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Aug 23 2012

Oh, That Dawkins

When all the pushback is getting you down, remember this.

When they tell you your credibility is gone, remember this.

When they tell you everyone hates you, remember this.

When they you the movement is abandoning you for your crazy ways, remember this.

That great controversialist, that person who has been called too confrontational, that person who told everyone religion is delusion, that person who has debated beloved religious leaders, that person who has publicly faced down the nastiest pundits of our time–Richard Dawkins–has no better means of telling you you’re wrong than posting passive-aggressive tweets trying to attack ad revenue.

I'm told Adblock stops websites earning money from ads: thwarts bloggers winding up controversy for sole purpose of raising hitcounts. True?
@RichardDawkins
Richard Dawkins
Boycott websites that deliberately wind up false controversy in order to generate advertising revenue
@RichardDawkins
Richard Dawkins
Greta Christina gave data suggesting controversy doesn't drive blog traffic, in which case boycott pointless, intuition wrong – as often
@RichardDawkins
Richard Dawkins

Remember this.

184 comments

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  1. 1
    Danny

    I RT’d something from him that finally made me unfollow him on Twitter that was less passive aggressive and more mean-spirited.

    He’s just become a curmudgeon, I think.

  2. 2
    aleph squared

    Yeah, ’cause calling his book “The God Delusion” didn’t generate any controversy. I suppose now that he’s against controversy-driven monetization he’s going to refund the money of every person who’ve bought his books due to the controversy?

    Oh, wait, no, I get it — this is why he always refused to do any events with Hitchens, he was just so afraid that he might make money off of controversy!

    Give me a fuckin’ break, man.

  3. 3
    Stephanie Zvan

    Well, he did say, “false controversy”. I asked him whether that was when everyone agreed but argued anyway. He didn’t answer.

  4. 4
    Jasper of Maine

    Starting to lose respect for the old chap. Honestly, I’m surprised he isn’t more on board with social causes.

    He may be one of the olde guard, but even atheism can stand to move on from him. He’s done his bit for king and country, but the newer, more advanced generations are champing at the bit to leap into the fray.

  5. 5
    Gretchen

    “intuition wrong – as often”

    That’s so sad it’s almost endearing…

  6. 6
    'Tis Himself

    Dawkins is only seven years (and five days) older than me, but I’m sure I’m a much younger person than he is.

  7. 7
    magicthighs

    I’m just really, really tired of his passive aggressive tweets. Recently he dissed Elyse Anders’ “Hug me, I’m vaccinated” campaign because it has the word “hug” in it, only to backpedal quickly when Elyse asked him what his problem was.
    The same goes for Paula Kirby, I’m just sick and tired of it. These people are actively making certain bad elements (like the people harassing Surly Amy) feel empowered.
    One of the bad elements that has a twitter account called elevatorgate and a blog by the same name (no, I’m not linking to either), posted the same advice of blocking ads on Skepchick and FTB just a few weeks ago. I’m not convinced Dawkins tweeting this now is a coincidence.

  8. 8
    callistacat

    “intuition wrong – as often”

    I’m not sure what this means, can someone explain?

  9. 9
    piegasm

    When I first identified as an atheist I thought Dawkins was great but, the more I listen to him, the more he rubs me the wrong way.

    I watched a conversation between him and PZ Myers where PZ told a story about a girl who was in one of his classes who actually went and spoke to a counselor because her fundy family had gotten her so worked up about PZ’s atheism that the thought of being taught by him was making her nauseous. The impression I got from PZ was that he rather pitied her. Dawkins just scoffed which struck me as quite callous. As time goes by the more obvious it becomes that that wasn’t an anomaly.

  10. 10
    Stephanie Zvan

    callistacat, I think he’s just acknowledging that “common sense” often isn’t and that his failed him in this. I don’t know what that means he now thinks about blog controversy, though.

  11. 11
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    …says the asshat who is using his Twitter feed to advertise his book.

  12. 12
    Adam Lee

    I’ve always had and always will have great respect for Richard Dawkins’ work as a science communicator and an advocate for atheism. But lately, I’ve been losing a lot of respect for him otherwise.

    Between “Dear Muslima”, his passive-aggressive sniping at the Skepchicks over the Hug Me I’m Vaccinated campaign, and now this, which can really only be interpreted as a thinly veiled stab at Atheism+, I’ve come reluctantly to the conclusion that he’s no more enlightened than the general population when it comes to sexism and gender equity. It’s disappointing, but it was probably naive of me to expect otherwise.

  13. 13
    Ophelia Benson

    Yikes. I’d seen the second and third but not the first. So apparently he was actively seeking advice on trying to get these unnamed controversy-stirrers – gee who could that be? – deprived of revenue.

    I’ve seen people discussing that cunning plan before on Twitter (explicitly about FTB in those cases), but I’m gobsmacked to see RD getting in on it.

  14. 14
    Stephanie Zvan

    Adam, yeah. It’s been a little disheartening to find out how literal “No heroes” has been.

  15. 15
    callistacat

    Thanks Stephanie. I’ve heard the whole “you just want blog hits” nonsense before but didn’t think someone like Dawkins could be that dense. He’s saying there is no real problem with bigotry in this movement, that you all are lying for money? M’kay. Please just stick to talking about evolution Richard, you really haven’t mastered the art of being a decent human being.

  16. 16
    Pteryxx

    Oh, gee Dawkins, thanks for the reminder. *disables Adblock for FTB*

  17. 17
    Jasper of Maine

    I don’t understand the traffic myself. FTB was doing fine without “fabricated controverseys”, and those who regularly visit the site – those whose traffic pay the bills – aren’t likely to boycott it.

  18. 18
    kagekiri

    @16 Pteryxx:

    Good idea!

    *adds FTB to exceptions*

    Wow, didn’t realize there were so many ads! Ah well.

    Come on Dawkins, really? The feminists are just winding up “false controversy”??

  19. 19
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    *disables AdBlock on Freethoughtblogs*

  20. 20
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    I am not a twitter user (so maybe this is obvious to the rest of you but not to me), is the target of what I will presume you are correctly labeling a passive agressive attack obvious and I am just missing it? Is it to someone in specific, or is it just his twitter account talking at the internet? Is there some missing context? Is this part of a discussion on twitter, or is there some way to know what was meant to be the target (aside from cynicism which might be correct and is probably warranted)?

  21. 21
    Dehumanizer

    Doesn’t he admit he was wrong, in the third tweet?

  22. 22
    magicthighs

    @TwoPiDeltaIj the “tweet” as it’s called isn’t directed at anyone, if you follow Richard Dawkins it’ll show up in your twitter client.
    Here’s a two other passive aggressive tweets he’s sent in the past few weeks, it’s becoming a pattern:
    https://twitter.com/RichardDawkins/status/223116208835272705
    https://twitter.com/RichardDawkins/status/235394901586628608

  23. 23
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @21 He says that “boycotting” FtB ads by using AdBlock is pointless. He doesn’t say that trying to harm FtB is pointless.

  24. 24
    Ace of Sevens

    I think controversy is pointless when it’s about issues that he doesn’t care about.

  25. 25
    Yui Daoren

    @21 – yes, but not about the important part. Just about the pointfulness of this particular boycott technique.

  26. 26
    artharjar

    Leave Dawkins alone. He’s not perfect, so what? Are you? As for what his post (sorry Tweet) has to do with A+ is lost on me (perhaps I don’t tweet enough; meaning at all).

    As for A+ itself, why the name change? So we want atheists to be more respectful of women’s issues, of equality; that means we have to change the name? How about we just be more respectful. What a novel concept. I don’t think a new name is changing a damn thing.

    If there is a problem address it, don’t run away and start a new organization and don’t turn on someone like Dawkins because you’re upset about a name. Dawkins has done more for atheism than just about anyone else.

  27. 27
    Stephanie Zvan

    artharjar, you’re telling Dawkins to leave us alone, right? You’re asking him why he feels a need to try to start a boycott? Yes?

  28. 28
    callistacat

    @artharjar

    “How about we just be more respectful. What a novel concept.” When we ask for more respect, we get called things like nazis and bullies and people joke that raping us wouldn’t be immoral. Doesn’t seem to work.

    Some of us have just had it with being vilified for asking for some simple common decency and respect.

  29. 29
    Dehumanizer

    In the third tweet he says controversy doesn’t drive up blog traffic after all; to me, it implies that he’s admitting that nobody is trying to generate controversy after all, so the idea of a boycott was pointless, therefore he was wrong.

    Then again, it’s possible *I’m* the one reading it wrong.

  30. 30
    magicthighs

    “So we want atheists to be more respectful of women’s issues, of equality; that means we have to change the name? How about we just be more respectful.”

    Yes, let’s be respectful of bigots and misogynists, that’ll solve everything! Why didn’t we think of that?

  31. 31
    Jasper of Maine

    Dawkins is talking about boycotting FTB, and you’re asking us to leave him alone?

    The fuck?

  32. 32
    Jasper of Maine

    In addition, the fact that Dawkins has “done more for anything than any of us” is unambiguously irrelevant. Atheism doesn’t suffer from the “spiritual leader” vulnerability.

    If he’s wrong about something. He’s wrong. Period. And he should be called out on it. Without mercy.

  33. 33
    magicthighs

    @dehumanizer the tweet calling for a boycot got 141 retweets as of this moment. His “correction” has 14.

  34. 34
    magicthighs

    “Dawkins has done more for atheism than just about anyone else.”

    Yes, he made it very controversial, didn’t he? *snicker*

  35. 35
    artharjar

    Everyone deserves mercy. You want a new form of atheism? One that’s more sensitive, more gentile, more understanding of diversity? How about you start by living that. Skewering a person after they admitted they were wrong is not A+, its just vindictive. It shows better than all the rhetoric why Dawkins might have been right about the false controversy.

    I could not possibly be more sympathetic to the feminist or minority perspective (a line that’s sure to be called out a few times but is true nonetheless). I fight for equality (for women, for sexual orientation, and for minorities) in everything that I do. But respect for a position means being brave enough to speak up when the group is driving itself off a cliff.

    This new atheism sounds more like the inquisition than an improvement. You don’t like some of what Dawkins says, fine, neither do I. But let’s be realistic. He’s working against a world religious system that’s worse than anything you’ll find inside traditional atheism. You don’t like how white male atheists treat you, that’s fair; lets work on that problem. But before you blow up the building, step outside and see how much better you fair in the street with the christians who run the rest of this country.

    Its like the old saying, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” or the one that says “a house divided against itself cannot stand” (oh god! not the bible – laughing). There are constructive ways to address the equality issue. Mercilessly sacrificing Dawkins might score some short term points but it won’t help atheism in the long run.

  36. 36
    Maude LL

    I know a lot of people have a problem with him since the elevator thing, but I still have tons of respect for Dawkins. He’s got his own blind spots, and I think overall he’s brought a lot of good to the world, especially with his science books (and I think the God Delusion changed a lot of minds about faith). I guess I fail to see why this is an issue (I might be missing something though, I have my blind spots too). However, I must admit it’s pretty hilarious if he doesn’t see the irony in his criticism. Or maybe he’s just turned into a fantastic satirist, and he’s just holding on for the ta-daa! for effect. Something like that.

  37. 37
    Stephanie Zvan

    artharjar, breathe. Putting up a blog post pointing out that Dawkins has nothing but a boycott to offer as constructive criticism is not “mercilessly sacrificing” anyone.

  38. 38
    HP

    I understand — I’ve been told by bloggers and such — that when there’s been a legitimate controversy, websites download certain cookies that make additional ad revenue very rare.

  39. 39
    artharjar

    @Stephanie: I know, I get excited. I was actually responding to another comment someone made about taking down anyone who is wrong about something. I don’t think this main article is a problem at all. Discussion is fine, in fact its what this whole movement needs.

  40. 40
    Ace of Sevens

    #37: That and Dawkins has a history of arguing that courting controversy is how you get attention and get things done, making this a rather hypocritical position.

  41. 41
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    #22 magicthighs, Thanks for the information. I am not sure I yet see the reading of the second of the ‘tweets’ you linked to, or those in the OP, as all that agressive (passive or otherwise) unless you are being a bit cynical in your reading of them or implying a non-obvious (to me at least) target of the aggression. Given how silly his ‘tweets’ in the OP are considering who is talking though, perhaps the cynicism is warranted.

  42. 42
    Stephanie Zvan

    Discussion is fine, in fact its what this whole movement needs.

    Yet you came here to complain that I was discussing this. Okay.

  43. 43
    Jasper of Maine

    Everyone deserves mercy. You want a new form of atheism? One that’s more sensitive, more gentile, more understanding of diversity?

    Sure – but this is not equivalent. Being sensitive and gentile doesn’t mean we don’t point out where people are wrong. And we don’t back off because they whine about being corrected.

