *clickety-click*

This whole mess reminded me of a concept I saw on Eric Raymond's blog a while back called Kafkatrapping.

"Good causes sometimes have bad consequences. Blacks, women, and other historical out-groups were right to demand equality before the law and the full respect and liberties due to any member of our civilization; but the tactics they used to “raise consciousness” have sometimes veered into the creepy and pathological, borrowing the least sane features of religious evangelism.

One very notable pathology is a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.” I’ve been presented with enough instances of this recently that I’ve decided that it needs a name. I call this general style of argument “kafkatrapping”, and the above the Model A kafkatrap. In this essay, I will show that the kafkatrap is a form of argument that is so fallacious and manipulative that those subjected to it are entitled to reject it based entirely on the form of the argument, without reference to whatever particular sin or thoughtcrime is being alleged. I will also attempt to show that kafkatrapping is so self-destructive to the causes that employ it that change activists should root it out of their own speech and thoughts."

Sound familiar to anyone? Maybe if we used the word "privilege"?

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 10, 2011 4:39 PM

514

Ok, I edited my post to take into account this new information. Unlike some other people whom I won't name this time, I take new information into account. I don't dismiss the veracity of a claim because I think a person is crazy. Indeed. crazy people are usually pretty easy to deal with because their claims are so not in accord with reality, or even their own claims.

I also do not juggle; I could never master playing with balls in anything but even numbers. It's just how I roll.

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 4:46 PM

515

Just posting to let you guys know I'm joining the anti-boycott and just ordered Unweaving the Rainbow.

Also, kudos to ERV for being awesome, which is understating it.

Posted by: Willem | July 10, 2011 5:10 PM

516

Just posting to let you guys know I'm joining the anti-boycott and just ordered Unweaving the Rainbow.

Also, kudos to ERV for being awesome, which is understating it.

Posted by: Willem | July 10, 2011 5:10 PM

517

@514
Hey what about those poor victims with uni-ball (or is that mono-ball)? That's just two testicle privilige!!! By the way, you're white.

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 5:11 PM

518

Sam Harris sent out a tweet for examples of white lies gone wrong.

I just e-mailed him.

Dear Dr. Harris:
I am glad to see that you have made it out of your cave without undue distress. Attendant to your recent Tweet with respect to asking after a white lie gone horribly wrong, I should like to direct you to the following situation.

Picture it, Dublin, Ire, 2011, inside an elevator.
"Don't take this wrong way, but I find you interesting . . ."For the results, please see hashtag elevatorgate."

Do you think that's what he was after?

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 5:16 PM

519

I went and looked at the comments at Skepchick again. No one except John Greg has expressed any discomfort with what I posted @480. This was the most recent post.


tnt666

07.10.2011


Dear fellow atheist feminist. Note that you started as an atheist, then became a feminist atheist, but now you’ve graduated to being an atheist feminist
Congratulations. I agree with nearly every word in this post except: “about how their goals so clearly overlapped those of the humanists and skeptics and secularists”.
These new dogmas are simply methods for the patriarchal elite to shift power amongst themselves, again, and again. Humanism, skepticism, secularism are but godless outgrowths of Christianity.

I as all humans, was born without religion, thankfully, I was never duped by my peers into beliefs, though some tried very hard. Patriarchy and modern religions are one and the same. Those who hold privilege and power in our society SAY they want equality for women, as long as that only means nearing their salaries and having equal access to jobs… equalism, AS LONG AS WE DON’T SHAKE THEIR POWER STRUCTURE: PATRIARCHY. As soon as feminists start knocking on the doors of patriarchy, that’s when men otherwise rational men become violent and stupid. Feminism is not equalism, I dot give a hoot about men’s “jobs”, as a feminist, I am interested in changing society, I just happen to never had any religious beliefs, so I start with a clean slate. On a a side-note, the reason LGBTs are so ‘welcomed’ in the atheist community, is that they’re only asking for equality… they’re not shaking the patriarchal tree of power. If feminism does not mean shaking that tree, then it means nothing.
As we say in French: Bonne continuation

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 5:19 PM

520

If you're anti-boycott, that makes you a Gender Traitor because you're then therefore womancotting.

The ones with the uni-balls? Well, I'm sure the priests will pick up my slack.

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 5:23 PM

521

Another hilarious post and more evidence that they aren't equality feminists but gender feminists. Notice those seeking equality are generally thought of as part of the secret "PATRIARCHY"!!!

I was a trotskyite (still have the bizarre "journals" they publish in) in college I recognize that language any day. It is a bad written, vulgar form of marxism. Just replace "Patriarchy" with "bourgeoisie". The rest of the rhetoric is the same.

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 10, 2011 5:28 PM

522

@513

Wild, The article on Kafkatrapping was really good.

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 5:32 PM

523

Highjohn, I didn't comment on the earlier post because I'm not going to read through all of the skepchick commentary to see how it played into the conversation they were having. As such, I wasn't in a position to have an opinion worth expressing, and thus didn't.

But I happy to hear you've enjoyed my thoughts, or perspective or something; I hope what you heard and read maps well what I was trying to say - in-artful as it has been at times.

I still am not going to pore over the claptrap at skepchick, but I can safely stop reading that comment at "patriarchy.

Women are not forced into submission, and are the majority of the population in my country. If they're not liking something about the politics of my country, it is entirely within their means to change it. But it would seem that they are not all agreed on where the solution lies anymore than we are all agreed.

This should give each of us a little humility in our positions - some of us have to be wrong. Since I know how wrong I am in my own field quite a lot of the time, I am not in turn then arrogant enough to think I have all the answers.

That is what makes this so much more bizarre to me; I have asked many of these Right Feminists to explain where my reasoning fails, and I even write out specifically what I think, where I don't see how they're correct.

All that prevents them from convincing me, as I've said over and again to them, is air, opportunity and good, cogent argument.

So far, I've had no takers on that one.

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 5:34 PM

524

Things I've learned from Skepchick.douche:

1) Men can't be raped.

2) It's only rape if a male penis penetrates. So someone jam a table leg up your ass and leave you bleeding? Didn't count. Someone drag you into an alley, cockslap you then jizz all over your face, maybe giving you cthulu knows what? Doesn't count. Guy drags a woman into an alley and violates her with a pipe? Doesn't count. No penis in orifice.

The delusional shit these morons are bobbleheading to is ASTOUNDING.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 10, 2011 6:05 PM

525

Justicar,
When you say your country you mean the United States, or did I infer that incorrectly from something else? As for waiting for a cogent argument, I don't think you will ever get one. That would require that they back down the ladder of their ideology to the point where they could even possibly glimpse a shared reality with you.

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 6:09 PM

526

@525
That sounded postmodernist, and I'm more of a logical postivist. Make that "possibly glimpse that they do share a reality with you."

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 6:14 PM

527

An interesting read: http://lesswrong.com/lw/18b/reason_as_memetic_immune_disorder/

I think this articles holds some interesting implications for some modern feminist-memes..

Excerpt:

Reason as immune suppression: The reason I bring this up is that intelligent people sometimes do things more stupid than stupid people are capable of. There are a variety of reasons for this; but one has to do with the fact that all cultures have dangerous memes circulating in them, and cultural antibodies to those memes. The trouble is that these antibodies are not logical. On the contrary; these antibodies are often highly illogical. They are the blind spots that let us live with a dangerous meme without being impelled to action by it. The dangerous effects of these memes are most obvious with religion; but I think there is an element of this in many social norms...

Posted by: thememe | July 10, 2011 6:16 PM

528

John C. Welch, I have to say that the first part of your last post was arousing. The last part ruined it.

Do not submit that one to "Dear Penthouse" until you've "cleaned" up, so to speak, the denouement. Thanks!

Yeah, I live in the United States, highjohn. But the statistics are fairly uniform in the west with respect to population disparity. I suppose I could have left it off and the post would have been just as, um, "good" as it otherwise was "good".

Please make sure you get those posts into Sam Harris; you're even free to not to use my example. You can use a real one from your lives!

Anyone know some good plug-ins for blogger? I don't like my comments there not being threaded!

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 6:19 PM

529

Spence, Zontargs:

Thanks for the information. I'd give a more detailed response but the conversation seems to have moved on and I don't want to bring it back to an argument about causes of rape right now. That said, Spence, if your girlfriend wants to weigh in I'll be happy to post a response.

I made a post on PZ's blog in response to his comment about jettisoning those from the atheist movement whose political views he doesn't like: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/05/godless_goals_are_progressive.php#comment-4393875

Unfortunately, I again found myself in a blind rage after reading his comment a second time so it is poorly written. So it goes.

I would like to retrieve one thread of discussion that I feel hasn't been properly closed up, though: The issue of Watson's credentials and whether she should be speaking at conferences or given attention when she lacks credentials. I agree with the idea that a majority of speakers should be experts of some sort (preferably scientists covering various subjects) but where does this leave Christopher Hitchens? Or Sam Harris prior to his cognitive neurology doctorate? (His bachelors was in philosophy.) Granted, both of those men were already in possession of degrees of some sort or another at the time of their entry to the skeptical community and both radiate intelligence which certainly helps (I don't know enough about Watson to say whether she radiates intelligence or not), but neither were 'experts' in the sense of being scientists when they got their start and they were both well accepted.

For that matter, what about Penn and Teller? I will happily grant that as professional magicians they have a lot of practical experience in picking out scam artists, but they're also not 'experts' in the traditional sense.

I guess what I'm asking is, where do we draw the line for what constitutes a proper skeptic? Can we discredit Watson based on her lack of scientific experience or lack of a degree(s)?* If so, what degree


*I apologize if she does have a college degree that I'm unaware of. My Google-Fu muscles seem to have atrophied from lack of use and I'm unable to find any relevant information beyond stuff that has been posted previously in this thread.

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 10, 2011 6:26 PM

530

I remember A Year of Living Babblically. But an article like this is, I must confess, nearly gibberish to me. I have no training whatsoever in this area, and I barely have a child's vocabulary in it.

The only reason I can see that I'm compelled to agree with it is conclusion-wise. If this is saying anything more than bad ideas that aren't immediately deadly manage to survive and get propagated, then it's over my head. Otherwise, I suppose I can get behind it. Religion isn't good - who knew? Next week: rocks fall downward, usually.

Maybe someone here can translate the woo-sounding stuff here into something that I don't envision Deepak Chopra fapping to.

(maybe I'm laying myself too bare by this admission)

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 6:32 PM

531

@Wild Zontargs:
Thank you for your link to Kafkatrapping. An insightful essay, and highly relevant here.

Posted by: frank habets | July 10, 2011 6:44 PM

532
I made a post on PZ's blog in response to his comment about jettisoning those from the atheist movement whose political views he doesn't like:

I found this attitude quite disturbing as well. I'm left-of-centre with a preference for Green Party policies myself, but I think it's antithetical to freethought/skepticism to exclude a diversity of political perspectives. It would be like banana republic state banning every political party expect for the one in power.

Posted by: INTP | July 10, 2011 6:49 PM

533
I guess what I'm asking is, where do we draw the line for what constitutes a proper skeptic? Can we discredit Watson based on her lack of scientific experience or lack of a degree(s)?* If so, what degree

I don't think that's a good road to take - never mind Hitchens and Harris, what about people like Maryam Namazie or Paula Kirby who are also primarily known for their activism? This just seems like the mirror image of 'can we weed out people who have the wrong political views from our conferences'.

Posted by: windy | July 10, 2011 6:53 PM

534

Southern Geologist,

1) All those people you just mentioned had massive professional accomplishments before becoming spokespeople for the skeptical or atheism movements. They are not hangers-on that attempt to merely gain attention and speaking funds from their internet activity and stirring controversy.

I don't even know whether RW finished a basic communications degree from a TTT. Hitchens was a highly respected journalist and had a degree from Oxford. Harris had a philosophy degree from Stanford. Those are well thought of academic credentials anyway you think about it.

2) Hichens and Harris aren't so much involved in the scientific skepticism movement as they are involved in secular humanism/atheism movements. Atheism is a philosophic position informed by the scientific evidence- but is not a area of scientific expertise. On the other hand, I would not be comfortable with Harris discussing physics or Hitchens discussing geology.

3) I don't think any of this should "discredit" RW per se. It is fine to have lay people speak on occasion about their experience. However, I just don't see what purpose she serves at skeptical events, especially as a "leader". She has no real world personal accomplishments, she has no relevant areas of expertise and fails to bring anything new or interesting to the table. Listen to skeptics guide- she has no idea what is going on half the time. Not to mention her website is now prompting pseudo-scientific babble and extreme political opinions while calling it skepticism. In other words, her resume for skeptical "leadership" is really lacking (as mine would, I'm a low-life lawyer).

I have a feeling her rise is due solely to tokenism- which is really too bad because there are lots of accomplished and charismatic women scientists out there. Provide girls with an real example of science- because RW is merely an example of hipster layabout.

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 10, 2011 7:00 PM

535

@529 Southern Geologist

About what constitutes a "proper skeptic" - good question. Skepticism isn't really a profession, or an academic discipline, so we don't really have generally recognizable credentials that can be used to stand in for "skeptic." Magicians do know something about how we fool ourselves, and that's a reasonable contribution. Scientists know (hopefully) about the scientific method. But beyond that, I don't think there are any reliable criteria that are widely used. Which is why we have to be skeptical of the people who do get chosen (for whatever reasons) to be our spokespeople.

RW doesn't really need credentials to still be called a leading skeptic campaigner and pundit, apparently. (For some reason, I keep thinking of Charo, who was sort of a "leading entertainer" 20 or 30 years ago... no real talent, but she kept popping up everywhere. )

Thanks, ERV, Justicar, John, everyone for bringing some sanity, and some humor, to all this.

Posted by: The Armchair Skeptic | July 10, 2011 7:04 PM

536

I'm not an atheist nor a skeptic, and I stumbled upon this whole story via the Maverick Philosopher's note about it: http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2011/07/dawkins-among-the-cyberpunks.html

I must say I've found the whole thing highly amusing.

I've heard of Dawkins, of course, and unfortunately PZ as well, but I never heard of this "skepchick" person who strikes me as an ego-tripping nut job of the highest degree.


Posted by: D.T. | July 10, 2011 7:11 PM

537

@529

Southern Geologist,
I would say we can't draw a line. The only thing we can do is not attend if someone tries to venture into activities they aren't suited for. (like me trying to construct sentences, apparently). I would happily attend a Penn & Teller demonstration of magic and how we can all be fooled. A Penn & Teller lecture on Natural Selection vs Neutral Drift - I'd be sceptical.
And Science isn't they only relevant expertise here. Philosophy (at least certain philosophies) is and should be a bedrock of atheism and scepticism.
I think Sam Harris is kind of a special case. He wrote a book that the majority of Philosophy BA's could never dream of writing.

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 7:11 PM

538

I'm new here. Thanks for the wonderful, rational site! PZ's latest irrationality on the subject of feminism that made me sick at heart. He has gone over-the-top on this issue.

My husband and I are attending TAM 9, and we plan on making our views known, in appropriate ways. Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm tempted to put "male" and "female" signs on the elevator doors, so the women who need to feel rapist-free could have their own elevator, but that would probably get me thrown out of the conference. We have already cancelled our tickets for the Rebecca Watson Show. The people who run these conferences are concerned about money, and the drawing power of their speakers, so we thought this was a good way of getting our message across.

We were also at the conference in Dublin, and undoubtedly rode on the now infamous elevator-of-doom. We were never on it with Rebecca though. We avoided her like the plague, having previously accessed her personality as "toxic". We sat in the audience in horror as she refused to talk on the subject her panel had been given, and instead went on a private rant, maligning four women from a previous panel for saying that women were welcomed in the atheist community, and had often held high positions in atheist organizations. Rebecca's latest personal attack during a public speaking engagement is certainly not her first. My fond hope is that it will be her last, and that she either agrees to abide by the principles of common decency, or is denied her bully pulpit.

By the way, my husband and I kept trying to figure out who the elevator guy might have been. We interacted with all of the conference attendees for at least three days, and nobody stood out as "creepy".

Posted by: Victoria Johnson | July 10, 2011 7:35 PM

539

Agent Smith:

This is a very strong response and my reply should be thought of more as an effort to prolong the discussion than a critique.

I agree with you that excellent academic credentials are valuable and help establish one as being legitimate, but the lack thereof doesn't necessarily mean that one has no value, though I would expect some evidence of value.

I probably shouldn't do this, but I'll use myself as an example to illustrate what I was speaking of: I have no formal degree* (dropped out of college as a result of being too miserable to handle the workload because I hated the city and college I was stuck in) but I've heard repeatedly that I'm an excellent writer and I also tend to widely read. If I was to start up a blog relating to atheism or skepticism I would expect this combination, combined with an appropriate skeptical mindset and a knowledge of my limits to garner me some respect. However, I would never expect to be given a speaking position at an atheism convention unless I had done enough high-quality writing on a given area of atheism or skepticism to prove that I could hold my own. I would expect to have to submit countless pages of writing to prove that I was capable and to prove that I had an established fan-base. Keep in mind here that I'm thinking of debunking things (or discussing a facet of atheism) that do not require an advanced knowledge of science. You don't need to be a physicist to demonstrate why ghost sightings are bullshit, for example. However, as I said earlier I do feel that most presenters at a skepticism conference should be experts.

Do you think feel this position is reasonable or is it not? Also, if you feel that I'm interpreting your point too literally here I can see that you're speaking of Watson in particular because of her background (or lack thereof) and attitude rather than untrained atheist or skeptic advocates in general. I certainly wouldn't disagree with the idea that a layman presenter should at least have a niche or bring something new to the table. No one wants to listen to several skepticism conversion stories in a row.


highjohn:

"I think Sam Harris is kind of a special case. He wrote a book that the majority of Philosophy BA's could never dream of writing."

I think you made an excellent point here. Nothing much more to say.

*For those wondering, I selected this handle prior to dropping out and plan on using it for blogging if and when I move elsewhere and restart my degree. I'm using it currently to help establish a link between personality and blogger when my blog hits.

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 10, 2011 7:42 PM

540

@529

Oh no, I got everyone mad at PZ. I feel bad...
No wait, no I don't. Watson says she feels betrayed by Dawkins, I feel betrayed by PZ. But that isn't his fault, it's mine. He's a godless liberal, I'm a godless liberal. Which to me means I don't believe in witchhunts and ideological purity. I should have read his posts more closely, and I'd never really read the comments. I feel he should have said something to ratchet down the comments before Dawkins felt compelled to attempt to do so with sarcasm, which of course worked like gasoline on a fire.

Posted by: highjohn | July 10, 2011 7:55 PM

541

I apologize for double posting but I came across two posts that came in after my reply that I think should be addressed:

Armchair Skeptic: Thank you for your reply.

For that matter, thank you Abbie for letting us indulge ourselves so freely in discussion on this thread, especially the stuff that only tangentially relates to the originally post.

Victoria: I'm glad to see that you're putting your foot down on this matter and doing what you think is morally necessary. The elevator sign idea is hilarious. As for the 'creepy' guy...Frankly, as a recovered Shy Guy, I interpret the comment from Elevator Guy as being from a lonely, shy fellow who was looking for a friend (it didn't seem to occur to anyone that he really DID mean 'you're interesting') but was unfortunately a bit oblivious as to when and how to try to strike up a friendship with a female he had never spoken to before. (This would explain why the fellow didn't put off any kind of a 'creepy' vibe.) Granted, this is just a guess on my part, but it's as valid as any other interpretation that we've seen.

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 10, 2011 8:00 PM

542

"We sat in the audience in horror as she refused to talk on the subject her panel had been given, and instead went on a private rant, maligning four women from a previous panel for saying that women were welcomed in the atheist community, and had often held high positions in atheist organizations."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

That happened before the elevator event?

If so, then I tend to think the whole elevator event is a made up story. An exclamation mark on her night's narrative.

Posted by: D.T. | July 10, 2011 8:18 PM

543

windy, SouthernG-- Like I said, everybody is good at something! I want to encourage groups to find that within their own ranks or nearby! For instance, the OKC Atheists has a 'dialogues' series where people talk about their cool stuff, whether its math or blogging or UFOs or we had the folks from Camp Quest drive up to talk. Yay!!

From the presentations Ive seen, people are passionate and knowledgeable about their specialty, and I bet they could give damn good small presentations at national conferences like TAM, cause they gave damn good presentations in the OKC UU church.

Headliners are a different story. We have some people who are REALLY DAMN GOOD at some things! Invite them to a million conferences all over the world and see em when you can! There are some truly extraordinary people within our global ranks. But I dont think Watson is at that level, nor have I seen much initiative from her to reach that level (is she writing a screenplay on feminism and atheism? a book? designing a strategic mission for including women in X, Y, Z? nope, just dicking around on the internet). I dont think *I* am at that level. A major difference between us is that I recognize that.

Heres an analogy from my history with martial arts: You cannot give someone a black-belt before they deserve it. Their master has to *know* they are ready. *They* have to know they are ready. And then they can try for it. If you give someone a black-belt who doesnt deserve it yet, they *know* it, and spend the rest of their lives trying to prove they earned it. I think the French say the same thing about that pastry competition, Meilleurs Ouvriers de France or something... Anyway, I think Watson got her black-belt too early, and it shows. Thats how we get crap like YouTube comments at a student leadership conference.


Also, SG-- Going back to the "'Im not passive aggressive' says the person who is being passive aggressive" topic-- I get it from a shy persons perspective. Not that Im shy, I just always say exactly what I mean, and I expect others to do the same. Ive totally been known for asking dates up for coffee after a particularly fun date just because everything is closed and I want to keep talking. We have coffee and keep talking :-/ No one has even made a move while we were doing so. If I saw Dawkins on an elevator at 4 am, by himself, damn straight Id clumsily think of an excuse to engage him in a one-on-one conversation, and ask him if he wanted to grab some coffee. Imagine my shock if he thought he was gonna get some ERV b00b. I just totally get why a shy person, or any person who wanted to engage with someone they thought was cool, would say something like that. I also totally get why people who are passive aggressive and do not say or do what they mean on a semi-regular basis would think said person had ulterior motives.

Posted by: ERV | July 10, 2011 8:19 PM

544

@Victoria Johnson
Sounds hilarious. If any other humorous signs get posted at TAM can you take pictures to share with all of us not going to TAM?

Seems very likely many humorous signs will be posted on elevator.

Posted by: tas121790 | July 10, 2011 8:21 PM

545

Victoria-- Thanks for the insider info! Did you relate your concerns to the program organizers? I mean, not from a 'BAN WATSON FROM SPEAKING!!11eleventy' perspective, but from a 'Hey, you all need to figure out a way to keep speakers on topic. Thats not what we were expecting or wanting to hear about' perspective. They should plan for that in the future-- telling the speaker to stay on topic in advance, or have a moderator to nip that sort of thing in the bud in the future.

If you dont tell anyone, I bet the conference people just assumed everyone was happy.

But Im half Jewish (none of the religion, all of the stereotypes)-- if I buy a product and I dont like it, I complain :P

Posted by: ERV | July 10, 2011 8:27 PM

546

I agree with everything you said above. I don't want to discount lay people in the movement- they have done some of the best work like the 10/23 campaign (and my favorite UK skeptic Michael Marsh). Blogs, podcasts, grassroot campaigns by the lay public is great. Not to mention, beyond some critical thinking, I am not sure there can be much "expertise" in atheism.

However, when it comes to scientific skepticism, I would rather have experts as leaders and speakers (Dawkins, Steven Novella, Orac, Jerry Coyne, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan are good examples). Or if they are going to be non-experts, please make sure they have professional accomplishments and/or bring something new and interesting to the table- Randi and Penn/Teller are great examples of this trend. They are really just donating time out of devotion. Such a standard also assures that internet attention whores like RW, thunderf00t or the AmazingAtheist don't get massive platforms to spout sectarian crap.

Also ERV, how about Julia Galef for speaking events for student groups? She does a good job on Rationally Speaking.

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 10, 2011 8:27 PM

547

I LOVE the fact that justicar called Jen's shit out when she said that RD had never been called slurs.

She responds that he is twisting her words.

Rystefn calls her out on her shit.

She says CONTEXT!

Rystefn how did we take what you said out of context when that was exactly what you said?

She says they dont hurt him because he doesn't hear them every day and they aren't tru.

Rystefn replies slurs are only hurtful if they are true then huh?

She says that isn't what she said.

On CONTEXT, Spence said, you mean like reading RD's comments within the context of PZ's blog?

She says he only contributed to that "side".

Spence says that depends on context, doesn't it?

She subsequently locked the thread from further comments.

Wow, that is amazing. I particularly love how long justicar's post was just cutting up her argument. The ONLY thing she takes issue with is the fact that he suggested she might be dishonest in other realms of her life.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 10, 2011 8:27 PM

548

Southern Geologist: I completely agree with you about the elevator guy. My first thought was that he was just shy, or may have a mild form of Asperger's, or simply not be willing to risk being turned down in public. It also did occur to me that he may really have just wanted coffee and conversation. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar! Rebecca may have automatically assumed that he was after sex because of her ingrained views about men. Also, elevator guy may have been in the group that was partying together at the bar; he may have spoken with Rebecca before the elevator incident. For all we know, he may have perceived some signal, unintentional or not, from Rebecca that she was interested. We do not have the full story- only one side's perception of the events. These are all possibilities.

Posted by: Victoria Johnson | July 10, 2011 8:34 PM

549

I LOVE the fact that justicar called Jen's shit out when she said that RD had never been called slurs.

She responds that he is twisting her words.

Rystefn calls her out on her shit.

She says CONTEXT!

Rystefn how did we take what you said out of context when that was exactly what you said?

She says they dont hurt him because he doesn't hear them every day and they aren't tru.

Rystefn replies slurs are only hurtful if they are true then huh?

She says that isn't what she said.

On CONTEXT, Spence said, you mean like reading RD's comments within the context of PZ's blog?

She says he only contributed to that "side".

Spence says that depends on context, doesn't it?

She subsequently locked the thread from further comments.

Wow, that is amazing. I particularly love how long justicar's post was just cutting up her argument. The ONLY thing she responds to is the fact that he suggested she might be dishonest in other realms of her life.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 10, 2011 8:36 PM

550

Agent Smith @ 534.
I've been trying to resolve for myself for a while whether I could get behind tacking on more to "atheism" than just "not theism". I am now quite certain it should remain distinct. This shit has rather well resigned me to not wanting to see that. I think Dawkins has it about right with the "BRIGHTs" thing, or Thunderf00t's PEARLism. Or some model of those where they're related to, but distinct from atheism. Atheism plus I guess.

@ 536:
Don't believe all that you read. It's going to take more than a handful of noisy fanpeople of Watson's camp to tear a Richard Dawkins down, let alone limb from limb. Why? Simply he put, he's smarter than Rebecca Watson by a large margin. It just so happens to look as though more is happening than not happening. He also does more for causes than the whole of her community. We aren't going to be done with him because he pissed of some noisy people. Even if he is dead to rights wrong, which I don't concede for a second, my money always goes on those who are making progress, and not those who point and complain.

A good portion of Dawkins' "fan" club are more reflective and less reactionary than this would appear to suggest. It's like the Westboro Baptist Church representing Christianity. They make the news because they're silly, offensive and loud, but we all know they're silly, offensive and loud and have a good laugh before returning to the business of work.

Richard's error, if you can even call it an error, isn't what he said. It's where he said it. For that matter, it might be just that he said it at all. He has the oddity of being famous, which makes what would be a normal conversation into what we see here. If I had said it, it wouldn't have registered notice. He's right to point to out that we have someone here who's complaining for the sake of complaining and should probably stop being so whiny about a perceived (putatively anyway) something that is in reality just an inconvenience of life. Hell, he might have weighed in so that these people would finally fully come out of the closet as ideologues, but that's rank speculation on my part.

Turns out, people will talk to other people. Sometimes without prompting. I was fucking shocked too! But Richard knows if he says something fairly innocuous, it gets more attention because of his station than because of what it is that was said. So, he has every right, as does anyone else, to say whatever he thinks, he might have thought better of saying something--anything at all--on pharyngula. That place is not a bastion of erudition. It's a clique.

As far skepchick goes, I hadn't heard of her beforehand either if that tells you anything. Or, if I had, she didn't warrant the energy expenditure for my brain to keep a log of it. But somehow I find out she's a "leader" in the atheist/skeptical movement.

If she's a leader, I'll have to be non-excommunicated. It has never been my custom to be lead around by the uneducated. Sure, they can be right too. It just doesn't happen with the same regularity as it does with the educated. And it when it does happen, it seems to lack as many sparks.

Victoria Johnson:
I fully support the "male" and "female" elevator idea. Hell, I'll bankroll it! Wait! Even better! Get Starbucks to sponsor it!

No! Even better! Have a Starbucks elevator and a Maxwell House one - one is for those with sophisticated, discriminating taste, and one is for those who'll fuck -err- drink anything! Bwahahaha!
We can do eeet!

The rest of it, Victoria, I'm sorry to say I couldn't read. You're only a woman and you're not allowed in the boy's club. We only let Abbie in because she's a gender traitor. And no doubt a lesbian. Probably wears glasses and flannel as well. Oh wait, we already noted lesbian - that's redundant.

I have an idea who the elevator guy is. It was god. Or at least someone indistinguishable from god - you know, imaginary. She can't tell us one feature about the guy? Other than apparently he drinks coffee, hangs out in elevators and occasionally talks to people. Not exactly a good working theory to suss out.