    How about you start by living that. Skewering a person after they admitted they were wrong is not A+, its just vindictive.

    Incorrect. He admitted he was wrong about the ability of a boycott to have an effect, but not about the “false controversy” and remarks against FTB. It’s not vindictive because it’s a point that needs to be made – that the problems are real and not attempts to drive ad-revenue.

    But sure, since you don’t get that, go ahead and dismiss it as “vindictive”.

    It shows better than all the rhetoric why Dawkins might have been right about the false controversy.

    Complete non-sequitur. Sexism in the atheist movement doesn’t exist because we don’t pull punches when correcting him? That’s the only way this sentence would make any kind of coherent sense.

    I could not possibly be more sympathetic to the feminist or minority perspective (a line that’s sure to be called out a few times but is true nonetheless). I fight for equality (for women, for sexual orientation, and for minorities) in everything that I do. But respect for a position means being brave enough to speak up when the group is driving itself off a cliff.

    That’s your prerogative of course, and we’re free to point out that you’re wrong, about as wrong as Dawkins has been lately.

    Carving out misogyny/sexism isn’t driving off a cliff – it’s a cure.

    This new atheism sounds more like the inquisition than an improvement. You don’t like some of what Dawkins says, fine, neither do I.

    Yeah, minus violence, torture, executions, dogma, involuntary inclusion, etc. Just like the Insquisition. Care to call us Nazis too, while you’re at it?

    But let’s be realistic. He’s working against a world religious system that’s worse than anything you’ll find inside traditional atheism.

    Disgusting. People are brutally murdered in 3rd world countries, so domestic violence… that’s not so bad, am I right?

    You say you support women, then out of the other corner of your mouth you’re defending sexism. Someone who doesn’t defend sexism would tolerate no more than zero of it, without ever making excuses or appeals to “well it’s worse in other places”.

    You don’t like how white male atheists treat you, that’s fair; lets work on that problem.

    We are. This is part of it – consciousness raising and putting pressure on the community to face the problem instead of merely allowing the status quo to continue.

    But before you blow up the building, step outside and see how much better you fair in the street with the christians who run the rest of this country.

    Again, irrelevant.

    Its like the old saying, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” or the one that says “a house divided against itself cannot stand” (oh god! not the bible – laughing).

    No one is “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. We’re correcting people who are wrong. A+ should be a no-brainer, but many are fine with the status quo of sexism and misogyny. They are not required to mend their ways – that’s their choice.

    And yeah – Bible quotes are frequently wrong. We had no structure before, and we were fine. This “movement” is fairly new. It it fractures into sexist-friendly and not-sexist-friendly, that’s not a problem. That’s an improvement.

    There are constructive ways to address the equality issue.

    Yep. And we’re doing it.

    Mercilessly sacrificing Dawkins might score some short term points but it won’t help atheism in the long run.

    Misrepresentation. Correcting him is not sacrificing. It’s about learning and.. as he coined – consciousness raising.

    He just needs his consciousness raised by quite a bit.

  44. 44
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    artharjar wrote:

    If there is a problem address it…

    Wow. I can’t believe you actually wrote that. Where have you been for the last year? Addressing one issue – that of misogyny – was tried, and was met with an unprecedented wall of obtuse denial, dismissal.

    Just how much naked contempt should people have to take before they are justified in leaving to do their own thing?

  45. 45
    Jasper of Maine

    I was actually responding to another comment someone made about taking down anyone who is wrong about something.

    Who said anything even remotely like that? Wasn’t me.

  46. 46
    Pierce R. Butler

    Why does everyone seem to assume that Dawkins is targeting FTB with his (retracted, I think) call for a boycott?

    Last I heard, he and PZ Myers are still buddies – and since for many people, Myers is FTB (has Dawkins commented on any other blog here but Pharyngula?), an attack on this whole site would represent a significant personal turnaround which would probably have generated more ripples than a no-names-named tweet or two.

    Or have I just missed those other ripples?

  47. 47
    Ace of Sevens

    @46: Because he was apparently responded to a New Statesman piece about Jen McCreight.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/religion/2012/08/atheism-plus-new-new-atheists

  48. 48
    Rob

    @16 Pteryxx: Thanks for pointing that out, *also adds FTB to exceptions*

    I admire Dawkins intellect and his writing, but he worst thing I ever did was go to see him speak. His speech was to a packed hall of ~2,500 people. It was powerful, insightful and inspiring. The questions afterward were handled with skill and the precision of a scalpel.

    Afterwards, while lining up to meet him I heard him being downright rude and obnoxious with someone ahead of me in the line. Someone I know to be a great admirer of Dawkins. I know that touring to support a book launch can be tiring and he must get sick of the whole speak/meet/greet palaver, but this was just objectionable and without cause. I left the line and my feelings about him have never recovered, despite still valuing his work.

    Never meet your heroes…

  49. 49
    Bill

    So once again you are throwing Dawkins under the bus for his refusal to toe the new line. Wow ! It’s amazing how fast it can all turn around isn’t it. You would all do well to keep that in mind while you’re skewering everyone else.

  50. 50
    Stephanie Zvan

    Printing Dawkins’ tweets is throwing him under the bus?

  51. 51
    Rob

    Bill @49, how exactly are we throwing Dawkins under a bus? In fact, while you’re at, it describe how Dawkins IS NOT throwing everyone (bloggers and commentators) associated with FTB or Skepchick under a bus.

    I get a sense that the general mood here towards Dawkins is disappointment that he is not socially progressive enough to acknowledge concerns over sexism in the movement, rather than widespread anger or worse.

  52. 52
    segfaultvicta

    I don’t really see any throwing-under-the-bus here, just some vaguely amused disappointment. I can think someone is awesome, credit them with my own conversion to atheism, and still think they said something very silly and are not entirely up with things going on!

    It’s weird though, because Dawkins- in The God Delusion- introduced me to the idea of consciousness-raising exercises, and he’s always struck me as very sensitive to social issues in his books. You’d think he of all people would comprehend atheism+ as a consciousness-raising tactic and be on board with it entirely! (Which: probably from his standpoint this is nothing new, but it’s harder to understand why people feel the deliberate step of promoting atheism+ is necessary unless you’ve been closely following freethoughtblogs, which he probably doesn’t do, so he’s not enclued properly.)

  53. 53
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Printing Dawkins’ tweets is throwing him under the bus?

    I guess it must be. I’ll update the Official #FTBullies Dictionary™ with the new definition.

  54. 54
    Bill

    No publishing his tweets isn’t the issue… It’s the usual reaction to what he might be saying. He might be making a point, but hey we don’t really care about that anymore do we. It’s toe the new party line or as Carrier says: “Get The Fuck Out”! Yes Richard Dawkins is just too dim to “get it”. He’s not enclued !
    Prof. Dawkins does more for this cause before breakfast than any of you could ever dream of doing. Oh how I wish Hitch was still around to see all this shit. I would love to hear his take on the topic, but I’m pretty sure you all wouldn’t. Dogma is dogma no matter who spews it, and it’s is bad no matter who demands it be followed.

  55. 55
    Stephanie Zvan

    Bill, what might he be saying that wasn’t demonstrated to be incorrect by the third tweet?

  56. 56
    Pierce R. Butler

    Ace of Sevens @ # 47: Because he was apparently respond[ing] to a New Statesman piece about Jen McCreight.

    Thanks for the link (nice article) – but I still don’t see the dots between a blog post about post-Dawkins atheism – so to speak – and “bloggers winding up controversy for sole purpose of raising hitcounts” = Jen McC/FTB. Were there other RD tweets that linked the purported stimulus and the response? Could Dawkins have been (foolishly) trying to get on Nelson Jones/New Statesman‘s case?

  57. 57
    Stephanie Zvan

    Pierce:

    1) He’s done this before. See comment 22, which has links to two of his pre-TAM tweets about an organization/campaign run by one of the Skepchicks.

    2) He tweeted this in the context of repeated urging by multiple trolls active in the #FTBullies hashtag to use AdBlock so we, specifically, don’t get revenue. I’m told Paula Kirby is among the people who were retweeting the suggestions.

    3) A number of FtBers asked who he was talking about. He declined to answer.

    You may wish to withhold judgment on that, but I find it quite compelling.

  58. 58
    Anthony K

    Prof. Dawkins does more for this cause before breakfast than any of you could ever dream of doing.

    Should we be genuflecting, or is the assumption of infallibility enough reverence for His Atheisness?

    Oh how I wish Hitch was still around to see all this shit. I would love to hear his take on the topic, but I’m pretty sure you all wouldn’t.

    Don’t be a fool; all the dead people who haven’t posthumously become Mormons agree with me.

  59. 59
    mcbender

    I find myself wondering sometimes if Dawkins is in the early stages of dementia, because not too long ago he often said laudatory things about feminism (if nothing else, I remember him frequently praising “the feminists” for consciousness-raising about sexist language and the like). I always found it hard to imagine the same person saying that and writing “Dear Muslima”, let alone all of the recent snipes on Twitter.

  60. 60
    trazan

    What is this about, exactly? Doesn’t anyone have some means of direct communication with Dawkins?

  61. 61
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    WTF is his damage?

  62. 62
    Sunil

    Echoing what somebody wrote above – thanks for the reminder Richard! :) I used to be in the habit of disabling adblock for sites I loved, but had completely fallen out of that habit. I looked up at the Adblock icon just now and sure enough, it was on. Adblock now disabled for FTB.

  63. 63
    grizzle

    I miss the old days when we were all just ‘non-believers’. The whole routine of placing labels on everyone is utterly ridiculous and DEFINITELY not effective. Whatever happened to just plain, regular Atheism?0 Seems nowadays there’s atheism, agnosticism, anti-theism, humanism, secular humanism, progressive, skeptic, spiritual-but-not-religious, deists, and now to top it all off, Ahteism+. Seriously?

  64. 64
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    grizzle wrote:

    Whatever happened to just plain, regular Atheism?

    It got overrun by entitled white frat-boy douchebags, who had no hesitation in proclaiming it was theirs and theirs alone – and that anyone who didn’t like it had exactly one option open to them: sit down and shut up.

    How bizarre that not everyone wanted to play along with that. Sure, there’s probably a sizeable middle ground of people who are neither entitled white frat-boy douchebags nor happy they’ve become the face of atheism – but they didn’t seem to have much to say while that bunch were laughing at rape jokes and giggling about having bullied (actually bullied, not bullshit #FTBullies bullied) Surly Amy into leaving TAM early.

  65. 65
    Silentbob

    @ 50 Stephanie Zvan

    Printing Dawkins’ tweets is throwing him under the bus?

    That’s a bit disingenuous Stephanie. You didn’t just print his tweets, you also printed:

    When they tell you your credibility is gone, remember this.
    When they tell you everyone hates you, remember this.
    When they you the movement is abandoning you for your crazy ways, remember this.

    (my emphasis)

  66. 66
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Throwing him under the bus? (It’s his bus, whatever.) Or pointing out problems to an otherwise good scientist and communicator or friend/acquaintance/ally?

    If you are into the whole bus thing, Dawkins is driving it. Down douchebong alley.

  67. 67
    A. Noyd

    Silentbob (#67)

    That’s a bit disingenuous Stephanie. You didn’t just print his tweets, you also printed: [snip]

    In what way are the bits you highlighted supposed to show Dawkins getting tossed under a bus?

  68. 68
    Kain

    If Dawkins indeed tweeted these messages in response to the new statesman article:
    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/religion/2012/08/atheism-plus-new-new-atheists
    wouldn´t it be possible that he was offended because the article sets up Atheism+ as a reaction *against* atheism as Dawkins understands it ?

    What if Dawkins actually completely agrees with the values of Atheism+ and is offended by being branded an enemy of these values ?
    (did anyone ask him ? The author of the New Statesman article certainly didn´t explain why Dawkins is an enemy of these values)

    *If* this would be true, then this case would indeed be a false controversy and Dawkins would be rightfully offended (although no FTBlogger could be blamed for this – it would be the fault of the author of the New Statesman article)

  69. 69
    Winterwind

    You want a new form of atheism? One that’s more sensitive, more gentile, more understanding of diversity?

    Being sensitive and gentile doesn’t mean we don’t point out where people are wrong.

    Does this mean Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Stephen Fry and Secular Jews can’t be atheists any more?

  70. 70
    Jadehawk

    I find myself wondering sometimes if Dawkins is in the early stages of dementia, because not too long ago he often said laudatory things about feminism (if nothing else, I remember him frequently praising “the feminists” for consciousness-raising about sexist language and the like). I always found it hard to imagine the same person saying that and writing “Dear Muslima”, let alone all of the recent snipes on Twitter.

    that’s not dementia, that’s just the times passing you by. and “the feminists” he likes are the safe ones: the ones in the past, and the ones in foreign countries; the ones that don’t tell him to change.

  71. 71
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Well, it seems like Dawkins still hasn’t gotten over the fact that some people (and what’s more, young women, whom he gracefully and generously includes into the category of people) didn’t agree with him, and what’s more, publicly disagreed with him.

    Printing Dawkins’ tweets is throwing him under the bus?

    Yep, official #FTBullying.
    I’ll call this Jasosn’s law, because he demonstrated it beautifully with his “The Campign against Amy” post: If you name and quote them, even link to them, you throw them under the bus or bully them. You’re setting your minions on them. If you don’t you’re a coward, you just make shit up, you bully them.
    Just like David Futurelle and Ophelia Benson misrepresented Girl Write what by quoting her, but her accusing FTB of false DMCAs out of the blue is OK because she used the word may.

    Kain

    *If* this would be true, then this case would indeed be a false controversy and Dawkins would be rightfully offended (although no FTBlogger could be blamed for this – it would be the fault of the author of the New Statesman article)

    Yes, but as you said yourself, he would be terribly wrong, lashing out against people who have nothing to do with it.

    ++++
    He’s also, of course, factually wrong on the “controversy drives blog revenue” stuff. That’s been researched and shown to be demonstrably false already.
    What a great scientist to go for common sense instead of saying “wait, does my premise even hold true?”

  72. 72
    Bjarte Foshaug

    I strongly suspect that the whole “Elevatorgate” farce would never have taken such an ugly turn if Dawkins had thought twice (or even once) before opening his mouth. Of all the big shots out there, Dawkins used to be the one person who really said what I was thinking. I have read all his books and loved them all. I have watched all his videos and TV programs. I have downloaded all the online articles, interviews and talks I could find. For a couple of years I donated a monthly pledge to the RDF. I have defended him in debates, both from the accomodationists who though he was too strident, and from the “philosophically sophisticated” crowd who thought the sophistry of people like Craig and Plantinga was actually a lot better than Dawkins gave it credit for. There were days when I felt like he was the only person out there who was really speaking for me.

    And he’s a dick.

    I was as appalled as anyone by the whole Bill Maher hubbub, but I could kind of let that one slide. Dawkins wasn’t personally responsible for giving Maher that award. Maher only got the award for Religulous *, and not for his views in general. And to his credit, Dawkins did call Maher’s medical views “crazy”. I still wish he would refuse to have anything to do with the award, but if that was all, it would just be a discordant note in an otherwise impressive symphony.

    However, when Dawkins posted his now infamous “Dear Muslima” comment and subsequent follow-ups, the cognitive dissonance suddenly become unbearable. I had already watched the video that sparked “Elevatorgate” and I still cannot fathom how anyone could find about anything Rebecca said in it at all objectionable. It was ridiculously reasonable. I freely confess that for a moment I too felt the temptation to look for something to accuse Rebecca of that would make her deserve the criticism and acquit Dawkins, but somewhere in the back of my mind the voice of Carol Tavris kept telling me “That’s your cognitive dissonance speaking”, and Daniel Kahneman said something about the “Halo Effect” and the human tendency to impose too much consistency on reality (If I think someone is right about religion, (s)he must also be right about women’s issues etc.). Had I been a little less self-critical at that moment and allowed the “spiral of self-justification” to gain momentum, I could very well be part of the current Tsunami of misogyny and thuggery myself, and it freaks me out. I don’t claim to have any telepathic insight into what’s going on in another person’s head, but I strongly suspect that this is exactly what has happened in many cases.

    * I don’t think the movie deserved the award either, but that’s another story…

  73. 73
    Kain

    @Giliell

    Yes, but as you said yourself, he would be terribly wrong, lashing out against people who have nothing to do with it.

    And what if he didn´t know that ? He might have just tweeted the message after reading the New Statesman article without even reading the blogposts on FTB about this topic (if he would have read them before that, he probably would have realized that they do *not* brand him as an enemy of these values).
    Imagine being in his shoes and reading the article without ever hearing of “Atheism+” – wouldn´t you get the impression that Jen described Atheism+ as being a reaction *against* Atheism sensu Dawkins ?
    You could of course still blame him for not reading up on the issue before tweeing about it (assuming that it was indeed this article which lead to his tweet) – but this, IMHO, just shows why twitter sucks. Instead of sitting down for a while to write an article, do some research about the topic and reflect on your thoughts – people just log in to twitter and use 160 characters to write up whatever they are currently thinking. If you are using twitter frequently, you will sooner or later tweet something stupid that you´ll regret later on.

    He’s also, of course, factually wrong on the “controversy drives blog revenue” stuff. That’s been researched and shown to be demonstrably false already.
    What a great scientist to go for common sense instead of saying “wait, does my premise even hold true?”

    1. He immediatly acknowledged that he was wrong about this when it was pointed out to him.
    2. Again, twitter sucks – nobody who uses it frequently does some background research for every single 160 character message they tweet. That´s why everyone who uses it frequently will sooner or later say something stupid.
    3. Questioning his scientific integrity over this is way out of proportion. If you applied this standard to everyone, there would be no one left who qualifies for the label of “great scientist” – if you look long enough, you´ll find stupid tweets from PZ as well, and from every other scientist in our communities that uses twitter. I know that I am repeating myself – but Twitter fucking sucks.

  74. 74
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Kain

    And what if he didn´t know that ? He might have just tweeted the message after reading the New Statesman article without even reading the blogposts on FTB about this topic (if he would have read them before that, he probably would have realized that they do *not* brand him as an enemy of these values).

    In this case he’s pretty gullible and biased against anybody on FTB. Yes, if he’d done the basic reading on this, his only excuse is malice.
    He must have complained about this a brazillion times himself: Christians reading some half-truths or misrepresentations elsewhere and then storming him for something he allegedly said or did.

    1. He immediatly acknowledged that he was wrong about this when it was pointed out to him.

    Yes, he acknowledged that he was factually wrong on that. Good. That doesn’t make his behaviour before, storming off on his gut-feeling without giving a moments time to pause, think and look at the facts better.

    3. Questioning his scientific integrity over this is way out of proportion. If you applied this standard to everyone, there would be no one left who qualifies for the label of “great scientist” – if you look long enough, you´ll find stupid tweets from PZ as well, and from every other scientist in our communities that uses twitter. I know that I am repeating myself – but Twitter fucking sucks.

    That’s bullshit. I didn’t question his scientific integrity, I questioned his application of science here.
    I’m not holding him to an impossible standard, I’m holding him to the standard he applies himself to oher people.
    Also, it’s stupid to blame it on the medium. It’s just because Twitter sucks? Guess what, people still choose to use it. And what’s more, people like RD who are good communicators use it.

    +++++

    BTW, next time anybody accuses RW of organizing a boycott against Dawkins to ruin him, can I point out that he actually just really tried to do that with FTB. In the very words of boycott and revenue?

  75. 75
    Kain

    @Giliell:

    In this case he’s pretty gullible and biased against anybody on FTB. Yes, if he’d done the basic reading on this, his only excuse is malice.

    So tweeting something stupid means that you are either gullible and biased or just an asshole. I don´t know how many people you follow on twitter, but if you apply this standard to everyone, I´d be surprised if you are following anyone who is not gullible and / or an asshole.

    That’s bullshit. I didn’t question his scientific integrity, I questioned his application of science here.

    Now this is just ridiculous. “Application of science” ? Seriously ? It´s fucking Twitter – do you seriously want to argue that each 160 character message coming from a scientist should be held to the same scrutiny as a scientific publication or what ?

    Also, it’s stupid to blame it on the medium. It’s just because Twitter sucks? Guess what, people still choose to use it. And what’s more, people like RD who are good communicators use it.

    Did you even try to read why I think that Twitter sucks ? If you did – you certainly didn´t try to respond to it.

  76. 76
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Did you even try to read why I think that Twitter sucks ? If you did – you certainly didn´t try to respond to it.

    Yes, because you want to make it all Twitter’s fault instead of allowing the idea that Dawkins behaved like an asshole to enter your head.

  77. 77
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Let me elaborate:
    Twitter does not ban you from using more that 160 characters while thinking about what you’re going to tweet.
    It’s not that is tweets were ambiguous or unclear. You can’t get much clearer than saying “Boycott websites that deliberately wind up false controversy in order to generate advertising revenue”
    In that tweet alone he accused people of
    -False controvery, i.e. deligitimizing the whole discourse
    -Doing so in order to increase their income, thereby deligitimizing their motivation
    -Calls for a boycott

    That’s a pretty strong message, don’t you think? And don’t you think that somebody like Dawkins fucking knows that?

  78. 78
    Stephanie Zvan

    Silentbob, those are actually things people are trying to tell us. What do they have to do with throwing Dawkins anywhere?

  79. 79
    Stephanie Zvan

    trazan, a number of us responded to Dawkins on Twitter. He did not reply. Apparently, he doesn’t want to talk to us directly about this any more than he wants to make this about substantive disagreements.

  80. 80
    Kain

    Yes, because you want to make it all Twitter’s fault instead of allowing the idea that Dawkins behaved like an asshole to enter your head.

    Nice armchair psychology there. Actually – I only considered a charitable interpretation (which, IMHO, really is not that far-fetched) of what he did because I don´t want to prejudge him based on a 160 character message.

    Twitter does not ban you from using more that 160 characters while thinking about what you’re going to tweet.
    It’s not that is tweets were ambiguous or unclear. You can’t get much clearer than saying “Boycott websites that deliberately wind up false controversy in order to generate advertising revenue”

    Note that you again did not respond to my points why I think that Twitter is a medium where every active user will sooner or later say something stupid / something they will regret later on. See my comment at #75. Pointing out that Twitter does not ban you from reflecting on your thoughts and doing some background research (as if anyone would disagree with that!) does not change the fact that Twitter makes it (too) easy to just write a very brief comment on whatever you are thinking at the moment – every active user will sooner or later tweet some premature thought based on limited information (i.e. something stupid), Dawkins does, PZ does, every active user does.

    In that tweet alone he accused people of
    -False controvery, i.e. deligitimizing the whole discourse
    -Doing so in order to increase their income, thereby deligitimizing their motivation
    -Calls for a boycott

    And it really just might have appeared like that to him if he only read the New Statesman article and did no background research. Which would make these tweets exactly one of those “premature thoughts based on limited information” I´ve described above – which, IMO, every Twitter user sooner or later publishes (the likelihood of us noticing that is just much higher for people with thousands of followers).
    Maybe he really just is an asshole about this issue but right now, we cannot possibly know that. If people give him space to clarify (and maybe apologize) – he just might do that, but prejudging him based on a 160 character message and using rethoric like this:

    When they tell you everyone hates you, remember this.

    is the very opposite of giving him space to clarify and apologize – this creates an atmosphere where even rational people tend to double down (I highly recommend Carol Tavris work in this context: http://www.amazon.com/Mistakes-Were-Made-But-Not/dp/0151010986 )

  81. 81
    hyperdeath

    Giliell, not to be confused with The Borg says:

    BTW, next time anybody accuses RW of organizing a boycott against Dawkins to ruin him, can I point out that he actually just really tried to do that with FTB. In the very words of boycott and revenue?

    If they acknowledge it all, they’ll try to portray the argument “Rebecca wasn’t advocating a Dawkins boycott” as “boycotting Dawkins is A-OK!“, and use their shiny-and-new version of history to accuse us of hypocrisy.

  82. 82
    hyperdeath

    That should be “If they acknowledge it at all…”

  83. 83
    Silentbob

    @ 78 Stephanie Zvan

    OK. I interpreted them as things you were calling for.

    intuition wrong – as often ;-)

  84. 84
    mcbender

    Jadehawk, that’s a good point. I should really stop trying to make excuses for hiim.

  85. 85
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    If people give him space to clarify (and maybe apologize) – he just might do that, but prejudging him based on a 160 character message and using rethoric like this:

    Buah-buah-bua-ha-ha-ha
    Dawkins? Apologize? Just because he just called for a boycott? That’s a nice joke. You know that Dawkins promised to apologize for his “Dear Muslima” bullshit if people would explain to him why what happened to RW wasn’t “zero bad”? To this day he didn’t even acknowledge that he received that explenation, let alone apologize.

    Note that you again did not respond to my points why I think that Twitter is a medium where every active user will sooner or later say something stupid / something they will regret later on.

    Yeah, sure.
    So, realize that Dawkins has a history here to make stabs at FTB and Skepchicks? Realize that his third tweet was basically a nopology saying that sadly boycotts wouldn’t hurt them so, yeah, don’t bother?

    And it really just might have appeared like that to him if he only read the New Statesman article and did no background research.

    Yeah, and in that case I’m going to call him careless and gullible. Not that I actually believe that. Still, wouldn’t explain why his third tweet wasn’t an apology for having done something like calling for a boycott in the first place.