It's not "victim" blaming or shaming. She's not a victim beyond the confines of her own mind. "I'm being oppressed as a keynote speaker because women aren't valued in the community here!" Oh really now? Then put down your fucking microphone and grab me a sandwich . . . Paula Kirby's about to talk and I'd rather listen to an adult.

endrant.

Um, I'll say it again - if anyone here is thanking me for my perspective, you need help. I've been intentionally a dick to quite a lot of people. Constant refusals to answer simple questions while claiming knowledge and status tends to piss me off.

But I was loving seeing Jennifer McCreight's (rhymes with wrong) inner coward come out today. Thanks for that, Rysefn!

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 8:40 PM

551

This is why I wish I would hit the lotto one day: so I could rent a private jet and fly a huge chunk of everyone commenting here, esp. Abbie out to TAM, rent a shitload of suites, and then the night before, try to drink vegas dry.

Then during any sessions where the Watsonoids/PZItes are speaking, have easily read t-shirts and signs with pithy shit on them like:

"Being a victim makes you unlucky, not an expert"
"Where was my privilege when I was getting fag-bashed?"
"If I'd known it was going to start this much shit, I'd have asked her for a blowjob"
"I thought skeptics were supposed to question?"
"Tits, or GTFO"
"Why is your right to be offensive so superior to mine?"
"If Men can't be raped, what, Abner Louima was making sweet, sweet love to the NYPD?"
"WOMEN ARE JUST AS STRONG AS MEN! NOW CROSS THE STREET SO THEY AREN'T A-SKEERED!"

Basically, a glob of hungover, crotchety assholes in some kind of Grand Army of Dicks storming the Castle.

Oh the legal fees would suck, but it would be epic indeed.

And this thing really does illustrate why Carlin was so right about groups. These fuckers don't care about rational discussion, it's nothing but a big fucking popularity contest, and as long as they think their numbers are higher, they'll keep on talking as if $DEITY itself was on their side.

540:

Highjohn, I don't feel betrayed by PZ. He's always been like that. On his blog, he is mad, bad and dangerous to know. In person, he's a teddy bear. He's a smart dude, but he's passive-agressive and has a bad case of internet balls.

Dawkins on the other hand, from what I can tell, is always Dawkins. His manner doesn't change regardless of forum.

Both are smart, but in the end, I tend to respect Dawkins more.

However, none of these people are any better than anyone else. They are smarter in some areas, (although PZ trying to authoritatively comment on tech issues is hilarious in how wrong he gets things), and stupider in others. They may have degrees, or not, they are all varied.

Sometimes they have things to say you'll agree with, sometimes not. Don't invest more in anyone than in yourself. I have no doubt that one day, Abbie will say something I really disagree with. Doesn't mean I'll feel betrayed, and I'm pretty sure I'll at least be able to understand her POV, even though I won't agree.

Also..be who you are. If you're an acerbic curmudgeon online, then be that same person in real life. If you're a really mellow dude in real life, be that way online. It's a bummer finding out that the person you think is cool doesn't really exist.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 10, 2011 8:51 PM

552

John C. Welch:
You should be the guy designing logos for my tshirts.

It's so odd, when I'm staring at a blank template, I have nothing witty to say. When I'm in conversation, I almost never don't have something witty to say. I think I just need to hire someone to follow me around and say stupid shit while I'm writing.

And I want to note that I am not suggesting she isn't anything but forthright and honest in her science. I am saying that if I were her reviewer, seeing this kind of rejection of facts for ideology, or emotional attachment to a person or thing, I'd take a much closer look at her work product. The same is true of anyone else.

I do not think that fairly entails implying she is anything other than perfectly scrupulous in her science. Does anyone else?

Oh, and her biggest "argument" against me is in her opening move: I'm a nutjob, and a stalker, and I'm "well known" on Pharyngula. Yes, I've posted there in five, maybe six articles. That would make me not absolutely unheard of or completely unknown. I don't think that grants to me being well known, but it is Pharyngula so anything that's unreasonable is entirely possible, err, probable to be true.

She could not be playing the game she's playing any better than if she were Deepak Chopra. (No idea why I've mentioned him twice today. It's probably some consciousness discontinuity of m-theory that's to blame.)

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 9:07 PM

553

#538 Victoria Johnson wrote:

"'male' and 'female' signs on the elevator doors, so the women"

This would be a fascinating experiment. What would the attendees do: ignore the patently absurd signs or meekly comply?

Posted by: Mark | July 10, 2011 9:14 PM

554

D.T.: To the best of my knowledge, the panel discussion Rebecca was in was on the day of the elevator incident. Did Rebecca give a date for that? The panel was held the afternoon of Saturday, June 4th. By the way, one of the other panelists was Richard Dawkins.

tes121790: I would be happy to take lots of pictures of any such humor. Have any ideas?

ERV: Actually, I did not complain to the organizers of the Dublin convention. I'm usually a person who doesn't complain a lot, and I understand that many points of view will be presented, sometimes in a manner I find offensive. I also figured that if they invited Rebecca, then they knew what they were getting. At this point, I will write them a letter of complaint. Sometimes it is bad to remain silent. Thanks for that suggestion!

Justicar: How about "caffeinated" or "decaffeinated"? Decaffeinated, of course, means "no".

Posted by: Victoria Johnson | July 10, 2011 9:14 PM

555

I really hesitate to bring this up, and I've never talked about it before(except to my wife), but could someone point to the comments where they downplay the idea of men being raped? I'm not looking to argue with them, but I'd like to see what they say about it. I have personal reasons and I'm sure you can see that I don't care to share any details right now. A link would be appreciated.

Posted by: Gabby | July 10, 2011 9:16 PM

556

Urgh, messed that quote up, but you get my drift.

I also forgot to thank everyone here for being reasonable and non-crazy. I used to frequent SB a heck of a lot, mainly Pharyngula, but the comments sections (of Pharyngula) just started to creep me out.

Posted by: Mark | July 10, 2011 9:20 PM

557

#530, Justicar: I guess you are referring to my linked article? Well, I don't think that its a good jerk-off material for Deepak Chopra, because memes provide a materialistic and mechanistic (which means real) explanatory framework for cultural information, ideas and behaviours. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme for an overview. Steven Novellas take on Memes and Themes: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/memes-and-the-singularity/
But i am too tired right now (and lazy!) to give a common sensic recap.

You know, the hole elevatorgate-thing made me think very hard about why smart people can become soooo dump and ideology-driven. And it made me think about dangerous bullshit-memes (aka bad ideas). I noticed that there are certain BS-memes that can easily bypass my rational cognitive firewall. These are usually "Sheep in Wolf`s Clothing"-memes which look reasonable and 'good' at first glance but can have some very bad outcomes (e.g. certain forms of feminism and political correctness)...and i have to admit that i often notice and find them in my own mind only accidentally ... and why are they so resistant to rational inquiry?

The only BS-meme antidotes i found so far are clear and open examination (what are the consequences when i belive in it?) and to rationally question the practical or empirical validity (whats the proof?) of the meme....a very hard thing too do when something is very emotionally loaded.....but real art seems to be to actually 'find them'.

Posted by: thememe | July 10, 2011 9:29 PM

558

@D.T.: "That happened before the elevator event?

If so, then I tend to think the whole elevator event is a made up story. An exclamation mark on her night's narrative."

Since I'm taking Dawkins at his word (that he said what he meant, and meant what he said, in the context he said it), I'll also assume that Ms. Watson really met Elevator Guy. Even given that, the pattern she's establishing makes me lean towards the shifting of attention to Dawkins as being a premeditated smokescreen to protect her livelihood. "Hijacks panels to pursue personal vendettas" is not a good reference if you want to be invited to speak at the next convention.

[Godwin] Remember, a communist really did start the Reichstag Fire, it's just that everything after that was a Big Lie. [/Godwin]

@Gabby regarding rape: It has come up in most of the long-running comment threads, but check out this and search for "unwanted penetration" for a particularly vile example.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 10, 2011 9:40 PM

559

I love it! Caffeinated / decaffeinated! Thanks for the laugh!

Shit, I missed a lot of posts for some reason.

Erv: I think you sell yourself a little short. If you have offline the personality you have online, I see no reason to see why you wouldn't do fabulous presenting on a topic you care about. But let's assume that you're right about you: I'm trying to replace a Rebecca Watson; you'd have a low bar to jump. =^_^=

Your NAF post was written in a way that even though I know nothing about the field, I can still picture in my mind what it is you were doing, the dude on the phone, the PI, and, no less important, I can immediately understand the delicate footwork you do in your work to find just the right angle to make progress. There's no reason I can see you couldn't do the same in a talk.

Staying on that subject, why haven't we had Miranda Hale speaking at one of these big events? Think about it. She's not a scientist. She's not a mathematician. She's not any of the things which come rushing to the fore when you think "skeptical" and "atheist" person. She's the kind of model I have in mind when I think of an educated religious person - oh, some artsy fartsy person who's all into that it's what you feel that matters kind of woo.

But there she is. There she is with her PhD in literature. What drew me to her blog was the article she wrote just ripping apart that Catholic "Study"; she tore apart the procedures, definitions, methodology, funding, conflict of interest, the whole lot. I was floored when I looked at her profile and learned she teaches and studied literature. It is that much of a one-off that if I hadn't seen it in her own words, I'd have accused someone of yanking my non-gender-specific chain.

But no. We get Rebecca Fucking Watson.

They had a panel as earlier denoted, divvied up among four women who actually are known for something other than being known for that thing no one can really point to. Accomplished, well spoken, strong, intelligent, thoughtful women had to split their time for a panel. Rebecca Watson gets a keynote.

And then she gets to share a panel with Richard Dawkins where she immediately proceeds to not discuss the topic.

Oh, and to top it all off, on youtube, there was some minor chatter about how Richard was looking uninterested, and absent. Yet, in his 10 minutes, he addressed each previous panelist's issues head-on in addition to his own. Not only does he stay on topic, but he's generous with his already limited time for the sake of congeniality.

But we get Rebecca Fucking Watson. She's a "leader".

They shouldn't swapped her ass out with Waters on that panel. But what would she know about communicating atheism? Well, I don't know the answer to that. I'd like to find out though. But here's what I do know: she knows enough about the topic of communicating atheism to understand it's a topic that doesn't mean "discuss my hate mail, responses I get on youtube and other minutia of my own life".

But we get Rebecca Fucking Watson.

I second the "don't feel betrayed" bit. I've said on other fora with people: I don't make gods of men or women. It's ok if they get things wrong. What matters isn't that they'll get something wrong, it's what they do about it after it happens that matters.

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 9:45 PM

560

Oh, i meant "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"-memes of course :)

Posted by: thememe | July 10, 2011 9:48 PM

561

@Justicar: Watson called again. He really wants Rebecca to just stop.

Posted by: mathguy | July 10, 2011 9:53 PM

562

@ERV 456
I know you said you don't have alot of time so you cant speak at TAM but I really think you would be popular there. Based on your blog, I think you could present a lecture on your area of expertise that was, engaging, entertaining, humorous and most importantly informative.
@Victoria 554
I don't have any ideas for signs, I'd just like to see what the Jesters of TAM come up with. Wonder how many people will take it in good humor, and how many will get offended.

One other point i think most are in agreement with. I don't think we should discourage non scientist from becoming prominent voice in skepticism/atheism. I pretty much give all credit to Penn and Teller and James Randi via Bullshit and youtube videos of Randi for getting me involved in Skepticism and atheism. As long as the person is engaging, informative, skeptical, and entertaining they are fit to promote skepticism. That's why people like Sara Mayhew(Anime cartoonist) and George Hrab (fantastic musician and runs a podcast that everyone should listen to) are rising stars in skepticism with out being scientists. They are just interesting and good promoters.
TL;DR Skeptic conferences should be open to lectures from anyone whose a good promoter of critical thinking.

Posted by: tas121790 | July 10, 2011 9:56 PM

563

I am seriously beginning to think PZ is reading too much New Media Douchebag procedure. Just when it seems this entire thing is possibly going to start dying off a bit...

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/two_awful_no-good_terribad_mis.php

Yes, yes, let's keep pumping this shit up. sigh. He's gonna have to change his last name to Dowdell if this keeps up.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 10, 2011 9:57 PM

564

thememe:
I know what a meme is, but there was something written about the immune system and memetics and my eyes kind of glazed over.

I am fairly certain that I have some things rattling around in my brain that are completely counter-factual. If I knew what they were, I'd excise them. But I can't know that, so I do it piecemeal by talking to people. Smart people at that.

I know that I also have some irrational fears. I know they're irrational. I know they're not based on anything real. But I still feel them. They just don't make an argument for me to act on them, or ask anyone else to factor them into anything they do. I recognize the difference between fear as a result of a threat, and fear as a result of being an evolved primate whose ancestors needed that particular concern to be hardwired to survive long to have children.

Other than what goes inside my head when I'm dealing with those fears, they are unimportant and must be dismissed. For instance, I am scared shitless by spiders. They creep. me. out. What do I about it? I deal with it and try to capture them alive to relocate them. I don't go screaming, jumping up on furniture hoping someone with better rational faculties happens by and rescues with a well-placed shoe sole. And then cry about my potential brush with death for attention.

Turns out: life happens.

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 10:04 PM

565

Welch-- I asked him to post something in support of Dawkins, because his silence is viewed as support of the anti-Dawkins lynch mob. PZ knows as well as all of us that Dawkins fully supports women in science and skepticism. PZ has *never* said a word to me otherwise. But if that post is the best PZ can do, that is the best he can do.

PZ never asked me to elaborate on my opinion, but insisted he disagreed with me. So, thats the kind of discussion you all can look forward to at TAM, I guess.

Posted by: ERV | July 10, 2011 10:15 PM

566

Gabby:
From earlier today - http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/two_awful_no-good_terribad_mis.php#comment-4396410
Even though Dawkins has been sexually assaulted, they're still carrying on that tripe that men are immune to its happening, and therefore don't care about it. That's the 10th post in on a new article from PZ.

This was followed up by - http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/two_awful_no-good_terribad_mis.php#comment-4396485

But the discussion there seems to be trending towards me at the moment:

Miles670 said in response to Jen:
Creight,

That isn't what he said at all. You're misrepresenting him and seeing as this is the internet, that's a very silly thing to do:

http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/i-do-not-support-womens-equality.html#more

Stay-tuned over there and I'm sure you'll catch some slices of what it is you're asking after.

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 10:24 PM

567
For instance, I am scared shitless by spiders. They creep. me. out. What do I about it? I deal with it and try to capture them alive to relocate them. I don't go screaming, jumping up on furniture hoping someone with better rational faculties happens by and rescues with a well-placed shoe sole. And then cry about my potential brush with death for attention.

LOL

Yes, and you don't think that it's the spiders fault to scare you....or that spiders are supposed to do not scare you. But thats exactly what RW did: Not seeing tru her own neurotic shit, fears and aversions.... she desperately wants to turn it into a feminist-issue..and any further rational enquiry is forbidden...

Posted by: thememe | July 10, 2011 10:44 PM

568

ERV:

It doesn't matter any more, does it. The orthodoxy has spoken. Dawkins doesn't just disagree with them, HE IS WRONG AND MUST BE PUNISHED.

Anyone who doesn't agree with them in lockstep is WRONG AND MUST BE PUNISHED.

The skeptic movement doesn't have time to allow people to have different opinions and still be "skeptics in good standing". THEY MUST CONFORM TO THE ORTHODOXY, FOR WE ARE BUSY AND HAVE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO! LIKE CONFERENCES!

sigh.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 10, 2011 10:56 PM

569

Despite what PZ says, who wants to bet that TAM will be consumed by this bizarre controversy and will feature a great schism in the movement (the holy rebecca v. the female-hating Dawkins and gender-traditors)?

Posted by: Nick | July 10, 2011 11:03 PM

570

I don't feel 'betrayed' by PZ as I've never been particularly fond of him; I've always felt that he can be irrational when it comes to political matters and that his blog's lack of support for dissent is partly a result of his behavior. I'm a firm believer (gasp!) in the idea that a blogger largely sets the intellectual (or lack thereof) atmosphere of their blog. Generally speaking, a blog's regular readers read that blog because they respect that blogger and follow their lead. That said, I DO believe he is being particularly ridiculous and insulting this time in regards to politics as I outlined earlier. (Post #529)

Speaking of dissent...you know what would be a GREAT idea for the people who are able to attend this conference? Wearing some Support Dissent swag: http://www.cafepress.com/supportdissent

It seems particularly timely given the bloggers on Skepchick thinking they have a right to decide who and who cannot speak at that conference. (Post #480.)

Abbie: I think the local conferences idea is great for several reasons. Among other - obvious - reasons it gives speakers a sort of apprenticeship period where they can hone their chops and develop their research and speaking skills. I cannot imagine that anyone would want their first speaking position to be a national event with Richard Dawkins in the audience!

The Black Belt analogy is excellent. There is a certain amount of maturity, knowledge, and age that should be expected of a keynote speaker and I think that handing them something important like that before they're ready is going to do damage to them and to the community. Granted, I don't know how old Watson is, but the genesis of this thread (her calling a blogger in the audience out mid-speech) tells me that she is not old enough.

You have an excellent point about someone with a passive-aggressive nature interpreting things in that context; I'm pretty blunt and straightforward by nature and I expect the same of others (and tell them so). That said, and I say this as someone with a minor case of Asperger's, there is something to be said for paying attention to a person's tone and language. There is a very clear difference between 'Don't take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?' and 'Hey, baby, wanna come back to my room for...coffee? *wink, wink*' If I can figure out the difference, she should be able to. Frankly, every time I read his statement I become more convinced that the guy just wanted to talk with her and took the wrong approach by inviting her to his room. That said, it also leaves me convinced that her story is true. If she was going to lie, why not use the second sort of line to describe his attempt at conversation? It wouldn't seem much less believable, that version of the story would give her a clear advantage, and I highly doubt she's brilliant enough to concoct the idea that making the guy seem somewhat innocent will make her story seem more realistic.

Victoria: According to Rebecca he had not spoken to her prior to the incident despite being in the bar with her which is part of what left her feeling creeped out. Frankly, I think supports my Shy Guy hypothesis. It's difficult enough for a shy guy to ask a girl out even if he's just looking to chat and strike up a friendship, so he's going to avoid doing so and getting shot down in a public place if possible.

Justicar: Don't under-rate your posting here (and on the blog). Your reasoning has been consistently solid and there is nothing wrong with being a dick when people have it coming.


In any case, thoughts on use of the Support Dissent swag at the conference, anyone? It may require a bit of a blog-based propaganda campaign so people know what it's about, but I think it could be useful. And it's not loud enough to get you thrown out!

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 10, 2011 11:10 PM

571

New data: do you log in from a service the cool kids don't use? You have nothing of value to say.

New way to disagree with someone: "Go drown yourself in a bathtub"

If you disagree with the orthodoxy, then we have the right to twist whatever you say in any way we wish. If you agree with the orthodoxy, any disagreement with you is clearly twisting your words, and the person disagreeing should be treated like shit.

Oh and if you disagree with the orthodoxy, you're a sexual predator.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 10, 2011 11:14 PM

572

Nick, unless my twitter app has missed the mark, apparently, discussion of elevatorgate is strictly a dismissible offense.
https://twitter.com/#!/BrianDunning/status/89921897030107136
See? And PZ says it won't be happening either. Therefore, you have a first and second opinion which are convergent and thus correct.

But I don't know how "science" works as I was told a few minutes ago. The person who's telling me this, curiously enough, is giving me a lesson in how to quotemine - so, I'm learning a lot about the world tonight. I love being educated on how peer-review works by students; it's absolutely amazing!

thememe @567:
It never occurred to me to blame the spiders for scaring me. lol. In the same way, it's never occurred to me blame people who startle me either. Maybe if I started doing that, then I'd finally "get it". Research project!

Gabby: here's another gem for you to read.
Someone brought up that Dawkins has been sexually assaulted, though not specifically raped, so he does know what it's like to be a victim of sexual abuse. This is one of the replies to that.
Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | July 10, 2011 11:02 PM

It already happened to him.

No, "it" didn't. And I've read TGD, as many here have. So you do not have a cynical, callous "Gotcha!" moment, you ridiculous ignoramus.

Shut up.

Dawkins is privileged you see. His being sexually assaulted just isn't quite good enough for some people. If only he'd been molested just a little bit more, just a little harder, it would count. Perhaps if he'd resisted and gotten beaten? Oh, but that would be blaming the victim for not fighting back hard enough, and we all know that only applies against women.

ERV: are you to blame for PZ's latest post?

Posted by: Justicar | July 10, 2011 11:18 PM

573

Thanks Justicar, but I think I found what I was looking for on Blaghag. These links were about Dawkins, I wanted an opinion on male rape victims generally. What I found was pretty foul. It came from someone called wmdkitty.

Posted by: Gabby | July 10, 2011 11:29 PM

574

Gabby: you're welcome. I didn't do any research at all for it. I was just reading through the comments as they're coming up on pharyngula. Those reminded me you'd asked, so I thought I'd mention them since they're in the general area. I'm glad you found whatever it was you wanted.

I don't know if those shirts are going to do anything. I'm not sure what the tone of this year's conference will be. I'm only confident enough to say that people are going to show up, and stuff will happen. Beyond that, who knows.

If I were going, I'd pick one up.

Also, PZ has said all of the topics were done before this, and it's about space. I can't wait to see how Rebecca Watson shoehorns sexism into that:
when you look at the vacuum of space, not there can the outties avoid penetrating the innies. They're popping in and out and in and out and in and out all the time. Sure, they have no staying power and it's over as soon as it starts, but it's still a violation!

Exception 5R. Dawkins space; there it doesn't count.

In unrelated news, one of those steely-eyed researchers over there found out my real identity: I'm a 16 year old gamer who can't get laid; therefore, I only come online to make an ass of myself. Also, this is the reason I hate women.

I guess my secret identity as a thirty-something openly gay male is a thin veneer through which one may easily look. /sigh

John C. Welch:
I read that bit too. Further down the page, someone makes mention that what is important on Pharyngula isn't the number of letters one has to write after their name, but the quality of their commentary. At least we're getting some bounds on what counts there. Education? Doesn't affect quality of commentary. Log-in location? That bears on how good you can argue, retard.

Glad we solved that little problem.

Southern Geologist, I'm always self-deprecating. I figure it's the least I can do given how sardonic I am with other people. It just shows that I equally wield my Rabelaisian wit.

/genuflect

Posted by: Justicar | July 11, 2011 12:02 AM

575

I left a comment on Laden's latest on this. ( -/2011/07/women_in_elevators_a_man_to_ma.php)

I finally figured out the central theme that's bugging me in this:

"Women are helpless before a man. If he chooses to attack her, all she can do is pray"

Um, bullshit? I don't get this. Admittedly, the women I know, if attacked, may lose, but that fucker's gonna look like he tried to make out with a honey badger by the time they're done. They would PREFER to not be attacked, but they know it could happen, (as does anyone with a damned brain) and so do not wait for everyone else to secure their safety.

But that is the edge case. Abbie? Edge case. Most of the women I know? Edge Cases. What's the norm? Live your life in fear and hope guys one day make it better.

Really? is that what is the norm now? Helplessness and fear?

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 11, 2011 12:17 AM

576

I really wish I had the cash-flow to go get myself kicked out of TAM... Maybe I could get myself kicked out of local atheist events instead. I'm local to McWrong, so it could easily lead to hilarity and/or me being arrested.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 11, 2011 12:29 AM

577

John, I will concede that, as a general rule, a woman is less likely to win than a man in a fight. That said, if it's a fight, the defender has already fucked up. When someone attacks you, you do not fight them. You either distract and run from them, or you fucking destroy them and run. Sand in the eye and run, or thumb in the eye and run. Anything else is not self-defense, it's a fight.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 11, 2011 12:32 AM

578

I brought it to Jen's attention (assuming that she hadn't seen her posts before) that wmdkitty was a raving mysandrist. She agreed and subsequently banned her from her blog. After I told her that I disagreed with censorship in all its forms, INCLUDING banning raving loonies. But its her blog she does what she wants. I think that her saying, "I completely and unequivocally disagree with her stance" would have been good enough. I dunno, censorship just leaves a bad taste in my mouth... I also said that I LIKE having a raving "feminist" around to show that all of us "raving misogynistic assholes" aren't against good ol' feminism, which is supposed to be about equality, but this version of "feminism."

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 11, 2011 12:38 AM

579

Of course it's a fight. That's why I never taught "self-defense", I taught fighting. It's a difference in attitude, and it shows across the board. Given the stupid shit so many women wear on their feet, and the lack of free leg movement allowed by many fashionable bits of clothing, running is not a really good option in too many cases.

But the bone-deep willingness to fight for yourself? That changes you. It changes how you walk, it changes how you interact with people, and there is a subtle message: "You may win, but you're going to bleed to do it. How bad do you want it?"

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 11, 2011 12:43 AM

580

'I also said that I LIKE having a raving "feminist" around to show that all of us "raving misogynistic assholes" aren't against good ol' feminism, which is supposed to be about equality, but this version of "feminism."'

Which is why those "feminists" get banned when attention is called to them.

Ha ha, only kidding serious.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 11, 2011 1:14 AM

581

John:
as my mother used to tell me she was taught (in addition to martial arts), remember ladies, you run faster with your skirt hiked up than he does with his pants pulled down. Of course, that fails because he can always pull his pants up.

You never hear of a blind person being charged with rape.

I also almost never meet people who can imagine themselves gouging out someone's eyes. You'd think somewhere along the way one of those should change.

The way to make sure you're prepared to do these things if you ever need to, is train to do these things in case you need to. Like so many other things, when in a tense situation, people will are more prone to act by instinct than anything else. It is therefore reasonable to expect that people will respond to an attack in the way they've trained themselves to.

Note: thinking about what to do if the situation arises will not yield the results you want. Thinking doesn't stop a rapist. A finger through his eye socket will. And I don't mean any fingernails down the chalkboard kind of fingering either. The eye socket is a hole - get a finger to the other side of it and you're way ahead of the power curve.

Phyraxus:
I'm unsurprised. She's taking to quote mining me now. It's charming.

Posted by: Justicar | July 11, 2011 1:22 AM

582

John, I have no interest in either teaching or learning how to fight. If you find yourself in a fight, you've already made a tactical or strategic error of the first order. As I said before, "a woman is less likely to win than a man in a fight." I will extend that to "a person being attacked is less likely to win than an attacker in a fight." Fighting is for dick-measuring contests. A pen through the eye socket is for dealing with a rapist.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 11, 2011 1:53 AM

583

"Dawkins was assaulted as a child, by an adult. There is an authority/privilege/strength differential there that is analogous to that between women and men (on average)."

And there are still gay men in the world.

There are also lots of women stronger than Richard Dawkins.

There are also a lot of godbotherers who would love to degrade Dawkins.

So it seems like you REALLY mean "Dawkins isn't a man, therefore his experience isn't relevant".

Well, you're a nutjob and your beliefs are not relevant.

Posted by: Wow | July 11, 2011 5:42 AM

584

"By the way, Abbie, you are hilarious and I mean that in the best possible sense.*

*Perhaps I should run that statement by the Feminist Brigade before publishing it to make sure that it doesn't qualify me as a misogynist ..."

Could we back off that sort of thing?

If you make a statement that the person you're talking to doesn't like

a) they should say so
or
b) you should say sorry or explain

but going "I guess I need to pass that by the $JOKE_GROUP to see if it's fine..." is only going to waste space and reading time with a chance of getting those feminists who DON'T have a problem with a guy asking, getting "no" and accepting that answer to feel like you're pissing on them.

If you want to continue, make it explicit: say you need to pass it by RW to see if it's not exhibiting your privilege.

Posted by: Wow | July 11, 2011 6:00 AM

585

"Similar behaviour has been witnessed in both men and women; even though it is physically more difficult for a woman to commit rape,"

With the advent of impotence remittance drugs, this is now eminently possible.

Plus also remember that that little barstand gets up in the night when you're asleep, something to keep in mind.

Posted by: Wow | July 11, 2011 6:34 AM

586

@572 Justicar

Not sure if you picked up on it, but @BrianDunning's tweet was a joke. Although it sure looks like some folks didn't get it.

Posted by: The Armchair Skeptic | July 11, 2011 8:05 AM

587

Yes, yes, let's keep pumping this shit up. sigh. He's gonna have to change his last name to Dowdell if this keeps up.

OMG Y U GUYS MAKING SO MUCH BIG DEELS OUT OF THIS I DONUT UNDERSTANDS

Certainly, it's all and only some random nutbars out there. There wasn't a single overreaction at all from My Side(TM) and while you shouldn't call Dawkins a misogynist, here's a huge list of people who should apparently make all men ashamed to be men, and no mention of anyone who morph concepts of "feminism" beyond all rational and recognizable bounds.

"I repeat, though, that the story Rebecca Watson told was tempered, moderate, and polite..."

Except when sniping Paula Kirby by disrupting her own panel and attacking her in harsh, uncalled-for terms while not understanding what was said, and purposefully embarrassing-and-uncomfortable-and-could-be-construed-as-mortifying comments spoken to shut up a student feminist by interrupting yet another topic.

Tempered, moderate and polite, all right. Y U GUYS COMPLAIN??? I'M A SIT HERE AND LET ALL MANNER OF CRAP PASS WITHOUT COMMENT AND PRETEND THERE'S NOTHING BEHIND DOOR #2.