    Maybe he really just is an asshole about this issue but right now, we cannot possibly know that.

    No, it’s not like we don’t have a history here.
    No, it’s not like people didn’t ask him for clarification and didn’t get an answer.
    No, no evidence that this was just an “oops, sorry, that was stupid to say” kind of thing.

    When they tell you everyone hates you, remember this.

    is the very opposite of giving him space to clarify and apologize

    It is, as Stephanie wrote above, one of the things thrown at us. It shows that Dawkins actively fosters and encourages the hate campaign against Skepchicks and FTB.

  86. 86
    embertine

    Very good point, Giliell at #85 – Dawkins was backing down on calling for a boycott not because he realised it was mean, or petty, or that the accusations of false controversy were unfair, but because the boycott wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t hurt the FTBloggers. That is the only reason.

    That actually makes him more of an irredeemable douchenozzle IMN-P-HO.

  87. 87
    embertine

    P.S. Is it weird that I read the title in my head in the same voice as Bobby Farrell from Boney M says “Oh, those Russians”?

  88. 88
    DanniHouse

    Adblock stops websites from earning money for ads??? Shoot and I have had my adblock on this whole time. Ima turn it off for FTB and Skepchick

  89. 89
    Kain

    Dawkins? Apologize? Just because he just called for a boycott? That’s a nice joke. You know that Dawkins promised to apologize for his “Dear Muslima” bullshit if people would explain to him why what happened to RW wasn’t “zero bad”? To this day he didn’t even acknowledge that he received that explenation, let alone apologize.

    Unfortunately, the comment thread is not available anymore (have the old SB comment threads been relocated ?). I remember the “Dear Muslima” event – and it was a prime example of an atmosphere in which even otherwise rational people, who made a stupid / offensive remark, double down instead of reconsidering their views. Afaicr, very soon after he wrote his first two comments, seven bloggers had posted criticisms (including very harsh ones) and many commenters called his character, integrity and competence into question – an atmosphere which makes it very hard to reconsider your views, realize that you have been wrong and apologize (I again point to the work of Carol Tavris I linked to above).
    See also:
    http://www.blaghag.com/2011/07/dawkins-is-not-misogynist.html
    The situation right now seems to be very similar to that.

    So, realize that Dawkins has a history here to make stabs at FTB and Skepchicks?

    Really ? (not a rethorical question – this really is news to me)
    I remember the “Dear Muslima” event and Dawkins defending Sam Harris against PZ. What else did he do ?

    Realize that his third tweet was basically a nopology saying that sadly boycotts wouldn’t hurt them so, yeah, don’t bother?

    All three tweets were written within one hour! Assuming that he really didn´t read anything about “Atheism+” on FTB before that (and therefore didn´t know that it was not designed as a reaction *against* the atheism he stands for) before tweeting – how was he supposed to read the material (Richard Carrier´s post on this alone is 3000+ words) and reconsider his views within a few minutes ?

    No, it’s not like people didn’t ask him for clarification and didn’t get an answer.

    He tweeted it 16 hours ago (half of which he was probably asleep) – isn´t this a little early to say that he is not willing to answer these question (and seeing how much controversy his tweets have generated – I would think very well about how I would respond to these questions if I were in his shoes (and not use Twitter for that).

    It is, as Stephanie wrote above, one of the things thrown at us.

    That´s not a good reason to use this kind of rethoric.

  90. 90
    Eristae

    Are people like Richard Dawkins/Paula Kirby/etc trying to drive women like men out of the movement, as some other (anonymous) atheists admit to? I am some kind of element that they just don’t want to have to deal with? Am I harshing their squee? On the one hand I think that it’s uncharitable to think this of them and that the answer is “of course not,” but then I see comments like this and it sure makes me feel like that’s the case.

  91. 91
    Stephanie Zvan

    Kain, your argument appears to be that, even a year later, Dawkins can’t work through his biases enough to act like a grown-up. Is that the argument you want to be making?

    As for whether Dawkins has done this sort of thing before, there are links to his prior tweets in this very thread, plus there’s the whole “Dear Muslima” incident to begin with. He’s done this sort of thing before.

    What do you mean I shouldn’t “use this kind of rhetoric”? I shouldn’t publish what people are saying about me and others?

  92. 92
    Kain

    @Giliell

    In case you haven´t read it, I´d also recommend Hank´s “Open letter about the making of mistakes”:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/bluecollaratheist/2012/07/12/an-open-letter-about-the-making-of-mistakes/

    I really don´t want to defend Dawkins at all costs, I just think that people are making it very hard for him to reconsider his views, for the reasons I mentioned above.
    My dad is of roughly the same age as Dawkins is, he doesn´t show any signs of dementia, but he has become much more stubborn and less open to new ideas with the years (a pattern I´ve seen in many men of this age).
    This obviously doesn´t mean that Dawkins should have a free pass to make stupid / hurtful / offensive remarks, just because he´s old. But, instead of immediatly calling his character, integrity and competence into question – we could at least try to gently nudge him in the right direction.

  93. 93
    Eristae

    @Kain

    I ask this honestly and without malice:

    Have you told Dawkins the same thing? Do you hold him to the same standard?

    Because he just went on records as accusing “certain blogs” (which anyone who has been paying attention knows is FTB) of manufacturing harmful drama to drive page hits and thus make a few bucks. He just accused FTB of willfully, purposefully, and knowingly harming the atheist movement for a few dollars. This is not gentle nudging on his part, and I don’t see how it would make it any easier for his targets to back down than you are saying his target’s behavior makes it difficult for him to back down.

  94. 94
    Kain

    @Stephanie

    Kain, your argument appears to be that, even a year later, Dawkins can’t work through his biases enough to act like a grown-up. Is that the argument you want to be making?

    You are suggesting that he is acting childish – and maybe he is, or he really just doesn´t get (and I understood his third and last comment in the “Dear Muslima” thread as him really, genuinely, not getting it – and Jen seemed to think the same (see link above)).
    Time is not so much an issue, because he was obviously unwilling to reconsider his views – and I do think that some bloggers and many commenters are not entirely innocent in this respect (I again point to Carol Tavris work – even rational people tend to double down after they made stupid remarks in an atmosphere where their intelligence and character is called into question).

    What do you mean I shouldn’t “use this kind of rhetoric”? I shouldn’t publish what people are saying about me and others?

    But you directed this rethoric at him – and I don´t think that this is ok because others previously directed this rethoric at you (why should one stoop down to their level ?)

  95. 95
    Stephanie Zvan

    But you directed this rethoric at him – and I don´t think that this is ok because others previously directed this rethoric at you

    How did I direct that “at him”?

    Also, kindly answer Erista’s questions.

  96. 96
    Kain

    Have you told Dawkins the same thing? Do you hold him to the same standard?

    I would, but I can´t easily – because I don´t use Twitter. But I could write him an email of course and I´m considering doing just that.

    Because he just went on records as accusing “certain blogs” (which anyone who has been paying attention knows is FTB) of manufacturing harmful drama to drive page hits and thus make a few bucks. He just accused FTB of willfully, purposefully, and knowingly harming the atheist movement for a few dollars.

    As I pointed out at #73, it really might have appeared to him as if Jen is manufacturing a controversy because the New Statesman article actually gives the impression that “Atheism+” is a reaction *against* him and sets him up as an enemy of broadening the focus of the atheist movement to include social justice issues (for example) as well. Right now, without a clarification from him – I don´t think it can be ruled out that this is one of those “premature thoughts based on limited information” I described above (something which, as I pointed out above, virtually every active Twitter user occassionally tweets). I agree 100% that he should clarify / apologize – but I think we are currently not making it easy for him to do that for the reasons I mentioned above.

  97. 97
    Kain

    How did I direct that “at him”?

    Well, the article is about something that Richard Dawkins did, you began with this:

    When all the pushback is getting you down, remember this.

    When they tell you your credibility is gone, remember this.

    When they tell you everyone hates you, remember this.

    When they you the movement is abandoning you for your crazy ways, remember this.

    - and you provided no further context (like for example that people directed this rethoric at you) in the OP, maybe I parsed this the wrong way, but if this was not directed at Dawkins, then who was it directed at ?

  98. 98
    Stephanie Zvan

    Dawkins is just as capable as anyone else of following the links in a blog post. Also, the AdBlock suggestion came out of the #FTBullies hashtag. The “drumming up controversy” suggestions didn’t originate with him either. He is not unaware of what’s going on. He is not some isolated genius who just emerged into the sunlight and is still blinking.

  99. 99
    Stephanie Zvan

    So, you think the “you” in a post in which I discussed Dawkins in the third person is Dawkins? This makes no sense.

  100. 100
    Eric Saveau

    @Kain -

    if this was not directed at Dawkins, then who was it directed at?

    You can’t truly be this obtuse.

    That was directed at us.

    When all the pushback is getting you (meaning those of us who are part of the A+ that has grown out of the events of the last year-and-a-half or more) down, remember this. (“this” being what she posted in the next paragraph that concluded with the line “Richard Dawkins has no better means of telling you you’re wrong than posting passive-aggressive tweets trying to attack ad revenue,” which he demonstrably did since the tweets were reproduced immediately below.)

    We need to “remember this.” We need to remember that the people who are condemning us are doing so via nothing more or less than two different flavors of bullshit – aggressive, and passive-aggressive.

    Just about all of us have multiple copies of multiple books by Dawkins. Just about all of us gratefully acknowledge, without hesitation, all that he has achieved for atheism. Just about all of us are boundlessly glad that he did all the things he did as an activist and communicator at the times that he did them. And just about all of us recognize that none of that magically wipes away how very in the wrong he is now.

  101. 101
    Kain

    Dawkins is just as capable as anyone else of following the links in a blog post. Also, the AdBlock suggestion came out of the #FTBullies hashtag. The “drumming up controversy” suggestions didn’t originate with him either. He is not unaware of what’s going on.

    As I said, I don´t use Twitter – I just googled “Adblock FTBullies” and some guy apparently tweeted something along this line at this hashtag already a month ago and some trolls urged him to make this idea popular for a while. If he tweeted it only now, a month later, after seeing the New Statesman article (which again, really does give the impression that “Atheism+” has been set up as a reaction against him and thus sets him up as an enemy of social justice issues) it really might have appeared to him as if Jen is setting up a false controversy and led him to angrily tweet these comments (which would have been a stupid thing to do, but it doesn´t make him an asshole).
    A little far-fetched, but certainly a possibility – I hope he eventually tries to clarify this matter and apologizes.

    So, you think the “you” in a post in which I discussed Dawkins in the third person is Dawkins? This makes no sense.

    Oops, sorry. I misunderstood that then (I´m not a native english speaker – still a very silly mistake on my side, sorry!)

  102. 102
    Stephanie Zvan

    Where did I say Dawkins is an asshole? I said the only thing he has up his sleeve for opposition to Atheism+ is passive-aggressive tweets targeting ad revenue.

  103. 103
    Kain

    Where did I say Dawkins is an asshole? I said the only thing he has up his sleeve for opposition to Atheism+ is passive-aggressive tweets targeting ad revenue.

    You didn´t call him an asshole and I didn´t want to suggest that you did. I meant “asshole” in the sense of “acting with malice” (as opposed to angrily tweeting an immature thought based on limited information, which would have been a stupid and reckless thing to do, but not malicious).
    Regarding his opposition to Atheism+ – do you think it is impossible (or extremely unlikely) that he is not at all opposed to the idea of Atheism+ but got the impression that Atheism+ is opposed to him based on reading the New Statesman article ?

  104. 104
    Pierce R. Butler

    Stephanie Z @ # 57 – Thanks for filling in (some of) the missing pieces for a Tweet boycotter. Now many of the reactions here make much more sense.

    Pls clarify (since commenters seem to be reading it different ways) – were your second-person opening lines in this post (“… When they tell you everyone hates you…”) addressed to feminists or to Dawkins?

    Kain @ # 89 (in re: RD’s “Dear Muslima” comment): …the comment thread is not available anymore (have the old SB comment threads been relocated ?)…

    Funny, I recall that exchange as having occurred at FTB – but searching Pharyngula/FTB for “Dear Muslima” produces a “No posts found” message, which seems impossible unless the search engine now disregards all comments, or has ceased working entirely…

  105. 105
    Jason Thibeault

    Now Eric, Kain’s right — as soon as Richard Dawkins said stupid things about the network I call home, and I realized those things he said were stupid, my copies of Greatest Show on Earth and Climbing Mount Improbable instantly disappeared right off my bookshelf.

    The Grand Design too, for some reason. I don’t know why, considering that’s Stephen Hawking.