Though to be fair... Dowdell? *shudder*

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 8:37 AM

588

Wow:

I should probably have not used that given that I haven't been around here to use 'Feminist Brigade' in a long time, or I should have added a note defining it. Sorry. I am not speaking of feminists as a whole when I use that term, I am speaking of a certain sub-set of feminist bloggers that behave as if any compliment a man makes toward someone who happens to be a woman is automatically objectifying her and saying she is worthless as a human being. Remember the explosion a while back over people at Discovery blogs saying Sheril Kirshenbaum was pretty? I will happily grant that anyone who makes a comment to the effect of 'You're hot, I'll read your blog' is probably a fucking moron, but I will not grant that this person is a rapist in waiting. I'm speaking of that breed of behavior.

That said, I again apologize for not making a note qualifying what I meant by 'Feminist Brigade.'

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 11, 2011 9:22 AM

589

That said, I again apologize for not making a note qualifying what I meant by 'Feminist Brigade.'

Your mind is very pretty.

...

But don't worry, I'm sure you're pretty on the OUTSIDE, too!

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 9:45 AM

590

I didn't say that kind of behavior wasn't condescending; I said it was not grounds for accusing someone of being a rapist.

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 11, 2011 10:47 AM

591

I know. I was just being sarcastically reverse-sexist. ;-)

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 10:49 AM

592

Sorry. Hell, here I am apologizing again because I couldn't pick up a joke when I saw it. And there I was earlier bitching about how a person can learn to detect tone...

...Did I mention a bit of Asperger's?

(I should really quit reaching for the most convenient excuse on hand. I'm going to dig myself a hole here for offending other people that have Asperger's.)

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 11, 2011 10:52 AM

593

ERV@#565

"Welch-- I asked him to post something in support of Dawkins, because his silence is viewed as support of the anti-Dawkins lynch mob."


Considering 80% of PZ's present notoriety is a direct result of his heavily touted close friendship with Dawkins, this omission makes him more than a bit of an asshole.

If he demonstrates the same loyalty to the post-modern radical feminist movement as he does to his friends I guess we can start counting down to when he gets called into the provost's office for regaling coeds with bad tentacle themed adianoeta.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 11, 2011 12:10 PM

594

I read something on Reddit yesterday (can't remember where) where someone was saying that when people like RW claim that all men possess privilege it's a bit like when Christians claim all humans possess original sin. Your guilt is established at birth, and there's no way you can rid of it.

The only way you can achieve salvation is to openly confess your 'sin' and pledge allegiance to a cliquee group of self-appointed 'enlightened' people. If you do not (or if you disagree), the message is circulated that you are not a decent person (or indeed that you are some way evil). It doesn't matter what your *deeds* have been, that you don't submit to this group's belief makes you circumspect.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting, that's all.

Posted by: Mark | July 11, 2011 12:14 PM

595

"....when people like RW claim that all men possess privilege it's a bit like when Christians claim all humans possess original sin. Your guilt is established at birth, and there's no way you can rid of it."

That is dogmatically correct in post-modern radical feminism as part of the inherent patriarchy theory of society. Since all present human institutions have either a patriarchal basis or have been irredeemably compromised by patriarchy the only hope is to destroy all such institutions and begin again.

Of course RW billed herself as a third wave sex positive feminist until it became politically expedient for her to "Do the Dwork".

Kind of a 180 for the former hostess of "Western Bordello" night....huh.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 11, 2011 12:23 PM

596

Its pretty pathetic.

Richard Dawkins is not a misogynist, end of story. There is zero evidence, anywhere, that he is. Anyone saying that is using one comment as an excuse to grind their own personal axe ("I ALWAYS KNEW....")

Thats not hard to say.

PZ cant say it like that. He has to say it with a qualifier (but hes WRONG!!!).

While Richard always had his back.

I repeat, pathetic.

Also note the problem with all of this-- there is no discussion. PZ says I (and Dawkins) are wrong. Ive never told PZ the reasoning behind my opinion, it doesnt matter, my conclusion is WRONG. Dawkins makes a remark. Its WRONG. He asks people to explain why. NO DISCUSSION. WRONG.

No discussion.

But its supposed to be 'good for the community'.

Interesting.

Posted by: ERV | July 11, 2011 12:27 PM

597

This was probably directed more toward right wing hysteria but it is just as applicable many on the left. Do you take offence? Just say no:

http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2009/06/just-say-no.html

Posted by: Ericb | July 11, 2011 12:32 PM

598

Also note the problem with all of this-- there is no discussion. PZ says I (and Dawkins) are wrong. Ive never told PZ the reasoning behind my opinion, it doesnt matter, my conclusion is WRONG. Dawkins makes a remark. Its WRONG. He asks people to explain why. NO DISCUSSION. WRONG.

Come now, don't be so gauche. I'm sure he'll give you as MUCH time as you want to discuss WHY you're wrong!

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 12:44 PM

599

Oh right, forgot to list the Exemplar Supreme tweet.

https://twitter.com/#!/pzmyers/status/90241642187071488


That was the final straw that just made me have to tune them out, at least for a while. Until this fetid pile of excrement dries up enough to not stink so much.

Ugh...

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 12:47 PM

600

PZ has declared his decision ex catherdra ex pharyngula. It is disrespectful to question his wisdom on matters of official doctrine. You should accept The Truth and shout down any unbelievers.

Posted by: Mark | July 11, 2011 1:05 PM

601

Abbie, I'm glad to see that you've made this kind of progress.
Admitting you're wrong is the first step; welcome to the 12 step club to not being a Gender Traitor.

Pick up a coin on your way out. Just kidding - offering a woman a coin for something related to gender is prostitution. Prostitution is rape. Here, have a cookie instead. It's organic and made partly of unicorn sparkles.

Ugh. How fucking repugnant; his post about International Day Against Stoning and his hoping it's something we can all agree on.

You know, until that post, I'd been a big fan of stoning women to death for imaginary crimes. But now that I've been shamed into being labeled a contrarian, you know, I'm going to give it up.

I can't view his current status on twitter by that link. I'm probably blocked. But we all know I'm stalker; I guess this I'm going to have to start making twitter socks to keep in the "know" or something? Any experienced stalkers out there care to give a newb some advice?

Oh, and ERV, thank you for letting me "hold court" over here. Apparently, being not immediately banned means that I'm somehow elevated to some station. This would explain, of course, why it is that my remarks are immune from all criticism and everyone agrees with me, right? Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

Posted by: Justicar | July 11, 2011 1:33 PM

602

@Justicar: I think you may have some competition here :)

"This is beyond simply disturbing. Before allowing myself to get distracted by all of this, I viewed Skepchick in a generally positive light, if somewhat ambivalently at never having examined it in detail or followed it. Now that I’ve been rummaging around in it, this is just another Off Our Backs, albeit with a skeptical theme. Nothing wrong with that per se – it’s just somewhat misleading to have an about page that claims -

" Skepchick is a group of women (and one deserving guy) who write about science, skepticism, and pseudoscience. With intelligence, curiosity, and occasional snark, the group tackles diverse topics from astronomy to astrology, psychics to psychology."

This is highly dishonest and misleading. And it only gets worse once you begin to explore the myriad of fora where time and again, Skepchick and “sexism” and “misogyny” keep bursting into threads that refuse to die. And the traffic is hardly all one way, pro-Skepchick, as you might be led to believe from reading about this nonsense on Pharyngula. Seems there is quite a mass of ladies out there that really resent being misrepresented in this way."

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 11, 2011 1:33 PM

603

PZ identifies and quotes at length people that blow RW's comments out of proportion but seems to be blind to the people that pretend that RD trivializes rape. And even despite his absurdly imbalanced post his resident commentariat immediately lashes out at him for not chastising RD enough. To which he weighs in to make sure people don't overlook that he has indeed dutifully criticized RD. Amazing.

Posted by: Michael | July 11, 2011 1:39 PM

604

I see the He-Man Woman-Hater's Club is still in session. Why don't the whole lot of you just admit your intense, searing hatred of all things not-teh-menz and be done with it?

I keep seeing your trash in the Recent comments page and it just amazes me. I can only hope that none of you leave your houses, for the sake of women (and right-thinking people in general) everywhere.

Posted by: The Panic Man | July 11, 2011 1:41 PM

605

I, The Justicar of the Azeroth Justicars, do hereby solemnly swear (or affirm) that I have an intense, searing hatred of all things not-teh-menz and am henceforth done with it so help me Zod.

Well, that was easy and I feel a lot better about my heretofore pathetic life.

One minor point, The Panic Man, being as powerful as I am, I don't need to leave my house to harm women. I have buttons on my keyboard to let me do it without dirtying my dandy hands: http://boourns.cjb.net/images.php?view=952

Posted by: Justicar | July 11, 2011 1:46 PM

606

OK, I fell for it last time, but I'm not going to now.

"The Panic Man" has got to be a Poe. Nobody could have that many rocks between the ears and still remember to breathe.

Posted by: Spence | July 11, 2011 1:54 PM

607

Panic Man = those ugly beasties that lurk under bridges.

Posted by: INTP | July 11, 2011 2:11 PM

608

@justicar

With regards to "International Day Against Stoning", presumably all men should be viewed as potential stoners and in order to protect women, we should not go anywhere near a woman if there are rocks present? Even better, we should probably wear styrofoam #1 finger things on both our hands when we're outside, just so there's no concern that we might lose control, pick up a rock and throw it passers-by.

Posted by: redacted this time :p | July 11, 2011 2:13 PM

609

I think this could all be resolved if we put on a play with catchy cosplay costumes. Who wants the sweet lolita dress?

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 2:40 PM

610
[H]is post about International Day Against Stoning and his hoping it's something we can all agree on.

I cannot agree: I think every woman has the right to keep her maiden name. I think its abhorrent that PZ would be so patriarchal, insisting women take their husbands' names, as if the women had no identity of their own.

Posted by: Dave | July 11, 2011 2:58 PM

611

596:

Also note the problem with all of this-- there is no discussion. PZ says I (and Dawkins) are wrong. Ive never told PZ the reasoning behind my opinion, it doesnt matter, my conclusion is WRONG. Dawkins makes a remark. Its WRONG. He asks people to explain why. NO DISCUSSION. WRONG.

No discussion.

But its supposed to be 'good for the community'.

Interesting.

I've seen this before. They're now "protecting the group". RW is part of the group, so protecting her is included. If you are not part of the group, neither you nor your opinion count. It's not a herd mentality, it's a bit more vicious than that. It's a circling of the wagons against the outsiders.

Any dissent is put down, instantly and with no regard to the standards they think they hold themselves to. Because dissent = outsider = no right to any consideration on any level. It IS sad, and it IS the kind of behavior that creationists and the climategate weenies were talking about, and if you try to bring it up, then OMG FRAMING AND TONE and the attacks escalate.

Like I said. i think, in all honesty, if someone disagreed with PZ in person using the precise language he does, or even better, some of his blog pets like Nerd do, he would very quickly start being quite concerned for his personal safety.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 11, 2011 3:20 PM

612
The idea of equality is to pull everyone up to a shared and common equal status. It's not to have a roughly distributed system of situational oppression and self-loathing.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has had this impression, that if I'm *really* for equality, then I am to be expected to apologize and anguish and loathe myself for being who I am. It's unfortunate that people I halfway respect seem to hold that attitude, and relieving that my refusal to do so isn't actually indicative of my hating women. That's stupid I know, but after so much of it, I started questioning myself. I wonder how many others have done the same, and out of good intentions, became that way?

Anyway, back to lurking. Cheers. -0

Posted by: 0verlord | July 11, 2011 3:24 PM

613

Man that new thread of PZ's is a world of fun right now.

A man is misogynistic if he hits on a woman. If she likes it, it isn't misogyny. That's why its called flirting!

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 11, 2011 3:36 PM

614
I see the He-Man Woman-Hater's Club is still in session.

It is? Thanks for the mansplanation!

Posted by: windy | July 11, 2011 3:59 PM

615

Arrrgh! Now Watson's being interviewed on semi-mainstream news shows, with no rebuttal possible. Google "Citizen Radio" for one example; after their hatchet-job on Dawkins last week, I'm not dignifying them with a direct link. 25 minutes about misogynist atheists, Dawkins is a dick, Dawkins is the atheist God, and fuck all about what actually happened.

This isn't going to get better or go away, is it? At least, not until all the publicity value is milked out of it, or somebody else steps on a landmine.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 11, 2011 4:16 PM

616
A man is misogynistic if he hits on a woman. If she likes it, it isn't misogyny. That's why its called flirting!

Reminiscent of this classic from SNL:

Sexual Harrassment And You

Posted by: Mark | July 11, 2011 4:20 PM

617

It is? Thanks for the mansplanation!

Shouldn't that be femsplanation or something, to use the appropriate reverse dismissal? Member of the Female Wrongs Association or something?

I don't know. I guess I'm just not hilariously clever like that.

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 4:22 PM

618

ERV @565,

PZ has *never* said a word to me otherwise. But if that post is the best PZ can do, that is the best he can do.

PZ never asked me to elaborate on my opinion, but insisted he disagreed with me. So, thats the kind of discussion you all can look forward to at TAM, I guess.

You got that right. He claims he's yet to here an opposing argument worthy of his attention.

A tweet from the twit Herr PZ Myers

Haven't found 'em. RT @RemieV: dishonest to quote only the idiotic posts, no? What about people who INTELLIGENTLY disagree with you?

source: twitter(dot)com/#!/pzmyers/status/90241642187071488

A people want this fuck-tarded ideologue as a leader of the skeptical/atheist movement. It's doomed. Herr Myers wants to eliminate all dissent and purify all thought.

Posted by: JD | July 11, 2011 4:30 PM

619

Guys, ladies, gender traitors, lesbians and John C. Welch, I finally have the solution as to why analogies of Schrodinger's Fake Rape Victim, or Jihadist, or Black Mugger Guy fail. In response to a video I did responding to a video on youtube (which essentially, says that not only is Rebecca Watson not wrong; she's being imminently appropriate and reasonable all the way down the line):

The problem with your analogy should be obvious. In the male/female example, the woman is the suppressed minority that is being brutally abused with offers of coffee. Whereas in your random-dude/arab analogy, the random-dude is the victim/minority.

You are getting your victimhood status all mixed up.

I now am convinced and ashamed to be associated with all you. Assholes.

Posted by: Justicar | July 11, 2011 4:33 PM

620

#617 (cthellis):"Shouldn't that be femsplanation or something, to use the appropriate reverse dismissal? "

Well, we could refer to the chromosones and call it an XXplanation.

Posted by: frank habets | July 11, 2011 4:37 PM

621

I fucking well hope it tears the "community" in two. Then people won't think I'm associated with those fuckers anymore.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 11, 2011 4:56 PM

622

Herr Myers ignorantly spewed,

Let's stop the shouting that Richard Dawkins is some kind of raving misogynist. What's happened here is that he is at some remove from all of the details, and this issue got blown up by lunatics who felt their manhood threatened and who exaggerated the situation to an absurd degree.

Now that's some revisionist history that would make even David Barton blush. This "thing" blew up because several of Myers feces-flinging monkey troop became completely hysterical over Dawkins comments about RW Watson's actions and feelings.

They so grossly misinterpreted his words that they started a letter writing campaign using rape victims and a boycott of his works.

Of course the sane people reacted to this absurd characterization of Dawkins by speaking out against it. Pointing out that Dawkins IS not a misogynist nor a rape apologist and that their actions toward him were completely unjustified and irrational.

That's what caused it to become such a big controversy.

Posted by: JD | July 11, 2011 5:06 PM

623

Shouldn't that be femsplanation or something, to use the appropriate reverse dismissal?

I have made the gender-normative assumption that "Panic Man" is male, so I thanked him for mansplaining the situation to ERV and the rest of us poor deluded womens that may still be following.

Posted by: windy | July 11, 2011 5:11 PM

624

Pst, Windy, I'll explain to you how it all works because I know you're a woman and you need that. Here, let's talk about this over coffee . . .

Posted by: Justicar | July 11, 2011 5:20 PM

625

@620 Well, we could refer to the chromosones and call it an XXplanation.

X-D

I know ERV awards the internets around these parts, but I feel obliged to make a nomination in this case.

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 5:21 PM

626

@623

I have made the gender-normative assumption that "Panic Man" is male, so I thanked him for mansplaining the situation to ERV and the rest of us poor deluded womens that may still be following.

Ah, but are you not then stating that women cannot mansplain and men cannot XXplain? How drolly heteronormative and sexist of you!

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 5:25 PM

627

JD, PZ simply cannot be trusted to use reason or truth when discussing "feminist" issues. You know, like how in a discussion about genital mutilation, men aren't allowed to speak because it doesn't affect us, so we need to just shut up and listen to a bunch of wealthy first-world mostly white women... because their vaginas erase the privilege they enjoy of never having that happen to them, and our penises erase our experience with having that happen to us (albeit often less extreme mutilation).

Posted by: Rystefn | July 11, 2011 5:35 PM

628

Meyers is reported to have written:

"Let's stop the shouting that Richard Dawkins is some kind of raving misogynist. What's happened here is that he is at some remove from all of the details..."

No goddammit. No.


As an aside related to my own area of expertise and for all the people who did not bother with a logic or ethics class in the core requirements because they could get equal credit for their humanities degree by taking "Misogyny as reflected in women's footwear advertisements 1906-1926"....

Dawkins statements are not:

argument from ignorance

equivocation

false analogy

Black Flag (O.J. Defense)

"Calvin ball"(this horseshit term is being flung around by Marcotte, political insiders use the same term as mentalists and short cons i.e. equivocation or the Laban Swap)

"Inhuman"(last time I checked we cornered the market on sarcasm AND blogging so I don't even get this hyperbolic shit)

His statements are lacking in diplomacy but they are NOT ethically or logically wrong.

He was not mistaken.

He is an international celebrity with an international 1st, 2nd and 3rd world audience and in a global context he is not trivializing Watson's experience. In that context of life, death and all the marbles, Watson's experience is beneath trivial, it is an expensive distraction.

Roger Crisp Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University said, very recently, "Moral indignation and blame are scarce commodities, worth preserving for the things that really matter."

That is where Dawkins is clearly coming from.

He statements are both ethical and pragmatic.

Of course if your utopia is a post-sexual merit-less empowerment world where A. Dworkin and Nathaniel Branden collide (ick)....then all bets are off.

What RW&Co. are looking for, and PZ by his turning his back on a vastly superior scientist, friend and all around human is looking for, is a broken window culture.

A broken window culture is where every offense to the culture is slammed. Kill a baby or break a window meh same thing....Whamo! Eventually people are not just obeying rules but they are giving them the widest imaginable berth.

It worked (kinda sorta) in Late 18th century to early 19th century England but 220 capital offenses led to social infantilism and it has done the same thing in Japan with its public-censure-for-everything plan.

You can't reform a culture by killing it, that's the bronze age biblical genocidal crapola mentality I thought we had all agreed to oppose.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 11, 2011 5:37 PM

629

If you are not part of the group, neither you nor your opinion count. It's not a herd mentality, it's a bit more vicious than that. It's a circling of the wagons against the outsiders.
Yeah, I've witnessed this before as well. Circling the wagons is an accurate description, as is tribalism.

You can see the difference between Dawkins and Myers, and see why Dawkins commands so much more respect than Myers ever could. Dawkins goes out and persuades those who have no strong views but can be convinced. Myers approach only works on the converted, and while his brand of tribalism helps to "rally the troops" it can also be quite negative and divisive.

PZ usually takes on what I would term "low hanging fruit" in the creationist vs. evolution debate, and the arrogant approach there is usually effective just because the arguments they are up against are so lame. Not to criticise them for doing this - at least clearing away the dross frees up the likes of Dawkins from having to deal with the dross. But when they actually come up against more challenging points of view, up go the barriers, threads get closed, opinions mischaracterised, logic and reason go out of the window.

At the end of his latest, he boldly points out the JREF rules for TAM as if it justifies his position - completely missing the fact that elevator guy's behaviour is not covered by them, as his advances were stopped immediately on request. Way to go, PZ.

I know I should post this on pharyngula but I can't be bothered signing up to an account just to watch the monkeys play in their cages.

Posted by: Spence | July 11, 2011 6:12 PM

630

That's right, Spence, it's not harassment unless you keep going after the rejection. Somehow neither "no means no" nor "only yes means yes" is good enough anymore. Now we have to deal with "it's no before you ask." Seriously, WTF?

Posted by: Rystefn | July 11, 2011 6:20 PM

631

If anyone is interested, I am currently having a wee debate with Watson at Skepchick on her most recent (today) Dawkins thread wherein I'm trying to get her response to tacitly and implicitly endorsing and encouraging a boycott of Dawkin's's books -- books, it has been noted, that have not skulked off into the libraryesque hinterlands and rewritten themselves because of his recent remarks, and therefore said books still contain great knowledge and wisdom and should therefore not be retractively boycotted.

Posted by: John Greg | July 11, 2011 6:29 PM

632

Here, let's talk about this over coffee . . .

Wait, which one of us would be the oppressor?

Posted by: windy | July 11, 2011 6:35 PM

633

Rystefn @ 630:

Somehow neither "no means no" nor "only yes means yes" is good enough anymore.

Interesting comment on this point on one of the related Pharyngula threads:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/gynofascists_are_invading_the.php#comment-4406999

Posted by: NJ | July 11, 2011 6:40 PM

634

Yeah, she's pretty good at dodging in circles around an argument, John. Anyone who can look at things logically can see she's doing, but that's not her audience, so why should she care?

Posted by: Rystefn | July 11, 2011 7:04 PM

635

@630

If anyone is interested, I am currently having a wee debate with Watson at Skepchick...

I am horrified as to the violence in some of the remarks out there!

New Rule: Every time someone comments on this topic, FSM smacks a baby otter.

Won't SOMEBODY speak for the otters?!!


Also: the speed at which people say "stop twisting my words" and then proceed to twist others' words in all these threads has given me whiplash.

I'm totally suing SOMEone...

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 7:11 PM

636

I've posted what I think will be my last word on the subject (at Skepchick).

Watson really is a master dissembler and twister of words. Cripes, she's worse/more dangerous than sethmanapio! And disingenuous? Man, she's a pro.

Posted by: John Greg | July 11, 2011 7:16 PM

637

Cthellis: where is this debate happening?

John Greg: thank Zod she's not a radical spiderist though.

Posted by: Justicar | July 11, 2011 7:23 PM

638

At Skepchick.org, in the "Dawkins Overflow Thread".

"John Greg: thank Zod she's not a radical spiderist though."

No shit. I'm terrified of the creepy-crawly little buggers too!

Posted by: John Greg | July 11, 2011 7:31 PM

639

Justicar @550 Your comment got me to remembering the first time that I was called a "gender traitor", which was in 1974. I commented to a women's group that their stated goal of "achieving equal rights and equal access for all people", and their current project of an art show consisting of "art made by women, of women, and for women" were at odds with each other. Shades of cognitive dissonance! If women were excluded from something, it was unjust, unfair, and so forth. If men were excluded from something, that was okay because- well, just because it was okay.

So, as a certified gender traitor, now can I join the boy's club? Abbie, Windy, and the other ladies could probably use some help making coffee.

Posted by: Victoria | July 11, 2011 7:35 PM

640

OK, I found it over there. It was a short discussion.

I wrote a parable about Radical Spiderism today, and those who don't agree that blaming the spider is the proper way of handling the situation are just spider apologists, brainwashed by the spiderarchy. Let's hope it serves some use for some people in checking their irrational emotions through their rational thoughts.

Let's hope.

*Prays to Dumbledore*

Posted by: Justicar | July 11, 2011 7:35 PM

641

As a completely irratioal arachnophobe, I support all movements to keep the octo-limbed bastards out of my world. yyyyyyeeeeeegghhh

633:

NJ, and of course, the first reply to that comment? Yeah. About what you'd expect. Seriously, at this point, unless you agree in blind lockstep with PZ, Watson, or sadly it seems, laden, you are nothing more than a target for shit flung by the local simians.

Then again, when you walk around clapping yourself on the back all the time about how much better, and smarter you are than anyone else, eventually, you become a diarrhetic chimp commune. It's inevitable.

It's also avoidable. Just remember, there are 7 billion people and even more computers on this planet. most of them are probably smarter than you, and could replace you without trying terribly hard. Once you internalize that, the rest is easy.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 11, 2011 8:01 PM

642

"It's also avoidable. Just remember, there are 7 billion people and even more computers on this planet. most of them are probably smarter than you, and could replace you without trying terribly hard. Once you internalize that, the rest is easy."

This. Perspective is a bitch though.

Although, I fully stand behind (but a little far away because of fear) my spider allegory. Also, my 7 second video completely sums up the whole of this shit. I could only have improved it by splicing in Dawkins saying, "idiotic retard".

Posted by: Justicar | July 11, 2011 8:15 PM

643

I disagree, John Greg. She's bad, but she's not nearly to the levels achieved by seth. One time, that guy spent a week insisting that I wrong in saying "that should totally fall under depraved indifference" because it didn't currently fall under depraved indifference - despite the fact that I clearly pointed out that in some jurisdictions it did. It was a work of art in twisting... Although, since Rebecca was privy to that and many other arguments we had, I'm sure she's picked up a lot of the trade and added a fair amount of her own over the years.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 11, 2011 8:16 PM

644

Apparently, its only racism when a white is unjustly suspicious of a black, but not the other way around. I shit you not, he is literally suspicious of "the man" and justifiably so because he has been oppressed.

Just like a man is sexist if he thinks a woman is a gold digger. But a woman is justified when she thinks a man might be a rapist, WHY? Because nearly all rapes are committed by men on women!

(Why, most violent crimes are committed by minorities you say? Therefore, by their logic, you are justified in being suspicious? Well, that doesn't count because they have been oppressed! THUS they do not have privilege!)

If you disagree, well, you are just privileged (or a gender-traitor)!

The lack of logic, it BURNS! The goggles, they do NOTHING!

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 11, 2011 8:18 PM

645

I'd love to see a panel discussion with PZ, Watson and Blaghag on one side, and ERV, Dawkins, and oh, I dunno, Hemant on the other. The audience would get to play too. The rules are, when you respond to someone, you have to respond via the general tone they use online.

so by "panel discussion" I mean "chaos".

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 11, 2011 8:24 PM

646

@641

It's also avoidable. Just remember, there are 7 billion people and even more computers on this planet. most of them are probably smarter than you, and could replace you without trying terribly hard. Once you internalize that, the rest is easy

Also, the insults at least get a lot more entertaining: http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/frustrations/374d/

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 8:25 PM

647
...and oh, I dunno, Hemant on the other.

Gods damn, how is everything about that man so sexy?

Posted by: cthellis | July 11, 2011 8:29 PM

648

647:

Dude, I don't know. I'm not gay, not even close, and I still think he's a damned fine-lookin' hunk o'man. The fact he has an amazing intellect, and really tries hard to live up to his own ideals, even treating those who disagree with a certain consistent respect?

If I was gay or a straight female, I'd be ALL over that shit.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 11, 2011 8:49 PM

649

For fuck's sake, John.

A sexually deviant rapist predator like you . . . who won't you OBJECTIFY and SEXUALIZE in your quest?!

Poor Hemant.

(ps, take pictures if you can)

Posted by: Justicar | July 11, 2011 9:07 PM

650

Rystefn, you know, you're quite right. I well remember some of your battles with him. seth is a work of art ... chthonic art at that, but still....

Long after you left Skepchick seth involved me in one of his dictional masterpieces, which led to my eventual leaving of Skepchick at that time. He had me pulling my hair out with Internetz crazy-madness.

Posted by: John Greg | July 11, 2011 9:25 PM

651

I have a thousand thoughts
1) Rebecca's original video was fine. It is a little creepy to approach someone in an elevator at 4 in the morning
2) The response was also fine, it isn't that big a deal
3) Some of the responses at Skepchick and other places border on deranged. Calling Dawkins a "rape apologist" is beyond ridiculous.
3b) Some people are more interested in their fantasy version of what happened than what did. These are the people who insist the man approached her for sex, chose a venue where he would be able to intimidate her and has been shown absolutely that he knew she just wanted to sleep.
3c) some people over there seem to think that any woman who disagrees with the idea that all men are potential rapists and should keep away from women after dark is just posing as a woman
5) His post was itself ridiculous. The idea that as long as there are things much worse happening to other people you shouldn't really complain basically makes no sense.

Posted by: G.Shelley | July 11, 2011 10:00 PM

652

Shelley, his post wasn't "there are worse things than that, so stop complaining." It was "There are REAL things happening in the world, so stop complaining about nothing." That's a damned strong point.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 11, 2011 10:16 PM

653

G.Shelley:
The idea behind what Richard Dawkins said isn't that because worse bad things are happening somewhere means we shouldn't deal with less bad things. He's saying that the elevator incident is not in the category of "bad" at all. In other words, she might have been complaining about not getting the right kind of fries with her order - it's not what one would want to be the case, but it isn't bad that it happened. It's a non-event.

In order for your number 5.) to hold water, it would need to be the case that there is something bad that actually happened. Dawkins says it is not. And I agree.

Rebecca's video on the whole was fine. Boring, useless, but fine. But then she brings up the ordeal which she takes as a chance to admonish all men on behalf of women everywhere. She, in short, said, I don't appreciate x, therefore, women don't like x and further therefore all men should not do x.

So, if that's a valid chain, then I'm going to start letting it be known that paper makes me uncomfortable. Especially newspaper. I'm not allergic to it, per se; but just the smell gives me chills, the touch gives me chills and dries my mouth. It really bothers me - almost all paper. Therefore, to make my life easier, DO NOT walk around with a newspaper because you might run into me and make me uncomfortable.

Sorry, no. My discomfort with newspaper is my problem to work through; it is not a problem for the rest of the world to try to maneuver around.

Same thing with crayons: the smell and the touch give me chills and make my mouth go dry. Also, so do toothpicks. Just thinking about all of that right now has completely dried out my mouth like someone tossed in some alum powder.

This doesn't privilege me to tell anyone to do fuck all about anything. It is entirely my problem.

Same thing with not wanting people to speak to you in certain places/times. Don't like that people will talk to you while you're out in public? Don't be out in public. It's why I don't go paper stores, newspaper stands, and I never colored with my children. My problem, my responsibility to work around it - not anyone else's.

Posted by: Justicar | July 11, 2011 10:18 PM

654

Inquiry: did she call for a boycott of Richard Dawkins, or did she just say that she, personally, wasn't going to buy anymore of his works?

Posted by: D.T. | July 11, 2011 10:43 PM

655

She said that she wouldn't buy any more and that she would no longer recommend anyone do so either... which has a strong implication of advising people not to.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 11, 2011 10:56 PM

656

I think Justicar, as a homosexual, is sexually objectifying men and his posts make me uncomfortable. In fact, I think he probably should post on the other side of the street.

Does anyone want to talk about my anguish over this incident?

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 11, 2011 11:33 PM

657

Dear Breeder:

Yes, I know you can get married . . . but think of your American male sisters will you?

Signed,
The Dawk

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 12:28 AM

658

D.T. said:

"Inquiry: did she call for a boycott of Richard Dawkins, or did she just say that she, personally, wasn't going to buy anymore of his works?"

Rystefn said:

"She said that she wouldn't buy any more and that she would no longer recommend anyone do so either... which has a strong implication of advising people not to."

Actually, if we look at her position of power in the community and the degree of her influence over her followers, fans, etc., it is somewhat more than that. In my opinion her statements amount to a passive/agressive and profoundly intellectually dishonest endorsement and encouragement to boycott everything Dawkins, i.e, talks, books, etc.

As I pointed out earlier, I presented my thoughts on this issue to Watson over at Skepchick.org in response to an incredibly insulting attempt by Watson to shame someone who asked her if Dawkins's recent comments somehow rewrote his books into idiocy, but she just played remarkably childish and manipulative word games to avoid actually confronting the issue on an intellectually honest way.

She is but a child, an insecure child bloated with the success of Internetz "fame".

I think she is falling apart and even perhaps morphing into a sort of contemporary version of Andrea Dworkin, albeit without the Dyke side of it all.

I also think she is, like many, many "celebrities" before her, succumbing to her own press and believing in her own "myth", so to speak, which is of course the most toxic form of self-image self-destruction there is.

Posted by: John Greg | July 12, 2011 1:26 AM

659

"Inquiry: did she call for a boycott of Richard Dawkins, or did she just say that she, personally, wasn't going to buy anymore of his works?"

I believe that she said she was not going to buy any more.

However, when you're a leader, people will follow. It's expected. And people did.

The problem with the idea that she didn't intend this is that why bother saying? It's not like RD is going to change his mind just because he's lost one punter, is it. And therefore why tell him? He already knows she doesn't like his attitude. So the only purpose left is really that she wanted other people to join in to coerce RD.

Posted by: Wow | July 12, 2011 5:31 AM

660

"Dude, I don't know. I'm not gay, not even close, and I still think he's a damned fine-lookin' hunk o'man."

And until you've tried, how do you know you won't like it?

EVERY man is a potential homosexual. Maybe there's a "gay switch", which would certainly be of comfort to those wanting gay marriage banned: that COULD switch that gay switch and ruin the next generation!

Funny how Rebecca's helpers are helping the religious right in their gender hate.

Posted by: Wow | July 12, 2011 5:38 AM

661

Sorry, but I just can't let this one stand :

We sat in the audience in horror as she refused to talk on the subject her panel had been given, and instead went on a private rant, maligning four women from a previous panel for saying that women were welcomed in the atheist community, and had often held high positions in atheist organizations. Rebecca's latest personal attack during a public speaking engagement is certainly not her first. My fond hope is that it will be her last, and that she either agrees to abide by the principles of common decency, or is denied her bully pulpit.

That would have to be the same audience that I sat in. The one where most people listened with open mouths to Paula Kirby and Tanya Smith completely dismissing the existence of sexism in the atheist movement. The one where I asked Rebecca whether she was going to say something about this, and she said she was going to do it at the next panel, because the time was up. The same audience that cheered and applauded when Rebecca made her remarks on the later panel. Sorry, Victoria Johnson, but lying is never a good thing to do to sway an audience, not even on a blog. You may have looked on in horror as you say, but you would have been the only one. I note that the Watson-hating fanclub here welcomed your lie warmly and uncritically.

Posted by: Rorschach | July 12, 2011 5:50 AM

662

"because their vaginas erase the privilege they enjoy of never having that happen to them, and our penises erase our experience with having that happen to us (albeit often less extreme mutilation)."

Although this would mean that the advice to kick the bloke in the nuts should be discarded, since women don't know the pain that causes.

At least circumcision has a point: lower infection rate because there's no warm, moist area to grow bacteria.

What's a little eye-opening is that the insistence that women aren't as sex mad as men is very similar to the demand to mutilate women: women aren't allowed to enjoy sex. One makes it a social stigma to do so, the other one makes it a medical improbability.

Again the feminists are helping promote the same ideas as the religious suppressors of women do.

Oh, and to reduce the posts, to this claim:

"I will extend that to "a person being attacked is less likely to win than an attacker in a fight." "

Sorry, if you know you're in deep shit, you fight for something.

To some extent, being attacked by three people is easier than being attacked by one. You KNOW you're FUBAR. So you go all-out. No messing. Take them out and if that means they could die, you KNOW that it's them or you. Meanwhile they think that they have you. So going first, you have surprise (most KOs are from a punch never seen). So if you're lucky, one goes down for good. Now the two remaining are shocked. That gives you a chance to put another one down. If you do, the last one thinks that they're now fooked and they weren't in this for THAT to happen. So they scarper.

But you can beat a thousand assailants if you're too far away, so distance is ALWAYS your first option.

If you can't get away, TAKE NO PRISONERS. You're fighting for your life, they're fighting for your fanny. And you have just the one life, whereas there's plenty of muff in the world, so no point in getting hurt getting yours.

Posted by: Wow | July 12, 2011 5:53 AM

663

"I should really quit reaching for the most convenient excuse on hand. I'm going to dig myself a hole here for offending other people that have Asperger's"

That'd be me!

Don't worry, Southern Geologist, I wasn't intending censure (well, not much, barely a tap on the wrist), but there are women and men who want more than equality for women and given there are men who want LESS than equality, this isn't a problem. You need two extremes of equal nutcasery to have the proper position somewhere in between. Cutting off one extreme doesn't work. See "Overton Window" for what happens when you do that.

These feminist still, in the main, recognise that "no means no" means that men still can ask, even when they know women are better than men.

The situation here is that Jen, for example, isn't willing to accept that. Therefore making it specific to Jen hammers home the problem: she's setting herself up as the One True Source Of Right Thinking and that's pissing off not only men, but women too.

When you can make your point specific, you may be able to get actual change. If you make it general, it's more likely to be brushed off as "just hatin'".

Posted by: Wow | July 12, 2011 6:02 AM

664
You may have looked on in horror as you say, but you would have been the only one. I note that the Watson-hating fanclub here welcomed your lie warmly and uncritically.

What lie? She was talking about her and her husband. "We sat in the audience in horror", not "We, the audience, sat in horror..."

Posted by: windy | July 12, 2011 6:28 AM

666

It is possible, is it not rorschach, that SOME of the audience was not happy at watson's actions and that SOME of the audience was, and NEITHER OF THEM (either part of the audience) WAS WRONG?

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 12, 2011 8:04 AM

667

I don't have anything useful to say here right now. I just feel compelled to snag post 666.

Posted by: cthellis | July 12, 2011 8:20 AM

668

A WILD SPAMMED COMMENT APPEARS!

LOL!!

Posted by: ERV | July 12, 2011 8:23 AM

669

Well, The Guy in question just has to be outed now, just for the record.
Looks like the next conference is going to be comfortably held in that elevator, if this keeps up.

Wimminz can take the stairs.

Posted by: dustbubble | July 12, 2011 8:34 AM

671

Well, I think one important thing we can all take away from this is that Rebecca Watson is definitely NOT an attention whore.

Posted by: ERV | July 12, 2011 8:52 AM

672

Damn, I shouldn't have slept - good material here.
Rorshach:
I have not uncritically accepted anyone's views of what the audience were like during Paula Kirby's panel. I watched the video. I don't seem to remember a single boo. I don't seem to remember a single person standing up and calling them on the carpet for throwing their sisters under a bus. Rebecca was in the audience; she could have availed herself of doing it there.

And, rereading the comments, she spoke for her and her husband. Novel, isn't it? She spoke for herself and her husband (whom she presumably knows and talks to about things occasionally). She's not saying her perception of events is the universe's perception. She said she knows what she thought about, and she knows what her husband thought about it. Seems imminently reasonable to me - constraining her opinion to two people, one of which she can absolutely know to be a fair representation, and the other she can be fairly confident in. Well, unless you want to posit that her husband might not be honest with her. I am not so much an ass to assume that of him.

Perhaps you could even try learning from this little exercise: don't speak for the whole fucking world. State your perspective; state your opinion; represent what you think. Just because you think/feel something doesn't mean it generalizes. Asshole.

Oh, that's right - the Q&A is NOT the appropriate time for her to ask a question or voice her displeasure because she can't monopolize the time since the speakers have the power. I have watched the video twice, and I fail to see where any of the ladies on the panel have said that sexism is a done deal, an afterthought of a bygone era.

Indeed, it started off with the announcement that though fully a third of the audience that day were women, it's still not good enough. But that it's better than it has been, so it's progress but not yet quite where it needs to be.

The panelists discussed their personal interactions and perspectives. Why are their perspectives somehow invalid, but Rebecca Watson's perspectives The Gospel?

Oh wait, I know why: Paula Kirby is privileged. Mary Ann Waters is privileged. Rebecca Watson? She's being oppressed.

Paula Kirby: ladies, don't want to be invited to speak. Start speaking. Do not wait for the door to be opened for you; open it and walk through. If someone stands in your way, puts an obstacle in your path, kick him in the balls, walk over it and get the job done.

You: how dare you say sexism doesn't exist?! TRAITOR!

cthellis:
Better luck next time!

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 9:09 AM

673

Chris Mooney is an extremely petty individual as well- I can guarantee you despite this ridiculous write up (RW has important "work" in the movement) he didn't even know her prior to the controversy. And I also guarantee you that our favorite little templeton prize winner doesn't give a crap about "elevgatorgate" beyond attempting to slander Dawkins reputation.

I really hope Rebecca is happy. A week ago, she was a new atheist that displayed utter contempt for religion (sometimes, despite Steven Novella urging, she couldn't keep it to herself). This week, she is a concern troll arguing the atheist movement is a secret vehicle of male privilege.

Proof positive ideas doesn't mean anything when attention is available. Now PZ is really in a catch 22- his girl is now working with his mortal enemy to discredit the movement.

Posted by: Tom | July 12, 2011 9:09 AM

674

Oh yes. So true! Not at all. ;^}

I'm sure, just like Jen McC, she just wants it all to go away so she can get back to her nice quiet, happy life!

Posted by: mk | July 12, 2011 9:10 AM

675

lol@ERV

No, she's not.

This reminds me of Bob Saget's comedy central roasting where Gilbert Gottfried was doing his "raped and killed a girl in 1990" refrain.
http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=179741&title=gilbert-gottfried-pt.-1

I don't know why though.

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 9:16 AM

676

On Skeptchick "The Privilege Delusion" RW wrote:

Despite the fact that I’ve seen hundreds of comments from those of you who plan to do the same, I’m sure Dawkins will continue to be stinking rich until the end of his days. But those of us who are humanists and feminists will find new, better voices to promote and inspire, and Dawkins will be left alone to fight the terrible injustice of standing in elevators with gum-chewers.

Well, i seriously hope that she doesn't think that self-proclaimed Feminist Primadonna Rebecca Watson herself should be that new voice for humanists and feminists?!!!

Posted by: thememe | July 12, 2011 9:22 AM

677

That's right. A prestigious oxford professor that devoted his life's work to advancing biological sciences, a best selling author, and brought the atheist movement to the forefront of american society should be left in the dust. Why? Because we have a completely uneducated, non-scientist, internet celerity to provide a new voice to "promote and inspire"!

Give me a break. Also why was the "stinking rich" comment included? Is it additional part of the male patriarchy to have money now?

Posted by: Tom | July 12, 2011 9:29 AM

678

Tom:
It's the same reason that Paula Kirby is useless and retarded now. Apparently, work hard for all of your life and become "successful" and you're suddenly too inept to know what it takes for "regular" women to "make it".

Silly Richard Dawkins. I feel so sorry for him being such a great writer. Why, if only half as many people bought his books, attended his lectures, realized that "atheist" isn't a slur, well, then he'd be twice as able of understanding.

There seems to be some inverse relationship between success and having insight on what it takes to become successful. This is a highly asymmetric model, which I think deserves further scrutiny. How do all these clearly inept people make it to the top, or even the high middle area, while all of the people who really know how it works, who really understand what it takes, who really "get it" can't seem to do it? No doubt it's part of the Spiderarchy.

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 9:34 AM

679

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/aboutus/
"Chris [Mooney] is a science and political journalist..."

Mooney as a professional journalist will no doubt refuse to broadcast a one-sided view of the events. He will demand that RW identify EG so that he can ask him about his side of the events.

Posted by: Michael | July 12, 2011 9:37 AM

680

Dawkins will be left alone to fight the terrible injustice of standing in elevators with gum-chewers.
So wait a minute. This started out with Dawkins making a point that standing in elevators and chewing gum weren't worth worrying about. And now that has somehow been twisted around to being the only thing he's worried about. Is Rebecca Watson really that detached from reality?

Still, watching Rorschach's post - laden with emotionally loaded terms (lying, hating) - being demolished by windy, Abbie and John using, you know, logic and evidence made my day. It really shows which side of this debate is sticking to critical thinking and rational skepticism.

Posted by: Spence | July 12, 2011 9:44 AM

681

@670 mk: "Suffice it to say that it involves not only what one skeptic man (now infamously) said to Watson in an elevator at 4 in the morning, but how Richard Dawkins then dove in and minimized the incident.

We’ll be discussing this and the lessons to be taken from it–as well as Watson’s important work to spread skepticism and, especially, to make the skeptic movement a more welcoming place for women."

And the previous blog post there was called "Newsflash: Astroturfing Works". Yes. Yes it does. Head, meet desk.

"Comments here will be considered as possible questions and jumping-off points for the show."

Somehow, based on the teaser, I think I can guess which comments will not be considered.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 12, 2011 9:46 AM

682

Mooney will demand that RW's tale fits his accommodationist narrative. She likes the attention. He likes a chance to take shots at Richard Dawkins and the new atheists in generally. Merely a relationship of mutual opportunity. That is all.

Posted by: Tom | July 12, 2011 9:46 AM

683

Tom@#682

"Mooney will demand that RW's tale fits his accommodationist narrative. She likes the attention."

Will someone please toss a small hand mirror between them so we can watch these two silly gits fight to the death.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 12, 2011 10:00 AM

684
A WILD SPAMMED COMMENT APPEARS!

LOL!!

NOOOOOOooooooOOOOOOO!!

That's it, I'm done with the lot of you~!

cthellis:
Better luck next time!
*weeps bitter tears of bitterness*

Posted by: cthellis | July 12, 2011 10:15 AM

685

667:

I don't have anything useful to say here right now. I just feel compelled to snag post 666.

(nelson) HA-ha(/nelson)

Sincerely,

Satan.

680:

That's something that the PZ Blogpets don't get. There is nothing wrong with blunt arguments, or calling someone out in a direct fashion. Cthulu knows I'll not say profanity is wrong either, nor is a really good rant. Sometimes, *sometimes* even being abusive is called for, to get the point across that you are really, really unhappy.

But it can't be your only tactic, it can't even be your favorite tactic and I say this as someone who has turned abusing companies who don't like to listen to polite into a bit of an art form. I'd much rather NOT have to do that. Yes, it's fun, but it's depressing. "Really? I told you the same thing in a calm, polite fashion a month ago and you told me to pound sand. I abuse you like Dibs in public and all of a sudden you're so willing to listen. WHY ARE YOU TEACHING ME THIS TACTIC?"

However, it's what PZ likes, it's what Jen and Laden and all the others like. "They disagree, they are other, they have no rights, bring the rain." It's not just their first tactic, it is, from what I can tell, their only tactic. And if you dare say "Look, there's a difference between blunt and...whatever the fuck this is", then you get attacked just as viciously for being a "coward". (Which is amusing given that PZ never comes CLOSE to his blog tone in public. So who's the coward?) It's all bullshit.

It's why I dig people like Abbie and Hemant. Hemant is blunt and forthright, but he manages to do so with some respect for the other. Even when he thinks, and calls them stupid, he never descends into the pharyngularity. Abbie is *perfectly* willing to return fire in as withering a barrage as possible, but she has always seemed (to me at least) to be just as willing and able to actually discuss things with people who disagree at their level. If they're being decent, she seems to return the favor. if they're being tools, well, okay, that game can be played as well.

The set of replies to Rorschach is a perfect example of this. They aren't exactly *genteel*, but they are to the point, and primarily attacking his points. a lot of folks should learn from this.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 12, 2011 10:15 AM

686

It seems hard to understand how Mooney will navigate his base desire to attack both Dawkins and PZ in this instance--both of whom he has painted with the same broad, illogical brush--with each one being the focal point on "both sides of this serious, serious divide" that is totally only the fault of some random internet commenter shmucks, and totally isn't being used as a bludgeoning tool by other prominent members of the community.

The set of replies to Rorschach is a perfect example of this. They aren't exactly *genteel*, but they are to the point, and primarily attacking his points. a lot of folks should learn from this.
Why should we listen to anything you have to say when you are an incorrect, scurrilous buttmunch whose points can have no actual meaning because of something something tone warrior something traitor poopyhead?

Posted by: cthellis | July 12, 2011 10:38 AM

687

What Mooney and Watson have in common is that they have both been at the centre of schisms in the 'skeptic movement' due to proscriptions on behaviour. When Mooney was telling PZ to change his behaviour in order to not scare off liberal theists, PZ's response was that "nobody has a right to be not offended". When he stabbed a nail though a cracker, no actual harm was done to anyone (though some Catholics decreed it a hate crime). Plenty of people were offended, but his position was that it was their problem; he shouldn't have to modify his behaviour in order to pander to their feelings.

Things seem a little different this time around for some reason.

Posted by: Mark | July 12, 2011 11:29 AM

688

@Mark

Things seem a little different this time around for some reason.

You don't get it because of privilege. Or something...

Posted by: Blargh | July 12, 2011 1:06 PM

689

LOL @ Mr. Deity.

"Now, had she been chewing gum..."

Posted by: ERV | July 12, 2011 1:10 PM

690

I was just about to link that Mr. Deity with a "this will end well."

Also, more YouTube commenters to support whateverthefuck you feel like! Hooray!

I'm sure it's already somehow brought in Jewish Conspiracies and the 2012 apocalypse...

Posted by: cthellis | July 12, 2011 1:29 PM

691

That was just fucking brilliant!!

Posted by: mk | July 12, 2011 1:48 PM

692

This is why I stick with the funny people. I need jokes to cope with stress. You guys have been great, but the Mr. Deity crew just knocked it out of the park.

Posted by: Gabby | July 12, 2011 1:56 PM

693

Re Rorshach @ 661

Rorshach: How on earth can you interpret my personal feelings as "a lie"? I expressed how I (and my husband) felt about the presentations. I never said that the whole audience felt that way. Indeed there were people present who supported Rebecca, including Skepchick fans, PZ, and members of the Horde. There were also some people that agreed with us; we have spoken with some of them at the conference. I wouldn't venture to guess how many people fell into each camp.

I am offended by being called a liar, as I value my honesty and integrity rather highly. However, given the sort of profanity-laden feces-slinging that characterizes "argument" in the typical thread on Pharyngula, I guess I should be happy you didn't suggest various activities with a rotting porcupine.

As to honesty, I use my real name when I comment. Is Rorschach your first name, your last name, or an anonymous cover?

Posted by: Victoria Johnson | July 12, 2011 2:23 PM

694

@#688

I gather that if I look deep into my heart I will find enlightenment. Good job there's still a way for this man of privilege to be saved!

@#689

Amazing!

Posted by: Mark | July 12, 2011 2:23 PM

695

Justicar #672

For the record Victoria and I talk all the time about many things. We also read each other's posts before they are posted - both as an editor and as ERV has stated it is best to write, wait, and edit most postings.

Posted by: Bob Johnson | July 12, 2011 2:31 PM

696

@Bob Johnson:
I was working under the premise that you and Victoria spoke. I only put it that way to point out the absurdity of the completely unfounded charge by Rorschach up-thread. If it came across as anything otherwise, then I profoundly apologize for it as nothing more than to ridicule the gentleman up-thread was my intent.

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 2:43 PM

697

he never descends into the pharyngularity.

I used to descend into the pharyngularity, before it got too popular. /hipster mode off

Posted by: windy | July 12, 2011 3:16 PM

698

So, why doesn't Rorshach come back and apologise?

That's one of the things that drives me batty about all these Internet battles. When some poster is proven to either be clearly in the wrong or to have lied they so rarely, rarely fess up, admit it, and apologise. Are people really so afraid of admitting error? I always apologise when I am proven in the wrong. If you ask me, to do so is liberating.

Anyway, I tried to comment on an earlier Rystefn post yesterday, but for some reason it was not allowed and never appeared. I got a message saying I was being moderated. I don't know why though. It was a quite reasonable message explicating Watson's dishonesty and word games in our wee debate about the Dawkins boycott. So, ERV, what did I do wrong? Was it my white male privilege that did me in?

Posted by: John Greg | July 12, 2011 3:35 PM

699

Sorry, John-- I dont see any of your comments in the spam trap, or in the very sneaky 'pending comments' trap. Is the one you left #658?

Posted by: ERV | July 12, 2011 3:40 PM

700

Ooops. Yep. That's it.

/blushes in his ancient embarrassed blindeness

I 'umbly offer you my apple oagies.

"... the very sneaky 'pending comments' trap." LOL.

Posted by: John Greg | July 12, 2011 3:44 PM

701

Lovely spaaaam, wonderful spaaaaaam...!

Posted by: cthellis | July 12, 2011 4:55 PM

702

Victoria Johnson: "Rorshach: How on earth can you interpret my personal feelings as "a lie"? I expressed how I (and my husband) felt about the presentations. I never said that the whole audience felt that way. Indeed there were people present who supported Rebecca, including Skepchick fans, PZ, and members of the Horde."

FOR THE HORDE!

Posted by: Roger | July 12, 2011 5:34 PM

703

Hello everyone,

I am a first-time poster. In fact, apart from a few posts here and there at richarddawkins.net, this is perhaps the first time that I have ever posted in an "atheist/skeptic/science-type" blog. However, I am an ardent lurker of various humanist websites, and I have been following the likes of Pharyngula, WEIT etc for a number of years now. I very rarely read the comments sections of these blogs: my internet/faffing about time is extremely limited, and I have such a range of interests on the 'net that I find it hard to become too embroiled in any one thing for a prolonged length of time.

In saying that, I have become extremely involved over the last week or two in the recent Elevator Guy travesty, finding myself unable to sleep most nights because I am up until the wee hours of the morning, ravenously inhaling as many reader comments to the various blogs relating to this issue as is humanly possible. As a result I have been exposed to a veritable Smörgåsbord of differing tones, views and attitudes in the comments sections of the various blogs, and it has been a truly enlightening experience.

I had no idea that the various skeptic blogs contained such a wildly differing array of posters. I began my voracious blog-reading escapade at Pharyngula, where I read Dawkins's first post shortly after it had been posted. My initial reaction was overwhelming amusement: I had been surprised at how seriously the posters at Pharyngula has been taking Watson's anecodote, and it was a real breath of fresh air for me to read Dawkins's cutting dismissal of its relevance. The resulting shit-storm in the comments was nothing short of ludicrous. Hundreds upon hundreds of outraged fuck-wits screaming blue-murder about "privilege" and "ivory towers" and how a renowned supporter of womens' rights "just doesn't get it" (I'd put that last bit in italics for emphasis, but I don't know how to do it). It really did pain me to see that the vast, vast consensus of opinion was strongly in favour of that snivelling blow-hard Watson, and overwhelmingly against the legend that is Richard Dawkins. I was starting to wonder just what in the hell I had been doing spending so much time reading atheist blogs when the majority of the people who frequent them were such quick-to-be-offended, no-nothing douche-bags. (That "Caine, Fleur du mal" guy in particular- what a prick! Does he know how to do anything apart from condescendingly refer to people as "cupcakes" and tell them to "fuck off"?)

This has been an overly-long ramble and so I shall cut to the chase: thank FUCK for blogs such as ERV. I had only ever heard of ERV a few times before, and I remember watching her hour-long talk with PZ Myers a few years ago, but I had never checked out her blog until a few days ago. I have read all of the posts here, and I am really glad to find so many learned and coherent individuals who share my views on the matter. I have also been made of aware of other blogs, such as The Friendly Atheist's and Miranda Celeste's, and I now have a whole cavalcade of new and excellent blogs to check out. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the 95% of you who have posted in this forum for helping me to not lose my sanity over the past couple of days. I think that I would have just given up on these kinds of sites if I hadn't encountered you all. Cheers.

Posted by: Mr. DNA | July 12, 2011 5:38 PM

704

Hello Mr. DNA,
I concur. ERV's blog is one of the rare places where sanity is always the soupe-du-jour. I too rarely read the comments on the sundry science blogs I frequent, and post even less, but like you I made an exception here.

Posted by: frank habets | July 12, 2011 6:19 PM

705

I think two of the most popular critical thinking/skeptical posts at Pharyngula are "Shut up", and "Fuck off." Amazing, really.

Posted by: John Greg | July 12, 2011 6:32 PM

706

Justicar @696.

No offense taken; no apology required. I read your post exactly as you intended. I just wanted everyone else to be clear ("For the record") on my position.

PS- Sorry for the delay getting back to you, as I was getting my garden in shape for when I'm off to TAM 9.

Posted by: Bob Johnson | July 12, 2011 6:40 PM

707

@ Mr. DNA: [shift]+[comma][i][shift]+[period] keys in front of the stuff to be italicised, with [shift]+[comma][forward slash][i][shift]+[period] keys at the back end.
I'm still nervous of [Enter]. Have visions of the carriage shooting across and punting my tin of Special Brew across the room. Just pile in, and check with the [Preview] button. Stiff upper lip and all that, old chap.

Posted by: dustbubble | July 12, 2011 7:32 PM

708
I think two of the most popular critical thinking/skeptical posts at Pharyngula are "Shut up", and "Fuck off." Amazing, really.
Which is a shame, because "fuck up" and "shut off" are far more amusing commands.

Posted by: cthellis | July 12, 2011 7:34 PM

709

Mr. DNA:
As the leader of the 5% team here on ERV, I am authorized to say you're welcome. I don't know if the "other" group will say anything.

John Greg:
shut up and fuck off!

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 7:35 PM

710

We just sent Mr. Deity an extra donation (we're already subscribers). He is bound to receive a lot of flak over his last video, so I might suggest that a few words of support, or even better a donation (if you can afford it) would be great.

Posted by: Victoria Johnson | July 12, 2011 7:42 PM

711

I thought about, but my involvement in this has already reduced my income - google disabled my ad sense account because my content presented a "threat" to their advertisers' interested. So to protect their advertisers, they disabled my account.

Meh. I guess I'll have to forgo hookers and beer for a while.

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 7:48 PM

712

Amendment. Send a donation to Justicar. Support hookers and beer.

Posted by: Victoria Johnson | July 12, 2011 8:07 PM

713

lol
Not why I mentioned, but I appreciate the sentiment. Just that, you know, if you're going to take the unpopular side in such a thing, there are consequences. I knew that going in, particularly with the approach I decided on. Meh.

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 8:12 PM

714

Frank: Great minds think alike my man.

John Greg: If I was PZ I would be deeply, deeply concerned at the overall douche-baggery that seems to prevail in the Pharyngula comments scetion. Although perhaps I just don't "get it". :/

dustbubble: Thanks for the help, but I have been faffing about trying to do as you suggest and I can't get it to work. Am I supposed to write the word out that I want italicised, highlight it, and then press [shift]+[comma] or [shift]+[period]? That's probably completely wrong, but I'm too idiotic to decipher your help. Thanks anyway, though!

cthellis: "Fuck up" (which is similar to the old faithful "fuck off") is a beautiful expression, although I was not aware that it was very common outside of my native Scotland. Do you live there?

Justicar: It is painfully obvious that from your posts both here and in various other blogs over the past week or so (Miranda's; Ophelia's etc.), that you are a fully paid-up member of the 95% to whom my initial post was directed. Although I have also learned through actually reading the comments sections over the past wee while that Ophelia won't be reading this comment. Too many "epithets" for her liking. And not enough broomsticks. ;)

Posted by: Mr. DNA | July 12, 2011 8:19 PM

715

I've just renewed my subscription to Mr. Deity (yes, I was a lapsed misterdeist).