  106. 106
    Jason Thibeault

    Pierce: no, it was at ScienceBlogs Pharyngula. Sadly, SB deleted all of Pharyngula’s comments and is holding them hostage in backups for some reason. PZ is less than impressed.

  107. 107
    Jason Thibeault

    How is it unclear that the “you’s” refer to the readership, the A+ folks, the #FTBullies, when the very next sentence says “Richard Dawkins–has no better means of telling you”? It uses the same damn structure.

  108. 108
    Stephanie Zvan

    Jason, my understanding is that Sb intends to restore all the comments, but that they have to do it one post at a time due to technological constraints. They do, however, seem to be taking their own sweet time about it.

    Pierce, anyone who is still confused about who the “you” is in this post should probably read the sentence in which “Richard Dawkins” and “you” coexist.

    Kain, you want to argue that Dawkins is merely grossly irresponsible, you go right ahead. Have fun with that.

  109. 109
    Kain

    Kain, you want to argue that Dawkins is merely grossly irresponsible, you go right ahead.

    I have no idea what Dawkins was thinking when he tweeted this stuff. I just tried to argue that there is a charitable interpretation of his actions (which, IMHO, is not that far-fetched). This charitable interpretation would mean that he was acting in a reckless and irresponsible way, but not with malice.
    Maybe this difference is irrelevant to you – I think it matters. If he was acting with malice, I wouldn´t even care if he apologizes or not, he´d be an asshole either way.
    Would you accept a genuine apology from him ?

  110. 110
    Dubliner

    So who are you guys after this week?

    Oh Dawkins. Hang on a minute didn’t you ‘do’ him before? What’s the matter? Running out of targets so having to resort to repeats? Well why not. There’s plenty of TV stations that make a living that way too.

  111. 111
    Kain

    @Jason

    as soon as Richard Dawkins said stupid things about the network I call home, and I realized those things he said were stupid, my copies of Greatest Show on Earth and Climbing Mount Improbable instantly disappeared right off my bookshelf.

    I have heard many comments along this line and I really don´t get it. Assuming that you once did like those books, why would you get rid of them / stop recommending them because Dawkins said something stupid and / or hurtful that has no relation to these books whatsoever ?
    James Watson said outrageously stupid and offensive things over the last years – that doesn´t magically turn his book “The Double Helix” into a bad read.

  112. 112
    Eristae

    @Kain

    1) if my experience is correct, Dawkins will not clarify. Furthermore, last night people asked him to clarify and offered up a great deal of explaining/clarifying/information TO him, but as of yet he has not apologized, backed down, clarified, or even responded.

    2) You talk about what Dawkins “sincerely believes” about the whole situation as a reason that we should all handle him with kid gloves (even when he doesn’t respond or clarify), but people on this side also have “sincere beliefs” and Dawkins is going out of his way NOT to be gentle with FTB/et al.

    3) If Dawkins is running around making assumptions about what a group means/intends/believes/thinks without doing any research or even talking to the people involved, that is not a point in his favor. He is a scientist; he should know better than to pull that crap.

  113. 113
    A. Noyd

    Silentbob (#83)

    I interpreted them as things you were calling for.

    intuition wrong – as often

    Why would it take intuition to realize that Stephanie wasn’t calling for those things? It ought to be obvious to anyone with reading comprehension superior to that of a squirrel. If you can’t muster that, maybe you should refrain from commenting.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Jason Thibeault (#107)

    How is it unclear that the “you’s” refer to the readership, the A+ folks, the #FTBullies, when the very next sentence says “Richard Dawkins–has no better means of telling you”? It uses the same damn structure.

    Well, I was going to point out the same thing, but since you beat me to it, I’ll just quote you to highlight this.

  114. 114
    Pierce R. Butler

    Silentbob @ # 65 & Kain @ # 97 were probably not the only ones who misread the original post (per #s 106 & 107).

    Online miscommunication is quite easy even with >140 bytes – who’da thunk it?

    I suspect the only way to clear this up is for Richard Dawkins to write a clear and explicit (& >140 B) statement of his position – but I fear his doing so would make things (meaning factionalization) worse.

    And a search of Pharyngula for “Muslima” produces one result, so the search engine does sort of work – but even after individually searching all “Lounge” & “Dome” threads with no luck, I still have trouble believing nobody in the Horde has mentioned “dear muslima” since the move to FTB.

  115. 115
    Paul

    Pierce: no, it was at ScienceBlogs Pharyngula. Sadly, SB deleted all of Pharyngula’s comments and is holding them hostage in backups for some reason. PZ is less than impressed.

    Not that this lets ScienceBlogs off the hook, but their comment archives were readable on the Wayback Machine when I checked about a month ago. If you get the blog post URL from ScienceBlogs, you should be able to recover the comments with it.

    Oh Dawkins. Hang on a minute didn’t you ‘do’ him before?

    It’s almost as if FtB is just calling out people based on what they say, instead of trying to meet some quota as they’re being accused. No heroes.

  116. 116
    Stephen T

    Kain

    I have heard many comments along this line and I really don´t get it. Assuming that you once did like those books, why would you get rid of them / stop recommending them because Dawkins said something stupid and / or hurtful that has no relation to these books whatsoever ?

    I think you need new batteries in your sarcasm detector…

  117. 117
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    So who are you guys after this week?

    Oh Dawkins. Hang on a minute didn’t you ‘do’ him before? What’s the matter? Running out of targets so having to resort to repeats? Well why not. There’s plenty of TV stations that make a living that way too.

    And you clearly watch them, since your ability to blatantly and really badly lie trumps your reading comprehension.

  118. 118
    Kain

    @Erista

    Furthermore, last night people asked him to clarify and offered up a great deal of explaining/clarifying/information TO him, but as of yet he has not apologized, backed down, clarified, or even responded.

    Where did this happen ? Twitter ? And again – seeing how much controversy his tweets have created, he should think well about how he responds to people asking for a clarification (and not use Twitter to do that – a meaningful and unambigious clarification + apology does not fit into a 160 character sentence).

    You talk about what Dawkins “sincerely believes”

    I can´t remember doing that… And I don´t know what he sincerely believes – I hope that his heart is in the right place and that he just screwed up, but I don´t know if this is true.

    …about the whole situation as a reason that we should all handle him with kid gloves (even when he doesn’t respond or clarify)

    Have you read “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)” by Carol Tavris ? She argues for why people, even those who are usually very rational, tend to not reconsider their views and maybe even to double down after saying something stupid / hurtful / offensive if other people immediatly react to that by questioning their character, integrity and competence. The “Dear Muslima” event was a good example for that – Dawkins response was met by very harsh (and sometimes very personal) criticism from many bloggers and dozens of commenters. There were of course some people who calmly explained to him why his comment was completely misguided and offensive even, but overall, the atmosphere was extremely hostile – and this decreases the chance of people reconsidering their views.

    If Dawkins is running around making assumptions about what a group means/intends/believes/thinks without doing any research or even talking to the people involved, that is not a point in his favor.

    Of course not. But, as I said earlier:
    “…Twitter makes it (too) easy to just write a very brief comment on whatever you are thinking at the moment – every active user will sooner or later tweet some premature thought based on limited information (i.e. something stupid), Dawkins does, PZ does, every active user does.”

  119. 119
    Pieter B, FCD

    Dawkins lost me—and I went embarrassingly fanboy on him at TAM 3—with his statement at TAM…8(?) that he really had no problem with giving Bill Maher an award named after him, even though one of the major criteria was that the recipient had advanced the cause of science. I’m about good science first, he made it clear that he was about atheism first, so our paths diverged. “Dear Muslima” widened that gap considerably.

  120. 120
    Anthony K

    Afaicr, very soon after he wrote his first two comments, seven bloggers had posted criticisms (including very harsh ones) and many commenters called his character, integrity and competence into question – an atmosphere which makes it very hard to reconsider your views, realize that you have been wrong and apologize

    Then Dawkins should really rethink the entire New Atheist M.O.

  121. 121
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Kain:

    Have you read “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)” by Carol Tavris ? She argues for why people, even those who are usually very rational, tend to not reconsider their views and maybe even to double down after saying something stupid / hurtful / offensive if other people immediatly react to that by questioning their character, integrity and competence.

    I’ve read that book, and as far as I recall, it did not claim that other people being too aggressive in pointing out mistakes were the main reason why people roll down the self-justification pyramid. Could you please refer me to the relevant chapter?
    Even assuming that what you say is accurate, shouldn’t we expect Dawkins, a rationalist who probably read that book (or other materials covering the same subject) as well, to be better than that?

  122. 122
    kain

    Then Dawkins should really rethink the entire New Atheist M.O.

    1. What does “M.O.” mean ? Media outreach ?
    2. Why ?

  123. 123
    Lance Armstrong

    I knew Dawkins was wrecked on social issues when The God Delusion minimized child molest, and equated a religious upbringing with physical abuse. I respect the man enormously for his knowledge and popularization of evolutionary biology, and for his advancement of atheism, including my personal de-conversion. His prominence in those topics doesn’t mean he has worthwhile things to say about others. I also find the pettiness expressed in those tweets to be disappointing, but our heroes always turn out to be flawed, don’t they?

  124. 124
    Forbidden Snowflake
    Then Dawkins should really rethink the entire New Atheist M.O.

    1. What does “M.O.” mean ? Media outreach ?
    2. Why ?

    1. M.O. meand Modus Operandi – Latin for “way of doing things”.
    2. Because the New Atheist M.O. is largely based on making blunt and vocal criticisms of religion, and expecting believers (at least those who aren’t too deeply entrenched in their religion) to be mature adults about it.

  125. 125
    Entrained

    I don’t have a Twitter account for a variety of reasons but I only mention that becaus I only see the tweets posted on this blog in a vacuum.
    Is the supposition that Dawkins is referring to the bloggers that are spearheading A+ and was looking to create a boycott of those folks.
    Are there other tweets related to this?

  126. 126
    Pierce R. Butler

    Entrained @ # 125 – I asked the same questions; our esteemed host(ess) answered @ # 57.

  127. 127
    Anthony K

    Because the New Atheist M.O. is largely based on making blunt and vocal criticisms of religion, and expecting believers (at least those who aren’t too deeply entrenched in their religion) to be mature adults about it.

    Exactly.

  128. 128
    kain

    I’ve read that book, and as far as I recall, it did not claim that other people being too aggressive in pointing out mistakes were the main reason why people roll down the self-justification pyramid.

    It´s not the main reason – but it promotes self-justification. Afaicr, she talks about this especially in the last two chapters (I think I have made some notes in my Kindle, I´ll get back to you when I find them). For a very brief summary you could also watch one of her talks – here is the one from TAM 2011:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSYF4hzCHKA (you can skip the first 10 mins).

    shouldn’t we expect Dawkins, a rationalist who probably read that book (or other materials covering the same subject) as well, to be better than that?

    Yes and no. Having a good education, scientific training and a skeptical mind does not mean that you are free of cognitive biases – we all are affected by them. Some of us are less prone to some biases then others, or better at recognizing and working against them (just naturally or because we trained it), but no one of us is immune to these biases.

  129. 129
    kain

    Because the New Atheist M.O. is largely based on making blunt and vocal criticisms of religion, and expecting believers (at least those who aren’t too deeply entrenched in their religion) to be mature adults about it.

    “Blunt and vocal criticisms” is not the same as “calling someone´s character, integrity and competence into question”. Those are very different things. The crucial difference between targeting people and targeting ideas was recognized by Dawkins et al.

  130. 130
    Stephanie Zvan

    All the more reason Dawkins should know better now, then, isn’t it?

  131. 131
    A. Noyd

    kain (#129)

    The crucial difference between targeting people and targeting ideas was recognized by Dawkins et al.

    So when Dawkins accuses bloggers of “winding up controversy for [the] sole purpose of raising hitcounts”, is he targeting people or targeting their ideas?

  132. 132
    kain

    So when Dawkins accuses bloggers of “winding up controversy for [the] sole purpose of raising hitcounts”, is he targeting people or targeting their ideas?

    People. And you don´t have to convince me that he screwed up with this tweet – I´ve never said anything different.
    What I was referring to is, that this is not the way the “New Atheists” engaged Religion (I was replying to what Brownian and Forbidden Snowflake said), they were actually (at least IMHO) very careful to distinguish between people and ideas.

  133. 133
    Forbidden Snowflake

    It´s not the main reason – but it promotes self-justification. Afaicr, she talks about this especially in the last two chapters (I think I have made some notes in my Kindle, I´ll get back to you when I find them).

    Please do – I skimmed over the last two chapters and did not see what you claim.

    Having a good education, scientific training and a skeptical mind does not mean that you are free of cognitive biases – we all are affected by them.