Here is the epistle of support I sent him:

"O Mr. Deity,
When I changed credit cards, I had forgotten to carry over my subscription to your show.
Seeing your latest video reminded me I should give a tithe of a tithe of a tithe of my income to such a worthy 'cause'. I expect you will lose some of your fan base after you've defended Mr. Dawkins, so I hope this will make up for it a bit.
Amen,
Frank Habets
Patron Saint of tomato sandwiches"

Posted by: frank habets | July 12, 2011 8:32 PM

716

ZOMG, you read my blog! I'm telling everyone!

I have to say, I was taken a bit aback reading Ophelia scolding Rebecca Watson about not wearing the right kind of clothing. Particularly given that about a month ago Ophelia had an article about how it's nobody's fucking business what people are wearing, and it's sexist to point it (IIRC - not going back to find it).

Rebecca, in my estimation, was perfectly right to essentially tell Ophelia where to shove that kind of talk. It was nice to see that "Twatson" is a worse crime than gender traitor. She majorly objects to "genderized"insults, but apparently is content with the "Dear Dick" letter campaign.

The tone card from Ophelia Benson. This past week has certainly been an interested exercise in revealing people's inner-selves instead of what they tell everyone they are, present company excluded.

So, take heart, Abbie, you're slightly less despised than I am . . . barely.

I want to stay in the 5% . . . playing the victim is current atheist fad you know. Try as I might, I haven't been able to myself cornered in any elevators, so I don't have a good reason to cry out . . .

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 8:33 PM

717

Justicar:
"This past week has certainly been an interested exercise in revealing people's inner-selves instead of what they tell everyone they are, present company excluded."

So what have I learned from this whole escapade? Read the comments section! The spur-of-the-moment, unedited comments from certain posters has indeed been extremely revealing, as I have found out a great deal about the character of the various bloggers to whom I have been invested for the past few years. I have Ophelia's blog bookmarked: I find her to have a snappy writing style, and she tells a good anecdote. But you know, all of this crap coming from her over the past week or so, lambasting ERV and yourself for daring to have a sense of humour, is very disheartening. And her support of Watson is obviously also extremely disappointing. She obviously doesn't get it.

This might be bad form, and if it is then I have no porblem with it being removed, but I just watched this YouTube video about the whole deal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqU9JFbtucU&feature=channel_video_title), and I think that the dude sums it up well. I'm not normally a huge fan of The Amazing Atheist, but this video points out the honest-to-goodness lunacy of the whole ultra-feminist position in relation to this issue.

Posted by: Mr. DNA | July 12, 2011 8:54 PM

718

LOL!

"Not even 'for sure hit' on."

Posted by: ERV | July 12, 2011 9:05 PM

719

I think Abbie should make it a rule here that no one is allowed to quote me. Invariably, the section being quoted has a typo! My keyboard is oppressing me - help!

This event hasn't changed my mind about most people in it. Ophelia's blog is sometimes interesting, sometimes not. Pharyngula is one I check every few weeks and skim over it to see if there's anything I shouldn't live without knowing. I've contributed to maybe 5 or 6 threads there. Maybe. I don't mind a rough and tumble crowd in the least, but at some point the conversation has to go from a string insults to something of substance or I lose interest. Well, unless you're really, really clever with the insults. I now only skim those blogs real fast now, mainly to see how much shit's being talked about me. =^_^=
I've never paid attention to TJ on youtube; he's always been too erratic and off-putting to me. Plus, I've never heard him say anything interesting. But he subscribed to my channel last night, so I'm not sure if my channel is heading in the direction I want it go or not . . . on the other than Wildwoodclaire1 subscribed to me. She's a hoot, and does excellent geology videos as well. Her pwnage video series, travels with creatards, is awesome if I do say so myself.

Reading up-thread, I really need to start using "preview" before I post. I'm making a lot of silly grammatical errors. le sigh.

If you want to see someone who does top notch science videos on youtube, check out "thelivingdinosaur". He's a PhD biochemist I think. He has a series titled "Holy Hallucinations", and they're animated quite superbly. He probably spends 3 weeks or so making a video.

Look at me babble!

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 9:17 PM

720

Can we have some GeekAid for Mr.DNA here please? (A redirect to some hyperlink on html codes (x or other) is not going to work).
He's not an idiot, I believe. And I'm a jiner to trade, and a gey auld yin forbye. So I likely am, and floundering a bit.

Thing is, Mr.DNA, gif I schaw Yee thon Runes, ye Device eates thame upp, and enacts ye magicke Spell which chaunges ye Wordis intil thair shiftet schapes.
I shall try to disguise them. Substitute [the character above the comma on that key] and [the character above the dot, next door] for [ { ] and [ } ] (ignoring the square brackets, I should add ..
Type piecewise into the box, literally, no fancy-dan highlights.

{i}.. get ti Freuchie whaur the French-men gang ..{/i}
then see if you've done it right with the onscreen [Preview] radio button.

See? Much more satisfying than dreary old "fuck off".

Posted by: dustbubble | July 12, 2011 9:17 PM

721

Ok, this video is the bees knees. This religious girl . . church of radical atheist feminism.

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 9:23 PM

722

dustbubble:

ahhahahahaaaa!!! Can you believe that I did actually try this method before asking for help, and it didn't work! I must not have done it correctly. But now I have! Thanks for spelling it out to me in terms that even an idiot could understand. I think that's the reason that I finally got it. Now I just need to figure out how to do quote tags...

Justicar:

I unsubscribed to TJ's videos a while back, but I had to re-subscribe after watching this video. It's just beautiful.

Posted by: Mr. DNA | July 12, 2011 9:38 PM

723
You mean this video on YouTube we can all watch

OK, so I actually bothered to watch Watson. This is the face of modern feminism? Someone should take advantage of the opportunity and hook a dynamo to Elizabeth Cady Stanton's grave.

Posted by: Dave | July 12, 2011 9:45 PM

724

I'll watch his next couple of videos and see how they go. It's not like he needs my support anyway - he's the most popular atheist on youtube I think. He has something like 1.75 times Tf00t's audience.

Dave:
apparently. She's a "leader" in the atheist movement. News to me since I was unaware I was a follower. Shows how low on the totem pole I am.

Posted by: Justicar | July 12, 2011 9:53 PM

725

It is AMAZING what white womens privilege can do to stir up a hornets nest of conversation!

RD was so right as both a rationalist who agrees that manufactured controversy has actual value (food supply)--and Rebecca is right too, because in the white woman's universe, every man that doesn't merely tip his hat and acknowledge her privilege is non-Victorian(on top of the list of privileged well-fed individuals has always been white American women to dump some protein on) ...

I mean, we all know that stirring the gene pool is what males are designed to do--which is good for all of us-- and that in the end, she has positioned herself right center to a bunch of men who can really stir up conversation--and cleverly, manufactured controversy that will ensure her gametes get noticed.

http://pornalysis.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/inspiring-white-females-to-action-rationalization-of-late-term-post-partum-white-female-privilege-abjection-and-feminist-cowardice/

Posted by: pornonimous | July 12, 2011 9:56 PM

726
OK, so I actually bothered to watch Watson. This is the face of modern feminism? Someone should take advantage of the opportunity and hook a dynamo to Elizabeth Cady Stanton's grave.
I must warn you, this can have dire consequences...

Posted by: cthellis | July 12, 2011 9:59 PM

727

The fearless leader Herr Myers,

Comments closed here, because I've put up with enough of the hysterical delusions of people offended by calm, nuanced, proportionate statements ...

And with that thousands of irony meters explode all over the interwebz in a light show that can be seen from space.

Posted by: JD | July 12, 2011 10:01 PM

728

From Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon [1]:

If I were designing a phony religion, I'd surely include a version of this little gem---but I'd have a hard time saying it with a straight face:


If anybody ever raises questions or objections about our religion that you cannot answer, that person is almost certainly Satan. In fact, the more reasonable the person is, the more eager to engage you in open-minded and congenial discussion, the more sure you can be that you're talking to Satan in disguise! Turn away! Do not Listen! It's a trap!


What is particularly cute about this trick is that it is a perfect "wild card," so lacking in content that any sect or creed or conspiracy can use it effectively. Communist cells can be warned that any criticism they encounter is almost sure to be the work of FBI infiltrators in disguise, and radical feminist discussion groups can squelch any unanswerable criticism by declaring it to be phallocentric propaganda being unwittingly spread by a brainwashed dupe of the evil patriarchy, and so forth. This all-purpose loyalty-enforcer is paranoia in a pill, sure to keep the critics muted if not silent.

So, do we need room under the bus for Dennett too?

[1] Chapter 8, Belief in Belief

Posted by: Nibi | July 12, 2011 10:06 PM

729

JD, you have to wonder whether PZ actually reads the comments to his own posts. Any objective observer can plainly see (thanks, dustbubble) that most of the Pharyngula commenters, at least over the past week or so, have been anything but "calm and proportionate". I mean- WTF is he talking about? How is "fuck off, gender-traitor" and "you just don't get it..." "proportionate"? Richard Dawkins must have a very red forehead, what with all of the violent facepalming that he is currently engaged with.

Posted by: Mr. DNA | July 12, 2011 10:15 PM

730

Especially just for justicar I will now, for the evening, shut off and fuck up.

Um....

Mr. DNA, I'm afraid that when it comes to Pharyngula, I just don't get it either. I must be a simpering mysogynystyc (say! what about all those Ys eh?) rapist apologist nazi sympathiser, etc....

Oh yes, oh yes, I am so sorry I know it's all been said before so just crucify me as a parrot ... a dead parrot ... a bloody dead parrot with a handkerchief on its head.

Gosh. It's so pleasant here. And it seems, at first droppings, to be so calm, and intellectual. Say, are we elites?

Ooh! Pop-eyes!

Oh, and Justicar, I too have read your blog. Can you do me a great, great favour (please note the Canadian spelling) and tell everyone?

JD said:

"And with that thousands of irony meters explode all over the interwebz in a light show that can be seen from space."

ROFLOL! Truly.

Posted by: John Greg | July 12, 2011 11:40 PM

731

thx Nibi, very intersting read.


You know guys, i came to the hole elevatorgate-'debate' with quite an open mind. I don't think there is prevalent sexism going on in secular movements....and i can't see why the elevator-incident has anything to do with sexism at all. But I could have been wrong, as I was often wrong on various issues in the past. Maybe its me, who lost every sense of reality and perspective....quite possible...
I wanted to see some compelling evidence and reasoning that proves their point. But there wasn't any (Hint: No, anecdotes, 'appeal to emotion'-stories and cheap character assassination campaigns DON'T PROOF anything). That's why I find it somehow disturbing why many high-profile atheists and skeptics buy into Rebecca Watsons bullshit. *arghhhh*
Maybe it's just because they want to be 'good guys', and not Satan-preachers (aka misogynists, rapist-defenders...).
Pleeaaase....PZ Myers...Phil Plait..and many others, come back to reality!!!

Posted by: thememe | July 12, 2011 11:49 PM

732

john Greg, when I start detecting your quoting from my blog while you're casually talking, then I'll confirm you've read it!

Does anyone know how much Rebecca Watson gets by way by a speaking fee? It would be interesting to see how much money one makes as a useless blowhard.I digress.

We should get Rebecca Watson a tshirt:
I'm not half the woman PZ Myers is!

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 12:03 AM

733

Well, slap my flimsy wrist and call me a total moron, but I just had to post a nasty, evil, wicked thingy over at Watson's place PR market:

http://skepchick.org/2011/07/frequently-answered-questions/#comment-128803

I am so ashamed.

But I just could not help myself.

The sycophancy just curdled my tummy and ruined the fine pinot noir that I was supping ... sipping ... well, one or the other.

Posted by: John Greg | July 13, 2011 12:05 AM

734

We should get Rebecca Watson a tshirt:
I'm not half the woman PZ Myers is!

Ahahahaha!!! Screaming with laughter!

Jeebles I wish I was gay; I'd come over and rodger your dodger for a fortnight.

Posted by: John Greg | July 13, 2011 12:07 AM

735

First time commenting here at ERV.
If there is a good thing to come out of this nonsense its that I have discovered this blog, among others, and had revealed the sad fact that even where critical thinking is supposed to reign, is suppose to be our default mode of operations, our band isn't wholly immune to cults of personality.

Rebecca Watson stands revealed, I think, with her latest blog "The Privilege Delusion" as a very shallow, and petty person. Consider her current dismissal of Dawkins, all his work and his current efforts to promote reason, to oppose religious misogyny everywhere over a simple disagreement. Lets keep in mind, this is the result of a difference of opinion. How petty can one get? The hypocrisy of her allies is no less annoying. It is completely okay to get worked up over terms like cunt, but anyone can be a dick. As Christopher Hitchens might say, "Its all enough to make a cat laugh."
Since everyone else has kindly shared their blog and their thoughts on Watson, I hope no one will mind me doing the same. Enjoy.
http://www.maxiitheblindwatchmaker.blogspot.com/

Thanks for the wonderful comments and the blog.

Posted by: Max | July 13, 2011 12:11 AM

736

Well, as long as that's all you have on your mind. If you'd offered me coffee, we'd have to have to words, you potentially sick fucker.

You might as well have just typed over there, "I came, I saw, I learned nothing".

It would be hysterical if all of the gender traitors showed up wearing a tshirt that read that. Particularly when he's on the panel about feminism: are we being oppressed?

*imagines*

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 12:14 AM

737

The campaign against Richard Dawkins is just depressing. I may not agree with everything Richard Dawkins says but this is a professor, a scientist, someone who has actively advocated for education and equality of women being oppressed in religion, an author who has sold more books and inspired individuals with them than anyone in atheist history (in my opinion).

Rebecca Watson, I don't know who you are but on track record alone you don't hold a candle to Dawkins. And this is coming from someone who cringe when he hears Dawkins say "us evolutionists".

Lets observe again what Dawkins great crime was? Rape? Being a pedophile? Cheating on his wife? Siphoning money from his organization?

.... A sarcastic post on Pharyngula to focus on more pertinent issue in a shit storm of comments.

Posted by: Cheng Vang | July 13, 2011 12:35 AM

738

Cheng Vang:
if Abbie hadn't already given out all of the internets, I'd recommend you for one.

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 12:37 AM

739

We put heroes up on pedestals only to knock them down later, and elect new heroes.
Or, in the language of Catholics everywhere: we put female heroes up on pedestals so we cn look underneath their dresses...

PZ is a cowardly, wannabe Richard Dawkins lite--and there is something in Minnesota that just ain't quite right when it comes to girls and women--after all, Minnesota girls are a huge part of the sex pipeline of prostitution. I wonder exactly what it is those minnesota moms are teaching their girls abouut money, power, and 'fame'.

1977:http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20069806,00.html

1999: http://www.heart-intl.net/HEART/080105/JuvenileProstitutionMinn.pdf

Now:http://www.ncjfcj.org/content/blogcategory/191/286/

Maybe they mommas is a bit too close to them...

Posted by: pornonimous | July 13, 2011 1:16 AM

740

Cheng Vang (#737),

The campaign against Richard Dawkins is just depressing. ...

So true as was your description of his contributions. Yet in PZ's mind the insane and unjustified strawmaning of Dawkins comments that led to a call to boycott him and and claims that he was a rape apologist were "calm, nuanced, proportionate statements"

Myers has lost the plot. His cred has taken a huge hit and I have a feeling people will be using the "calm, nuanced, proportionate statements" as new meme whenever PZ goes another rant regardless of the topic. It's hilarious.

Posted by: JD | July 13, 2011 2:53 AM

741

Have any of you caught Greta Christina's mendacious blog missive?

She has completely misrepresented what Dawkins said. Ugh.

Greta: A shitstorm in which many men, including Richard Dawkins, have argued that this is a trivial issue, or even a non-issue: that it's ridiculous for women to be cautious or fearful when they're propositioned by a strange man in a strange country alone in an elevator at four in the morning;

Richard: If she felt his behaviour was creepy, that was her privilege, just as it was the Catholics' privilege to feel offended and hurt when PZ nailed the cracker.
And: Rebecca's feeling that the man's proposition was 'creepy' was her own interpretation of his behaviour, presumably not his.

What a turd she is. Must write response . . . ok. I'm back. Response blog is clear for launch.

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 3:09 AM

742

Spam filter ate my post. *sniffle*

Anyone check out Greta Christina's latest blog? Ugh. It's so dishonest. I would say go tell her what you think, but she's conveniently going to be not able to respond because of TAM.

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 3:17 AM

743

I tried to find some kind of rational argument to be had in PZ's blog. Yeah, big mistake, there wasn't. Nothing but emotional appeals, character assassination, and "privilege."

I called PZ out asking him if this is really PZ's brand of "feminist." I doubt he read it -_-

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 13, 2011 3:23 AM

744

Read Greta's hatchet job. Gosh. At least she's not trying to hide the fact she's outright misstating what Dawkins said. I wrote a reply blog about it, but she's out of town. I doubt she'd read it anyway - I'm persona non grata. Persona non greta?

Bleh

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 3:52 AM

745

Justicar #739:

Anyone check out Greta Christina's latest blog? Ugh. It's so dishonest.

Don't just say it, show it.

I would say go tell her what you think, but she's conveniently going to be not able to respond because of TAM.
Yes, of course. That is, after all, what the organizers of TAM had in mind when they scheduled it for this weekend -- they totally knew that this was going to happen and scheduled it just so Greta Christina would be able to make a blog post about it that she can't respond to comments on owing to her obligations at TAM. Because, y'know, James Randi can see the future.

...seriously, how the fuck do you not think that you sound like Alex Jones by saying that?

---

Phyraxus #740:

I tried to find some kind of rational argument to be had in PZ's blog. Yeah, big mistake, there wasn't. Nothing but emotional appeals, character assassination, and "privilege."

As I said to Justicar: don't just say it, show it. Also, why the quotes around privilege? Does it not exist because feminists like to talk about it, or something?

I called PZ out asking him if this is really PZ's brand of "feminist." I doubt he read it -_-
Judging by how you did over there, my guess is that he read it and decided it wasn't worth his time. Besides, I have this sneaking suspicion that you're just looking for validation in the form of being engaged by the Grand Poopyhead, considering that many other people (myself included) responded to you and you're not saying anything about that.

Posted by: Setar | July 13, 2011 3:53 AM

746

Setar:
I have shown it - unfortunately, as my post to which you're now referring says, Abbie's spam filter is holding it hostage. However, if you click my name, it'll take you to my blog whereat I have a rather detailed refutation of some of the more glaring problems.

Nowhere did I imply that the TAM people organized it to be convenient to her. I implied that it's convenient she dropped the article and then left for TAM. And it is convenient for her in that way. There's nothing wrong with that; it is just a statement of fact: she writes article, she posts articles, she announces she's not going to be able to be in the conversation because of TAM. I don't see the problem here.

Try harder, Setar. You must do better than this.

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 3:58 AM

747

You know, I've decided RW is right.

Men asking her at 4am is creepy and we shouldn't do it. We should avoid actions that creep someone out.

On a completely unrelated point, Pat Robertson is creeped out by abortion, so women should NEVER have an abortion.

He's also creeped out by women having jobs and so women should give up their jobs and work at home.

He's also creeped out by gay men so gay men should get back in the closet. And armed gays? No way, get out of the military, it creeps Pat out.

Could you PLEASE think of the poor old fundie xian, people!!! Stop creeping them out!

Especially you gays: objectifying and looking with covetous eyes on Pat's arse. He KNOWS you want a bit of it. So stop sexualising him! STOP BEING GAY! Just so simple.

(unfortunately, Pat really DOES think like this. I just wanted to point out that so does Rebecca, Jen, PZ and Greg)

Posted by: Wow | July 13, 2011 5:01 AM

748

*applause* for Justicar, *headdesk* for Greta. This has turned into a skeptic/atheist "We invaded Iraq because Saddam was responsible for 9/11". No, that is not why this shit started. Doesn't change that it happened, but it is NOT why it started, and it makes it easier to misunderstand what is going on now.

Posted by: Wild Zontargs | July 13, 2011 6:56 AM

749

Time for another episode of "Spence's illustrations of why Watson fans are not good skeptics". Number 47 in a countably infinite series.

Phyraxus said:
I tried to find some kind of rational argument to be had in PZ's blog. Yeah, big mistake, there wasn't.

Setar responded:
As I said to Justicar: don't just say it, show it.

Setar, see if this argument seems familiar to you:
Atheist: I went to see if there was any evidence that god existed. Yeah, big mistake, there wasn't.
Religious nut: Don't just say it, show it. Show me that god does not exist

You see Setar, in rational skepticism 101 we learn that you cannot show a negative. If your argument is that god does not exist, or that there are no rational arguments on the pharyngula thread, then these are things that cannot be evidenced. If you believe the reverse - either that god does exist, or that there are rational arguments on the pharyngula thread - then the burden of proof falls on you to show it, not Phyraxus. The correct response would be for you to provide a counter-example. Having said that, based on experience so far, your ability to identify rational arguments may not be as good as you think it is.

But thank you for coming here and arguing like a creationist. It helps to pad my new series out.

Posted by: Spence | July 13, 2011 8:08 AM

750

I was reading Greta's post until she got to the same trope that says, less directly:

"Look guys it's simple: You're wrong. If a feminist tells you something, she's right. Your option: agree with her. If you disagree, you're wrong. Period. The content of your disagreement matters not at all. If a woman disagrees with a feminist, she's a gender traitor and you're still wrong."

that's what this grand movement is telling men: you're not ever allowed to disagree or question anything we say. Shut up.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 13, 2011 9:15 AM

751

Aha! Found something I've been looking for. About 2 years ago, an authoritarian far-right politician, Nick Griffin (scumbag leader of the facist British National Party) won a seat in a European election, and by precedent, was allowed a seat on a panel of UK politicians on the BBC.

During this discussion, he said something that really caught my attention. It can be found at 07:25 on the following youtube video: youtube link

For convenience, I post what Griffin said here:

"I've said that a lot of people find the sight of two grown men kissing in public really creepy. I understand homosexuals don't understand that, but that's how a lot of us feel; the Christians feel that way, the Muslims, all sorts of people. I don't know why, that's just the way it is."

The parallels between this and the current debate are striking. Nick Griffin wishes to outlaw certain behaviours not because they cause harm, but based on what he finds "creepy". He points out that the people who disagree with him don't understand (they don't "get it"). And he invokes a whole bunch of people who he claims would agree with him, without asking first. He just assumes they all agree with him.

Of course, radfems will explain this away with the word privilege, even though objectively their position is next to that of Nick Griffin and Dawkins would be consistently opposed to both of these viewpoints. But to them, Nick and Dick are both wrong - not because of their viewpoint, but because the assessment is purely one of "privilege", not the actual meat of the issues at hand.

What they don't see is the similarities between the authoritarian right and the authoritarian left. Different sides of the same coin, unfortunately.

Posted by: Spence | July 13, 2011 9:46 AM

752

Dammit, I was hoping Greta would come across better through this... She's usually very thorough and careful.

Meanwhile, speaking of heroes an pedestals...

http://www.atheistrev.com/2011/07/price-of-hero-worship-in-atheist.html

Posted by: cthellis | July 13, 2011 10:28 AM

753

Well, it isn't so that controversial views and variety of opinions shouldn't have a place in secular movements. Because Sam Harris was mentioned somewhere before: His last book caused some interesting debates (imho he made some good points, but I can't agree on everything). Furthermore some people think that his soft spot for some forms of mysticism and Buddhist thought is questionable....and you know, that's perfectly fine. I think he's intellectual honest and is is engaging in rational debates, tries to make his points..and he's cool with it, when people can't agree with him.
I am clearly missing such attitudes from the new feminist atheists.....instead they sound like religious nutheads...

Posted by: thememe | July 13, 2011 10:29 AM

754

I'm guessing it won't be long before men aren't allowed to carry a penis within 50 feet of a woman:

http://www.blaghag.com/2011/07/why-kerfuffles-happen-and-we-wont-just.html#comment-250259146

Check out which posts get all the 'likes'.

Posted by: Blargh | July 13, 2011 1:25 PM

755
thememe: I am clearly missing such attitudes from the new feminist atheists.....instead they sound like religious nutheads...

Agreed. Someone (I can't remember) commented that the Dworkinite radfems are essentially "the Tea Party of feminism".

Posted by: INTP | July 13, 2011 1:34 PM

756

I hope RW and the Pharyngula crew don't listen to Chuck and Leighton's latest Irreligiosophy podcast, they'll have a seizure. Those two really love to piss people off and they will probably be very happy if the Skepchick pitchfork mob go after them. There's a standing joke on the podcast of Leighton being a misogynist, sexist pig and he really goes to town on elevatorgate. Disgusting behaviour from two ex-mormons.

http://www.irreligiosophy.com/?p=1806

Posted by: bhoytony | July 13, 2011 1:51 PM

757

thememe @ 753

The new feminist atheists sound like religious nutheads, because they are religious nutheads. Equality feminism was rational; it gave women the vote, equal pay, and other basic legal rights. It was based on pragmatic actions in the real world.

Gender feminism is a whole different animal. It is based on many beliefs and ideologies.

There is a belief in 'male privilege', even though men make up most of the imprisoned, the homeless, the suicides, and the casualties in war and on the job. There is a belief in 'patriarchy', not as an anthropological term for a system of inheritance through the male line, but for a vast conspiracy of all men all over the world, for thousands of years, to keep all women oppressed. There is a belief that all men are potential rapists; some women live their whole lives in fear of men because of this belief. There is a belief that any heterosexual male who is sexually attracted to a woman is somehow 'sexualizing' her and turning her into an 'object'. There is a belief that any failure of a woman to achieve a goal is due to some man preventing her. There is a belief that all people are born as 'blank slates', and that the apparent differences between men and women are all caused by socialization. There is a related belief that this means that we can, and should, use this to 'deconstruct' our current society and 'reconstruct' a new utopia.

These are some of the core beliefs of the new religion of radical feminism. Mostly, they are accepted on faith. Frequently, any evidence to the contrary is ignored and/or denied. Note PZ's "there is NONE" response- there is no possible contradictory evidence to his world-view. He derides the entire field of evolutionary psychology, which challenges his 'blank slate' belief. Evolution applies- except when it comes to human behavior.

And, like any religion, if you don't 'get it', you need to be converted or killed. In this debate, 'killed' just means intimidated into silence, or being expelled from the community, goals that many in the atheist/skeptic community are now pursuing.

There is also the paranoia, the persecution complex, and the victim-status that we have seen in the religious. There is a belief that if you don't agree with me, then you are out to get me. Any one who disagrees becomes an enemy. Any woman who disagrees is a gender traitor- no matter what she has accomplished in the real cause for women's rights.

I haven't called myself a feminist for years because of what the term has come to mean.

I am shocked and saddened that people who are so rational and skeptical in other fields are so irrational and credulous in this case. It is another example of the compartmentalism the human mind is capable of.

Posted by: Gender Traitor | July 13, 2011 1:58 PM

758

I’ll tell you why it was creepy. It’s not because it was an enclosed space, or because it was 4am. It’s because the guy was probably an ugly looking dude.
If it was some hunk like Scott Clifton who offered her coffee, Rebecca would’ve been all like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xW8j3x3GzxY

Posted by: Hez | July 13, 2011 2:00 PM

759

Great post Gender Traditor-

Did you read Christina Hoff Sommers "Who Stole Feminism" and Steven Pinker's "Blank Slate"? Both make stirring arguments in favor of equality feminism and against the heavily marxist, heavily post-modernist influenced gender feminists....

Posted by: Tom | July 13, 2011 2:03 PM

760

I just woke up - let's see how this goes.

Tom:
No, I didn't. But I don't need to read a book to spot sexism when it's happening. Is it also worth noting that Pavlovian responses don't work on me either, either in suggestion or smell. (but the reverse does with paper, toothpicks and crayons - I might have to write an article on this). Also, those 3d stare at them long enough and see the thing inside thing, I can almost never do. Maybe I'm defective.

Hez:
I have no real comment, except that to say when Rebecca Watson is in the mood, she'll let you know. How fucking arrogant. When it's time for you to hit on me, I'll tell you advance that you're now permitted. Otherwise, back of the bus!

Gender Traitor:
That name sounds familiar. Haven't we met somewhere else?
Without even discussing privilege too much, I would point out that I, a gay guy, am being told by a white, straight, married (but soon to be divorced - the privilege denied me she throws away!), woman that because I'm male and white I somehow occupy a space of privilege in regards gender relations. Yes, I suppose that's true. For one thing, most gay people I know are fucking scared little kitties, and don't need her Victorian prudishness to decide whom with they want to sleep.

And you know what - in my area, the chance of being gay and sexually assaulted are statistically indistinguishable from being a woman and being sexually assaulted. But I don't "get it". I suppose I don't "get it" in the way that I don't "get" people lead their lives constrained by irrationality. That, I admit - I don't get.

The podcast of which you reference has put me off to it before I've listened. They're tired of celebrity atheists. You know, the ones known because they're atheists.
"I am getting extremely tired of atheist celebrities." Skip a sentence or so "I am referring to people who seem to have gained an inexplicable sort of celebrity simply for being outspoken atheists."

With sarcasm, not at the list but at the fact these people are having a conference, and are "famous" if I'm reading this correctly, "Oh look, TAM is coming to Vegas! Just look at all the atheist celebrities! You can see Richard Dawkins, the man who has repeatedly been dubbed our leader! And what's this? There will be atheist bloggers (gasp) there like Rebecca Watson and Jen McCreight featured alongside legitimate scientists like Elizabeth Loftus and Carol Tavris. Think of all the autographs you could get! "

Yeah, that Richard Dawkins - if he hadn't been an atheist, no one would have ever heard of him or something.

To everyone who mentioned it, *takes a bow*. Thanks.

Hey, should we all do a podcast and get a website called Skepdick.org? Abbi, you can our Rebecca Watson - just crack stupid jokes while we menz talk about science and stuff - mmkay?

*hides*

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 4:30 PM

761

Justioar, apparently someone already owns Skepdick.org, they just haven't done anything with it. I'm too lazy to look into it beyond that, but I'm all kinds of on-board with actually going forward with something like that (obviously without treating Abbie as the useless incompetent - I'm much more suited to that role than she is).

Also, sorry for disappearing like that. Had to write a hit-ton of stuff for chemistry. The good thing about procrastinating is that you can die at any moment, and anything you put off past that, you never have to do. Sadly, I had to live a few more days at least.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 13, 2011 4:42 PM

762

I've never been good at chemistry. For some reason, my brain refuses to treat it as math. I have to substitute in and out like crazy, and then reverse the substitutions after I've finished. May I never have to balance another chemical equation as long as I live!

It's a little sad too, since chemistry produces such elegant reactions. Oh, and I suppose also because it's occasionally useful for doing something important . . . like the barking dog!

My hat's off to anyone who can look at it and read it straight out. You and your "chemistry privilege".

Oh, I have an idea for a blog article now while I wait on some answers to a few comments I've seen. Hrm. Let's see if I can make it interesting.

Incidentally, don't forget to check out Abbie's latest article. Apparently, vaccines aren't evil. Or she's part of the conspiracy - Abbie, are you?

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 5:10 PM

763

Someone on butterflies and wheels managed to get some interesting information about RW at the Dublin conference by simply going through PZ Myers tweets from that time.
http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/hows-it-going/#comment-98199
Oh dear!
There's even a picture of elevator guy! (well a line-up at least!)

Posted by: Sigmund | July 13, 2011 5:45 PM

764

Getting drunk and missing events, what a responsible, positive role model for the young ones... Really nice that PZ thinks thats 'cute'.

If I was in a position of influence I would be deliberately 'holding Watson back' too, but its got nothing to do with her gender.

Posted by: ERV | July 13, 2011 5:53 PM

765

Tom @759

Yes, I've read both excellent books. If people really want to address feminism, and/or the biological basis for human behavior, as a topic in a future skeptics/atheists' convention, these two people would be great speakers. Christina Hoff Sommers also wrote "The War Against Boys; How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men", which is largely a critique on our public schools. Steven Pinker could also describe how violently and maliciously he and other evolutionary psychologists have been attacked by those who feel threatened by any biological basis to behavior, and don't understand that it is NOT biological determinism, or a negation of free will. Or an excuse to pillage, plunder, and rape!

Justicar @760

I don't know if we have met. There are quite a few "gender traitors" in the world; we just have often learned to keep our politically-incorrect mouths shut much of the time. The closets are getting pretty crowded with all of us...

Posted by: Gender Traitor | July 13, 2011 6:45 PM

766

Yeah, I've spent far more than my fair share of nights staying up into the wee (actually, generally into the not-so-wee) hours drinking more than my fair share of alcohol when I had things to do the next (technically, the same) day. I show up to the thing. Mostly, I don't schedule things in the morning for exactly that reason, but that would be the responsible thing to do, right? Does that disqualify me from becoming a speaker at these sorts of events?

Posted by: Rystefn | July 13, 2011 6:46 PM

767

My mistake, Gender Traitor:
I stereotyped you I guess - if you seen one, you've them all, ya know? Besides, apparently, you all share a brain or a hivemind or something I can't quite yet understand. I'm sure one day I'll "get it" though. =^_^=

I have two articles now that deal with your issue. It's not that "we" aren't listening to women that the other side is bitching about. The problem isn't that at all. The problem is that there are women who don't agree with them. So, what they're really saying is that "we" are listening to the wrong kind of women.

Apparently, you're not a woman if you don't agree - it's the only situation in which their statements that "we" aren't listening to women can be logically coherent. No, not that we disagree - that there simply aren't women who do. How do we know? Because they're saying x and we don't agree with x; therefore, since we aren't listening to them we aren't listening to women. It's stupid.

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 7:35 PM

768

I think that I'm still a woman. Let me check. Yep. I've still got my "credentials".

Seriously, I think that many of the radical feminists feel much more hatred towards "gender traitors" than to the men who don't agree with them. They seem to expect that men "won't get it", will be "misogynistic pigs" and so forth. I wonder if they really stop to think of how often they denigrate all men as a monolithic, malignant group. Can we say "patriarchy"? It's sad. Most of the men I know, gay and non-gay, are quite nice people who truly respect women as equals. (I've met the occasional Neanderthal.) I'm sure that my experiences don't count for some reason, just like Paula Kirby's experiences don't count. Privilege?

Posted by: Gender Traitor | July 13, 2011 8:12 PM

769

Gender Traitor, that is a slur against Neanderthals, and it's not ok. What's next, you going to start calling them "cave-men"? Your privilege, as a member of a nonextinct branch of humanity, renders you unable to see the trials and challenges of living in a world dominated by the extant.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 13, 2011 8:24 PM

770

Gender Traitor @ 757:

The new feminist atheists sound like religious nutheads, because they are religious nutheads.

cf. La Marcotte:

http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/the_nice_guy_defense

Gender Traitor @ 768:

I think that many of the radical feminists feel much more hatred towards "gender traitors" than to the men who don't agree with them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostasy

Posted by: NJ | July 13, 2011 8:29 PM

771

COMPLETELY UNRELATED BUT HILARIOUS NONETHELESS:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14135523

Posted by: Sophie | July 13, 2011 8:47 PM

772

Yes, Paula Kirby isn't able to understand what "normal" women experience. Apparently, her superwoman powers are awesome sauce. I treat everyone I meet with a baseline level of respect, which can go either up or down based on - wait for it - what the person does and says in life. It doesn't seem to fluctuate based on color or genital arrangement.

I'll take your word you have your credentials - I am definitely not interested in being the gay guy in charge of checking ids in that way!

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 8:53 PM

773

hey, just because you have a vagina and a uterus doesn't make you a woman.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 13, 2011 9:14 PM

774

Funny: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/hows-it-going/#comment-98206

When someone asks for concrete facts or possible actions that could be taken.....it's time to close the church....lol

Posted by: thememe | July 13, 2011 9:20 PM

775

@ NJ #770:

Holy shitcrackers, is comment number 5 on that Marcotte article SERIOUSLY suggesting that all men should be PREEMPTIVELY locked up?

Seriously, WTF?

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 13, 2011 9:23 PM

776

Funny: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/hows-it-going/#comment-98206

When someone asks for concrete facts or possible actions that could be taken.....it's time to close the church....lol

Posted by: thememe | July 13, 2011 9:25 PM

777

Dude, check out my Mercotte impersonation in #368.

I just had an interesting thought.

I have *never* had trouble at atheist/skeptic conventions. The hosts and attendees have been nothing if not gracious.

Paula Kirby says the same.

I wonder if people do genuinely treat Watson 'differently' because she doesnt present herself professionally-- her disastrous Skepticon last year, YouTube comments in presentations/attacking students, drunk/partying all the time, hijacking panels, and so on. People treat her differently than they treat other speakers because she acts like an immature woman-child. Watson is too dull to figure out why people treat her differently than say, Dawkins, so she decides it must be sexism. Her frustration about people not 'respecting' her has kinda blown up into 'this' *gestures at the internet*

Hmmm...

*psych minor gang sign*

Posted by: ERV | July 13, 2011 9:35 PM

778

@ 774 Marco:
To be fair, he was trying for hyperbole. Just the same, the sentiment behind that comment is genuine, and disturbing.

Posted by: frank habets | July 13, 2011 9:40 PM

779

From Skeptic Moneys' blog entry on Skepticon 2010:

"After our dinner break, P.Z. Myers started his bit. He used a deck of card to make an analogy to evolution and asked for an assistant from the crowd. They started by playing a hand of poker. The game went something like this… if she wins she gets a bag of old peanuts, if he wins she has to sleep with him"

Posted by: frank habets | July 13, 2011 9:52 PM

780

John @ 773

I take your comment as humorous, but on the serious side, lots of trans-people that I know would definitely agree with you. The genitalia and the gender identity are separate issues. In my case, both are female.

ERV @775

Telling a bunch of men at a bar, late at night, to not hit on her and not sexualize her is sort of like saying, "Don't think of a pink elephant" repeatedly and being surprised if someone mentions a pink elephant. Does she realize that she is the one bringing the subject of her sexual availability up to begin with? Does she think she is so attractive that unless she beats the men off with a stick, they will be all over her? If so, she has "sexualized" herself.

Posted by: Gender Traitor | July 13, 2011 10:01 PM

781

@776 frank:

It is rather.

Y'know, the more this debacle goes on, I can't help but be reminded of the George Romero film, The Crazies...

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 13, 2011 10:02 PM

782

[threadjack]

As it happens, Marco, just three months ago I saw, for the first time, The Crazies on the big screen. One of the original prints, too. Bonus: There was an intro short featuring G. Romero himself discussing the movie, and addressed specifically to the audience of our local art-house cinema.

[/threadjack]

And for sure, there are elements from The Crazies at work here.

Posted by: frank habets | July 13, 2011 10:18 PM

783

Abbie @ 775:

I think you may be on to something there. It's perfectly sensible, really: Act like a child and get treated like one. What a concept!

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 13, 2011 10:21 PM

784

@782 frank

O.O

Damn you and your art-house privilege! :-P

There is one (other) good thing that's come out of all this, though. My (female and very definitely not in agreement with Watson) best friend have now taken to calling each other misogynists in EVERY SINGLE THING WE SAY TO EACH OTHER.

The lulz are too good not to... hehe

Posted by: Marco the Beagle | July 13, 2011 10:37 PM

785

More like act like a mature adult and you don't get treated like one. Unless you're a man. Hey, wait - that explains why no one is has mentioned a single word about Richard Dawkins!

He does have privilege!

Abbie - shame on you, how could you?!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Rebecca Watson needs not to be a paid, invited speaker here. The panel she shared with Dawkins titled "Communicating Atheism" should be re-titled, "The Vagina Monologue: E-mail Edition". You ever notice what the topic is she manages to remind us that, apparently, she's hot shit because so many men write in telling her they want to bang her or something?

She calls herself the "sexy" skeptic.

Bleh.

Say, I wonder if he "hug me" campaign at TAM is going to warrant a video when someone, you know, walks up and hugs her.

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 10:56 PM

786

Ok, I'm going to be sincerely sexist for a moment, sorry in advance. I'm having a conversation on my youtube channel, and a guy/gal has said:
"to take something like attraction and love and convert it into a form of hatred with all of these little twists, but feminists can work wonders."

I noted that this is true of *some* feminists are like that.
S/he counters with the challenge: show him/her even one example of a "feminist activist" who is "well established" who isn't like that.

I ignored the activist part, but it wasn't entailed by the comment to which I responded. I listed, among others, Paula Kirby and Mary Ann Waters. Not good enough as they're not active or well established within feminist circles.

I'm beginning to think s/he's arguing for a definition of feminist that excludes from its confines women unlike Rebecca Watson et al.

So, ladies (sorry, gentleman, I won't be valuing your opinion highly here because of the nature of the person whom I dealing with - namely, it's going to have to be what women think about feminist women in feminism circles enough to give them sufficient cred):

If you could pick one well-established, feminist woman who is dissimilar from the Watson clan, who would it be? I need me an esteemed woman!

Thanks.

Posted by: Justicar | July 13, 2011 11:18 PM

787
Funny: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/hows-it-going/#comment-98206
Interesting. I was unaware Bruce Springsteen was so astute. Apparently he is more than a white T-shirt and jeans jacket!


I take your comment as humorous, but on the serious side, lots of trans-people that I know would definitely agree with you. The genitalia and the gender identity are separate issues. In my case, both are female.

As friends with a still-pre-op-because-dammit-the-surgery-is-so-fucking-expensive-and-it's-still-a-pain-in-the-ass-to-get-willing-doctors-even-in-NJ-because-fuck-the-Catholic-run-hospitals, I must respek-knuckles the absolute truth of this statement.

Posted by: cthellis | July 13, 2011 11:23 PM

788

cthellis @ 787

The surgery is much cheaper in Thailand, even with the plane fare. And it is the best in the world, as they do so many of these surgeries there every day. Also there is no significant b.s. to go through to get some kind of "approval". Your pre-op friend might want to check this out. Canada is also cheaper and easier than the United States. We are so "civilized" here (snark).

Posted by: Gender Traitor | July 14, 2011 12:04 AM

789

I'm sure he's already investigated any number of options and is weighing them. It's not a topic that tends to come up in casual conversation, you know? ;-)

Makes me wonder if there's some bureaucratic monkey-crap in place in the state which can get in the way of official gender-changing if surgery is performed out-of-state or out-of-country.

Posted by: cthellis | July 14, 2011 12:22 AM

790

Mary Ann Waters should totally have been Anne Marie Waters. Sorry.

Posted by: Justicar | July 14, 2011 12:26 AM

791

I personally like to believe that the reason nothing has been heard from Richard Dawkins on the matter since his last comment on Pharyngula is because he is busy sitting home, with a well-prepared cup of hot tea, thinking to himself, "I've survived 25+ years of mind-numbing creationist, pseudo-intellectual, anti-scientific babble head on, and now some bloggers think they can take me. Don't they know I run this motherfucker. KING KONG AIN'T GOT SHIT ON ME!"

Regardless, whether one agrees or disagrees with Dawkins, he's voiced his opinion on the issue and there is no reason for him to argue it over the web. Maybe it will come up during TAM (probably), we'll see. On the bright side, at least now whenever religionists try to claim that atheists devoutly follow Dawkins no matter what, we can point to this shitstorm and tell them to fuck off with their tired strawmen.

Posted by: Chidi Baptiste | July 14, 2011 12:39 AM

792
On the bright side, at least now whenever religionists try to claim that atheists devoutly follow Dawkins no matter what, we can point to this shitstorm and tell them to fuck off with their tired strawmen.

Is your insufferable optimism natural, or do you make a conscious effort at it?

Posted by: Stephen Bahl | July 14, 2011 2:10 AM

793

I think we can grossly resume this mess as this:

Rebecca did to Stef what EG did to Rebecca. Using a priviledged position and making her feel unconfortable. In a place with no way of escape (read "respond").

Anyone comes and says you can't compare the two situations because creepy is worse than being publicly umiliated, I'll refer him/her to the shitstorm Prof. Dawkins went through.

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 14, 2011 5:12 AM

794

"Rebecca did to Stef what EG did to Rebecca."

Nope. Rebecca verbally assaulted Stef whilst EG didn't, and the location was externally more hostile for Stef than for Rebecca.

And looking at the shitstorm RD has gone through hasn't proved that the two cases are equal.

Posted by: Wow | July 14, 2011 5:33 AM

795

"There is a belief that any heterosexual male who is sexually attracted to a woman is somehow 'sexualizing' her and turning her into an 'object'."

Which many have now made up into "If I *think* you are attracted to me, you're sexualising me".

EG asked if she wanted a coffee. If he'd wanted sex, he could have asked for that instead. You have to ASSUME he meant sex. But why not assume he was refused because he wasn't hawt?

Posted by: Wow | July 14, 2011 5:46 AM

796

"Nope. Rebecca verbally assaulted Stef whilst EG didn't, and the location was externally more hostile for Stef than for Rebecca."

Agreed, 100%

"And looking at the shitstorm RD has gone through hasn't proved that the two cases are equal."

No, but he has gone through it for simply saying that there are worse things than the EG incident. This is most surely one of them.

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 14, 2011 5:55 AM

797

That doesn't mean that the shitstorm RD has gone through is in any way showing that the situation RW dropped Stef in is as bad as the creeping out that RW felt IN HER HEAD.

RW insulted Stef and set her up as a bad person, aiding and abetting violence against women.

EG creeped RW out because she gets creeped out if she's talked to by EG when she's tired and wants to go to bed. If EG had said "Nice ass, sugartits", you'd be somewhat similar.

Posted by: Wow | July 14, 2011 8:19 AM

798

Ok, Wow. Are you not following? Do you not see that I TOTALY agree with you?

If someone tells me I can't compare (in ANY possible way) the EG incident to Watsongate, I will show them the stupid reactions to RD's comments. Most of these were on the basis of "you can't lessen a situation because there are worse situations".

And I am not sorry to say I DO agree with RD on that one. Being proposed for coffee at 4 in a lift doesn't compare with being buried alive for talking to a stranger. Sure these issues need to be talked about (creepy move/being buried alive), but in my own personnal head being buried alive gets the priority.

Also, are you consciously looking for confrontation where there is none?

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 14, 2011 8:52 AM

799

*shrug* I get you Phil. I think Wow is just worked up from the GMO post :P

Posted by: ERV | July 14, 2011 8:55 AM

800

It's not that they simply do not compare - that implies they're in the same logical space in some way or another. It's that they can't compare. It's not that something worse happens elsewhere. It's that something bad does - her elevator thing isn't a thing. It's a nonthing.

Posted by: Justicar | July 14, 2011 8:55 AM

801

Justicar (big fan here, just suscribed to your channel (had I known about it earlier, would have done earlier, too)):

That's the point. Exactfuckingly! Not being an english speaker, I think I have dificulties bringing my points across.

Abbie: Thanks for that. I might be a bit strung up myself (no way!).

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 14, 2011 9:10 AM

802

"Ok, Wow. Are you not following? Do you not see that I TOTALY agree with you?"

Um, you say they're the same. I say what RW did with Stef is worse than what EG did with RW.

This doesn't look like agreement.

And I'm still not clear what you're on about referring to RD, because it's not pertinent whether you think the RW/Stef vs EG/RW is equal or different either way.

PS Abbie, weren't YOU worked up in the GMO thread? You certainly seemed somewhat hysterically against the actions.

Posted by: Wow | July 14, 2011 9:29 AM

803

#801:

Not being an english speaker, I think I have dificulties bringing my points across.

So am I. This can be a huge problem sometimes, because I don't know enough four-letter words to express my anger appropriately :)

Posted by: thememe | July 14, 2011 10:05 AM

804

803:

cunt
fuck
twat
gays
dyke
Kent

Havoc ensues...

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 14, 2011 10:17 AM

805

Bush

?

Mind you, "poot" is four letters. No havoc (and ensuing hilarity) ensues.

Posted by: Wow | July 14, 2011 11:14 AM

806

#792:

It's mostly insufferably natural :D (why is that creepy?).

Posted by: Chidi Baptiste | July 14, 2011 12:24 PM

807

Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I will try to memorize them...I am always interested in improving my English conversation skills.

Posted by: thememe | July 14, 2011 1:38 PM

808

#806:

Silly me, that last part was supposed to read "Why do you ask? Is my optimism creepy?"

Posted by: Chidi Baptise | July 14, 2011 3:17 PM

809

Ooh! What a palaver! Just caught sight of it in a side bar on blog, and thought "Eh? This sounds mental. Better have a quick shufti".
Initially decided "Yuk. American campus politics, as per. Ugh. If I close the door very quietly and stay downwind I should be alright."
About sixty-eight metres of comments in tiny print across the blogs later, and I still have not a scooby as to what on earth is this really about.
Now, having endured that footage of Dawkins and Co. at the conference in question, I'm coming round to the view that he lobbed the hand-grenade posts intentionally, a desperate attempt to emphatically decouple himself from these ninnies, and damn the torpedoes.
Can't see why they're suddenly all so affronted. Professor Yaffle has been arsey like that for as long as I can remember. How could they not know?
Might even buy one of his bloody books now, instead of nicking them. His writing is the only interesting thing about the man, as far as I can see.

I'm very pleased that this miserable episode has profited me, at least, in that I found your interesting (and sane!) blog. Although it does make my head hurt a bit.
If Myers went back to writing about his work, as well as you do about yours, I might start reading his stuff again.

Posted by: dustbubble | July 14, 2011 4:57 PM

810

Dustbubble: welcome :)

I'm still reading through all the comments, and am cureently around 280.

Regarding these:

I have been the victim of abuse, rape, and associated pictures when I was 11. My handle is my real name, anybody wanting to check these claims out can refer to the French police.

Yet, I don't feel any creepy feeling or offence when another man walks the street and doesn't change sidewalks. Am I a mysoginist for that?

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 14, 2011 7:28 PM

811

I just drove home in my Shrodinger's car. I would like everyone to know that I got home safely and without being bitten by any pitbulls. It's a dangerous world out there, but I knew I was safe because all the decent guys were across the street and all the rapists were on mine. I'm a chick, so I'm easily spooked. Nice to meet y'all. I think this is the only place in the atheist "community" where I can possibly feel comfortable. Sigh.

Posted by: Disappointed | July 14, 2011 8:49 PM

812

@DustBubble I think Watson got on Dawkins' nerves when she hijacked her panel speech with her own agenda: YouTube Threats(AKA Atheism IS Too Scary For Womyns). Dawkins looked utterly disgusted with skep "chick" and I felt his pain. Then she made an unnecessary and snide remark about Bill Maher halfway through.

Posted by: bluharmony | July 14, 2011 9:00 PM

813

Dont get too comfy, Disappointed. Theres a vicious pitbull sitting in the corner *points to upper left*

:P

Posted by: ERV | July 14, 2011 9:01 PM

814

Don't listen to her, Disappointed! Just do what I do: carry a couple of steaks to toss out for a distraction.

Hey, Abbie, have you thought of doing short videos on like chemistry in the kitchen, or something that all of us non-chemist types can enjoy some of what it is "you people" do in the lab without any of the work?

Just a thought. =^_^=

Posted by: Justicar | July 14, 2011 11:01 PM

815

Uh-oh. Getting hooked now. Watched some more vids, and tried to reconstruct the *actual* sequence of events. Fascinating! It's a rare privilege to see a full-on Kremlin power struggle played out in real time, with pictures.
Why do I feel safe in predicting that Lift-Geezer's identity will go with her to the grave?

Posted by: dustbubble | July 15, 2011 9:47 AM

817

Sigmund-- Its particularly funny considering her hateful dismissal of AA president Dave Silvermans appearance on the 'O’Reilly Factor'.

Watsons meme is forced, and not really that great.

Whereas Silvermans appearance gave us not only a fantastic meme, but a rage comic panel which no one can live without now.

Posted by: ERV | July 15, 2011 11:41 AM

818

I agree, the Watson meme has no great value in of itself. She isn't really a stereotypical feminist - too many "hot college girls tickle parties" in her past for that.

Posted by: Sigmund | July 15, 2011 12:07 PM

819

ERV, how was she dismissive of Dave Silverman? I must have missed that.

Posted by: Sophie | July 15, 2011 12:40 PM

820

Linky!

I forgot how awful that article was.

So now I wont feel bad about mentioning out loud that Watsons hair is incredibly unattractive and in desperate need of professional corrective dying and a professional cut, and I, personally, will buy her a bra that fits, since she apparently doesnt own one. You know, since its okay for us all to give each other grooming/wardrobe advice. 'Truths' and such.

Posted by: ERV | July 15, 2011 1:02 PM

821

Ahh abbie, don't forget Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/knowledgeable-neil

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 15, 2011 1:02 PM

822

Damn, someone needs to get RW meme and combine it with the scumbag meme.

Something that might say, "Scumbag Feminist says"
"Men are Rapists till proven innocent"

Or make it funny, I don't know how that might happen though. Other than being presented in meme.

Posted by: Phyraxus | July 15, 2011 1:18 PM

823

Okay, Rebecca is complaining that guys are hitting on her all the time at conferences.

Well, okay but what does she mean by that?

Does that mean guys are flirting with her and that annoys her because flirting is sexualizing? Or does she mean that men are straight out constantly propositioning her for sex?

If it's the first case then I think she's a hypocrite because she does that to men. (as has been noted by previous bloggers) If it's the second case then maybe she's just interpreting men as propositioning her? I mean based on her knee jerk assessment of a guy asking her out for coffee, it sounds like she kind of projects sexual intentions on to men. Am I naive for thinking that way?

Posted by: Ihaveaspergerspleaseexplainsimplethingstomelol | July 15, 2011 2:06 PM

824

I almost never get memes. I guess I have to turn in my nerd cred or something.

Well, off to see Harry Potter!

Posted by: Justicar | July 15, 2011 6:58 PM

825

Today's SMBC seems pretty apt, especially the red button:

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2307#comic


Also, "You are starting to creep me out, Brian."

You know there's a LOL coming.

Posted by: cthellis | July 15, 2011 8:33 PM

826

Rebectionary:

Mansplaining = Accusing someone of demanding equal rights, but preferential treatment. Pointing out that men have feelings and experiences too.

You just don't get it = I don't have a valid justification for my position.

You get it! = You agreed with whatever I just said, no matter how nonsensical. Good boy.

I get it! = I'm sexualizing you very much. Do you want to go back to my hotel room for coffee?

Privilege = Anything different about your background or heritage that I can use against you to justify discrimination and/or needless accusations. (When the first one fails, there's always another. E.g. "You're a white straight male, therefore you don't get it." "No, I'm gay." "You're a white male, so you don't get it." "No, I'm part Native American." "You're male, so you don't get it." "No, I'm a butch-looking lesbian." "You're an educated rape apologist." "Omigod, how did you know? That's exactly what I am!")

Sexualizing = Substantially shy of objectification, but sounds controversial enough to garner attention. After all, we all know that men don't actually mean what they say. *Wink.*

Creepy = Nerdy, socially awkward, and/or unattractive. (As compared to threatening, menacing, scary, abusive.) harassing.)

(I don't think the crowd at Laden's will appreciate my definitions.)

Is there any reason to believe EG even exists?

Posted by: Disappointed | July 15, 2011 10:40 PM

827

Disappointed #826

Is it original work on your part? because, let's face it, that's fucking spot-on!

Kuddos aplenty!

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 16, 2011 8:28 AM

828

It's my original work. I was trying to argue rationally on Laden's blog, then realized that it's just like talking to a fundie, but worse, it's under the name of reason. BTW, here's a phrase from the Privilege Delusion in Watson's blog:

"I knew that eventually I would reach a sort of feminist singularity where I would explode and in my place would rise some kind of Captain Planet-type superhero but for feminists. I believe that day has nearly arrived."

So I guess she's, you know, their new superhero or prophet or something. I suppose this happens with all movements. People give in to social pressure and stop thinking independently. And then the most opportunistic and shameless creep to the top and start advancing their own goals.

It's official. Skepticism has become a cult. I think Myers and Plait will eventually come around (and I'll always like Drescher), but the rest of them are a lost cause.

Also if I read "women are scared of men" one more time, I'm going to vomit. Apparently, I never got that memo. Am I supposed to start being scared of men now? And elevators? And coffee? And propositions? And walking alone? Fuck, why bother living, then? Also, take a look at this: http://tinyurl.com/6636zdl In particular, read the comments (there are only two). I like how Laden thinks he can identify a male voice online. Apparently we females even sound weak. Gag me.

I'm overreacting. Because I'm a hysterical female, of course. K. Gonna go hide under the bed in case an asteroid hits Seattle or something.

You guys are fantastic. (And so are pitbulls.)

Posted by: bluharmony AKA Disappointed | July 16, 2011 1:20 PM

829

Sigh. Bluharmony, some women are afraid of men. Some women are exercising a judicious caution. Some women are dangerously overconfident. And quite a few people have pointed out that physically isolating a woman and then pushing her boundaries is a typical first step for a sexual predator. Among the signers of the Open Letter to Richard Dawkins are women who have been raped in elevators. YMMV, but it's not appropriate to tell people that they aren't entitled to their feelings.

Posted by: Monado | July 16, 2011 2:47 PM

830

Sigh.

And quite a few people have pointed out that physically isolating a woman and then pushing her boundaries is a typical first step for a sexual predator.

That's loaded language. Pushing boundaries, or politely asking if someone might consider changing their mind, maybe. Physically isolating, or taking an opportunity to speak one-to-one - it's not as if he pushed her into the elevator. Maybe the guy is a social phobic and doesn't do well in crowds. Besides, I would bet that 'Please don't take this the wrong way' is not the usual opening line for a rapist. The point is that I don't know what was in his mind, and neither do you. He made a mistake, clearly, partly in who he approached in this way. Another woman may have responded entirely differently. Maybe most wouldn't have, who knows? RW may have been concerned for her safety, although I would suggest that given that she has previous with regard to inserting her agenda into things a cynic might think that 'Fuck me, am I going to milk this one' was more her line of thinking.

The point is, that even if she was scared shitless, nothing happened and it makes it no more or less likely that an actual rapist is ever going to get into an elevator with her. She had every right to make her displeasure known and to voice her opinion. On the other hand, others have a right to say that however big a deal this was to her, it doesn't give license to anybody to lay down the law as to what happens at atheist events and to make blanket statements on behalf of women in general, and then to dismiss dissenters as being traitors or delusional.

The whole kerfuffle is now about far more that social etiquette, it's become about a particularly intolerant and dogmatic form of feminism being pushed on certain supposedly skeptic blogs by people who take their own OPINION to be fact and take dissent as proof of all manner of traits not even remotely in evidence. It's exposed what many see as a kind of 'Cargo Cult' skepticism, particularly at Myer's place. His habit of closing threads with passive- aggressive, dismissive, verging on straw man posts is being noted.