    That doesn’t mean that Dawkins should get a free pass when he falls victim to said cognitive biases. Especially when he doesn’t do his part as an honest interlocutor, doesn’t acknowledge answers (polite ones, even!) to his own questions, doesn’t address criticisms and ignores requests to clarify his position. The fact that some people on Pharyngula said “fuck” does nothing to excuse Dawkins’s failure to take in what Phil Plait (e.g.) wrote.
    As far as the Evil Temptations Of Twitter go: if it’s true and Twitter really does cause people to trip up and write stupid things (I’m not sure it’s true, by the way: the common-sense claims of a non-user are not convincing evidence; one could say just as easily that having to condense a thought into 140 characters requires additional thought), that is something we should take into account when considering someone’s apology for the stupid things they said on Twitter. It’s not, however, a reason to disregard words when their author still stands by them.

  134. 134
    Anthony K

    What I was referring to is, that this is not the way the “New Atheists” engaged Religion (I was replying to what Brownian and Forbidden Snowflake said), they were actually (at least IMHO) very careful to distinguish between people and ideas.

    Catholics describe the Church with similar self-serving charity.

    In practice, is it really so different to tell religious parents that the way they raise their children is actually child abuse than it is to note that a celebrated scientist didn’t even bother to look at the data before he opened his big, stupid yap?

  135. 135
    Entrained

    136@Pierce R Butler
    Thank you very much

  136. 136
    kain

    Please do – I skimmed over the last two chapters and did not see what you claim.

    See for example page 29-32 (starting at “Dissonance is bothersome under any circumstance…”)
    and page 231-235 (“Understanding how dissonance operates helps us…”)
    And in the video I linked to above, she talked about it from 20:40-26:00.

    That doesn’t mean that Dawkins should get a free pass when he falls victim to said cognitive biases.

    Of course not. I said so previously myself in this thread.

    doesn’t acknowledge answers (polite ones, even!) to his own questions, doesn’t address criticisms and ignores requests to clarify his position.

    I´ve previously mentioned why I think that Twitter is a horrible medium for communicating any thought more complex than “This book is a good read [link to book]“. Seriously, how is he supposed to explain himself (and hopefully apologize) in a tweet ?
    Maybe he´s not going to answer requests for clarification (I certainly hope he will clarify himself!), but, if he does, I´m not surprised that he is taking some time to think about it. And seeing how much controversy this has created, he should think well about what he is going to say – and write a letter / article, instead of a tweet (a meaningful and unambigious clarification+apology doesn´t fit into a tweet)

    The fact that some people on Pharyngula said “fuck” does nothing to excuse Dawkins’s failure to take in what Phil Plait (e.g.) wrote.

    I didn´t say it would. What I said is, that calling someone´s character, integrity or intelligence into question (i.e. – making it personal) decreases the chance of people reconsidering their views and increases the chance of them doubling down (especially when they are also hugely outnumbered – few people are able to act rationally while feeling cornered). This has nothing to do with harsh language, only with distinguishing between people and ideas.

    by the way: the common-sense claims of a non-user are not convincing evidence;

    Remember Michael Payton ?
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/zinniajones/2012/08/the-day-my-entire-body-of-work-became-unreadable-a-freethought-blogs-story/
    Afaict (and Ed Brayton seemed to think so as well), he´s not an asshole and not an idiot – he just tweeted an immature thought based on limited information. And despite not using it myself – I´ve seen dozens of such tweets due to the drama that revolved around them (and, for the reasons I mentioned above, I´m not surprised that everyone sooner or later tweets something stupid on Twitter if they frequently use it).

    one could say just as easily that having to condense a thought into 140 characters requires additional thought

    If you want to communicate something meaningful in 140 characters and actually accomplish that, I´m impressed (I´ve actually never seen that happening – the tweets that are discussed in other media tend to be exceptionally bad ones, not the exceptionally good ones).

  137. 137
    kain

    Catholics describe the Church with similar self-serving charity.

    Did you just compare New Atheism to the Catholic Church ? Not cool…

    In practice, is it really so different to tell religious parents that the way they raise their children is actually child abuse

    And also in this case, the New Atheists were very careful between ideas being evil / hurtful (like for example the concept of eternal hellfire) and the people who believed those ideas. Did Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and co. occassionally insult specific religious people ? Yes. Certainly (although usually not because they are religious – think Hitchens and Jerry Falwell). But overall, they did do a good job of distinguishing between people and ideas (The God Delusion certainly did so, the people who say otherwise are usually christians who never bothered to read it).

    …than it is to note that a celebrated scientist didn’t even bother to look at the data before he opened his big, stupid yap?

    Show me one person, scientist or not, who never reached a conclusion before having a look at the available data. Should he have done some research before tweeting this stuff ? Certainly. Does it make him an idiot that he didn´t do so ? I´d strongly disagree (unless we could agree that “being human” already implies being an idiot)

  138. 138
    A. Noyd

    kain (#132)

    What I was referring to is, that this is not the way the “New Atheists” engaged Religion…, they were actually (at least IMHO) very careful to distinguish between people and ideas.

    Well, your opinion is obvious bullshit. Brownian gives one example in #134. Dawkins also targets people plenty when it comes to evolution and politics. An old quote that he’s defended multiple times: “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).” A more recent one: “In any other party and in any other country, an individual may occasionally rise to the top in spite of being an uneducated ignoramus. In today’s Republican Party ‘in spite of’ is not the phrase we need.”

    And if you want examples of other New Atheists targeting people, the one that comes most readily to mind is Hitchens’ documentary and book targeting Mother Teresa. Or Tim Minchin’s Fuck the Pope song.

    New Atheists are only careful to point out the difference between targeting ideas and targeting people when they’ve done the former and people have mistaken them for doing the latter. They’ve never made it a habit to avoid questioning anyone’s character, integrity or competence, no matter how hard that might make it for their targets to reconsider their views.

    By the way, you know back up in #92 where you said you “really don’t want to defend Dawkins at all costs”? That rings a little hollow when, over a dozen posts from you later, you’re still trying to defend him.

  139. 139
    Paul

    Did you just compare New Atheism to the Catholic Church ? Not cool…

    No, what’s not cool is you trying to enforce a separation and pretend that there is no possibility of comparison between the two. Brownian is a long-time participant in the New Atheist blogosphere, and not as an antagonist.

  140. 140
    kain

    @A.Noyd

    You realize that there is a difference between trying to criticize people and their actions and trying to change the minds of people on a certain subject ?
    Hitchens “The Missionary Position” is an example of the former, “The God Delusion” an example for the latter. That the former case almost necessarily has to be personal, while the latter one can be, but is more productive if it isn´t should be obvious.

    They’ve never made it a habit to avoid questioning anyone’s character, integrity or competence, no matter how hard that might make it for their targets to reconsider their views.

    Did you actually read The God Delusion ? (for example)

    By the way, you know back up in #92 where you said you “really don’t want to defend Dawkins at all costs”? That rings a little hollow when, over a dozen posts from you later, you’re still trying to defend him.

    I don´t think you understand what “defending someone at all costs” means. Right now, I know just as little about why Dawkins tweeted these messages (if he angrily tweeted them based on limited information, or knew very well what he was talking about and acted in malice for example) and what he meant exactly as I did back at #92.
    Dawkins hasn´t said anything about the topic since then and there is also no additional background information that has become available in the meantime (which, I would agree, is not a good sign). So, why should I have a different opinion know compared to what I thought at #92 ?

  141. 141
    kain

    No, what’s not cool is you trying to enforce a separation and pretend that there is no possibility of comparison between the two.

    It is possible to compare it to anything you like, whether the comparison makes sense or is appropriate is a different question.

    Brownian is a long-time participant in the New Atheist blogosphere, and not as an antagonist.

    How is this relevant ?

  142. 142
    A. Noyd

    Kain (#140)

    You realize that there is a difference between trying to criticize people and their actions and trying to change the minds of people on a certain subject ? Hitchens “The Missionary Position” is an example of the former, “The God Delusion” an example for the latter.

    Zoooom go the goalposts. You said targeting people “is not the way the ‘New Atheists’ engaged Religion,” and you’re wrong. You don’t get to say now that our supporting evidence doesn’t count because sometimes New Atheists have one goal in mind and sometimes another.

    I see what you’re trying to get at, though, and you’re just arguing against yourself. The more you stress Dawkins’ supposed insight into the negative effect personal criticism can have when attempting to change someone’s mind, the more ridiculous it looks when you try to say we shouldn’t expect Dawkins to reconsider and apologize in the face of personal criticism.

    So, why should I have a different opinion [now] compared to what I thought at #92 ?

    I didn’t say you should have a different opinion about Dawkins’ intentions; I said your claim about not going to any length to defend him seems insincere given how much effort you’re putting into defending him. (For example, you just made this classic excuse based on our dear friend the tu quoque: “Show me one person, scientist or not, who never reached a conclusion before having a look at the available data.”) If you meant what you said, then you should have no trouble accepting you’ve expressed your opinion and moving on. Instead, you come across as stuck on finding some way to explain Dawkins’ tweets as something other than what the rest of us have good reason to believe they are.

  143. 143
    Silentbob

    @ 113 A. Noyd

    that Stephanie wasn’t calling for those things… ought to be obvious to anyone with reading comprehension superior to that of a squirrel. If you can’t muster that, maybe you should refrain from commenting.

    Ah, but had I not commented I would have been denied the benefit of being corrected, wouldn’t I? (Not to mention missing out on your gracious and helpful counsel.)

  144. 144
    A. Noyd

    Silentbob (#143)

    Ah, but had I not commented I would have been denied the benefit of being corrected, wouldn’t I?

    Ah, but if you’d exercised caution—either by reading more carefully or asking for clarification before pointing fingers all accusatory-like—you wouldn’t have needed correction in the first place.

    (Not to mention missing out on your gracious and helpful counsel.)

    Aww, you’re welcome. *pat pat pat* Now go bury some nuts or something.

  145. 145
    Forbidden Snowflake

    See for example page 29-32 (starting at “Dissonance is bothersome under any circumstance…”)

    That does not say what you claim you say. It says that dissonance is especially powerful when an important part of a person’s self-image is at stake, and nothing about insults from other people. I’m pretty sure that having a reasonable position on feminism was a part of Dawkins’s self-perception without any help from people who “made it personal”.
    I am, however, tempted to apply the second and third sentences of that segment to your behavior.

    and page 231-235 (“Understanding how dissonance operates helps us…”)

    OK, this is much closer. But I still don’t see what change you propose, after Dawkins has ignored many well-intentioned and mild-mannered replies. Just how much hand-holding and spoon-feeding needs to be done before we can conclude someone is acting unreasonably?
    A. Noyd

    The more you stress Dawkins’ supposed insight into the negative effect personal criticism can have when attempting to change someone’s mind, the more ridiculous it looks when you try to say we shouldn’t expect Dawkins to reconsider and apologize in the face of personal criticism.

    Exactly. A master communicator and rationalist ought to be able to ask himself “Am I dismissing these people’s opinions because they’re wrong, or because their implication is that I am wrong and have some learning and changing to do?”. Otherwise, as Stephen Fry said (addressing the Catholic Church, incidentally), What Are You For?

    he just tweeted an immature thought based on limited information.

    And? He could also have said something immature, bla bla bla. That hardly justifies your demand for reduced accountability on Twitter.

  146. 146
    Anonymous Atheist

    For those looking for the ‘Dear Muslima’ origin:

    Posts about it on other ScienceBlogs (with quotes of the original Dawkins comments, and links to where they used to be):
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/07/04/ladies-richard-dawkins-knows-h/ (also has a long list of related links: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/07/06/elevators-and-privilege-a-lett/ )
    http://scienceblogs.com/tfk/2011/07/08/a-pedestal-is-as-much-a-prison/

    The links where the ‘Dear Muslima’ comments originally appeared were:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/02/always-name-names/
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/03/oh-no-not-againonce-more-unto/

    Unfortunately, the Internet Archive Wayback Machine does not have currently-available archives of either of those posts’ pages from before the loss of their comments. (Their currently-available coverage of the old Pharyngula location basically stops at the end of June 2011, with just a couple of posts from July 2011, and they aren’t those.)

    The only contemporaneous posts on FTB (migrated from blogs’ previous locations, since FTB didn’t launch until August 1, 2011) specifically mentioning “Dear Muslima” that I found are:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2011/07/richard-dawkins-your-privilege-is-showing/ (comments not migrated; original location, with comments: http://www.blaghag.com/2011/07/richard-dawkins-your-privilege-is.html )
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2011/07/06/the-problem-with-privilege-or-you-got-sexism-in-my-skepticism/ (comments migrated; original location gone)

    There are a number of other posts around that time about the general issue that don’t specifically mention “Dear Muslima” by name, such as http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2011/07/05/a-letter-to-professor-dawkins-from-victims-of-sexual-assault/ (comments mostly migrated; original location, with a couple dozen more comments: http://almostdiamonds.blogspot.com/2011/07/letter-to-professor-dawkins-from.html )

  147. 147
    kain

    @Forbidden Snowflake:

    That does not say what you claim you say. It says that dissonance is especially powerful when an important part of a person’s self-image is at stake, and nothing about insults from other people.