Posted by: ThreeFlangedJavis | July 16, 2011 4:18 PM

831

That's a pretty recherche source, bluharmony. But thanks, most illuminating, especially Laden's prebuttal-quick comment. (Now there's keen! Hunting down "Wales Online")

" I have every bit of trust, however, that he'll be coming out with something, perhaps at TAM now in progress in Las Vegas that re-endears him to the masses."
Uh-oh, chongo! ... and the Tiber foaming with much blood. It's indicative of the fast-gathering insularity of this claque that they should seriously entertain the delusion that a cantankerous old git like Dawkins gives two curly shits about what they, thee, me, or "the masses" think of him. That's what makes him worth reading.

Posted by: dustbubble | July 16, 2011 6:03 PM

832

Thank you for being one of the rare voices of reason in all of this. I agree especially with the last few comments - the whole issue has a distinctly anti-skeptical flavour. Please see my post if you're not too tired of reading about it!

http://notungblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/the-not-so-skeptical-community/

bluharmony - Greg's comment on that article you posted is most certainly sexist. How can a comment on a blog have a 'male voice'?! Crazy!

Posted by: Notung | July 16, 2011 6:05 PM

833

I agree with every word of what ThreeFlangedJavis said. I like PZ, but I take him for what he is: internet entertainment.

Posted by: bluharmony AKA Disappointed | July 16, 2011 6:11 PM

834

@dustbubble He posted that link to RW's Facebook page. That's how I stumbled on it.

By the way, I see nothing wrong with propositioning a single woman leaving a bar. There's often a correct assumption that a single woman is there for a reason - she might want to have some fun too. Have I been living on a different planet to think that this is actually a common practice? Did I imagine all the propositions I've received in the past? Who cares what Rebecca said to other people about being tired and who knows if he heard? He politely asked a question that hadn't been asked before, and respectfully took no for an answer. According to her own account.

Having men with good intentions change their behavior won't keep women any safer from criminals. And it's ridiculous to say that men can't imagine a woman's experience. Of course you can. We're all human. All of us have been bullied, taken advantage of, raped, assaulted, or hurt somehow.

And I take EG's words at face value. He probably was interested in Rebecca. But I bet he doesn't feel that way now.

Laden is wrong to assume that this is the minority position. (Check the "like" stats on her video, for instance.) It's by far the majority position outside the core of this insular community. And calling all of us misogynists and rape apologists is ridiculous. Most Western men aren't rapists, and I refuse to treat them as such.

Further, women who participate in their own objectification and also objectify others should be the last to complain about it. And people who don't understand that being a public figure, especially a snide and condescending one, leads to internet trolling should find something else to do. To equate internet trolling with sexism in the atheist "community" is preposterous. If you feel you're facing a tangible rape or death threat, contact the police, don't do a self-obsessed presentation about it. I can read YouTube comments directly on YouTube if I have nothing better to do.

Posted by: bluharmony AKA Disappointed | July 16, 2011 6:48 PM

835

It's a posh hotel in the classy bit of a tiny Western European provincial capital. On an island. In the ocean.
The guests are all registered and accredited. It's silly o'clock in the morning, so any random jackeen strolling in the front door would be carefully inspected by the staff to make sure he wasn't arseholed, after a sly post-chucking-out drink. ("Open to non-residents" does have limits. Legal ones.)
And even the Republic, like the top end, and the island next door, is heaving, I mean crawling, with intense surveillance and very, very discreet security. The Old Woman Of Windsor Herself was in town just a few weeks before, a hair-raising first in itself (for the 10,000 Gardaí and so on who had to turn out).
A posh hotel in Dublin city centre?
Elevator Guy had better be real. I'm guessing there will be cam tapes. And disks. And microphones. And metal detectors. Motion sensors, sniffers, and stuff I can't even imagine. The streets outside, the service entries, the bars, the lifts, corridors, kitchens, even the bloody toilets, aircon, and drains, I bet.
Not for us peasants, of course. In case some Person of Consequence gets billeted there. Say, a Euro Finance Minister who's not averse to discussing Uganda. Or the Pope :D
"Because they haven't gone away, you know .."

Posted by: dustbubble | July 16, 2011 6:58 PM

836

But who cares about religion when we must first battle this global male conspiracy!? Quick, tag everyone who doesn't agree with the "misogynist" label, even the womyn. That'll show'em.

Posted by: bluharmony AKA Disappointed | July 16, 2011 7:29 PM

837

I've been following this imbroglio since it began, more or less. As an atheist, a former blogger, and a recipient of the "you just don't get it assault " in a different iteration of the Endless Feminist Wars, it reminded me of why I retired from this stuff in the first place. I swore I wasn't going to say anything. But after reading this on however many blogs at this point, I finally have a question I'm really curious about, and I figured this is probably the best place to ask a question and have a chance of getting it answered. Without having an entire agenda assumed to be behind the question.

Does anyone know how Rebecca ended up banned from the JREF forums?

Posted by: Jillian | July 16, 2011 9:29 PM

838
Does anyone know how Rebecca ended up banned from the JREF forums?

If I recall correctly, for using mod privileges to ban people with whom she had a personal issue but who had broken no rules... also sockpuppetry.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 16, 2011 9:40 PM

839

Considering RW's sockpuppetry history, who wants to bet that elevator guy was also a sockpuppet?

Posted by: Dalek | July 16, 2011 9:50 PM

840

If you want the story on Rebecca Watson's dismissal from JREF, read my blog post on it. It goes down the reasoning, with screen caps by the admins themselves.

http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/rebecca-watson-delenda-est-update.html

Posted by: Justicar | July 16, 2011 10:11 PM

841

Thanks. She keeps making the same mistakes and not learning from them, doesn't she?

I can't speak for all women, but she - and people like her - are a big part of the reason I'm not involved in the community.

Posted by: Jillian | July 16, 2011 10:17 PM

842

Jillian, it's one thing to say it here. It's quite another to let the event organizers know about it. They seem to work under the premise that nothing she's done is a big deal; one gentleman from the last event has said that they don't owe anyone an apology for it. Doing what she did to Stef, therefore, is in keeping with their vision as to how these conferences should go.

Posted by: Justicar | July 16, 2011 10:31 PM

843

I went on a cruise (Amazing Adventure style) with her about four years ago, then met her again when I was doing a short presentation at Dragon*Con. My impression was that she does not want more women in the "skeptic/atheist movement," and that I was extremely unwelcome, especially one the cruise. Obviously, the men and couples didn't make me feel that way, although they were both overprotective and making socially inappropriate passes. I'd rather have the latter without the former, though.

Rebecca won't learn from her mistakes until she's actually punished for them. So far, they've worked in her favor. Any controversy is publicity. So with every word we type, we're helping her in some small way. Perhaps not here. But everywhere else.

Posted by: bluharmony aka Disappointed | July 16, 2011 10:42 PM

844

@828

Regarding Watson's Captain Planet reference: In her panel section in Dublin, she mentioned an email to the cast of SGU that told the cast to grow up (no discussion of the writer's actual complaint). She found it ironic or funny that the writer also included the tagline " With great power, comes great responsibility" from Spiderman.
Apparently, her superhero allusions are better than anyone else's allusions. Just as her illusions are better than anyone else's illusions.

Posted by: highjohn | July 16, 2011 10:43 PM

845

My question is this:

If she didn't know who EG was, and no one else knew him or saw him either, then how would she know that he's a member of the atheist community?

Makes no sense.

(Ah, I wouldn't recognize the Spiderman reference because I'm a woman, not because I don't like comics, of course.)

Posted by: bluharmony | July 16, 2011 11:25 PM

846

@845

Blueharmony, That goes along with something that puzzled me. In her presentation on the Communicating Atheism panel in Dublin, she talked about some really horrible youtube comments and email she has received, and I mean really horrible, threats of rape, murder, etc. But I was struck when she said that these comments came from members of the atheist community. How would one know? Even if the writer said he was an atheist, that doesn't mean he is? In fact you don't even know "he" is even a he? Or even an adult?

Posted by: highjohn | July 16, 2011 11:44 PM

847

There's nothing to indicate that the emails or comments are from anyone in the atheist community. They're anonymous or under a fake name.

And given the "Always name names," rhetoric, she should be naming real names if she wants to make the argument that they're from atheists. Did people just go crazy or something? What's next? She's going to tell skeptics when the world's going to end, and they'll believe?

Posted by: bluharmony | July 16, 2011 11:59 PM

848

I know it's one thing to say it here - this is actually an argument i've been having with myself for some time now. The irony is that I probably share a huge number of views with Rebecca, Amanda, et. al. - my politics are comfortably left-wing. I care about women's issues, racial issues, all of it. I was a women's studies major at UNLV under Ellen Rose. I used to house sit for Kate Hausbeck. I don't name drop to prove how cool I am; I do it to show I'm not BS ing. I did feminist talk radio. I was a crisis intervention counselor on a domestic violence hotline. I care about these things.

I really think that the postmodern, New Left approach that dominates social justice issues nowadays is totally misguided and usually makes things worse, not better. But I also think that any attempt to discuss this with the people who currently engage in it is worse than useless. It turns into a Jerry Springer-esque brawl that makes those involved look stupid, and makes the attempt to work for improving things look disreputable. So I argue with myself - should I speak up, or should I say nothing. And I can't decide.

Posted by: Jillian | July 16, 2011 11:59 PM

849

As someone who first became aware of the online skeptical community at the height of the ID wars when the likes of Sal Cordova were regularly being given a kicking at Pharyngula, I find the current state of affairs a little sad. There's a seductive delight in seeing one's enemies torn to shreds with a well-reasoned argument followed by some witty insults. When faced with such obvious wrongness as ID it doesn't seem so unreasonable to be inflexible, dismissive and sometimes just offensive. Unfortunately a kind of gradual mutual reinforcement of the offensiveness seems to have happened along with a more ideological flavour to the content. The end result is a very aggressive, intemperate defence of opinions on issues not quite as clear cut as the evolution/ID one and it doesn't look all that clever. Unfortunately just about any criticism will be taken as tone trolling and the rotting porcupines will be invoked.

Despite all of that, the Prof can has quite a turn of phrase and is still worth a read even as he gets crustier. I'd like to think that RW is PZ's Wormtongue and that the spell can be removed, but the signs are that their agendas overlap.

Posted by: ThreeFlangedJavis | July 17, 2011 12:08 AM

850

I'm far to the left myself, but only in terms of economic policy, foreign policy, and equality -- not special privilege. (Although I do support diversity programs.)

Perhaps we could try to create a place for reasonable people to speak up. On the web, there's always room for new ideas. I'm not afraid of the consequences. It's not like atheists, skeptics, or feminists are well-liked groups in the first place. But then, isn't that how the so-called skepticism movement started?

This should be a discussion about rape shield laws and economic conditions that facilitate violent crimes. We should be talking about how to recognize and deal with sexual abuse in the family, where it's most prevalent. We should be educating women on how to be independent and take care of themselves. Instead, we're debating if a non-violent man should cross the street when a woman approaches. But why should he? It's his right to be there too.

You can't fix past wrongs by creating new ones.

Posted by: bluharmony | July 17, 2011 12:19 AM

851

@847

Blueharmony, There's also a youtube video of a Watson presentation where she's discussing email that she's gotten from "pro-life" (specifically, life begins at conception) atheists and how this is a problem in the atheist community. While atheism just means you don't believe in God period, I would still expect that atheists, while possibly having a variety of opinions, would tend not to be "prolife" with that definition. So, I was wondering once again if she assumes that all her communications are from atheists and does she assume that a significant proportion of atheists always disagree with her (when all I can see is that some individuals do)? It's like she's a missionary and atheists are the heathen that she's bringing salvation.

Posted by: highjohn | July 17, 2011 12:39 AM

852

@849

well said

Posted by: highjohn | July 17, 2011 12:43 AM

853

@847 Unfortunately, all you can conclude from the fact that someone is an atheist is that they don't believe in gods. That's all, nothing else.

Obviously I'm pro-abortion. But I can't honestly say when "life" begins. I think the more important question is when life independent of the mother is possible, or when sentience begins, and that's certainly not set in stone.

Posted by: bluharmony | July 17, 2011 3:13 AM

854

In response to this last exchange that's going on, I have to say that all of this "offensive" talk that gets tossed hither and tither makes my asshole want to suck a lemon. I grow weary of all the yammering about "tone" and word choice.

I grew up in North Carolina where, despite all of its failings as a center of social progression, there exists a good concept of what is polite and what is not. Politeness entails honest representation of one's thoughts and feelings. It's not reduced to high diction, careful prose, clever word choice or some idealistic exchange of equanimity. I might not put things in a form that lacks robust language, but it cannot be this that makes the thing impolite.

After all, if I tell someone I fucking love their ideas, I've yet to see anyone take offense at this. No, the word selection seems to only matter when there's disparity in views. It therefore, to my mind at least, entails the ideas themselves. I've yet to find a polite way to tell someone they're idiotic, or full of shit. However, telling them as much is to extend to them the courtesy that they might know where they stand in my estimation. This gives them information on how it is they should grade me along some continuum of friend/foe.

Our Revolutionary War here in the states was crafted in calligraphy, high diction and on weighty parchment. It was phrased in as prosodic fashion as one could want. This did nothing whatever to ameliorate the meaning behind it: we disagree and will kill you if you attempt to protest our disagreement. No, the language isn't what did it - it was the idea. The "offense" taken would have been equal had our forebears merely written, "Dear King Asshat: please go fuck yourself; we are in rebellion."

People in this issue, among others, make a point to tell me I'm being unpleasant in the same breath they're invoking Schrodinger's Rapist as a guide to how a good society should function. But I'm the unpleasant one for saying "Rebecca Twatson".

/endrant.

Posted by: Justicar | July 17, 2011 4:59 AM

855

I really must admit I am absolutely taken by, destroyed by, and completely destracted and blown away by the idea of assholes sucking lemons ... I mean, well, just WoW!

I think justicar, and of course our loving host ERV, is/are my new hero/rroine.

And, by the by, in case you didn't know, I am, in deepest secrecy, and with my arch assistant Baldrik, Schrodinger's Rapist. Yes, I am. Ooh!

I am just waiting for the right moment to, er, um, ah, pounce.

Yes, that's it ... pounce. Kitteh like.

Hmmm. So, where's the tender vittles.

....

Actually, to be serious for a moment. One of my favourite comments elswhere is the one that describes Watson as the Skeptical movement's version of Paris Hilton, i.e., all PR and no substance.

True enough, I think.

Posted by: John Greg | July 17, 2011 7:27 AM

856

I think I'm taking some issue with this "Schrodinger's Rapist" schlik.

Shouldn't it be "Schrodinger's male", who may or may not be a rapist? For me, "Schrodinger's Rapist" is akin to "every male is a rapist who may or may not rape you". I find this strongly offensive. Of course, I don't have the right to be offended, I'm a priviledged white male.

Also, my AtBC handle of Schroedinge's Dog is at least 3 years old and has nothing to do with this case. I chose it because the bloody cat gets all the attention...

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 17, 2011 8:00 AM

857
For me, "Schrodinger's Rapist" is akin to "every male is a rapist who may or may not rape you". I find this strongly offensive.

That's not a bug, it's a feature. Shall I link you to some posts which say exactly that? Hell, Greg Laden said it specifically of me, though he wouldn't go so far as to call himself a rapist directly (though, as a man, he obviously must be).

The thing that drives me most crazy in all this is all the "skeptics" insisting that anecdote = evidence and that something that happened exactly once in their entire life is a statistically significant sample size. "I was raped in an elevator, therefore all women SHOULD be afraid of all men in all elevators always and forever." You're more likely to be killed by a toaster than raped in an elevator, do you have a toaster in your home?

I really, really don't get this. People who were mauled by sharks are generally more likely than the average person to understand how long the odds are and don't advocate for shark hunting and they all go back out on the water after. When people ask "aren't you scared it'll happen again?" they generally answer things like "what are the odds that'll happen?" Yet apparently, your average surfer is more rational than a community that self-describes as "rational people." WTF?

Posted by: Rystefn | July 17, 2011 12:26 PM

858

Ok, bored now.
Think I know what's up.
Fortunately it's too libellous to publish.
Obs.
1) Americans Say the Funniest Things.
2) They also Rule the Universe.
3) I have shoes older than these people (except RD).

Back to mugging up on biol. Yay! Exciting!

Posted by: dustbubble | July 17, 2011 1:14 PM

859

Alls I know is I want to see a band started called "Arsey Like That" with lead singer Professor Yaffle.

Posted by: cthellis | July 17, 2011 1:59 PM

860

Why do we stop at Schrodinger's Rapist?

Why not:

Schrodinger's Mugger?
Schrodinger's Robber?
Schrodinger's Killer?
Schrodinger's Thief?
Schrodinger's Sociopath?
Schrodinger's Criminal?
Schrodinger's Nice Guy You'll Never Meet Because of Your Irrational Fears?

It strikes me that we're only focusing on rape because any other serious crime would lead to acknowledging that men face danger too. And that would be... unbearable.

And wouldn't it be sexist to assume that ever woman is Schrodinger's bitch?

How about Schrodinger's Radical Feminist?

This is the type of thinking that's a problem for me. Why don't you men just wear "I'm not a rapist" stickers on your forehead and back. That way we stupid women will know for sure. Except for this tiny problem: rapists will wear them too.

Morons.

Posted by: bluharmony | July 17, 2011 3:41 PM

861

@854

Don't necessarily disagree. Tone is not relevant to the soundness of an argument. You'd better be damned sure of your ground before going nuclear though, or you can look very silly. Besides, nobody is backing down after the 'go fuck yourselves'' have been exchanged, so that approach probably shouldn't be first port of call.

Posted by: ThreeflangedJavis | July 17, 2011 3:43 PM

862

I realised what confused me about the Schroedinger's Rapist argument a few days ago.

When I'm walking about in the dark in the city (which I do often, because I like walking about in the dark in cities and have done since I was a teenager), I'm scared of exactly two things. A) Getting mugged and B) ghosts, because I might be a skeptic but I also watch a lot of horror movies and creep myself right out.

I'm also 100% more worried about getting mugged by women - particularly where I live now, which has a leetle problem with female gangs.

I don't understand why everything always goes straight to rape. That's not even on my top 10 list of fears-about-strangers.

Posted by: Rayshul | July 17, 2011 5:54 PM

863

Phil@856:
As noted, this is a feature of the conjecture. To make it more clear, each man is simultaneously a rapist and not a rapist. One doesn't know which state a given man is until the wave (rape?) function collapses in the form of a sexual assault attempt. This is why it's so repugnant. Any person one happens across is potentially any number of a host of different unpleasant things: rapist, murderer, burglar, mugger, car thief, pick pocket, scam artist . . .

As the Schrodinger's Rapist thing posits, it isn't possible to know until the function collapses into the attempt to commit x offense. This is true enough I suppose. But then it goes further to argue that because the potential set of events that might happen can't be known in advance, we are therefore invited to treat everyone as though they are the worst case of thing that we individually happen to fear most.

This is xenophobia in a very base form. It's also on its face stupid. It is entirely possible that the next person I meet will murder me. After all, there exist people who are murdered and people who do the murdering. So, it is something of which I am well-advised to be aware of. However, almost no one is a murderer. Given these two realities, my concern over being murdered is legitimate, but should be constrained by the fact that almost no one I meet will be a murderer. Even much less often is that one meets 1.) a murderer and 2.) the kind of murderer who wants to murder you.

I decline the repugnant invitation to presume in advance that because it's slightly possible someone I meet will do me harm, that I should then treat them in some way as though they have already harmed me.

Concern is appropriate because there's a non-zero chance something might happen. Fear about it is irrational because it almost certainly will not happen to me. If I happen to find myself in a warzone, then my level of concern might justifiably rise to the level of a rational fear of near imminent attempts to kill me. That I'm in a war and people are constantly killing and dying around me gives me good reason to think that it's a far more likely probability I am in actual mortal danger at nearly every turn.

Walking down the street? Not so much.

To apply this kind of logic to condom use, say, consider that condoms almost never fail to work. But they do sometimes fail to work. Therefore, I should treat them as though won't be effective and dispense their use since, you know, I can't know if this particular condom will fail or work properly. Be aware the guarantee isn't perfect and factor that in. Do not act as though the slight chance of failure is so high that it gives one cause for outright fear.

I'm glad to see my lemon metaphor did not fail to charge one's imagination. =^_^=

Posted by: Justicar | July 17, 2011 6:14 PM

864

ROFL. In reflection of their deep degree of willingness to dialogue and to condone dissent and disagreement, I have now been kicked off of Skepchick.org. Presumably for quite calmly and rationally pointing out some of the more egregious hypocrisies of Watson, and, ooh the shame of it all, repeating the opinion stated elsewhere that she is the Skeptical community's Paris Hilton.

Oh well. So much for dissent and dialogue.

Posted by: John Greg | July 17, 2011 6:45 PM

865

For the record, there are two people banned at ERV: John Kw*k (whos ban is liftable if he opens his own blog), and Andrea Whittemore (permabanned-- if you threaten me, you have no right to comment on my blog).

Just putting that out there... Also, no closed comment threads on ERV, ever... Though if this one gets too cumbersome, I will open a new one for you all.

Posted by: ERV | July 17, 2011 6:49 PM

866

John@864: don't do that! Ever! Bad John!

Justicar@863: why do I feel you somehow read my mind?

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 17, 2011 6:54 PM

867

A few men are rapists. Most men are not. Even if a man has rape fantasies, as long as he does not act on them, he is not a rapist. Rape fantasies are common for men and women. In any case "Schrodinger's Rapist" (every man is both a rapist and not a rapist) is a logic fail.

The "privilege" argument is an ad hom and a logic fail.

"You don't get it" is a useless statement. It's far better to say, "It seems you didn't understand, let me explain..."

Statistically speaking, focusing on the threat of stranger rape over all other more common and severe threats is a logic fail.

Stating that all women are walking around afraid of rape is wrong. If anything, I think about being robbed or mugged, which is far more common. I rarely think about rape because given my lifestyle it's improbable (but not impossible). In any case, my existence proves the statement untrue.

Believing that women are capable of everything, yet require special concessions, is a logic fail.

Name-calling (misogynist, gender-traitor, rape-enabler, etc.) is a logic fail.

Generalizing based on an anecdote is a logic fail.

Constant use of loaded language and hyperbole is a logic fail.

Blowing insignificant incidents out of proportion is counterproductive.

Finally, our society is no longer a patriarchy because women are not largely excluded from power. In fact, in many important fields (like the present generation of attorneys), women have a greater than 50% presence. Further, in the hard sciences, all else being equal, a job is more likely to go to a woman. The doors really are open, and this would be a great time to walk through them.

Sexist men do have a tendency to think that women are illogical and hysterical. And now, it seems, they need to look no further than feminist theory to confirm their beliefs. That's one of the reasons I'm so offended. It seems feminist theory is all about judging people based on stereotypes rather than who they are.

Bringing this type of feminism into skepticism is a tremendous skepticism fail.

Posted by: bluharmony | July 17, 2011 7:09 PM

868

I don't bother commenting on Skepchick (prior to this incident, I've never even read it) because I know my comments aren't welcome & will be deleted, exactly the way most critical comments are.


Posted by: bluharmony | July 17, 2011 7:15 PM

869

Surprisingly, the comment I posted that is probably responsible for my being banned has not, at least not yet, been deleted.

Posted by: John Greg | July 17, 2011 7:34 PM

870

On my blog, only Abbie's dog is banned. Pee on my leg and you lose the right to write there!

Phil: I don't need to be a mind-reader. The points I made are profound . . . in their obviousness.

But, you know, as my parable counsels: if a spider startles you, you should blame the spider for your irrational reaction. It simply should know better.

I can't even stand to read skepchick, let alone attend its comment section.

Posted by: Justicar | July 17, 2011 7:37 PM

871

Did you read the latest PZ post?

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/my_position_on_communicating_s.php

There is something there I don't like: hypocrisy. FSM knows I enjoy PZ a lot, and respect him even more, but I think my mind will indeed be changed unless he starts using his critical thinking abilities.

And a mirror...

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 17, 2011 7:43 PM

872

Phil Giordana@#871

"Did you read the latest PZ post?"

Wow. That is some serious multitasking....ass kissing, piggybacking, coat tailing and all after enthusiastic backstabbing, white knighting and turncoating.

If he were not old, flabby and probably under endowed Meyers could have a hell of a career in porn.

I know that the first man to raise a fist is the one who runs out of ideas but if I were Dawkins, I would sock Meyers right in his hairy fat disloyal face....both of them.

The man is a swine.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 17, 2011 8:49 PM

873

I remember a time when there was almost no way to get banned over at Skepchick. In fact, there was apparently a great deal of discussion and debate before they even temp banned me for saying that I hoped someone would die. How things have changed.

I'm like Abbie, myself, in that I've never banned anyone (no one has threatened me) and it would take quite a lot to get me to do so. Once I put up a moderation filter because a couple of people were howling at the gates to verbally abuse my girlfriend and I declared that they would not be able to say anything to her through me, so it would be better to drop the subject. Oh, and I deleted a bunch of comments at the request of the person who made them for safety reasons. That's it.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 17, 2011 11:00 PM

874

Per a twitter conversation I just had, I have no found out why Rebecca Watson was justified in being afeared. In the United States, 1 in 4 female university students is raped.

How crime statistics relating to the population of female university students in the US applies to a non-university student in Ireland wasn't exactly explained. But it was noted that I'm an idiot for not understanding how.

Further, every other minute a man, woman, or child is raped in the United States. How this relates to Rebecca Watson in Ireland (or even the US for that matter) was, again, not entirely clear. Again, it's because I'm an idiot.

Although, there was something mentioned about the fact that since Rebecca Watson grew up in American with its customs and social structure, she's entitled to carry that over to Ireland with her. Whether or not this justifies her thinking she can vote in their elections was, again, not immediately clear.

I wish I knew how to save a whole twitter conversation!

Posted by: Justicar | July 18, 2011 2:53 AM

875

Jen McCreight just liveblogged the TAM Diversity Panel on The Friendly Atheist:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2011/07/17/liveblogging-the-amazing-meeting-9-sunday-afternoon-sessions/

"DJ says he doesn’t want to be telling people the content that people should believe, that we should just talk about the methods of critical thinking. He doesn’t want reorganization away from science and to politics.

Observation: From looking around, only white dudes were clapping for that. SHOCKING."

So this is what passes for rebuttal in the skeptical movement nowadays. What is happening?!

Posted by: Notung | July 18, 2011 6:38 AM

876

875:

Oh she's just full of precious little bon mots:

DJ still disagrees, saying that historically skepticism has been about evidence, not social movements. Uh, who the hell cares about history when we’re trying to make things better?

Yeah, Fuck all that shit that happened before! We're too smartier to make any mistakes! Especially mistakes other non-smartier people made!

Hemant, what have you done letting me blog the diversity panel? I’m going to convert your blog to a feminist cesspool.

I prefer "idiot collective" but sure, your phrasing works too.

Jamila and Debbie and Greta enthusiastically say yes. They get in from maybe one issue, they meet people they like, they make friends, they have fun, and they build communities.

Until you find out you're not wanted because you disagree with TEH FEMINIZT WIZDUM!!!! Then you realize it's just as stupid as any other group.

exists. Greta adds that these issues aren’t mission drift. We’re just applying our mission to topics that will bring in more diverse people.

Um...that's...mission...drift. Also, emperor? Yer Nekkid.

Apparently we’re going to be whizzing through physics and astronomy, which means my reporting will probably be horrible. I apologize ahead of time.

Ptolemy. Something. Oh FSM, I want to go to sleep so badly.

…Sorry Jennifer. I feel a certain kinship since we share a name, but I’m burnt out. I’m going to stare at your pretty photos while Hemant snarfs down his very very late lunch.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO BLOG ABOUT SHIT THAT'S NOT ON MY LIST OF THINGS I WILL CARE ABOUT! THIS ISN'T ABOUT MEEEEE! I WANT A SAMMICH AND A NAP!

Could she be more lame? Well, at least she's not into that hir and sie idiocy, so I suppose, yes, yes she could.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 18, 2011 7:42 AM

877

876:

Yes, she certainly switched off when the science talk came on. "I'm going to stare at your pretty photos". Call me ignorant, but isn't this the polar opposite of feminism?

Also, she left off the important details of the science talk. Of those who applauded it, what were their genders and racial characteristics?

Posted by: Notung | July 18, 2011 8:11 AM

878

#875, #876

Just astonishing. It is self-evident that Jen's idea is that diversity in skepticism means more people that share her political viewpoint, and alienating as many people as possible that don't share her view.

Of course, should anyone want to alienate any of her little group, they must be teh evil personified.

History of astronomy? Pfffffft. What's THAT got to do with critical thinking and skepticism? /PicardFacepalm

Posted by: Spence | July 18, 2011 8:21 AM

879

"Greta adds that there’s a difference between feeling unwelcome because people disagree with your opinions, and feeling unwelcome because people are making sexist and racist jokes, or if there’s no child care, or if it’s totally unaffordable to students."

This comment pissed me off; what a load of shit. Conservative or libertarian atheists do not feel unwelcome (generally speaking) because people disagree with their opinions, they feel unwelcome because certain bloggers feel the need to slur them and make straw men of their politics as often as possible rather than opening up any kind of a serious dialogue, and even go so far as to lie and claim that conservative or libertarian atheists have contributed nothing to the movement.