    I talked about “calling someone´s character, integrity and competence into question” (which overlaps with, but is not the same as, insulting people), and the sections of the book+video I linked to are very clear in this respect.

    OK, this is much closer. But I still don’t see what change you propose, after Dawkins has ignored many well-intentioned and mild-mannered replies.

    I know that there were some people who calmly explained to him why he was wrong when he posted the “Dear Muslima” comment. But these comments were buried in a sea of very harsh and very personal attacks. People tend to not reconsider their views in such an atmosphere.

    That hardly justifies your demand for reduced accountability on Twitter.

    You are misrepresenting what I said. I said that every active Twitter user already tweeted stupid comments or is going to tweet stupid comments in the future – that I said they should have a free pass to do that is your invention.

  148. 148
    kain

    @A.Noyd

    You said targeting people “is not the way the ‘New Atheists’ engaged Religion,” and you’re wrong. You don’t get to say now that our supporting evidence doesn’t count because sometimes New Atheists have one goal in mind and sometimes another.

    So, you say that because Hitchens became one of the New Atheists – everything he has written in his lifetime must therefore be counted among the New Atheist works that engaged religion ? If you count his journalistic work on Mother Teresa (which had nothing to do whatsoever, with arguing why theism /christianity / catholicism is wrong / evil etc.), why not count his work on Henry Kissinger as well ?

    I see what you’re trying to get at, though, and you’re just arguing against yourself. The more you stress Dawkins’ supposed insight into the negative effect personal criticism can have when attempting to change someone’s mind, the more ridiculous it looks when you try to say we shouldn’t expect Dawkins to reconsider and apologize in the face of personal criticism.

    No, because understanding that these biases exist does not mean that your own thinking is free of these biases. You might be better than others at recognizing and working against these biases, but you are not immune.

    I didn’t say you should have a different opinion about Dawkins’ intentions; I said your claim about not going to any length to defend him seems insincere given how much effort you’re putting into defending him.

    Again, I don´t think you understand what “defending someone at all costs means”. But, if you are not assuming good faith, we might as well just stop here.

    (For example, you just made this classic excuse based on our dear friend the tu quoque: “Show me one person, scientist or not, who never reached a conclusion before having a look at the available data.”)

    The tu quoque is not your dear friend – you don´t even know what he looks like anymore:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque .
    If I would have pointed to an event where Brownian reached a conclusion before having a look at the available data, and dismissed his opinion based on this, this would have been a tu quoque.

  149. 149
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    A.Noyd

    Aww, you’re welcome. *pat pat pat* Now go bury some nuts or something.

    I love you, did I tell you before? ;)

    Kain
    A) Put down the shovel
    B) I have a hard time even understanding what you’re actually arguing.
    One time you argue that he didn’t have enough time to answer, another time you argue that time (like, one year + after the “Dear Muslima”) doesn’t matter.
    You’re ignoring that fact that within that year he
    -never ever acknowledged even the calmest criticism
    -made several stabs at this (like the tweet about the “Hug me-I’m vaccinated campaign)
    -Never ever tried to engage anybody (like Rebecca Watson, for example) in an attempt to clarify issue. He sits there, watches from his ivory tower and decides to stir shit once in a while.
    C) So, people weren’t nice enough to him (actually, the first thing that happen was that, although people heavily criticised the post, they also thought that it was an impostor, because nobody could really believe that Richard Dawkins himself had written such stupid, wrong and hurtful stuff.) and didn’t make it easy enough for him?
    Tell you what: I don’t give a shit about people who need to be pampered and belly-rubbed in order to give me some support for my rights and who, when not treated nicely enough will turn around and join ranks with the most hateful and malicious people out there. Because they’re not good people. They’re not moral. They don’t act on the moral principle of human equality and dignity, they act on the priciple of who’s the highest bidder where the currency is admiration and ass-licking.

  150. 150
    kain

    @Giliell

    I have made myself very clear. Repeatedly.
    And I have answered your questions (again, repeatedly).

  151. 151
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    @Giliell

    I have made myself very clear. Repeatedly.

    Gosh, must be my fluffy pink ladybrainz then.
    Mistakes were made, but not by you, apparently

  152. 152
    kain

    Gosh, must be my fluffy pink ladybrainz then.

    No, I don´t think so. Why would you expect to not understand a point because you are woman ?

  153. 153
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    No, I don´t think so. Why would you expect to not understand a point because you are woman ?

    I’m asking you seriously: Are you a dwarf? Do you think that irony stems from the word iron?

  154. 154
    kain

    I’m asking you seriously: Are you a dwarf?

    Dwarf ? You mean as in “person of short stature” ? If so – very strange question (and no).

    Do you think that irony stems from the word iron?

    Where is the irony in the sentence “Gosh, must be my fluffy pink ladybrainz then.” ? And if it was sarcasm – then I really don´t understand what you tried to communicate with this sentence. Could you phrase it in a non-sarcastic way ?

  155. 155
    Forbidden Snowflake

    I know that there were some people who calmly explained to him why he was wrong when he posted the “Dear Muslima” comment. But these comments were buried in a sea of very harsh and very personal attacks.

    That’s not how I remember it. My recollection of the thread in question is much more similar to Giliell’s.
    And I’ll just repeat my question: if Dawkins can’t be expected to put rationality over hurt feelings a freakin’ year down the line, then what good is he?
    The dogma of many religions says bad things about atheists, and Dawkins certainly receives a lot of “very harsh and very personal” hate mail from theists. Does that make him unable to discuss religion rationally and fairly? Should he ignore him on religion from now on? Or is his thinking only crippled by cognitive dissonance when it comes to feminism?

    That hardly justifies your demand for reduced accountability on Twitter.

    You are misrepresenting what I said. I said that every active Twitter user already tweeted stupid comments or is going to tweet stupid comments in the future – that I said they should have a free pass to do that is your invention.

    If the purpose of your saying that everyone says stupid things on Twitter wasn’t to suggest that we cut Dawkins some slack, than what was your point in saying it?

  156. 156
    Tim Riches

    The way I see it, Dawkins was wrongheaded, realized it with the help of Greta Christina, then self-effacingly retracted. I picture Dawkins’ story about his class clapping their hands raw when their teacher thanked a visiting instructor for correcting him. For Dawkins and many other intellectually honest individuals, this is a regular occurrence. It only stands out like a beacon when a religious demagogue does this, simply because it’s so rare.

  157. 157
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    kain

    Dwarf ? You mean as in “person of short stature” ? If so – very strange question (and no).

    It’s a joke from Pratchett

    Where is the irony in the sentence “Gosh, must be my fluffy pink ladybrainz then.” ? And if it was sarcasm – then I really don´t understand what you tried to communicate with this sentence. Could you phrase it in a non-sarcastic way ?

    The irony and joke is in the fact that your going on and on and on about miscommunication and misunderstandings and clarification and “making mistakes” and when people, i.e. me are lost to what you actually want to say you say “I said it clearly” (and thereby implying that should I have difficulties about what you said it must be my fault).

  158. 158
    kain

    And I’ll just repeat my question: if Dawkins can’t be expected to put rationality over hurt feelings a freakin’ year down the line, then what good is he?

    Since he did not engage in any discussions about this after posting his third comment, I doubt that he has even read anything about this matter since then or given it much thought.

    The dogma of many religions says bad things about atheists, and Dawkins certainly receives a lot of “very harsh and very personal” hate mail from theists. Does that make him unable to discuss religion rationally and fairly? Should he ignore him on religion from now on? Or is his thinking only crippled by cognitive dissonance when it comes to feminism?

    No. You should consider reading the book by Tavris again.
    You seem to think that the issue is “harsh language / insults cause people to act irrationally”. But this is not the issue. Cognitive dissonance becomes a problem when you are or have been wrong about something, and when admitting to yourself that you are / have been wrong conflicts with fundamental beliefs about who you are (for example, admitting to yourself that you are not working for full gender equality despite considering yourself to be a champion for human rights).
    And, for trying to convince people that they have been wrong, it is usually more effective to focus on the issue without making it personal, because telling someone that he is not only wrong, but also stupid / dishonest / malicious etc. promotes dissonance and makes it harder for people to admit to themselves that they have been wrong.
    Regarding his authority on Evolution / Creationism : if it could be demonstrated that Dawkins publications on the topic of evolution and creationism are deeply flawed and full of beginner´s mistakes, then cognitive dissonance would certainly be an issue…

    If the purpose of your saying that everyone says stupid things on Twitter wasn’t to suggest that we cut Dawkins some slack, than what was your point in saying it?

    Note that “cut him some slack” is not the same as “giving him a free pass”. People should be held responsible for what they are saying on Twitter or in any other medium. But cutting him some slack and holding him responsible is not a contradiction.
    I agree 100% that he owes an explanation + apology – but I still think that it would be premature to judge him over tweets because it is well possible that he just screwed up (but acted without malice), something that people tend to do on Twitter all the time.

  159. 159
    Stephanie Zvan

    kain, you’ve been going on and on and on about Dawkins on a post aimed at lending some cheer to people who are not Dawkins. Right about now would be a really good time to say, very clearly, what it is you want to have happen and why you think it needs to be urged in the comments of this post.

  160. 160
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Since he did not engage in any discussions about this after posting his third comment, I doubt that he has even read anything about this matter since then or given it much thought.

    Since his third comment contained a request that someone explain the problem to him, and that the atheist blogosphere simmered for months and months over the issue, that is quite a serious accusation that you are leveling against him.

  161. 161
    kain

    The irony and joke is in the fact that your going on and on and on about miscommunication and misunderstandings and clarification and “making mistakes” and when people, i.e. me are lost to what you actually want to say you say “I said it clearly” (and thereby implying that should I have difficulties about what you said it must be my fault).

    What confused me was the “ladybrainz” part. If you somehow got the impression that I am not respecting your opinions because of your gender then I apologize.

    A quick summary of what I tried to argue for:
    1. The Twitter problem, see #80 (note that I am not saying that anyone should have a free pass to say stupid stuff on Twitter and not be held accountable for it).
    2. The question of whether he just screwed up, but acted without malice (which seems to be irrelevant for some commenters, I think it matters #109). And regarding screw-ups, I again recommend: http://freethoughtblogs.com/bluecollaratheist/2012/07/12/an-open-letter-about-the-making-of-mistakes/
    3. The question of whether Dawkins is a misogynist or really just not getting it: http://www.blaghag.com/2011/07/dawkins-is-not-misogynist.html
    4. Admitting that you have been wrong is very hard if this admission conflicts with fundamental beliefs about who you are, and very personal criticisms make it even harder. See #158
    and: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSYF4hzCHKA

  162. 162
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Since he did not engage in any discussions about this after posting his third comment, I doubt that he has even read anything about this matter since then or given it much thought.

    Apart, of course, from the stabs he makes sometimes towards the Skepchicks or in this case FTB.
    So, he’s one of those guys who asks questions and then doesn’t bother to listen to the answer?
    Yeah, that’s really a role model…

    I agree 100% that he owes an explanation + apology – but I still think that it would be premature to judge him over tweets because it is well possible that he just screwed up (but acted without malice), something that people tend to do on Twitter all the time.

    So, how long are we supposed to wait and how many times are we supposed to go through that?
    We’ve been waiting for over a year for a comment on the “Dear Muslima” bullshit, and no, his behaviour since doesn’t suggest that he’s forgotten all about it since.
    When are we allowed to make a judgemenr or are we supposed to stay patient forever.
    Or is it now our fault if he never does because we made him be angry by not being perfectly nice and he’s excused from ever setting things right?

  163. 163
    Stephanie Zvan

    kain, that’s half the explanation I asked for. Where’s the rest?

  164. 164
    kain

    kain, that’s half the explanation I asked for. Where’s the rest?

    You mean the “what it is you want to have happen and why you think it needs to be urged in the comments of this post” part ?
    If so, I don´t want to urge you to do something. I shared my thoughts about why I think that it is possible (and not too far-fetched) that Dawkins was not acting with malice and is really, genuinely, not getting it and about how it can be extremely difficult for someone to admit that he / she has been wrong, if this admission conflicts with fundamental beliefs about who he / she is. That´s it.
    But, since you have put me under comment moderation, I realize that I´m not welcome here. So I´ll not bother you any further.
    I´d like to ask you one last question though (but I understand if you do not want to answer it):
    Would you accept a genuine apology from Dawkins ?

  165. 165
    Stephanie Zvan

    You’re not under comment moderation. You included a bunch of links.

    What would you expect this hypothetical apology from Dawkins to look like? What do you expect him to apologize for? And what gives you the idea that I wouldn’t accept it?

  166. 166
    kain

    You’re not under comment moderation. You included a bunch of links.

    Sorry, I didn´t know that.

    What do you expect him to apologize for?

    I think he owes an apology for the Dear Muslima comments, especially to Rebecca. And regarding the tweets discussed here – hard to say because he still hasn´t clarified what he meant exactly (I don´t doubt that he was referring to FTB).

    And what gives you the idea that I wouldn’t accept it?

    I asked because I got the impression that many people have already signed him off.

  167. 167
    Stephanie Zvan

    Dawkins, as he is behaving right now, is irrelevant to what a lot of us are doing. (See the original post.) Observing that is not the same thing as writing him off. Making that kind of apology would be changing his behavior. That might make him relevant again, or it might not, but that’s a separate issue from whether anyone would accept the apology.

  168. 168
    A. Noyd

    kain (#148)

    If you count his journalistic work on Mother Teresa (which had nothing to do whatsoever, with arguing why theism /christianity / catholicism is wrong / evil etc.)….

    Oy, quit moving the fucking goalposts. Now examples don’t count unless they’re explicitly talking about how religious beliefs are false? The contention is whether or not targeting people is one of the ways New Atheists engage religion. The New Atheist mission has never been limited to disproving religious claims; it’s always included attempts to expose the nastiness within religion by chipping away at the facade of holiness and respectability erected around it. Hitchens’ exposé of Mother Teresa absolutely was an indictment of religion in that vein.

    You might be better than others at recognizing and working against these biases, but you are not immune.

    No one’s expecting Dawkins to be immune. I’m saying that if his understanding of biases is so much better than most people’s, it shouldn’t be the responsibility of his critics to treat him delicately. It’s Dawkins’ responsibility to apply that acumen in overcoming his biases as best he can.

    Again, I don´t think you understand what “defending someone at all costs means”. But, if you are not assuming good faith, we might as well just stop here.

    Oh, I suspect you’re lying to yourself more than anyone else. You just can’t seem to face how your continued attempts to defend Dawkins are at odds with your statement about not defending him at all costs. Should we have to challenge you to sacrifice your career or scoop out your genitals with a spoon in Dawkins’ name so your refusal can prove there are costs you won’t pay? I think it’s enough that you show yourself a fool by mangling logic, scrabbling after loopholes, ignoring evidence, barricading yourself behind flimsy rationalizations, clinging to falsehoods, and the like. So why not demonstrate your sincerity by dropping your defense here and now, before your credibility goes further in the toilet?

    The tu quoque is not your dear friend – you don´t even know what he looks like anymore:

    Do you not know what the words “based on” mean? To quote S. Morris Engel, “In the tu quoque we try to justify what we are doing by pointing out that our opponent or others do it too.” Which is exactly what you’re doing by proxy (hence the “based on”). But, nit-picking aside, you should ask yourself why you bothered to make that terrible argument in the first place if you’re not uncritically committed to defending Dawkins.

  169. 169
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I asked because I got the impression that many people have already signed him off.

    Oh fuck, don’t you think that if Dawkins were the next person featured on Amy’s series people here wouldn’t celebrate like christmas and Darwin day combined?
    Nobody is writing him of as a great promoter of new atheism, but that’s not the fight we’Re currently having. Currently people are carving out atheism that doesn’t throw social justice under the bus because it’s inconvenient for the lads in the boys’ club

  170. 170
    kain

    @A.Noyd

    Oy, quit moving the fucking goalposts. Now examples don’t count unless they’re explicitly talking about how religious beliefs are false? The contention is whether or not targeting people is one of the ways New Atheists engage religion.

    Yes. They don´t count. And you are wrong about what is contended – this was spawned by Brownian saying “Then Dawkins should really rethink the entire New Atheist M.O.” – citing examples from Hitchens that he wrote years before there was anything like “New Atheism” and which have nothing to do with Atheism don´t count. “Hitchens’ exposé of Mother Teresa absolutely was an indictment of religion in that vein.” – Try reading the book before saying such nonsense.

    I think it’s enough that you show yourself a fool by mangling logic, scrabbling after loopholes, ignoring evidence, barricading yourself behind flimsy rationalizations, clinging to falsehoods, and the like.

    I´d challenge you to quote an example for any of this. But I see little point in continuing this discussion – you are not assuming good faith and you are a terrible arguer.

    Do you not know what the words “based on” mean? To quote S. Morris Engel, “In the tu quoque we try to justify what we are doing by pointing out that our opponent or others do it too.”

    When someone says “Person x is stupid for reaching a conclusion before looking at the available data”
    and respond by either saying
    a) There was a situation where you also reached a conclusion without looking at the available data, you are an idiot / your argument is invalid.
    and
    b) Calling someone stupid for this makes no sense because everyone occassionally does this, if only stupid people did, we could get rid of the word “stupid” because it would already be implied by “being human”.

  171. 171
    kain

    continuing the last comment:

    a) is a tu quoque, b) is not.

  172. 172
    Forbidden Snowflake

    When someone says “Person x is stupid for reaching a conclusion before looking at the available data”

    Reaching a conclusion before looking at the available data is foolish. It is foolish regardless of how many people have made this mistake. The question of labels, or “who is stupid”, is much less useful than the question of “who is acting stupidly in this case”.
    Dawkins is displaying foolish behavior in this particular case. Your delve into cognitive dissonance theory is merely suggesting a mechanism. He needs to stop before it turns into a habit with him.

  173. 173
    kain

    @A.Noyd
    Regarding the “New Atheist M.O.” – you´ll find a pattern of personal attacks from some New Atheists, but you are looking at the wrong places. Examples for people that would qualify as “New Atheists” and who frequently used personal attacks while engaging religion and promoting atheism would be Michel Onfray and PZ Myers. You´ll find very little in this respect from the 4 horsemen. Saying that the New Atheist M.O. involves personal attacks on religious people is simply wrong.

  174. 174
    kain

    @Forbidden Snowflake

    He needs to stop before it turns into a habit with him.

    I agree 100%.

  175. 175
    Ingdigo Jump

    If we let cognitive bias and idiocy slide by because the person is a great champion of rationality and critical thought we are frelling idiots

  176. 176
    A. Noyd

    kain (#170)

    But I see little point in continuing this discussion – you are not assuming good faith and you are a terrible arguer.

    Bahahahahahaha! I literally snorted soup out my nose to see you could write that right after this: “citing examples from Hitchens that he wrote years before there was anything like ‘New Atheism’ and which have nothing to do with Atheism don´t count.”

    I mean, aside from this being your latest attempt to specially plead your way out of being wrong, it’s hilarious you don’t understand “New Atheism” was a label that got attached to the approach of people like Hitchens because of their style of engaging religion. The term is not the thing itself; New Atheism was around well before there was a term for it, and The Missionary Position is a fine example of New Atheist criticism of religion targeting a particular person.

    When someone says “Person x is stupid for reaching a conclusion before looking at the available data” … b) Calling someone stupid for this makes no sense because everyone occassionally does this, if only stupid people did, we could get rid of the word “stupid” because it would already be implied by “being human”.

    Uh… that’s your logic? (Or, should I say “logic”?) B is still a tu quoque, just one with a fail-sandwich worth of non sequiturs and false premises crammed between the “tu” and the “quoque.” Which, in case you were wondering, doesn’t make it better.

    (#173)

    Regarding the “New Atheist M.O.” – [blah blah, massive special pleading, blah blah, obvious lies, blah blah]

    I sense your commitment to not continuing a discussion with me is as strong as your refusal to defend Dawkins at all costs. Here, I’ll help. Whatever last word you might care to mumble out around your foot, rest assured I will dutifully refrain from responding to it.

  177. 177
    Silentbob

    @ 144 A. Noyd

    if you’d exercised caution – either by reading more carefully or asking for clarification before pointing fingers all accusatory-like – you wouldn’t have needed correction in the first place.

    Fair enough. And ironically, much the same can be said about Dawkins.
    I apologize for calling Stephanie “a bit disingenuous”. I was mistaken.

  178. 178
    kain

    @A.Noyd

    The term is not the thing itself; New Atheism was around well before there was a term for it, and The Missionary Position is a fine example of New Atheist criticism of religion targeting a particular person.

    It is obvious that you have never read the book, apparently not even a summary of it. The book is not an attack on religion. In a sense, Hitchens even defended the catholic church, because he singled Mother Teresa´s order out from the rest of the church (calling it a cult even) and blamed her personally for the misdeeds carried out by herself or in her name. The catholic church invited him as Mother Teresa´s advocatus diaboli for a reason.
    It is a piece of investigative journalism about the life of Mother Teresa, calling it an attack on religion, a personal attack even, is just moronic, and your only excuse is that you have obviously no clue what the book was about.

    Uh… that’s your logic?

    Wait, you didn´t know that until now ? So you did not even read my alleged tu quoque response and were just arguing against your own imagination of what I said ? Wow.

    B is still a tu quoque, just one with a fail-sandwich worth of non sequiturs and false premises crammed between the “tu” and the “quoque.” Which, in case you were wondering, doesn’t make it better.

    A bunch of mere assertions again ? Three of them in 2 sentences, not bad. Previously, you managed to cram 5 into one sentence.
    Your debating skills seem to be improving (which doesn´t say very much since you essentially started at zero).

    Here, I’ll help. Whatever last word you might care to mumble out around your foot, rest assured I will dutifully refrain from responding to it.

    I certainly hope so. I´m not bothered by your hostility and cluelessness, but now that I realize that you did not even read the comments that I thought you were arguing against, and that you like to drop the names of logical fallacies without knowing what they actually mean, it has become almost impossible to take you seriously at all.

  179. 179
    Forbidden Snowflake

    I´m not bothered by your hostility and cluelessness, but now that I realize that you did not even read the comments that I thought you were arguing against, and that you like to drop the names of logical fallacies without knowing what they actually mean, it has become almost impossible to take you seriously at all.

    That’s right, lay at her! People who fail to do their reading before opening their pieholes deserve to be told off harshly, unless they’re Richard Dawkins.

  180. 180
    kain

    That’s right, lay at her! People who fail to do their reading before opening their pieholes deserve to be told off harshly, unless they’re Richard Dawkins.

    Right! How dare I tell her off harshly !? She was, after all, only arguing in good faith and was nothing but civil and honest! Thank you, unbiased observer, for pointing that out.

  181. 181
    Forbidden Snowflake

    And hey, if being told off harshly is dissonant with her self-image and so drives her to double down and become more extreme in her position, well, it’s nobody’s problem but her own, because she is the one being irrational, unless she’s Richard Dawkins, in which case it’s her interlocutor’s fault.

  182. 182
    kain

    And right again, because that is exactly what I was arguing all the time – we should all be nice to each other and never use harsh language because that makes people irrational! That is totally not your misrepresentation of my views that I corrected several times in comments like #158 for example.
    And you are of course also right that my harsh response was completely uncalled for, after all, she was only being irrational and not at all hostile and insulting for no reason.

  183. 183
    Forbidden Snowflake

    And right again, because that is exactly what I was arguing all the time – we should all be nice to each other and never use harsh language because that makes people irrational!

    No, you seem to be arguing that we should be nice to Dawkins, and that he’s being irrational because people weren’t nice enough to him that other time.

    The problem is not that you’re harsh to A. Noyd or whatever. It’s the huge gap between what you consider to be appropriate treatment for people who aren’t Richard Dawkins vs. people who are.

  184. 184
    kain

    No, you seem to be arguing that we should be nice to Dawkins, and that he’s being irrational because people weren’t nice enough to him that other time.

    No, that´s not what I´m arguing. And I really don´t want to explain myself again (see for example #136 and #158 regarding harsh language and “being nice”, we have already been at this point before…)

    The problem is not that you’re harsh to A. Noyd or whatever. It’s the huge gap between what you consider to be appropriate treatment for people who aren’t Richard Dawkins vs. people who are.

    Again, I was never talking about tone or being nice (see above). I was talking about situations where it is very hard to admit that you have been wrong – and about how certain personal attacks (depending on the situation) can make it even harder (and again, this has nothing to do with tone, see above). If you just don´t care whether someone, who has been wrong about something, reconsiders his views or not – this is completely irrelevant.
    Regarding A.Noyd – again, I did not tell her off harshly because she is not Richard Dawkins, I did so because she was hostile and insulting, repeatedly, without being provoked in any way.

  1. 185
    “DEEP RIFTS” « For the Sake of Science

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    Within the Movement | Almost Diamonds

    [...] a speaker and writer declares that your work is invalid and you should be starved of income, that happens within the [...]

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    What Is More Important Than Peace? (NSFW) » Almost Diamonds

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