Granted, I don't give a fuck personally -- for the most part -- and these things would not stop me from making it to a conference if I had the time and money, but then, I have thick skin. I'm a gun rights advocate and a wilderness advocate and broadly libertarian to boot, so people from all over the political spectrum hate me. You get used to being informed that you're a long haired, filthy, dope smoking, capitalism hating, violence craving, poor hating hippie scumbag after a while and eventually your give a shit breaks.

However, some people aren't as thick-skinned at me, and don't like it when bloggers frequently assert that conservative (or libertarian) atheists and skeptics hold the exact same views as religious nut Republicans, because, well, clearly conservatives are one monolithic movement with no room for dissent because they disagree with my views, ya know. For fuck's sake, I've even seen the claim made that you can tell a commenter is libertarian if they're an atheist and want abortion banned. This is some seriously bizarro world bullshit given that the standard libertarian position on abortion is 'What a woman does with her body is none of the government's fucking business.' This kind of behavior is commonplace, unfortunately.

I'm not saying this kind of thing will necessarily hurt someone as badly as a slur about race or gender, but it's certainly does have an effect. I think we also need to realize that a person who likes to pretend that they are correct about every fucking political matter and go so far out of the way to avoid having any serious discussion of their views that they make a straw man out of all of their opponents is not a good skeptic. (I mean this in a general sense. We at ERV seemed to have picked up on that based on the comment thread thus far.)

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 18, 2011 9:18 AM

880

Also, does anyone else read this as being extremely condescending toward women and minorities, or is it just me?

"Greta: What you’re saying is historically we had issues that were interesting to middle class educated white men, and we should still only talk about those issues. That’s why we’re not attracting diverse people."

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 18, 2011 9:31 AM

881

"In the United States, 1 in 4 female university students is raped."

If true (and I suspect that if it isn't, the difference is a definitional problem: is a bit of smooching rape? What about "I know you want it", which is commonly a prelude to that sort of thing, but not always, then again I'm not USAian) then this is a big problem in the USA. It may be a problem with the repression the generally puritanical streak that the US embraces enacts.

Then again, the "Summer party" seems to be merely girls getting their tits oot fer the lads and the lads getting a boner over it. As an outsider, that's about all I know about the summer student parties anyway.

This isn't a problem with atheist conferences, though.

It's a problem with US Student life. Maybe US culture full stop.

Posted by: Wow | July 18, 2011 9:55 AM

882

Scented Nectar pointed out that 1 in 4 fallacy in a comment on Justicar's blog:

http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/skepchick-may-farce-be-with-you.html

And I think you meant "spring break"... :)

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 18, 2011 10:26 AM

883
Yes, she certainly switched off when the science talk came on.

Added irony in that it was a woman talking about traditional 'middle class educated white men' issues, could there be some kind of lesson in that wrt to the previous panel? nah, IGNORE

Posted by: windy | July 18, 2011 11:27 AM

884
Added irony in that it was a woman talking about traditional 'middle class educated white men' issues

Yes but she's probably just a misogyny-apologist a la McGraw.

Posted by: Notung | July 18, 2011 12:11 PM

885

Re: 40 year old misquoted statistics.

The cited campus rape statistic is just one, there are lots of them and they self perpetuate in a context where they are not held up to scrutiny because to criticize the veracity of the assertion is, in itself, to take a side and to deny post-modern feminism the reparative power of a lower standard of intellectual honesty.

And aye there's the rub.

Why Dawkins will probably not be giving RW a good groveling any time soon....

ERV pointed out a disjointed gibber on the IBP blog from its post-punk perpetual student turned food critic(there are too many white people in this restaurant) turned rich white lady sponge etc..

Dawkins was referred to as a "a knob about the global humanitarian crisis of patriarchal oppression"

He was so branded, for agreeing with a lecture wherein Christina Hoff Sommers called out a popular American law textbook, rife with factual error and defended by its authors on the grounds of its being related to women.

Now I certainly don't agree with everything Sommers has to say, Dawkins would not either, but that a free pass has been given at the expense of truth is undeniable.

I believe this "pass" deeply damages the feminist movement in this country and is killing in others.

There are a great many feminists who are excusing themselves from the kind of stare-into-our-navels fabulism that Jen McCreight and a RW are finding advantage in touting.

I agree with Sommers and I disagree with her but the one line on which Mckinnon, Dawkins, the Ghost of Dworkin and I could all fist bump in agreement is:

"Worst of all, misinformation about violence against women suggests a false moral equivalence between societies where women are protected by law and those where they are not."

Posted by: Prometheus | July 18, 2011 12:31 PM

886

"Yeah, fuck that reason and logic at our meeting about reason and logic! It should be all about appeals to emotion and political agendas! That way we can get women and gay people and stuff to come!"

Are these people even aware of what they are saying? Are they next going to suggest that the meals include fried chicken and watermelon to attract more brown people? I wish I could be joking when I say this, but given how they've completely abandoned reason in favor of emotion, to the point that bringing up the idea that women even try to use reason is met with vicious attack, I am sadly, completely serious.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 18, 2011 12:48 PM

887

"Apparently we’re going to be whizzing through physics and astronomy, which means my reporting will probably be horrible. I apologize ahead of time.

Ptolemy. Something. Oh FSM, I want to go to sleep so badly.

…Sorry Jennifer. I feel a certain kinship since we share a name, but I’m burnt out. I’m going to stare at your pretty photos while Hemant snarfs down his very very late lunch."

Giggle, I'm too dumb to understand science. Gonna look at something pretty instead. Can I knit a sweater for anyone?

How stupid is this person!? I'm sorry, but if this is what women thought like, who would want us involved in skepticism? We'd belong at home, making soup or something. Fortunately most women don't. They are just as bright and capable as men.

As for libertarians, I disagree with their political views. But our disagreement is about values, not substance. We understand each other perfectly well. Same with some republicans. That doesn't prevent friendship or interesting discussions from occurring, and that doesn't lead to personal attacks. Occasionally we get frustrated with each other, but so what?

Also, it is irony of the highest order that "feminist" white men are dismissing, marginalizing, and shaming the voices of liberal feminist women in favor of their wives or women that belong to the "in-group."

You should see how many times I've been called an idiot over on Laden's blog. Ganging up on a "weakling" woman to do that doesn't bother them. And what is it that makes me an idiot? The belief that women are strong and capable of taking care of themselves. As for the belief that we shouldn't sacrifice intellectual integrity for the sake of diversity? I'm sure I'd be stoned or excommunicated if I even brought it up.

Why would I want to be involved in their community? Fuck that. I'm better off hanging out with fundie housewives. If there's a difference.

Posted by: bluharmony AKA Disappointed | July 18, 2011 3:39 PM

888

"If this were" what women thought like." (correction)

Posted by: bluharmony | July 18, 2011 3:49 PM

889

"As for libertarians, I disagree with their political views. But our disagreement is about values, not substance. We understand each other perfectly well. Same with some republicans. That doesn't prevent friendship or interesting discussions from occurring, and that doesn't lead to personal attacks. Occasionally we get frustrated with each other, but so what?"

This is exactly what I'm talking about, actually. There are many people like you who write comments on blogs that have a relation to the skeptic or atheist community and happen to disagree with libertarian or conservative atheists. Do they give a fuck about that? No. Well, in most cases no. My experience with other conservative or libertarian atheists (including ones I disagree with) is that they accept that their politics should not dictate their entire life and are perfectly willing to mix with people who share different political views.

However, a relatively small and extremely vocal contingent of bloggers act as if any atheists or skeptics who disagree with their political views are useless and slur them every time they get the chance. It is this group that send out e-mails to polite bloggers saying that they would like to attend skeptic conferences but will not do so because of the way they're treated by members of the skeptic movement. Greta is either being intellectually dishonest or completely clueless by claiming that the problem these conservative or libertarian atheists have is the former rather than the latter.

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 18, 2011 4:33 PM

890

Shit, I should have done some proof-reading before posting that. In the second paragraph an error occurs: "It is this group that send out e-mails to polite bloggers saying that they would like to attend skeptic conferences but will not do so because of the way they're treated by members of the skeptic movement." That should have been "It is because of this group that people send out e-mails to polite bloggers saying that they would like to attend skeptic conferences but will not do so because of the way they're treated by members of the skeptic movement."

Posted by: Southern Geologist | July 18, 2011 4:36 PM

891

Agree with comments by bluharmony and Southern Geologist. Whilst everyone can agree on platitudes ("we want peace", "we want to save the planet"), real discussion about politics is all about compromises and choices, and those compromises usually require comparing apples and oranges - hell, not even that, comparing apples and rocks. Those require value judgements that reasonable people can disagree on. But to the RW/PZ's of the world, their viewpoint is the only valid one and everyone else is just a moron for not seeing it.

On other points - I was going to post on the 1-in-4 rape stats on Justicar's blog, but it seems that you now need an account somewhere to post, which is the very reason I don't post at Pharyngula. Is the spam already that bad, Justicar?

I stumbled across this at JREF as well, not sure if it has been raised here. An example of Rebecca Watson and co driving women who disagree with her perspective from the skeptic movement, posted by mod Darat:

http://skeptopia.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/why-ill-never-return-to-jref-forum-or-the-amazng-meeting/

So much for encouraging diversity, and more women. It seems skepchick's main achievement is driving women away from the movement.

Posted by: Spence | July 18, 2011 4:41 PM

892

"It seems skepchick's main achievement is driving women away from the movement."

While the opposite of Skepchick's (the organization) mission statement, it is necessary to their survival.

As more women with qualifications beyond a blog and the preferred genital configuration participate, less and less of what Jen, Rebbecca, street jugglers, producers of novelty t-shirts and Marcotte have to say remains pertinent or even give the continued appearance of being lucid.

Certainly PZ Meyers and Laden have a vested interest in keeping women of a certain gravitas away. As long as pseudo-intellectual hipster chicks remain the most prominent female voices PZ et al can tout their progressive feminist street cred while controlling the messages as aging straight white guys.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 18, 2011 5:14 PM

893

In respect to my correcting his definition of ad hominem, Laden just said "fuck dictionaries." Then he said that anyone who resorts to pointing out the use of ad hominems on his board doesn't have a valid argument. Moreover, he said that complaining about the use of ad hominems in response to arguments makes me a whiner, and I should just suck it up. Finally, he concurred with people calling me an idiot. I've seriously never been so insulted in real life or online. I don't want to sound like a girl or anything, but they're making me want to cry. All in the name of feminism.

Posted by: bluharmony | July 18, 2011 5:32 PM

894

I used to consider myself quite liberal until I came into contact with the spit-flecked, teeth-gnashing, privilege-whining contingent of "liberals" who seemed so very, very determined to tell me that I was some kind of strange underclass of human being that could only survive in the real world with the assistance of 'allies' and people-like-them.

That was when I realised I would do anything just to get away from idiots like them.

This whole RW thing has absolutely confirmed to me that there is absolutely nothing for me at these conferences. Sure I'd like to see Dawkins talk but I don't think it's worth it given the company. Also. They're freaking insane. They're freaking insane cultists. This is not what I want in my skepticism.

Posted by: Rayshul | July 18, 2011 5:35 PM

895

"It seems skepchick's main achievement is driving women away from the movement."

That appears to be Rebecca's main goal. In the end, the fight is mostly about this (and I think it's particularly true when it comes to attractive single women). It's a fucking cat fight with deluded white knights defending someone's honor, when that someone has none. She can't stand the thought of sharing the spotlight or being replaced. All in my opinion, of course. Unlike some people, I can't read minds.

Posted by: bluharmony | July 18, 2011 5:44 PM

896

BTW, it appears that Grothe is actually on our side, though he can't come out and say so. He did say on Stef's blog, "I tend to agree with you."

You're completely right about aging white men feeling threatened by women with actual credentials. As for Skepchick, her priorities were obvious to me from day one.

I'm liberal in my politics in that I favor a welfare state with a free market economy on everything but the essentials: minimal food & shelter, education, health care. And I favor purely defensive foreign policy as well as race, sexual orientation, and gender equality. But I don't know if this is possible (or even "best,") and I'm willing to admit that. Because these are my political, non-evidence based views reflecting my personal values.

Posted by: bluharmony | July 18, 2011 6:09 PM

897

Ugh.

I think SouthernGeologist hit on what leaves me put off by this rhetoric.

From my understand, I think an issue like gay rights is a Big Deal. But it's not an atheist issue. Maybe it can comfortably find a home in a skeptic club or something. But I don't need that. I'm not so petty as to throw away progress one group is making on one issue of mine because they aren't explicitly inviting me in to be there as a class of person who requires prodding to participate.

Start killing some gays, or beating the shit out of them, or having meetings about why we hate them, and I'll have a problem. Leaving it out of the conversation altogether? This doesn't disenfranchise me in the slightest.

And guess what? When I'm in a group of people and something happens to which some nitwit says, "that's gay", I use my big boy mouth and say, "I don't appreciate that and I'll thank you pretend as though your home training isn't as bad as it is." I don't need to go make a youtube video about it to get support about how Teh Gays aren't being welcomed in the atheist community.

It's not the platform. I don't go to an Italian restaurant and bitch about not finding Chinese food on the menu as being some kind of systemic problem to keep the Chinese down. It's just not platform.

Are women as a whole really so weak that without a special invitation and super special sets of rules ruthlessly enforced, they aren't capable of walking among the godless?

Of course I'd love to live in a society where looking out into an audience is a fair statistical representation of the general population. It just doesn't happen for purely statistical reasons, in addition to other things. It doesn't mean there's a problem in the society, or that the group isn't accepting of people who show up. Not targeting a demographic for handheld invitations to a thing isn't to say the group is excluding them. Want to be a part? There's the door - use it. Don't want to be a part? Same thing - there's the door, don't use it.

If someone gets handsy with you, knee him in the balls and shout at him for accosting you. It works in bars. It works outside bars. I have every confidence that it will work inside an atheist conference.

Being made to think of myself of some kind of emotionally vulnerable group requiring kid gloves before I can brave all the adults in the room puts me off. Before I found out that my gayness was an issue requiring special sensitivity in atheist groups, I was perfectly capable of walking into one without thinking about being a gay atheist. Now, I guess I should wear a sign so you people know to pity my poor lot in life.

Send flowers and condolences to
123 Fuckme Runninga Way
Upyours, USA 06969

Or make a donation to your favorite non-gay charity. Or gay charity if you feel that the guilt money needs to be spent.

The religious right in America doesn't have shit on the feminist right in America with respect to diminishing women.

"My experience with other conservative or libertarian atheists (including ones I disagree with) is that they accept that their politics should not dictate their entire life and are perfectly willing to mix with people who share different political views. "

What's all this hogwash about "different" opinions and shit? Toe the line . . . or else, motherfucker. We are freethinking and open-minded so long as you agree with what we tell you to agree with.

How the dynamics change if the guy next to me is republican, democrat or other form of lunatic escapes me.

Of course, I'm what PZ derides as a "dictionary atheist". Yes, I am. That's because it's what the word means; your political agenda to bootstrap every idea you have onto atheism and atheists doesn't mean we have to let them stick. Go find a new word for that particular brand of whatever - atheism has gotten along just fine without this nonsense being foisted onto it.

Posted by: Justicar | July 18, 2011 6:19 PM

898

ERV

If I quoted a snippet of something you wrote and declared you homophobic at a large convention, when you dont think (and many other dont think) what you said was homophobic, and you had no means of responding to that accusation, that would be wrong, and you would be (rightly) mad.
First AFAIK Watson didn't call her misoginystic, but her arguments yes.

It doesn't matter what Macgraw thinks she said herself, or what she thinks she did herself. It does matter what she actually said and did. She did mischaracterize Watson and did parrot misoginystic arguments. Sorry. That's the point she should have been addressing instead of whinning about been a so-poor-little-student-that-couldn't-respond-on-a-plain-even-field-life-is-soooo-unfair.

Watson didn't start this. Her orignal complain take 1 min of an 8+ min video. It would have ended there if so many people, men and (for MY surprise) women (including McGraw), didn't start to chastisize Watson for that 1 min in an 8+ min video. It's telling how so many of these (including McGraw) that critisize Watson's original 1 min in an 8+ min video, invariably choose to mischaracterize it ('She's against men hitting on women in any circunstances'), or just to play stupid ('what? He just asked for a coffee! A COFFEE for Dawkins sake! At 4 am! Without have ever spoken to her before! What's possibly wrong with THAT?').

Now, why I have this feeling that, if the elevator episode had ended badly, either Watson had accepted the 'invitation' or not, that these same people would be saying things like: 'how could she be so naive to think that an invitation for coffee at 4 am, could possibly means anything but sex?', or 'didn't she knew that a woman should not take an elevator alone with a stranger, in a foreign country, at 4 am?'?

Posted by: Eneraldo Carneiro | July 18, 2011 6:38 PM

899

Justicar@#897

That's well said. Why do I give a fuck what a Minnesota cow college evolutionary biologist has to say about Obama or economic theory.

Yet somehow I am supposed to care what a may or may have not graduated from communications college 30 something malignant narcissist has to say about not only the western intellectual tradition but post-modern feminist interpersonal and political theory?

Fuck that.

The Bride is looking for an obstetrician. By that logic we should just tell Marv (the guy who fixes our cars) to be ready to crank her up on the rack in 8 months.

For 600 bucks not including travel and board I am not going to listen to some random hippie hobo hold forth on anything.

Amazing Meeting my ass. Clip joint and mutual admiration society.

Post 900 coming up. What will they win Don Pardo?

Posted by: Prometheus | July 18, 2011 6:48 PM

900

Enraldo:
this post by you strikes me as being thought up by the kind of mind who gets language put into laws that differentiate between "incidents of genocide" and "genocide" as though there's a difference of note.

Let me put it another way: I'm not saying you're a racist, I'm just saying that all the words you say are racist. I'm sure you're not a racist even though what you say is nothing but racist.

It's disingenuous.

What does it matter that she spent 1 minute on it or 2 minutes? The content of what is said doesn't fluctuate because of the length of time required to say it.

If I give a six hour long speech and put in, "And all niggers should be executed" does this become less bad because it wasn't the whole of my speech? If I reverse that and have a six hour long speech advocating that position but put in a line "I send my father birthday cards every year, unfailingly", is my speech improved?

Then again, I think you've answered all of my questions in your last paragraph: you have a "feeling". QED huh?

I get that set of steak knives! 900, bitches!

Bluharmony:
I too have political opinions. Why the rest of the atheist community is somehow obliged to listen to them is not immediately obvious. It's not the topic. It's not the subject. It's not implied by the subject beyond the political position that the government should remain secular. That may or may not imply some shared politic we should all have. It's just irrelevant to the theme: there is no god. Stop passing laws to tell me there is.

Beyond that, find a different group, or a sub-group in the atheism movement. Whatever form it might take on the personal level, it is not a fitting topic for a panel discussion on atheism.

Posted by: Justicar | July 18, 2011 7:10 PM

901

Justicar, I think I should, by right, propose to you at a TAM convention! Damn, I wish Prof. Dawkins would invite you to a panel! Rarely have I seen such rational thinking (well, except for your privilege, of course, it shows)!

Could I write this in french so I can get understood?

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 18, 2011 7:33 PM

902

Phil, while I'm flattered to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as his, from a purely pragmatic position, I would be an extremely unwise person for him to sit down with right now. He's already being harangued enough for what he said, and what I've said is far, far more brutal. (And I make no apologies whatever for the fact that my satirical treatment of Rebecca Watson's nontroversy is highly unfriendly - it's not good satire if people are offended)

Write in any language you want, but I only have an mediocre understanding of one language. I'm sure I butcher it daily!

Beside all of that is the fact that I'm not a particularly gifted speaker, though I can turn a phrase. I have nothing particularly unique to say that would be generally intelligible by the public-at-large. Plus I have no particular desire to be a face for anything; I'm perfectly content writing my blog, making crappy videos on youtube and perhaps in some small way spurring people on to hold nothing sacred - to challenge any claim of any import with ruthless interrogation.

It's been the only method we've found that has a track record for consistently providing answers to questions. Plus, I don't care one jot about how people feel. My care is what is true. This present silliness indicates that this is a concept quite foreign to much of this community.

Odd, I'm an unwelcome presence in a skeptical community for being, you know, dubious about what I'm told I should believe.

Posted by: Justicar | July 18, 2011 7:47 PM

903

Justicar:

You know what makes me feel better? It's the fact that there at best 15 redundent commenters on Pharyngula (no actual data, but I think I'm close). Look at this very thread here, we are not so many commenting, and the same pattern arises for each blog.

it's really a storm in a teapot.

Posted by: Phil Giordana, FCD, aka Schroedinger's Dog | July 18, 2011 8:01 PM

904

@Justicar: Brilliant.

@Enraldo:
"It would have ended there if so many people, men and (for MY surprise) women (including McGraw), didn't start to chastisize Watson for that 1 min in an 8+ min video. It's telling how so many of these (including McGraw) that critisize Watson's original 1 min in an 8+ min video, invariably choose to mischaracterize it ('She's against men hitting on women in any circunstances'), or just to play stupid ('what? He just asked for a coffee!

The reason women replied is twofold: (1) Rebecca doesn't speak for all women and (2) she's dead wrong.

What happened to Watson IS NOT OBJECTIFICATION. Listening to someone talk all day, then saying she's interesting and you'd like to chat, is not objectification no matter where or when it happens (with the possible exception of a strip club or similar). It may be inappropriate, and Watson is free to say what she prefers, but she can't speak for all of us. Having a different view on this matter is not misogyny (hatred of women) or anywhere near it. And realistically, there's no fucking difference between being called a misogynist and being told that what you think or say is misogynistic (and also stupid). Especially when it isn't.

And no, if she were raped, none of us would defend the rapist. The case would be taken to court, where, unlike here, actual evidence is required to convict. There's a reason for this rule. Can you figure out what it is on your own? Moreover, have you noticed that in this case WE DON'T EVEN HAVE A DEFENDANT? All we have is an accusation thrown out into thin air without any corroboration.

"A COFFEE for Dawkins sake! At 4 am! Without have ever spoken to her before! What's possibly wrong with THAT?')."

Nothing. I welcome all requests for coffee in an elevator. And if I'm in a bar until 4AM, I welcome all men to proposition me because I'm probably looking for some company. Even if I say "I'm tired" when I excuse myself. Because I'm capable of saying no. And if it's a rapist doing the talking, then it doesn't matter what he says or if he speaks at all; he'll rape me anyway unless I take some responsibility for my own safety.

PZ's advice to dress nicely and chat a woman up before taking her to one's hotel room won't help me if rape is the intent. In fact, it's far more difficult to escape from a hotel room than an elevator, and trying to teaching a guy how to best trick me into consensual sex is offensive. Not to mention, it's patronizing and sexist. But not misogynistic. Because there's a difference.

No one is defending Dawkins. He used faulty logic, and he was rude. So what? It doesn't make his work in evolutionary biology any less relevant. Moreover, his annoyance at this mess was justified.

Posted by: bluharmony | July 18, 2011 8:20 PM

905

Eneraldo Carneiro-- Unless we are talking physics, if you have to posit alternative dimensions and alternative time-lines to even hypothetically make a point, you are not making a point.

Posted by: ERV | July 18, 2011 8:27 PM

906

"Greta: What you’re saying is historically we had issues that were interesting to middle class educated white men, and we should still only talk about those issues. That’s why we’re not attracting diverse people."

How do the issues in atheism and skepticism change based on the demographic in attendance? How is the employment of critical thinking different with women and minorities in attendance?

Organizations supporting atheism and skepticism are nothing but social clubs. They serve no other purpose, so I guess money and power rule.

Posted by: bluharmony | July 18, 2011 9:41 PM

907

The point, to me, is that it is divisive and unproductive to call out an ally while you are on a stage. The point is that there is aa way to have an argument - even an extreme argument - with an ally, and a way to declare war on an enemy, and common sense says you should know which you are doing before you open your mouth.

I mentioned I used to blog. I did political humor blogging. I also mentioned my politics are on the left. So when I blogged, I made fun of and picked on people. I can be a dick when I want to. But I was targeting people who were never going to be my allies on anything. I don't care if I hurt Jonah Goldberg's feelings. I don't care if Michael Medved or Joseph Farrah or Victor Davis Hansen cried in their beer after I was done with them. In fact, because they were my enemies, I hope they did. Because I'm not an idiot, I know they didn't, but that's neither here nor there.

I've had plenty of arguments with friends and allies, and I have tried very hard not to use the same sort of snarky, bitchy, scorched-earth tactics when I fight with them. I have failed on occasion - i'm human. But when Rebecca Watson brings those sorts of tactics to near on someone directly out out the starting gate, then what she is communicating to that person - and everyone else - is that that person is an enemy. Everything else follows predictably from there.

Posted by: Jillian | July 18, 2011 9:45 PM

908

Ya know, it is amazing how Rebbeca has increased her mating fitness in the whole thing, ain't it?

Or, in other words, her slander of a man who hasn't yet had a forum to defend himself sure was profitable, and divisive--and sure does its part to uphold the clannish patriarch PZ Meyers.

http://pornalysis.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/academic-culture-is-the-etic-rapist-of-emic-meaning-by-classification-co-option-and-preemption-of-secular-paralanguage-part-1/

Posted by: pornonymous | July 18, 2011 9:52 PM

909

@Spence:

Just piping in, folks, with a few quotes that some of you might have missed from the comments section in the link that Spence posted, where an ex-mod from the JREF forums explains why she doesn't feel comfortable attending the likes of TAM any more, due to the preponderance of women such as the Skepchick crew being more interested in self-promotion and partying as opposed to, you know, advancing the principles of critical thinking. I apologise about the length of this post, which is mainly a copy & paste job from Spence's link, but I find these to be very revealing:

uncayimmy posted:

"It’s interesting that I should see this blog today because I had just (out of curiosity) decided to check out Rebecca on the JREF Forums.

I had heard the name mentioned a number of times, so I wanted to see her contributions in the trenches, so to speak. She posted there nearly 7,000 times before being banned for acting like an adolescent. Do you know how many posts she had in General Skepticism and the Paranormal? A mere 124. Science? 130. Religion and Philosophy? 140.

How in the hell did she become some Skeptic Guru? Well, it ties into what you describe about the forums and TAM. It’s about popularity. She spent most of her time hanging out in Community, chatting it up and goofing around. She’s undoubtedly fun and somewhat charismatic. She certainly did NOT rise to the top (so to speak) for her insight and skeptical approach to things."

noblecaboose posted:

"I just remembered one of the things that first started to bug me about Ms. Watson. At my first TAM, I went to the ‘Skepchick Pajama Party’ which was a ‘ladies only’ gathering (though some men did show up). It was different from the Forum Party which was hosted by Rebecca, but I still expected to see Rebecca there, since she was a prominent female in the movement and she was THE Skepchick. What I found out was that the men were having a “Scotch and Cigars” party at the same time for men only, as a counter-party to the all female Skepchick Pajama Party. The year I attended, Rebecca didn’t even make an appearance at the pajama party, preferring instead to crash the men’s party and hang out with the boys, who were her clear fan base. I found it incredibly rude of her, as it devalued the women’s party and it also showed that she was more interested in being the token girl than part of a group of women. Far from being interested in bringing more women into skepticism, she seemed to just wanted to be fawned over by drooling men."

Along with the sleuthing that Justicar has been involved with, there seems to be a distinct pattern emerging here of Watson being an all round contemptible bitch. I was only vaguely aware of her three or so weeks ago- now I find the fact that she is a prominent and influential member of the skeptic community to be deeply disturbing.

By the way Justicar- what happened to your long blog post from a few days ago about Watson, where you outlined your intention to thoroughly investiagte her past actions? It isn't there any more.

Posted by: Mr. DNA | July 18, 2011 10:11 PM

910

LMAO: " a skeptical guru" is like, an oxymoron or something....

"a guru of skepticism" is like a jack of no trades.

Posted by: pornonymous | July 18, 2011 10:33 PM

911

Just in the interest of full disclosure great grandma used to make me hot chocolate with little purple, green and white marshmallows.

Then she would explain why.

She died at 98 and was buried by the survivors of her 9 children wearing her sash and with her arms folded around her marching spear.

My grandmother was a successful industrialist.

My mother was a petroleum engineer and later a well reputed theoretical mathematician who shopped for tailored suits at Sax with Ayn Rand and swapped off color jokes with Friedan.

The Bride, physically and emotionally abused and eventually abandoned by her mother spends the balance of her days in the trenches for women, abused, assaulted and legitimately threatened women, to exhaustion and to her own beggary.

To the extent I can, I "get it".

Posted by: Prometheus | July 18, 2011 10:49 PM

912

I'm missing a blog entry?

*activates rainbow power to dash off and check, leaving fairy sparkles behind*

Ok, I'm back.

"My specific and explicit purpose is to start a campaign to have Rebecca Twatson excluded from the selection of people who are paid to speak at our events. Her presence is a net drain in time and money."
From: http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/ceterum-censeo-rebecca-twatson-esse.html

It's still there, happily getting along with its neighbors. For the moment, I'm writing on other topics as I can only take listening to her talk in short doses. I believe, you see, in intellectual osmosis, and I don't want to get too close for obvious reason. Like Nietzsche said: when you long-stare into the empty-minded, they suck you in and clobber you with stupidity. I think that's an exact quote. Mm hmm.

Posted by: Justicar | July 18, 2011 10:57 PM

913

bluharmony:

No one is defending Dawkins. He used faulty logic, and he was rude.

This is untrue. I am defending Dawkins. I also disagree with your assessment of his logic. Just so we're clear.

Posted by: Rystefn | July 18, 2011 11:11 PM

914